Chamber announces staffing updates in Membership, Accounting departments

Monica Poe is the Chamber’s new Membership Data Manager.

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has recently expanded our staff. Monica Poe has been hired as the Membership Data Manager, and Alison Percy has been hired as the Member Engagement Coordinator. In addition, Peter Gaulding’s role as Accounting Clerk has moved from part-time to full-time.

Monica, a graduate of Wichita State University, previously worked at the Marketing Manager for In the Bag Cleaners. In her new role, she is responsible for maintaining accurate membership records and for managing the organization’s membership database to assist in strategic analyses. Her background in managing data and measuring results will help position the organization for continued success. Her first day at the Chamber was Jan. 2.

Alison Percy has joined the Chamber team as the Member Engagement Coordinator.

Alison, a graduate of Kansas State University, previously worked as the Events Coordinator for JOMA Bowling Company where she oversaw a wide range of events for groups of 15 to 1,000 attendees. In her new role, she provides administrative and project management support for the Membership & Engagement Department, which is responsible for planning and executing the majority of the organization’s 100+ annual events. Her first day at the Chamber was Jan. 2.

Peter joined the Chamber as a part-time Accounting Clerk in April of 2016. During his time with the Chamber, he has demonstrated a team-first work ethic. Due to growth within the organization, the position was moved to a full-time status on Jan. 2. Gaulding will graduate from Wichita State University this May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Peter Gaulding will graduate from Wichita State University this May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said, “The work and volunteer experiences of these individuals make them assets to the Chamber team. I am confident they will continue providing the exceptional service that our members and community partners have come to expect. We’re pleased to have them on board.”

#ILoveWichita Night this Saturday with the Wichita Thunder

At an unveiling event on Jan. 4, Mayor Jeff Longwell displayed the Wichita flag jersey that will be worn at the Jan. 20 game, and Vanesa Barnard of Jason’s Deli showed off the rally towel that will be given to the first 500 people that evening.

The Wichita Thunder is celebrating our city this Saturday on #ILoveWichita Night, when they take on the Colorado Eagles. The Chamber is proud to partner with the team on this event to promote community pride, and the team will be wearing a special Wichita flag-themed jersey. Also, the first 500 fans through the door will receive a special Wichita flag rally towel. The event is presented by Chamber member Davis-Moore Autogroup, and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell will be on-hand to drop the puck.

Game Details
Saturday, January 20
Puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
INTRUST Bank Arena

Only 1,000 lower bowl tickets remain, and Chamber members can purchase tickets here for 50% off by using discount code “CHAMBER.” This offer excludes glass seats and is available online only.

Click here to watch the event promo video, and click here to see photos from the Jersey Unveiling Event that was help on Jan. 4.

Recipients of Uncommon Citizen and Exceptional Young Leader Awards Announced

Clay Bastian (left) and Clark Bastian (right) have been named the Chamber’s 2018 Uncommon Citizens.

Clark Bastian, chairman and chief executive officer of Fidelity Bank, and his brother Clay Bastian, chairman of Fidelity Financial Corporation, are the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Uncommon Citizens. The native Wichitans and third-generation bankers will be recognized at the 55th annual Honors Night celebration on Thursday, April 26.

Established in 1974, the Uncommon Citizen is the Chamber’s most prestigious individual award. It recognizes those who, by their individual efforts year after year, have made uncommon contributions to the people and institutions of Wichita and the surrounding area. Recipients are honored not only for their role in business but for their participation in cultural, civic, social and philanthropic activities.

Since joining his family’s business in 1980, Clay has been a catalyst of the Bank’s success, providing key oversight in everything from product development to investment portfolio management. As chairman of Fidelity Financial Corporation, the holding company of Fidelity Bank and its subsidiaries, Clay manages Fidelity’s real estate entities, debt securities and other investments. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he is actively involved in several community organizations, including Salvation Army of Wichita, St. James Episcopal Church, Downtown Wichita and Wichita Festivals, Inc.

Under Clark’s leadership as chairman and chief executive officer, Fidelity Bank has surpassed $2 billion in assets and employs more than 450 people in Kansas and Oklahoma. A graduate of Wichita State University, Clark has contributed his time and talents to a variety of civic and charitable organizations. Currently, Clark serves on the boards of the Wichita Community Foundation (chairman) and the Wichita State University Foundation. He recently completed two terms of service on the Ulrich Advisory Board for Wichita State University.

The Chamber has been the beneficiary of the Bastian family’s leadership dating back to Clark and Clay’s father, Marvin, who served as the Chamber Chairman in 1976 and was honored as the 1995 Uncommon Citizen. Clark has served two terms on the Chamber board (2000-2002 and 2007-2009).

Christina Long has been selected as the Chamber’s 2018 Exceptional Young Leader.

Christina Long, owner and principal consultant of CML Collective, is the Chamber’s 2018 Exceptional Young Leader. Established just last year, the award provides premiere recognition of extraordinary young talent who have a history of demonstrated leadership within their job and philanthropic involvement.

A graduate of Wichita State University, Christina has more than 15 years of experience in the field of communication and design. Dedicated to the Wichita community, she serves as the historian for Wichita Urban Professionals; as President/Chief Executive of the Create Campaign, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to helping urban entrepreneurs to launch, innovate and excel; as a leader of NetWork Kansas’ Wichita Urban E-Community; and a board member of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement of the remaining Honors Night recipients are forthcoming. Reservations for Honors Night may be made online. For tickets and additional information, visit or call 316-268-1123.

Schwindaman led with practicality, partnerships in 2017

Bill Wood will lead the Chamber Board as Chairman in 2018.

By William (Bill) Wood
Partner at Foulston Siekfin and
2018 Chamber Board Chairman

2017 was a game-changing year for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce by any measure, but adding the celebration of the Chamber’s 100 years of service to its members made it an amazing achievement – all conducted under the steady and forward-thinking leadership of 2017 Chamber Chair Scott Schwindaman.

More than fully occupied by his “day job” leading Lubrication Engineers and his “second job” as owner of Cowskin Creek Clydesdales, maybe Scott’s talent for fostering collaboration was honed by persuading 2000-pound horses to work together, all pulling in the same direction. Or maybe he’s just too busy to waste any time. Either way, Scott’s down-to-earth, practical approach has proven him a very effective leader who knows how to get things done in partnership with Chamber CEO Gary Plummer, the excellent Chamber staff, and our committed Chamber board.

Scott Schwindaman was  Chairman of the Chamber Board during our Centennial year in 2017.

Here are just a few of those things we can be thankful for:

  • In addition to the Chamber’s ongoing successful advocacy for our community’s business interests and continued membership growth, Scott’s tenure reflected measurable progress on the 2017 strategic priorities identified by the Chamber board and staff: education policy, diversity and inclusion, and quality of life.
  • In the education arena, the Chamber advocated for a new K-12 education funding formula and supported the Wichita State University and Wichita Area Technical College affiliation as part of the Chamber’s focus on building and retaining a skilled workforce.
  • To support diversity and inclusion, Scott’s Chairman’s Lunch highlighted the importance of this initiative from a number of different perspectives, and challenged attendees to find ways to contribute to the ongoing conversation. A series of listening tours identified how various Chamber members address diversity and inclusion in their organizations.
  • To enhance quality of life initiatives, the Chamber convened a new Quality of Place Task Force. This group, building on an ongoing pride-of-place movement demonstrated by the #ILoveWichita social media campaign and ever-growing crop of Wichita flags, supported riverfront development plans, including a new baseball stadium.

Visually represented by a new Chamber brand identity, the Chamber’s tremendous progress during 2017 builds momentum and serves as a critical foundation for the important work still ahead of us. Each Chamber chair stands on the shoulders of giants, and I am no exception. I thank Scott, Gary, and the Chamber board and staff for preparing us for further success in 2018, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve the Chamber’s mission.

Wichita Public Schools Show Community Pride

In case you missed it, yesterday’s monthly Wichita Eagle Chamber Update contained photos and information about how the Wichita Public Schools have been working with the business community on the #ILoveWichita campaign. Three initiatives are underway.

Wichita Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson points to the new decal that will be used at Wichita learning centers.

#ILoveWichita Decals
Nearly 80 businesses and organizations have applied a Chamber-sponsored #ILoveWichita decal to their doors to demonstrate their community commitment. The Wichita Public Schools have developed their own #ILoveWichita decal that also includes #WPSProud, a popular hashtag the school system has been using to demonstrate all the positive things being accomplished throughout the District.

The new decal has been permanently installed on the main doors at the system’s Administrative Center. Watch for nearly one hundred more decals going up early next year when they are distributed to learning centers across Wichita.

Wichita Flags
During the last ten months, new School Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson and her team have incorporated their own stylized version of the Wichita flag in t-shirts and other school materials. Last month, at the suggestion of students from Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication, the Together Wichita campaign donated ninety-three 3’x5’ Wichita flags to the school system so that every learning center could show their community pride.

Ben Jennings from The Wichita Eagle manages the Together Wichita initiative and made the presentation at the District meeting. Jennings is a long-time flag enthusiast and said it was an easy decision for the Board to approve the donation, “We don’t believe this has ever been done before and we loved the idea of making it happen.”

Dr. Thompson, who has been a student, teacher and administrator for the Wichita Public Schools, said, “It’s fantastic to see Wichita flags proudly flying at schools across our district. We matter to this community, and Wichita matters to us. Together Wichita’s donation of Wichita flags to every Wichita building allows us to remind the community how important that relationship is.”

The Wichita Regional Chamber is one of twenty-one organizations working year-round on community improvement projects under the banner of Together Wichita. (See the complete listing of participants on Organized, staffed and managed by The Wichita Eagle, past Together Wichita projects include bicycle and walking path signage, a Memories Park, community chalkboards, the Keepers on Parade and a large Together Wichita sign to display at area events.

Jack Lynch, a Southeast High School senior, will utilize this design for the Keeper sculpture donated by Ben Hutton.

Student Art
Ben Hutton, CEO of Hutton Construction, has also generously donated a Together Wichita Keeper of the Plains sculpture to USD 259. Hutton leads the Chamber’s Quality of Place Strategic Initiative and his company participates in the Together Wichita initiative.

Jack Lynch, a Southeast High School senior, will paint the Keeper, during his final semester. The finished sculpture will be unveiled in the spring of 2018. It will then be included on the Keepers on Parade map located on the Together Wichita website.

Visit to learn more about how your organization or company can become involved and follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Suzy Finn accepts new role with Wichita Public Schools

Suzy Finn, Director of Community Advancement for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, has resigned her position effective Dec. 22 to accept a new role of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships Supervisor with Wichita Public Schools. Suzy joined our team in 2013 as Executive Director of Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). Some of Suzy’s most notable accomplishment while at the Chamber include:

  • YPW memberships increased by more than 54%, reaching more than 3,300 members
  • YPW revenue increased by more than 30%
  • YPW Group Mentoring program was created
  • Leadership Wichita saw record numbers of applications in 2016 and 2017
  • Developed and executed on seven tactics related to the Chamber’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, including the Inclusive Listening Tour, CEO Roundtable on Diversity and Inclusion and Wichita Connect website
  • Led two successful, sold-out City-to-City Leadership Visits

“Suzy played a pivotal role at the Chamber during her five-year tenure,” said Gary Plummer, Chamber President and CEO. “She not only expanded the impact of programs like Leadership Wichita and YPW, but she also helped build a new initiative focused on diversity and inclusion.”

Please join us in wishing Suzy the best in her new role, working to develop and strengthen the partnerships between the education and business communities.

The Chamber will begin an immediate search to fill the position. For more information, please visit

Partnerships Fuel Wichita Flag Movement

Cassandra Bryan of Cassandra Bryan Design was one of the Wichitans featured in the series of community pride videos.

We like to say that the Wichita flag movement has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. Without all three, the message of the flag would not be as far reaching as it is. One partnership that contributed to the growing Wichita love in 2017 was when Chamber member World Studios ICT produced several videos that highlight the Wichita flag.

We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to their team for contributing their time and talents to the betterment of our community. Find links to and descriptions of each video below.

Your Wichita Flag | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
To celebrate the Wichita flag’s 80th birthday on June 14, 2017, this video was published to tell the story behind the city’s symbol. You can also catch this video playing on the City of Wichita’s City7 TV channel.

The Wichita Flag Movement | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
The Wichita Flag movement is important for so many reasons. This video features proud Wichitans sharing their thoughts on why.

The Best Thing About the Wichita Flag | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
When we asked people to name their favorite thing about the Wichita flag, we learned that everyone has a unique connection to the symbol.

#ILoveWichita Because… | Watch on Facebook or YouTube
How can you choose just one reason why you love Wichita?

We’d love to see your thoughts and feelings about the flag as well. Post your comments and tag @WichitaFlag and/or use #ILoveWichita.

We’re looking forward to seeing the Wichita pride continue to grow and to what partnerships emerge in 2018!

The team at World Studios ICT helped spread the Wichita flag message far and wide this year, with one of their videos receiving more than 30,000 views on Facebook alone.


Chamber announces two staff promotions

Chamber President Gary Plummer has announced two staff promotions that will be effective Jan. 1, 2018.

  • Alejo Cabral has been promoted to Director of Young Professionals of Wichita.
  • Tram Ngo has been promoted to Manager of Government Relations.

Both Alejo and Tram have been integral members of the Chamber team since the start of their tenures.

In this new position, Alejo will lead Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW), an affiliate of the  Chamber with a mission to attract, engage and retain diverse young talent. “The organization’s volunteers quickly connected to him,” Gary said. “His ability to form relationships in diverse community groups have helped the organization increase its reach in the community.” He originally joined the Chamber in January 2017 as the YPW Coordinator. Prior to his role at the Chamber, Alejo worked at Credit Union of America.

Tram’s promotion comes as a result of her superb work since joining the Chamber in May 2017. “Our Government Relations department is responsible for advocating for business interests at the local, state and federal level, and Tram has earned the respect of our members, business leaders and public officials,” Gary said.

“I appreciate Tram’s commitment to excellence and am thrilled about her expanded role at the Chamber,” said Director of Government Relations Sean Robinson. “Tram is passionate about cultivating the strategic partnerships needed to advance our region’s growth.”

Please join us in congratulating these two deserving members of our team!

Show Your Support for the Official Wichita Flag License Plate

It was announced in October that the City of Wichita will be submitting a bill during the next legislative session to add a Wichita flag license plate option for Kansas motorists. The City has surpassed their initial goal of 500 signatures of support for the bill, but we want to keep going! Help us continue to demonstrate the demand for a Wichita flag license plate by completing this form.

Here’s how the program, titled Plates for Parks, will work: By purchasing a Wichita flag license plate for $50 at the time of registration or renewal, the flag will ride with you everywhere you go. The annual royalty fee of each license plate sold will go towards improving the City’s park system through the Wichita Parks Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. So it’s a win-win!

Add your name today at the link above!

Wichita Flag will soon be flying at all Wichita Public Schools

Last year, the Chamber’s marketing and communications team was invited to make a presentation about the Wichita Flag to students participating in the annual Comm Week at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication (pictured below). Stressing that the #ILoveWichita and Wichita flag movement has been fueled by partnerships, passion and pride, we asked the students to spend a few minutes brainstorming ways to widen the movement and make it more inclusive.

The students came up with a list of about eight ways to further accelerate civic pride. One of the ideas at the top of their list was to donate a Wichita flag to every school in the Wichita Public Schools system so that students could see it flying every day.

Through the power of partnerships and collaboration, Together Wichita turned that great idea into a reality this week when ninety-three 3’ x 5’ Wichita flags were donated to Wichita Public Schools, one for each of their learning centers. The flags were presented at the November 30 District Council meeting to administrators from across the district.

Ben Jennings of Together Wichita (left) and Angie Prather of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce (right) present USD 259 Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson (center) will a 3’x5’ Wichita flag at the November 30 District Council meeting. Together Wichita has purchased and donated ninety-three flags for the district, one to fly at every learning center.

Ben Jennings from The Wichita Eagle manages the Together Wichita initiative and made the presentation at the District meeting. Jennings is a long-time flag enthusiast and said it was an easy decision for the Board to approve the donation, “We don’t believe this has ever been done before and we loved the idea of making it happen.”

The Wichita Regional Chamber is one of twenty-one organizations working year-round on community improvement projects under the banner of Together Wichita. (See the complete listing on and below.) Organized, staffed and managed by The Wichita Eagle, past Together Wichita projects include bicycle and walking path signage, a Memories Park, community chalkboards, the Keepers on Parade and a large Together Wichita sign to display at area events.

School administrators also learned that Ben Hutton, CEO of Hutton Construction, has generously donated a Keeper of the Plains sculpture to USD 259. Hutton is a member of Together Wichita and also leads the Chamber’s Quality of Place Strategic Initiative. A student from the Wichita Public Schools will paint the Keeper. The finished sculpture will be unveiled sometime in 2018 when it’s completed. It will then be included on the Keepers on Parade map located on the organization’s website.

Visit to learn more about how your organization or company can become involved and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Sean Weaver
Allen, Gibbs & Houlik

Susan Armstrong
Armstrong Chamberlin

Patty L. Sanders
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Walter Berry
Berry Companies, Inc.

Jeff Longwell
City of Wichita

Bob Thurman
Credit Union of America

Kacie St. John

Charles Millsap
Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch

Dr. Amy Carey
Friends University

Ben Hutton
Hutton Construction

Ben Jennings
The Wichita Eagle

Patty Koehler
JR Custom Metals Products, Inc.

Scott Schwindaman
Lubrication Engineers, Inc.

Dr. Noreen M. Carrocci
Newman University

Thomas Gentile
Spirit AeroSystems

Patrick J. Hanrahan
United Way of the Plains

Bill Voloch
Wesley Healthcare

Don Sherman
Westar Energy

Sheree Utash
Wichita Area Technical College

Gary Plummer
Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce

Dr. John Bardo
Wichita State University