Two Opportunities to Enjoy Live Music for FREE in Wichita

We have two great opportunities for you to win a free pair of tickets to upcoming music events in Wichita!

The Tontons as part of The Orpheum Theatre’s Emerging Artist Series

on Thursday, April 3

James Taylor and his All-Star Band at INTRUST Bank Arena

on Friday, June 20

Entering to win is easy – just subscribe to the Chamber blog and be automatically entered to win both contests!

  • Click the orange “Follow” button in the top right corner of this page.
  • Enter your email address.
  • Click “Sign me up!”
  • Be automatically entered to win!

The winners will be randomly selected from all blog followers on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, April 2 at 3 p.m. for The Tontons
  • Thursday, June 12 a 3 p.m. for James Taylor and his All-Star Band

The winner could be you, so subscribe today!

TicketGiveaway_Orpheum TicketGiveaway_James Taylor

Get moving with Chamber member 5k runs/walks in April

If you’re looking for opportunities to spend more time outside while doing GOOD things for our community, we’ve rounded up a few ideas from our members and staff. Check with your colleagues if you want to team up and attend.

Thursday, April 2 – Tied to be Fit National Walking Day
Chamber member American Heart Association is sponsoring a National Walking Day to promote better heart health. Take a look at the info and sign up to walk for 30 minutes over lunch that day. There are no special t-shirts, set route, or fees. Just an informal opportunity to get some exercise over the lunch hour.

Saturday, April 5 – Friends University President’s Run
For the third year in a row, Chamber member Friends University with host their President’s Run. Races include a Falcon 5K Competitive Race and the Mascot Mile Fun Run/Walk. Abandon Kansas will provide live music, Chris Cakes will feed and wow the crowd with their flying pancakes, and there will be vendor booths. Race participants will receive a short-sleeve tech T-shirt and other goodies in addition to prizes for all age levels.

Saturday, April 12 – Downtown Clean Up
This event is sponsored by Chamber partners Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and the City of Wichita Park and Recreation Department. Chamber staff members Angie Elliott and Angie Prather participated last year!

Saturday, April 12 – Kansas Humane Society Dog-N-Jog
Grab your canine campanion and register for the 2014 Dog-N-Jog, a 5K and 1.5 mile walk/run with proceeds benefitting Chamber member the Kansas Humane Society.

Saturday, April 12 – Thin Mint Sprint
Join Chamber member Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland in their 1st annual Thin Mint Sprint and Cookie Relay. This unique event will include a 5k race and an exciting, fun team event – the Cookie Relay! Sign up a team of four participants for the Cookie Relay and be ready to make your way through our 600 yard relay course! Each participant of the 5K will receive a commemorative Thin Mint Sprint T-shirt, a box of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, and delicious post race refreshments (yes, cookies included!)

Friday, April 25 – Race for Hope
The Race for Hope coincides with the early evening Final Friday Art Crawl. Participants race along the river, create beautiful artwork by adding a footprint to the 2014 HopeNet mural, enjoy music, food and fun at the finish line post party! Participant privileges will include a t-shirt, race bib, and participation in the finish line post party. Proceeds benefit Chamber member HopeNet.

Saturday, April 26 – Autism Care Walk
Chamber member Heartspring is hosting their 7th annual walk in Downtown Wichita at Waterwalk. Registration is FREE. If you register BEFORE April 4 at 3 pm, you’ll get a free t-shirt. Donations to fund Heartspring programs are accepted.

Wednesday, April 30 – National Walk @ Lunch Day
Sponsored by Chamber member Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, this is a fun way to spend your lunch hour with your colleagues – and get a FREE t-shirt. No registration fees or donations expected. This is just a nice way to jumpstart the spring. Mark your calendar!

We have probably missed some of the great things our members are doing in March, so please contact Courtney Sendall at if you are hosting a run/walk as well.

Which Chamber is Which?

There are several different chambers of commerce working on behalf of businesses in the Wichita area: the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

When the media reports its story, the term “The Chamber” is utilized when referencing the actions of any of these three organizations. While the goals of these three organizations are oftentimes aligned, it is important to note that they are distinct and separate organizations.

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is the chamber of commerce located in Wichita, Kan. We have 1,700+ business members, representing 150,000+ employees in the Wichita area. We work to advance a competitive business environment in South Central Kansas.

Our affiliates include the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), Visioneering, Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW), and Friends of McConnell. Each of these are housed and staffed by the Wichita Metro Chamber.

Kansas Chamber of Commerce
The Kansas Chamber of Commerce, also known as the State Chamber, is located in Topeka, Kan., and serves as a legislative voice for Kansas businesses of all sizes at the statehouse. The Kansas Chamber of Commerce works to pass pro-business legislation by drafting language, building coalitions, testifying on each bill, engaging in direct lobbying, and ultimately ensuring passage.

The Wichita Metro Chamber is a member of Kansas Chamber of Commerce, as are many other local chambers across the state.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Located in Washington, D. C., The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization that represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce advocates for pro-business policies that create jobs and grow the economy.

The Wichita Metro Chamber is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as are 1,458 other chambers of commerce across the country.

The Importance of Redesign and Rebranding

A recap from our March Sunrise Scrambler

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Chamber member Bill Gardner shared his branding and design knowledge during the March 19 Sunrise Scrambler that was held at the newly remodeled Holiday Inn East. (Check out the Holiday Inn East Facebook page for renovation photos.)

What value does good design bring to your business?
Gardner’s business and art background provide him with a unique perspective on the importance of design. He shared two charts that demonstrated how design-driven companies increased their value at a higher rate than other companies. Gardner pointed out that 10% of world trade is in counterfeited products. Counterfeited products don’t hold any value without the logo that distinguishes them. Consumers recognize and place a value on good design and high-impact logos.

Why do companies consider identity change?
There are five reasons companies review and redesign their identity:

  • New ownership
  • New management
  • New product
  • New ethos
  • Brand relevance

Why are brand updates important to your bottom line?
Gardner compared brand relevance to reviewing the clothing in your closet. Many of your wardrobe pieces still fit and may even be very comfortable, but their dated appearance may diminish your relevance when you are making a first impression. There is an expiration date on certain clothing styles and certain design elements of your logo. Coca-Cola reviews their logo every seven years to ensure that it is relevant to the markets they are targeting.

If you’re interested in learning more about Gardner’s background, check out his Member Minute on the Chamber’s website. It’s a short interview that includes information about his best-selling books, an online logo and design database he manages, and information about some of the companies that have adopted his designs. Check out his website and Facebook page to see more of his work. Check the logolounge website for more information about Gardner’s line of books.

Carrie Rengers used one of Bill’s quotes in her “Have You Heard” column.

The Wichita American Marketing Association is a Chamber member and Gardner will be speaking to that group on March 27 at their monthly luncheon.

Click here to see photos from this morning’s event.

Be entered to win James Taylor concert tickets

Would you like to see James Taylor and his All-Star Band at INTRUST Bank Arena on June 20? Follow our blog to be entered to win a pair of tickets!

  • Click the orange “Follow” button in the top right corner of this page.
  • Enter your email address.
  • Click “Sign me up!”

The winner will be randomly selected from all blog followers on June 12 – it could be you! See official rules below.

James Taylor_program

James Taylor Concert Tickets

1. To Enter: NO PURCHASE OR OBLIGATION NECESSARY to enter or win this contest. Void in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, Rhode Island, and where prohibited. Contest begins March 19, 2014 at 8:00a.m. C.T. and ends at noon C.S.T. June 12, 2014. To enter without purchase or obligation, please FOLLOW the Chamber’s blog at Incomplete subscriptions are not eligible. Completed subscriptions must be received by noon C.S.T., June 12, 2014.

2. Drawing: A random drawing from all eligible entries received will be conducted between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on June 12, 2014. Entrants need not be present to win. Prize is guaranteed to be awarded. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prize of equal or greater value. Odds of winning will depend on the total number of eligible subscriptions/entries received.

3. Prize: One (1) Prize to consist of two concert tickets issued by Intrust Bank Arena to the James Taylor concert on June 19, 2014. Tickets will not be redeemable for cash or credit at any time, nor will tickets be replaced if lost or stolen. Tickets are subject to conditions imposed by the concert promoter and Intrust Bank Arena. Certain restrictions may apply. Prize is not transferable (and must be accepted as awarded). Winner is solely responsible for payment of all federal, state, and local taxes that may apply. Approximate Retail Value of Prize: $154.

4. Eligibility: Sweepstakes is open to all legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous United States and District of Columbia, excluding Rhode Island. Subscribers must be 21 years and older as of January 1, 2014. Employees of Intrust Bank Arena Inc., Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, their advertising and promotions agencies, any subsidiaries or affiliates and their immediate families (spouse and parents, children and siblings and their spouses) and individuals living in the same households of such employees are ineligible. This sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. By participating, entrants agree to these official rules and accept decisions of the Sponsor as final. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited or restricted by law. This promotion is offered in the United States only and shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law. All federal, state, and local laws apply.

5. To Claim Prize: Potential winner will be notified by email and will be required to complete and sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability Release and a Publicity Release. If prize is undeliverable or if potential winner is ineligible, the prize will be awarded to an alternate winner in a random drawing. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited) to use winner’s and winner’s guests name, voice, biography, hometown and likeness for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity in any media without additional compensation.

6. Limitation of Liability: Neither the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce nor its affiliated entities, is responsible for printing or typographical errors in any contest-related materials; or transactions that are processed late or incorrectly or are lost due to computer or electronic malfunction. Winner is solely responsible for payment of all federal, state, and local taxes on prize and for any travel or other expenses not specifically mentioned in prize description. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify Contest if fraud or technical failure compromises the integrity of the Contest as determined by Sponsor in their sole discretion. This Contest offer is being made exclusively by the Sponsor. Sponsor is not responsible for technical, hardware, software, or telephone failures of any kind; lost or unavailable network connections or fraud; incomplete, garbled, or delayed computer transmission whether caused by Sponsor, user, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the promotion or by any technical or human error which may occur in the process of submissions which may limit a participant’s ability to participate in this promotion. Winner and guest assume all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused by participation in this
sweepstakes or use or redemption of any prize/offer. By entering, entrant agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and their respective
parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, governors, employees, and agents against any and all liability, damages, or causes of action (however named or described), with respect to or arising out of (i) entrant’s participation in the sweepstakes, (ii) the receipt or use of the prizes/offers awarded herein.

7. Winners List: Official printed rules are available at the reception desk of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. The rules are also displayed on the Chamber blog at Winner list can be obtained on or after June 13, 2014, by sending a self-addressed envelope and request to Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, 350 West Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202-2970.

8. Sponsor: Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, 350 West Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202-2970.

Recap of the 2014 Education Issue Forum

School superintendents from the Andover, Derby, Goddard, Maize, and Wichita public schools took part in a moderated discussion on education in front of 200 attendees at a luncheon hosted by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce on March 13. You can see photos from the event here.

Education Forum_crop

If you were unable to attend the event, click here to see the story by George Lawson with KFDI, or click here to watch the discussion on the Wichita Public School YouTube channel.

The superintendents discussed their daily challenges as well as the innovative ways they are now partnering with the Wichita Area Technical College and other institutions to provide students with technical skills. We’re very fortunate to have superintendents who demonstrate this level of leadership and who work closely with the business community. The superintendents invited  the audience to visit their schools and stressed the importance of purposeful dialogue and partnerships with the business community as they help develop the future workforce.

Special thanks to the superintendents for making the time to participate in this important discussion and to our Government Relations staff for arranging the event. Thank you also to our Business & Education Alliance who co-hosted the session. We also appreciate the leadership of Jon Rosell who chairs the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee and moderated the session.

Chamber’s speaker, Jim Clifton, provides inspiration for Junior Achievement

It was my pleasure to attend the annual Junior Achievement (JA) Wichita Business Hall of Fame event that took place on March 11 at the Hyatt. JA inducted three well-known Wichita business leaders to the Hall of Fame and you can read more about them by following these links.

All three of these leaders have served on the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Both Sheryl and Ann also served as Chairman of the Board for the Chamber.  Sheryl served in 2003 and Ann led the Chamber in 2005.

It was very gratifying to see all three of them recognized for their dedication to their companies and employees as well as the many volunteer hours they have devoted to our community. They’ve strongly influenced and shaped our community.

Martha Linsner is the Chairman of Junior Achievement’s Advisory Board and a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

Martha Linsner is the Chairman of Junior Achievement’s Advisory Board and a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

Martha Linsner, President of The Trust Company of Kansas and Chairman of Junior Achievement’s Advisory Board, is also a Chamber Board Member. Martha spent a few minutes during the event acknowledging the winners and talking about Junior Achievement’s mission. Her message was so impressive that I wanted to share it with our entire membership. Martha has graciously provided us with a copy of a portion of her remarks.

JA’s local Advisory Board is dedicated to making Junior Achievement the best non-profit organization in Wichita! They lead by example with financial support and volunteer commitments. They were inspired to continue their efforts last fall when hearing and/or reading comments in our local media from the Wichita Chamber’s annual meeting speaker Jim Clifton, CEO and Chairman of Gallup. Mr. Clifton spelled out in detail how he visualized an international system for promoting entrepreneurship. To quote Mr. Clifton, “It   would   start   early, in the middle schools, where   students   would   be tested   and   those   found   to   have   the   entrepreneurial   personality would   be   channeled   not   into   an   academic  track   but   into   a   business   track.

Stop   demanding   that   every   student   master  every   skill,   but   focus   on   building   students’   strengths”. Let me repeat that last part…focus on building students’ strengths. (I encourage everyone to read’s Mr. Clifton’s 2011 book, “The Coming Jobs War”.)

JA’s Advisory Board listened and took action by setting a board goal to expand JA to more grade levels beyond elementary.  2014 is JA’s first year at Coleman Middle School! We want to do all we can to have program success at Coleman so the teachers want to continue next year.

It’s encouraging that Mr. Clifton’s message was so well received and that it continues to pay dividends for this community. One of the ideas that Mr. Clifton strongly supports is that winning the jobs war requires that the leadership throughout the community is aligned, focused, and working out of the same playbook. The leadership at Junior Achievement has clearly demonstrated their dedication to “winning the jobs war” by helping students develop business skills and focusing on their current strengths. The work of Junior Achievement continues to ensure the success of our entire community by developing new business leaders.

On behalf of all of our Chamber members, I’d like to thank Martha, Sheryl, Jim, Ann and all the JA volunteers who work so hard throughout the year to make Wichita a great place to live and work.

Congratulations to our 10th Annual Small Business of the Year Finalists

Now in its 10th year, our Small Business Awards program offers well-deserved recognition to Wichita small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community. It provides owners and their employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story, and be rewarded for their efforts.

This year, 72 small businesses were nominated for the award and 21 completed the application process. The ten finalists were recently announced, and one business from each tier will be selected as the Small Business of the Year at an Awards Luncheon on May 7.

Tier One (1-25 Employees)
Cassandra Bryan Design
Chapple Insurance Group
Icon Structures Inc.
Kansas Truck Equipment Co., Inc.
Mize & Co., Inc.

Small Business Awards_Tier One
Tier One Finalists

Tier Two (26-100 Employees)
Balco, Inc.
Building Controls and Services Inc.
J.P. Weigand & Sons Inc.
Mid American Credit Union
Zernco, Inc.

Small Business Awards_Tier Two
Tier Two Finalists

See all the photos from the Metro Mingle featuring the Small Business Awards Showcase, and register here to meet all the finalists at the April 17th Sunrise Scrambler!

Building Your Pipeline Through Internships

Internships. What are they? Why are they important? Why should I create an internship program? How can I make the intern’s experience a positive, educational one? How much do I have to pay them? Where can I find them?

These were the questions that Connie Dietz, Director of the Office of Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning at Wichita State University, sought to answer in the Chamber’s first Taking Care of Business seminar of 2014. Those attending walked away with not only the answers to those questions, but also with a guide for how to create an internship program and a template to help craft a strong job description for an intern.

The basics: a definition of internships

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, an internship is “a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; internships also give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”

You also may have heard of the term “co-op” or “cooperative education” as a form of work-based learning. For more information on the differences between an internship and a co-op, visit the Wichita State Co-op Office website here. The bottom line is that by providing work-based learning to college students, Chamber members can help build a bridge between the classroom and the real world for the next generation of workers.

The importance of hiring interns

Interns, and a strong internship program, can be a long-term source of talent for individual companies and for the Wichita community in general. According to the 2010 Destination ICT study, almost 50% of internship students accept permanent positions with their internship employers. At WSU, 72% of students who work with the Co-op Office remain in Wichita after graduation.

Those numbers indicate that the more quality internship programs Wichita employers have, the more local graduates we can retain. For companies who hire interns from outside the Wichita area, we can also attract more young people to the city. These are going to be young professionals who already have experience working in an office environment and who have developed some of the skills that they can’t or don’t learn in the classroom.

The benefit to your company

During the presentation, Dietz gave several reasons why you should consider creating an internship program. For example, you can work with an individual for anywhere from sixteen weeks to three years before they graduate from college – that’s one long interview! When you build a quality internship program, you also create ambassadors for your organization. For those smaller businesses out there, that’s a great source of word-of-mouth advertising that helps your business’s name gain recognition on campus.

And according to that 2010 study, the retention of college graduates after five years of employment is 30% greater for internship graduates. That reduces your long-term training and recruitment costs, a potentially significant return on your investment.

Creating a quality program

Of the 15 tips provided for creating a quality internship program, Dietz highlighted a few that are key for all employers regardless of size:

  1. Provide interns with real, collegiate level work assignments
  2. Hold orientations for all involved
  3. Have an intern manager
  4. Encourage team involvement
  5. Offer training and encourage outside classes
  6. Conduct exit interviews

To see more tips, view the full presentation here.

Most important, conduct an organizational audit before getting started. Make sure you have support from the executive level, and that everyone involved knows the goals of the program. Evaluate the human resources you have available to support the intern(s) to ensure they’ll have a positive experience. And ensure there are physical resources available for the student – a desk, computer, phone, and anything else they’ll need to complete the assignments for the duration of the internship.

The big question: how much do I have to pay an intern?

The answer: it depends on a lot of different factors. If you are even considering hiring unpaid interns, be sure you consult with an employment lawyer or university contact first, especially in for-profit companies. Dietz shared the six criteria for an internship to qualify as unpaid during the presentation, and you can also find out more in this Small Business Administration article.

For an example, the average wages for WSU students in the past year were the following: $13.17/hour for business students; $15.09/hour for engineering; and $11.08/hour for liberal arts and sciences. The actual amount will vary depending on the specific major (accounting usually pays more than marketing, for example) and the class status, among other criteria.

Finding the right interns

Now that you’re convinced it’s time to start an internship program, here’s how you can find the students to hire. The local universities usually advertise internships to their students, whether it’s through the formal program at WSU or through faculty/staff contacts at other universities. An internship or career services office is usually the first place to start.

To recruit from outside the local universities, you can also utilize the YPW program Launch Wichita at Chamber members can post internships for free through this site, which reaches students from across the country. You can also find resources on hiring. Plus, the interns you hire can also use the site to learn more about things to do in Wichita.

During the summer – prime time for most internship programs – YPW also hosts the Intern Return program as a way to connect your interns to the city, to each other, and to YPs currently working in Wichita. The goal of the program is to have them return to Wichita once they graduate, of course! YPW’s corporate investors can participate in the program for free, and other companies can sign their interns up for a fee. You can contact Suzy Finn for more information about this program.

In closing, I’d like to offer another tidbit from the Destination ICT study: By linking earning and learning more closely together – with an economic incentive – the region sends a strong message that there is a partnership among business and education and that both understand their role in developing the region’s next generation workforce.

Suzy Finn
Executive Director
Young Professionals of Wichita

Invitation to bid on McConnell work

There are approximately 10 projects that will be undertaken at McConnell Air Force Base to support the new tanker, should McConnell be confirmed as the selected base in late spring 2014.  Bids for the first project, and likely the biggest, are due to the Federal Government by March 28.  The finalists are now looking for sub-contractors for services ranging from heavy steel to landscaping, and are interested in local, small businesses that can provide these capabilities.  Please click here for specific information.