Now accepting nominations for the 2015 Leadership Wichita class

Leadership is a word that we hear a lot these days. But what does it really mean and how do we develop it? It takes leaders with significant skills working together to address the issues facing our community. And for more than 30 years, the Chamber’s Leadership Wichita program has been working to identify, cultivate and inspire those emerging leaders.

Members of the 2014 class participate in team building exercises.

Members of the 2014 class participate in team building exercises.

We are now accepting nominations for our 2015 Leadership Wichita class. The program’s eight sessions cover topics ranging from education and workforce development, working with the media and economic development. In addition, skills such as collaboration, consensus building, and visioning will be explored through real-life examples and group exercises. See the full list of topics in 2015 program brochure.

If you know someone who has a background of active community involvement and would be a good candidate for this year’s Leadership Wichita class, please nominate them at

Important Dates:Leadership Wichita-image only

  • Nominations due – June 19
  • Applications due – July 1
  • Selection announced – July 31
  • First session – September 3

Learn more at, and see conversation on Twitter from previous Leadership Wichita classes using #LeadICT.

Your 24-year old employees: What skills, abilities and qualities does your business need from them?

The Chamber and the Business and Education Alliance (BEA) are encouraging local business leaders to participate in a communication session about the future of education on Tuesday, June 2 at the Wichita Art Museum (1400 W. Museum Blvd) from 9 to 11 a.m. The session is being led by representatives of the Kansas State Department of Education and participants will be asked to weigh in on the following three questions:

Business leaders are urged to provide input to the Kansas Education Commissioner during a special session on June 2.

Business leaders are urged to provide input to the Kansas Education Commissioner during a special session on June 2.

  • What are the characteristics, qualities, abilities and skills of a successful 24-year old Kansan?
  • What are the needs of business and industry and what skills and abilities are lacking in today’s 24-year old?
  • How can business and industry partner with K-12 and higher education in creating the 24-year old that has those skills and abilities?

BEA member Ray Frederick is the President/Owner of Frederick Plumbing & Heating in Wichita. Frederick plans to participate because, “I believe it’s critical to integrate the 3 R’s of business (respect, responsibility and relationships) with the 3 R’s of education (reading, writing, and arithmetic).”

Information collected during the session will be used to help guide the state’s strategic plan for education. Additional events are being scheduled throughout the state as part of a state-wide initiative to involve the business community in shaping the future of the education of their workforce.

To RSVP for the event, please contact the Chamber’s Manager of Community Advancement, Renee Anderson at 316-268-1141 or To learn more about the initiative, titled Kansas Children Kansas’s Future, please contact Penny Rice at Kansas State Department of Education, 785-296-3202 or

The Measurement of Success

A recap of the May 2015 Sunrise Scrambler

Todd Rams

Todd Ramsey

It seems like more often than not, the world of social media is changing , thus requiring businesses to change their social media practices to keep up. And with the plethora of tools and tactics to choose from, it can be overwhelming to determine whether or not your social media efforts are effective. Todd Ramsey, Chief Strategist at Apples & Arrows, broke down social media measurement at our May Sunrise Scrambler when he presented “Measuring the Effects of Your Social Media.” Below is a short recap of his many great tips.

To Formulate a Social Media Strategy:

  1. Start with your objective. Do you want to sell more product, increase event attendance, increase brand awareness, protect brand reputation, build community, etc.? You cannot form a plan to achieve a goal unless you are clear on what your goal is.
  2. Know your audience. Todd used the example of selling running shoes. If you are targeting 65-year-old men, your plan will be different than if you are targeting 18-year-old women.
  3. Understand your resources. The thought that “social media is free” is a myth. Executing a social media strategy requires people, technology and time – none of which are free.
  4. Your objective, audience and resources will inform the tactics (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, etc.) you choose.

Five Things to Measure:

  1. Awareness – How many people saw the content?
  2. Engagement – Did people share, comment or like?
  3. Consideration* – How many responses were generated?
  4. Conversion* – Did we generate a sale/goal?
  5. Advocacy – Did we get people talking?

*Two most important factors to note because they can impact a company’s bottom line and create ROI.

Suggested Measurement Tools:

Questions from the Audience:

Q: With Facebook’s algorithm, is it almost necessary to pay to promote your posts?
A: Yes, Facebook’s shareholders want to make money. Therefore, an organic post (one that has not been paid to be boosted) will typically only reach 1-3% of a business page’s followers. So if your page has 100,000 likes, only 1,000-3,000 of those people will see your post. Even businesses with small budgets can benefit from paying to boost their posts. One attendee indicated that her business page sees a drastic difference when devoting $10-20 to boosting a post.

Q: How often should a business revisit their social media strategy?
A: Todd suggests developing plans on a quarterly timeline. This ensure agility in the changing social media world, but is also a long enough timeframe to capture trends.

See photos from the event on Facebook, view conversation from the event on Twitter using #ChamberICT, and check out Todd’s presentation here. You can also follow Todd and Apples & Arrows on Twitter @ToddRamsey and @ApplesArrows.

Thank you to our sponsors for making programming like this possible: Emprise Bank, Friends University and Davis-Moore Autogroup.

Next month’s Sunrise Scrambler will be held on June 17 at Eberly Farm, where Maurice W. Evans with iGROWyourBiz, Inc. will discuss “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Register here.

Job changes for Shelton and Edwards

Beth Shelton, Manager of Business Development for GWEDC.

Beth Shelton, Manager Business Development at the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), has announced her departure effective Wednesday, June 3. Beth has  accepted a position with Harvey County Economic Development. She begins her new duties as a Business Development Specialist on June 8.

Beth has been an invaluable member of the GWEDC team during her tenure. Her primary responsibilities included the retention and expansion of existing industries through the coordination of more than 100 visits to area companies each year to investigate and discuss their growth potential. Most recently she has focused on the coordination of industry cluster meetings for the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) initiative. Through her diligent efforts, more than 600 area companies in the 10-county region have been invited to collaborate on the development of industry-specific growth and action plans.

While Beth’s dedication, expertise and enthusiasm will be missed, we’re also pleased that staff and volunteers will continue working with her on regional economic development efforts in her new position. We wish her all the best as she begins the next exciting phase of her career.

Jim Edwards, Production Supervisor for the Chamber.

Jim Edwards, Production Supervisor for the Chamber.

Jim Edwards, Chamber Production Supervisor, retired from the Chamber on Thursday, May 7. He joined the Chamber in 1976, making him the Chamber’s longest tenured employee. Jim was responsible for coordinating property maintenance, mailings, office supply orders, and assisting with event setup.

We appreciate his many years of service and wish him the best as he begins his well-earned retirement.

Termination notice changed for three County contracts

Discussion about County funding for the Greater Wichita Economic Development sglogoCoalition (GWEDC), Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo took place at yesterday’s May 13 Commission meeting. Each of these three organizations currently has a five-year funding agreement in place with Sedgwick County. The agreements run through 2018 and require the County to notify each entity by June 1 about funding changes in the following calendar year. County funding for GWEDC is $300,000 per year during the five-year agreement or about 0.07 percent of the total County budget.

Citing concerns about the deficit in the proposed 2016 County budget, the Sedgwick County Commission voted in favor of moving the agreement termination notice for the five-year agreements for all three entities from June 1 to September 1. The 2016 budget is expected to be adopted August 12.

Wichita Metro Chamber Chairman Jon Rosell and GWEDC Chairman Gary Schmitt were among more than twenty-five local business leaders and citizens who spoke during the meeting in support of maintaining the five-year agreements. Most of the speakers voiced their approval for reviewing budgetary commitments made with taxpayer dollars, but also cited compelling reasons for the County to continue their multi-year funding agreements. Representatives of ten Chamber member organizations and businesses voiced their support of multi-year arrangements, including:  Visit Wichita, Wichita Public Schools, The Independent School, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, Boy Scouts of America/Quivira Council, Cox Machine, Inc., Friends University, Star Lumber & Supply Co., Exploration Place and the Sedgwick County Zoo.

An article in yesterday’s Wichita Eagle cites 14 additional agencies that have been notified about the possibility of changes in their funding from Sedgwick County. Some of those agencies are Chamber members, including:  Wichita Area Technical College, Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, Wichita Festivals, Child Advocacy Center, Nonprofit Chamber of Service of Sedgwick County, Kansas African-American Museum, and South Central Kansas Economic Development District. Hearings on the budgeting for these organizations are scheduled for July 29 at 9 a.m. and August 6 at 6 p.m.

During the proceedings, Commissioners mentioned they had heard from a number of constituents prior to yesterday’s discussions. The Commissioners continue to welcome your questions and thoughts on these budget items and other important issues. Follow this link to our website for contact information for your elected officials.

You can learn more about yesterday’s decision here:
Sedgwick County pushes back termination option for zoo funding – Wichita Eagle
Sedgwick County Commission punts funding decision to September – KMUW
Sedgwick County delays decision on funds for zoo, eco-devo – Wichita Business Journal
County gives notice to 17 agencies about possible funding changes – KWCH-TV


Introducing our 2015 Small Business of the Year recipients

Cornerstone Design and Development, Inc. and Zernco, Inc. were named the 2015 Small Businesses of the Year at a luncheon earlier today.

Award finalists were divided into two tiers based upon number of full-time employees. Cornerstone Design and Development, Inc. represents Tier One (businesses with 1 – 25 full-time employees), and Zernco, Inc. represents Tier Two (businesses with 26-100 full-time employees). Judges evaluated the finalists based on five key areas:  leadership and performance, employee relations, entrepreneurship, diversity and community involvement.

Cornerstone Design and Development, Inc. is led by Joy Eakins and specializes in creating custom software to help their customers find creative solutions for data problems. Located at 4601 E. Douglas, they are smallest company to ever receive the award with three full-time employees.

Cornerstone Design and Development Team

Cornerstone Design and Development Team

General contracting company Zernco, Inc. specializes in design, new construction, remodeling, supply, and repair and maintenance. Led by Ashley Thill, they are a second-generation family business located at 2400 S. Greenwich Rd. with more than 50 full-time employees.

Zernco Team

                                          Zernco Team

The luncheon was presented by Balco, Inc. and Icon Structures Inc., the 2014 Small Business of the Year recipients. Cindy Carnahan, President of The Carnahan Group., gave the keynote address.

Small businesses are responsible for creating 2 of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. and make up more than 85 percent of the Chamber membership. The small business awards program is designed not only to provide small businesses the recognition they deserve but to also give other small businesses a chance to learn from the best.

2015 Small Business Awards Finalists
Tier One (1 – 25 full-time employees)
Advanced Mobile Healthcare
After Hours Auto Repair
Cornerstone Design and Development, Inc.
Crave Beauty Academy
McClelland Sound Inc.

Tier Two (26 – 100 full-time employees)
Building Controls and Services, Inc.
Chance Rides, Inc.
Legacy Bank
Zernco, Inc.


Videos highlighting each of the finalists can be seen on the Chamber’s YouTube channel:

Small Business Week – Day Five

Mara and Mario Quiroz of Molino's Mexican Cuisine

Mara and Mario Quiroz of Molino’s Mexican Cuisine

On the final day of National Small Business Week, Mara and Mario Quiroz of Molino’s Mexican Cuisine tell us why they believe Wichita is an ideal place to raise a family and own a business. Follow this link to our YouTube channel to view the video, then share it will others using #NSBW2015.

If you missed any of our other Small Business Profiles this week, you can find them via the links below:

Bill Ramsey, uBreakiFix
Nancy Wilson, WorkSafe Physical Therapy
Cassandra Bryan, Cassandra Bryan Design
Brad Painchaud, Squid Ink Creative
Mario Quiroz, Molino’s Mexican Cuisine

Even though National Small Business Week is coming to an end, small business owners can continue to learn, develop, & grow their business skills with these FREE online and offline training opportunities:

What do the Zoo, Exploration Place and Jobs have in common?

Discussion about County funding for all three are expected to be on the agenda for the Sedgwick County Commission meeting next Wednesday, May 13. Commissioners have proposed reviewing the multi-year funding agreements the County has with the Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, and the organization charged with leading area economic development efforts, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC).

The next meeting of the Sedgwick County Commissioners will include a discussion about the County partnership with the Zoo, Exploration Place, and GWEDC.

The next meeting of the Sedgwick County Commissioners will include a discussion about the County’s partnership with the Zoo, Exploration Place, and GWEDC.

An article published in the Wichita Eagle provides background information about how the County funding is used and the importance of these partnerships. An Eagle editorial makes the case for keeping these long-term partnerships in place.

Sedgwick County Zoo’s funding agreement with county in jeopardy
Wichita Eagle – 5/3/15

County shouldn’t shred agreements
Wichita Eagle – 5/6/15

While it’s always fiscally prudent to review budgetary commitments made with taxpayer dollars, there are also compelling reasons to continue the current funding commitments for these three organizations. Long-term public-private partnerships symbolize the County’s commitment that each of these organizations need to achieve maximum positive results for our region.

Believing that each of these organizations have an impact on our quality of life and our ability to grow and attract businesses and a talented workforce, Chamber leadership plans to attend and weigh in on the discussion among the County Commissioners on May 13. We encourage you to do likewise.

Commissioners welcome your questions and your thoughts in advance of the meeting on this and other issues. The phone number for all Commissioners is 316-660-9300, where you can leave a voicemail. You may also reach them by email or Twitter:

FIRST DISTRICT – Dave Unruh or @DaveUnruhSedgCo

SECOND DISTRICT – Tim Norton or @TimNortonSC

THIRD DISTRICT – Karl Peterjohn or @KarlPeterjohn

FOURTH DISTRICT – Richard Ranzau

FIFTH DISTRICT – Jim Howell or @Howell4KS

Use this link to confirm your district and your representative

Meetings are held in the Commission Meeting Room located on the third floor of the Sedgwick County Courthouse at 525 N. Main. If you plan to attend, please arrive by 8:45 a.m. since seating is limited.

We’ve also provided other important links so that you can follow this issue:

View the May 13 agenda once it has been published

Join the social media conversation
#ontheagenda  @GWEDC  @SedgwickCoZoo  @DiscoverAtEP  @SedgwickCounty

Watch the Commission meeting live or tune in to KPTS Channel 8 at 9 a.m. on Wednesday

Subscribe to receive weekly commission meeting agendas

Small Business Week – Day Four

The Squid Ink Creative team at the 2014 Exposure event

The Squid Ink Creative team at the 2014 Exposure event

On the fourth day of National Small Business Week, Brad Painchaud of Squid Ink Creative shares why he is encouraged by the positive energy in Wichita and how that translates to better business. Follow this link to our YouTube channel to view his video, then share it will others using #NSBW2015.

Small Business Tip: Did you know that 95% of consumers live outside of the U.S.? Learn how you can take your small business to new markets through exporting.

Small Business Week – Day Three

CBD SBA Luncheon

The team at Cassandra Bryan Design specializes in professional logo and custom website design. The team is pictured here attending the 2014 Chamber Small Business Awards Luncheon.

On the third day of National Small Business Week, Cassandra Bryan with
cb {d} Cassandra Bryan Design shares why she is inspired by the innovators and entrepreneurs who are doing business in Wichita. Follow this link to our YouTube channel to view her 55-second video, then share it will others using #NSBW2015.

If you have big dreams for your small business, check SBA resource partners like SCORE, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Women’s Business Centers (WBC) for assistance. Follow this link to locate partners near you.

NOTE:  Our special thanks to Chamber member Bill Ramsey of uBreakiFix for his assistance with some technical difficulties we experienced earlier today when trying to export and post today’s video. We are indebted to him for his expertise and his willingness to lend us a hand when we needed it most.