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.
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.