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2017

4/26/2017 - Partnership Simultaneously Promoting Region Nationally, Internationally - Staff attending tradeshows in Orlando, Fla. and Hannover, Germany this week

Wichita, Kan. – The Greater Wichita Partnership in collaboration with private- and public-sector partners are spanning the globe this week to strategically market south-central Kansas to a variety of national and international audiences and industries.

Andrew Nave, executive vice president of economic development for the Greater Wichita Partnership (Partnership), is currently in Hannover Germany where he has joined more than 150,000 industry professionals for the world’s largest industrial trade show, Hannover Messe. Nave is attending the event alongside the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) to promote south-central Kansas’ strengths in advanced manufacturing as well as its real estate and workforce training solutions.

“Attending Hannover is a great opportunity for the region to gain valuable international exposure,” said Nave. “There are people here from all over the world who are discovering the centrality of advanced manufacturing talent and resources awaiting them in south-central Kansas.”

While Nave is representing the region in Germany, a delegation of private-sector business, public partners and the Greater Wichita Partnership team are in Orlando, Fla. showcasing the Air Capital of the World at MRO Americas, a trade show catering to the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector. This year marks the second time the Partnership has exhibited at the show which expects to have more than 15,000 industry professionals in attendance. To highlight prime real estate currently available for development in the region, along with its 300-company plus supply chain, the Partnership is joined at the show by the City of Wichita/Airport Authority and Etezazi Industries.

“This is the first time we have attended MRO Americas and it has already been extremely beneficial,” said Amir Etezazi, CEO. “As a relatively young company we are making valuable industry connections that simply wouldn’t have been possible without the collective support of the Partnership.”

A video showcasing the two partners in the MRO booth can be found at https://youtu.be/Kf4_IDL4TKg.

Hannover Messe and MRO Americas are the first two major shows the Partnership and its community partners will be exhibiting at this year. In June, a delegation led by the State of Kansas and supported by the Greater Wichita Partnership will highlight numerous regional companies at the Paris Air Show, an event that attracts nearly 400,000 visitors from more than 90 countries. In October, the Partnership will lead an Air Capital of the World delegation to the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, a target industry for the south-central Kansas region. Other shows and events the organization will be participating in include the UAS Cluster Initiative Tech Forum, AUVSI Xponential, Inc. 5000 Conference, and FABTECH.

12/7/2016 - BREG Announces Advanced Manufacturing Forum - An Event to explore best practices in manufacturing operations from around the region

Wichita, Kan. – The Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG), an initiative of the Greater Wichita Partnership and regional partners, will present a free Advanced Manufacturing Forum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tues. Dec. 13 at the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita (4004 N. Webb Road). This one-day event will bring together industry leaders from across the region to explore the partnerships and innovations that will keep south-central Kansas at the forefront of advanced manufacturing in the U.S.

Topics covered during the forum will include supply chain management, automation, workforce development and innovation. In addition, participants will get a chance to connect with numerous community resource providers during a networking lunch.

“We have all of the experience and building blocks it takes to be competitive in advanced manufacturing around the globe right here in this region,” said Paul Jonas, director of new business development & special projects at the National Institute for Aviation Research and co-chair of BREG’s Advanced Manufacturing & Materials Industry Sector. “This Advanced Manufacturing Forum is designed to get us talking about ways to look creatively at supply chain and automation while making a dedicated effort to integrating innovation into our daily thinking.”

Participants will hear from industry leaders and engage in a discussion of what our region can do next to cultivate our advanced manufacturing ecosystem.

“We have planned a day of stimulating presentations and discussions that not only highlight the advanced manufacturing assets and activities we have within our region, but provide us with the opportunity to learn more about many workforce development solutions that are being initiated to supply the employees our companies need today, tomorrow and into the future,” said Ron Weddle, co-Chair of BREG’s Advanced Manufacturing & Materials Industry Sector.

The Forum is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Commerce, the National Center for Aviation Training, the National Institute of Aviation Research, Wichita Area Technical College and Wichita Manufacturer’s Association.

“This conference showcases how BREG’s strong volunteer leadership is creating meaningful collisions that will accelerate our regional growth,” stated Craig Bay, director of special projects overseeing BREG initiatives at the Greater Wichita Partnership. “Collectively we look forward to the outcomes of this event that will advance the environment where industries can succeed.”

For more information, and to register for this free conference, visit AdvancedManufacturingForum.com.

11/7/2016 - New company formed with plans to locate advanced manufacturing facility in Wichita

A Japanese-based company and Wichita-based Lubrication Engineers, Inc. have announced plans to form a new company and locate an advanced manufacturing facility in Wichita.

Plans call for Kyodo Yushi Manufacturing Americas to be a joint venture between Kyodo Yushi USA, Inc. and Lubrication Engineers, Inc. The new company’s headquarters and manufacturing facility would be located at 29th and Mead. The joint venture would produce lubricants for the automotive industry at the Wichita location. Founded 80 years ago, Kyodo Yushi is one of the leading grease manufacturers in the world.

“We are excited to announce these plans for our company and for Wichita,” said Scott Schwindaman, President and CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc. “The more we talked, the more we realized our two companies share a similar culture of quality and innovation. We look forward to being part of this new venture, and we’re excited about it for the community too because of the growth, diversification and potential for advanced research.”

Hitoshi Samejima, president of Kyodo Yushi USA, Inc. said, “We are excited about this planned partnership and venture. We look forward to getting to know Wichita and the community better, and in the planning process, the people we have met through the Greater Wichita Partnership, the city and others have been very welcoming.”

“Kyodo Yushi would be a welcome addition to the vibrant employer mix in Wichita,” said Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. “We would be honored for them to choose to invest their growth in Wichita. This international partnership is testament to the opportunity Wichita offers growing businesses.”

“This announcement demonstrates how foreign direct investment partners can bring new opportunity to our community,” said Karyn Page, CEO and President of Kansas Global Trade Services. “It shows the foresight of investment in our Export Ecosystem and the Foreign Direct Investment planning initiative, which help Kansas businesses compete in the global marketplace.

According to Jeff Fluhr, Greater Wichita Partnership, the proposal is a validation of the Partnership process, the export plan and the new foreign direct investment planning now underway.

“Lubrication Engineers produces highly engineered and highest quality products for the world. Kyodo Yushi is an extremely well respected international company. Their venture is a perfect example of how a local company can expand in completely new ways to create growth here.”

Planning for the KyodoYushi Manufacturing America’s manufacturing facility is underway. The new company’s chosen location at 29th and Mead used to be Cargill’s innovation and research center before it moved downtown several years ago. 

10/27/16 - Greater Wichita Partnership hires Léah Sakr Lavender for new Talent Specialist position

Working in conjunction with area companies, the City of Wichita and other partners, the Greater Wichita Partnership has created a new Talent Specialist position and hired Léah Sakr Lavender. The new position is responsible for coordinating efforts to advance the community’s workforce development strategies.

“Companies have identified that the recruitment of talent and the development of workforce is central to their success,” said Jeff Fluhr, Greater Wichita Partnership President. “The Partnership created this position to work with companies to aggressively market the assets of our community and to complement their recruitment efforts.”

Lavender brings diverse work and cultural experience to the role having worked and lived in United Arab Emirates, Australia, Spain and the United States, working in both corporate and education positions. Most recently, Lavender worked as an academic coach and mentor with previous roles as a human resources manager, media analyst and high school teacher. 

“I am looking forward to connecting with members of the community and to start supporting shared workforce strategies,” Lavender said. “The Wichita region has so much to offer, and I am excited to share its story with people and talent of all ages to ensure we have the right workforce for the future. I am ready to start collaborating with all the great organizations that are already doing incredible work in retention and recruitment.”

Lavender holds her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of New South Wales in Sydney and her Master of Teaching at the University of Sydney graduating from both with honors. She looks forward to applying her international and cultural experiences to the role and is fluent in English, French, Arabic and Spanish.

“Local businesses tell us the same thing we hear nationally:  that we must keep and recruit the highly skilled and highly creative talent to be globally competitive,” Fluhr said. “Because this is such an important position, we included human resource professionals from a variety of companies on this search committee. Léah will do a great job forging new, global strategies to retain and recruit talent while accelerating and connecting existing efforts to retrain workers."

10/26/2016 - The Region Blazes the Aviation Trail attending NBAA   Wichita, Celebrating 100 Years as the Air Capital

To recognize a century of aviation’s pioneers, leaders and innovators, the Greater Wichita Partnership, in conjunction with 19 organizations and private sector companies, will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Air Capital of the World November 1 - 3 during the 2016 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Orlando, Fla.

In September 1916, the first full-scale manufacturing facility became operational in Wichita, Kan., just as the aviation industry was taking off. Fast-forward to today where the world’s greatest aviation brands (Textron Aviation with Beechcraft/Cessna Aircraft company, Airbus, Bombardier Learjet and Spirit AeroSystems) working with more than 300 world-class suppliers, are designing and building the world’s fleet of commercial and general aviation aircraft. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) trade show provides the platform to promote the Air Capital of the World’s capabilities to 27,000 aircraft owners, industry professionals, manufacturers, and customers.

Jeff Fluhr, President of the Greater Wichita Partnership said, “We are proud to have our largest NBAA delegation to-date attend the tradeshow to promote business in the Air Capital of the World and help us celebrate 100 years of blazing the aviation trail.”

Representatives from the 20 organizations and companies listed below will participate and promote their Air Capital products and services in booth #653:

Associated Industries

Image Resources Group

BodyCote

Kansas Department of Commerce

Butler County

National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT)

C.E. Machine

National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR)

City of Wichita

Omni Aerospace

GLMV Architecture

Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC)

Greater Wichita Partnership

Sedgwick County

Harlow Aerostructures

SouthWind Global Aviation 

Harvey County

Wichita Aero Club

Hutton Construction

Wichita Airport Authority

 

Exciting new booth features include:

  • YuMi the Robot from the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) is programmed to build customized vintage button for guests to commemorate the great brands who have built the Air Capital;
  • zSpace Virtual Reality from the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT), showcasing the latest virtual reality educational tool that will lead the training of the next generation of aviation technicians;
  • Air Capital historical exhibit including displays featured at the newly constructed Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport from the Wichita Airport Authority.

Air Capital booth amenities will include:

  • Phone charging station;
  • Open meeting and seating areas;
  • Beverage and snack service sponsored by the Wichita Airport Authority.

All NBAA attendees are invited to attend a special anniversary reception from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1 in the Air Capital delegation booth #653.  The 100 Year Anniversary Celebration will be hosted by Wichita City Council members Pete Meitzner and Jeff Blubaugh, assistant city manager Scot Rigby, Sedgwick County deputy manager Tom Golden, Greater Wichita Partnership president Jeff Fluhr and the Greater Wichita Partnership team.

9/28/2016 - Pride-in-Place Meetups aim to share, spread Wichita pride Events to be held from 5-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 and 13 at Distillery 244 Old Town

In celebration of the groundswell of pro-Wichita initiatives currently underway in the community, the Perceptions Task Force, a group sponsored by the Greater Wichita Partnership, will be holding two Pride-in-Place Meetups from 5-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 and 13 at Distillery 244 Old Town (244 N. Mosley) to both share what’s currently being done to promote Wichita and look for opportunities for future collaboration.

“There are so many people doing such great things, that we just thought they should all come together to talk and look for ways to join forces,” said Jerry Jones, vice president of commercial development for Slawson Companies and co-chair of the Perceptions Task Force alongside Laura Bernstorf, senior project management specialist, Airbus Americas Engineering; Moji Fanimokun, attorney and consultant and Roy Heatherly, publisher, The Wichita Eagle

Each Pride-in-Place Meetup will feature a set of five guest presenters ranging from private businesses to non-profit community organizations who will outline the work they are doing to raise the city’s profile. Presenters include: City of Wichita, Fidelity Bank, Marketplace Properties, Visit Wichita, Wichita Community Foundation, The Wichita Eagle, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Wichita State University, The Workroom and Yellowbrick Street Team.

The events are free and open to the public and will include a happy hour prior to each night’s presentations to provide an opportunity for attendees to network and share ideas. Following the events, the Perceptions Task Force will determine what future events may take place while looking for ways to catalog the information gathered, identify areas of opportunity and catalyze current efforts.

To learn more about the Pride-in-Place Meetups, visit facebook.com/greaterwichitapartnership and click on “events.” 

9/20/2016 - Greater Wichita Partnership Announces Andrew Nave as Executive Vice President of Economic Development

Andrew Nave will join the Greater Wichita Partnership as executive vice president of economic development beginning the first week of October.

“This is a key hire for our team and our community, and after an extensive search, we are glad to have Andrew joining the Partnership,” Greater Wichita Partnership President Jeff Fluhr said. “Andrew’s background and experience are an excellent fit, plus his attitude and skills—from strategic thinking to intense focus—complement the direction of the Partnership and region.”

Nave has served as executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council for the past five years leading all its economic development efforts. A Kansas native, he has served in economic development positions in the Kansas City region of Johnson County, Overland Park and Shawnee for the past decade and before that as executive director for Wright County Industrial Development Authority in south-central Missouri.  

“As a native Kansan, I’m excited to join the growing Partnership team and work for the state’s economic engine,” Nave said. “It’s an exciting time as the Partnership—with its public and private partners—looks at the region comprehensively through new strategies such as the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth.”

Nave will develop, lead and work with staff on business retention and recruitment initiatives, the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth and marketing the community to existing and prospective businesses.

As executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council, Nave supported companies and entrepreneurs in the creation of jobs and capital investments. As the business recruitment and retention manager for the Overland Park Economic Development Council, he implemented a systematic business retention and expansion program for more than 350 local companies that utilized volunteers.

In addition to local businesses and volunteer leadership, Nave has worked closely with area commercial brokers, national and international site selectors and the Kansas Department of Commerce. He has also led marketing efforts in his economic development positions. Nave has experience working with regional economic development efforts in both urban and rural areas.

“We had an extensive search process that included input from stakeholders including our public and private partners, volunteers and our regional economic development partners,” Fluhr said. “We believed it was critical to engage partners in this process because it’s a key hire for the Partnership. We are continuing to aggressively market our region to our own businesses and to others looking for a great place to locate and invest. Andrew has experience in all aspects of how a community works closely with businesses to grow.”

Nave is a board member for the Southern Economic Development Council and chair elect of the Kansas Economic Development Alliance. He has served on committees for Shawnee Mission School District, Johnson County Government and County Economic Research Institute. He is certified in economic development through the International Economic Development Council.

Nave is a graduate of Pittsburg State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics.

In April of 2015, private-sector leadership announced the initiative to form the Greater Wichita Partnership to align and focus overall economic development efforts. In addition to Nave, Partnership executive vice presidents include Jason Gregory, executive vice president, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation; Jaimie Garnett, executive vice president of strategic communications and Chief Financial Officer Marlo Dolezal.

7/27/2016 - NORC at the University of Chicago expands survey research operations into Wichita; Leading research organization offers quality, flexible, part-time jobs

NORC at the University of Chicago is opening a new survey research center in Wichita and is looking for employees to join its Telephone Surveys and Support Operations (TSSO) staff as interviewers and supervisors. The center is located near the intersection of 21st and Amidon at 2021 North Amidon, Suite 1300.

 

For more information on employment opportunities at the Wichita survey research center, please go to tssojobs.norc.org.

NORC is an independent research institution affiliated with the University of Chicago, and interviewers are vital to the organization’s nationwide survey research operation. Interviewers talk to people from every conceivable walk of life to obtain information on issues such as health care, employment, education, and many others. To be an interviewer, English proficiency is required. Written and verbal Spanish proficiency is a plus.

“We are looking to hire friendly and personable individuals who can reach out to people around the country on issues of importance for society,” said Jenny Kelly, the vice president who oversees TSSO at NORC. “We are thrilled to open a survey research center in Wichita. It is such a great city, and this location will give us greater capacity and flexibility. We have already received a warm welcome from local Wichita leaders and thank them for their support.”

NORC’s work has lasting social significance, and the data our interviewers gather helps legislators and other decision-makers involved in setting policy make informed decisions for the welfare of all Americans in an increasingly complex society. While interviewers will be conducting in-depth interviews, they will not be promoting or selling commercial products or services. NORC is a not-for-profit organization doing research for the public good.

“We are excited to bring operations of NORC, a worldwide research institution, to Wichita. Their innovative work paired with flexible scheduling creates attractive jobs for the region,” said Jeff Fluhr, president of the Greater Wichita Partnership.

NORC will be recruiting 300 interviewers for the new Wichita location. The job consists of the following:

  • Excellent starting wages
  • Meaningful work
  • Possibility of promotion and pay increase within the first 12 months
  • Successful NORC interviewers often are:
  • College students
  • Customer service professionals
  • Teachers or others looking for a second job
  • Retirees
  • Individuals interested in contributing to important research

For more information on employment opportunities at the survey research center in Wichita, please go to tssojobs.norc.org. You can also visit the Wichita Workforce Center, located at 2021 N. Amidon, Suite 1100, for scheduled information sessions starting August 2nd. For a list of dates and times of the informational sessions please visit the Wichita Workforce Center or workforce-ks.com.

About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

Headquartered in downtown Chicago, NORC works in over 40 countries around the world, with additional offices on the University of Chicago campus, the D.C. metro area, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Albuquerque, and Wichita.

NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other legally protected characteristics.

5/12/2016 - Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth Announces Event to Cultivate Healthcare Ecosystem

The Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) announced its upcoming Healthcare Innovation Forum today. The event, scheduled for Wednesday, June 1, 2016, will look at ways to expand our regional healthcare industry by focusing on the entrepreneurial and innovative activity within the fields of medicine and healthcare

“To significantly strengthen our health innovation ecosystem, we must take advantage of our university-based research and Wichita's long history of entrepreneurial risk-taking,” stated Bob Litan, Adjunct Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and one of the lead planners of the event. “This Healthcare Innovation Forum is designed to stimulate thinkers and doers in this city to help and expand on these efforts.”

Participants will hear unique points of view from top industry speakers along with presentations from entrepreneurs showcasing new discoveries and opportunities that could change the healthcare landscape.

They will then engage in a dynamic discussion of what our region can do next to cultivate our current healthcare ecosystem.

“We have planned a day of stimulating presentations and discussions that not only highlight the healthcare assets and activities we have presently within our region, but also gives us the opportunity to learn from leaders and entrepreneurs from around the country who have created a vibrant culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism specifically within healthcare,” said Jon Rosell, Executive Director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County and Co-Chair of BREG’s Healthcare Industry Sector.

The Forum is hosted by the Healthcare Industry Sector of the BREG, a 10-county initiative to grow the regional economy, which is implemented by the Greater Wichita Partnership and volunteer business leaders.

The Healthcare Innovation Forum is sponsored by of the Kansas Health Foundation and the Medical Society of Sedgwick County.

“This conference showcases how strong volunteer leadership of BREG is creating meaningful collisions that will accelerate our regional growth,” stated Craig Bay, Director of Special Projects over BREG. “Collectively we look forward to the outcomes of this event that will advance the environment where industries can succeed.”

February, 2016 - Wichita Wins Atlas Aerospace LLC Expansion

Atlas Aerospace LLC announced plans to expand its Wichita facility to meet increasing demands for a variety of aerospace products.

The expansion was considered for Atlas facilities in Wichita, KS; Bensalem, PA; Phoenix, AZ; and, Chihuahua, Mexico.  The Wichita location was chosen due to the current facility’s productive and cost-effective track record, the available skilled workforce in the region, Kansas’ sales tax exemption on machinery & equipment, and an attractive package provided by the state of Kansas.

Atlas Aerospace LLC plans to add about 100 jobs within the next year to its current employment of 426 at its production facility at 4425 W. May. Atlas Aerospace LLC is in the Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace clusters of the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG).

According to Atlas Aerospace LLC management, these products will require the move of $8 million of equipment from their Arizona facility, in addition to an investment of about $9 million in new capital for purchase of equipment and machinery and relocation and acquisition costs for relocated equipment.

Due to the aggressive sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment offered by the state of Kansas, Atlas Aerospace LLC will save over $1 million in sales tax exposure, in addition to qualifying for other state programs designed to grow the state’s economy and grow jobs, including:

  • Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK)
  • Kansas Industrial Training (KIT)
  • Kansas Industrial Retraining (KIR)
  • Workforce Recruitment & Screening Assistance

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition worked closely with the company, Sedgwick County, the City of Wichita and the State of Kansas to demonstrate the Air Capital’s workforce and training advantages for this expansion.

“It was obvious Wichita and the state of Kansas wanted the expansion to happen here,” said Phil Stephens with Atlas Aerospace LLC. “They made sure we understood all of the advantages, from workforce to tax savings to state programs; they made it incredibly compelling for our leadership to choose Wichita and the state of Kansas for this expansion.”

“To be able to assist in the expansion of a reputable and successful company like Atlas Aerospace LLC is truly a win for Kansas,” said Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave. “By supporting this expansion and this company we will now see additional job and industry growth in the Wichita area. The State of Kansas will to continue to look for ways to assist businesses like this in the future, as they help us maintain the kind of business environment and economic climate that had Atlas Aerospace choose Wichita, Kansas in the first place.”

“This is great news for Wichita and confirmation that the local workforce offers the productivity and efficiency needed to make the expansion a success,” said Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Howell. “I appreciate their commitment to expansion and job creation in Kansas, and I wish the company the best moving forward.”

“We know that companies look at all their options, so we thank Atlas Aerospace for choosing our community for their expansion,” said Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. “As a company with multiple facilities, we know they make business decisions based on several factors, and we are glad Wichita’s world-class workforce and industry training were important factors in their decision.”

“The state’s aggressive tax savings for manufacturers on machinery & equipment and a skilled aviation workforce were the perfect combination to win this expansion,” said Greater Wichita Partnership President Jeff Fluhr. “As long as we all work together to demonstrate the whole package of solutions we offer companies, then we will continue to win great expansions like this one with Atlas Aerospace.”

January, 2016 - Nitride Solutions chooses Wichita for production expansion

Nitride Solutions announced plans to increase their production of aluminum nitride products for a global marketplace from its Wichita headquarters.  The company currently employs ten people and has plans to add 39 new jobs over five years at an average wage of more than $58,000.  The company worked with the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) on its expansion plans. 

According to Jeremy Jones, President and CEO of Nitride Solutions, the company has experienced aggressive growth since it began in 2009, thanks to the support of savvy investors who believed in their innovation and the talented workforce available in the Wichita region.

 “Even though there are other states, especially North Carolina and California, more widely recognized for innovative material development, we feel Wichita is a critical factor in our success to-date, and especially moving forward,” Jones said. “Having access to the engineering expertise at the state universities is critical in developing the skills needed for these very innovative processes. We are creating a material that does not exist in nature, and it brings a unique combination of properties to electronic devices: wide bandgap, high thermal conductivity and high voltage resistance.”

“The right workforce is paramount to our success, and we believe growing here is the right choice”, said Jones.  “We are excited about our expanded capacity and bringing new jobs and opportunities to Wichita.  The GWEDC staff and the state of Kansas have been great resources and we are thankful for their help.

Nitride Solutions will invest $6 million in new equipment and renovation of their production facility located at 3333 W. Pawnee in Wichita.  The state of Kansas provided support for the expansion project.

"Companies like Nitride Solutions are what make Kansas an excellent location to grow and do business," said Kansas Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave. "Nitride Solutions' success in recent years, as well as its ability to grow and innovate in the Kansas Economy, provides vital jobs and business to Sedgwick County and to the state."

Nitride Solutions, which is within the advanced materials industry cluster identified in the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG), develops volume production process that bring aluminum nitride products to advanced electronics markets focused on projects that address global needs for safe water and air, more reliable power generation and transmission and higher-speed communications.

“We are so pleased a local entrepreneurial business that began here is choosing to grow here,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell, City of Wichita. “We know that it is small business that generates strong job growth in this country, and this is a great story of one of our own proving that point.”   

GWEDC Chairman Gary Schmitt said, “Our focus is on helping our existing companies grow here, and Nitride Solutions is an especially great announcement because they are creating innovative solutions in advanced materials that are in demand across the globe.” 

“We have great companies producing innovative work in this community and it’s our privilege to work with them and to be a part of their growth”, said Jeff Fluhr, President of the Greater Wichita Partnership. 

“This is a perfect example of growing a local company that is on the forefront of innovation in advanced materials, who is employing engineering students from our state universities, and who is exporting more than 90% of its goods to other countries.  Their growth benefits the entire region, and we are honored to work with them.”

11/2015 - GWEDC reports 60% increase in business delegation participation at NBAA this year

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) is promoting Wichita’s exceptional workforce and world-class aviation supply chain November 17-19 during the 2015 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Business Convention in Las Vegas. Eighteen area companies and organizations are partnering with GWEDC to promote Wichita’s aviation-related products and services.

GWEDC Chairman Gary Schmitt said, “We’re really pleased to have a 60% increase in the number of participants in our booth this year. Our delegation will be much more representative of the breadth and depth of our aviation capabilities and expertise in this region.”

A 30’x30’ booth, #C6633, has been secured by GWEDC. Representatives from the 19 organizations and companies listed below will participate and promote their products and services:

Associated Industries

Impresa Aerospace

Butler County

Kansas Dept. of Commerce

Capps Manufacturing

National Center for Aviation Training

CE Machine

National Institute for Aviation Research

City of Wichita

Omni Aerospace

Crate Tech

Southwind Global Aviation

Fiber Dynamics

Visit Wichita

Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition

Wichita Aero Club

IMA Aviation Insurance

Wichita Airport Authority

Image Resources

 

Jeff Fluhr of the Greater Wichita Partnership said the GWEDC team will be promoting more than 300 aviation suppliers in the south central Kansas region as well as the Air Capital’s largest aviation companies: Airbus, Bombardier Learjet, Spirit AeroSystems, and Textron Aviation – Cessna & Beechcraft.

A Business at Full Throttle Celebration will be held for trade show participants on Tuesday, November 17, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wichita City Council Representatives Pete Meitzner and Jeff Blubaugh will attend and promote the pro-business climate in the Air Capital. Scot Rigby, Assistant City Manager, is also scheduled to participate.

Sen. Moran, Northrop Grumman to Host Kansas Aviation Supplier Conference on July 2

 Washington - U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – co-chair of U.S. Senate Aerospace Caucus – along with Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) today announced that they will co-host a Northrop Grumman New Supplier Symposium at the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) in Wichita, Kansas, on July 2, 2015. The supplier conference will help facilitate business between Kansas companies and Northrop Grumman, and will enable suppliers to meet one-on-one with representatives from Northrop Grumman.

“Given Kansas’ reputation as the national leader in aviation manufacturing and job creation, it’s no wonder global aviation manufacturers like Northrop Grumman are eager to tap into the talents of Kansans,” Sen. Moran said. “Wichita is the ‘Air Capital of the World’ for good reason – it is the only place in the world that offers 90-years of experience in aviation manufacturing, access to the world’s largest supplier base, and aircraft workers and training that are second to none. Because exports are so vital to Kansas’ economy and Kansas jobs, our state must continue to build quality products in order to stay competitive in the global marketplace. I am proud to host the Northrop Grumman New Supplier Symposium, which will help make certain that when Northrop Grumman looks for new U.S. suppliers, it looks to Kansas companies.”

“We are excited to meet with Kansas businesses and connect with potential new suppliers.  Kansas has a proud legacy of aerospace manufacturing and we hope to expand our relationship with the industrial community,” said Gloria Pualani, corporate director for Global Supplier Diversity Programs, Northrop Grumman. “Suppliers, including small, woman, disadvantaged, minority and veteran-owned companies, are critical to our success.  Events like this help us connect with a broad and diverse base of potential suppliers.  As a leading global security company, maintaining a diverse supplier base helps us to provide increasingly more innovative and affordable solutions and products to our customers."  

“Greater Wichita is the Air Capital of the World with over 300 world-class suppliers with the ability to take on the exciting new Northrop Grumman programs,” said Debra Teufel, vice president of GWEDC. “This opportunity will introduce our regional suppliers directly to the Northrop Grumman supply chain team making decisions about where to place their work statements, and we can’t thank Senator Moran and Northrop Grumman enough for bringing this opportunity to us.” 

The free summit will give suppliers the opportunity to learn more about doing business with one of the world’s leading global security companies. The event will feature: a presentation by Northrop Grumman on how to become a supplier; individualized 10-minute meetings with suppliers and a Northrop Grumman global supply chain representative; a panel discussion featuring current Northrop Grumman suppliers based in Kansas; and an overview of the Northrop Grumman Supplier Diversity program.

The event focuses on suppliers for Northrop Grumman’s Four Business Sectors: Aerospace Systems, Electronic Systems, Information Systems and Technical Services.

Registration is required for the Northrop Grumman New Supplier Symposium. To register, suppliers should email Tammy Nolan with the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition at tnolan@gwedc.org no later than June 25.  RSVPs should include company name, number of attendees, commodity, size of business and the specific Northrop Grumman business sectors the supplier is interested in learning more about. Current suppliers to the company are welcome.

Currently, there are more than 450 companies in the Kansas’ aerospace industry, accounting for more than 32,000 direct jobs.

Northrop Grumman currently partners with more than 180 Kansas businesses. Over the past three years, the company has committed more than $132 million with suppliers in Kansas, including over $30 million in 2014.  In addition, Northrop Grumman employs more than 640 Kansans at facilities in Olathe and Fort Leavenworth (providing training programs for the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Department of State) and Topeka (providing depot repair for the U.S. Postal Service).

June, 2015 - Air Capital of the World delegation will promote "TalentCentral USA" at 2015 Paris Air Show

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) is marketing the region at the world’s largest aerospace airshow. GWEDC staff, partners and business leaders attending will tell Wichita’s “Air Capital of the World” story, including:

continued emphasis on the region’s skilled aviation workforce; highlight Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus; feature Wichita’s outstanding training capacity;showcase real estate available throughout the region; and, introduce the new Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport terminal.

In addition, GWEDC and partners will continue to promote other vital assets to the aerospace industry, including the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) and the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT), as well as the region’s more than 300 world-class suppliers.

The biennial event will be held June 15 – 18 at the Le Bourget Airport and is considered aviation’s largest stage for industry leaders and decision makers.

The “TalentCentral USA” delegation will exhibit in the US Pavilion in Hall 3, Stand A159. 

GWEDC collaborates with partners in showcasing the Air Capital’s advantages and this year partners attending include:

  • Kansas Department of Commerce

  • CE Machine

  • Harlow AeroSystems

  • HM Dunn

  • Impresa Aviation

  • GWEDC

Gary Schmitt, GWEDC Chairman, said the delegation plans to take full advantage of the four days of the show to feature Wichita to aviation leaders.

“It’s a huge show and a big opportunity, which is why more than a dozen states and communities attend, plus other countries that are doing everything they can to attract aviation investment in their regions,” Schmitt said. “Demonstrating our community support for our local aviation companies is important, plus we’re telling an amazing story about our talented workforce that enables our companies to succeed.” 

More than 40 countries have economic development organizations attending this year’s Paris Air Show. State and communities from the U.S. attending include: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Greensboro (NC), Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Monroe (LA), New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rockford (IL), South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

According to Schmitt, staff have many meetings pre-arranged with multiple decision makers of existing businesses and those that may be in expansion mode.

Schmitt said, “We also have some great available work sites and properties in our area that are ideal for aviation manufacturers and engineering firms interested in expanding or relocating, and it’s a great opportunity to market those assets to a wide range of aerospace businesses.

5/5/2015 - R&R Aerospace Growing in Wichita

Wichita, Kan. – Wichita City Council approved a property tax abatement for R&R Aerospace to support the creation of new jobs and investment for Wichita. The abatement makes it possible for R&R aerospace, a locally-based aerospace machining and assembly firm, to invest more than $5 million in equipment and a building expansion necessary to compete for new commercial aerospace program work. A successful bid for the new work would support the addition of 28 new jobs with the company at an average wage of $49,000.

Brett Jacobson, President of R&R Aerospace, said, “The support of the city and county, along with this investment in new capability, are instrumental to helping R&R Aerospace achieve the aggressive cost targets that we have incorporated into our proposal to win this work.  This abatement will help us expand our facility literally into a 24/7 operation, with the subsequent employment opportunities that go along with that for a lot of folks.”

Mayor Jeff Longwell said he and other Council members recognize the importance of supporting established companies that want to stay and expand in Wichita. “We know that our local companies are competing globally for manufacturing projects. We want them to have every competitive advantage so that they can win this work and expand our economic base.”

GWEDC Chairman Gary Schmitt said, “This is how we grow companies and employment numbers in Wichita. We commend the Mayor and the City Council for their positive vote on this package. We’re grateful for their support of local businesses that have the capacity to do bigger things in Wichita.”

“Helping our existing companies, of all sizes, grow and capture new work has always been at the core of the mission of the GWEDC,” said GWEDC Vice President of Business Development Debra Teufel. “It’s been a pleasure to watch this plan with R&R Aerospace develop and then coordinate with our City partners to bring the project forward. We believe this is exactly the right type of support that our local suppliers need. This is a pivotal time to capture these growth opportunities in a way that ensures investment and job growth happens here, rather than with an out-of-state competitor.”  
 
The Economic Development Exemption (EDX) is authorized by the City Council and does not require formal County approval. The exemption is a 91% property tax abatement on new construction for 5+5 years.

2014

8/18/2014 - Reiloy relocation would lead to new jobs and investment

Kim Bell, City of Maize Attorney, will be making a presentation to the Maize City Council at 7 p.m. tonight regarding the potential relocation of Reiloy Westland Corporation to the Northwest corner of 119th and 53rd in Maize.  Dave Larson, President of Reiloy Westland, will also be present. The company, currently based in Sedgwick County at 1735 S. Maize Rd, engineers and produces custom-designed screws and barrels for the plastics injection molding, blow molding and extrusion processing industry.

Larson is requesting a tax abatement from the City of Maize to purchase land and construct a 45,000 square foot building. Sixty-one employees will be located there in the first year of the new project (56 retained positions and 5 new positions). An additional 10 employees will be added over the next five years.

Founded in 1969 and owned by Larson, Westland Corporation was acquired by the German company, Reifenhäuser Gruppe, in 2012. Dave Larson serves as President of the company and is overseeing the expansion and growth in the North American market for the German-owned business. Reiloy Westland is the only manufacturing site located outside of Germany for the Reifenhäuser Gruppe.

Once the company’s expansion plans were finalized, Larson considered moving the business to the Chicago area. “We’re landlocked at our current site, so we couldn’t consider staying at the Maize Road location. We needed to relocate our machinery and assets. The Chicago area was attractive to me for a variety of reasons. I’m from that area of the Midwest and Chicago is much closer to our company’s largest customers.  Maize and other communities within the state of Kansas were considered and once they found out we were serious about moving, they were eager to partner with us. A number of communities offered us a variety of financial incentives to relocate, including a community that offered us a free building.”

While Larson ultimately attributes the company’s decision to stay within Sedgwick County to tax abatements, the impressive work ethic of his current team also played a role in the company’s decision. “The cooperation from various agencies made the tax abatements possible. And the skills and dedication of the workforce in this region are exceptional. We considered a lot of different options, but we just didn’t think we could ever replicate the strong work ethic we’ve experienced here.”

Larson also credited the local agencies that worked together on the project. Representatives from the city of Maize, K-96 Corridor Development Association, Sedgwick County, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC), and the state of Kansas all worked together to keep the company and its jobs in the region.

Richard LaMunyon, City Administrator for the city of Maize, predicts that the expected multi-million dollar investment in land and construction, as well as the estimated average annual payroll of more than $2.6 million, will generate even more interest in the Maize community. “This relocation demonstrates how business friendly our community is and it’s the anchor for a new industrial area for Maize.”

“This was a cooperative effort,” said KayLene Haug, who serves as the Economic Development Specialist for the K-96 Corridor Development Association. “We’re very pleased with the momentum that this project brings to the expansion of industrial enterprises along the K-96 Corridor.”

Dave Unruh, Chairman of the Sedgwick County Commission, is also pleased with the project. “Working together to retain and grow our local business base is vital to the County. We need to continue to make sure our area businesses have the tools they need to expand.”  

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to retain a solid area employer,” said Gary Schmitt, GWEDC Chairman. “It helps us continue to diversify our region’s employment base, since this is a non-aviation manufacturer generating revenue from sales outside of Kansas.”

Larson plans to move into the new facility by July, 2015.

3/26/2014 - GWEDC Announces Appointments and Elections

WICHITA, KS – The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) Steering Council has elected officers and reappointed two board members for 2014:  Don Sherman, Vice President of Community Relations & Strategic Partnerships at Westar Energy and Dr. John Bardo, President of Wichita State University.

2014 Steering Council officers:

  • Chairman –  Gary Schmitt, Division Director, Commercial Real Estate Lending INTRUST Bank
  • Treasurer –  Lynn Nichols, Chairman/CEO, Yingling Aviation
  • President –  Tim Chase, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition

2014 Steering Council members:

  • Tom Dondlinger, President, Dondlinger & Sons Construction     
  • Dr. John Bardo, President, Wichita State University
  • Dr. Scott Eilert, Vice President -- Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory, Cargill Meat Solutions
  • Sherry Hausmann, President, Via Christi Hospitals
  • Dave Murfin, President, Murfin Drilling Company
  • Steve Sharp, Vice President, Corporate Controller, Spirit AeroSystems
  • Don Sherman, Vice President, Community Relations & Strategic Partnerships, Westar Energy
  • Jim Walters, Senior Vice President & Director, Cessna Aircraft Company
  • Sheryl Wohlford, President, Automation-Plus Inc.

City of Wichita Representatives:

  • Carl Brewer, Mayor
  • Bob Layton, City Manager

Sedgwick County Representatives:

  • Tim Norton, Commisioner, Segwick County Commission
  • Dave Unruh, Chairman,Sedgwick County Commission

Regional Economic Area Partnership (REAP):

  • Kristey Williams, Mayor, City of Augusta

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce Representatives:

  • Wayne Chambers, President/CEO, High Touch Technologies and Chairman of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Gary Plummer, President & CEO, Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

2/20/2014 - GWEDC reports on 2013 results and new initiatives

Wichita, Kan. – More than 125 investors in the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) heard its annual report of activities today and learned about GWEDC’s future initiatives. Investors also heard a keynote speech on economic development activities at the state level from Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. 

GWEDC’s focus is to market the region and to retain, expand, and recruit primary jobs and capital investment in Wichita and Sedgwick County. Primary jobs are those that produce goods and services primarily sold outside the community, bringing payroll and wealth into a community.

2013 Results

During 2013, the economic development coalition closed on 5 projects that represent a projected 1,117 new jobs with projected annual payroll of $31.86 million. These 5 projects will result in $45.13 million in capital investment in Wichita/Sedgwick County.  Those companies and projects are:    Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Lee Aerospace (formerly Triumph Aerospace Systems-Wichita), High Touch Technologies, Wesley Medical Center, and JR Custom Metal Products.

Steve Sharp, GWEDC Chairman and Vice President/Corporate Controller for Spirit AeroSystems, said that Wichita’s skilled workforce was an important factor in attracting new jobs. “We made the business case for these four companies to expand here and for Starwood Hotels & Resorts to locate in Wichita. Securing business expansion and recruitment is a complicated process with many moving parts. Our competition for these projects was tough and we’re glad we won them.”

One of the critical numbers reported each year is the return on public investment for the GWEDC–facilitated projects that is calculated by Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research. For 2013, the return on public investment was 42%. This means that for every dollar ($1) of city and county money invested in the projects and in the operation of GWEDC, the public is projected to receive $1.42 in public benefits back to the City and County. 

GWEDC also tracks the diversification of projects. In 2013, 90% of the new and expansion jobs were outside of manufacturing.  

New Initiatives

Four critical areas of improvement were identified in 2013 to increase competitiveness: 

  • diversification  
  • real estate solutions
  • telling our story
  • incentives

GWEDC has developed an integrated plan to accelerate economic development by increasing competitiveness in the first three areas identified.  The Chamber’s Leadership Council has taken the lead on the critical discussion of how to become more competitive in the area of incentives and infrastructure.

Some of the tactics for implementing GWEDC’s first three initiatives are already underway.

Diversification strategy - GWEDC has four areas of focus:  within aviation, next generation (outside of aviation), re-shoring and exporting. One of the tactics for increasing competitiveness under exporting is GWEDC’s participation in a Brookings Institute and JP Morgan Chase project. Wichita is one of only 20 metro areas in the country selected to participate in the creation of an aggressive export strategy. More than 125 people across 10 Kansas counties are participating in the project as part of the Regional Export Planning Team.

Quality real estate solutions - GWEDC will focus on adding mega sites. Private investment funds were recently used to purchase an option for more than 400 acres near Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The site has the potential for access to a commercial runway and railroad track, which are critical for large-scale industrial projects.

Telling our story - GWEDC will enhance current community marketing efforts by working with other partners to explore the potential for a community-wide brand statement to increase awareness of Wichita. During GWEDC’s annual meeting a new Air Capital Video was unveiled to investors. The video will be used to familiarize industry prospects and site selectors with the region’s educated and experienced aviation workforce. It may be viewed at gwedc.org.

“Primary jobs are the top priority for our community,” said Tim Chase, President of GWEDC.  “I’ve often said that economic development is a team sport. We’ll advance Wichita in 2014 with the help of all of our investors, which includes the city of Wichita, Sedgwick County, and 175 private companies and organizations. And we’ll continue to increase our competitiveness with the help of the Chamber’s Leadership Council, local real estate developers, our regional economic development partners, elected officials, the Kansas Department of Commerce, and Governor Sam Brownback.”

2013

7/22/2013 - Potential Local Expansion would lead to new jobs and investment

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) has worked with Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita, a subsidiary of Triumph Group, Inc., on a local expansion that would allow the Wichita location to diversify its customer base. If secured, the new work would mean the Wichita location would add 100 jobs over the next five years and invest more than $2 million in new machinery and facilities renovation.

The potential new client is Viking Air Limited, a Canadian first-tier aerospace original equipment manufacturer. Viking searched worldwide for a suitable supplier of the fuselage assembly section of the Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft.

Viking found that expertise with supplier Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita. The State of Kansas has pledged its support and if there is additional support from Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita, Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita will be the chosen supplier. The assembled fuselage would be shipped to Canada for final aircraft assembly.

“This is a great new line of work for Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita and also for the entire Wichita supplier network,” said Debra Teufel, Vice President Business Development, GWEDC. “In addition to the 100 new direct jobs that would be added as this program grows, we expect our sub-contractors and suppliers right here in the Air Capital may have an opportunity to compete for the many individual components that will go into this new fuselage assembly.”

GWEDC is working with all partners, including the state of Kansas, which is providing a package of state incentives to ensure the work happens in Kansas.

“Governor Brownback, the Department of Commerce and GWEDC had a great meeting with Triumph at the 2012 Farnborough Airshow,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. “Through the interaction at Farnborough, we built a strong relationship with senior leadership and discussed the ways Kansas and Wichita could support the company’s future growth and expansion. This type of opportunity is a great way to build rapport with companies considering investing and creating jobs in Kansas.”

In addition to the State’s approval process, the Board of County Commissioners for Sedgwick County will vote on a recommended $78,000 forgivable loan on July 24.

Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita competed for the work package with suppliers in Eastern Europe, Taiwan, China and India, and won the contract due to the company’s ability to ramp up production quickly and supplement Viking’s Canadian manufacturing capacity. Because there is not a United States aircraft that competes in the same category as the Twin Otter Series 400, the partnership provides a North American product to supply the rapidly expanding global demand.

“Our community was chosen over many global markets because our local community and state pulled together and partnered with the company team here, and we were able to compete,” said Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Skelton.  “This says a lot about our desire to win the jobs war and about our great workforce.”

The City Council will vote on this expansion at its next meeting on August 6.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer said, “This potential project is another example that Wichita can create jobs and compete globally when we work together. The 100 additional jobs would strengthen our manufacturing base and support our overall local economy. This would mean more momentum for a rebounding economy, and I want to thank the public and private partners who are working to bring new jobs to Wichita workers.”

According to the application for the forgivable loans, Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita now has about 180 employees. If the project is secured for Wichita, the plan would increase workers by 100 over the next 5 years. The average annual salary is more than $40,600.

The Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft is the best-selling 19-passenger twin engine turbo-prop aircraft available on the market today. The Series 400 is designed for regional commuter transport and critical infrastructure support, and is highly sought after from customers operating in challenging environments around the globe. With increased international demand, Viking has had to increase production, requiring a key supplier for the aircraft assembly program.

Partnering with Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita also increases the ratio of U.S. content in the airframe. Viking believes this will help further future bids on U.S. Government contracts such as the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, who took delivery of their third Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft last month.

Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita designs and manufactures aircraft windows, sheet metal assemblies, from wing spars to fuselage, pilot/co-pilot control wheels, and various composite assemblies for Spirit AeroSystems, Cessna Aircraft and Honda Jets at its composite manufacturing facility at 9323 East 34th Street.

“The entire team is excited to make this announcement because it’s a new manufacturer represented in the community with Viking work, which is great news for Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita and for the community,” Teufel said. “We’ve been working for more than a year on this project, helping Triumph Aerospace Systems – Wichita secure this work here. We really thank Governor Brownback and Commerce Secretary Pat George, who have been very supportive and met with Triumph senior leaders at the Farnborough Air Show last year. Those meetings and relationships matter when other states are aggressively trying to become an aerospace hub.”

5/29/2013 - Kansas Awarded Gold Shovel by Area Development Magazine

Area Development, the leading publication covering site selection and facility planning, announces the winners of the 2013 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards. This year, four states — Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, and Texas, — are being awarded Gold Shovels in recognition of projects undertaken in 2012 creating a significant number of high-value-added new jobs as well as investment. Silver Shovels are being awarded to 15 other states in four population categories.

These Annual Shovel Awards recognize state economic development agencies that drive significant job creation through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, processes and promotions that attract new employers as well as investments in expanded facilities. The Gold Shovels are presented annually to the states that have achieved the most success in terms of new job creation and economic impact.
 
For the Silver Shovel Awards, the states are compared only to other states in their population tier. This year, California, Florida, and Pennsylvania are receiving Silver Shovels in the 10+ million population group; Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia are being awarded Silver Shovels in the 5+ to 10 million category; Kentucky, Louisiana, and South Carolina will receive Silver Shovels in the 3+ to 5 million category; and Mississippi, North Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia are being honored in the 3 million or fewer population group.
 
Each of the 50 states was invited by Area Development to submit information about its top-10 job creation and investment projects. Only those projects that began to materialize in 2012 were considered. The Shovel Awards are given to the states with the highest weighted scores based on number of high-valued added jobs per capita, amount of investment, number of new facilities, and industry diversity. 
 
“The states receiving 2013 Shovel Awards deserve special recognition for their efforts to attract new businesses and to help their existing corporate citizens to expand their businesses,” said Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development. “They have managed to thrive and emerge from the recession as economic leaders.”
 
A report on the 2013 Shovel Award winners will be published in the Q2/Spring 2013 issue of Area Development and posted online at www.areadevelopment.com/awards.
 
Area Development is published quarterly and has 60,000+ executive subscribers. It also maintains several highly visited websites, which can be reached through www.areadevelopment.com.

5/16/2013 - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Announces New Customer Contact Center in Wichita

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced it will open a new Customer Contact Center (CCC) in Wichita, Kan. in late 2013. The new CCC’s associates will help Starwood guests book reservations and provide Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) member services. Starwood is adding jobs in North America to support innovative customer programs, including the Ambassador Program, and to support industry-leading work to personalize guest experiences.

“Taking care of our guests starts before our guests walk through our property doors, while they are with us and extends after they’ve departed,” said Mark Vondrasek, senior vice president - distribution, loyalty and partnership marketing for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “With our guests’ needs in mind, we look for associates who are dedicated and customer-service oriented with a desire to contribute to their communities; after reviewing a number of options, Wichita was chosen as the best place to expand our North American customer service operations.” 

“Starwood Hotels & Resorts is an industry leader with an innovative approach to hospitality, and I’m excited that they have chosen to expand in Kansas,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “It’s great for our business environment when companies such as Starwood create jobs, invest in Kansas and contribute to our state’s economic growth.”

The center’s inaugural class will include approximately 30 new positions with 150 additional associates anticipated this year to supplement Starwood’s current needs. Beginning in June, interested applicants can visit www.starwoodhotels.jobs to learn more about the roles and apply. 

“Starwood is a great company and will be a great addition to our community,” said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. “We are excited to welcome them and their sought-after jobs to Wichita.”

Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Skelton said, “This is great news for Sedgwick County and our residents because a well-known and well-respected company has chosen to invest and locate its newest center here. Starwood’s choice and investment here means more opportunities for jobs.”

2012

8/23/2012 - NetApp to nearly double Wichita employment

The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) announced today that NetApp, a leading provider of innovative storage and data management solutions will significantly expand its Wichita facility.

The company plans to nearly double its workforce in Wichita over the next five years by adding more than 400 new jobs to its existing workforce of more than 450 employees. NetApp expects to hire people for about 115 of the new jobs in the first year. The new jobs will primarily focus on the areas of product development and customer support. 

“NetApp is ranked as one of the best companies in the world to work for, and I’m excited that the company will be strengthening its presence in Wichita with a significant expansion of operations and workforce,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “We are working hard to provide the best business environment in the nation for companies to expand in or relocate to our great state.”

The annual average wage of the new jobs will be approximately $73,000. NetApp plans to invest more than $85 million in new machinery and equipment and renovation to accommodate the expanded workforce.

Headquartered in California and founded in 1992, NetApp is a FORTUNE 500® company that employs over 12,000 individuals in more than 170 offices worldwide. NetApp provides solutions that deliver outstanding cost efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs for customers across various industries, including media and entertainment, internet, healthcare, IT, and financial services. Data ONTAP® software, NetApp’s core operating system, is also the world’s most widely adopted storage and data management platform. The facility in Wichita became part of NetApp’s global operations as a result of the company’s completed purchase of the Engenio external storage systems business from LSI Corporation in May, 2011.

“NetApp’s presence in Wichita to date has been highly successful and strategic to the company’s growth, and we look forward to expanding our operations in the area,” said Joel Reich, vice president of the Array Products Group, NetApp. “NetApp has been widely recognized as a best place to work and a major reason for that is due to the high quality of employees that we are able to attract and retain. Expanding in Wichita will enable NetApp to continue to attract the best people and serve as a key component in helping to fuel our customers’ business success.”

Sedgwick County Chairman Tim Norton said, “NetApp is a great company known for its innovation and world-wide presence. It’s also often recognized as a great place to work, which says a lot about a company. They have choices where to expand and locate business, and we welcome this expansion news that NetApp plans to hire hundreds of people in our community.”

GWEDC is working closely with Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita, as well as the Kansas Department of Commerce on a package of incentives to secure the capital investment and jobs for Wichita and Kansas. The Wichita City Council and Board of County Commissioners will be voting on the incentive package in coming weeks that includes job creation performance funds. 

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer said, "These are the high-tech jobs that communities throughout the world are competing for, and we are glad that we could compete and win. NetApp is a good corporate partner and this is great news for Wichita. We are grateful for Governor Brownback’s and Commerce’s partnership on this project.”

Interim GWEDC President Suzie Ahlstrand recognized the partnership with the Department of Commerce and the work from GWEDC staff to secure the project. “The team really worked together to respond to the customer’s needs,” Ahlstrand said. “NetApp has more than 170 offices worldwide and so many choices for expansion. It was important to secure this project for Wichita and the team did a great job.”

GWEDC is the regional public-private partnership formed by the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and private business. It’s managed by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and charged with creating and executing the community’s business recruitment, retention and expansion plans and marketing the region.

8/16/2012 - JR Custom Metal Products, Inc. to expand Wichita facility, add new jobs

The team at JR Custom Metal Products, Inc. had a decision to make – take a risk and expand operations or outsource part of the production process to an out-of-state or out-of-country vendor. So when a representative of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition made an IDEA visit to the company, the timing was beneficial for the company and the community.

GWEDC staff regularly make IDEA visits to learn more about companies needs and plans, building a database of information, while also learning more about potential future expansions or decision points like this one for JR Custom.

Working with the economic development agency, JR Custom decided to invest $3 million in the expansion in Wichita, including adding more than 30,000 square feet of production space at its current facility, purchasing two specialized pieces of equipment and adding 50 new jobs over the next 5 years. The company expects to hire 15 in the first year.

One of Wichita’s leading family-owned businesses, JR Custom specializes in material handling equipment and production support equipment for large original equipment manufacturers, transportation companies, the wind power industry, and various other industries. It also has the ability to engineer complex products or modify existing designs to meet specific requirements.

“This is the great American success story, and it’s exciting to see the second generation take on the same entrepreneurial spirit and hard work that launched this company,” said Sedgwick County Chairman Tim Norton. “They continue to seek new markets, new clients and new ideas all building on what they do so well.”

The company began in 1974 by Jesus Raul Martinez, Sr. as a one-man metal shop. Now with second-generation family members at the helm, the business has grown over the years to more than 98,000 square feet in facilities with about 110 employees working three shifts.

“It was vitally important to us for my siblings and me to continue to be a strong presence in the Wichita community,” said President and CEO Patty Koehler.  “Our father planted us here with his entrepreneurial spirit, and now we are firmly rooted in this great city.  The central location also helps us to reach out to many different markets and industries throughout the US.  And, of course, the drive and dedication of the work force just can’t be beat.”   

JR Custom began exporting out of the country last year. With numbers of exports expecting to grow, expanding the facility allows the company to increase production of sub-components, tools and fixtures for customers. The company has also targeted the wind-industry market to further diversify its work.

 “JR Custom is such a Wichita success story, and we’re proud to continue standing with them as they expand and grow their business here,” said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. "Every time we can keep work located here, we keep jobs located here. Every time we can help a company be more competitive here, we can help Wichita be more competitive.”

Working with Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita, GWEDC worked with the company on the local expansion. The City Council will vote on a proposed property tax abatement.

GWEDC is the regional public-private partnership formed by the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and private business. It’s managed by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and charged with creating and executing the community’s business recruitment, retention and expansion plans and marketing the region.

Cargill Protein Group to remain in Wichita; City "ideal" for HQ to guide company growth

WICHITA, Kan. – Cargill’s protein business headquarters will remain in Wichita and relocate from 151 North Main Street to a new office building which will be built at a yet-to-be-determined site within the city limits.  The company’s decision was made after a thorough analysis of numerous options, including several cities in states other than Kansas.  The decision is dependent upon pending approval by the City of Wichita for an agreement between the two entities.  The company’s move to a new office building is expected to take place by the end of 2018.   

“Looking at our current office space situation in Wichita, we determined a change is required to meet our future needs as a customer-focused, talent-seeking, growth-oriented protein business, operating in a highly competitive business sector,” said Brian Sikes, Cargill corporate vice president for the company’s protein group.  “So we embarked on a mission to identify the optimal location where the people responsible for success of our business will have the best opportunity to thrive.  After an exhaustive review of our options, a collaborative atmosphere evolved whereby Cargill, the City of Wichita and State of Kansas worked together toward creating the type of business environment that will enable the company to meet its customers’ long-term needs by enhancing our ability to attract, retain and develop top talent.”

Other criteria addressed as Cargill explored its options include: quality of life for its employees; minimizing disruption to the business resulting from a relocation; optimizing the use of company resources; perpetuating a culture based on marketplace agility to address the needs of customers and consumers; and creating a world-class business setting for all involved stakeholders.

“We have a terrific team of productive, knowledgeable and creative people in Wichita, who give a great deal back to the community,” explained Sikes.  “We are pleased Cargill employees will remain an important part of the Wichita community and will continue to contribute to the vitality of many organizations throughout the region.  We also believe it is beneficial for our protein business to be headquartered in the center of the U.S.” 

“We are pleased that Cargill will continue to call Wichita, Kansas, home for the foreseeable future,” said Governor Sam Brownback.  “This is an investment in our state, a recognition of the quality of the Wichita workforce and the quality of life that can be found in Kansas.  We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Cargill for many years to come.”

“Right from the start, the City of Wichita stepped up to demonstrate its commitment to Cargill and its ongoing success,” said Mayor Jeff Longwell.  “Today’s announcement shows that, once you weigh all of your options in the Midwest, Wichita is still the best place to grow your business.”   

For its protein group headquarters, Cargill explored locations throughout the middle third of the U.S. beginning in late 2015.  “City and state officials, especially Governor Sam Brownback, made it crystal clear to us that they were committed to keeping Cargill in Wichita,” stated Sikes.  “I know from speaking with our employees here, they are relieved to know of this decision and they are eagerly looking forward to working in a new building that fosters collaboration, efficiency, innovation and excitement.  We will continue to focus on growing our protein business, helping our customers be more successful in the protein space and winning in the marketplace.”

Cargill recently acquired a beef plant in Columbia, S. C.; opened a nearly $50 million distribution center at its Dodge City, Kan., beef processing plant; is investing $111 million in a plant conversion for cooked meat products at Columbus, Neb.; and dedicated a $27 million egg processing expansion in Lake Odessa, Mich.  “Together with our new headquarters in Wichita, these are examples of our long-term commitment to grow our protein business,” said Sikes.

Leading research organization offers quality, flexible, part-time jobs

NORC at the University of Chicago is opening a new survey research center in Wichita and is looking for employees to join its Telephone Surveys and Support Operations (TSSO) staff as interviewers and supervisors. The center is located near the intersection of 21st and Amidon at 2021 North Amidon, Suite 1300.  

For more information on employment opportunities at the Wichita survey research center, please go to tssojobs.norc.org.

NORC is an independent research institution affiliated with the University of Chicago, and interviewers are vital to the organization’s nationwide survey research operation. Interviewers talk to people from every conceivable walk of life to obtain information on issues such as health care, employment, education, and many others. To be an interviewer, English proficiency is required. Written and verbal Spanish proficiency is a plus.

“We are looking to hire friendly and personable individuals who can reach out to people around the country on issues of importance for society,” said Jenny Kelly, the vice president who oversees TSSO at NORC. “We are thrilled to open a survey research center in Wichita. It is such a great city, and this location will give us greater capacity and flexibility. We have already received a warm welcome from local Wichita leaders and thank them for their support.”

NORC’s work has lasting social significance, and the data our interviewers gather helps legislators and other decision-makers involved in setting policy make informed decisions for the welfare of all Americans in an increasingly complex society. While interviewers will be conducting in-depth interviews, they will not be promoting or selling commercial products or services. NORC is a not-for-profit organization doing research for the public good.

“We are excited to bring operations of NORC, a worldwide research institution, to Wichita. Their innovative work paired with flexible scheduling creates attractive jobs for the region,” said Jeff Fluhr, president of the Greater Wichita Partnership.

NORC will be recruiting 300 interviewers for the new Wichita location. The job consists of the following:

  • Excellent starting wages

  • Meaningful work

  • Possibility of promotion and pay increase within the first 12 months

Successful NORC interviewers often are:

  • College students

  • Customer service professionals

  • Teachers or others looking for a second job

  • Retirees

  • Individuals interested in contributing to important research


For more information on employment opportunities at the survey research center in Wichita, please go to tssojobs.norc.org. You can also visit the Wichita Workforce Center, located at 2021 N. Amidon, Suite 1100, for scheduled information sessions starting August 2nd. For a list of dates and times of the informational sessions please visit the Wichita Workforce Center or workforce-ks.com.

About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.
 

Headquartered in downtown Chicago, NORC works in over 40 countries around the world, with additional offices on the University of Chicago campus, the D.C. metro area, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Albuquerque, and Wichita.

NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other legally protected characteristics.
 

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