Dawson Grimsley to be honored as 2017 Uncommon Citizen

Dawson Grimsley

Dawson Grimsley, retired President and Owner of Davis-Moore Auto Group, is the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Uncommon Citizen. He will be recognized at the annual Honors Night celebration on Tuesday, April 11.

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.

Grimsley spent his entire career with the Davis-Moore Auto Group team, purchasing the dealership in 2001, when he became president and majority owner. A well-known community philanthropist, he used his company’s advertising channels over the years to highlight the work of a number of local nonprofit organizations. The partnerships he forged with Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Way of the Plains, the DUI Impact Center and the Kansas Humane Society, provided needed visibility to their important community services.

His dedication to community safety through television, radio and print advertising campaigns earned Grimsley numerous local, state and national awards during his career. His promotion of safe driving became an integral part of Davis-Moore’s messaging, branding and identity. The safety campaign he initiated continues today under new CEO Sean Tarbell.

Grimsely and his wife, Patty, have four grown children and seven grandchildren. He retired from Davis-Moore on Dec. 31, 2015.

Formerly announced Honors Night award recipients include:

  • Spirit of Wichita: Foley Equipment Company
  • Over the Years: Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture
  • Keeper of the Plains: Wichita Art Museum Art Garden

The announcement of the Exceptional Young Leader award will be forthcoming.

Reservations for Honors Night may be made online. For tickets and additional information, visit wichitachamber.org/HonorsNight or call 316-268-1123.

Explaining Our New Brand

With our 100th anniversary approaching in 2017, the Chamber unveiled updated branding at last week’s Annual Meeting. Our new look visibly demonstrates our focus on the future. While our Mission and Vision remain unchanged, you’ll see our new name, tagline and logo incorporated in our signage, website and other materials during 2017 as we celebrate ten decades of being a catalyst for connections in the region.

New Name
Our Board of Directors voted in August to formally change the organization’s name to be more inclusive of the surrounding areas that are vital to continued success:


New Tagline
A new tagline was developed that recognizes the important connection between business growth and community advancement:


chamberlogo_stackedNew Logo
Our new logo is composed of three primary components:

The Wichita skyline forms a “W” that is reminiscent of past Chamber logos and represents the organization’s mission to drive economic growth and community advancement.

The green circle demonstrates intentional inclusiveness and recognizes the Chamber as the vital connection between business and the community. The stylized Wichita flag inside the circle represents civic pride and the vision to make this region the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities.

The Chamber’s previous logo utilized a three-color scheme: golden orange for Kansas sunsets; green for growth; and blue for strength. The rebranding team elected to continue using those colors with a more updated palette selection.

More Changes in the New Year
Our organization will be transitioning to the updated brand identity throughout 2017. New signage has already been installed on our building at 350 W. Douglas, and a new pedestal sign along Douglas and an updated website should be in place before the end of the first quarter of the New Year.

Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer commended his staff and the creative agency Squid Ink Creative for working with volunteers on the rebranding. Plummer said, “Squid Ink has been a valuable partner throughout this process. They conducted extensive research about branding trends and held focus groups with our members to better understand their expectations. Brad Painchaud from the Squid Ink team has led the Chamber’s tradeshow committee for the last several years. He and his team had some great insights from their past interactions with our members during events. Our board likes the contemporary new look. It conveys that we’re well positioned for a new era in the Chamber’s history.”

Painchaud said his team enjoyed being part of the process. “We’re really excited to be part of the rebranding effort for the Chamber. We’ve been big supporters of the Chamber for a long time. It’s a great honor that we were chosen as the agency to assist in moving them into the next 100 years.”

Annual Meeting one month from today

Daymond's BlackSuit

Daymond John

Our Annual Meeting is one month from today, and official invitations are in your mailbox. We hope you are planning to join us on Dec. 1 when Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank, visits Wichita as our event keynote speaker.

An innovator, angel investor, television personality, author and motivational speaker, Daymond has developed a reputation for championing underdogs on Shark Tank and helping them accelerate their business models. In addition to his prepared comments, he will be interacting on stage with local entrepreneurs (announcement coming soon!). Tickets are still available and start at only $35.

New this year, the dinner portion of the Annual Meeting will be a Networking Gala with food stations and cocktail tables throughout the hall, rather than a plated dinner. It will serve as a great celebration to help kickoff the Chamber’s 2017 Centennial year.

Ticket Pricing
Corporate Host Sponsorship (Eight tickets to the Networking Gala & reserved program seating): $1,200
Individual ticket for dinner and program: $115
Program only, general seating: $55
Program only, balcony seating: $35

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit wichitachamber.org/AnnualMeeting.

New Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference Scheduled for May 11

2016_SBA_awards_4cLeading-edge ideas and enlightening discussions about the fundamentals of running a small business are the topics of a new conference that has been added to our annual Small Business Awards event. The Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference will be held on Wednesday, May 11, prior to the Small Business Awards Luncheon and the announcement of the 2016 Small Business of the Year.

Angie Elliott, Vice President of Business Services, says the new conference is the brainchild of the Small Business Awards planning committee. “The annual Small Business Awards luncheon is always well attended because people really enjoy learning the stories behind the success of our top ten small businesses. They like to peek behind the scenes and learn about the obstacles those businesses have overcome and how they can apply some of those lessons to their own organizations. We’ve been working on expanding that learning experience and the result is a new morning conference that will be followed by our annual luncheon.”

The conference will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency of Wichita. Three sessions are available for attendees every half hour with a short break in between. Topics range from Dealing with Common Family Business Challenges to Low-Cost Marketing Ideas. The luncheon begins at 11:15 a.m.

Elliott said the Small Business Awards committee kept the conference cost affordable at $15 per person. “We’re hoping that businesses will send more than one person to the conference since we have so many interesting speakers who are focused on providing valuable take-aways that attendees can immediately implement in their operations.”

Small Business Awards Events

Register for all events at wichitachamber.org.

Rita Malinauskas permanently joins Chamber staff

Malinauskas, Rita_webWe are pleased to announce that Rita Malinauskas has permanently joined the Chamber staff as a Coordinator of Business Services, working with Angie Elliott and Rachel Groene. Rita was hired on a temporary basis in April 2015 and has since become a valuable part of our Business Services team.

“Rita has shown an excellent level of service to our members. Her warm manner and attention to detail were instrumental to the success of major events such as Small Business Awards, the Golf Classic and Exposure,” Director of Business Services Angie Elliott said. “She is skilled at connecting members to our services and to each other, and we’re pleased to have her on board in a permanent role.

Rita earned her BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri, and she most recently worked at Butler Community College in Andover.

All they do is win! #ICTexpo hosts best of the best

We like to say that everyone who participates in Exposure is a winner, but there are some who really stood out from the crowd. Those exhibitors were crowned with this year’s coveted Exposure Awards.

Most Spirited - Hotel at Waterwalk

Most Spirited – Hotel at Waterwalk


Best Tabletop – Sunflower Bank

Best Tabletop – Sunflower Bank


Best Biz Bite – Xclusive Event Services

Best Biz Bite – Xclusive Event Services


Best Technology – Cybertron

Best Technology – Cybertron


Rookie of the Year – The Workroom

Rookie of the Year – The Workroom


Best in Show – Kent Audio Visual & Squid Ink Creative

Best in Show – Kent Audio Visual & Squid Ink Creative

@kentavwichita and @squidinkcre8iv

People’s Choice – Cornerstone Design & Development

People’s Choice – Cornerstone Design & Development



If you missed out (or just want to relive day), visit our Facebook page to see event photos or search #ICTexpo on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you to all who exhibited, attended and sponsored Exposure 2015, especially to our presenting sponsor, Cox Business.

Videos from Chairman’s Lunch available on YouTube

Last week at our Chairman’s Lunch, a panel of community leaders responded to questions raised during last fall’s Fuel the Fire Speaker Series. Almost 500 people were in attendance and heard that by 2020, millennials (those currently between the ages of in the 18 to 34) will comprise more than 50% of the American workforce. This statistic makes the need to attract and retain young, talented workers more urgent than ever before. In response to a question about how Wichita can be successful in those efforts, Young Professionals of Wichita Chair Laura Bernstorf said, “We have to be excited about our city before anyone else will be.”

Other topics covered included how to promote Wichita’s educated workforce and the need to continue to encourage people to seek college degrees. According to Fuel the Fire Speaker Carol Coletta, 58% of the success in a community can be explained by the percentage of college graduates in a population. “If anything determines 58% of your success, it ought to be a top priority.”

When asked about the importance of collaboration, Wichita State President Dr. John Bardo said, “We all have skin in the game in regards to building community collaboration to move Wichita forward.”

Attendees took to Twitter to add their comments during the event, and you can see those discussions using #chamberict. You can also see videos used during the Chairman’s Lunch event on our YouTube channel and photos from the event on our Facebook page.


Panelists from left to right: Richard Ranzau, Chair, Sedgwick County Commission; Laura Bernstorf, Chair, Young Professionals of Wichita; Jon Rosell, Chair, Wichita Metro Chamber; Carl Brewer, Mayor, City of Wichita; Gary Schmitt, Chair, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition; Dr. John Bardo, President, Wichita State University

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 wichitachamber.org to purchase tickets.