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

Landon to join Wichita Community Foundation

Landon, Holly - webHolly Landon has announced that she will take the next step in her promising career as the Director of Philanthropic Giving for the Wichita Community Foundation. For the past seven years, Holly has managed some of our largest member events and built many valuable relationships for the Chamber in her role as Manager of Business Services.

Gary Plummer, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, described Holly as an emerging community leader. “Holly has a wide network of business connections and she’s been a strong team player in our mission to drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region. We will miss her dedication to our members and her drive to continually improving their Chamber experiences. We’re very pleased that she’s joining an organization that will utilize her talents to further benefit Wichita.”

Holly’s last day at the Chamber will be July 15, and she will begin her new role at the Wichita Community Foundation on July 20. We wish her all the best in this new adventure.

Introducing our newest members from the Membership Event

We recently completed a successful Membership Event, during which 200 volunteers invited their contacts to become members of the Chamber. In less than 72 hours, 226 new members were added to the Chamber! You can now see a list of those new members here on our website*.

Thank you again to all those who gave of their time to help build a stronger Chamber. Please keep these new members, and all Chamber members, in mind next time you are ready to do business. You can always find a complete listing of members via our Membership Directory.

*The list will remain on the website for 30 days.

The Wednesday morning group of callers

The Wednesday morning group of callers

Tracy Iles departs Chamber & Jaime Dupy promoted

Tracy Iles has made the decision to resign from her position as the Director of Investor Relations at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Her last day is Friday, April 10.

Jaime and Tracy

Jaime and Tracy

Jaime Dupy has been promoted internally to the position of Manager of Investor Relations, effective April 1. Jaime played a key role in the successful Business At Full Throttle fundraising campaign that was completed several years. She has also worked in a managerial role for Young Professionals of Wichita and most recently as a Project Manager for Business Services and Government Relations. She has a comprehensive background in all the programming requiring sponsorships and other fundraising expertise that she brings to her new position.

“We expect a very smooth transition since Jaime and Tracy have had the opportunity to work closely together during the last few weeks,” said Chamber President Gary Plummer. “We’re also thankful for the many contributions Tracy has made during her tenure in this key position and wish her all the best.”

2015 Small Business of the Year finalists announced

The 2015 Small Business of the Year finalists were announced last night at a Metro Mingle event. This is the eleventh year for the program, which is presented by the 2014 award recipients: Balco, Inc. and Icon Structures Inc.

In addition to offering well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community, the Small Business Award program provides owners and their employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story, and be rewarded for their efforts.

“Our focus in 2015 is on growing jobs in our region,” Chamber President Gary Plummer said. “Small businesses are at the heart of job growth, both here and across the nation. It’s a wonderful time to be recognizing the outstanding small businesses that are creating jobs and making Wichita a stronger community. Congratulations to each of these finalists.”

2015 Finalists
Advanced Mobile Healthcare
After Hours Auto Repair
Building Controls and Services Inc.
Chance Rides Manufacturing, Inc.
Cornerstone Design and Development, Inc.
Crave Beauty Academy
Legacy Bank
McClelland Sound Inc.
Zernco, Inc.

Ninety-four small businesses were nominated for the award, and twenty completed the application process. The finalists will be featured at a Sunrise Scrambler event on April 16, and an Awards Luncheon will be held on May 13 to announce this year’s winners.

See photos from the Metro Mingle event here.

More information and a complete list of past winners can be found at wichitachamber.org/awards

2015 Finalists with Chamber President Gary Plummer

2015 Finalists with Chamber President Gary Plummer

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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 wichitachamber.org.

Chamber plans unconventional membership event

More than 200 volunteers will race against the clock to sign up new Chamber members during our 2015 Membership Event on April 7-9. This will be the second time we have worked with Your Chamber Connection, a group that specializes in high energy and out-of-the-box membership campaigns.

Eleven local business leaders are currently recruiting teams of volunteers to call on their peers and colleagues and invite them to join the Chamber during the event, which is sponsored by Westar Energy.

  • Wayne Chambers – High Touch Technologies
  • Brandon Converse – Keating & Associates
  • Marty Cornejo – Cornejo & Sons Inc.
  • Tom Dondlinger – Dondlinger & Sons Construction Company Inc.
  • Moji Fanimokun – Kansas Secured Title
  • Jeff Fluhr – Downtown Development Corporation
  • Don Harris – Spirit AeroSystems, Inc.
  • Greg Klenda – Klenda Austerman LLC, Attorneys at Law
  • Martha Linsner – TCK – The Trust Company of Kansas
  • Michael Monteferrante – Envision, Inc.
  • Sean Weaver – Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C.

Membership Drive Chairs

We currently have more than 1,700 members, representing over 150,000 employees in the Wichita metro area. As the voice of the business community, we need input from more local companies on important issues that affect the business climate—like job creation, workforce training and quality-of-life improvements.

For more information about how to become a Chamber member, please call Manager of Membership Development Kresta Dundas at 268-1115.

Latest Wichita magazine, annual summary in your mailbox

2015 CoverChamber members should have recently received a copy of our 2014 annual summary in the mail. The annual summary highlights our 2014 activities and the results of our membership survey. An electronic version can be seen here.

Also included in the mailing was our 2015 Metro Wichita Kansas magazine (pictured). The magazine showcases the best of Wichita and surrounding communities – our skilled workforce, progressive business climate, amenities and cultural attractions. Original articles feature Wichita’s emerging startups, airport improvements and medical advancements.

We use this publication year-round to familiarize potential businesses, employees and residents with the community and our quality of life. It’s also distributed to local companies and young professionals to increase their awareness about the advantages the area has to offer.

A digital version of the magazine is free and available online and can be shared through email and social media. An optimized tablet version is also available. Printed copies of the magazine can be obtained by calling 265-7771.

Solving the Mystery of Employee Engagement

Sunrise Scrambler 039_cropEmployee Engagement: what does that really mean? This month’s Sunrise Scrambler tackled this important topic when Carrie Wiegand of AGH Employer Solutions presented “Destroying Employee Engagement Myths: What Really Matters in Engaging Employees.” Attendees learned that 1 out of 3 employees are disengaged from the organization they work for. Her presentation offered ideas and examples to continually re-engage those working with, around and for you. We have recapped some of her main points below.

Mistakes organizations make in attempting to engage employees

  • Programs like “Employee of the Month” – While it is nice to recognize employees, it does not often drive engagement because criteria for choosing the star employee is often unclear.
  • Free food and drinks – This can promote a sense of comradery but does not inspire engagement.
  • Employee surveys – More often than not, little action comes as a result of these kinds of surveys, which can leave employees feeling even more disengaged than before.

What does engagement look like?

  • Organizations with a clear mission and whose employees can tie what they do to advancing that mission tend to have more engaged employees.
  • People who are passionate about their work are more committed and more engaged.

Other Main Points

  • Only 37% of 23,000 surveyed employees understand their organization’s goals, and only 15% feel empowered to execute their goals
  • Gallup research indicates that companies with engaged employees have better attendance, less turnover, fewer accidents, and are 12% more profitable.
  • Tips to improve engagement: establish open communication between employees and supervisors, know your brand, and hire people who fit that brand.
  • Managers have to be able to distinguish characteristics vs. behavior. Example: the term “customer service” can mean several different things to different people. Managers must clearly define the expectations and how that looks.
  • Positive feedback and recognition is cited as the #1 reason employees are high performers.
  • Newton’s 1st law of motion applies to employees as well. Employees will continue doing what they typically do unless corrected. When you need to give negative feedback to an employee: give specific examples of undesired behavior, explain impact & consequences, then follow up.

Our thanks to Carrie for sharing her expertise with us yesterday morning. You can see her full presentation via SlideShare.

A huge thank you goes to our event sponsors as well: Emprise Bank, Davis-Moore Automotive, Inc., Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, and Truffles Catering!

See photos from the Sunrise Scrambler on our Facebook page, and remember to follow us on Twitter (@ventureboldly) and tweet the reasons that you love living and working in Wichita using #ILoveWichita to be entered win a ticket on Southwest Airlines.

Todd accepts permanent position with Chamber

Cindy Todd

Cindy Todd

Cindy Todd, who has temporarily staffed the Chamber’s reception desk since last August, recently accepted a full-time position at our organization as the Director of First Impressions. She’s enjoyed using her knowledge about Wichita’s business community to connect visitors with their information requests.

Chamber President Gary Plummer said, “We appreciate her professional representation of the Chamber and our community, so we’re very pleased that she’s accepted the permanent position. She’s resourceful and always puts people at ease with her helpful disposition.”

Todd was originally born in California, but has no plans to head back west any time soon. She enjoys living and working in Wichita where she likes to spend time outdoors enjoying nature with her family and pets. Todd said, “I enjoy connecting people with everything Wichita has to offer. The Chamber works with such a variety of companies that it’s always interesting and rewarding to assist them.”