Page 1

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011



Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

[contents] FEATURES



Topeka Visionaries

TK takes a look at the four individuals recognized by Junior Achievement.

Investing in Change Local businesses take steps to transform and grow.

33 54

The TK EVOLVE Project

TK reveals what the experts have recommended to help three local companies take their business to the next level.

Arthur Capper: The man behind the legacy Deb Goodrich-Bisel reveals who Arthur Capper really was.


Reconsider Human Resources

Human resources management is vital to a company’s success. Karen Ridder explains what a human resource audit is and why you need one.

In Every Issue


4 6 8 14 49 50 63

10 12

From the Publisher Thank you just isn’t enough.

Business Toolbox: How do you make a leader? Tim Kolling talks about Leadership Greater Topeka.

Editor's Note/Letters to the Editor

By the Numbers Local and regional news and statistics.

Help Desk You have questions, Topeka experts have the answers. For Your Health Dr. Jay Crowder talks about caffeine. Extra, Extra! News and updates about Topeka businesses.

Tough Love with Raubin & Megan Raubin Pierce and Megan Mosack give their reasons why your vote matters.


Heart of the Entrepreneur Rick LeJuerrne shares the heartwarming story of entrepreneurs Scott and Nikki Lewien.


Winning Rules: Think Global Kevin Doel explains how Amy Rose Herrick took her business global.


From the Professor's Desk Finance professor Robert Weigand, Ph.D., tells us the truth about the economy.

Scene About Town 94.5 Country Bridal Fair Greater Topeka Chamber

Fast Forward Fully Loaded American Advertising Federation--Topeka


Last Word: Steve Briman TK highlights Steve Briman, Executive Vice-President of Bartlett & West, Inc.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


photo by Lock Photography

[from the publisher]

Thank you just isn't enough... Thank you just doesn’t begin to explain how I feel about the time and work that went into the TK Evolve Project (see page 33) by all those involved. First, let me thank Jeff Baker of FryeAllen, Inc. Jeff came to me in September 2010 with the idea of Evolve, and together we developed the concept. We weren’t sure this concept would work, because we knew it would take a huge commitment by both the businesses to be evolved, and the experts who would help them. Then, we had to find companies who were willing to be evolved. We weren’t sure what to expect, but when we asked for nominations, the response was overwhelming. With great difficulty, we narrowed the entries down to 10. To make our final selection, we asked for help from Topeka, and you delivered! More than 800 votes from Topeka business professionals determined which three businesses would be evolved. Next, the TK Evolve Team helped determine what kinds of experts needed to be brought in for each business being evolved. This group was outstanding in terms of passion, expertise, and commitment, as well as love for entrepreneurship and Topeka. The three businesses selected had no idea what they were in for. They had to give us hours of time and take on that brutal statement “Well, you know what I think you should do…” with an open mind. But above all, they had to put themselves out there for all of Topeka to see – not easy. Finally, came what I thought would be the toughest part, finding businesses willing to donate their expertise, their time and their passion to help aid our three winners. I was WRONG!! Immediately every business we needed stepped to the plate…no, jumped to the plate with enthusiasm, passion and care for our Evolve participants. And then, WIBW Radio offered all three businesses $1000 in FREE advertising! What?! Seriously!! I am completely humbled by this phenomenal group of business professionals who together, made this issue one that I am proud to be a part of. …Thank you just isn’t enough.


Topeka’s Business Magazine Spring 2011



Editor-in-Chief LISA LOEWEN

Copy Editor Nicole Stejskal

Creative Director JENNI MONHOLLON

Account Executives BRADEN DIMICK Tara Dimick

Contributing Writers & Columnists



Photographers NATHAN HAM, NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY LOCK PHOTOGRAPHY, ryan cavanaugh, harrington photography, ditmer digital & design

Founder KEVIN DOEL PO Box 67272 | Topeka, Kansas 66667 785-217-4836 |

Comments & Suggestions

Publishing Company E2 Communications, Inc. 2011© TK is published and copyrighted by E2 Communications, Inc. Reproduction or use of this publication in any manner without written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Every effort was made to ensure accuracy of the information in this publication as of press time. The publisher assumes no responsibility of any part for the content of any advertisement in this publication, including any errors and omissions there in. E2 Communications, Inc. makes no endorsement, representation or warranty regarding any goods or services advertised or listed in this publication. Listings and advertisements are provided by the subject companies, E2 Communications, Inc. shall not be responsible or liable for any inaccuracy, omission or infringement of any third party’s right therein, or for personal injury or any other damage or injury whatsoever. By placing an order for an advertisement, the advertiser agrees to indemnify the publisher against any claims relating to the advertisement.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[editor's note] letters to the editor

photo by Lock Photography

I just wanted to send a personal note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading the Winter 2010 TK Magazine. Seeing professionals under the age of 40 being recognized for their efforts in the Topeka Community was a breath of fresh air. It was awe-inspiring and enlightening to read these individuals’ favorite quotes and factoids. It certainly motivated me towards excellence. Liesl Hays --Northeast Kansas CDRR Outreach Coordinator


This is a big word that has different meanings to different people. We see people transform their bodies through diet and exercise. We see people transform their homes through remodels and interior design. We see people transform their minds through introspection and study. We see people transform their hearts through acts of kindness and generosity. In every case, transformation requires sacrifice, hard work and a willingness to admit something needs to change. Businesses are not immune to needing transformation either. This issue honors business owners that have undergone some type of transformation. First, we take look at the four business leaders who Junior Achievement of Kansas has recognized. Each of these individuals has not only shown the ability to transform, adapt and grow their businesses, but have helped shape Topeka. This year’s Business Hall of Fame Honorees are Dr. Mark Morris of Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Jerry McElroy of McElroy’s; Ren Newcomer of Penwell-Gabel; and


Spring 2011

Dr. Kent Palmberg of Stormont-Vail Healthcare. You can read more about them beginning on page 17. Next, we recognize some local businesses that have recently made steps to transform and grow to take their business to the next level. (See pg. 24) Finally, we feature three businesses that were willing to participate in our EVOLVE Project where local business experts provided recommendations to help them transform and grow—whether it was new branding and marketing concepts, a physical transformation of retail space, or even simply bringing ideas into a focused strategic perspective. (See pg. 33) Thank you to our local experts who donated their time and resources to make these transformations happen. Whether the businesses involved will implement the proposed changes is yet to be seen, but even if they don’t, one thing is clear. Transformation can only happen when you take that first step.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Interesting issue regarding young professionals. As I read through it, not once did I get the impression any of them were micro-managed. For some professions, micro-management seems to be a part of the business scheme. It would be interesting to survey how many employees feel they are micro-managed and how many employers admit to doing it. Along the same lines, a dialogue regarding its effectiveness as a business tool could be informative. Chris Cruz--Smith Audio Visual We took your question on micromanagement as a business tool to the experts. See the TK Help Desk on pg. 14.

Where in TK is Riley? Be one of the first two people to email with the page numbers of where you found both of the Rileys in this issue and you will win a TK pullover, compliments of TK...Topeka's Business Magazine and RiverSide Marketing & Promotions.

ouldn’t be.

d lunch sh re te a c e h T . g n ri o b tings can be


2833 S.W. 29th

rs, For the past 15 yea xt meeting or event. ne r you all for sm ’s m wg Fro east Kansas. nd taste of Boss Ha es throughout north ss. Enjoy the one-of-a-ki als a year to business ke your event a succe me 0 ma ,00 to 20 ff r sta ove the ed d an ce en eri we’ve cater exp the of guests, we have groups to hundreds

On the Terrace at Brookwood

785.273.7300 |

We have ro for banqu oms e and privat ts e parties!

Call our Catering Coordinator, Christina Barth, at 785.273.7300, ext. 27, or visit our web site for more information.

Whadda ya lookin’ at? If you’re not sure what you’re looking at when it comes to your computer network you need the Networks Plus experts. Our experienced engineers can study your system and tell you what you need to stay competitive in your industry and if your network is expandable enough to meet your future business goals. When your network is well-integrated it optimizes technology – affecting performance, speed, security, operating expenses and access to information. You’re an expert in your field. Partner with our experts to understand what you’re really looking at when it comes to your technology.

Call us today for your


value – on us.*

785-267-6800 3003 SW Van Buren | Topeka, KS 66611 |

2010 Topeka Chamber of Commerce Member Firm of the Year 2009 Kansas Department of Commerce Business of Excellence Award * Must be a new Networks Plus customer. Good until 5/01/2011.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[by the numbers]

$5,000 A Community Hero award of $5,000 has been donated to TARC on behalf of Becker Lassen Insurance Agency.

Heartland Park Topeka’s 2011 race schedule has an economic impact for Topeka of more than $65 million.


$1,050,000 This year’s Kanza Bowl produced a direct economic impact for Topeka of $1,050,000. This number was calculated by multiplying the total attendance of 3,500 by $100 per day for three days.


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

by the numbers

TIDBITS Keep America Beautiful Award Winners


Sherwin Williams received a 1st place national award in the Business Beautification category for providing paint and supplies for Topekans Against Graffiti events.


pounds of plastic bottles were contributed by Topeka/Shawnee County to the Great American Cleanup recycling effort.


First place national award in the BusinessLitter Prevention category goes to Waste Management of Topeka.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[business toolbox]

how do you make a I


believe that leadership is something that can be instilled in someone. I also believe that when you have a passion for something, leadership comes naturally. I have recently embarked on what I believe is going to be one of the greatest opportunities of my life. I am a member of the Leadership Greater Topeka Class of 2011. Before the program began, my perception was that I would attend a few classes, maybe pick up a valuable lesson here and there and meet some new people. But this experience has been so much more than I could ever have imagined. The program has opened my eyes to so many new and wonderful things about our community and about the people I am proud to call my classmates. The experiences, knowledge, and relationships I have developed in the last few weeks have completely changed my outlook regarding my role in becoming a leader in our community. Everyone in our class has a passion for something. We have engaged in wonderful discussions and debates and we are learning how to mold our passions into a plan of action. One thing that has stood out to me is that no matter who you are, you CAN make a difference if you believe strongly enough about something. You don’t have to hold a position of authority to be a leader…there is a difference between being involved and being effective.

Why Leadership Topeka?


It teaches effective techniques for each participant to learn how to lead regardless of composition of the group in which you are involved.


It bonds a group gathered from throughout Topeka and helps them to connect in a personal way that make projects work more effectively. “If you want to be a leader because you want to be at the head of the parade, don't bother. That isn't real leadership. If you want to be a leader because you want to learn HOW to get things done, with the credit not going to you, then you should apply.” - Jim Ogle, WIBW-TV General Manager


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine



Glea C. Ashley, Valeo Behavioral Health Care, Inc. Melissa L. Brunner, WIBW-TV Lacy N. Burns, Fidelity State Bank & Trust Kaitlyn M. Burton, Shawnee Heights High School Christopher L. Bush, Kansas Legal Services Bryan A. Caskey, Kansas Secretary of State Ashley M. Charest, Centric Management and Consulting, Inc. Kasey J. Clark, Mize, Houser and Co. Cheryl C. Creviston, Jayhawk File Express Michelle D. Decker, Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy Michael W. Denman, Westar Energy Jeffery L. Dishman, director Clayton Financial Services, Inc. Eric M. Donaldson, Silver Lake Bank Karl M. Fundenberger, FryeAllen, Inc. Chris Gallagher-Sneden, KTWU - Washburn University; Jill T. Garrard, Jayhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America Catherine L. Gragg, WIBW Channels Jack D. Gray, YMCA of Topeka Thad A. Hartman, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Kris M. Kramer, Department of Police Alison H. Langham, Westat Amy I. Martens, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas; Shelly L. McMaster, Stormont-Vail HealthCare, Inc. Chante R. Mitchell, student, Topeka High School Erin R. Mohwinkle, Heartland Visioning Brett Oetting, Ramada Convention Center Marsha L. Pope, Topeka Community Foundation Lloyd S. Rainge II, Capitol Federal Savings Donald L. Rankin, City of Topeka Kim A. Schultz, Field of Greens/The Break Room Kirk K. Starr, St. Francis Health Center Amy E. Strathman, Capital City Bank Daniel L. Wethington, Bartlett & West, Inc. Patrick Woods, Social and Rehabilitation Services Lisa M. Young, Security Benefit.


Tim Kolling is a Marketing Consultant for WIBW 94.5 FM and 580 AM. He has worked in the advertising industry for 17 years.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


H G TOU Love Love them or hate them,

Why should I vote? After all, it’s just a municipal election.

they get Topeka talking.


Raubin and Megan speak out about why your vote matters.

People say they would much rather vote for the president of the United States than vote in a municipal election. However, if you are a small business owner, or a property tax payer here in Shawnee County, the people who sit on your city council or county commission have the ability to impact your life, your business and your pocketbook to a much greater degree than the person sitting in the oval office. Look at it as a sculpture. If you are the artist looking at that block of granite, is it your first chisel stroke or the last that turns it into a piece of art? The same holds true with your vote. Is it that first vote you cast, or the first time you get involved with government that affects change, or is it what you do over time? You may not see huge leaps of change in the first year. It may be a longer process—two years, five years, 10 years. It takes a long time to turn a battleship on the ocean, but if you don’t initiate the turn, it will never happen.


My vote won’t matter—nothing ever seems to change in Topeka.


Unfortunately, the idea that your vote won’t make a difference is the real problem we have in Topeka. If you look at the number of registered voters that we have in Shawnee County, 78 percent of the people who are eligible to vote are registered. Of that 78 percent, only 13 percent bothered to vote in the last municipal election. People want to complain about our city officials, but they don’t do anything about it at the ballot box.


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine


I think the apathy originates with a lack of trust in our local government - in any form of government. People question how government spends tax dollars, and because of the lack of transparency in city government, people think to themselves, “Why should I be involved in something that I don’t trust?” It all comes down to getting quality people in those elected positions who can start to rebuild that trust, so that people feel like investing themselves again, with their vote in this electoral process. We need fighters in city government who recognize that small business is the backbone of this community.

How can businesses step up and make a difference in Topeka?


Businesses have to not be part of the problem. One of the issues is recognizing when a governmental decision has an impact on another business and, even if it doesn't directly affect you, being willing to stand with those who are affected. Maybe then, when an issue comes up that does relate to you, other businesses will rally around you as well. I would like to see a greater sense of community with businesses in Topeka. You can’t stand alone—there is power in numbers. Business organizations have to stop being chickens and be willing to enter the fight.


How do you respond to people who say your show is making things worse?


We’re not anti-business. We couldn’t be further from it. It is OK for us to be critical of the community we live in, because we want it to be better. And just pretending the problems don’t exist, is the biggest part of the problem. People complain about our show. They don’t like the issues we bring to light and negative comments about the city. I think a fair answer to the complainers is, “at least we are doing something.” I would ask them, “What have you done? Have you, at the very least, participated in a municipal election?” I don’t mind when people disagree with us. I don’t mind if people vote differently than I do. I’m just looking for some sort of involvement. If nothing else, you need to get involved because these are the people spending your money.



TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011





Is now a good time to get a small business loan and what can I do to increase the likelihood that I will be approved?

What is the difference between micromanaging and macromanaging your employees and when is it appropriate or effective to micromanage?


Great question. Simply stated, micromanagement is a management style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of his or her subordinates or employees, often to an unnecessary level of detail or precision. Conversely, macromanagement is a style of management that involves leading the decision-makers and managing the managers. Micromanagement has developed a negative connotation because it appears to be so oppressive. On the other hand, macromanagement, which focuses on the overall structuring of the organization, portrays a more inclusive management style. So, is there a place for both styles in your business? One of the questions I always ask in an interview is, “Tell me about your favorite boss? What characteristics did she or he have that you like?” Never in my 20 years of HR interviewing has a candidate ever said his/her boss was a great micromanager. And even when they tell me all their favorite bosses’ greatest characteristics, the candidates always seem to segue into what they don’t like. And, invariably, they don’t like to be micromanaged. So, is it ever appropriate or effective to micromanage? Generally no. But there are some situations when micromanagement is necessary for an employee’s development or organizational sustainability. Additional coaching is completely healthy – and necessary – when, for example, the owner has hired a new employee or implemented a new software system or business model. In those circumstances, the owner is simply ensuring that the employee “gets it” – that he or she is comfortable with and completely understands the new job duties, the new software or the new business model. In those situations, close supervision – or micromanagement – is crucial to the success of the company. Kristina Dietrick President Creative Business Solutions 20 Years Human Resource Experience


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Q. A.

It is a great time for small business owners and prospective small business start-ups to borrow money from their local community banks. Rates are historically low, making the borrowing cost attractive. The US Small Business Administration has introduced two new loan initiatives aimed at existing and start-up business owners: the Small Business Advantage and the Community Advantage loan programs. Also, the Small Business Jobs Act, which provides critical resources to help small businesses continue to grow and create jobs, has been widely hailed as the most significant piece of small business legislation in more than a decade. Local community banks, like Capital City Bank, have plenty of money to loan, and are actively looking for good lending opportunities. The success of our community(s) and our local banks are directly related to the success and growth of our small businesses. While every loan program has specific forms and documents you need to submit, the following are typical items required for every small business loan application: • lending institution's business application, • personal financial statement, • personal and business tax returns for the previous 3 years, • 2-3 year financial projections, • written business plan • certain legal documents (Articles of Incorporation, lease agreements, franchise agreements, corporate resolutions and others, as applicable). Providing the lending institution with a detailed loan package and a sound business plan will greatly increase the likelihood of a request being approved in a timely manner.

Bob Kobbeman President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Lending Officer Capital City Bank 33 Years Banking Experience



I need to replace some vehicles for my business, should I buy or lease?


Many business owners understand that their vehicles are not only the backbone of their operation, but also a key component in representing the company image. How can you satisfy both reliability and maintain an upscale image in an affordable way? Leasing. With a business “open end� lease, you can tailor the terms to fit your business model. Term, residual value, and how you need the vehicle outfitted are just some of the decisions when you create your business lease. In some cases, a business owner can actually put two leased vehicles on the road for the same monthly expense as one purchased vehicle. Lease payments are treated as a business expense, therefore avoiding the balance sheet. A benefit of using a leasing company is that you actually have a fleet manager built in without having to pay for one. Every vehicle has its own economical and mechanical life. Keeping a vehicle that is consistently draining the maintenance account, to the point that it has no resale value left, is the last thing a business owner needs. With leasing, you have already plotted your exit strategy at lease inception, thus freeing you from these pitfalls. With an independent lessor, both new and used vehicles are available for lease. In most cases, a tremendous amount of money can be saved by leasing a slightly used vehicle for your business. All business owners should explore leasing for their vehicle needs. Just remember, business leasing and consumer leasing are two different concepts. Owen Foust Vice President Foust Fleet Leasing 9 Years Fleet Leasing Experience

You have questions and Topeka experts have the answers. Send your question to and we will find the Topeka expert with the answer.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Now in our new location in the Westboro Shopping District! 3100 SW Huntoon, Suite 103 Topeka, Kansas 66604

Julie C. Swift, DDS, MS


Spring 2011


TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

topeka visionaries Junior Achievement inducts four leaders into the Topeka Business Hall of Fame



by LISA LOEWEN | portraits provided by Topeka Capital-Journal

ren newcomer

Junior Achievement’s Topeka Business Hall of Fame is a special evening that celebrates the accomplishments of remarkable members of the Topeka business community. Their careers and community contributions personify the ideals of Junior Achievement. Honorees are selected for induction into the Business Hall of Fame for their vision, exceptional leadership, excellence in business, remarkable innovation in their respective fields and community involvement.

G ra



fr ted


U the

n i ve

yo rs i t

f Ka




i sw

B th a

ed has




l-G wel

i bus




ne l Fu

ra l

e Hom




17 ned


lh e ra



nd sa



te me



c wo t , es om pany h l e ra o m fun ent c 8 s 3 num Own a mo and


te me


Warren “Ren” Newcomer was raised in Kansas City, Kan., but has lived in Topeka since 1975. As a fourth-generation member of a funeral home-owning family, he has built his own legacy here in Topeka. His company includes 38 funeral homes, two cemeteries and a monument company, and he employs more than 450 associates in Kansas, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Wyoming and New York. Newcomer’s approach to a conservative industry has been to provide state-of the-art technology in his facilities, offering online obituaries, video memorials and online streaming of funeral services. He focuses on providing the highest quality services at an affordable price. Newcomer has not only built a successful business and family in Topeka, but he sits on numerous boards and is a past president of the Kansas Funeral Directors Association.



“Ren has displayed an uncanny capability of using the benefits of living in Topeka to grow his business. His accomplishments come with a tremendous amount of integrity. It is not often you see someone who is successful not only in business, but in his personal life as well.” —John Stauffer, CEO, Title Midwest

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


dr. mark morris 18

Spring 2011

y fa

yb mil


of W

on isc

sin the

e oliv m l a P a C n k ve ol ex p Uni om wor ate utritio r cho g d e f o l S h n t o t N a h C a ee ine Hig to ’s Pet egr eka food l ro m pek tes f a d p o y k . . T l o n e D T il a M t ia to Ph. Top mp r of H D.V. k to iet pe ck Assoc s o i m c a s c i h e o a b h D n b d fr is d s ve d i p t i o n d h ny, ow i ve d o ve M o r r i e i ve ted l o e a c o M c u e M scr S pa d R rk Re G ra Ma P re Com el orn


l Un

sit i ve r

ne usi




he in t


y rs i t

d nde


Mark Morris literally grew up in a veterinary hospital. His father was a veterinarian who developed Prescription Diet, a line of therapeutic foods for dogs and cats. Morris went into the family business after obtaining his Ph.D. in veterinary pathology and biochemistry. He developed Science Diet pet foods, which are sold around the world. Morris was not only an outstanding leader in the veterinary community, but he was also a brilliant business man and civic leader. He served as vice president of scientific activities for the Morris Animal Foundation. Founded by his parents in 1948, the this foundation is the largest non-profit organization funding animal health studies in the United States. Morris also served on the Washburn University Board of Regents and served two elected terms on the Topeka School Board.



“Mark was a humble man who really helped a lot of people behind the scenes. Whenever I heard that someone had done something for the community anonymously, I knew that nine times out of 10, it was Mark.” —Stanley Teeter, D.V.M., co-worker and life-long friend of Morris

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

dr. kent e. palmberg



ua ra d


om d fr


ni eU

ve r


fK ty o



s nsa


of ool

di Me



ro rg e e m the linic d e t eil C lita aF ci on O’N t Cot

orm f St

-Va ont



il H

t eal

bl sta


re hCa


e d th



os st h


tp alis


m g ra


in K


as ans

th i ve d


Do i rs t



A. W


is nV



wa ry A



Kent Palmberg, a Topeka native and graduate of Washburn Rural High School, has served the Topeka community for more than 32 years through his association with Stormont-Vail and Cotton O’Neil. In addition to practicing general internal medicine, Palmberg has been instrumental in improving health services in Topeka. He played a key role in the development of the Cotton O’Neil Heart Center, Cancer Center, Digestive Health Center and Diabetes and Endocrinology Center. Palmberg was also instrumental in improving the trauma service at Stormont-Vail Hospital and has facilitated the development of Stormont-Vail’s Clinical Research Division as well as a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Palmberg is an Eagle Scout and remains involved with the Boy Scouts of America. He serves on numerous boards and serves as a role model and a mentor for future medical leaders.



“All doctors are expected to possess medical knowledge. Dr. Palmberg couples that knowledge with the skills to communicate, the ability to lead others and build trust. His recruitment of over 200 doctors to the region has generated huge economic growth and hundreds of additional jobs to support those physician practices.” —Maynard Oliverius, CEO, Stormont-Vail Hospital

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011



jerry mcelroy



Spring 2011

ed pen

io Pat


n ol a

re d Fi



a Bec



re ep



M t of


In oy’s




ed pen


o mc



ca ani

l Co

ct n t ra

o rs



c dM

E l ro

ec y El



Jerry McElroy was born and raised in Topeka and grew up in the family business, McElroy’s Inc. started by his father in 1951. In 1972, McElroy became president of the company and has helped turn it into one of the largest plumbing, electrical and heating and air conditioning companies in northeast Kansas, with locations in Topeka, Lawrence and Manhattan. In addition to growing the family business, McElroy opened Patio Pool and Fireside, Samco Mechanical Contractors, McElroy Electrics and is a partner in Upland Pork, a pig farm in Long Island, Kan. McElroy is an active member of the community and has served on the board of directors for First National Bank, Better Business Bureau, Top of the Tower, St. Francis Hospital, Core First and KBI-WCF.



“Jerry is a ‘quiet’ leader. He is very controlled and considers his words carefully. He truly commands respect.” —Tim Etzel, Owner, Jetz Service Co.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[hall of fame advice] What advice would you pass on to others?

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“Regardless of your position, approach your job as if you were responsible for the entire organization.”

“Work hard, but love your work, so it never seems like work.”

Dr. Jerry Farley President of Washburn University “Treat everyone with respect and have passion for what you do.”

“Remember who you are and what you represent.”

nancy perry Former President of United Way of Greater Topeka “My parents told me to carry the proper morals and values instilled in me at a very early age, and to hold God and family close in making business decisions which could involve the family.”

velma pollock President of IMA Insurance

“Surround yourself with successful individuals who may become your mentors. Work extremely hard to learn the various aspects of the company and observe how your selected mentors interact with the company. My last piece of advice is to never forget who signs your paycheck.”

“Be nice to every customer, no matter how outrageously wrong and insulting they can be.”

“Return every phone call. You never know where it will lead.”

lINDA LEE Owner of the Sewing Workshop “Get as much education as you possibly can, and never stop learning. “

ALONZO HARRISON CEO of HDB Construction 22

Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

“With respect to business, success is really nothing more than preparation intersecting with opportunity. If one has prepared themselves in the field that they choose, then it is a matter of staying the course and recognizing an opportunity when it presents itself. “

Don’t wonder about which vision plan is right for your company...

Ask your eye doctor!

Eye doctors created Vision Care Direct. We are private practice optometrists who formed a statewide association to deliver affordable, high-quality eye care directly to our community. When your company offers a plan from us, you can be sure that their doctor will give them more than just a simple refractive exam and bare bones materials. Our plans give patients access to high quality eye-health care and allow us to do what we’ve been trained to for our patients. We offer the most flexible vision plans on the market, including: Comprehensive exams Large network of highly trained eye doctors and labs Multiple plan options Voluntary plans with group rates Pre-tax contributions To learn more, contact:

Michael G. Eichten, CLU, ChFC

Peoples Benefit Group

The vision plan your eye doctor recommends


Phone - 785-271-8097

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


investing in



Three local businesses share their evolution experiences.


aking an investment to change a business is a choice that is not taken lightly. There are significant risks taken before a company may see the benefit to their bottom line. However, three Topeka businesses have made major changes recently that are already starting to pay off. They have seen developments in company growth, more effective communication and a clearer understanding of how their services attract and retain customers.

A New Face

B Street Design is all about beauty, but up until last summer, the cosmetology school in White Lakes Mall, was long overdue for a makeover. School director Nancy Sweatt said they felt like the school was offering a strong education but knew an updated look for the facility was important to potential students. “We have a certain feeling when you come inside our school.” Sweatt said. “It’s what causes students to decide to go

by Karen Ridder photos by Ryan Cavanaugh 24

Spring 2011


to our school. That’s really what we were focusing on.” The remodel added space to the facility and gave the school the feel of a high-end spa. The new look included rich woodwork, nicer work stations and private relaxation rooms for salon services. Much of the renovation included aesthetic and decorative touches that Sweatt said are important for helping students know what a high-quality salon should be like. “I think that’s a big deal,” she said. “They know what they’re looking for because of where they were trained.” Sweatt has seen the school’s facelift already improve the way students perceive their abilities and the types of jobs they look for when they graduate. Part of the decision to go through physical upgrades included the school’s choice to stay at White Lakes Mall. The shopping center has struggled in the past and was sold last year

“It’s what causes students to decide to go to our school.”

B Street Design Student

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine




around the same time B Street Design decided to renew its lease and put a significant investment into the facility. “I want people to understand that we made a conscious decision to stay,” Sweatt said. “We could have gone anywhere, but I have always been of the belief that this side of town deserves retail and industry and places to shop.” She also saw new plans for the mall and believed it was moving in the right direction. A new access road connecting Kansas Avenue to Topeka Boulevard also gives the school new potential for growth. Staying at White Lakes also meant that the rent stayed low, and the extensive physical renovations could be completed without having to increase tuition for students. The results have been dramatic. A step inside the newly redesigned business is like entering a different world, potential students have said. White Lakes Mall is still in transition, but the cosmetology school is booming. A year ago, before the remodel, the school had just 90 students. Since the completion of the project last summer, that number has grown to nearly 160. While Sweatt said the school was poised for growth before the changes, the new look has certainly been part of the boom. She said the changes were well worth the investment. “If your business depends on the attractiveness of it when people come to see it, then I think it’s the wisest investment that you can make,” Sweatt said.

“I want people to understand that we made a conscious decision to stay.”


TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Getting Connected


Customers may not see major changes at The EyeDoctors, but they are benefiting from better services behind the scenes. Renovations at the optometry group are in the form of a new computer network that allows them to control operations for all 13 of their northeast Kansas locations from the Topeka office on south Wanamaker Road. As a medical provider, The EyeDoctors has extensive files for all patients. Seven years ago, they started storing this information electronically, but they could not house it in a central location. Each EyeDoctors office had to have its own server. Since patient files are large, and private, the company was paying for numerous firewalls, security systems, data backups and regular updates in each location, and servers had to be replaced every few years.


“We had to make sure that the data was going to stay secure, but we also had to do it in a quick fashion.” Clarris Rundel, director of operations for the optometry group, said that networking upkeep was expensive and providing good customer service was cumbersome. “Our biggest issue was wanting to be able to offer the best customer care that we can,” Rundel said. “We realized that the patient who would normally be in Manhattan may come to Topeka. Before, we could not access their information as easily as we can now.” Traditional Internet connectivity would not work for


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

their services because they needed patient information to be available on demand. Rundel said they solved the problem by working with Networks Plus to begin using a dedicated multi-protocol label switching circuit for transferring or sharing data. “The speed, the cost and the security were important. It had to happen. We had to make sure that the data was going to stay secure, but we also had to do it in a quick fashion,” Rundel said. A dedicated MPLS circuit allows them to house a central set of servers in the Topeka location and reliably access patient information from any other location as if those files were stored in each office. While the MPLS circuit was expensive, there was an overall cost savings in be- Clarris Rundel ing able to store all patient Director of Operations information in one place. The EyeDoctor The company was also able to invest in high-end products for the Topeka servers, including internal fiber lines to move the information more quickly within the system. The new technology also made it easier for the optometry group to grow. When they added four new offices in 2010, staff members at The EyeDoctors were able to train on the new system right away. Rundel said this allowed them to quickly standardize their practices and save money in the long run.


“Our biggest issue was wanting to be able to offer the best customer care that we can.”


Taking care of business Financial solutions to grow your business. Our experienced business banking team can provide you with financial solutions to help you take care of your business. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us.

We Make It Work. 785-274-5600 cAPcITyBANK.cOM


TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

SpringMEMBER 2011 FDIC27

New Marketing Message


Shawn Smith, president of DL Smith Electric, wanted to know more about his potential clientele. He felt like his company did a good job of keeping customers, but it needed to tap into new markets. Smith said they have worked hard to offer good service as electrical contractors for several decades, but they’ve never had taken the time to sit down and create a marketing plan. “We’re not marketing people— we’re contractors. So, we needed some professional assistance,” Smith said. Smith’s company turned to MB Piland Advertising & Marketing to develop a new logo and strategies for attracting new audiences. While he had used advertising agencies before to help develop commercials, Smith had never asked a company take a comprehensive look at how his business was presenting itself to customers.

market, we’ve been able to pull ourselves back and not get into a bunch of commercials that we’ve been obligated to do,” Smith said. “We can take our own steps at our own speed because we have something we can fall back on. We have a formal plan we can Shawn Smith look at.” President Two major changDL Smith Electric es the company has implemented so far have been a new logo and a new tag-line, Power +, to emphasize the company’s strengths. The logo felt like a good place for the business to start. “It kind of re-energizes everybody and gives them some things to think about,” Smith said. The old logo predominantly featured the letters DLS, causing some people to overlook the company’s actual name. Smith said his father, D.L. Smith, worked hard and had many connections in Topeka with people who respected his work. Smith wanted to make sure company’s image was immediately associated with that good name. The word “construction” was removed from the logo, and the tag line Power + was added to reinforce the idea that DL Smith Electric offers power “plus” an added value of good service and reliability. Smith said the main reason the company needed a good marketing plan was to expand its customer base. In the past, the focus had been placed on radio spots, but Smith felt there was something missing. “We were putting all of our eggs in one basket. We needed to refocus and balance it out,” he said. “We’re not going to ignore what we did in the past, but we just wanted to balance it out. That’s what they were able to help us decide.” Smith said that while the cost of a marketing plan was not cheap, MB Piland tailored it to his company’s size and made it affordable. By reallocating funds inside his normal advertising budget, Smith said he feels like he got a big- picture approach that has long-term value.

“We’re not marketing people—we’re contractors. So, we needed some professional assistance.” The marketing plan he received from MB Piland gave his business a multi-stage approach to follow. The plan covered everything from logo development and what Smith calls his “elevator speech” (the basic selling points he can use when marketing his company), to targeted sponsorships, advertising and new media options.

What Smith liked was that the plan could be developed over one year or five years depending on how fast DL Smith Electric was ready to move or if the company had the money. “Because of the


Spring 2011





“We can take our own steps at our own speed because we have something we can fall back on. We have a formal plan we can look at.”

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

T h e r e a r e f in a n c i al p a r a si te s w i t h i n e v e r y b u s i n e s s t h a t w o u l d l i ke n ot h ing b e t te r t h a n to f e e d of f of yo u r b l o o d , s w e a t a n d te a r s . We’r e n ot yo u r a v e r a g e a c c o u n t a n t s . We k now what ’s inf e st ing your inve st ing.


TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


r u e en

e h ft

pr e tr En

o t ear


Nikki knew


Every entrepreneur has a story. Sometimes that story is about success, and sometimes it's about failure, but mainly, it's about never giving up.


Spring 2011

— it was in her DNA. Scott wasn’t so sure, but what do you do when you’ve hit rock bottom and have nowhere to look but up? You work yourself out of it. Still, if this idea didn’t fly, Scott and Nikki were in trouble. Everything they owned had been sold. It took all the monthly rent, every penny of it, to make this happen, and Scott and Nikki knew exactly what was at stake—everything. They made several trips to the Ramada Inn that morning. Down to one vehicle, they couldn’t afford to rent a van. The prototype booth, the contraption on which they had spent months working, was held partly together by duct tape. They didn’t know what to expect at the Bridal Fair, but Nikki knew this was the day their lives were going to change. Every entrepreneur has that moment when the risk becomes real. When it does, it grabs you by the throat. It is there and it does not leave. For the entrepreneur, the only response is forward. Only determination, heart can make it go away. But sometimes, often, it is not enough. When it is over, the failure is devastating. Scott and Nikki had already been there, and now they were back to try again. Their first business venture was Shake’s Frozen Custard. Scott had been down on his luck when he took the assistant manager position at Shake’s, working the evening shift. They needed the money, and Scott, who had worked several years as a manager at Sonic, had a knack for the food business. He quickly became the full-time manager for the Topeka and Manhattan stores. Shake’s had struggled under previous management, but Scott saw an opportunity. Nikki joined him, and together they worked to turn it around. Scott was good at operations, and Nikki was good at marketing. They made a great team. It was hard work going between Topeka and Manhattan, seven days a week, 14 hours a day. Together, they pushed forward, relishing the opportunity to work

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

for themselves. The hard work began to pay off. Life was good, and they began to live like it –a big house, a motorcycle, a new minivan. A new baby. Scott and Nikki were on top of the world. And then, as it often does, fortunes Scott and Nikki Lewien changed. First, the movie theatre moved, taking with it all its customers. Then the competition set in on Wanamaker, and the result was declining sales. When faced with obstacles what do you do? You move forward. You work alone in the store. You sell food for the first time. You eliminate unnecessary expenses. You rework budgets. But mostly, you work. And that is exactly where Scott found himself the day the owners called and gave him the two-day notice that his dream was over. Failure is devastating. In the darkest moments you lie in bed and talk about options. You sell stuff—a garage sale on everything. You move from the big house to a little duplex. You sell your car and ride your bike to a $10-anhour job. You take odd jobs. You bounce checks. You leave the limelight. You struggle. Some would separate under that pressure. Not Scott and Nikki, this is a love story. Some of their best days as a couple were spent in that duplex with nothing but a bed, a couch and a radio. Everything reset. Nikki kept looking for the next opportunity, her next great idea. It was here that a remarkable thing happened. Nikki answered an ad from an east coast company looking for someone to run a photo booth in Topeka. Working that one show was all it took for Nikki. Everything from that moment on propelled her forward. Scott built their first photo booth in that little duplex and the idea was tested twice in the fall. Everyone liked getting their pictures taken, but no one understood why Scott and Nikki would risk what little they had left on a new business. Which brings us to the day, their first Topeka Bridal Fair two years ago, the moment where our entrepreneurs took

the risk, and pushed all their chips all in. Scott was going to set up and operate the booth. Nikki was going to ask for the sale. That was the plan. No one thought they could do it, but they did. They booked 26 weddings, They booked 26 weddings, over $13,000 in sales. Sometime during that busy hectic day Nikki smiled at Scott and asked him if he could imagine quitting his job? Three months later, Scott did quit his $10-an-hour job. By year end, they had four photo booths working almost every weekend, and SayCheez was born. After everything they had been through; the determination and heart to continue moving forward had made the difference. Today, Scott & Nikki operate 7 photo booths here in Topeka with the help of 25 contractors, and have branched out to 12 other locations so far, stretching from Seattle, WA to Knoxville, TN. SayCheez is this year’s recipient of the Kansas Small Business Development Center’s Emerging Business of the Year award.


Rick LeJuerrne is the Director for the Washburn University Kansas Small Business Development Center

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011



Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

the tk

EVOLVE project

In December, TK‌Topeka’s Business Magazine, asked for nominations for Topeka companies that could use a business makeover. Then, we let you, our TK readers, pick the three you wanted to see go through the evolution process. Well, the time has come to reveal what local experts have recommended to help these three companies take their business to the next level.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011




jenny & rosita

evolve project: TEAM RRC

photo by Nathan Ham Photography

Owning a bakery can be challenging.

MBPiland Martha Piland Alex Reilly Tammy Theissen Team W Dan Lindquist Kurt Kaniewski Tim Kolling announceIt Teryl Warden Edward Rayne Bill Ludwig Summer Ludwig

But owning a dog bakery puts you in a whole new hot spot—literally. Jenny Oxandale started baking healthy dog treats in 2009 as a solution for her dog, who had a sensitive stomach, and therefore couldn’t eat regular dog treats. What started out as labor of love for her own dog, quickly became a hit with family and friends who wanted to give their own furry family members better quality treats. Rosita’s Ruff Cakes quickly expanded into a full-blown dog bakery providing custom cookies and cakes for dogs—yes, cakes, and cupcakes to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. Now, Jenny has found herself at a crossroads. She is so busy with orders, it is hard to keep up. But, she isn’t quite busy enough to expand out of her home-based kitchen and run the bakery full time. So, she was ready to call in the experts to help her take her business to the next level. To assist her in mapping out a plan, TK called on the advice of business and marketing experts in Topeka.


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


marketing strategy The first step for Rosita’s Ruff Cakes was to develop a marketing strategy. The staff at MB Piland Advertising + Marketing sat down with Jenny and conducted a Killer Ideas strategy session to brainstorm about specific audiences, unique attributes of the product and end goals. They looked at ways to increase revenue and expand Rosita’s Ruff Cakes into a regional presence and to develop cohesive messaging focusing on the fresh aspects of the treats Rosita’s offers.

Recommendations Right Now

• Have Rosita (the dog) blog, tweet and Facebook • Submit content to lifestyle magazines • Create a visual identity for shows and parties • Create a coupon in New Mover packs • Search engine optimization

Recommendations for the Future

and ion with MBPil Killer Ideas sess

• Create adoption gifts for dog breeders to send home with new puppy owners • Build a pet birthday database so owners receive special offers for their pet’s birthday • Integrate Rosita’s Ruff Cakes into boutiques • Consider a “people” flavored treat line • Have regular sampling events

website redesign For the TK Evolve project, Teryl Warden of announceIt! and Bill and Summer Ludwig of Edward Rayne met with Jenny about her website plans. Jenny was ready for a simple website re-do that she could manage on her own and tie in her blog. Leaving the current template-based site, and customizing a WordPress application was the perfect solution for Rosita's Ruff Cakes. Warden got right to work designing six pages that met the content need. Using the existing logo, font and colors, Ruff Cakes' website took shape. Then Ludwig brought to life the technical side of the website. Installing easy-touse shopping cart plug-ins gave Ruff Cakes a simple solution for selling their products online. Blending the features of design with the technical development, Warden and Ludwig gave Jenny a site that is easily managed and will undoubtedly be a stepping stone to growing her business.


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

See More Online

Listen Online

radio spots Discovery Session with Team W

building awareness and name recognition Team W, the “think tank” from WIBW radio, conducted a discovery session with Jenny to determine not only what people needed to know about her products and services, but also what the message should be and how it should be articulated. Brandable chunks about Rosita’s Ruff Cakes were singled out to increase brand recognition and top of mind awareness.

Positioning Statements

Team W emphasized that people need to know that they have another choice for dog treats and that Rosita’s Ruff Cakes treats are unique because: • The treats are homemade, right here in Topeka • The treats are made with healthy, natural ingredients • Dogs should get to celebrate special occasions too

Team W developed four radio spots for Rosita’s Ruff Cakes, emphasizing different selling points, but having common branding elements. Each spot checks in to see what Rosita the dog is doing, and has her talking about the bakery products. In addition, all of the spots end with a catchy jingle to increase recall. One spot catches Rosita on doggie Facebook; another has her texting a friend about the great treats she found at Rosita’s Ruff Cakes.


Team W recommends that Rosita’s Ruff Cakes implement regular, ongoing radio advertising to build brand recognition and consumer awareness. WIBW donated $1,000 in free advertising space to help Jenny kick-start her advertising campaign.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Take a Closer Look... your employee healthcare and other benefit plans. Call Century today for a review and to see how we can improve the employee benefits for your business. 785.233.1816 Topeka 800.227.0089 toll free


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine


he Schultz family has always been creative, even when it comes to business. Owners of the Field of Greens and The Break Room, this brother/sister team has always

held a special place in their hearts for downtown Topeka and wanted to create a place where people can relax, eat good food and be entertained. Their vision was to bring people downtown, not only for lunch, but in the evenings as well. Chris knew they had to have something completely unique to Topeka to draw people in, so he developed the concept of the Gourmet Cabaret. But, sometimes great new ideas create even more complex obstacles. How could they promote the evening cabaret, without losing the brand identity people already associated with The Break Room? How can they basically merge three distinct businesses: the coffee shop, the Nathan’s Hot Dog lunch crowd and the evening Gourmet Cabaret into one cohesive brand? Chris knew he needed to call in some experts, so he asked TK EVOLVE to help him out. To assist The Break Room in mapping out a plan, TK brought in marketing and advertising experts from FryeAllen, Inc.


chris schultz

evolve project: THE break room

photo by Nathan Ham Photography

FryeAllen, Inc. FryeAllen Photo Studio Sovanski Photography Jim Sovanski TK...Topeka's Business Magazine Spring 2011 39

updated logo branding consistency By performing a marketing analysis and preparing a creative brief, FryeAllen determined the branding for The Break Room needed to concentrate on a main identity. The client had been adding “Metro Eatery” to “The Break Room” which confused customers. A separate logo had been developed for “The Gourmet Cabaret” dinner theater. Giving these events their own identity and logos splintered The Break Room brand equity. It was decided that all the branding should be based on a specified hierarchy: 1.The Break Room, 2. a metro eatery (as a definitive phrase), and 3. featuring The Gourmet Cabaret dinner theater.

FryeAllen decided the “chair” logo should continue to be used as a metaphorical reference to the family’s hospitality, personal attention and comfortable hominess that one feels when in The Break Room. The Break Room, while still the comfortable eatery it has always been, also offers a stylish, urban entertainment venue. The new logo sets this tone, maintaining the friendly attributes the old logo represented, but illuminating a new kinetic energy, reflecting the Gourmet Cabaret and other evening events.



signage Recently, The Break Room changed the outside signage and removed the original Break Room logo. Added to the sign was a secondary line reading “Metro Eatery” and a graphic of skyscraper-type buildings. These changes created a confusing branding message to consumers. FryeAllen redesigned the outdoor signage using the new logo and did a smaller sign for street-level viewers. An angle to the top of the signage was added to reflect the shapes in the logo and to emphasize the branding personality and tone.




Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

before after

visuals FryeAllen set up a staged Cabaret event and shot photos with local photographer Jim Sovanski, of Sovanski Photography. The agency's team members worked with the client and Chef Michelle in FryeAllen's photo studio shooting hundreds of high quality photos of food from the various courses of the meal. The current brochure for The Gourmet Cabaret highlighted the cast rather than clearly defining the experience and selling points of both the gourmet meal and the cabaret show. FryeAllen made it more visually striking and highlighted the gourmet dinner served with a fun, entertaining evening experience.

website redesign The website needed to have an updated look and feel to coordinate with branding – but also needed organization so information could be found and read more easily. With FryeAllen's new layout of the homepage, consumers can easily find information about The Break Room including breakfast, lunch and evening events. Clicking on “evening events” will take viewers to a Gourmet Cabaret page and other pages that would be designed for additional events. FryeAllen strongly suggests the website be rebuilt so that it can be fitted with a reservation and payment system.

See More Online

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


{iwig dairy} i

tim & laurel iwig

evolve project: Team iwig Winston/Meriwether Ryan Gigous Matt Gasson Schwerdt Design Group Gwen Gigous David Heit


photo by Nathan Ham Photography

ince 1910, the Iwig family has been producing delicious, high quality milk for Kansas families. In 2004, Tim and Laurel Iwig began bottling milk and pro-

viding it to grocery stores throughout Kansas. Their struggle to keep the dairy operational is no secret, and when TK asked for nominations of businesses that deserved a makeover, the community overwhelming voted for Iwig. Tim and Laurel already had a number of ideas for ways to help their business grow and become more profitable, but they all require a substantial capital investment. They would like to add a short time pasteurizer, which would save them 80 percent on their energy costs. And their long-term vision is to make the farm a tourist destination with tours, an outdoor theater and an educational center. The Iwig’s embraced the opportunity to see what the experts recommended to help make their operation more successful.


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine



TOPEKA AND SHAWNEE COUNTY ARE THRIVING thanks to our strong and established business

community. And as part of this community, we invite you to take part in GO Topeka’s Existing Business Program to help ignite, enhance and grow your business and the local economy even more. Through our program, you’ll get: Strong educational partnerships to support workforce needs now and in the future Information on available local and state incentives Help navigating the rules, regulations and red tape so you can focus on what you do best Industry-specific connections for advice and opportunities A wealth of relevant information including a snapshot of the business climate culled from data analysis Security and confidentially among all involved With all of these elements in place this certainly is the start of a beautiful friendship. If you’re thinking of starting or expanding a business in Topeka/Shawnee County, call GO Topeka to find out how we can help at 785.234.2644.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


business strategy revisited

TK called on the experts at Winston/Meriwether to examine Iwig’s business strategy to recommend ways to increase immediate sales and long-term profitability. The strategy session looked at all aspects of the business from production to distribution, management to pricing, to identify areas that could be improved or new ideas for consideration. This comprehensive strategy session resulted in recommendations in two specific categories: business and marketing

site plan for parking Right now, the site is confusing as to where customers should park, and it isn't pedestrian-friendly. Schwerdt Design Group offered their recommendations that would provide a parking area.


• Stripe four parking stalls, including a handicap stall, on the east side of the building • Add a sign to the side of the building directing people to the parking • Add a sidewalk from the parking along the south side of the building to the front door • Add a small patio area in the front of the building with a decorated railing to help soften the front of the building and make it more approachable



Spring 2011


TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

retail store facelift TK’s next set of experts, architects from Schwerdt Design Group, tackled the problem of an uninspiring retail storefront. The building is quite small and located on a very tight site. Besides the pylon sign, little has been done to brand the building. It becomes easy to drive by without noticing the space. Schwert’s design proposal brings some character to the building and gives it more curb appeal for people driving by on Gage.

Recommendations: • Add a steel or wood framed sign panel and overhang • Add signage to display the Iwig name on the building • Cover existing CMU block walls with insulation panel and EIFS finish in two colors (EIFS looks like stucco)


after See More Online

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Thank you to the businesses who made up the TK Evolve Project teams!

I’m enchanted by great marketing. As a kid, it was obvious I was meant to be an entrepreneur. Now I get the opportunity to help others build their businesses by thinking strategically about them. At MB Piland, we bring innovative, big ideas to clients. The ideas may be crazy - they’ll definitely be different but they’re always based in strategy. Team W is a process provided by the broadcast division of Morris Communications. It’s a team of brainstorm chasers and creative wordsmiths, all working together with you to help your business. From the Discovery Session to the presentation, Team W typically invests 10-12 hours on behalf of the client, without asking for a dime. Our hope is that you’ll love our ideas so much you can’t wait to get them on the air…and of course, we can help with that too! Schwerdt Design Group is full service architecture, interiors and planning firm with offices in Topeka and Oklahoma City. Greg Schwerdt founded SDG in 1990 with the goal of building better communities through design excellence and personalized service. We celebrated our 20 year anniversary last year, and also were one of the Chamber’s small businesses of the year award winners in 2010.


Spring 2011

Teryl Warden (announceIt! owner), has developed a keen eye for layout and design over the last 15 years. In addition to the many logos, business cards, brochures and advertising pieces she produces each year, Warden transfers her art to the World Wide Web. No cookie-cutter designs here; announceIt! provides fully-customized sites with unlimited possibilities.

After the design portion is complete, Edward Rayne takes over the wheel. Bill and Summer Ludwig (owners) bring more than 16 years of superior website development. Building from ground up or overhauling an existing site - Edward Rayne assures its clients that they will remain current and competitive.

For us, success demands innovation. Together, with our trusted service providers, we’re committed to raising expectations and elevating standards - giving our clientele the resources that they deserve. In turn, we’re committed to helping develop, refine and promote ideas that build businesses - while focusing on sustainable, positive change. We have a process that is our own, and is central to gaining insight into the needs of our clientele.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

FryeAllen, Inc. is a full-service regional firm offering proven advertising and marketing services. The staff is made up of a talented team of professionals who serve a diverse client group including hospitals, financial institutions, higher education, associations, entertainment venues and retail accounts. FryeAllen provides strategic planning; creative strategy and implementation of print, broadcast, and online materials; branding; and social media development.

Twilight Music specializes in working with small businesses to give them the same advantage as the national companies spending millions of dollars each year on commercial music. For about the same amount of money you might pay for a cup of coffee or a soft drink, Twilight Music provides businesses like yours with the power to compete. Once our clients have their own music, they use it. They know that their musical image investment helps their advertising work harder and smarter. Sovanski Photography is more than a photographer. We're your imaging partner. We'll help you distill your visual concept and capture the images to illustrate your message and tell your story. Our images will enhance your media not just decorate it.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


p o h S 10 Reasons to

Shop LocaL 1. You buy from people you know and trust 2. Better, personal service 3. It helps other local businesses who that merchant buys from 4. It creates jobs locally 5. You maintain the community’s character 6. It encourages local investments in the city and community 7. It develops a strong community bond 8. You’re encouraging product diversity 9. It supports the people who support the community 10. It stimulates the local economy and keeps your dollars in the community


Shop Local! Shop East Topeka! Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Interested in starting or growing your small business? Contact: Cyndi Hermocillo-Legg Vice President of Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development 785.231.6000 for more information about our many entrepreneurial programs and classes.

Small Business orientations Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library 1515 SW Tenth Avenue

February 1 March 1 April 5

May 3 June 7 August 2

Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development 120 SE Sixth Avenue, Suite 110 Topeka, KS 66603-3515


[for your health]

Doug forworks your

Ask Dr. Crowder So What’s the Deal with Caffeine? Caffeine is

the most popular and widely used psychoactive stimulant in the world. In moderation (less than 200mg per day or about 2 cups of coffee) caffeine can be beneficial. Caffeine can help: • relieve migraines, • aid in adjusting to shift changes, • temporarily increase ability to carry out tasks, and • temporarily ward off sleep. Coffee, tea or energy drinks? The caffeine in a cup of coffee depends on the type of bean used. Even though tea tends to have a higher caffeine content in its leaves than coffee, the amount of caffeine depends in large part on how long the tea is brewed; hence it usually is weaker than coffee. The amount of caffeine in a Coke or Mountain Dew is about the same as a serving of tea. Energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Jolt tend to have more caffeine • Coffee: 100 mgs • Green Tea: 30 mgs • Black Tea: 50mgs • Coke: 50 mgs • Energy Drinks: 100 to 300 mgs So how much is too much? This depends on body size, concurrent medical conditions, medications in use, the rate at which the caffeine is ingested and how long the person has been using caffeine. Sustained usage causes tolerance (you need more and more drug to get the same effect) and also the withdrawal, or “crash,” that occurs when you quit using caffeine. This can last from one to five days and causes the upset stomach, fatigue, weakness, headaches, irritability and muscle aches that may occur. The lethal dose of caffeine would be about 150 cups in one sitting! This level can be reached more readily with ingestion of caffeine pills, commonly used to ward off sleep deprivation. Deaths have been reported with acute ingestions of 2 grams of caffeine. Symptoms of toxicity include upset stomach, palpitations, muscle twitches, headache, insomnia, mood disturbance and psychiatric symptoms. What about caffeine and alcohol? Reports of multiple emergency room and hospital admissions after the ingestion of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, ultimately led to the manufacturers agreeing to remove brands such as Four Loko, Joose and Core High Gravity HG from the market. The higher alcohol and caffeine concentrations per serving than usual drinks, led to a greater risk of toxicity, and caffeine masked the alcohol level in the user. Dr. Jay Crowder is a St. Francis Health Center Hospitalist

future health. “We enjoy strong relationships with our network doctors, dentists and hospitals – which includes 99 percent of the physicians and 100 percent of the hospitals in our service area. That allows our members nearly unlimited choice of providers. “As medical care moves into the future, we’ll continue to explore new and innovative ways to partner with Kansas providers. Our goal is to promote better medical outcomes, and affordability – for all our members.”

NAME: Doug JOB: Dir. Professional Relations

An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association ® Registered mark of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association N.1030


TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[extra, extra!] Bozarth Buys Topeka Kobach Dealership

Owners of Ed Bozarth Chevrolet have purchased Bill Kobach Buick GMC. General Motors approved the transaction in mid-December and all inventory of cars, SUVs and trucks has been moved to the Ed Bozarth Chevrolet dealership located at 3731 S. Topeka Blvd.

Topeka Periodontics Has a New Home

Topeka Periodontics, PA has moved to a new location in the Westboro Shopping District. The new office at 3100 SW Huntoon, Suite 103 opened its doors in January.

Eyewear Unique Has a New Home

Upscale frame and lens boutique, Eyewear Unique, has moved to its temporary location at 1414 SW 16th in the College Hill Retail Centre. “We are excited to continue providing the Topeka area with an exclusive eyeglass showcase, knowledgeable opticians, and an in-house optical lab,” owner Eric Enns said. Eyewear Unique’s permanent home will be directly across the street next to The Burger Stand that is coming soon, to its new Topeka location.

Moving Up in the Rankings

Topeka-based jones huyett Partners, a regional advertising and marketing firm, has moved up two spaces to number 17 in the category of Top Area Advertising Agencies in the 2010-2011 edition of the Greater Kansas City Area Book of Leads and Lists put together by Ingram’s Magazine.


Spring 2011

It’s In the Toss and It’s In the Sauce

Downtown Topeka’s newest pizzeria is now open. Lido’s opened its doors at 10th and Quincy in January. Lidos pizzas are made with fresh locally grown ingredients and all of the crusts are hand-tossed. Customers can dine in, take their pizza to go, or have it delivered. Lido’s provides catering as well.

New Salon Opens Downtown

Health E Hair N Fashion opened its doors in December at 400 SW 6th Ave. Ste B. The salon specializes in all types of hair and is adding additional salon services. In addition to traditional salon services, owner Renee Anderson conducts wellness consultations and is also an Herbal Life distributor. The salon will also sell ladies shoes, handbags and accessories as well as skin care products. Anderson said she has wanted to go out on her own for a long time and just decided to take the plunge. “I’m just stepping out on faith and going for it,” Anderson said.

Dawn Wright Joins GO Topeka Staff

Dawn Wright has been named vice president-attraction initiative 2015 for GO Topeka. In this newly created position, Wright will provide professional assistance in the creation of economic development marketing strategies and implementation of efforts to attract primary employers to the City of Topeka and Shawnee County, Kansas. Wright will promote the City and County through various public relations initiatives including working with regional, national and international consultants, developers and businesses interested in locating or expanding in Topeka/ Shawnee County. Wright served as president/CEO of the Topeka Home Builders Association since 2006.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[extra, extra!] Sunflower Prompt Care Introduces New Smartphone App

Sunflower Prompt Care of Topeka has partnered with Healthagen to put medical and facility information into the hands of smart phone users with iTriage. Smartphone users can download the free app iTriage to access healthcare information. Sunflower Prompt Care is the first urgent care clinic in Kansas to utilize this interactive technology. Topekans now have on-the-go access to Sunflower Prompt Care details like contact information, hours, mapping, quality reports and facility information.

Mize, Houser & Company Adds Two

Mize, Houser & Company, Professional Association, Certified Public Accountants, announced that Kenneth R. Hite and Bryan C. Phillips have been admitted as shareholders in the practice of public accounting.

Ken graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1996 and has focused his career on providing accounting, consulting and tax planning services to small and medium-sized businesses.

Beth Fager to Be Honored at Career Chapter ABWA Scholarship Luncheon

The Career Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association will honor Beth Fager as the 2011 Woman of Distinction. Fager, who has been involved in numerous community organizations, including the Great Overland Station and Topeka Performing Arts Center, will be honored at a spring scholarship luncheon that raises funds for women pursuing degrees at Washburn University.

Marketing Professionals Donate Visioning Website Heartland Visioning announces the launch of a new website-- MB Piland Fat Free Advertising, Umbrella and Jim Schwartz & Associates teamed up to donate their services in creating this resource.


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Bryan, a graduate of York College, joined Mize, Houser 12 years ago and has focused his efforts on serving McDonald’s owner/operators across the country.

Chamber Presents Annual Awards

Networks Plus has been selected as the Chamber Member Firm for 2010 because of the firm’s active participation in many facets of the Chamber including donating the design and production of the Fast Forward website which markets the Chamber’s young professional program. Scott Gales, Architect One, Mike Morse, KS Commercial Realtors, and Neil Dobler, Bartlett & West, were named Members of the Year for 2010 for their role in promotion the redevelopment project for downtown Topeka. Other awards presented during the annual meeting included the Top Ambassador Award to Sue Buckley representing Dynamic Computer Solutions of Topeka. Phil Tysinger, Dynamic Computer Solutions of Topeka, was presented the Top Diplomat Award and the Top Sales Award. Amanda Hughes, Washburn University, was presented the first ever Fast Forward Member of the Year award.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Arthur Capper

The man behind the legacy by Deb Goodrich-bisel

Arthur Capper was the first Kansas-born governor, a 30-year U.S. Senator, and a newspaper and magazine publisher.

Arthur Capper was neither large nor loud. He did not clamor for attention. But he certainly deserves it. He stares from photographs as the embodiment of the 20th century businessman and politician—unsmiling, serious-minded, and almost onedimensional in his unassuming, blackand-white persona. His biography was subtitled Publisher, Politician, Philanthropist and the words have been so often repeated that they have nearly ceased to have meaning. The reality is that Arthur Capper’s life spanned nine of the most tumultuous decades in American history. His lifetime included stage coaches and rockets, cowboys and astronauts, border wars and world wars. He was front and center for much of that history. Sometimes he shaped events, sometimes he was shaped by them, but throughout all, he was calm, confident and quietly extraordinary. Born just weeks after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Arthur would remark, “It took nerve to be born in Kansas.” He was right. The state of Kansas was only four years old, fresh from the ravages of Civil War and territorial turmoil. Arthur’s family members were Quakers, intensely anti-slavery and not always peaceful. In fact, his maternal grandfather was called the “fighting Quaker” during border conflicts. In the 1860s (while Arthur was yet a toddler in the growing town of Garnett), the first cattle were driven from

Texas to railheads in Kansas; Buffalo Bill Cody was earning his nickname by killing bison for the railroad that was being built almost overnight; Frank and Jesse James were robbing their first bank; and Wyatt Earp was making a name for himself in Dodge City. Arthur was only 10 years old when George Armstrong Custer’s command was wiped out in Montana and Wild Bill Hickok was killed in South Dakota. Arthur was in high school when the Earps bested the Clantons at the OK Corral. The Cappers would have learned of all these events from the newspaper.

Arthurthe newspaper man The importance of newspapers in 19th century Kansas and America cannot be overstated. Newspapers were often the first source of information on unfolding current events. They brought word of distant relatives, ads for the latest inventions and urged social and political change. Often, Kansas towns had newspapers before they had buildings. Arthur was drawn to the news business at a young age. He got a job setting type for the newspaper in Garnett, a skill that would serve him well when he moved to Topeka after graduating high school. He never went to college. Instead, Arthur worked. At 5 feet 8 inches, Arthur weighed about 130 pounds. He zipped around the capital city on his bicycle. A social continued on page 57


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Contact: Will Nicklin 785.272.9495 Main Office: Toll-free: 888.364.4611 Marketing Concepts Direct Mailing Printing and Signage Promotional Products Screen Printing and Embroidery Laser Engraving

Your one stop shop for all your marketing needs TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011



Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

sion for rural America. (It was founded just prior to 1900.) That love for farm living was a hallmark of Arthur’s publishing, political and philanthropic endeavors. His ag journals included Capper’s Farmer, Missouri Ruralist, Michigan Farmer, Ohio Farmer, and Pennsylvania Farmer. And who in rural America does not recall boys selling the Grit?

Arthur— the venture capitalist and popular man, he was nonetheless committed to prohibition and would remain so. He knew the bar-smashing Carry Nation and admired her.

Landing a job as a typesetter at Topeka Daily Capital, he quickly demonstrated his other abilities and became a reporter. His beat included politics, and he excelled at covering political races and issues. His thorough reporting earned respect and notice from colleagues and readers. His career was off and running.

Arthur— the mogul Arthur Capper would become a correspondent in Washington, D. C., and return to Topeka to buy newspaper businesses including the Daily Capital. He created a publishing empire that lasted for decades and continues today in various incarnations.

In 1921, Capper Publications was the second largest periodical publishing plant in the world, and his holdings included WIBW Radio and TV and KCKN Radio.

He became governor of Kansas and served as U. S. senator for 30 years. “He is one of those men, after

1900, who sees government as an active partner in business, in bringing about orderly change,” retired history professor William Wagnon said. And even though he was a steadfast Republican, he did not answer to the party or to any political interest. He was his own man. In 1929, Arthur graced the cover of Time Magazine. He was a founding member of the Topeka NAACP, something his activist-Quaker forefathers would have been pleased to see. Bryan Welch, publisher with Ogden Publications, said he was “an extraordinary citizen.” “Through the media,” Welch said, “he tried to make the world a better place. He set a tone we still try to follow today.” Ogden publishes Capper Magazine, a glossy, rural lifestyle magazine that bears not only Arthur’s name, but his pas-

Arthur also loaned money to kids to buy pigs. The request was simple. “Please help me buy a pig.” “The publisher laughed heartily,” a biographer said. “Then he dictated a heart-warming letter to the little chap enclosing a check for enough money to buy the pig. . . . Capper conceived the idea of lending money to Kansas boys with which they could start in a modest way in the business of raising purebred pigs for market. He took each boy’s personal note for the

Arthur Capper established the Capper Fund for Children with disabilities. continued on page 58

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Arthur Capper with Dwight D. Eisenhower amount lent him. He has lent more than $100,000 for this purpose in the last few years, and has not lost a dollar.” Thus began the Capper Pig Clubs, Poultry Clubs, Corn Clubs, Flower-Raising Clubs, and so on. Arthur proudly recounted the tale of one young man in Iowa who not only repaid the loan, but also announced he had cleared $119 on the capital advanced to him.

“I was prouder than he was,” Arthur said. “It is a wonderfully inspiring thing to see a boy make good after responsibility has been placed upon him. What chance have boys or girls to be honest if nobody believes in them? How can they be responsible if nobody places any responsibility upon them?”

Arthur was a supporter of 4-H and helped establish the national endowment that continues to benefit its members.

Arthur— the philanthropist In 1920, Arthur demonstrated just how committed he was to the welfare of children by establishing the Capper Fund, intended to help children with physical disabilities. For years, Arthur and other businessmen had sent a truck laden with gifts and candy to many of the poorer neighborhoods on Christmas morning. When he became aware of the widespread effects of infantile paralysis, he decided


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

more needed to be done than just passing out toys. Since 1920, the Capper Fund has evolved, expanded and thrived, and is now the Easter Seals Capper Foundation. Last year, the Foundation provided nearly 50,000 hours of services to more than 2,100 individuals. Jim Leiker, foundation president, said he sees Arthur Capper’s ideals expressed every day in the work done with children and their families. Midwestern values, exemplified by Capper, like giving back to the community, hard work, love, caring, helping each other along life’s journey—all of these are evident. Technology has advanced, the facilities have grown, but the dedication remains constant. In 1945, Arthur said, “I hope this 25th anniversary of The Capper Foundation for Crippled Children may mark the beginning of a new era for this project which had so humble a beginning on that Christmas night a quarter of a century ago.” The Easter Seals Capper Foundation will mark 90 years of service on July 14. The celebration is sponsored by the very businesses that were part of Arthur’s media empire: The Topeka Capital Journal, WIBW Radio and TV, Ogden Publications. July 14 will also mark 146 years since the birth of Arthur Capper. He began hosting a public birthday party in 1908, and continued through 1950. Thousands of people fondly remember the ice cream, the entertainment, the community and the host: a quietly extraordinary citizen, whose legacy lives on, and who continues to do good. Arthur died on December 19, 1951. For more information on the Easter Seals Capper Foundation and Arthur Capper’s legacy visit www.capper.easterseals. com.


Deb Goodrich-Bisel

Author and historian,

Photos courtesy of Easter Seals Capper Foundation. Deb’s photo by Rachel Lock Photography

C AIR P ARAVEL L ATIN S CHOOL 635 SW Clay St. • Topeka, KS 66606

Now enrolling!

Grades Kindergarten through 12th • • • •

Non-denominational Christian School Devoted Christian Teachers College Preparatory Classical Curriculum Sports and Fine Arts Programs

30 years of Classical Christian Education

785-232-3878 TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[winning rules]

Think global! A Topeka business with an ocean view

Just because your business is based in Topeka, Kan., it doesn’t mean you can’t have an ocean view from your office. If you are willing to see beyond physical location and think globally, instead of locally, your “office” can be wherever you want it to be. Thinking global begins with the way we conduct our lives and the dreams we have for our businesses. When I think of Topekans who think globally, I think of Amy Rose Herrick. Her colorful clothes and outgoing personality don’t fit the stereotype of the staid financial planner in a gray button-down and sensible skirt. And when it comes to her life and her business, she doesn’t limit herself to what she can see and touch. “Too often we get into a repetitive life pattern -- we see only our familiar surroundings, we do the familiar and ‘safe’ things most of the time,” Amy says. “We forget how big of a world we live in and how many opportunities lie just beyond the familiar if we would look up and farther out. We forget how to dream dreams and then take the time to explore how to make them realities.” While Amy has always been committed to growing and servicing her Topeka client-base, she hasn’t limited her business to the confines of Topeka. Her growing practice now enables her to serve clients in 14 states and the US Virgin Islands. In a bold move that illustrates her “think big” attitude, Amy

recently acquired a mutual fund and variable life practice based in St. Croix. In January Amy set-up her new office in St. Croix and divides her time between there and Topeka, specializing in financial planning for individuals and businesses. Amy says that modern technology enables her to serve her clients’ needs in the life insurance, portfolio management or financial services. Even when she’s in St. Croix, she stays in contact with her clients in Topeka and elsewhere via Skype or phone conferencing. “With the ability to access multitudes of information online, email, Skype, online document storage solutions, overnight and two-day mail services, scanning, faxing, cell phones, online client management systems, etc. having a successful small business does not always mean a fixed storefront location is required.” Eleven years ago, Amy painted a mural and Mark Twain quote on her wall and read it every day until all of her big dreams for her life and business came to fruition. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain


Kevin Doel is president of Talon Communications Group, a Topeka-based company specializing in public relations, social media and marketing communications. Kevin’s photo by Rachel Lock Photography


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[from the professor]

The US Economy in 2011 and Beyond I

CLASS IS NOW IN SESSION TK Visiting Professor:

t seems as if every time we read a newspaper or a magazine, another article about economic growth, the performance of the stock market or the price of gold catches our eye. The problem with all these articles is that as soon as one expert says that prosperity has been restored, another expert comes along and says that the economic recovery is in jeopardy. Many people – some long-time market followers among them – now question if it's even possible to make sense of all the contradictory information. In my opinion, anyone who is not feeling a little confused about the economy is probably not paying close attention, as the economic climate has never been more complicated. In this article I will shed some light on why our recent recession and current economic expansion have been so hard to figure out – even for the socalled experts.

The Normal Business Cycle.

Robert A. Weigand, Ph.D.

Professor of Finance & Brenneman Professor of Business Strategy Washburn University School of Business


Spring 2011

Everyone knows that free-market economies experience alternating periods of growth and contraction. Slowdowns usually occur because businesses have produced more than consumers and other businesses want to buy. Firms respond by creating fewer outputs and laying off workers until demand picks up again. When these cutbacks are severe enough to put a major dent in economic growth

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine


and the number of people employed, the National Bureau of Economic Research officially labels the period as a recession. Fortunately, recessions are self-correcting – at least in most cases. Banks and businesses usually


Millions of businesses and individuals suddenly owed more in debt than they owned in assets. "right their own ship," as free-market incentives provide signals regarding which actions will restore profitability for firms and economic growth for the nation.

What's Different This Time? The primary cause of the last recession, which lasted from December 2007 until June 2009, was not a drop in demand, however. The so-called "Great Recession" was an unusual type of economic contraction, known as a "balance sheet" recession – one in which excessive debt and the proliferation of complicated, under-regulated financial instruments (the dreaded "toxic assets") severely hampered banks' and businesses' ability to function properly. With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the US Federal Reserve kept short-term interest rates too low for too long in the mid-2000s. These low interest rates made it easy for businesses and individuals to borrow

excessively and speculate in stocks, commodities and real estate until the prices of these assets became dangerously high. When too many investors tried to sell their overpriced assets at the same time (in October 2008), asset prices plunged. World financial markets suffered a severe shock as the value of the assets financed by the borrowing binge fell far below the value of the debt used to purchase these assets. This is the idea behind the term "balance sheet" recession – millions of businesses and individuals suddenly owed more in debt than they owned in assets. Banks stopped making payments owed to other banks, as they feared that the payments owed to them would not be made, and the financial system ground to a halt.

Conventional Economic Indicators Are Encouraging. Fast forward to 2011. When we examine the economic indicators used to analyze the business cycle during normal economic recoveries, it appears as if we're in a reasonably robust expansion. For example, as shown in the graphs below (shaded areas represent US recessions) corporate profits and GDP are increasing:

and Personal Income and New Orders for Capital Goods are also on the rise:

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Based on traditional indicators such as these, the economy appears to be in pretty good shape.

The Hangover From the Great Recession Persists. Unfortunately, there's a bit more to the story. Businesses laid off more workers than in any recession since the Great Depression – and thus far, the jobs are not coming back. As shown in the graph below, there are between 7-8 million fewer workers employed than there were 3 years ago – and the US population has increased by over 6 million people during this period. Additionally, businesses are hiring fewer employees than they were at any time during the last recession – the trend in new job creation is more flat than increasing. Even though the US economy is growing, it is not growing fast enough to create enough jobs for all the people who need one.

gov/fmsweb/viewDTSFiles?dir=w&fname=11012400.txt), as of January 24, 2011, the total debt obligations of the US Treasury were just shy of $21 trillion dollars. And, according to the Congressional Budget Office, this number is expected to grow by another $1.5 trillion in the coming year, and continue growing for many years to come. If that's not bad enough, states and municipalities also face a variety of crises, including possible default on their bonds and vastly underfunded pension plans. Some economists fear that a wave of layoffs on the state and municipal level may curtail economic growth in the second half of 2011. In late January 2011, another ominous event occurred – Standard & Poor's lowered their debt rating on Japan, a country that's been stuck in a high-debt, low-growth scenario for almost twenty years. When we honestly account for everything the US owes the rest of the world, our total debt to GDP ratio is about the same as Japan's right now.

The Short-Run and the Long-Run. In the short run – maybe for as long as the next two years – I expect the conventional economic story to prevail, as higher GDP and corporate profits fuel further gains in stocks. Longer term, however – around the time serious challengers for the 2012 presidential election emerge – we're going to start hearing a lot more about problems like debt, unemployment, and the unsustainable gap between public and private pension promises – including Social Security and Medicare – and the actual assets in place to fund those promises. And I think it's pretty safe to say that we're not going to like the message.


Debt is an even longer-term and more dangerous problem – there's too much of it, and it's not going away. Although we're supposed to be in a period of "deleveraging" – paying down debt – this is not actually the case. The Federal Reserve continues to exchange bad assets from banks' balance sheets for cash via its "Quantitative Easing" programs, but this is just a delaying tactic, not a solution. If the Fed's loose money policies result in higher inflation down the road, interest rates will rise, which Debt is an even longer-term and more will make it difficult dangerous problem – there's too much of (perhaps impossible) it, and it's not going away. for the Federal Government to service the payments on the mountain of debt we owe the rest of the world. According to the US Treasury's daily statement (available on the web at https://www.fms.treas.



Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine


TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[scene about town] Greater Topeka Chamber | Bold Rush 2011 Annual Meeting January 20, 2011 Ramada Convention Center [Jamie Hornbaker: United Way, Brenda Dietrich, Keith Love and Marin Weishaar: Auburn-Washburn USD 437]

[Seated - Mike Curtin, Tom Forbes, Rob Green, Jerry Froelich Standing - Rosalind Jennings, Deb Carter, Glenn Bowman: Kansas Gas Service]

[Nikki Rash: Denison State Bank, Greg Allen, Fred Vance: Lincoln Center OBGYN, Shawn Brown and Gerad Curry: Hy-Vee]

[Alan Frost, Rob Hallam, Aaron Hove and Melissa Lewis: Collective Brands]

[Adrianne Evans: Topeka Chamber, James Davis: Custom Neon & Vinyl Graphics, Marsha Sheahan: Topeka Chamber, Shannon Reilly: Topeka Civic Theatre, Alex Reilly & Martha Piland: MB Piland Advertising]

[Seated - Laura Zambardi: Brewster Place, Dick Pratt: Pratt Enterprises, Dale Smith: Carpet One, Ty Roberts: Boy Scouts. Standing - Angela Dailey: Brewster Place, Jeff Moe and Rob Richey: Boy Scouts] 66

[Larry Hinton, Miriam Krehbiel, Chris Irwin and Tom Baumgartner: United Way] Spring 2011 TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

A powerful corporAte

incentive solution:

simon GiftcArds Motivate Reward Excite Thank Inspire Encourage Now you can get a powerful corporate incentive solution with a simple click. Go to to order your Simon Giftcards today. 速

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


Your ticket for great entertainment

Host site of the 2011 NAHL Robertson Cup Championship, May 4-8 Event Hotline: 785.235.EXPO • • Tickets: 800.745.3000 68

Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

[scene about town] 94.5 Country Bridal Fair January 22 & 23, 2011 Ramada Convention Center

photos by

[Kala Livingston and Tim Kolling : WIBW Radio]

[Megan James-Rogers and Sarah Long : Red Barn Photography]

[Kristi and Stephen Ditmer : Ditmer Digital and Design]

[Kyle and Kimberly DeRodes : Flash Forward Photography and Video]

[Larry Riggins & Dave Relehan : WIBW Radio] TK...Topeka's TK...Topeka'sBusiness BusinessMagazine Magazine Spring Spring2011 2011



Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

[scene about town] Fast Forward | Fully Loaded November 19, 2010 PT's Roasting Company

[Maribel Florez: Security Benefit, Matt Stevens, and Lloyd Rainge: Capitol Federal Savings]

[Erin Mohwinkle: Heartland Visioning and Tyson Yager: Capitol Federal]

[Amanda Hughes: Washburn University, Brea Black: Kaw Valley Bank, Sarah Thompson: Boys & Girls Club of Topeka, Jessica Barber: USD 501, Erin Aldridge: Topeka Performing Arts Center, Tamra Scheid: Visit Topeka]

[Jeff Shamberg: Bartlett & West and Jason Biegert: American Electric]

[Shandra Hochard: Blue Cross Blue Shield, John Ragsdale: M-C Industries, Sara Meier: AVIVA, and Mandi Walter: Hill's Pet Nutrition] TK...Topeka's TK...Topeka'sBusiness BusinessMagazine Magazine Spring Spring2011 2011



Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

[scene about town] American Advertising Federation--Topeka ADDY Awards Gala February 5, 2011 Top of the Tower

[Becky Arensdorf: Peterson Publications, Inc, Adam Arensdorf and Mike Hren: Topeka Police Department, Valerie Britto: Advisors Excel]

[Shawn Dryden and Susan Religa: New Boston Creative Group]

[Tracey Stratton, Leslie Palace, Alaina Lamphear, Alissa Sheley, Brie Engelken, & Michelle Stubblefield of jones huyett Partners]

[Andrea Engstrom: Premier Advisory Group, Tammy Thiessen: MB Piland Advertising, Brett Thiessen: Hill's Pet Nutrition]

[Megan Kirkwood, Trevor Kirkwood, Jackie Wilburn & Chris Fisher: KTPK Country Legends 106.9, Cherie McGinnis: Stormont-Vail HealthCare, Billy Rich, KTPK Country Legends 106] TK...Topeka's TK...Topeka'sBusiness BusinessMagazine Magazine Spring Spring2011 2011



Human Resources by Karen Ridder


uman resource management is more than just payroll and paperwork. It is a vital part of a company’s foundation and is often under-emphasized as part of the business plan. Many legal issues, employee complaints and other difficult people situations can be avoided with a little forethought and planning. A human resource audit starts with an assessment of legal practices and moves toward employee communications and relations procedures that can reduce turnover and increase good business practices. John and Kristina Dietrick, owners of Creative Business Solutions, often perform these types of audits and say good HR is critical to the well-being of an organization. The Dietricks use the following checklist for companies needing additional focus in making over their HR plans:

Check on legal compliance ASAP The number one purpose of an HR audit is to make sure a company is in compliance with legal regulations. Laws are constantly changing, and many business owners do not realize they are out of compliance with these laws until a problem shows up or an employee complains. Much of human resource law is based on how many employees a company has. Different rules apply at 15, 50 or 100 employees. An audit can shed light on any discrepancies. “We can then assess what they need to do going forward to be compliant in terms of affirmative action, state laws and other regulations having to do with their profession,” John said.


Spring 2011

Review your communications The second reason for conducting an HR audit is to make sure the company is running efficiently. Included in this area of the audit are employee communications and job descriptions. “If no one knows what his or her job description is, it makes it difficult to have an efficient organization,” John said. Job descriptions protect both employers and employees against violations of exempt and non-exempt regulations. Handbooks, satisfaction surveys and orientation work are also included in good employee communications.

Take time before you hire Before any new employee walks through the door, companies should spend more time conducting interviews, background checks and preemployment assessments. All three practices are crucial when a company is considering a hire. Having a formal interview process should include good practices, such as team interviewing. Background checks are not limited to criminal or driving records, but should also include employment and education verification as well as contact with professional references. “It is just good business practice,” Kristina said. Testing and pre-employment assessments will also protect the company by ensuring a future employee is a good match for the work environment. “If you’re a financial person, your benchmark is going to be a lot different than a nursing person,” Kristina said. “We test them and look at their thinking style and behavioral characteristics and see if they fall within the range.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Don’t be afraid to fire Companies often struggle when they hang on to employees who aren’t a good match for the work environment. John says documentation is important for proper hiring and firing procedures. If an employee is a problem, there should be procedures for warning, coaching and giving a reasonable opportunity for the employee to change. All of these steps should be documented. Kristina says that if the employee does not turn the problem around in less than 90 days, then it is time to let them go. The most important factor is consistency—treat everyone the same. “When employers get into trouble is when they treat someone differently than someone else,” Kristina said.

Think about outside help The Dietricks say most businesses aren’t aware of the depth of HR resources that can be outsourced to a company like Creative Business Solutions. A small investment in assessing a company’s practices can help improve business. Even companies with solid HR departments might benefit from outsourcing legal or communications issues just for the advantage of an outside perspective. “Most employers think we’re here to just resolve a crisis, or we’re a recruitment firm, and we’re not,” John said. Creative Business Solutions provides human resources outsourcing and consulting services, training and organizational development, and legal counseling.


It starts first with an idea.

Are you next?

More work than people? Call us first. When it’s time to hire more employees, Express is your number one resource. We’d love to solve your productivity challenges. Call us today. • Accounting and Finance • Customer Service • Information technology

• Administrative • Light Industrial

(785) 267-2773

Helping local entrepreneurs start and grow since 1983. 785.234.3235 120 SE 6th Ave., Suite 100 Topeka, Kansas TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


daily antics of the H.R. industry Sources: Local HR Professionals

Human Resource professionals have seen just about everything that can happen in the workplace. Employees call in with off-thewall reasons they can’t come to work; job applicants put things on resumes that make you raise your eyebrows; and people get fired for doing the strangest things. TK asked HR professionals to share some of their favorites with you.

Resume bloopers These are taken from real resumes and cover letters and were printed in Fortune Magazine: i I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0

computor and spreadsheet progroms.

i Instrumental in ruining entire

operation for a Midwest chain store. i Note: Please don’t misconstrue my 14

i Received a plague for Salesperson of

the Year. i Wholly responsible for two (2) failed

financial institutions. i It’s best for employers that I not

work with people. i I was working for my mom until she

decided to move.

jobs as job-hopping. I have never quit a job. i Reason for leaving last job: They

insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 a.m. every morning. Could not work under those conditions. i References: None. I’ve left a path of

destruction behind me.

i Personal interests: donating blood.

Fourteen gallons so far.

Cartoon taken from


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


[the last word] Who are your heroes, and why? This is a difficult question to answer because I don’t identify personally with individuals so much. I identify with people who do things that I profoundly respect. My heroes are people who are fortunate enough to have true passion in their lives. I believe that passion is necessary as an element of success. You can apply that to individuals, organizations, private companies and even to government. Passion is not just a desired element— it is an essential element for people to be able to differentiate themselves and engage in activities that are ever challenging—change and growth.

steve briman

Executive Vice-President of Bartlett & West, Inc. Steve Briman has been with Bartlett & West for more than 30 years, helping the company to grow from a small local consulting engineering firm into a 300 person regional company providing solutions to clients across the Midwest and nationally. As a lifelong Topekan, he has also been focused on helping the Topeka community be a better place to live through involvement in the leadership of several not-for-profit and civic organizations. Additionally, he has worked to give substance to Bartlett & West’s stated purpose “to lead our communities to a better tomorrow” through the company’s expanded philanthropic presence in our community.


Spring 2011

What is the best advice you have ever received? A person I had known for a long time and had great respect for told me once, “What worries you today, what upsets you now, will be meaningless in a year’s time, so don’t make it more than it is.” In other words, don’t fight out of principle for something when it likely won’t bring you any benefit either now or in the long term. I have taken that to heart and look for ways to build consensus and compromise because it’s going to facilitate the greater good. I live by that. I hope I have been an effective leader in my organization by listening to both sides of the debate and making progress by the building of consensus.

Why are you passionate about Topeka? I’ve lived here my whole life, and I have been involved in the community.

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

What I have seen happen in Topeka in the last two years is amazing. We have seen grass-roots efforts, combined with the continued leadership in the private sector, that have caused the stars to be aligned. All of a sudden, we are being recognized for it, and it’s very exciting. Now are we there? No—we’re far from it. But there’s more energy and excitement about Topeka right now than there has ever been.

Why are you so involved with Go Topeka? I joined the board three years ago as an opportunity to give back to the community, to be involved and to build relationships. Once I got involved, I had an epiphany. Once I understood the power of economic development, I realized how important it was for our community to prosper and grow. Before I became involved with Go Topeka, I never really thought about how companies make decisions to move to new places. When voters said “yes” to taxing themselves for economic development, they expected results. Go Topeka has been proactively working to make that happen. We are actively going out and seeking opportunities rather than waiting for them to come to us.

What is something that few people know about you? I am an introvert. People who know me would probably argue with that, because I don’t come off that way, but I am a true introvert. I have had to train myself to be otherwise.



Value Whole Life*:

Something Permanent in a Lifetime of Change

♦ Guaranteed Premiums ♦ Guaranteed Death Benefits ♦ Guaranteed Cash Values

For Your Family’s Financial Protection

*Value Whole Life Underwritten by the American Home Life Insurance Company, Topeka, KS Policy Form No. 08 LCWL-KS.

Call us or one of our local independent agents today! Bob Evenson R W Evenson, Inc. 3401 SW Harrison St., Ste. 201 Topeka, KS 66611 266-9160

Pam Lassen, Becker-Lassen Insurance Agency, 234-3800 Kathy Moulin, Kathy A. Moulin Insurance Agency, 266-7666 Bruce Price, Bruce Price & Associates, 266-4959 Bill Rogenmoser, Rogenmoser Financial Services, 233-8900

Meeting ALL Your Life Insurance and Annuity Needs

American Home Life Your Hometown Life Insurance Company Since 1909

The American Home Life Insurance Company • 400 S. Kansas Ave. • Topeka, KS • (785) 235-6276 TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011


On top of your health care needs. Topeka’s Highest Rated Hospital.

You deserve the highest quality of health care available in the nation, and St. Francis Health Center provides it. St. Francis has been ranked among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide in clinical excellence for the third consecutive year by HealthGrades, a national health care ratings organization.

Innovative Care with a Soul™

The clinical excellence rating looks at mortality and complication rates among Medicare patients across 26 procedures and diagnoses, from heart attacks to total hip replacements. Before you select a hospital in northeast Kansas, take a look at St. Francis Health Center’s top 5 HealthGrades designations in the state for cardiac, orthopedic, stroke, gastrointestinal and critical care services at You’ll be impressed to find our women’s health and emergency medicine services are ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation as well.

1700 S.W. 7th Street | Topeka, KS | 785-295-8000 |


Spring 2011

TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

Spring 2011 TK...Topeka's Business Magazine  

Spring 2011 TK...Topeka's Business Magazine