Local Awards to Celebrate Local Honorees

By Rachel Douglass
Manager of Membership & Engagement

The Chamber’s annual Honors Night celebrates an outstanding individual, exemplary corporate citizens, exceptional commitments to the community, and striking architectural achievements. Each honor is bestowed in recognition of a unique contribution to the enhancement of our community.

The event is a tradition started more than 50 years ago in 1963. New this year, though, will be the honorees’ awards. For the 2017 Honors Night, three local glassblowers were commissioned to create awards for our six honorees (listed below). Bob Adams, Chad Droegemeier and Robin Lies are glass blowing instructors at Chamber Member CityArts. They not only agreed to assist in the creation of the awards, but they plan to use the award proceeds to purchase new blow pipes and wooden blocks for CityArts.

Chad Droegemeier works to create one of the awards that will presented at Honors Night on April 11.

“This was a great opportunity for us to partner with the Chamber on a long-standing Wichita program, while also giving back to a studio that offers so much to Wichita’s art scene,” said Robin Lies, General Manager of Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design (also a Chamber member).

“As a Chamber that strives to celebrate Wichita pride, it felt like a natural decision to recognize our Wichita honorees with locally-made awards,” said Angie Elliott, Vice President of Membership & Engagement. Glass blown awards will also be presented to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Small Business Awards recipients this May.

Honors Night 2017 will be held Tuesday, April 11, at Textron Aviation Activity Center, 9710 E. Central. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling 265-7771.

The 2017 Honors Night recipients are as follows:

  • Uncommon Citizen: Dawson Grimsley of Davis-Moore Auto Group
  • Exceptional Young Leader: Chris Callen of Builders Plus Construction
  • Spirit of Wichita: Foley Equipment Company
  • Over the Years: Conco Construction and Howard + Helmer Architecture
  • Keeper of the Plains: Wichita Art Museum Art Garden

    Robin Lies is the general manager of Burnell’s Fine Jewelry and Design and a glass blowing instructor at CityArts.

Annual Meeting one month from today

Daymond's BlackSuit

Daymond John

Our Annual Meeting is one month from today, and official invitations are in your mailbox. We hope you are planning to join us on Dec. 1 when Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank, visits Wichita as our event keynote speaker.

An innovator, angel investor, television personality, author and motivational speaker, Daymond has developed a reputation for championing underdogs on Shark Tank and helping them accelerate their business models. In addition to his prepared comments, he will be interacting on stage with local entrepreneurs (announcement coming soon!). Tickets are still available and start at only $35.

New this year, the dinner portion of the Annual Meeting will be a Networking Gala with food stations and cocktail tables throughout the hall, rather than a plated dinner. It will serve as a great celebration to help kickoff the Chamber’s 2017 Centennial year.

Ticket Pricing
Corporate Host Sponsorship (Eight tickets to the Networking Gala & reserved program seating): $1,200
Individual ticket for dinner and program: $115
Program only, general seating: $55
Program only, balcony seating: $35

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit wichitachamber.org/AnnualMeeting.

Who is Wichita?

A Call to Action for Intentional Inclusion
By Courtney Hough


Young Professionals of Wichita members Courtney Hough, Ellen Decker and Ebony Clemons on the 2016 City-to-City trip.

I moved to Wichita from Detroit fifteen months ago and in that short period of time, I have learned about Wichita’s culture and the passion that people have for the Emerald City/Air Capital. I’ve made it a point to get to know my community by being a part of it. But when I boarded the plane for my first City-to-City Leadership visit, I did not know what to expect. I knew only a handful of people and questioned if I could relate to our group and if I added any value to the experience. Let’s just say that by the end of trip, I was sharing work and family stories and I had a voice! This experience allowed me to be the change that is being demanded from our community.

Wichita’s population is extremely diverse since there are many Hispanic, Asian, African American, Native American, African, and LGBTQ communities within the city. The diversity of our population is not always reflected in our businesses and the identity of Wichita. I think this City- to-City Leadership Visit opened our eyes to ways we can rebrand and develop a “Wichita for Everyone.”

Our biggest “ah-ha” moment was learning ways to engage and mentor young professionals. There is usually a negative perception of who millennials are and the tone is sometimes dismissive. The idea presented was to target 21 to 40-year-old professionals to mentor and mold them and to enhance their leadership and professional development skills. This will stabilize Wichita’s development, retain talent and increase opportunities. The reality is that in twenty years, many of our current community leaders and CEOs will be retired or will no longer be in a leadership capacity, so we are the future of Wichita! Opportunities for professional development and community outreach must be abundant to retain young talent.

My challenge to every Wichitan is to invest: invest in our businesses, invest in our children and young people, invest in our disenfranchised communities, and invest in our infrastructure. We must invest in order to recreate and grow!

Courtney is the Strategic Engagement Specialist at United Way of the Plains, as well as a YPW Access Team member and volunteer. She participated in the Chamber’s 2016 City-to-City Leadership Visit to Nashville in September. 

Recap of Exposure 2016

When the Exposure show floor closed at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29, nearly 1,800 people had visited booths of 200+ Wichita-area companies. Connection were made. Deals were done. Fun was had. Our thanks to everyone who helped make Exposure 2016 a success, especially our presenting sponsor, Cox Business.

If you weren’t able to attend the show, you can check out photos of the event on our Facebook page. Then be sure to save the date of Thursday, September 28 for Exposure 2017. If you would like to receive information about exhibiting in 2017, let us know now and we’ll begin contacting exhibitors in April.

Although many of the exhibits topped our favorites lists, the panel of judges chose the following companies to be recognized. Congrats to all!


Best Biz Bite | Hooters of America


Best Branded | Xclusive Events


Best In Show | Cox Business


Best Table Top | Workforce Centers of South Central Kansas


Best Technology | Builders Plus Construction


Most Spirited | Auto Craft Collision Repair


People’s Choice | Davis-Moore Auto Group


Rookie of the Year | Range 54

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.

Chamber welcomes Senator Moran to Wichita

042U.S. Senator Jerry Moran made a in stop in Wichita yesterday to address 115 Chamber members and Wichita business leaders at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. After warming up the crowd with a few jokes (“For those of you who I have offended by being a Jayhawk, I can assure you that all of my money has gone to K-State after both of my daughter chose to be Wildcats”), the Senator spoke favorably about the people of Wichita and about his passion “to make things better for Kansas. I want to ensure that our kids will call Kansas ‘home’ in the future.”

DSC_0088Following the Senator’s presentation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Director of Congressional and Public Affairs Scott Eckart presented him with the Spirit of Enterprise Award, citing the Senator’s record of voting in alignment with the Chamber’s scorecard in the large majority of situations.

Below is a short recap of the topics Senator Moran touched on.

Economy & National Debt
The Senator expressed his concern about a stagnant economy, both nationally and in Kansas. He indicated that reducing the national debt is why he ran for office. “Unfortunately a lot of what goes on in Washington is detrimental to the economy, and that’s what we are about wanting to change.”

Wichita’s Aviation Industry
The Senator referenced his reputation in D.C. as an aviation advocate. “I want you to know that I take this industry seriously and I have been working to put myself in a position of influence in regards to the decisions made that impact the aeronautics industry.” He now co-chairs the Aerospace Caucus and is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

McConnell Air Force Base
In regards to the arrival of the KC-46A Tanker mission to McConnell, the Senator said, “There are many projects that are occurring in preparation for the tanker. Our Defense Appropriations Sub-Committee recommended another $19.8M in new construction on the base, which will result in a boost in the surrounding economy.” What is good for McConnell is good for Wichita.

Department of Labor (DOL) Ruling
In regards to the recent DOL ruling about overtime pay, Senator Moran indicated he and others are working to find  a compromise that is not as harmful to business, adding, “The Department of Labor is in our crosshairs.”

Veteran Affairs
The Senator assured the audience that as a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he will continue to work until all veterans have access to needed assistance through the local VAs.

Photos from the event can be found on our Facebook page. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Cox Communications, for making the event possible. Other sponsors included Koch Industries, Meritrust Credit Union and GLMV Architecture.

Dolezal named CFO for Chamber, Greater Wichita Partnership

Marlo Dolezal web

Marlo Dolezal has accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Chamber and the Greater Wichita Partnership. She begins her duties on December 14.

Marlo earned her Accounting degree from Kansas State University and holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Her resume includes seven years in key leadership roles at the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland and seven additional years of financial management in the private sector. She is a Rotarian and a current member of the Chamber’s Leadership Wichita class.

Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, said the new position will provide financial expertise for both the Chamber and the Partnership. Chamber Senior Vice President of Operations, Gerald Holman, currently manages the Chamber’s finances and will be transferring his duties to Marlo in anticipation of his retirement early next year.

Jeff Fluhr, President of the Greater Wichita Partnership, said filling the CFO position is another important step in the implementation of the Partnership. He added, “Marlo was selected after an extensive search for this important role. I was very impressed with the strategic skills she demonstrated during the interview process. She’ll be a great addition to our team.”

All they do is win! #ICTexpo hosts best of the best

We like to say that everyone who participates in Exposure is a winner, but there are some who really stood out from the crowd. Those exhibitors were crowned with this year’s coveted Exposure Awards.

Most Spirited - Hotel at Waterwalk

Most Spirited – Hotel at Waterwalk


Best Tabletop – Sunflower Bank

Best Tabletop – Sunflower Bank


Best Biz Bite – Xclusive Event Services

Best Biz Bite – Xclusive Event Services


Best Technology – Cybertron

Best Technology – Cybertron


Rookie of the Year – The Workroom

Rookie of the Year – The Workroom


Best in Show – Kent Audio Visual & Squid Ink Creative

Best in Show – Kent Audio Visual & Squid Ink Creative

@kentavwichita and @squidinkcre8iv

People’s Choice – Cornerstone Design & Development

People’s Choice – Cornerstone Design & Development



If you missed out (or just want to relive day), visit our Facebook page to see event photos or search #ICTexpo on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you to all who exhibited, attended and sponsored Exposure 2015, especially to our presenting sponsor, Cox Business.

Eight tips for making the most of Exposure

Exposure is this Thursday! We shared some Expo prep tips last week, and here are a few for the big day.

  1. Bring plenty of business cards for exchanging with new contacts and to enter drawings.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes so you can easily cover the showroom floor.
  3. Bring your social media game, pick up a Wichita Flag pin, and win prizes for sharing what you love about Wichita.
  4. Warm up your vocal chords and bring you’re A-game to the Squid Ink & Kent Audio Visual booth for a Karaoke Showdown
  5. Bring your appetite so you can taste test some Biz Bites from local restaurants.
  6. Say a special hello to the 65 exhibitors who are NEW to Exposure this year.
  7. Practice your right to vote for the new “People’s Choice” award for your favorite booth or table display.
  8. Stick around for the end of the day when the exhibitor award winners are announced and the buffet table is set.

Download the complimentary ticket at WichitaBusinessExposure.com.

2015 Exposure Brochure-1

Bossing, Managing and Leading: is there a difference?

Wichita-native Aaron Bushell dropped some leadership insight at this morning’s Sunrise Scrambler when he presented “Are You a Boss, a Manager, or a Leader?” While many may quickly think, “Is there really a difference in those titles?”, the 150 Scrambler attendees learned there is a difference and were asked to assess where they fall on the spectrum. Here is a quick recap of some of Aaron’s main points.

Bushell presented to a sold-out Sunrise Scrambler crowd at Wesley Medical Center.

Bushell presented to a sold-out Sunrise Scrambler crowd at Wesley Medical Center.


  • This title typically has a negative connotation. Hollywood is filled with depictions of bad bosses.
  • They tend to lead with force.
  • They inspire fear.
  • They take credit for team success.



  • This title has a more positive connotation.
  • These are the people who get things done and make things happen.
  • They lead with authority.
  • They inspire goodwill.
  • They are included in the credit for team success.



  • These are the people who drive and create the vision for an organization.
  • They lead through engagement.
  • They inspire passionate followers.
  • They communicate a vision.
  • They defer credit for success to their team.


In other words? Don’t be a boss. Be a manager or a leader. Leaders set the vision and managers make it happen, and it takes both kinds of people to have a successful organization. As Emily Millspaugh of Susan G. Komen tweeted, “No leader is an island. Find your perfect partner, the yin to your yang. If you’re a doer, find a dreamer, & vice versa.”

See all of the conversation from the event on Twitter using #ChamberICT, and find photos from the event on our Facebook page. Thank you to our wonderful sponsors, Emprise Bank and Wesley Medical Center.

Join us for the next Sunrise Scrambler on Sept. 24, then head down to the 2015 Exposure show floor! This Scrambler sells out every year, so be sure to register in advance because we will not be taking walk ups. Register here!