Building a better business environment in 2016

Jon Rosell (pictured left) received a plaque commemorating his tenure as the 2015 Chamber Chairman from 2016 Chairman Barry Scwan.

Jon Rosell (pictured left) received a plaque commemorating his tenure as the 2015 Chamber Chairman from 2016 Chairman Barry Schwan.

by Barry Schwan
2016 Chamber Chairman

Jon Rosell, the Chamber’s 2015 Chairman, is a well-respected leader throughout our community who guided us through a landmark year in 2015. During his tenure, Jon worked in conjunction with others on the transformation of the Chamber’s Leadership Council into a new and separate entity, the Greater Wichita Partnership.

The Chamber had a significant role in establishing this new economic vision for our region. Jon and Gary Plummer, the Chamber’s President & CEO, were fully engaged in moving the work of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) to this new partnership.

Jon also oversaw other major Chamber accomplishments last year:

  • Increased membership for the fourth year in a row, adding nearly 400 new members with 226 resulting from a 3-day membership drive
  • Lobbied for 18 pro-business legislative wins, including major reform for the unemployment insurance system and funding for NIAR
  • Completed the Chamber’s tenth city-to-city visit to learn from peers across the country
  • Celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Young Professionals of Wichita, a Chamber affiliate, as they experienced a record number of members and record event attendance
  • Secured an experienced and talented CFO to oversee the financials for the Chamber, Greater Wichita Partnership and the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation

I’d like to thank Jon for the role he played in building a better business environment for all of us in 2015, and his continued commitment to our community. His collaboration with other Chamber partners last year set the stage for further advancement in 2016.

The global competition for talent and innovative ideas makes it imperative for Wichita’s stakeholders to align and integrate our efforts. We need to maximize every opportunity to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region. I look forward to continuing that positive momentum in 2016 as the Chamber accelerates our collaborative efforts with partners and stakeholders.


Final letter from our 2015 Chairman Jon Rosell

Dear Chamber members,

Jon Rosell

Jon Rosell

I’ve shared with many of my colleagues that serving as your 2015 Chairman of the Board has been one of the highlights of my career. I’ve been actively involved with the Chamber for many years, but my role as your Chairman has provided me with a unique opportunity to work much more closely with our members, other area leaders and our elected officials. I’ve gained new insights into the challenges our members face and the various issues that require resolution, yet I’m leaving with great optimism about the future of our Chamber and overall community.

The Chamber’s 2015 accomplishments have paved the way for new strategic priorities in 2016. As we begin a new year of advocating, influencing, connecting and promoting the community on behalf of our members, I want to encourage your participation in the important process of improving our business climate. Your involvement in the dialogues convened by the Chamber throughout the year and your contributions to the development and shaping of public policy are needed for an improved business environment.

My thanks to each of you for your encouragement, expertise and the energy you contributed this year as you helped the Chamber staff and Board fulfill our organization’s mission and vision. It’s been very rewarding to work with our membership, Board and the Chamber staff during the last twelve months and to see the results of their dedication. I have great confidence in our 2016 Chairman, Barry Schwan, and am excited to support his efforts to propel us even further in 2016.

Jon Rosell
2015 Chamber Chair &
Executive Director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County

Gearhart appointed to Chamber Board of Directors

Pat Gearhart

Pat Gearhart

Pat Gearhart, President of Bank SNB, has been appointed to the Chamber’s Board of Directors by Chairman Jon Rosell. Classified as a Chairman’s Appointment, Gearhart will serve on the Board for one year.

“We’re delighted to add Pat to the Chamber Board of Directors,” Rosell said. “Pat is active in the community and will be a strong supporter of the mission and vision of the Chamber. I personally look forward to learning from and working with Pat to help further the work of the Chamber in our community and region.”

A complete listed of the Chamber Board of Directors is always available at

Chairman’s Lunch panelists announced

Our 2015 Chairman’s Lunch will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5 at INTRUST Bank Arena. A panel of community leaders and elected officials will answer questions raised during the Fuel the Fire Speaker Series and what those answers mean for Wichita.

“Last fall, three national speakers spent some time in Wichita offering their ideas on national trends that are affecting Wichita – our quality of life, our workforce, and how we can retain and attract jobs,” Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer said. “They posed some great questions for the community to consider, and we thought we would benefit from hearing what some of our local leaders have to say about these same topics.”

The program will emphasize the importance of continued collaboration between our business community, governing bodies, and educational institutions in promoting Wichita’s best economic development differentiators—our educated and experienced workforce.

2015 Chamber Chair Jon Rosell

2015 Chamber Chair Jon Rosell

The discussion, moderated by Chamber Chair Jon Rosell, will include the following panelists:

  • Dr. John Bardo, President, Wichita State University
  • Laura Bernstorf, Chair, Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW)
  • Carl Brewer, Mayor, City of Wichita
  • Richard Ranzau, Chair, Sedgwick County Commission
  • Gary Schmitt, Chair, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC)

This community event is open to the public. Tickets are $50 for chamber members, $60 for general admission, and $650 for a corporate table sponsorship (includes eight tickets and sponsorship benefits). Call 268-1123 or visit to purchase tickets.

A Community Conversation about Jobs

Jon Rosell and Holly Landon will provide more information about the February 5 Chairman's Lunch on 99.7 LITE FM's Lite is Local program that airs at 8 a.m. on Sunday, January 18.

Jon Rosell and Holly Landon discuss the February 5 Chairman’s Lunch on 99.7 LITE FM’s Lite is Local program that airs at 8 a.m. on Sunday, January 18.

Join us for the annual Chairman’s Lunch at INTRUST Bank Arena on Thursday, February 5, as community leaders and elected officials discuss the most important economic development issues facing Wichita.

Tune into 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday at 8 a.m. to hear Jon Rosell (2015 Chamber Chairman) and Holly Landon (Manager of Business Services for the Chamber) provide more details about the event on Gayla Crouse’s weekly radio program, Lite is Local.

Corporate table sponsorships are still available. Follow this link to purchase tickets or a table for eight.

Special thanks to our presenting sponsor for this event, Grant Thornton LLP.

Wayne Chambers: Champion of collaboration and alignment

By Jon Rosell, 2015 Chamber Chair

Jon Rosell and Wayne Chambers at the 2014 Annual Meeting

Jon Rosell and Wayne Chambers at the 2014 Annual Meeting

2014 Chamber Chair Wayne Chambers closed our December Board meeting with some eloquent remarks. He defined his 12-month term as a “privilege to serve” and “a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud.”

At the outset of his tenure, Wayne stated that his primary goal was to encourage increased collaboration and alignment among community organizations. That happened in a myriad of new ways in 2014, including these successful efforts:

  • The Chamber’s Leadership Council collaborated with the Wichita Community Foundation and the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation to initiate a Fuel the Fire speaker series.
  • The Chamber partnered with other business groups (Wichita Independent Business Association, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce) to reduce the cost of unemployment insurance and to make the state’s unemployment insurance (U.I.) program more flexible for employers.
  • The Chamber collaborated with 18 other “Yea-sayer” organizations interested in shaping the community’s future by endorsing a proposed sales tax initiative. A “yes” vote was also endorsed by both The Wichita Eagle and The Wichita Business Journal as a way to advance the community. The effort aligned some of these groups on a single community issue for the very first time.
  • The Chamber worked with Go Wichita and other local organizations on a community branding initiative.

Wayne also worked with Chamber CEO Gary Plummer and other Chamber members to secure sponsorships for an internationally-known speaker for the Chamber’s Annual Meeting. Our December 4 event featuring Dr. Condoleezza Rice attracted 3,000 people who gathered to hear her insightful remarks about the power of education to ensure social equality and democracy.

All of these efforts drew people together and elevated the conversation about charting Wichita’s future. As we build on these activities in 2015, I want to thank Wayne for his leadership and devotion to this community. He’s brought many organizations together to take ownership in defining the future of Wichita and I look forward to working with each of you in new ways to advance our community in meaningful and measurable ways this coming year.

Chamber President, Chairman be to featured on Lite Is Local broadcast

Lite is Local 001_smallChamber President Gary Plummer and 2015 Board Chairman Jon Rosell will be the featured guests on Sunday morning’s Lite Is Local broadcast on 99.7 LITE FM. During the interview with host Gayla Crouse, the two share their favorite takeaways from our recent Annual Meeting with Dr. Condoleezza Rice, as well as what the new 2015 Chamber board members bring to the table.

In regards to the Chamber’s 2015 Legislative Agenda, Gary states the goal as establishing “predictability for business.” Jon also lets us in on his vision for the upcoming year, and you may be surprised by his answer. Tune to 99.7 LITE FM this Sunday at 8 a.m. to hear his response.

Lite is Local airs every Sunday at 8 a.m. on 99.7 LITE FM. Hear podcasts of past interviews on their website.