GWEDC on 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday morning

From partnering on the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) and the Wichita-South Central Kansas Export Plan, to helping secure Figeac-Aero North America’s expansion in Wichita, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) has been hard at work promoting Wichita and our region.

Debra Teufel, Tim Chase & host Gayla Crouse

Debra Teufel, Tim Chase & host Gayla Crouse

For more information about these and other GWEDC initiatives, tune to 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday morning at 8. GWEDC President Tim Chase and Vice President Debra Tuefel will be guests on the Lite Is Local program, during which they will answer questions like these:

  • How does GWEDC work in with the city, county and state departments to retain and attract primary jobs?
  • What are some recent “wins” that are putting Wichitans back to work?
  • What is Wichita’s secret weapon for keeping and attracting great jobs?
  • How long does it typically take to close a deal?

Be sure to tune in Sunday morning! If you miss the original airing, you can catch a podcast of the interview on the station’s website.

GWEDC to market WSU’s Innovation Campus in Germany next month

Wichita State University (WSU) announced this week that Airbus has signed a letter of intent to locate a major engineering center on WSU’s new Innovation Campus. Around 400 Airbus employees will move from their current location in downtown Wichita to a new two-story building on the Wichita State University campus in January 2017. The development firm MWCB LLC, led by David Murfin, Nestor Weigand Jr., Ivan Crossland Jr. and Steven Barrett, will finance and manage the project, known as Partnership 1.

David Murfin of MWCB LLC and Dr. John Bardo, President of Wichita State University, both serve as Members At-Large on the Greater Wichita Economic Development (GWEDC) Steering Council. GWEDC President Tim Chase said that his team will be using the announcement to market Wichita at upcoming trade shows and other events.

Chase said, “We have an opportunity next month at the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology in Hannover, Germany, to target executives that represent robotics, energy storage devices and advanced materials. They’ll be extremely interested in the fact that WSU has aligned itself with such an influential global company. Airbus is known for its innovative culture and this news will further demonstrate to our targets that Wichita should receive full consideration for their future expansions and partnerships.”

WSU will make an announcement on Tuesday, March 31 at 10 a.m. regarding the plans for the building in downtown Wichita that Airbus will no longer occupy after January 2017.

Follow these links to learn more about the WSU Innovation Campus:

Dr. Bardo shared his appreciation for the four local developers who are helping the University align with business needs. Pictured from left to right at the WSU news conference are:  Nestor Weigand, Steve Barrett, David Murfin and Ivan Crossland, Jr.  The four investors are  developing the project as MWCB LLC.

Dr. Bardo shared his appreciation for the four local developers who are helping the University align with business needs. Pictured from left to right at the WSU news conference are: Nestor Weigand, Steve Barrett, David Murfin and Ivan Crossland, Jr. The four investors are developing the project as MWCB LLC.

Learn about the Export Plan for South Central Kansas

Almost twenty-eight percent of the Wichita-area economy is export dependent. And many businesses in the South Central Kansas region would like to increase the number of products and services they export.

The long-awaited Wichita-South Central Kansas Regional Export Plan will be unveiled on Thursday, March 26 at the Meridian Center (1420 East Broadway Court) in Newton at 3:30 p.m. Participants will hear recommendations for growing exports in the ten-county region by one billion dollars over the next five years.

More than 100 people in our 10 county region have participated in the completion of the first-of-its-kind Export Plan for South Central Kansas.

More than 100 people in our 10-county region participated in the completion of the first-of-its-kind Export Plan for South Central Kansas.

Considered one of the boldest retention-expansion efforts ever undertaken in South Central Kansas, the plan is a joint effort of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, Kansas Global Trade Services, WSU’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research, Regional Economic Area Partnership, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County.

Businesses that currently export their products and services or wish  to begin exporting should attend the meeting on March 26 to hear more about the plan that was orchestrated by the Brookings Institution in collaboration with JP Morgan Chase.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • issues exporters face
  • global opportunities
  • benefits of the export plan
  • anticipated economic impact

Please RSVP to Ella Reusser at reusser@kansasglobal.org.

Defining Wichita’s Brand

How should Wichita tell its story to prospective employees, visitors, conventioneers, students, developers, artists, business owners, and entrepreneurs?

A unique partnership between Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, Wichita Community Foundation and Wichita State University has been formed to work together to develop a comprehensive community wide strategy on how Wichita will tell its story. The public is invited to attend and provide input about Wichita’s brand at one of two workshops that will be held at the Wichita Scottish Rite Center (332 E. 1st St. N.). The sessions are Tuesday, September 2 or Wednesday, September 3. Both sessions will be from 5-7 p.m.

“Selling our community is about finding a way to demonstrate our uniqueness in the marketplace and the brand summit is how we accomplish this task. The Chamber and GWEDC are excited to be part of, what we believe will be, an extremely successful new initiative,” said Tim Chase, president of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition.

Gary Plummer, president and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber, says that public input will help the coalition of brand partners to develop a better product and plan. “We’re strongly encouraging our members to actively participate in one of these sessions. We need their ideas and input about how to incorporate the best of Wichita in our community brand.”

The sessions don’t require a reservation to attend, and they are free and open to the public.

See the official press release and learn more at www.gowichita.com/brand.

River

New Jobs and Investment in Sedgwick County

By Tim Chase, GWEDC President
Reiloy
A vital part of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition’s (GWEDC) mission is to help retain and expand local job growth. This week’s announcement about Reiloy Westland Corporation’s expansion demonstrates how GWEDC works with other agencies to ensure that well-paying manufacturing jobs don’t leave South Central Kansas. You can read more about those expansion plans in the company’s news release and the Wichita Eagle article.

Once the company determined the need for expansion, President Dave Larson considered moving the business from their current Sedgwick County location to the Chicago area. Larson said, “We’re landlocked at our current site, so we couldn’t consider staying at the Maize Road location. We needed to relocate our machinery and assets. The Chicago area was attractive to me for a variety of reasons. I’m from that area of the Midwest and Chicago is much closer to our company’s largest customers.  Maize and other communities within the state of Kansas were considered and once they found out we were serious about moving, they were eager to partner with us. A number of communities offered us a variety of financial incentives to relocate, including a community that offered us a free building.”

While Larson ultimately attributes the company’s decision to stay within Sedgwick County to tax abatements, the impressive work ethic of his current team also played a role in the company’s decision. “The cooperation from various agencies made the tax abatements possible. And the skills and dedication of the workforce in this region are exceptional. We considered a lot of different options, but we just didn’t think we could ever replicate the strong work ethic we’ve experienced here.”

Larson also credited the local agencies that worked together on the project. Representatives from the city of Maize, K-96 Corridor Development Association, Sedgwick County, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), and the state of Kansas all worked together to keep the company and its jobs in the region.

This was a tremendous opportunity to retain a solid area employer. It also helps us continue to diversify our region’s employment base, since this is a non-aviation manufacturer generating revenue from sales outside of Kansas.

Our congratulations to Reiloy Westland President, Dave Larson, and all the other agencies that assisted the company.  I’d like to add my special thanks to our dedicated GWEDC staff who work diligently year-round on these projects. GWEDC Vice President of Business Development David Bossemeyer spent many hours assisting his contacts at Reiloy Westland Corporation with the documentation necessary to facilitate the use of the IRBs.

Reiloy Westland has some exciting plans for expanding their presence and foreign investment in our region and we look forward to continuing to work with them during the next five years.

Your RSVP needed for next sales tax information session

Our thanks to City Manager, Bob Layton, and senior members of his team for spending time with Chamber members on Tuesday afternoon providing background information and answering questions about each of the four components of the proposed sales tax:  water supply, jobs initiative, public transit, and pavement maintenance. Gary Schmitt, Chairman of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, was also on hand to answer questions about the jobs initiative.

The audience posed a series of questions to the subject matter experts:

  • Is our jobs recovery just going to happen or is this jobs initiative necessary to get different results?
  • Will the funds generated by this sales tax be primarily used for capital investment rather than funding operations?
  • Will the city use local companies for the capital investment projects?
  • How sure are we that the Aquifer Storage and Recovery solution will really work?
  • The background information that’s been provided shows that the City is projecting an increase in water usage (7 billion gallons annually) by 2060. Is this increased demand primarily residential or commercial? Do your projections take into account increased revenues from increased usage?

Do you have similar questions? If so, we encourage you to participate in the last information session that will be held on Friday, July 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. This session is being offered exclusively to Chamber members, so please RSVP by noon on Thursday to Tracy Iles at tiles@wichitachamber.org or 268-1114.

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GWEDC’s David Bossemeyer receives award

David BossemeyerCongratulations to David Bossemeyer, vice president of business development for the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), for his selection as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from Business Retention & Expansion International (BREI), the leading professional association for business retention and expansion.

Given by the BREI Board of Directors, the award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service and contribution at the national or international level to the practice of business retention and expansion. Bossemeyer served as the BREI president from 2013-2014. Under his leadership the organization significantly increased its net income and reorganized its Board of Directors. He currently serves as the immediate past-president. Bossemeyer accepted the award earlier this summer at the organization’s annual conference in Memphis, Tenn. 

David leads business expansion and business recruitment opportunities for GWEDC. He recently assisted a local business that was featured in the news last week for their expansion. Bossemeyer worked with Walton’s, a local company that sells meat processing supplies, to complete paperwork that resulted in a partial tax abatement for the facility.

Bossemeyer has over thirty years of economic development experience throughout Kansas.  David has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting as well as a Masters Degree in Administration, both from Fort Hays State University.  David is also certified as an Economic Development and Finance Professional and a Business Retention and Expansion Project Coordinator.

Is Wichita Satisfied?

Gary Schmitt

Gary Schmitt

(reprint of guest editorial published in the Wichita Eagle May 18, 2014 by Gary Schmitt, chairman of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition.)

Wichita’s economic recovery has been painfully slow. We’ve worked hard at finding ways to replace the 31,000 jobs that were lost during the recession, but the competition has been fierce among neighboring states and even other countries. And the valuable jobs that we’ve lost in the aviation industry aren’t easy ones to replace.

Are we satisfied with the pace of our current recovery? Or are we ready to consider some bolder game-changing moves that will vault us to the top of the list among communities known for being business-friendly? These are challenging questions, and we need your voice to be heard.

Wichita is blessed with a rich heritage of hardworking entrepreneurs who have changed the world with their innovative products and services. The best way to grow our economy is to make sure we take good care of the companies we have here today, and we need to be doing more to help all of our small businesses that sell products and services outside of our community experience accelerated growth.

Growing “our own” also helps make our region even more attractive to companies outside of our state that may be thinking about relocating. It sends a strong message that this is exactly the kind of place where both your company and family can thrive.

Realizing we need to work a lot harder, community leaders have been asking the question: “How competitive do we want to be?” This simple question has initiated a cascade of passionate discussion.

We think the timing is right for the community to provide more input into the conversation, too. We need to talk about how many more jobs could be created if we have more competitive financial incentive packages for businesses that sell goods and services outside the community bringing in new dollars. Perhaps more important, it’s also time to discuss what happens if we don’t develop new tools to help our businesses grow new jobs.

Private-sector volunteer leaders believe our community needs to have all the right tools to be competitive. Financial incentives are one of the many tools our national and international competitors use to grow their local economies, and if we are to be competitive, we need to follow suit. There’s no indication the competition is going to reduce or eliminate their use of incentives in the future, which is forcing us to increase our efforts.

Financial incentives are used by companies to reduce operating costs at one location versus another. They can be used in a variety of ways to aid business growth, including workforce training and building permanent taxable assets that, in turn, keep everyone’s taxes lower.

So let the discussions begin, and as a community we can come to the right decision. It’s a complex issue and there aren’t any simple answers. That’s why we need the open conversation about all the ways to help our businesses expand and employ more people.

Are we satisfied with our status quo? Help us identify our community’s solutions to this issue by reviewing the plan and offering your suggestions at communications@wichitachamber.org.

We’re seeking your input on jobs plan

Wayne Chambers, 2014 Board Chairman

Wayne Chambers

(reprint of guest editorial published in the Wichita Business Journal May 16, 2014)

Wichita and surrounding communities lost one in ten jobs during the recent recession. This does not include the full impact of Boeing leaving and the recent merger of Beechcraft and Cessna.

The fact is we are struggling as a community to regain a vibrant economy.  This is in sharp contrast to those of our neighboring Midwest cities that are experiencing a more significant economic recovery.

There have been a number of surveys and community meetings recently and those who participated seem to agree that we need to restore the economy by growing jobs and getting serious about diversifying our economy.  There is a sense of urgency. The difficult question is “What makes the most sense to do and how do we do that?”

As Chairman of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Leadership Council, I have learned there are no simple solutions to creating jobs and it takes time.  All communities engage in this somewhat complex process and it entails a number of steps that include community conversation.  I’m glad the community conversation has started in our community.

Let me offer a few thoughts to help you start in your conversations:

  • Be a part of the discussion rather than an observer on the sidelines. We need your thoughts to craft a long-term solution to move our economy along at a faster pace.
  • Learn what other communities are doing to support jobs and grow their economies.
  • Our  community must have several plans to grow different types of jobs. One plan likely does not fit all needs. To be successful, we need a number of different tools in our tool box.
  • We must get better and faster at growing our  critically important Wichita-area based  companies. We are an entrepreneurial community, and we need to revive that spirit, nurture the local entrepreneur, and then keep them here.
  • We need to be competitive in creating primary jobs because they create other jobs.  Primary jobs are those jobs that sell goods and services outside the community and return the dollars back to this community.

There is a proposal being considered within the community to create a $90 million ‘jobs fund’ that would allow us to be more competitive with other communities. That proposal has a number of features that should be discussed. I hope you will take time to review it here and provide input to this proposal.

All in all, the creation of jobs and revitalization of the local economy is a complex issue and requires a good amount of discussion. Be a part of the discussion and offer your suggestions at communications@wichitachamber.org.

Jobs Fund Proposal initiates needed community discussion

Several City Council members expressed their appreciation yesterday for the work that has been done to prepare the Jobs Fund Plan titled, Will Wichita Accelerate Competition for Primary Jobs? Time for a Community Discussion. The Plan was presented to the Wichita City Council during a workshop session by Gary Schmitt, the Chairman of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC).

City Council members posed some thoughtful questions following the presentation. Council Members Jeff Blubaugh (representing District 4) and James Clendenin (representing District 3), wanted to know more about the source of funding for the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) and how it has been used to attract businesses to that state. According to the Texas Governor’s web site, TEF is the “largest deal-closing fund of its kind in the nation.” The TEF is an example of the accelerated competition Wichita faces for keeping and growing our own local companies as well as attracting new businesses to the community, but there are many other examples closer to home. As Gary Schmitt pointed out, this proposed Jobs Fund is about making us more competitive with other cities, states, and countries.

City Council member Janet Miller (representing District 6), expressed her hope that the community would provide feedback to the plan, so that the Council would have a clearer idea about what the public thinks about the issue. We agree. The purpose of the proposal was to initiate more community-wide conversation about the importance of growing jobs in our community. One of Gary Schmitt’s closing remarks during his presentation included Wichita State University Basketball Coach Gregg Marshall’s mantra, “Ask yourself, are you satisfied?”

Are we satisfied with our community’s slow recovery from the loss of 31,000 jobs in recent years?  We all have family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors who have been affected by these jobs losses. If we are not satisfied, then we need to decide how we are going to change our course. Community leaders are interested in hearing from you about your reaction to the proposal and how high you rank job growth among the many important issues the community’s leadership is currently reviewing. Please share your comments at this email address: communications@wichitachamber.org.

As noted in an earlier posting, the Plan is a working document that will likely change with input from the community, business leaders, and the City Council. The current edition is available at this link.