Marshall, Vitale to headline Annual Meeting on Nov. 7

Gregg Marshall, head coach of the Wichita State University men’s basketball team, has been selected as the featured speaker for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Heading into his eleventh season as head coach of the Shockers, Marshall is the winningest head coach in WSU history. During the event, Marshall will speak about the school’s entry to the American Athletic Conference, as well as his personal perspective on why Wichita is the best place for him and his family to call home.

Joining Marshall on stage will be college basketball’s top analyst and ambassador Dick Vitale. Vitale joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season—just after the network’s September 1979 launch—following a successful college and pro coaching career. In 2008, Vitale received the sport’s ultimate honor when he was selected as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“The Chamber’s Annual Meeting is an opportunity to celebrate wonderful stories about our city,” said Scott Schwindaman, 2017 Chamber Chairman and President of Lubrication Engineers. “We’re continuing that tradition this year by hosting a dynamic discussion about Team Wichita: the impact of sports on our region and the positive outcomes that occur when sports put Wichita on a national stage.”

“The Wichita region has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the athletic arena,” said Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. “From events like the Prairie Fire Marathon and hosting the first round of 2018 NCAA tournament, to producing Olympians and investing in new athletic infrastructure, we have earned the right to call ourselves a ‘sports town’.”

The 2017 Annual Meeting is presented by INTRUST Bank. General admission tickets start at $35 and student tickets start at $20. Tickets can be purchased at wichitachamber.org. Formal invitations will be sent to Chamber members soon, and the general public is also invited to attend. Sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be secured by contacting Rachel Douglass at 316-268-1127.

Courtney Sendall Promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications

Courtney Sendall has been promoted to Director of Marketing and Communications.

Gary Plummer, Wichita Regional Chamber President & CEO, announced today that Courtney Sendall has been promoted from Manager of Marketing and Communications to Director of Marketing and Communications. She joined the Chamber in February 2013 as a Communications Coordinator. During her career with the Chamber, she has gained both supervisory and project management experience. In her new role, she’ll assume more budgetary duties and provide additional input into overall strategic initiatives for the Chamber.

Plummer said that Sendall is an important asset to the Chamber team. “Courtney’s marketing and communications expertise are well recognized throughout the community. We’re fortunate to have someone of her caliber managing so many vital connection points for our members and volunteers while representing the Chamber throughout the region.”

Sendall is a graduate of Wichita State University and a volunteer for several organizations including the Kansas Humane Society, Make-A-Wish Kansas and Social Media Marketing World (an annual international convention).

Announcing the #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest winners

The 2nd annual #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest has concluded and the results prove that Wichitans love their hometown’s flag. The contest received nearly 173 unique entries, which was more than triple the number that was received in 2016. At the conclusion of the summer, the Wichita flag has been photographed in all 50 states, 36 different countries and on 5 continents. It’s safe to say that flag fever has spread worldwide.

Before the contest winners are revealed, here are a few other fun facts from this year’s contest:

  • The flag visited 7 different National Parks in 6 states
  • 124 individual accounts participated
  • 15 posts were from area businesses who joined in the fun
  • 28% of the entries included Wichita flag t-shirts
  • 20% of the entries used cloth flags (any size)
  • 9% used a flag picture on their phone
  • 6% used stickers
  • 5% used the insert published in the June 14 Wichita Eagle
  • The remainder (32%) used other flag swag (socks, koozies, hats, license plates, pins, magnets, etc.)

Contest winners are pictured below. They will each receive prizes from Great Image Designs (@greatimagedesigns on Instagram) and the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to all who entered and are helping spread Wichita love around the world!

50th State
When the @WichitaFlag account reported that Delaware was the only state it had not visited, Brandi Brenner (@brandi.brenner) and family changed their vacation plans so the flag could represent in its 50th state! They are photographed here at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

 

Best Group Pic
Can you say #SquadGoals? Heather Feist (@honeyfeist) and friends spent their friend-cation in matching flag tanks at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

 

 

Best Story
When Gabby Garlow (@garlogab) visited The Temple Bar Pub in Dublin, Ireland, early this year, she placed a Wichita sticker on a wall inside the pub (pictured left). Fast forward to July when Hillary Martin (@Hillarymartin22) visited that same pub and found the sticker her fellow Wichitan had left behind (pictured right).

 

Farthest Away
The flag was carried to many corners of the earth this summer, but the farthest it traveled from Wichita was to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is 9,358 miles away. The flag is pictured here at the Petronas Twin Towers with Juan Velazquez (@juanpv00).

 

Highest Point
Kacey and Paul Bowen of Wichita Real Estate (@wichitarealestate) summited Mount Massive in July and carried along the flag and some local brews to celebrate at the top. Standing at 14,421 feet in Colorado, Mount Massive is just that. Josh Herman (@josh_herman) also conquered the 14er with the flag in hand in August.

 

Least Amount of Oxygen
Alejo Cabral (@mr_alejo_cabral) is a Wichita transplant, but that doesn’t hinder his love for the flag. During his vacation to Tulum, Mexico, the flag accompanied him during a dive into some underwater caves. Any guesses on how many takes it took to get that shot?

 

Most Countries Visited
This year’s MVP award goes to Juan Velaquez (@juanpv00), who submitted four contest entries from three different countries. Thanks to Juan, the flag crossed Cambodia (pictured), Vietnam and Malaysia off its travel bucket list.

 

 

Most Patriotic
Airman Lauren Nguyen chose to pose with the Wichita flag following her formal graduation from  boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. She makes us all proud to be Americans and proud to be Wichitans. Photo submitted by Lauren’s mother, Kim (@kimmisuu).

 

Most Popular
It’s probably not difficult to believe that the contest photo that received the most likes was this adorable entry from Kelly Korroch (@2kellyk). The photo of her pup Teddy was taken in Breckenridge, Colorado, as he took in the views and fresh mountain air.

 

Most Unusual
There have been many photos of the flag posing with animals like cats and dogs and even hedgehogs. But this was definitely a new one: riding a camel in the Sahara Desert with Kris Hammer (@kris.on.the.road).

 

 

State with the Most Entries
It may come as no surprise that more entries were posted from Colorado than any other state — 16 entries to be exact. This one was taken by Kyle Hiebert (@qb3rt5) in the Garden of the Gods and was one of the favorites.

 

 

Youngest Flag Fan
It’s always fun to see young Wichitans learning about the flag and its symbolism. Victor White (@ginger727) shared this photo of his grandson at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, showing his love for the flag and for Wichita.

 

To see all of this year’s entries, search #WichitaFlagSummerTravelContest on Instagram.

Member Minute with Midwest Single Source

Member Minute profiles are meant to highlight Chamber member businesses in a format that can be read in a few minutes. This Interview was conducted by Intern Claire Harpool.

The team at Midwest Single Source received some well-deserved recognition in August when the company was named the 24th largest distributor in sales throughout the United States (the only Kansas distributor included in the Top 50) by the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA).

The company was also chosen by the Wichita Urban Professionals as the Corporate Award Recipient at their 3rd annual Dreamchasers event. This award is given to a company that encourages diversity as displayed by its business practices and community presence.

Kevin Ulwelling is the President of Midwest Single Source Inc. “Both of these recognitions are special in their own way. To once again be one recognized as one of the leaders in our industry and documented by PSDA shows the consistency of sales we’ve maintained and expanded through the years,” he said. “The Corporate Award was a complete surprise, but it truly shows how involved and intertwined we are into the Wichita community and how many organizations we are lucky enough to partner with.”

Midwest Single Source has been a Chamber member for 30+ years.

Tell us about Midwest Single Source.
The company was founded by John H. Osborne in 1976. We are a distributor of office supplies, printing, promotional items, corporate apparel, furniture, mailing equipment and much more. We are headquartered in Wichita and have locations in Oklahoma City and an office with a warehouse in Topeka.

Tell us a little bit about Max.
We formally introduced Max in March of this year. He has always appeared on our marketing literature, but we had referred to him as the ‘Running Man’. There was a competition to officially name him and we invited our employees and customers to submit ideas through social media outlets. The winning name chosen was Max, to promote and remind our customers how they can ‘maximize’ their spend by utilizing our various business capabilities.

What is the best thing about doing business in the Wichita area?
Many businesses in the Wichita area appreciate and support their local business partners. We have been able to create very trusting and loyal long-term relationships with our customers that have progressed throughout the community.

What has the Chamber provided you?
An opportunity to communicate our services to other businesses in the area, especially through the Chamber’s platforms and events.

What has been the best thing about Chamber membership?
They do a good job recognizing members on milestones and awards they’ve received. The Chamber also does a great job with events. Exposure is phenomenal; Leadership Wichita is another great example.

Can you describe your most recent business success?
We recently hired Ashley Dalian as our Director of Sales Operations. Over the past three years, we have been looking for someone to lead our fantastic sales staff as we plan for future growth. We eventually did find the perfect candidate!

Where do you attribute your success?
We have allowed ourselves to evolve. We started as a two-man shop designing and printing forms. Gradually we started providing office supplies, which lead into promotional opportunities, followed by apparel and mail room solutions. We have a very forward-thinking owner who is not afraid to take some risks. He has allowed us to operate strategically. The bottom line is we have great people (52 employees in 3 locations).

What is your favorite chamber event and why?
I think it would have to be Exposure. It is very well run and promoted event. The intent and networking opportunity is excellent. It is a great celebration of all the local business.

On a scale from 1-10 how much would you recommend Chamber membership?
I would give it a 10. If you are in business in Wichita, then you need to continually increase your visibility with more people and the Chamber allows you to do that. Getting involved in the Chamber should be a no-brainer for any company.

What do people not know about your business that you would like them to know?
Our online capabilities rival many of the largest national companies. We are capable of building online stores for apparel, print, promotional items and more. Having these ‘company stores’ set up can save massive time and energy during the ordering process, while also controlling the brand that you want to celebrate!

What about your business are you most passionate about?
We are passionate about our online capabilities and getting the word out.  It is our goal to make it as easy as possible for our customers to place orders online. We will continue to invest in software and technology, as this is the direction many of our industries are going.

Complete this sentence when a customer walks into my business they will feel like…
They are the only customer we have. They will receive the timely response and the type of service that will make them continue to want to do business with us, regardless of size or needs.

Where do you see your business in five years?
We have a very aggressive sales growth plan, so it will be interesting to see how that flushes out. As our history has dictated, we will continue to look for additional ways to streamline our processes to better serve our customers.

Do you have a favorite business book?
I do; “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.” I most appreciate the book as it helps recognize where issues may be hidden, and outlines opportunities for dealing with certain situations.

Is your company involved in any civic or community activities?
We are involved in numerous activities including USD 259, Wine Fest, Air Capital Classic, Exposure and Bloktoberfest. We are also heavily involved with Wichita State University, Newman University, Friends University, and other school districts throughout the state.

You can catch up with Midwest Single Source and Max on their website, Facebook or Instagram.

Would your company or organization like to be featured in a Member Minute profile? Just send your request to Courtney Sendall or give her a call at 316-268-1153. 

Youth Employment Project in action

Xavier Crawford worked at the Chamber during the summer as part of the Youth Employment Program.

My name is Xavier Crawford and I am from Wichita. I have eleven brothers and sisters and recently graduated from Chester Lewis Virtual High School. I was connected with the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce through my experience with the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas’ Summer Youth Employment Program. Through the program I created a resume, searched and interviewed for jobs and was provided education in soft skills and customer service. The program provided me the opportunity to experience a real-life work environment.

My duties at the Chamber included a variety of tasks. I was able to work on everything from mailing out invoices and creating aging reports to putting together orientation packets for new member meetings. It was fun to attend meetings that highlighted changes in our community and how we can continue to improve our city as a whole. In many ways, I feel like Wichita is stepping in the right direction and should keep up the good work.

My favorite part about my internship at the Chamber would be the staff. The accepted me as one of their own. They were warmhearted and caring and were always there for me. Working at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has helped show me what every work environment should look and feel like. They’ve taught me how I can not only better myself, but create value for those around me.

While working at the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some important individuals in Wichita that could potentially help point me achieve the career I desire. I’ve recently applied to Wichita Area Technical College and look forward to studying aviation.

Our thanks to Xavier for his contributions to our team this summer and to the Workforce Alliance for leading the Youth Employment Project. 

Xavier reported that some of his favorite assignments involved working with Accounting Clerk Peter Gaulding (pictured right).

Five Chamber Members Named Among Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies

Our congratulations to the nine companies from Wichita that were recently named to the 2017 Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list. Five of them are Chamber members.

Two of the companies have won the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year award in the past – Profit Builders & Occidental Management. Another Wichita company on the list, Elite Staffing Solutions, was a finalist for the award this year. Two other Chamber members, Freddy’s & Syndeo Outsourcing, also made the 2017 list.

In a recent news release, Chris Rickerson with Elite Staffing said, “We were the fastest growing company in the Wichita market in 2016 and among the top three in 2017. We just want to thank all of our clients for helping us reach this great accomplishment.”

You’ll find more information about the success of Elite Staffing in the September issue of Inc. magazine where the company is mentioned in a column by Editor in Chief Eric Schurenberg and a feature story by Sheila Marikar. 

McConnell selects three new Golden Eagles

by Pat Gallagher, Military Affairs, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce

Pat Gallagher has been a Golden Eagle since 2009.

In the 1990s the Honorary Commander program was introduced on McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) and approximately twenty local business leaders were partnered with military members on base who, when it could be arranged, had a job on base that was somewhat similar to that of the civilian with whom he/she was matched. Some Honorary Commanders became frequent visitors on base participating in group or squadron activities and any other base opportunity that was open to them.

McConnell AFB later introduced the Golden Eagle award to recognize outstanding volunteer service and as a vehicle for base leadership to thank Honorary Commanders for their exceptional dedication. Only seven civilians have been named Golden Eagles since the program started.

First among those to earn the award were Robin Spurrier (Spurrier Chemical Companies), Keith Lesher (Lesher Investments) and Bob Dool (Mid-Continent Safety).  Jack Pulley with Davis-Moore Automotive Group was the fourth Eagle selected. Rael Hodgson with State Farm Insurance was named Eagle number five and I became a Golden Eagle in 2009. Wayne Roberts with Pioneer Balloon was selected for the award in 2011.

All of the Golden Eagles have been in leadership positions with the Friends of McConnell (FOM), the civilian support organization that has provided financial support to airmen and family related programs and events on McConnell for 60 years. The FOM is an affiliate of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Frank Suellentrop with Legacy Bank is one of three new Golden Eagles.

Three Golden Eagles have recently been selected to join the McConnell Eagle rank: Frank Suellentrop (Legacy Bank); James Havers-Strong (ABI Group); and Joel Rodell (Hutton Construction). All three business leaders have been exemplary supporters of their commanders, the airmen and their families. They are worthy recipients of this unique recognition.

Col. Josh M. Olson, 22nd ARW commander said, “We welcome these three outstanding community leaders to the prestigious Golden Eagles. The group is a direct reflection of the unsurpassed support our Airmen receive from this community. We look forward to work with them as we support combat air-refueling options downrange and bring on the next generation tanker in the upcoming months.”

Rodell said, “Becoming a Golden Eagle is a humbling experience and I look forward to contributing to the program. McConnell is a tremendous asset to Wichita and the surrounding communities. The opportunity to collaborate at a deeper level and help support their mission is something I’m very excited to be part of.”

Suellentrop agreed with Rodell and added that “It’s a great surprise and honor for me. Laura and I have really enjoyed our time as Honorary Commanders.”

We congratulate the newest Golden Eagles and thank all the Chamber members who strive to make McConnell AFB a great assignment for all those serving our country. Please contact the Chamber (316-268-1157) if you’d like to learn more about how you or your company can become more actively involved with the Friends of McConnell.

Introducing our 2017 Leadership Wichita class

Thirty-three citizens from the Wichita region have been selected to participate in the 2017 Leadership Wichita class, a leadership training program presented by the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. This class will join the nearly 1,000 other individuals who have committed to become stronger leaders for the community since the program was launched in 1983.

Leadership Wichita participants are identified through a nomination process, followed by submission of a formal application to the program’s Board of Trustees for selection. The Chamber received a record number of both nominations (202) and applications (101) for the 2017 program.

“Leadership Wichita provides professionals the training to use their talents and skills to tackle local needs, such as education and economic development,” said Tyler Heffron, Chair of Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. “Past participants of Leadership Wichita have made significant contributions in our community, and this year’s class will graduate equipped with the insight to build upon their professional successes to make Wichita the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities.”

The 2017 class will participate in eight sessions that cover issues such as economic development and the future vision for Wichita, workforce development and the impact of ensuring a highly educated workforce in our community, the importance of consensus within government, along with building leadership skills through real-life examples, group discussions and collaboration.

The 2017 Leadership Wichita class will begin Thursday, Aug. 24 and will conclude Wednesday, Nov. 8.

2017 Leadership Wichita Class:

  • Abigail Arthur, FreeState Healthcare
  • Keturah Austin, Sedgwick County
  • Kyle Blasdel, Conco Inc.
  • Maggie Butler, Via Christi Health
  • Anne Chandler, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas
  • Carrie Cox, Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, LC
  • Mike Ellis, Delta Dental of Kansas
  • Amy Feimer, Hunter Health Clinic
  • LaShonda Garnes, City of Wichita
  • Clay Germany, Wichita Police Department
  • Michele Gifford, Textron Aviation
  • Andrew Gough, Reverie Coffee Roasters
  • Jeff Hersh, USD 265 Goddard Public Schools
  • Jennifer Hughes, High Touch Technologies
  • Danielle Johnson, Wichita State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Justin Kasel, USD 259 Wichita Public Schools
  • Jason Knobbe, Kansas Air National Guard
  • Melissa Knoeber, Fidelity Bank
  • Paul Lavender, Sasnak Management Corporation
  • Jonathan Long, T-Mobile
  • Sheila McGuire, Hutton Construction Corporation
  • Cindy Miles, Nonprofit Chamber of Service
  • Robert Moody, Martin Pringle Attorneys at Law
  • Justin Pfeifer, Wichita Area Technical College
  • Mark Pierce, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
  • Jake Ramstack, Insite Real Estate Group
  • Tyler Roush, 18th Judicial District
  • Courtney Sendall, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Sharla Smith, University of Kansas School of Medicine Wichita
  • Ty Tabing, Hudbella Government Affairs
  • Jacob Wayman, e2e Accelerator, Inc.
  • Rachel White-McQuillan, Westar Energy
  • Rachael Woods, Spirit AeroSystems

Dundas receives Lifetime Sales Achievement Award

One of our favorite things to do is celebrate milestones with our member businesses. Almost equally as exciting is celebrating milestones in the careers of our employees, and today we have that opportunity.

Kresta Dundas, Director of Membership Development for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, has been recognized with the ACCE’s (Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives) Lifetime Sales Achievement Award. Kresta was honored in the Silver Category, meaning she is responsible for 750 new members or $300,000+ in sales over the course of her Chamber career. The official announcement was made in July at the ACCE’s national conference in Nashville.

Kresta joined the Chamber in July 2012. Her responsibilities include overseeing the sales of Chamber memberships, the retention of current members, representing the Chamber at Member Milestone events, and helping businesses get the most value from their membership investment.

“Kresta is an amazing asset to any business, big or small,” said Heather Branson, CEO of Dynamic Sign Solutions. “Her desire to help others grow their organization, along with the Chamber resources she provides, are well worth our annual Wichita Chamber membership dues. The business relationships she can help spark, the wisdom she can share, and her caring demeanor make her a quality investment.”

“Kresta is a key member of our leadership team and is committed to ensuring businesses are successful in their Chamber membership,” said Gary Plummer, Chamber President/CEO.  “She is most deserving of this recognition, and we are proud of her contributions to the Wichita Chamber and our region.”

She has more than 15 years of marketing and sales experience, including nine years in media sales. She is a graduate of Wichita State University and a volunteer for various animal welfare causes.

Please join us in congratulating Kresta!

About ACCE
ACCE—the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives—serves more than 7,500 chamber of commerce professionals, 1,300 chambers of commerce and hundreds of other businesses and organizations, like convention and visitors bureaus and economic development organizations. Established in 1914, ACCE offers resources, industry information and data, professional development opportunities, peer connectivity and best practice sharing through the annual convention and topical conferences, their award-winning magazine, online education, peer networking and other activities.

Introducing Kirby, the Chamber dog

Kirby is being trained to become a certified assistance dog.

If you have visited the Chamber building in the last month, you may have noticed the pitter patter of little paws or been greeted by requests for belly rubs by Kirby, a 15-week old female black lab. While more and more workplaces are becoming pet-friendly, Kirby is no ordinary pup because she is being trained to become an assistance dog.

Kirby is owned by KSDS Assistance Dogs Inc., located in Washington, KS. The nonprofit organization is fully accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and provides guide dogs for the visually impaired, service dogs to assist individuals with physical disabilities, and facility dogs that assist professionals in the field of education, counseling, health care, retirement or the legal system.

Kirby once received an invitation to City Hall to meet Mayor Longwell.

Volunteers known as “Puppy Raisers” are an integral part of the KSDS mission. The Puppy Raiser is responsible for teaching the puppy basic obedience, house and public manners, and socialization. Chamber staff member Courtney Sendall and her husband Jeremy are Kirby’s Puppy Raisers, and key to her socialization is accompanying her humans wherever they go (hence coming to work at the Chamber each day). So really, the entire Chamber staff is contributing to her raising.

When Kirby reaches four months of age, she will receive her official “Assistance Dog In Training” vest. If you see her when she is wearing this vest, we ask that you refrain from petting her because wearing the vest is her signal that she is on duty.

When Kirby reaches two years of age, she will return to KSDS for a year of formal training, after which she will be matched will an individual in need of an assistance dog.

So for the next two years, Kirby is will be an official part of your Chamber team. Will it be difficult to give her back? Absolutely. But will it be worth it knowing that she is changing someone’s life? Absolutely.

Even though she is a future assistance dog, she is also still a puppy, so we appreciate your patience if you hear her barks while you’re at our building for a meeting or if she doesn’t display proper manners when she meets you. We’re working on it and she looks forward to meeting you.

Note: A fully-trained KSDS dog is valued at $25,000 and is provided to individuals at no cost, and there is currently a three year waiting list due to a shortage of Puppy Raisers. KSDS reports that 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the support and placement of assistance dogs. Learn more at ksds.org.