Celebrating 60th anniversary of the KC-135

This letter to the editor was published in today’s Wichita Eagle. It was submitted by Jack Pulley, Chairman of the Friends of McConnell and Pat Gallagher, Military Liaison for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. 

Today McConnell Air Force Base will host a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. More than 50 years after the delivery of that first KC-135, the fleet remains an integral part of Wichita’s aviation history and an essential component of our nation’s defense system.FOM - Tanker Anniversary

Next year will bring exciting new opportunities. McConnell AFB will greet the next generation refueler, the KC-46 Pegasus, designed to replace the aging KC-135 fleet.  Many local businesses and contractors have been working to ensure the base is on target to welcome this exciting new aircraft.

Before the last of the McConnell’s Stratotankers has been replaced, however, we have an opportunity to pay homage to their great history. We are thankful that McConnell’s airmen and leadership team are part of our community and we have a deep respect for the service they provide to our nation.

On this important anniversary date the Friends of McConnell and the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce express our sincere appreciation to all those who serve at McConnell Air Force Base. We are grateful the base is part of our community and congratulate each of you on the pivotal role you have played in making this special anniversary celebration possible

The Friends of McConnell (FOM), an affiliate organization of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, is a support group of area business leaders and residents dedicated to providing meaningful social and economic linkage between senior military leaders and their metropolitan civilian counterparts. The FOM seeks to express community pride and appreciation of the area’s military by providing organizational and financial support for Commander directed programs on base. A primary goal of the Friends of McConnell is to make McConnell AFB the most desirable assignment of an Airman’s career.

Daymond John Energizing Entrepreneurship on December 1

By Barry Schwan
2016 Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors
Owner, House of Schwan, Inc.

Accelerating entrepreneurship and economic opportunities across our region is imperative to accomplishing the Chamber’s mission and vision. If you’ve followed the work of Wichita native and economic analyst James Chung (thechungreport.com), you’ve heard him outline the four challenges facing Wichita. As part of the Entrepreneurship Challenge, Chung has challenged Wichita to “move the needle” and grow entrepreneurship in our region.

Daymond's BlackSuitThe Chamber has always played a key role in driving innovation and improving our entrepreneurial ecosystem. And our 2016 Annual Meeting speaker will undoubtedly energize and inspire those developing new opportunities for our region. I’m pleased to announce that Daymond John, one of the most sought after entrepreneurial experts in the country, is speaking at our December 1 Annual Meeting. He will also be interacting on stage with local entrepreneurs.

As one of the stars of ABC’s Emmy-winning Shark Tank series, Daymond John has invested more than $8 million to date with 61 entrepreneurs across the country. And while he certainly understands the importance of venture capital investments, his most recent book also champions the “power of broke” and the necessity of creativity, authenticity, substance and passion in successful entrepreneurial ventures.

Known as “the people’s Shark” on the Shark Tank series, he’s developed a reputation for championing the underdogs on the show and helping them move their business models to the next level. An innovator, angel investor, television personality, author and motivational speaker, Daymond John is also a U.S. Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.

Please plan to join me on December 1. And more importantly, please extend an invitation to the entrepreneurs, the innovators and the dreamers in your organization or company to join you. We must all be relentlessly fostering and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation so that Wichita becomes synonymous with economic opportunity.

Follow Daymond John @TheSharkDaymond on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Register to attend
Daymond John bio
Daymond John video – The Power of Broke (2 minutes)

Annual Meeting - Twitter

Introducing our 2016 Leadership Wichita class

Thirty-one Wichita-area citizens have been selected to participate in the 2016 Leadership Wichita class, a leadership training program presented by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Leadership Wichita participants are identified through a nomination process, followed by submission of a formal application to the program’s Board of Trustees for selection.

“Leadership Wichita provides professionals the training to use their talents and skills to tackle local needs, such as education and economic development,” said Tyler Heffron, Chair of Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees. “Past participants of Leadership Wichita have made significant changes in our community, and this year’s class will graduate equipped with the insight to build upon their professional successes to make Wichita an even better place to work, live and play.”

The 2016 class will participate in eight sessions that cover issues such as economic development and the future vision for Wichita, workforce development and the impact of ensuring a highly educated workforce in our community, the importance of consensus within government, along with building leadership skills through real-life examples, group discussions and collaboration.

The 2016 Leadership Wichita class will begin Thursday, Sept. 8 and will conclude Thursday, Nov. 17.

2016 Leadership Wichita Class

  • Aaron Bastian, Fidelity Bank
  • Shannon Benoit, Wichita Public Schools
  • Laura Bernstorf, Airbus Americas Engineering
  • Vicki Bond, Medical Provider Resources
  • Ann Buckendahl, Via Christi Health
  • Stacey Burke, Sedgwick County Sherriff’s Office
  • Scott Crawford, Kansas Collegiate Athletics Conference
  • Heather Denker, Greater Wichita Partnership
  • Katy Dorrah, Mark Arts (formerly Wichita Center for the Arts)
  • Ben Drouhard, Citizens Bank of Kansas
  • Holly Dyer, Foulston Siefkin
  • Ryan Entz, Sasnak Management Corporation
  • James Finkeldei, Catholic Diocese of Wichita
  • Mandy Fleming, Youth Entrepreneurs
  • Clark Goetzinger, Westar Energy
  • Josh Herrman, Hutton Construction
  • Troy Houtman, City of Wichita
  • Kevin Hunt, Spirit AeroSystems
  • Diane Iseman, INTRUST Bank
  • Tracy Lucas, High Touch Technologies
  • Lindsay Poe Rousseau, Sedgwick County
  • Alicia Sanchez, Wichita State University
  • Nicole Schaar, Bank SNB
  • Mallory Schwan, House of Schwan
  • Carmen Simon-Phillips, SJCF Architecture
  • Kent Simpson, KCoe Isom
  • Greg Unruh, Wichita Area Technical College
  • Bradley Warzeka, Cargill Meat Solutions
  • Leslie Wessel, J.P. Weigand & Sons Wessel Team Home Sales
  • Ken White, Howerton + White
  • Col. Vonda Wigal, Kansas Air National Guard

Please join us in congratulating this year’s class!

The 2015 Leadership Wichita class heard from Wichita entrepreneur & Freddy's Frozen Custard co-founder Scott Redler.

The 2015 Leadership Wichita class heard from Wichita entrepreneur & Freddy’s Frozen Custard co-founder Scott Redler.

Envision helps bring home the gold, silver and bronze

They say teamwork makes the dream work and we’re seeing a lot of that happening during this year’s Olympic games. It’s been a great ride and so uplifting to watch athletes from all around the world support each other. That encouragement makes all the difference and helps propel them to the medal stand.

Teamwork makes the dream work at the Chamber, too. This week we had an opportunity at our Federal Issue Forum luncheon to recognize one of our many outstanding partners who not only support our important government relations work, but also teams up with our Communications and Investor Relations Department on printed materials.

Photo Jan 27, 9 24 14 AMLast year Michael Monteferrante and his team at Envision stepped forward and agreed to make it possible for the Chamber’s Annual Summary to incorporate some extra flair. You may recall seeing the folded flag-shaped summary at our 2015 Annual Meeting or you may have noticed it when it arrived in your mailbox last January.  We enjoyed seeing photos of it shared across several social media platforms and hearing from some members who considered it a keepsake. In fact, one of our Chamber members still has it posted on their retail storefront window.

The Wichita flag piece has received three awards during the last six months.

  • GOLD – First Place award from the Kansas Professional Communicators
  • SILVER – Second in the Wichita American Marketing Association competition
  • BRONZE – An Honorable Mention from the National Federation of Press Women

These awards would not have been possible without the generosity of Michael Monteferrante and his team at Envision. We are very grateful for his partnership and the awards he and his team helped deliver to the Chamber.

And we’re grateful for the many other partnerships that propel the Chamber and our members toward our vision of making this region the premier place to grow companies, careers and communities. It’s through your investment and efforts that we can make the dream work.

Chamber President Gary Plummer (left) presented Michael Montana, Teresa Houston and Michael Monteferrante of Envision with commemorative frame as a token of appreciation for their partnership.

Chamber President Gary Plummer (left) presented Michael Montana, Teresa Houston and Michael Monteferrante of Envision with a commemorative frame as a token of appreciation for their partnership.

Making business easier, one app at a time

A recap of the August Sunrise Scrambler

Back by popular demand was a panel of Chamber members to share their favorite apps and tools that make doing business easier and more efficient. Our thanks to these panelists for sharing their knowledge with us at yesterday’s Sunrise Scrambler:

  • Brad Painchaud, Director of Business Development at Squid Ink Creative (Moderator)
  • Carlos Fernandez, Co-founder of Clutch Studio
  • Jordan Walker, Digital Director at Greteman Group
  • Bill Ramsey, Director of Communications for The Insurance Guys and Owner of uBreakiFix
  • Kevin Falting, Founder & Director of Wichitalks

                      Ramsey, Walker, Falting, Painchaud & Fernandez


First to the podium was Carlos Fernandez to speak about Snapchat.

  • With over 100 million daily active users and 400 million snaps per day, Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social networks.
  • The network is becoming a vital part of global marketing strategies with 71% of users falling into the 18-34 age range.
  • Carlos utilizes Snapchat for his personal brand, as it facilitates a one-on-one conversation with followers/clients.
  • You can’t deny the numbers: there are 100 million active Snapchat users, producing 10 billion snaps per day.

Jordan Walker recommends using WorldCard to organize and curate the business cards we all receive on a daily basis.

  • WorldCard puts business card information at your fingertips. You no longer have to search for cards.
  • It’s easy to use and fairly accurate with the scanning capabilities (although the paid version is much more accurate and it’s only $6.99.)
  • It syncs the data to your phone and email. You are also able to create categories to optimize organization.
  • The app uses the phone’s camera to scan.

Bill uses Genius Scan + to house all business expense receipts.

  • It has a simple, easy to use, interface.
  • No longer have to carry wads of receipts around, or lose them. Bill joked that he has no idea how much money has come out of his personal pocket over the years because of lost or illegible receipts.
  • Genius Scan + enhances receipt images, saves as PDF (which your accounting department will love) and uploads files directly to Dropbox.


Kevin recommended using Slack as an alternative to email for team communication.

  • Slack is simple to get started and use.
  • It promotes communication, collaboration, and is searchable.
  • Sharing files is made easy and file size limits are much larger than email.


A special thank you goes out to the sponsors of yesterday’s Sunrise Scrambler: Emprise Bank (Presenting Sponsor); Eberly Farm (Host Sponsor); and Burnell’s Fine Jewelry & Design (Showcase Biz Sponsor).

See photos from the event on our Facebook page.


Save the date for our next Sunrise Scrambler on Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, then head down to Century II Expo Hall for Exposure (Wichita’s largest business-to-business trade show)!

Pompeo Updates Chamber Membership

DSC_0046The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted U.S. Congressman Mike Pompeo at a Federal Issues Forum luncheon today. Pompeo shared his thoughts on the upcoming U.S. Presidential election, the current regulatory environment for businesses, the state of the economy, military issues and the current risks and threats to national security.

A question and answer period followed his presentation. Pompeo took questions from Chamber members about these topics:

  • Congressional conflict and the need for bipartisan efforts to move the country forward
  • The findings of the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi
  • Agricultural security and the safety of the U.S. food supply chain
  • Viable options for combatting and defeating radical Islamic terrorism threats to this country
  • Challenges facing the nation’s healthcare system

Pompeo ended the Federal Issues Forum with remarks about his confidence in the ability of Americans to find innovative solutions to the issues facing our communities and our country.

Special thanks to presenting sponsor, Envision, for today’s event. Gold sponsors included AT&T, Cox Communications, Koch Industries, Inc., Legacy Bank, Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., and the McGinty Machine Co., Inc. AGH Wealth Management provided an E-Media Sponsorship.

Please plan to join other Chamber members at the Congressional Summit, featuring the entire Kansas Federal Delegation, on October 14, the Local Elected Officials Reception on November 10, and the Chamber Issue Forum featuring Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell on December 14.

Photos from today’s event are posted on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

Wichita flag gains VIP status in VIP Wichita Magazine

Wichita Eagle publisher Roy Heatherly is an enthusiastic community champion and an active Chamber Board member. And he understands how passionate our Chamber staff is about promoting Wichita and elevating community pride. So we were happy to comply when he asked us to contribute a short article to his organization’s newest monthly publication, VIP Wichita Magazine.

VIP Magazine_Aug16

It was a great opportunity to partner with the Eagle and invite more Wichitans to be part of the #WichitaFlag and #ILoveWichita movement. The article on pages 14-18 of the August edition of VIP Wichita Magazine includes interviews with just a few of the movement’s earliest supporters.

While we didn’t have the time or the resources to profile everyone who has played a role in promoting Wichita’s pride over the last decade, we feel like that’s great news! Because there are so many organizations and people now united in propelling Wichita’s image forward, we could easily fill all the pages of several issues of VIP Wichita Magazine with fascinating stories and compelling images.

Wichita native Ben Faires provided an added bonus to the article we developed. He videotaped some of the interviews and then produced a short video that has already been viewed more than 4,000 times on the Wichita Flag Facebook page. A film student at Washburn University, Ben donated his time and talent to produce this tribute to his hometown, which he titled The Resurgence of the Wichita Flag.

We’re grateful to Roy for this opportunity, to Ben for his gift of the video and to everyone who made time to participate in interviews for the article. And we applaud and appreciate all those who are dedicated to improving Wichita and growing pride in those things that make Wichita so special.

Don’t miss these other Chamber-related features in the August issue of VIP Wichita Magazine.

  • YPW #ILoveWichita T-Shirt Unveiling event, page 7
  • Chamber’s Metro Maui Mingle event, pages 32-33
  • Why I Love Wichita feature with two former Chamber Board members, page 40