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TK Business Magazine



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TK Business Magazine

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TK Business Magazine


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Businesses Help Make-A-Wish

Local businesses work together to give a terminally ill 4-year-old boy his very own train. ► PG 14

Man of Steel

Jon Haas has grown HME, Inc. from a twoman operation in his garage to more than 200 employees operating out of Topeka, Kansas City and Denver. ► PG 23


Made In Topeka

TK spotlights products made in Topeka. Prairie Glass Studio Hazel Hill Chocolate Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn Moburts ► PG 44

In Business to Change Lives

Three local businesses offer services that are changing lives for the better every day. H.O.P.E. Hair Secrets Salon & Wig Boutique Topeka Ear, Nose & Throat ► PG 56

Mixing the Perfect Sales Cocktail

Master your sales approach by mixing the perfect sales cocktail. ► PG 58

Understanding Emotional Intelligence and Political Savvy Gain a better understanding of emotional intelligence and political savvy and learn how to improve your skills.


TK Business Experts

Emily Donaldson, CELA Eric Hunsicker, CLU Kristin Scott, MSM, PHR, CERP Ken Schmanke ► PG 72

Scene About Town Who’s who at local business events. ► PG 76

Last Word: Marlou Wegener

10 4

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TK Business Magazine

TK talks with Marlou Wegener, BCBSKS Manager of Community Relations and BCBSKS Foundation COO.

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TK Business Magazine


From the publisher Tara Dimick

Recently, as I sat in a room of people being asked by an outside consultant for our input and opinions, I was baffled by the ineffectiveness of the presenter to just be quiet and listen. After first proving to us that he hadn’t done his research, he went on to provide a rebuttal or defense against every piece of input and opinion that was provided by the group. I had entered that meeting feeling excited and engaged. However, I left that meeting feeling frustrated and manipulated. As much as I disliked my experience, I always appreciate those bad encounters as they serve as a clear reminder of why it is so important to know your purpose for asking questions, listen openly, take notes and be grateful for input from others.

Know Your Purpose

The questions you ask can produce as much good as they can cause harm. If you ask a question knowing full well you won’t use the information provided, then you are setting yourself up to not meet the expectations of those you asked. On the other hand, if your questions are too broad, leaving the conversation open for anything, then you may end up down a rabbit hole that you can’t get out of. But, the right questions with a purpose behind them (i.e. understand an issue, find strengths and weaknesses, identify opportunities, understand the perspective of others) can inspire greatness.

Listen Openly

I constantly have to remind myself to really listen, as I like to attempt to multitask by listening and thinking about what I want to say next. If you are asking for


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TK Business Magazine

input and feedback, you have to drop your defenses, clear your mind and listen to the words, emotions and body language of the participants. How can you be trusted if, after the first response from the audience, you give a “this is why we can’t do that” comment? Why would anyone else speak just to be shut down?

Take Notes

I don’t usually think about this activity as something to highlight. It doesn’t seem like rocket science to grasp that if you are gathering information you should be collecting that data, right? But as I sat in that room, no one was writing anything down. By simply not taking notes, the consultant and those who hired him told us as participants that our input didn’t matter, and that this information gathering session was all smoke and mirrors.

Be Grateful

Good ideas become great ideas when we communicate and collaborate. Take time to appreciate the people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience to help you and your business or organization grow. If you don’t, they might not be there next time. And as final note, we tend to learn and grow more from suffering through bad experiences than we do from good ones. So be sure that in your next “bad experience” you look for the wisdom that can be gleaned from the situation.

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@TK...Topeka's Business Magazine

TK Business Magazine

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Melissa Brunner Jason Dailey Shelley Jensen Adam C. Johnson Keith Horinek Megan Rogers Erin Tomlinson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Esmond Alleyne, MBA, CPA Melissa Brunner Anthony Caliendo Lisa Loewen Karen Ridder


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train wreck how to avoid leaders a zombie DOUG STERBENZ brand-pocalypse






FALL 2015 Contributors

@TK Business

PUBLISHING COMPANY E2 Communications PO Box 67272 Topeka, KS 66667 785.217.4836 FOUNDER ǀ Kevin Doel 2015 TK Business Magazine is published by E2 Communications, Inc. Reproduction or use of this publication in any manner without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. 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 therein. 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 company. 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.

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BUSINESSES By Melissa Brunner

Photos by Erin Tomlinson Photography / Submitted by Make-A-Wish® Kansas

Walt's Autobody CARSTAR works to refurbish the train for Daniel Wood.

Dean Koelzer admits to a brief moment of panic when he got his first look at the scale-size locomotive engine and rail cars that rolled off the truck. But the owner of Walt’s Autobody CARSTAR also knew there was no doubt they would complete this job. After all, it wasn’t just any client. “There’s not a better organization out there than Make-a-Wish,” Koelzer said.

The Wisher

Four-year-old Daniel is the youngest of Jeanette and Joe Wood’s six biological and five adopted children. He’s full of energy, loves being outside and lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The degenerative condition will likely shorten his life to his 20s, but Jeanette says she finds many blessings in being the parent of a terminally ill child. “It’s like being picked the most amazing beautiful flower, and then praying it doesn’t wilt,” she said. “We’re enjoying every day with that beautiful flowering gift.” The family says Danny blossoms most when he’s around trains. He’s already visited more than 30 states, counting trains as they


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TK Business Magazine


Roofing excellence since 1979.

move along the highways. At home, toy train cars and tracks are never far from reach. A favorite outing for Danny is a visit to Gage Park, where he’ll hop aboard their mini train with older brother, Sam. A family care coordinator at Children’s Mercy Hospital told Make-A-Wish Kansas about Danny, which launched a big idea— what if Danny had his very own train in his back yard to ride whenever he wanted? Dr. April Abernethy, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Kansas, says the process actively began in January. Through contacts she’s made over the years, she found Paul Neudecker, who runs an Illinois-based company called Premier Works. He was selling a mini train and donated a large percentage of the cost to the project, even delivering it to Topeka at no charge. However, time had taken its toll on the train and work was necessary to make Danny’s dream a reality.

Becoming Wish Granters

Lance Smith knows the power of a wish. His son, Isaak, who is now 13 years old, also has Duchenne. Two years ago, Make-A-Wish sent their family to Disney World. “It was one of the best weeks,” Smith said. “For my son, it was perfect.” Smith works as an estimator at Walt’s Autobody CARSTAR. Make-A-Wish reached out to him regarding a train that needed

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continued on page 12

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The restored train, train station and playground completes Daniel Wood's wish.

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continued from page 11 “a little bit of work.” It was Smith who approached Koelzer to get the train on track for Topeka. When they got their first up-close look, Smith said, they realized “it needs a lot more than just a little” work. “But it didn’t matter,” Smith said. “They were very understanding on the time frame because our shop is really busy. We took a guy out of production to do this.” Technician Jesse Haynes was assigned to make the repairs to the train and cars, replacing rusted-out metal and smoothing out the body. Tristan Hughes took the lead on the paint job. Koelzer estimated the pair put in about 275 hours on the project, squeezed between their regular duties at the shop. “They never complained,” Smith said. “Jesse pretty much volunteered to do it as soon as he heard about it. They did awesome.” Of course, the train wouldn’t be any fun if it just sat on the tracks and didn’t move, so the Wood family contacted Ash Davis of Davis Electric Construction, who had done several projects for them over the years. At first, Davis says he was only told they wanted a bid for getting electrical service to what would be an expanded playground area. A month a later, Make-A-Wish called and explained the vision. Davis agreed to charge only for materials. Make-A-Wish mentioned Lowes is a national partner with the organization, so Davis met with the manager of the Topeka store. “He said, ‘Back your truck up and load it up,’” Davis recalls. Davis then needed to rent a trencher for the task, so he visited his usual rental spot, Home Depot, which also waived its charge. As for the only remaining cost, his time, Davis didn’t hesitate. “The Lord gave me gifts that I have to use for a purpose and he allowed me, in turn, to pass that on to a family in need,” Davis said. “Daniel is perhaps one of the most deserving little boys I have met.” With the centerpiece on track at Walt’s Autobody CARSTAR, Davis Electric Construction wired for the electrical work and Trusted Choice Insurance


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donating money to help buy replacement pieces, Make-A-Wish and Danny’s family led an army of volunteers, including real Army soldiers from Fort Riley and KU’s Chi Omega-Lambda Chapter, to lay the tracks; add a play area complete with fort, sand box and trampoline; and even build a depot. International Mulch donated materials for the finishing touch. “We’ve had 15 businesses, clubs and associations involved with this— hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours,” Abernethy said.

Wish Revealed

to a boy in need and be able to watch him smile.” Smith, perhaps more than most gathered on that day, knew just how much this gift means. “It’s hard putting into words to see there are still people out here who are willing to do something for someone they never met,” Smith said. “As a parent, someone giving all this money and all this time, and they don’t expect anything back—they just want to see a smile on your kid’s face. It’s amazing. That’s not even the right word. It’s a godsend.” Jeanette and Joe said they could not express their gratitude. “It means a lot that people would care for someone they don’t know,” Joe said. “It’s awesome.”

Danny, recovering from a recent hospital stay, had no idea what was happening in the back yard until a Saturday in early July, when his parents walked him outside for a surprise. There stood a crowd of roughly 50 people, sounding whistles and singing, parting the way to reveal his very own train. While the noise of the crowd was initially overwhelming, it took just one lap for Danny to enthusiastically nod yes when asked if he wanted to take Daniel Wood takes a ride another lap. “It is an amazing on his new train with his opportunity to see the mom, Jeannette. family come together with the community “Daniel attracts people,” Jeanette said. that they’re a part of and see the magic “He makes people pause and remember that a wish can bring,” Abernethy said. what’s important in life. There have been It was a moment that made the literally hundreds of people that have past six months come full circle for all shown love to a little boy they’ve never involved. Smith and his son climbed met, and they have no idea what it means aboard for a lap with Danny, and Davis to our family.” proudly pushed the button to send the On this day, nothing mattered more train on its inaugural run. than a little boy engineering a community “The smile on Daniel’s face was to believe in the magic a wish can bring. priceless,” Koelzer said. “It made all this When the day came to a close, the people worth it—all the hard work they put into gone home and his parents ready to tuck this, to see the smile on that little boy’s him into bed, Danny looked at this father face was truly amazing.” and whispered, “Let’s go ride the train.” “I cried,” Davis admits. “That’s why I And so they did. did it—to be able to pass along a blessing TK

TK Business Magazine

Topeka 785-228-0149

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By Lisa Loewen

Photos by Jason Dailey 14

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Jon Haas, Owner of HME, Inc.

“Jon sees everything as an opportunity.” — Rob Mohan, HME Production Manager

Jon Haas and Rob Mohan of HME, Inc. © Jason Dailey Photo

Jon Haas might not be faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but this man of steel has used his business super powers to grow Haas Metal Engineering from a two-man operation in his garage to more than 200 employees operating out of facilities in Topeka, Kansas City and Denver. Specializing in the fabrication of structural and miscellaneous steel for the construction industry, HME provides estimating, project management, design, engineering, fabrication, painting and erecting services.

SUPERIOR VISION Superman may have x-ray vision, but Jon appears to be able to see into the future. He recognized early in his career that no matter how good of a product you may have, without a viable market, you would likely never be successful. Taking that knowledge to heart, Jon capitalized on a growing need for custom metal fabrication in the construction business and set HME on the path for constant growth. “The vision that came into my mind was ‘I have a market that needs this product, so why not fill that need?”’ Haas said. That mindset of growth drives his business decisions. For Jon, growth means hiring quality employees and being willing to give up a little bit of control.

“If I put myself in all positions of the company, then I limit the growth capacity of the company by my own limitations of time and ability,” Jon said. Jon says he recently shifted his business acumen to focus more on management. His previous focus on production and keeping overhead to a minimum resulted in production outgrowing management capacity. After reading “The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement” by Eliyahu M. Goldraft, Jon took a long, hard look at HME’s true bottleneck. “What was controlling growth? It was me!” Jon said. “I didn’t want to hire estimators or marketing people because they cost me money. As a result, I was doing everything myself.” Take the estimating department for example. It doesn’t actually produce anything. It doesn’t engineer anything. It is just overhead. However, if this department doesn’t grow, then the company can’t take on any more work. When Jon hired a full-time estimator, the company grew. When he hired his first project manager, the company grew again. “Each time one of those key persons was added, it took that load off of me to not be the bottleneck anymore,” Jon said. As part of its focus on eliminating bottlenecks, HME has set itself apart from the competition by promising to produce

and deliver the right materials at the right time in the exact amounts needed. By breaking the job down into manageable pieces, HME can shorten the delivery schedule by several weeks and keep the construction process moving.

LASER FOCUS Once Jon has a vision in place, he pursues that vision with a laser focus until it becomes reality. While he is good at coming up with new ideas, he admits that he needs help to put those ideas into action. He collaborates with his key people and they put the details together to make it happen. “At HME, we have this connection and great people who understand my vision,” Jon said. “Pretty soon we are working off of each others’ ideas to create something even better than I envisioned.” This shared goal of turning visions into reality, coupled with a US economy that also demands continuous improvement in processes to work faster, more efficiently and more economically, has everyone at HME looking for ways to maximize output. If someone sees a better way to perform a task, the company implements the change. If better equipment streamlines the process, they make the investment. One such investment included the installation of a state-of-the-art

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Voortman System at HME, Inc.

continued from page 15 automated Voortman cell for fabricating structural steel. Once an operator enters the design/program into the computer, this fully automated material handling system moves the material through four operations (drill, saw, coper and blaster) without any further human interaction. Skeptics may argue that cutting out human interaction results in fewer jobs, but Production Manager Rob Mohan says in HME’s case, the opposite has happened. “When we installed the Voortman system, it let guys who previously spent


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most of their time loading materials focus on more productive tasks,” Rob said. “That in turn actually increased production and created more jobs.” Rob also credits HME with changing the way fabricators process their material and purchase their equipment. In an industry that typically doesn’t share information with the competition, Jon opened the doors and allowed competitors to observe their new equipment. Sure enough, a competitor in Pittsburg, Kan., bought the exact same system and set it up to mirror HME. Instead of being upset,

TK Business Magazine

Jon used that relationship to leverage and share large orders HME would never have been able to win on its own. “Jon sees everything as an opportunity,” Rob said.

IMPERVIOUS TO LURKING PERIL In the 20 years Jon has been growing his business, he still hasn’t encountered his kryptonite. That doesn’t mean HME hasn’t struggled through some perilous times.

© Jason Dailey Photo

“We went through several tough economic times that could have taken us under,” Jon said. In 2003/2004 steel prices doubled over a period of three months. At that time HME was operating with its biggest backlog of work ever. The increased steel prices meant the company was losing money on every job it currently had in production. “Our forecast showed we wouldn’t survive,” Jon said. “So I had to look at

continued on page 18

© Jason Dailey Photo

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continued from page 17 how we could dig out of that hole and find success.” The only hope Jon saw was to go after all the new work they could get at the new prices to cancel out those losses. With production already at capacity and a bleak financial outlook staring him in the face, Jon embraced the challenge, took the risk and added a second shift. “Maybe it was strategic brilliance, or maybe just dumb luck,” Jon said. “At a time when 30 percent of the steel fabricators in the country went bankrupt, we doubled in size, and by the end of that year, we had gotten things back up to break even.” He attributes the success of HME to that unwillingness to maintain the status quo. “If you are sitting still, you will get passed,” Jon said. “If you think you can just stay the same size, sooner or later the fluctuation in your workload will cause you to go under.”

INCREDIBLE STRENGTH While Superman receives his strength from the sun, Jon gets his corporate strength from quality employees. Jon says they already have great leaders in accounting, project management, estimating and detailing, but they are all working at capacity. So now the focus is to grow those departments so the entire company can once again experience growth. “When we looked at our critical mass and our bottlenecks, we discovered we needed to expand our detailing department,” Jon said. “If we can’t get drawings out, we can’t get the work to the shop.” Finding skilled designers proved to be a difficult task. Jon knew he had to be creative to build a scalable work force. Recently, HME created a new position called “Steel Designer” that expanded the position from simply being a draftsman to incorporating a true software-based

continued on page 20


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Cycle Zone Powersports

© Jason Dailey Photo

HME’s success has enabled Jon to expand into other areas of business. He also owns: ¡ Peak to Peak — Railing and stair step division based out of Wheatridge, Colorado, Peak to Peak Engineered Railings fabricates industrial handrail systems. The team is comprised of experienced in-house professional engineers, detailers and industry sales professionals. ¡ HME Metal Sales — Retail metal sales division, HME Metal Sales, provides custom metal products for any job—large or small. Retail customers can purchase stock length or
cut-toorder materials. HME utilizes the expertise of its in-house estimating, detailing, engineering and fabrication services to saw, cut, bend, drill or shape the metal to meet a client’s exact need. HME experienced painters will also apply finishing coatings as required for each piece. ¡ Cycle Zone Powersports — Retail motorcycle shop, Cycle Zone Powersports is an authorized KTM motorcycle and Arctic Cat ATV and side x side dealer, specializing in off-road motorcycles, ATVs and side x sides. Established in 1991, Cycle Zone Powersports has grown into one of the largest powersports dealers in the Topeka area. Everyone at Cycle Zone Powersports rides, and they pride themselves on being active authorities in the sport.

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continued from page 18 modeling system that offers multiple career paths. Actively recruiting engineering graduates from all of the Big 12 schools, HME is currently bringing in four new engineers every six months for training. “By creating a scalable work force, we have been able to expand at a rate that we can control versus the market of steel detailers controlling our ability to grow,” Jon said. HME is also taking that same philosophy and incorporating it into other areas of the company. Jon says they are now targeting area high schools and technical schools to attract motivated and skilled individuals to fill available positions.

purchased equipment to eliminate toxic waste and create a safer facility. Jon’s concern for the wellbeing of his employees is evident throughout the company. Rob says that is why so many employees have found careers with HME. “We have little to no turnover,” Rob said. “The economic downturn a few years ago was tough. During that time, Jon’s number one goal was not laying anyone off. These guys depend on this

WORKING FOR THE GREATER GOOD Superman’s greatest asset is his fierce love for the people around him; Jon shares that attribute. He sets goals for growth and works to surpass those goals, not from the standpoint of trying to make more money, but from the aspect of delivering the best product to the customer and providing a quality work environment for employees. “It’s as though he has a noble sales purpose,” said Larry Stocker, HME marketing manager. “Ask a typical business person why he is in business and he will probably tell you to make money. Jon’s answer would be, ‘There’s a town in Missouri called Joplin that got blown off the face of the earth by a tornado. We’re in business to build schools in Joplin so kids can go back to school.”’ Jon executes that same care in creating a comfortable work environment for his employees. Working with huge pieces of metal, large machinery, welding equipment and paint could result in a pretty uncomfortable atmosphere. However, Jon has invested in huge fans that circulate the air in the facility, regulating the temperature and venting the fumes out of the workspace. He also


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company to take care of their families and he wasn’t about to let them down.” Far from letting them down, Jon is lifting them up every chance he gets. “Today we are handing out a bonus check to every single employee,” Rob said. “The last six months we did great— the first time in a long time. Everybody worked really hard, so from the person who sweeps the floor to the last person in the office, everyone’s going to get a check.” TK

The Rise of a Superhero Jon Haas’ metal fabricating aspirations began in shop class at Seaman High School where he had a vision to build weight lifting equipment. Not knowing what he wanted to do after high school, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve because it was the “toughest armed forces division.” A couple of years later, he found himself in an entry level engineering class at the University of Kansas and immediately knew mechanical engineering was what he was meant to do. Jon received his mechanical engineering degree in 1990 and went to work for a pump company in Kansas City. Moving back to Topeka a couple of years later, he still had aspirations of building weightlifting equipment, which he did in his spare time in his garage. He quickly saw that lots of people have skill and aspirations, but if you don’t have a market for it, it doesn’t take off and develop. During that same time, Jon began working toward a master’s degree in construction management in Kansas City. He carpooled with a construction professional from BRB Contractors. When they needed to come up with a project for one of their classes, the two men brainstormed the idea for a miscellaneous metal fabrication company. They developed a business plan for the class and discovered there was actually a significant need for just such a company. By the end of the semester, they were actually getting some orders. By the following spring, they had close to $500,000 worth of work and knew it was time to quit their jobs and take this business on full time. A year later, Jon bought out his partner and founded HME, Inc. in 1996.

Lisa Manley, CFP

® Financial Advisor

Waddell & Reed, Inc.

What products and services do you offer?

Investments, Financial Planning, Retirement Plans—IRA’s, Rollovers, 401(k)s, Insurance—Life, Long-Term-Care, and Disability, etc.

What type of client do you work with?

The majority of my clients are either nearing retirement or are retiring and want to strategize about what they want their retirement income to look like.

What makes your client experience unique?

Investing can be a transaction-based process, I want to be more involved. Building a relationship with my clients is important to me in order to do the best for them. I want to know when the kids are leaving for college and what school they selected. I get excited when clients are coming up on a milestone wedding anniversary, and I want to hear about their latest vacation, etc. I want the whole picture, not just the business aspect of it.

What is the most important competency a financial advisor can possess? Ethical standards. It’s important to truly hear the client—their fears, needs and wants. I tell my clients that it is a little bit of a foreign language when you start talking about investments, so it’s important to work with someone you trust. The CFP® certification identifies me as an individual who has met education and experience standards and who has made a commitment to serving clients with a steadfast commitment to ethical standards and professional conduct.


What made you interested in the financial industry?

I have always liked working with numbers. But, the ability to help people pursue their goals of sending a child to college, retiring without having to change their lifestyle, or protecting them in the case of an untimely death of a loved one, provides an impact on my life as well as theirs.

What is one goal that you would like to accomplish during your lifetime?

Achieving professional goals are great for adding plaques to the wall. Achieving the goal of a happy family is more important to me. They are my foundation and all other goals pale in comparison.

In life and business, at this point, what do you know for sure?

The only thing constant in life is change. Creating a strategy helps us plan for the unknown, at least with our finances. I have found the other elements of life can be a little trickier. Financial planning creates a roadmap to help us pursue our goals.

Professional advice?

Don’t try to do it alone. Let a professional help you with the planning process. There are too many elements often overlooked that can have a significant impact on your retirement resources.

534 S. Kansas Avenue | Suite 1300 Topeka, Kansas 66603 | (785) 233-6400 Waddell & Reed, Inc. (08/15)

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Waddell & Reed, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC and Federally Registered Investment Advisor. Insurance products are offered through insurance companies with which Waddell & Reed has sales arrangements.

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SPOTLIGHT ON: Prairie Glass Studio • Hazel Hill Chocolate Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn • Moburts Photos and Stories By Melissa Brunner

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TK Business Magazine


Prairie Glass Studio “I do one thing good—the art. I’m not a businessperson at all.” — Kymm Hughes Owner of Prairie Glass Studio

Call her an entrepreneur. Call her self-sufficient. You might even call her a fighter. Kymm Hughes will say she’s an artist who’s learned to make her own luck. “It is really important to put things out there—to say, ‘I’m looking for this. I’m struggling. I need help.’ That’s helped me blossom and fill in my weak parts,” Hughes said. Anyone who walks into Prairie Glass Studio in downtown Topeka and gazes at the sun gleaming off the kaleidoscope of fused glass creations would agree that it’s had beautiful results.

The Self-Sufficient Starter

Hughes grew up in southern California, honing her artist’s eye and can-do attitude.


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“I always wanted to do it right and good,” she said. Hughes has loved art all her life. She studied graphic design at Pasadena Art Center, and dabbled in all sorts of areas through the years as she married, raised a family and worked other jobs, including sales and customer service. Eventually, Hughes found her way to Kansas where, as the saying goes, life happened. Divorced and with young children, Hughes says she needed to find a way to support herself. It brought her back to art classes at Washburn University. In particular, she ended up in a class taught by Glenda Taylor, who had recently returned from a summer workshop on fused glass. “It was a light bulb. It was literally a light bulb—that’s what I was going to do the rest of my life,” Hughes said. Hughes says fused glass provides the perfect combination of artistry and challenge. “Glass has certain properties. It won’t do certain things,” she explained. “How can we stretch that medium and make it work—and it doesn’t always work. I just like (to) figure out what I can do that’s different.” Hughes credits Taylor, who was killed in a bicycle wreck this past spring, with helping her develop her craft through independent study. From there, Hughes says she started to work from home, teaching summer camps and classes to children in various artistic mediums. Their parents would see her fused glass work and inquire about it, leading to her first sales. “It’s been little baby steps the whole way, small triumphs at a time to get me here,” Hughes said.

The Entrepreneur

“Here” is her own shop, which she opened three years ago in the lower level of the Thatcher Building, 110 SE 8th Street in downtown Topeka. Prior to the move, Hughes cared for her parents, and their large home had space for a studio. When her parents moved to an assisted living facility,

Hughes knew she needed to downsize her living arrangements and give her art a new home. There was just one problem. “I do one thing well—the art. I’m not a businessperson at all,” she said. While Hughes always relied on herself, she also fell back on faith and the realization that people come in and out of your life for a reason. The group surrounding Hughes as she looked to launch her own space was a perfect

fit. Hughes says Kathy Smith, who was director of ArtsConnect at the time, introduced her to Jeff Carson with Gizmo Productions, who was looking to rent out the lower level of his building. It turned out to be ideal for Hughes’ needs. A short time later, Hughes mentioned to a group of ladies with whom she regularly had dinner that she needed new equipment for her new space. Among the group was Adrianne Evans, who worked for the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. Evans mentioned the GO Topeka's Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development Department, which then led Hughes to Washburn University’s Small Business Development Center. “Resources led to resources,” Hughes said. “It was very humbling to learn to ask for help and ask questions. It’s really freeing when you let go of that control.” Letting go also has allowed Hughes to rely on a supporting cast who offer to help just because it’s what they enjoy. The group includes her step-daughter, a neighbor and various friends. “I never know what’s going to walk through that door,” she said.

The Fighter

An art-related business in an economically-challenged environment can be a tough sell, but Hughes isn’t one to easily let go of her dream. She

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Kymm Hughes, owner of Prairie Glass Studio

continued from page 25 has made her shop a balance of form and function, offering the beautiful alongside items both pretty and practical. “Stuff isn’t as important when money is tighter,” Hughes said. “It (has to) function in some way. It doesn’t just sit there or hang.” You’ll still find decorative items on Hughes’ shelves, and she does commissioned projects and custom awards. But you’ll also find business card holders, napkin holders, wine and oil bottles, wine stoppers, trays, ornaments and even pet food dishes and canisters. “You have to make things that you can still feel good about but will sell,” she said. Hughes also considers price. She says she realizes people want unique gift items, but they cannot necessarily afford to pay a lot. Shoppers will find many items in the $10 to $30 range to fit the bill. “I don’t want to miss that customer because they might be from a business that generates more customers and more purchases,” she said. “The best (advertising), that’s free, is word of mouth.” Beyond shopping, Hughes offers an artistic experience. People can take classes or book parties to make their own fused glass creations. As for the future, Hughes says she’s ready for whatever challenge comes around the corner next. “Like a person who jumps from the airplane gets an adrenaline rush when he falls,” she said, “I get that when I get a new idea and see if I can make it work.” u


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Hazel Hill Chocolate

“There’s not a better business around to make people happy.” — Nick Xidis Hazel Hill Chocolate Co-Owner


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You see cases lined with fudge, peanut clusters and candy-crusted apples, but it could be argued that what Hazel Hill Chocolate really sells is smiles. “There’s not a better business around to make people happy,” Nick Xidis, who owns the business with his wife, Terry, says as he gestures around their downtown Topeka store. “Aren’t you happy?!”

Family Recipe

The candy-making business is a return to their roots. Nick’s grandfather and great-grandfather emigrated from Greece and apprenticed in New York to learn the candy-making trade. From there, his grandfather opened a small candy store in Clinton, Iowa, but none of his children followed in his footsteps. Nick and Terry met when both worked in technology for a federal agency on the west coast. They married and Terry eventually stayed at home to raise their six children.

A job for Nick at Sprint brought the family to the Midwest, where Nick eyed a failing candy store in Odessa, Missouri, and thought he might recreate some of his family memories. They ran it for a little over a year at a loss. “That was our school tuition,” Nick said. “We learned a lot in running that operation that wasn’t doing well to find out how do you make it work. How do you operate it? Where the heck do you find a three-foot spoon? How do you buy 1,000 pounds of sugar?”

Stirring the Pot

The family graduated to Topeka in 2004, when Nick took a position with Security Benefit. A trip downtown inspired a sweet idea. “It seemed like (a candy store) would be a nice addition to a downtown that seemed like it was really struggling,” Nick said. In March 2005, they opened the store at 724 S. Kansas Ave. bearing the name of Terry’s grandmother, Hazel Hill. “When (Nick) first started, he thought he could still manage it and work a full-time job. I didn’t realize it was an attempt to get me back to work!” Terry joked. Terry operates the store as general manager, while Nick does payroll, taxes and other behind-the-scenes duties.

Terry and Nick Xidis, owners of Hazel Hill Chocolate

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continued from page 29 They’ve kept the same Monday thru Saturday hours the entire time they’ve been open. “In the beginning it was very slow. There’d be nobody here on Saturday,” Nick recalled. “We were really odd to be open until 7 p.m. and open on Saturday. We weren’t making money on a Saturday where three people showed up, but we felt like being consistent would drive it enough.”

Sweet Success

It would seem that consistent approach has paid off. Hazel Hill started with two employees and now has three full-time and eight part-time positions, plus extra help hired over the Christmas holidays. They’ve opened a second retail store in Manhattan. In addition, they estimate about a third of their sales come through gifting and shipping. “I know a lot of people that move away from Topeka that order from us,”

Terry said. “They still want our candy.” The way people eat up what they offer sometimes surprises them, especially in the beginning. “The first Christmas (we were open), I wasn’t really ready for the volume we’d be doing, so I’d work all night making candy and the girls would sell it during the day,” Terry said. “I’d come in and the cases would be empty, and I had to work all night again. Now, we have it more organized.” The key point to organizing is ordering. Terry knows they’ll need 150 pounds of sugar a week. She orders 2,000 pounds of chocolate every two months. At Christmas, she’ll quadruple the amounts. They’ll use 50 pounds of apples a week, and, at Valentine’s Day, ordered 40 eight-pound flats of strawberries— and still needed more. You can expect a fresh, 20-pound batch of their special popcorn each day. In November, Terry and her workers will begin making 100

Yolanda del Real-Corona demonstrates the chocolate dipping process.


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pounds of each type of nut cluster the store offers to get through the holidays. Of course, there are still plenty of hectic moments. Terry says a crew often works until midnight around Christmas, mostly putting packages together, and, since strawberries must be dipped fresh, they pull an all-nighter before Valentine’s Day to prepare the special treats. “We just have to be ready,” she said.

Savoring the Moment

As gratifying as the success is, though, Terry and Nick agree any growth must be tasteful. On one hand, the consideration is financial. The couple has pledged to keep the business self-supporting, putting profits back into the store so they can pay as they go. The other, perhaps more important, priority is the product. “It would be a fundamental change if we grew too big,” Nick said. “If we grew so much we didn’t do things the same way and it didn’t taste the same way and it wasn’t the labor of love it is, we’d be too big.” To that end, Hazel Hill will continue to offer its favorites. You’ll find homemade caramels, a variety of truffles, the signature Snickers apples and “anything with pecans.” Plus, Terry will continue experimenting, often with input from customers. That’s how chocolate-covered bacon found its way into the display case and how “things” came to be—a variety of chocolate-dipped balls with a moist cake center. “Customers suggested the name,” Terry said. “We wanted their input, but before we could ask, they kept coming in and saying, ‘Give me some of those things!’” The customers are what it all comes back to for Terry and Nick. “The customers bring me a lot of joy,” Terry said. For them, Hazel Hill will remain, not just a store, but an experience. “We try to have people making things most of the time,” Nick said. “It’s a show. It’s the sites. It’s the smells. It’s not just racks full of candy.” u

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Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn “Did we think we’d have a retail store? Absolutely not. It just fell where it was supposed to.”

When life gives you lemons, make popcorn! That’s pretty much how Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn got its start. Angie and Bill Anderson started selling their sweet treats to family, friends and co-workers as a fundraiser for their Jefferson County Relay for Life team. The motivation was personal Bill was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2000. It started with peddling cookies, then moved to caramel popcorn one Christmas season. “It took three hours to make and 15 minutes to eat,” Bill joked.

— Angie Anderson Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn Co-Owner Planting the Kernel

The idea to grow their modest fundraiser into a business venture really took root when their two daughters,

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continued from page 33 Aleigha, now 17, and Emily, now 15, started playing softball. Their teams often took on various ventures to raise money. “None of it was local,” Angie said. “It was nothing unique about any of the fundraising products we were selling, so Bill said we should consider starting a gourmet popcorn company.” Angie, who previously worked for Jefferson County’s Head Start program, was managing the market for Rees Fruit Farm at the time. They had a piece of unused equipment that turned out to be a commercial caramelizer. Owner Rex Rees let Angie take it to her kitchen and tweak her recipe to see what she could produce on a larger scale. “We want to be able to retain that homemade taste and texture and produce it on a commercial level,” Bill said. “That’s what separates us—it still tastes like it was made in the kitchen.”

A Business Pops

Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn was officially born in February 2013. They started selling at farmers markets and, to be able to offer it as a fundraising product, obtained a license for a commercial kitchen. In July 2013, they rented an incubator kitchen. They then decided that since they had the license, why not do a retail business as well? They rented a space at 1003 SE Quincy large enough for production, packaging and sales, which opened in time for the Christmas 2014 shopping season. “Did we think we’d have a retail store? Absolutely not. It just fell where it was supposed to,” Angie said. The store, with its customer interaction, has become a favorite part of the business. Bill says it brings out Angie’s personality.


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Angie, Aleigha, Emily and Bill Anderson of Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn “I just like being able to share kindness,” Angie said. “I like getting to know the people who come in here. They love coming in and smelling the smells. They love coming in and bringing their grandkids.” Wholesale and corporate orders still account for the largest part of Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn's business. The product is carried at several boutique and specialty stores around Kansas— Rees Fruit Farm was among the first to sign on. They also continue to gain interest regionally and beyond. A woman in New York City offers Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn as an item to include in her special-order gift basket business. Their efforts even earned them the 2015 Emerging Entrepreneur Award from the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. Growth is flattering, they say, but something they’ll keep in check. “We want more than anything to keep the integrity of the customer service and the product,” Angie said. The product line is constantly evolving. The shop offers 16 flavors at all times, with staples such as caramel and cinnamon. They toss in seasonal offerings too, such as s’mores and pumpkin spice in fall. Other flavors, such as minty chocolate, chocolatepeanut butter or brightly-colored fruity combinations, might come from customer suggestions or something that catches their own taste buds. “For cinnamon toast (flavor), one day I was nibbling on some Teddy Grahams and I thought, ‘I ought to make a cinnamon and

sugar popcorn and put honey in it, too,’” Bill said. “It’s one of our best sellers now.”

The Sweet Life

It would be fair to say cancer didn’t just inspire the business, but also made it stronger. Just as they launched, Bill suffered a recurrence. He feels healthy now, but knows the cancer may never go away. “I needed to create something with the time I have left, to help Angie out if things ever took a turn for the worse,” Bill said. “I was looking for an opportunity to create something and possibly leave it as a legacy for the girls, if they wanted to continue a business Angie and I created.” Their daughters help out around the business, packaging popcorn, filling orders and working the retail counter. Bill still works as an industrial mechanic for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, but changed his shifts to allow him to devote time to the family’s business. Family, in fact, is their recipe for success—combined with a bit of sugar, a dose of faith and a whole lot of humor, too. “Cancer is ugly, but it’s turned us into a family that maybe laughs at things other families wouldn’t laugh about. We love deeper and realize that at any moment...” Angie pauses. “We’re kind of blessed because we’re able to know you have to make today count. So many times we forget that. (Cancer) made us love each other. A lot. Even though we argue over popcorn.” u

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“It is so rewarding when somebody comes back to your shop after they’ve had one of your products and says that was the best.” — Al Struttman Moburts Co-Owner


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Everyone could use a little spice in their lives. Anyone who doubts that has never walked into Moburts, where the scents assault the senses, making the mouth water and the tummy rumble at the possibilities. “It’s the sensory experience. You see it in the containers. You can smell it,” said Al Struttman, who launched the business with his wife, Mary Jo.

A Taste for Business

The idea for Moburts grew from the couple’s own love of food and spices. Mary Jo comes from a family of 16 children and Al’s father was an Army chef who continued in the restaurant business. The clincher came when they were invited to lunch at the home of a friend’s mother, who was Thai and served up an array of traditional dishes. “It blew me away with the flavors. It was just an experience,” Al said.

Afterward, the mother offered to teach Mary Jo her recipes and tricks, and their love of spices heated up. “Then you learn there are spice stores that are better than grocery stores, and we made a day out of going spice shopping,” Mary Jo said. “We learned to appreciate (all the options). It’s an adventure. You smell stuff and you taste stuff.” They frequented spice stores in the Kansas City area. It was on one of those trips—as they paid the tolls and filled the gas tank—that the couple got to talking. They wanted their own business. Friends were placing spice orders for them to fill on their trips. Could this be a venture they could pursue in Topeka? From the practical side, the answer was yes. Mary Jo works for BNSF in accounting, and Al, at the time, worked in purchasing for Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “She put the money to it and I had the sourcing background,” Al said. “(Hill’s) founded their company on quality nutrition. I wanted a product people would come back for, not a one-time sale.”

Planting a Seed

The timing was right. Hill’s had been downsizing, so, with 23 years tenure at the company, Al took a buyout and Moburts was born. The couple sought products and got their feet wet by setting up shop at the weekly Topeka Farmer’s Market. “The Farmer’s Market was a good way to see what was the response to our product, to see if we could make a go of it (before we had) the expense of a building,” Mary Jo said. “The second year, everyone was saying, ‘We need our spices in the winter time. What are we supposed to do?’” Al said.

… like PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., Topeka. PT’s Coffee Roasting Company is Kansas-grown in a global industry – buying coffee beans worldwide and selling exceptional roasted coffee coast to coast. To help employees focus on superior quality, PT’s offers superior benefits. That’s why they Go Blue! Simplicity – Easy to utilize benefits with next to no paperwork. Local Service – Fast, dependable answers from friendly experts. Dependable – A proven Kansas company you know and trust.

Unique Blend

The answer was to open a true brick and mortar location. Moburts opened at 723 SW Gage in the fall of 2013. While much of the inventory is quality spices, smoked seasonings, herbinfused oils and flavored vinegars imported from suppliers, it is the approximately 50 hand-crafted blends that earn Moburts its made-in-Topeka flavor. “Once you’re conscious of your spices, you start thinking about what’s in it,” Al said. They started by making their own taco seasoning, then continued experimenting. They say they spend two to three hours a week trying different combinations. Some come from their own brainstorming, others are suggested by customers. Mary Jo’s rosemary garlic is a consistent favorite. Their spaghetti picante blend came from a couple who had visited Tuscany and described


An independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association N .1513

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Al and Mary Jo Struttman, owners of Moburts

continued from page 37 the flavor. If you want to add sweet sizzle to your bacon, coat it in a concoction called Bacon Candy. “We’ll make a batch of (a new blend) and give it to customers to try and give us feedback,” Mary Jo said. Al says one of his favorites came from a customer’s suggestion of an espresso rub for meat. “Neither of us are coffee drinkers. I’ve never had espresso on my steak,” Al recalls thinking before heading to his work space to see what he could combine. “I went home and tried it and thought, ‘Goodness, I DO like coffee - just not in water!’ Now we call it Al’s Top Shelf.” Moburts offerings are all MSGfree and they offer milder and salt-free options. In addition to finding a niche with foodies and people cooking for their children and families, the Struttmans also discovered an unexpected market— competitive barbecuers. They estimate


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eight teams make regular visits to the store. “Barbecue people really want good spices,” Al said. “It makes a difference. They’re fresher, more flavorful and they score better in their competitions.”

TK Business Magazine

Extra Servings

Less than two years after opening, the Struttmans’ taste of success has them looking to expand. They would love to support fellow small business owners by joining the downtown South Kansas Ave. revitalization, and could possibly relocate there as soon as this fall. “I want to make it a unique foodie experience,” Al said. “People want classes. They want training. They want to learn how to use all these wonderful things.” Fostering that culinary creativity would be the icing on the cake for a couple whose been able to pepper their passion into a new career. “It is so rewarding when somebody comes back to your shop after they’ve had one of your products and says that was TK the best,” Al said.

SUNDAYS 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM


Hosted by Tara Dimick, Owner & Publisher of TK Business Magazine

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Kansas Chamber

2015 Legislative Summary Protecting Business Taxes

The 2015 Kansas legislative session was a long, grueling 113 days focused on a projected budget shortfall of over $340 million. The income tax reforms of 2012 and 2013 were under siege. Daily news articles attacked the tax cuts as unfair and largely responsible for the budget shortfall. Meanwhile, for the 11th year in a row, our Business Leaders Poll continued to show taxes as the top concern to business owners across the state. Faced with a budget shortfall, and apparently unwilling to address government over spending, some legislators, who had previously earned the endorsement of the Kansas Chamber because of their commitment to lower taxes and limited government, abandoned those principals and turned against the business tax cuts instead of standing by the votes they made and championed just a few years earlier. But the Kansas Chamber government affairs team held strong and was ultimately successful in preventing a crippling assault on small business tax reform. In addition to protecting the business tax cuts, highlights from the 2015 session include: comprehensive unemployment insurance tax reform; repeal of the renewable energy mandate (RPS); repeal of the overly complicated and dysfunctional school finance formula in exchange for a two-year block grant protecting existing resources while providing ultimate local control, allowing time for the legislature to craft a new school finance formula which focuses on outcomes and an increased focus on funding for the classroom; elimination of income taxes on the lowest income taxpayers in the state; protection of the growth trigger, utilizing growth in state receipts for further buy down of income tax rates; and passage of property taxpayer legislation protecting taxpayers from extraordinary increases in property taxes. While Kansas businessmen and women were dedicated to the success of their business, the Chamber team worked tirelessly on their behalf, along with pro-business and pro-jobs legislators in the House & Senate. The Chamber team testified in favor of legislation aligned with the annual legislative agenda and mission of pro-growth, limited government principles while opposing harmful policies which would adversely impact Kansas businesses. Overall, the Chamber team monitored over 100 bills this session from tax policy, to HR, legal reform, energy, education and health care.


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The Kansas Chamber led efforts to pass the following pro-business legislation by drafting language, building coalitions, testifying on each bill, engaging in direct lobbying and ultimately ensuring passage. These are just a few of the recent accomplishments during the 2015 Legislative Session.

Property tax reform prohibiting cities and counties from adopting budgets with revenues from property taxes which exceed inflation unless approved by a majority of voters during a regularly scheduled election. Passed Unemployment Insurance reform switching Kansas from an “arrayed” system to a “fixed” system to restore fairness and tax employers according to their experience and usage of the UI trust fund. Protected the business tax cuts from 2012 which eliminated income taxes on non-wage income for small businesses.

The mission of the Kansas Chamber is to continually strive to improve the economic climate for the benefit of every business and citizen and to safeguard our system of free, competitive enterprise. With headquarters in Topeka, the Kansas Chamber is the state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers.

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IN BUSINESS TO CHANGE LIVES By Karen Ridder Photos by Jason Dailey Imagine losing both your fiancĂŠe and your leg in a horrendous motorcycle crash. Imagine having clumps of your waist-long hair falling out in your hands after starting chemotherapy. Imagine trying to cope with chronic, debilitating sinus pain that limits your ability to work or enjoy life. For three Topeka individuals, these stories are all too real. Fortunately, their lives have been changed for the better by services offered right here in Topeka.


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H.O.P.E. Orthotist Lori Hansford and H.O.P.E. Owner & Founder Mike Schultz with their patient, Mark Uhlrig © Jason Dailey Photo

BUILDING FREEDOM Mark Uhlrig understands that the difference between a good prosthetic experience and a bad one can be life changing. Working with Michael Schultz, owner of Horizon Orthotic & Prosthetic Experience, Inc. (H.O.P.E), Uhlrig has been able to stay vertical longer and avoid additional surgery. “It is about quality of life, or excitement of life,” Uhlrig said. “Who wants to sit around on their backside all day long when you have other options?” Uhlrig lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in April 2009. A truck broadsided Uhlrig while he was out for an evening ride with his fiancée. She was thrown from the motorcycle and killed;

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continued from page 46 he was flown to KU Medical Center. Uhlrig’s injuries required doctors to keep him in a medically induced coma for two weeks. He spent six weeks in the hospital healing from injuries that included a broken shoulder, torn diaphragm and a collapsed lung. The injuries to his leg were so severe he faced another year and a half of surgeries or amputation. He chose the amputation. “I wasn’t going to sit around and let the world go by. It’s just not me. I wanted to get up and around, and get back to the real world,” Uhlrig said. He was fitted for a prosthetic leg a few months after the accident, but found himself in an ongoing cycle of infections and surgeries to treat irritations caused by the prosthesis. Those complications limited the time he could wear the prosthesis. “That impedes your mobility,” Uhlrig said. “On crutches, you can’t carry anything. It’s hard to go to the grocery store. In a wheelchair, you still can’t carry anything. Then your good leg starts taking the abuse.” At his doctor’s suggestion, Uhlrig went to H.O.P.E., where he found a completely different experience. Schultz fitted him with a prosthesis that has an elevated vacuum suspension system, which makes for a better fit and helps Uhlrig avoid down time. H.O.P.E. custom designs and builds artificial arm and leg prosthetic devices. The group also has a local certified orthotist, Lori Hansford, who fits patients for braces. Schultz began working with prosthetics after considering a career in physical therapy. He says the number one goal of what they do at H.O.P.E. is to return people to their previous quality of life. “In contrast to physical therapy, prosthetics is more like a microwave. It is an instant change in someone’s life,” Schultz said. With orthotics, Schultz says, fit is the most important thing that can change a

person’s experience. New gel liners and suspension techniques have improved the comfort of prosthesis in recent years and can allow people like Uhlrig to wear them comfortably all day without getting sores. Schultz equates the loss of a limb to losing a loved one. A patient goes through stages of grief: anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Helping a patient get fitted with prosthesis is one of

the quickest ways to help someone reach the acceptance stage. For Schultz, the experience of helping fit people with prosthetic legs never gets old. “You take someone who has lost a limb and they have been in a wheelchair, and you get them up walking for the first time in months. There’s nothing like that,” Schultz said. u

Mark Uhlrig's prosthesis with an elevated vacuum suspension system that provides a better fit and less downtime. © Jason Dailey Photo


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Business Retirement Plan Solutions

Employee Education • Review of Plan Vendor & Fees A Dedicated, Local 401(k) Team Sam Murray, Nick Neukirch and Jim Reardon Registered Investment Advisor | 785.215.8080 | Legacy Financial Strategies, LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Information regarding Legacy Financial Strategies, LLC is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell securities.

Experience, Commitment, White-Glove Service

Jump Start your Weight Loss Program When seeking a medically supervised weight loss program it is important to have Dr. Ekwensi Griffith, perform a full medical history and assessment. In addition, a family history is equally important in your assessment as it will show a basis for laboratory testing. The history is important because it will give clues as to possible underlying medical issues. Remember, the goal is for you to lose the weight and keep it off. Also ask about Hormone Replacement Therapy to renew your energy and improve your health as well.

1100 SW Wanamaker Rd. Ste. 103 Topeka, KS 66604 Call Topeka’s Diet Doctor Ekwensi Griffith directly at 785-215-8228 to schedule your inital appointment, discuss your symptoms and decide on a course of treatment for your specfic needs.

Dr. Ekwensi Griffith, DO Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician 785-215-8228 FALL 2015

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Marilyn Rowland (seated), owner of Hair Secrets Salon & Wig Boutique with her staff Karen Geyer, Janet Stock and Kim Johansen © Jason Dailey Photo

restoring confidence Janet Stock had known Marilyn Rowland, owner of Hair Secrets Salon and Wig Boutique, for years but had no idea how important that salon would be for her personally until she received a cancer diagnosis nine years ago. “I needed to have a lumpectomy and needed to go through chemo and radiation,” Stock said. “They told me I would lose my hair,” For a woman who had very long hair—down to her waist—the prospect of


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losing it was daunting. It also became a mess. “When your hair first starts falling out, it falls in everything. It’s all over. It’s hard, especially if you’re kind of vain about your hair, like I was,” Stock said. Stock selected a wig at the boutique, where Rowland’s daughter, a beautician, also shaved Stock’s head. It was a service Stock was glad to find available in Topeka. “When you’re on Janet Stock became a client of Hair Secrets Salon & Wig Boutique when she received chemo you really don’t want to travel more than a cancer diagnosis, now she works at the boutique helping others. you have to,” Stock said. © Jason Dailey Photo That travel hassle was one reason Rowland opened the wig shop 25 years ago. A friend of hers was going “Marilyn is a very caring person. She tries hard to fit through chemotherapy at the time and needed a wig. Traveling people with the right (wig) prosthesis,” Stock said. “We try to to Kansas City was too much for her friend, so they ended up in a make sure it looks right and doesn’t look ‘wiggy.’ Why would local hair salon in Topeka that happened to sell a few wigs on the we put people through that if it didn’t look right?” u side. Rowland thought the experience could have been better. “Before then, I had wanted to start a business. I just couldn’t decide what to do. I thought, if everyone in Topeka was going to Kansas City to buy wigs, I should try it,” Rowland said. Rowland rented a corner in a Fairlawn Plaza store targeted toward seniors where she put 10 wigs on display. Without much money for advertising, Rowland visited local doctors’ offices to explain what she was doing. The response was positive. “They were really happy there was someone who was going to do this,” Rowland said. “After I got into it and started to understand the chemotherapy and the mastectomy, we added the [breast] prostheses.” The business, which offers wigs and post-mastectomy products, now serves not only most of Northeast Kansas, but also has clients across the country and even internationally. Rowland said many women continue to wear wigs even after their hair grows back. Stock still wears her wig. Her hair grew back, but it was not as thick as it was before her cancer treatment. After cancer, she also became more interested in looking her best. She was a jeans and tee-shirt gal before. Now, Stock says she enjoys wearing a wig, skirt and heels. Offering a full range “It changed because I wanted to show that I really did of periodontal services, appreciate my body. I think that’s what it is, and hair is a big part including maintenance, of that for a woman,” Stock said. Julie C. Swift, DDS, MS surgical, esthetic and Stock now works at the boutique helping other women going implant procedures. through the same process.

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Topeka Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians: Tyler Grindal, MD; Robert Lane, MD; Douglas Barnes, MD, FACS; and Scot Hirschi, MD. Not Pictured: Michael Franklin, MD, FACS and Matthew Glynn, MD © Jason Dailey Photo

delivering relief Sandra Schwarz struggled for years with chronic sinusitis. It was the type of debilitating problem that caused her to miss work—a lot. She suffered from headaches and dizziness, constantly facing rounds of antibiotics and a lot of pain. Schwarz had two sinus surgeries, but the infections kept coming back. Then a doctor at Topeka Ear, Nose & Throat suggested a new treatment, which involved an out-patient procedure using a balloon and a stint to clear out the sinuses. “It changed my life,” Schwarz said. The pain from the procedure was minimal and she was back at work the next day. In the year since the procedure, she has stayed well.

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continued from page 52 “I’ve only been on antibiotics once in that whole year; that’s a record for the last 10 years,” Schwarz said. “My energy level is up tremendously. I come to work with a better attitude because I’m not feeling sickly all day long. I’m just all around a better, happy person.” Dr. Michael Franklin started Topeka Ear, Nose & Throat 18 years ago with a philosophy of treatment that includes equity for the patient and the doctors in the practice. While the clinic has good relationships with local hospitals, doctors there maintain a level of independence that gives them flexibility in patient care. “Our goal is to try to say yes to people,” Dr. Douglas Barnes said. “We want to try to help them figure out what they have, and how we can help them. Sometimes it’s in our area. Sometimes

it’s not. We don’t pre-screen. We never require referrals.” The clinic also offers many diagnostic services on site. This helps with the bottom line for the business, but also makes for a better patient experience. Having everything close and familiar to the patient helps keep things simple. It also allows for quality control. Barnes is quick to point out that while they try to do a lot on site they still work closely with other offices and local hospitals. “We have had very favorable relationship with the hospitals in the area. We certainly could not have done what we have without a lot of support and cooperation,” Barnes said. Barnes says the opportunity to help change lives for the better is very humbling.

“When someone is coming to you with a life threatening illness, it is a sacred space. You get to a chance to be a part of their life,” Barnes said. “People come to you and put their problems at your feet, you try to do what you can to help them.” The procedure at Topeka Ear, Nose & Throat has given Schwarz her life back. In August, when allergy season started up, she was concerned the sickness might come back. Those on-site diagnostics gave Schwarz the ability to find out that she was okay quickly. “It was so relieving to see the CT scan. The doctor and I were both relieved TK it was working,” Schwarz said.

Sandra Schwarz visits with Dr. Robert Lane regarding her treatment of chronic sinusitis


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TK Business Magazine

© Jason Dailey Photo

GO Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development Presents: The Sixth Annual Small Business Conference

Opening Session

Luncheon Keynote

Jeff Gill Tallgrass Brewing Company

Chelsea Berler Solamar Marketing

WHEN: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 WHERE: Ramada Topeka Downtown, 420 SE Sixth Avenue CONFERENCE: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. REGISTRATION: Begins at 7:30 a.m.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS:  Marketing for Small Businesses  Top Ten Accounting & Finance Matters  Pre-Loss & Claims for Small Businesses & The HHB Story  How to Best Compete COST TO ATTEND: Advanced Registration - $30 After September 15, 2015 - $35 Register online at or contact or call Mary Ann at 785.231.6000.

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TK Business Magazine


THE PERF By Anthony Caliendo Sales can be complicated! Whether you’re a career sales professional or just starting your first sales job, being a good salesperson can be frustrating and complex. Different factors contribute to sales complexity: • being able to find the right lucrative opportunity • having access to the right resources • selling the right product or service that appeals to businesses and consumers • developing effective lead generating techniques • learning how to navigate through a complex sale I’ve watched sales professionals expend an enormous amount of energy making sure all these aspects align so they achieve the success and income that they desire and deserve. One factor in achieving sales success that is the absolute most essential but most frequently ignored is the “human factor.” The two most important and critical components to a successful sales process are you and your customer, no matter what you’re selling. As humans, we have different personalities, tendencies, habits, quirks that can simplify or utterly complicate sales. At the end of the day, salespeople must recognize that when you strip away all of the other variables in the sales process, the two constants that will always dictate sales success or failure are who is selling and who is buying. Once you accept this fact, then sales suddenly becomes less


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complicated. Why? Because now sales is all about your desire to sell and their desire to buy. With literally thousands of different sales techniques and philosophies that salespeople attempt to master, we find ourselves using trial and error, sampling and tasting until we think we’ve mixed the right sales cocktail that will increase our closing ratios. However, as a sales leader, coach, and the Ultimate Sales Assassin, I know that the most effective sales techniques to produce results and achieve desired outcomes focus on the human factor and the emotions that drive desired behavior: • make an impression • make connections • build relationships and build trust This requires that salespeople perfect the techniques that get you in front of your potential customer, make you likable and above all, persuasive.

Sell Yourself.

My one universal concept that never varies or waivers no matter if your sales business is B2C, B2B, retail, real estate, insurance, technology, securities or manufactured goods: selling is not about selling your product or service, it’s about selling yourself. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need product knowledge or that you don’t need to create value to influence the close. But consider this: having an A+ product with A+ product knowledge means nothing if you can’t even advance to the presentation. First and foremost, you have to think of yourself as your product. What attracts consumers to a product? The packaging, its features, its price, its guarantees. Manufacturers design and market their goods with consumer appeal uppermost

RFECT SALES COCKTAIL in their mind. As a sales person, you have to market yourself in the same manner. You are the manufacturer of your product: which is you. Dress for success, channel confidence and charisma from within, and attract your buyer to you. You have to make an impression. Be unique. Be distinctive. Be remembered or be forgotten. At trade shows, I’m known as The Suit. Even if the dress code is business casual, I show up in a suit because that’s how I want to be remembered: the guy who always looks professional and is ready to deal with the CEO or the doorman. You know the saying: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” What first impression are you giving your prospects?

Make Your Prospect Comfortable.

Frankly, make them like you. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, persistence and annoyance, being knowledgeable and being a knowit-all. You have to know where and when to draw that line. You have to make your customer want to engage with you and do business with you. Even with today’s online researching and buying trends they will not buy from you if they do not like you and trust you.

Master “The Art of Asking Questions Without Asking.”

You must make a connection with your buyer. Learn how to get them off the defense and extract as much information as possible so you can assess their needs – without them even realizing it. The best advice I can give new salespeople is to

learn how to open up the dialogue and then learn how to listen. Listening is a skill: not everyone is born with the ability to listen. But if you want to learn how to improve your sales skills, learn and practice your listening skills. Next thing you know you’ve gathered all the info you need for your closing arsenal. Now close. Remember: LISTEN and SILENT are spelled with the same letters. Think about it.

Isolate Your Buyer’s Hot Spots.

Create value, create need and create solutions for your potential buyer. In today’s buying cycle the vast majority of buyers have done their online research before they ever speak to a salesperson. They asked for recommendations, they’ve Googled your company and you, and they have decided that they want to hear your pitch. Don’t waste their time: hone in on what is actually important to them and then be prepared to give them the solutions they are looking for, not the pitch you’ve been preparing for months. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have your big pitch ready: a Sales Assassin is always prepared to change course to meet the buyer’s needs. They know their problem: but you have the solution. A buyer may be very clear that he needs to purchase ABC, but when you hear the problem a good salesperson is prepared to explain why XYZ is the real solution to their need. Don’t confuse this with upselling: cross-selling is solving problems the client may not even realize he has, or known that you could solve. Refer to #3: LISTEN.

Recognize Emotional Drivers and Negotiate Accordingly.

Don’t be so preoccupied with your own goal to reach the finish line that you fail to identify your potential buyer’s signals. You are pitching a product to your prospect to solve their problem – not to solve yours. So when your prospect is giving you clues as to what they may be thinking or feeling, you need to recognize that this is what drives them to make their final buying decisions. In reality, we all know salespeople do have to solve their problems: meeting quota, a family to support, a sales manager watching their every move. But that’s your problem: not your client’s. Once you make your problems the client’s, you’re sure to lose the relationship and the sale. So tune in and negotiate accordingly. Once you’ve solved the client’s problem, you’re their hero – and you’re TK their go-to sales rep.

Anthony Caliendo is a self-made man, entrepreneur, corporate visionary, leadership coach, and author of "The Sales Assassin – Master Your Black Belt in Sales."

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By Esmond Alleyne, MBA, PA Can emotional intelligence and political savvy be learned through curriculum or are we just “expected to have it?”

Clearly, “expected to have it” is not an option. Short-term success is easily achieved but sustained, long-term success, growth and wealth come with both emotional intelligence and political savvy. Most of us enter corporate life careers for fulfillment and building wealth for ourselves and family—therefore, we need emotional intelligence and political savvy.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE DEFINITION: The ability to manage oneself and to manage relationships with others. Emotional intelligence is not agreeableness, optimism, happiness, calmness or motivation. These qualities have little to do with emotional intelligence. Nonetheless, emotional intelligence is quite important in helping us predict important life outcomes and helping people find the right work and relationships.Emotional intelligence has to include three skills: 1) Awareness: the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others. 2) Control: the ability to control your emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving. 3) Management: the ability to manage your emotions, including regulating your own emotions and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.


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Ways to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence

• Don't interrupt or change the subject. If feelings are uncomfortable, you may want to avoid them by interrupting or distracting; you should not. These feelings allow you to step out from the comfort zone and disrupt what you believe should be. Allow yourself time to understand how you feel. • Don't judge or edit your feelings too quickly. Try not to dismiss your feelings before you have a chance to think them through. Healthy emotions should be allowed to rise and fade naturally. • Listen to your body. Headaches and a nervous stomach may be a clue that your job or other environmental indicators may be a source of stress. Alternatively, a good or welcoming

TK Business Magazine

feeling you may have toward an associate may be a clue that this person is OK. Listen to your body and your intuition. • If you don't know how you're feeling, ask someone else. People seldom realize that others are able to sense how they are feeling. Ask someone who knows you and whom you trust how you are coming across. You may find the answer surprising and illuminating—maybe even validating. • Know when enough is enough. There comes a time to stop looking inward. Learn when it is time to look and focus outward. Emotional intelligence involves not only the ability to look within, but also to be present in the world around you. Finally, men generally do not see the need for emotional intelligence because they often see it as a weakness. A corporate manager’s role is not “all male” anymore. In a diverse corporate world rich with diverse views, diverse personnel and diverse attitudes, emotional intelligence and political savvy knowledge are more critical for success.

continued on page 60



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continued from page 58

POLITICAL SAVVY DEFINITION: Obtaining an understanding of an organization or corporate politics so that you practice behaviors that enhance your career and increase your ability to influence and succeed. Historically, political savvy was the domain of men. Women and minorities were the outsiders and did not understand the behaviors to succeed. Women and minorities believed that hard work and subject matter mastery was all that was needed to be successful. Naturally, men had no incentive to share, not because they were inherently bad, but because, I believe, they wanted to limit the quantity and quality of competition. We should not lose an important perspective in the difference between how we have been socialized. I am confident that today’s young adults will see things much more differently, be more socialized and experience a whole different open corporate environment.

Corporate Politics

Corporate politics is controversial, difficult to understand (each business environment is different), requires patience, and is a hotly debated topic. Many women and minority managers in large organizations deny the fact that they must even acknowledge political savvy exists, much less engage in political behavior in order to get ahead. This is wrong and should be challenged. Despite good progress, women and minorities will still find themselves

in situations where opportunities for promotion, access to caring mentors, access to exploratory opportunities, building career steps and encouragement are absent. This makes it difficult and more critical for women and minorities to embrace and develop political savvy. Working to identify, develop, and nurture relationships is important. Accordingly, coupling political savvy and emotional intelligence would allow a good sense about what is going on around you. This will not happen unless you take the time, find the right people, and take the risk to build quality long-term relationships. Emotional intelligence and political savvy enrich your subject material mastery. Women and minorities must challenge (disrupt) the status quo. A typical political savvy resistance quote would sound like: “I have my MBA, I have 10 years of experience, I dress well and I am an expert in the subject matter…so what else do they want.” They question the ethics of behaving in ways that may feel inauthentic, manipulative and ultimately self-serving. Some will eventually embrace politics as a necessary evil, while others will refuse to play the game entirely, despite the negative impact on their careers. TK

Can I accelerate the maturity of emotional intelligence and political savvy skills?

Acceleration is always possible, but I would recommend slow and steady. The nature of emotional intelligence and political savvy are based on behaviors that need to be practiced over and over. Acceleration would imply learning faster and absorbing faster, or shortcutting an important human development. I recommend increasing exposure and awareness of emotional intelligence and political savvy through repetitions, allowing you to grow at a steady rate with measurable behavioral results.


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Emotional Intelligence and Political Savvy Benefits:

strategic perspective taking initiative sensitivity composure work/life balance putting people at ease respecting and embracing differences career management


failure to meet business objectives problems with interpersonal relationships not willing to take risks not receptive to change or new sensory inputs

Esmond Alleyne, MBA, CPA

Lecturer Washburn University, School of Business Formerly Vice President Global Information Technology for Euro Africa Shared Services Organization, Colgate Palmolive Company Reference: Psychology Today Magazine, Developing Management Skills by David Whetten and Kim Cameron sensory inputs

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EXPERTS Photos By Megan Rogers Photographie

Emily Donaldson

Stevens & Brand LLP

Eric B . Hunsicker

Kansas Financial Resources

Kristin Scott Scott HR

Ken Schmanke CBRE

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Expert: Elder Law

Elder Care Statistics Between 2011 and 2030, the number of elderly in this country will nearly double from 40.4 million to 70.3 million.

Megan Rogers Photographie

Source: U.S. Bureau of Census

Stevens & Brand LLP

Q: What is an elder law attorney? A:


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Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The national average cost of a private room in a nursing home is over $219 per day or $79,935 per year. The national average cost of a semi-private room is over $198 per day or $72,270 per year. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Emily Donaldson, CELA, Attorney

When I tell people I am an elder law attorney, I often receive a quizzical expression in return, followed by the question, “What is an elder law attorney?” As a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA), I have the privilege of practicing in one of the fastest growing fields in the legal profession and dedicating my time to helping seniors and those with disabilities. Attorneys certified in elder law offer something that other attorneys do not— professional expertise in the unique needs of older, maturing populations. Not only are they authorities on legal issues affecting seniors, they are also familiar with other vital resources and services that can help meet the needs of senior citizens, including those with disabilities. As individuals grow older and their needs change, many questions need to be considered and decisions made. An elder law attorney can clarify the issues

About 70% of Americans who live to age 65 will need long-term care at some time in their lives; over 40% will require nursing home care.

and problems they will likely face and provide them with the tools they need to be prepared. Elder Law Attorneys help clients navigate complex issues such as: • Health and long-term care planning. • Public benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Veterans’ benefits). • Conservation, disposition and administration of estates (wills, trusts and probate). • Surrogate decision-making (powers of attorney and guardianship). • Establishment of the legal capacity of an older person. • Special needs counseling (trusts, housing, employment and education). Dealing with issues of aging can be much less overwhelming when you are equipped with the tools and information to deal with potential problems. An

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Anyone reaching the age of 65 years has a 40% chance of entering a nursing home, with a 20% chance of staying there for at least five years. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

American businesses can lose as much as $34 billion each year due to employees’ need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older. Source: MetLife Mature Market Institute and National Alliance for Caregiving, MetLife Caregiving Cost Study: Productivity Losses to U.S. Business, July 2006

10% of employed family caregivers go from full-time to part-time jobs because of their caregiving responsibilities. Source: National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, Caregiving in the U.S., 2004

elder law attorney will put the necessary documents in place, provide information about care and benefits and connect you with other professionals who serve the elder community. The comment I hear most often from my clients after seeing me for the first time is: “Thank you, I feel so relieved to now have accurate information and know I have a sound plan to pay for long-term care costs.” And that gives me great professional TK satisfaction.

Congratulations Emily! 917 SW Topeka Boulevard


900 Massachusetts, Ste 500


“Having a flexible alliance has been a great asset for my yoga business.” We don’t know downward dog from a hot dog, but we do know about having faith in people. While other banks wouldn’t listen to Leigh Granada and Beth Kuckelman we were all ears when they asked for help starting a yoga studio. After all, the sisters had a solid business plan and yoga expertise. We had every reason to believe in their success. And we were right. We’re all about flexibility (at least when it comes to loans). So, how can we help finance your dreams? Leigh Granada, Co-Owner, Lava Yoga

3001 SW Wanamaker Rd. • 6th & MacVicar - 2620 SW 6th Avenue 785-271-1800

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Expert: Investments



Making smart decisions and choosing the right investment philosophy will have a significant impact on your long-term results. Below are five investing strategies you should understand.

Don’t Time the Market

Market timing is one of the most recognized catalysts in investing: “buy low and sell high.� However, it is difficult to know when the markets are going to change. Investors who attempt this strategy can have success over short term; however, over the long term it is a difficult strategy to follow. Missing some of the best trading days can be detrimental to long term returns.

Asset Allocation

Asset allocation is an approach to manage investment risk by diversifying a portfolio among major asset classes such as stocks, bonds and cash accounts. Each asset class offers different levels of risk and potential return. Not all asset classes will do great at the same time and not all asset classes will perform poorly at the same time.


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Megan Rogers Photographie


Eric B. Hunsicker, CLU

Kansas Financial Resources

Investment Selection

Diversify assets among the major asset classes. Best practice is to consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. With a good understanding of these criteria, it is feasible for your financial advisor to make a proper recommendation. Long term investors may be a more likely fit for stock market or annuity investments. While the short term/risk adverse investor will be better suited for a more liquid, less volatile portfolio.

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Eric Hunsicker, Registered Representative Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Kansas Financial Resources, Inc., and Securities America are separate companies.

TK Business Magazine

Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA)

Dollar Cost Averaging involves systematically investing on regular intervals rather than trying to time the market. The strategy helps investors stay disciplined in their investment approach despite swings in the financial markets. DCA allows you to take advantage of averaging your investment cost among highs and lows without emotion and timing the market.

Rebalance Portfolio

Rebalancing your portfolio on a regular basis is important to ensure your investment risk is adequate given your tolerance. If overlooked for a period of time, a portfolio may take on a completely different degree of risk based on performance of different asset classes within your portfolio.






TK Business Magazine


Expert: Leadership


Leadership Characteristics All Leaders Should Strive To Improve

1 Make the Business Decision 6 Have Integrity Every business leader encounters Leaders must be

Megan Rogers Photographie

moments when a difficult decision must be made: end a relationship, change direction, let someone go. Remember, it isn’t personal; it is about the business. Leaders remember to play to strengths, fill in the gaps and cut their losses.

Kristin Scott, MSM, PHR, CERP

Human Resource Consultant

Scott HR

Hundreds of books and thousands of articles describe leadership characteristics and traits. While most people would agree that the traits are accurate, real leadership is about taking baby steps each day to improve. Leaders never stop learning, never stop growing and never stop challenging themselves to be better than they were the day before. The simple acronym “BEST” from A Leader’s Heart by John Maxwell is an easy leadership reminder: Believe Encourage Share Trust


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2 Challenge Leaders ask questions, solve problems

creatively, challenge the status quo and solicit others’ opinions.

3 Celebrate Leaders praise—verbally, in writing

and with money. Identify what will motivate, encourage and reward efforts by asking employees their preferences.

Mistakes 4 Embrace Leaders see mistakes as learning

opportunities. Grant grace and coach through it. Always accept responsibility, thank the individual for bringing it to your attention and find a solution.

Optimistic 5 Be Leaders find the

positive in all situations and recognize that every problem has a purpose. Leaders are enthusiastic about the company, forward-thinking and willing to take risks to accomplish great things.

TK Business Magazine

honest with their words and motives, keep commitments by doing what they say they will, offer timely responses, and keep confidential information confidential.

Others 7 Trust Leaders delegate and trust others to accomplish tasks. They do not micromanage.

a Role Model 8 Be Leaders listen, help their staff solve

problems, and are willing to do anything—even clean toilets. They are organized, meet deadlines, conduct annual reviews on time, and most importantly, are available.

Expectations 9 Set Employees perform better

when they understand what is expected of them. Leaders help team members by creating success plans, job descriptions, annual reviews and hosting weekly touch-base meetings and/or monthly one-on-ones with each member of the team.

others accountable 10 Hold Follow up to ensure team members are moving in the right direction, re-direct if necessary, and address situations early on to prevent small issues from becoming bigger issues.

Humble. Leaders must walk that fine line BONUS Bebetween arrogance and confidence.

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Trends That Will Impact the Success of Downtown Topeka Redevelopment

Trends in commercial real estate reveal opportunities and obstacles. If you are a stakeholder in the redevelopment of Downtown Topeka, here are few trends to watch:


Millennials and empty nesters are migrating to downtown and urban core neighborhoods with a mixed use of residential, shops, dining and entertainment, office and light industrial uses—all within the same building or within walking distance of each other. Suburban developments are working to compete with this trend by offering urban features within mixed use projects. Topeka is very well positioned to benefit from this trend with the public and private investment taking place Downtown.

Talent Tips the Scale

Markets with talented employees (mostly technology talent) are in hot demand by investors. These markets are attracting employers to occupy industrial and office properties, which leads to population growth, which leads to residential and retail developments. It usually happens in that order—but not always.


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Megan Rogers Photographie

Expert: Commercial Development

Adaptive Reuse

Technology and the accelerated pace of change is greatly affecting the way we live, work, shop and play—and how we use space and location. To adapt and survive, property owners are changing the use of space that was initially intended for a different use to meet changing market demand. A little creativity can uncover opportunities that would otherwise be missed.

Brand Awareness

Commercial real estate is a critical element of brand and how people perceive a company. Companies are using their real estate to attract and retain talent and customers. While some retailers are working to take advantage of reurbanization trends and adaptive reuse opportunities and occupy space that otherwise does not fit a prototype, the cookie cutter approach to store development is still the norm.

Safe is Boring & Rewarded

Safe commercial real estate investment will result in less risk (boring) and higher values (rewarded). Safe

TK Business Magazine

Ken Schmanke

Commercial Real Estate Advisor


(low risk) investments in commercial real estate are more about the credit worthiness of the tenant and less about the long term value of the real estate, and include the following characteristics: • Single tenant with strong credit. • Lease term of 10+ years. • Zero landlord operating expenses. This safe and predictable investment is typically the same prototype facility from market to market and often conflicts with the unique characteristics of the reurbanization and adaptive reuse trends above. Safe investments in commercial real estate may not produce environments and lifestyles that improve quality of life and attract talent. The more inspired and creative commercial real estate projects include more risk, are more difficult to finance and require cash investors interested in building community assets.

seamless custom counter tops


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All-Wood CAbinets Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can save you money.

785.806.6837 | 4547 SW Topeka Blvd

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Hosted by Tara Dimick, Owner & Publisher of TK Business Magazine

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Rotary Club of Topeka 100th Anniversary GALA Event Topeka Civic Theatre June 4, 2015 Photos by Keith Horinek

PHOTO 1 The GALA Event Committee Front row: Richard Ross; Anita Wolgast, Chair of GALA Anniversary Event Committee; Terri Murphy; Terry Hobbs; Suzi Gilbert; Linda Ireland Back row: Grant Glenn, 100th Anniversary General Chair; Tom Gorrell; Greg Allen; Chris McGee, 2014-15 Club President; Ramon Powers; Douglass Wallace

PHOTO 2 Gordon Lansford, Phyllis Lansford, Stu Entz, Tom Gorrell, Diane Gorrell

PHOTO 3 Shannon Reilly and Anita Wolgast

PHOTO 4 Chris Schultz, Brian Haug, Melissa Jarboe, Jim Ogle

PHOTO 5 Ryan Aeschliman, Natalie Loggans, Michael Jones, Regan Aeschliman, Roger and Robyn Aeschliman

PHOTO 6 City Councilwoman Karen Hiller and Marne Taylor



David Beck, Lynette Joe-Beck, Joe Fritz and Claudio D’Eramo, Rotary Youth Exchange Students


5 72


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Explore your natural habitat. The ripple of water, the rugged texture of stone and wood, the fresh scent of the world coming to life – right in your own backyard. Topeka Landscape’s experienced, professional staff can help develop an outdoor plan that conforms beautifully to your green spaces as well as your budget. This year, let Topeka Landscape break down the barriers between inside and out, making your yard a natural extension of your home.

3220 SW Auburn Rd • Topeka, KS 66614 • (785) 232-8873 •

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2 3

4 PHOTO 1 Andrew Wiechen; Architect One, Casey Jo Wiechen; Braden Dimick, Cox Communications


PHOTO 2 Mikki Burcher, HyVee and Sarah Hitchens, NexLynx

PHOTO 3 Kelly Gerhardt, American Family Insurance; Kayla Bitler, Holiday Inn Express; Jay Loschke, Equity Bank; and Tom Hagen, Capitol Federal Bank

PHOTO 4 Kristen Brunkow, Heartland Visioning; Brendan Jensen, Jensen Communications & City Council; and Amber Beckley, Beckley Chiropractic Clinic


PHOTO 5 Hayley Normandin, Harvesters; Meghan Ryan and Kendra Fritz, NATM; Katherine Jennings and Amy Pinger, Harvesters

PHOTO 6 Rodger Fry, Ramada; Jared Hitchens, Topeka Zoo; Melissa Day, Helping Hands Humane Society



Sarah Kennedy, Desiree Outersky, Chelsea Renyer of Creative Business Solutions

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Topeka Zoo July 30, 2015



www.fastfor wardtopeka.or g

Fast Forward Social


The Last Word Who do you admire? Recently, I have been thinking a lot about one of my uncles, Uncle Raymond Biermann. He and my father were in a dairy farm partnership when I was growing up, and Uncle Raymond gave me special gifts and had me go with him when he ran errands in town. My most prized possession was a necklace he gave me when Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969. The world stood still for that moment, and he had all of our family over to watch the landing on television. Due to some unfortunate family dynamics, I wasn’t around Uncle Raymond during my high school, college and young adult years. When we reconnected, it was wonderful and I learned so much about him. He was a POW in World War II and had the resilience that I wish I would have just a portion of. When he passed, he had planned that the United States flag be presented to me during the military honors at his service. I will cherish the flag and the lessons he taught me.

What are you most proud of? Photo by Shelley Jensen Photography

Marlou Wegener

Manager of Community Relations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Chief Operating Officer, BCBSKS Foundation 76

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I am the most proud of my three children, Amanda, Adam and Austin. They have all grown into responsible, caring and giving adults. I have two incredible daughters-in-law, Victoria and Katy, who I claim as my own and will go to bat for them anytime, anywhere. Certainly I would be remiss if I didn’t note that these awesome children have blessed me with the most beautiful grandsons ever—Brady, Corban and Otto. Of course, in anticipation of additional grandchildren, they too, will be the most beautiful grandchildren ever.

What do you know for sure?

What are you most proud of at What is something unique BCBSKS? about you? I have had the privilege of working at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas for almost 25 years. I am proud of the employees—many that have longer tenure than myself. That in itself speaks volumes about Blue Cross being a great employer in Kansas. Our employees are good, hard working, ethical and giving people.

What book are you reading? I am currently reading “Big Little Lies” by Liane Morarity for personal escape, and “Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner for professional reading. I do my best to read in every spare moment, but it is challenging, and I have a LONG “want to read” list. I am encouraged and supported by a sisterhood of superb girlfriends in a book club, called 5:05. Even if I don’t get the designated book of the month read prior to our gathering, they still accept me and don’t judge.

Leadership advice? Leadership is an ongoing journey, not a destination. Always keep fine tuning your leadership skills by reading, having mentors, and watching and learning from others you admire in leadership roles.

I have a decent sense of humor and quick wit. I am enthralled with the television show, “Last Comic Standing,” and think to myself, “Could I get on that show somehow?” I also can sing.

I know that life is short and whizzing by. Tell those you love that you love them. I am trying to do a much better job of that. I know that for what I perceive as problems and challenges in my life, there are so many others with worse, and even devastating, issues. Be positive and think positive; however, having a few confidantes to pour your heart and soul out to is beneficial and necessary.

Marlou was appointed as chairperson of the Batterer Intervention Program Advisory Board by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. This honor comes after years of working with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence and the YWCA of Topeka to increase public awareness and the understanding of the challenges victims face.

What does the business community need to know about domestic violence? Businesses need to understand that the probability of having a domestic violence victim and/or a batterer working for you is high. The impact to the bottom line is real. Domestic violence is the most complex and complicated issue I have encountered. Businesses need to educate themselves on the issue. You cannot simplify a situation by asking “Why in the world doesn’t the victim leave?” That is not even the tip of the iceberg. There are wonderful resources in Topeka and in Kansas to assist with education and guide you in what you can do as an employer for both victims and perpetrators. Back to being proud of efforts at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, we were a pioneer in Kansas addressing this issue as it relates to the workplace. We would be glad to visit with you as a starting point. TK

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Topeka Active 20-30 Children's Benefit Auction & Gala Ramada Downtown August 8, 2015


Photos by Adam C. Johnson

PHOTO 1 Adam & Ashley Schmidt, Tanner Knowland & Amanda Lanum, and Leslie & Drew Switzer


PHOTO 2 Brett Oetting & Amber Gentry


PHOTO 3 Matt & Shannon Bergmann, and Barbara & Scott Hughes

PHOTO 4 Brian & Jenny Lang, and Brett & Beth Spangler

PHOTO 5 Emily & Chris McGee



PHOTO 6 Nathan & Jessica Miles, Danielle & David Byers, and Whitney & Sam Wempe

PHOTO 7 Craig & Kyra Stromgren, Tom & Leslie Palace, Dana & Melinda Field, and Michael & Karen Hafling

PHOTO 8 Travis & Annie Stryker, Caroline & Aaron Bivens, and Keri & Jamie Garcia


FALL 2015


TK Business Magazine



FALL 2015

TK Business Magazine


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FALL 2015

TK Business Magazine


TK Business Magazine Fall 2015  

Man of Steel / Made in Topeka / In Business to Change Lives / Expert Business Advice

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