Fulfilling our Mission and Vision

Wayne Chambers

Wayne Chambers

By Wayne Chambers
2014 Chamber Board Chairman

Earlier this month we shared the Chamber’s updated Mission and Vision with you. This week I’d like to expand a little more on how we are working to fulfill that Mission and Vision.

To drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region.

The Wichita region is a premier place to grow companies, careers and communities.

Job growth is a vital component of our mission and has been a long-time priority of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. During the last twelve months we’ve been probing deeper into the issue of how to accelerate the number of primary jobs in our region and replace the 31,000 jobs that disappeared from our community during the recent recession. The Chamber and its partners have been gathering citizen input, studying this issue, and discussing potential solutions throughout the community.

  • The City of Wichita partnered with the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at Wichita State University to conduct surveys and listening sessions with more than 2,000 people from mid-September through January 2014. Four of the top priorities identified by the community were:  water supply, economic development, public transit, and pavement maintenance.
  • The Chamber’s Leadership Council (a think tank made up of 100 top business, non-profit, and public-sector executives) chose growing primary jobs as its top priority. The group also determined that on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level of economic development competitiveness, Wichita is currently operating at a 2.5. The council’s goal is to increase that competitiveness level to 4.5.
  • At the Chamber’s 2013 Annual Meeting last November, Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton shared insights from his book, titled The Coming Jobs War, with 1,000 area business leaders. Clifton emphasized that all of his research on the subject pointed to local solutions. He emphasized that the community’s efforts must be aligned citywide and focused.
  • The Chamber hosted 600 business leaders during the annual Chairman’s Lunch in February for a public discussion with Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Dave Unruh about the economic development tools we need to advance the region. Chamber members are still sharing their thoughts with me about the important points that were discussed during this event.

The City Council is now studying a comprehensive Sales Tax Initiative & Strategic Plan funded by a one-cent city sales tax that includes a jobs initiative. City Manager Bob Layton and his staff have presented information about this plan to over 450 people in 17 different settings. They’ve made subject matter experts available to answer questions about each of the four areas that will be supported by the tax:  water supply, jobs initiative, public transit, and pavement maintenance. Citizens have also been able to contribute comments through a special website, Activate Wichita.

It’s very encouraging that so many of our partners are focused on the imperative issue of advancing Wichita.  As our elected officials near a decision point on how to proceed with the sales tax initiative, I want to thank all the Chamber members who have taken time away from the important task of leading their businesses to attend these events, learn more about the issues, ask insightful questions, and share their ideas.

It is vital for the business community to be an active participant in solving our own community’s issues. It’s up to all of us to strengthen our region’s competitive edge.

Ultimately we must soon choose to either venture boldly with a confident step forward, or to remain standing still…waiting for a better moment and a better plan. I welcome your thoughts and input as the Chamber weighs in on the decision of our elected officials.

FAQs About Jobs, Getting Involved

Our Frequently Asked Questions series continues this week with information about job and internship opportunities, as well as how members can become more involved with the Chamber.

Jobs and Internships Questions

  1. How do I post job openings on NationJob?
    Posting job openings on NationJob is a FREE benefit to Chamber members with 30 or less employees, and discounts are available to Members with more than 30 FTE. Contact Barb Avery directly at NationJob at 888-256-0920.
  2. How do I get more information about the Spouse Career Network?
    Contact Jan Baggett at 316-268-1113.
  3. I am interested in hiring an intern. Where do I get more information on how to find a qualified intern or post an internship listing?
    Visit www.launchwichita.com.

Involvement Questions

  1. How can I get more information on Committees or Volunteer Opportunities?
    Contact Nicole Robinson at 316-268-1116.
  2. How can I join a leads group?
    Visit our Contacts Club page.
  3. Where do I get more information on advertising opportunities with the Chamber?
    Visit our Sponsorships and Advertising page, then contact Courtney Sendall 316-268-1153.
  4. Do I have to be a Chamber member to join Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW)?
    Visit our Young Professionals of Wichita page.

More Frequently Asked Questions can be found on our website. If you have a question that should be added to our FAQ page, please let us know!

Building a Social Media Community One Person at a Time

Recap of July Sunrise Scrambler
“How to Befriend the Lonely Social Media Manger” by Aaron Wirtz
Aaron Wirtz
“Social media is about telling the story of your organization.” That was the message delivered at yesterday’s Sunrise Scrambler by Aaron Wirtz (@aaronwirtz), Social Media and Marketing Manager for Subaru of Wichita (@ridehomehappy). With a background in both theatre and English, Aaron has found a way to capitalize on both of these talents as the local dealership’s front man and the guy behind their social media accounts. He reminded attendees that it is the messages that are valuable, human (not too sales-y), and that match your customer service that are the most successful.

One of Subaru of Wichita’s most memorable marketing endeavors came about when protestors arrived at the newly renovated store on east Kellogg. The “Shame on Subaru of Wichita” sign provided the perfect opportunity for Aaron and his team to complete the sentence. They placed a sign that read “for having unbeatable prices” right next to the original sign, and posted the photo on the dealership’s Facebook page. The brilliant marketing endeavor quickly went viral, with feedback coming from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. Aaron noted that marketing isn’t always about computers and big budgets – sometimes it is just about carrying a big banner outside.

SubaruIn January of this year, there were approximately 181,000 self-proclaimed social media gurus floating around on the Internet. Unfortunately, their “5 Steps to Have Engaging Social Media” and “10 Ways to be Relatable” articles usually aren’t useful and all say the same things. That’s because it is easier to write about doing social media well than it is to actually do it. People want to be spoken to on a personal level, not like they are one of thousands reading the same post.

In order to build an engaged community, you have to do it one person at a time. Aaron gave an example of a Subaru car club that meets in the dealership’s parking lot. In the past, they would be asked to leave wherever they had parked – now they have a place to gather. He has posted photos of their get-togethers on the Facebook page with great response. It is human and relevant because they own Subaru’s and the dealership sells Subaru’s.

Take time to reply to tweets and like/share content on other pages. That’s how to build a relationship with your audience. These things do take time, but people will start to notice when you engage on a one-to-one level.

A special thanks to Aaron for taking time to share his expertise with us and to our sponsors Legacy Bank, Wesley Medical Center, and Waddell & Reed Financial Advisors for making this program possible.

Click here to see photos from the event.

Updating the Chamber’s Mission and Vision

Wayne Chambers, 2014 Board Chairman

Wayne Chambers, 2014 Board Chairman

By Wayne Chambers

The end of June marked the halfway point in my term as your 2014 Chairman of the Board of Directors.  The last six months have been busy and productive. One of our Board’s latest accomplishments is the adoption of a new Mission Statement and a new Vision Statement to more accurately reflect our organization’s purpose and role in the community.  Our previous Mission was to empower the private sector to increase the wealth and well-being of all south central Kansans. I believe the updated Mission and Vision shown below are much more inclusive and concise than those we’ve used in the past.

To drive economic growth and community advancement in the Wichita region.

The Wichita region is a premier place to grow companies, careers and communities.

We’re phasing the new mission and vision statement into our communication tools this summer and expect all updates to be finalized by the end of the calendar year.

I’m looking forward to the last two quarters of 2014 being as productive and busy as the first two. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to share your thoughts about all we are doing to advance our community.

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.


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.

Chamber publication wins marketing award, 2015 advertising space available

photoOur 2014 “Metro Wichita Economic Development” magazine recently won a Gold MAX Award from the Wichita American Marketing Association (WAMA) in the non-profit direct marketing category. Produced on an annual basis, the publication showcases the best of Wichita and surrounding communities – our skilled workforce, progressive business climate, amenities, and cultural attractions. Distributed both in print and electronically, it is used to familiarize potential businesses, employees, and residents with the business community and our quality of life.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the advertisers who participated in the 2014 issue. Our production and distribution of this magazine wouldn’t be possible without their financial investment. We are most appreciative of their assistance in our work to increase the economic vitality of the region:  Ambassador Hotel, BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas, City of Derby, Coleman, Coventry-Preferred Health Systems, Doubletree by Hilton Wichita Airport, Friends University, GoWichita Convention & Visitors Bureau, Riordan Clinic, Via Christi Health, Wells Fargo Advisors, Wesley Medical Center, Wichita Airport Authority, Wichita Area Technical College, Wichita Collegiate School, and Wichita Public Schools.

Work on the 2015 edition is currently underway, and there are several advertising opportunities available if you are interested in promoting your company or organization. Jarod Scott, Integrated Media Manager for Journal Communications, is working to maximize those opportunities for advertisers and would be happy to speak with anyone interested in learning more. He can be reached at 615-771-5552 or jscott@jnlcom.com.

Dr. Condoleezza Rice Speaking on December 4 at Annual Meeting

Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Dr. Condoleezza Rice

By Wayne Chambers

By now our Chamber members have received a digital announcement that our 2014 Annual Meeting speaker is Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th Secretary of State of the United States. Her resume and international experience are very impressive and you can follow this link to view her official bio.

Dr. Rice is passionate about many of the issues that concern area business leaders:  educating our workforce, international relations, and leadership development.

An articulate barrier breaker for both her race and gender, she’s also an accomplished musician and a natural athlete. In fact, she’s such an avid football fan that I’m told she’s never missed a Super Bowl game.

I’m delighted that our sponsors have made it possible to bring her to Wichita. Our special thanks to Murfin Drilling Company, the presenting sponsor for the event. Premiere sponsors include: Bank of America, Cox Business, High Touch Technologies, INTRUST Bank, Kennedy and Coe, LLC, Lubrication Engineers Inc., Meritrust Credit Union, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., and Westar Energy.

I also appreciate the assistance from Mark Chamberlin of Armstrong Chamberlin Strategic Marketing who developed a special video announcement that was shared with Chamber membership earlier today and is available on the Chamber’s YouTube channel, titled Wichita Metro Chamber.

I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting on December 4 at Century II, and I encourage you to make your reservations for the event as soon as possible.

You can learn more about Dr. Rice by following her on Twitter @CondoleezzaRice and Facebook at Condoleeza Rice. She’s also produced two best-selling books about her experiences and you’ll find those book titles on her official bio.

See the article from Carrie Rengers’ ‘Have You Heard’ column here.