Page 1

page 30


page 34

heart of the entrepreneur

page 52

branding topeka fall 2014

Adapting to thrive funding economic development

+ Page 20



Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

FALL 2014



► PG 10

Service with Dignity and Integrity

Larry Johnson’s story of his lifelong service to the community as owner of BowserJohnson Funeral Chapel. ► PG 12

Adapting to Thrive

While many shopping malls are declining, West Ridge Mall is adapting to thrive by inviting local businesses to set up shop. ► PG 20


The New Retirement

TK highlights Topeka business owners choosing to live their post-retirement years as entrepreneurs. ► PG 30


A new program is developing quality employees to meet the demands of local manufacturing companies. ► PG 34


Heart of the Entrepreneur

Melissa Patterson’s inspirational story of building a business that gives children a firm foundation in education. ► PG 38


Building Minority Business Opportunities

► PG 6

Funding Economic Development

Business news from around the Capital City. ► PG 55

A Vision for the Future

Local experts provide valuable information on issues that affect you and your business. ► PG 65

Learn about resources available to minority business owners. ► PG 42 Washburn University Professor Paul Byrne explains how economic development impacts the local community. ► PG 48 Organizations and coalitions focused on economic development find themselves working together on overlapping priorities. ► PG 52

Branding Topeka

Visit Topeka is leading the charge to create a brand that reflects the ideals of the community.

Extra Extra

TK Business Experts

Scene About Town Who’s who at local business events. ► PG 70

Last Word

TK talks with Westar Executive Vice President & COO Doug Sterbenz. Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


From the publisher Tara Dimick

ESCAPING THE RUT I found myself working 70 hours a week just to lose money each month, but I had no strategies to change that scenario. I couldn’t escape this rut without some much needed direction, so I made a commitment to furthering my education, thinking I would read a few books or maybe attend a conference or two. However, that is not what was in store for me. I met with Dr. Tom Underwood of Washburn University Academic Outreach and he introduced me to Lean Six Sigma. I decided to give it a shot—a half-hearted effort at first because I was so “busy” that I could barely even focus during my first set of classes. But soon it got my full attention. I stopped taking phone calls and emails during class once I realized how much emotion I put into my business decisions—emotion that I hadn’t even realized was there because I preferred the term risk taking. But risk taking is a pretty emotionally charged behavior. When I started defining the real issues, gathering measurements on results and focusing on continuous improvement, it forced me to change my business model. It was a tough change that had a deep cost—a cost that had nothing to do with money. That cost? Closing MVP Sports Magazine, letting go of a dream, and saying goodbye to employees who were much more than employees to me. As a business owner or a business professional it is easy to get so wrapped up in all the to do lists, the fire fighting and the emotion, that we don’t take care of the business. I am sharing this with you not as a promo for Lean Six Sigma, but as a push to encourage you to use education to step away from your business so it can move forward. A healthy business provides a healthy place for everyone, even if it takes some tough decisions to get you there.

TK Business Magazine

Fall Book Recommendation


Two guys. 19 experiments. Five continents. 91,000 miles. And a book that will forever change the way you think about humor. Part road-trip comedy and part social science experiment, a scientist and a journalist detail their epic quest to discover the secret behind what makes things funny. Dr. Peter McGraw, founder of the Humor Research Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, teamed up with journalist Joel Warner on a far-reaching search for the secret behind humor. Their journey spanned the globe, from New York to Japan, from Palestine to the Amazon. Meanwhile, the duo conducted their own humor experiments along the way— to wince-worthy, hilarious, and illuminating results. Summary provided by


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

FALL 2014 Contributors PUBLISHER Tara Dimick EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lisa Loewen DESIGNER Janet Faust COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Bethany Hughes CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Bethany Hughes Rachel Lock Megan Rogers CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lisa Loewen Wendy Long Karen Roth Ridder Kathy Webber CONTRIBUTING EXPERTS Paul Byrne, Ph.D. Bob Evenson Amber Gentry Rick LeJuerrne Kelly Lipprand Rachele Pruett ADVERTISING SALES Tara Dimick 785.217.4836 PUBLISHING COMPANY E2 Communications PO Box 67272 Topeka, KS 66667 785.217.4836

FOUNDER ǀ Kevin Doel 2014 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.

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Extra Extra Cotton-O’Neil Welcomes New Doctors

The Jayhawk Area Council Names the 2014 Topeka’s Top “20 Under 40”

Kellie Bartlow, DO, Sports

Vince Avila, Westar Energy, Inc. John Bell, Shawnee County Parks and Recreation David Callanan, Advisors Excel Chris Fisher, WIBW-TV Aarion Gray, USD 345 Seaman - Logan Elementary Adrian Guerrero, State of Kansas - State Board of Nursing Brian Haug, WIBW-TV Gena Hendrickson, Hamilton and Wilson Orthodontics Amanda Kiefer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka Michelle McCormick, Office of the Kansas Attorney General Candis Meerpohl, Kansas State Research and Extension-Shawnee County Hattie Mitchell, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Nathan Morris, Meridian Roofing Solutions, LLC. Allison Nichols, Kansas Special Olympics Jenalea Randall, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Buck Reuter, Westar Energy and the Topeka Police Reserves Shanna Russell, Pine Ridge Prep- Topeka Public Schools Nathan Schmidt, City of Topeka/KDOR Christina Turner, Manchester School for Young Children Andrew Wiechen, Architect One P.A.

Medicine Specialist Dr. Bartlow’s specialties include non-surgical orthopedics and sports medicine for adults and children, including acute and overuse injuries, concussions and sports physicals.

Stephen Eichert, DO,

FACOS, Neurological Surgeon Dr. Eichert’s clinical interests include general neurosurgery and minimally invasive spine surgery.

Naziya Tahseen,

MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Tahseen has clinical interests in insulin resistance and the treatment of delayed puberty and disorders of calcium metabolism.

Melissa Herrman, MD,

Family Medicine Dr. Herrman is board certified in family medicine.

jhP Recognized for Regional Growth

For the third year in a row, jones huyett Partners has been named one of the fastest growing companies by Ingram’s, a regional Kansas City business magazine. The magazine ranks jhP as 79th out of the top 100 fastest growing companies in the Kansas City area.

Midwest Coating Adds New Sales Representative

Ryan Holm has joined Midwest Coating Inc. as a sales representative covering East Topeka to the Kansas City Metro area. Holm has returned to Topeka after serving the in the US Navy.

Brewster Place Marks 50 Years Bilal Khan, MD, Allergy, Asthma,

Immunology Specialist Dr. Khan is board certified in internal medicine and allergy and immunology.


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

The Congregational Home for older citizens, better known as Brewster Place, began as a dream of Roy and Frances Engler. In 1958 representatives of four local Congregational churches were granted a corporate charter for The Congregational Home, which opened its doors in 1964.

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Extra Extra Southwind Gallery Hires New Assistant Gallery Director

Alex Olson, a 2014 Washburn University graduate, has accepted the position of Assistant Gallery Director at Southwind Gallery.

TCC Golf Superintendent Celebrates 35 Years of Service

The Topeka Country Club congratulates golf superintendent Leo Pellant on 35 years of service at the Club. In celebration of this accomplishment, TCC presented Leo and his wife, Keven, with an all-expense paid trip to Italy.

State Agencies to Contract with MB Piland

The Kansas Division of Purchases has named MB Piland as an approved contractor for advertising and media for state agencies. This contract allows state agencies to contract with approved vendors without going through a separate request for proposal.

Kansas Financial Resources Congratulates Eric Hunsicker Eric Hunsicker celebrated his 10th anniversary with Kansas Financial Resources in July.

Washburn Law #6 on “preLaw’s” List of “Largest Employment Gains by School”

After jumping 14.8 percentage points, Washburn University School of Law was named a top law school in increasing employment gains from 2011 to 2013. The listing “Largest employment gains by school” was released by “preLaw” and the “National Jurist” magazines. Washburn Law’s graduate employment rate increased to 78.5 percent in 2013 from 63.7 percent in 2011.


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Kansas Heartland Group—Thrivent Financial Welcomes New Representatives Drew Switzer and Juli Tinoco have joined the Kansas Heartland Group— Thrivent Financial team as financial representatives.

T I N I S ’ T A H W R ME? FO nity u t r o opp front r a e e-a-y r name in riginal c n o A you in the o ium! t u p to ands free med s u o of th ertisingonate111 d adv o t 0-1 hler

e Bu n: 785-67 i r u a atio act L Cont re inform mo or for

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Service with dignity and integrity by KAREN ROTH RIDDER photos by BETHANY HUGHES Larry Johnson chose his profession at a young age. He grew up living next door to Gaines and Sons Funeral Home and curiosity soon turned to intrigue. “It was fascinating. It really was. I could look over the fence and watch the activity,” Johnson said. “My dad used to go over and help them if they had large people to lift. I thought I would like to do that, but of course I wasn’t big enough.” During those formative years, he came to know the funeral director and embalmer, who always took the time to talk with him and explain the business, taking on the role of mentor. “He was quite a gentleman,” Johnson said. “I thought he was the cat’s meow when I was coming up. He used to play for the KC Monarchs. He was quite a man.” That man influenced not only Johnson’s career choice but also his professional style. “He was quite a dignified, dressy man. He always wore spats,” Johnson said. “I usually dress up. I believe that’s what you ought to do. If you want to be a professional then you dress to be a professional.”

Working on a Dream

Larry Johnson Bowser-Johnson Funeral Chapel


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Knowing that he wanted to be in the funeral business, Johnson answered phones and helped with clerical work at Gaines and Sons Funeral Home while he was in college at Washburn University. He then attended embalming school in California before coming back to settle in Kansas. Johnson worked at funeral homes in Kansas City and Atchison, including Bowser Funeral Home while he earned his license and in the early years of his career. In 1976, Johnson purchased Bowser Funeral Home and changed the name to Bowser-Johnson Funeral Chapel. He has been the owner-operator of the business for 38 years.

Taking Care of People

Johnson said his business is all about providing service and help to people at a time when they need it most. When people are grief-stricken, what they need most is for someone to take the time to listen. “People need to talk sometimes,” Johnson said. “At a time when they are grieving, a lot of times if people can talk about it, they can work through it, and it’s not as painful. I try to guide them in the right direction to deal with their pain. Once they talk about it and work through it, they can grow from there.” Johnson said the biggest challenge of the business is serving people who have little money. No matter the financial situation, most people want to honor their loved ones with a dignified funeral service. Johnson does his best to give all of his clients that ability.

Continuing to Serve

While Johnson says he does not exactly remember what he expected when he got into the business, he enjoys it because it has always been interesting. “Everything is changing all the time,” Johnson said. “You deal with different people all the time. If you like people, you’ll enjoy it. If you don’t like people, you shouldn’t be in this profession.”

After 38 years, he still appreciates the embalming aspect of his profession as well, mostly because he believes embalming helps people with the grieving process. “I think any time you can prepare a loved one, and people come and see that loved one, you see them have peace and all the anxiety they had leaves them. That’s TK powerful,” Johnson said.

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine





Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

photo by RACHEL LOCK

ANGELA BROXTERMAN, West Ridge Mall Manager JESSICA KINSLEY, Director of Marketing and Business Development


If malls are going to survive, they need to give customers a reason to go and spend time there that they can’t get online.


Fall 2014

— Robin Lewis “The New Rules of Retail”

Once a popular hangout for teenagers and gathering place for adults, shopping malls across the country are beginning to become obsolete thanks to the shopping Mecca called the Internet. While retail analysts cannot put a number on how many malls have failed, they do know how many have been built in the past eight years—two. In fact, as reported by CNNMoney, Howard Davidowitz, chairman of retail consulting and investment bank firm Davidowitz & Associates, Inc., predicts that half the nation’s 1,500 malls will fail in the next 20 years. Critics claim those losses are exaggerated and specific to economically disadvantaged areas, but even so, the decline of local malls is evident. While many shopping malls slowly fade into oblivion, others have adapted

TK Business Magazine

and seized opportunities to turn things around. A March 2014 CBS News report told the story of a formerly dying mall outside of Atlanta that was transformed into Plaza Fiesta, designed to meet the needs of a growing Hispanic population. According to the Economist, other malls are being repurposed into mixeduse space combining traditional retail with unconventional tenants such as condominiums or universities. According to Robin Lewis, author of “The New Rules of Retail,” if malls are going to survive, they need to give customers a reason to go and spend time there that they can’t get online. West Ridge Mall in Topeka has not suffered to the extent that many other Midwest malls have, but it hasn’t come out of the economic downturn unscathed either. Paying attention to the challenges

it faces, West Ridge Mall has implemented a strategy to help it not only survive, but thrive. “We want to provide what people want – an eclectic mix of businesses,” said Jessica Kinsey, director of marketing and business development for West Ridge Mall. “We have everything from local favorites to national retailers, all meeting the diverse needs of our customers.” Understanding that shoppers want a more unique shopping experience, West Ridge Mall needed to offer more than just the same national brands as any other mall. Kinsey said they actively sought local merchants that could fill their spaces with products and services unique to Topeka and that could provide customers with a richer shopping “experience.” “We like the idea that the mall is taking smaller businesses and working with them

to get a start. We were fortunate they were able to do that with us,” said Sarah Gollier, co-owner of The Pink Suitcase. Mall manager Angela Broxterman said having local businesses in the mall is good for everyone. “Our leasing team works with local business owners to help them find just the right size space and location for their business, so a space in West Ridge Mall can fit in a variety of budgets,” Broxterman said. The largest locally-owned business to move into West Ridge Mall, the Furniture Mall of Kansas, is evidence of this mutually beneficial relationship. Before moving into the mall, the owners had multiple stores in various locations in Topeka, creating a disjointed shopping experience for the customer. “We can now offer everything in one

location,” said Jeff Winter, co-owner of the Furniture Mall of Kansas. “We wanted to make it easier for our customers to shop for the things they needed.” West Ridge is also enriching the shopping “experience” by offering special events such as a Bridal & Prom Expo in February, Severe Weather Awareness Expo each spring, and the Back to School event. Seasonal opportunities are available for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. “Our guests are able to participate in events designed to create a shared experience around shopping,” Kinsey said. A little creative thinking and a progressive strategic business plan has helped West Ridge Mall go beyond simply surviving the failing mall epidemic, to creating the type of social shopping experience that will make it thrive. TK

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Is Your Business Protected?

Total Quality Assured Lower Your Risk. Lower Your Total Cost. Improve Your Peace of Mind.

Guaranteed! 1.800.591.7378 No matter what’s bugging you... Schendelize ‘em

“What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know”




Ping Enriquez

Terri Benson

Kristin Scott


part business seminar series courtesy of ECU’s Business Development. Register early for the sessions that meet your schedule and needs. The series is free to attendees, sessions are from 5:30-7:30 pm, and advance registration is required. Details and registration information are available at our website:

ECU’s Business Resources Seminar Series September 18th 25th and October 2nd

2808 SW Arrowhead Topeka, KS 66614 785.271.6900

Federally Insured by NCUA


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

THE PINK SUITCASE Sarah Gollier and Emilie Nichols wanted to bring distinctive fashions to the Midwest at affordable prices. They began collecting goods from markets across the country and embarked on their women’s clothing and accessories business in 2009. That first year, they traveled around Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City doing trunk shows. Then, in 2010, The Pink Suitcase opened the doors to its first boutique in downtown Ottawa. An online retail website was launched in 2012. With a thriving business and the desire to expand, they took the opportunity to open a second location in Topeka’s West Ridge Mall in March 2014. They are excited to bring their unique venture to a bigger city mall environment. “We want to maintain our small town, friendly feel at our Topeka location,” said Gollier, co-owner of The Pink Suitcase. “We like the idea that the mall is taking smaller companies and working with them to get a start here. We are excited to be a part of Topeka.” The Pink Suitcase not only has clothes, but also offers all the other beautiful accessories needed to complete any outfit— from jewelry and scarves to shoes and handbags.

Sarah Gollier and Emilie Nichols, Co-Owners Photo Submitted “We like to help women put together looks they love and feel good in,” Gollier said. “And we really like what we do.” Pink suitcase shoppers can tell. “ I love it. It has a great atmosphere – more like family,” said Jamen Droge of Topeka.


Kristin Webster, Owner photo by BETHANY HUGHES Worth a 1000 Words owner Kristin Webster has been a part of the portrait photography scene in Topeka since 2008. It has been an interesting journey but she has successfully created a thriving professional studio in West Ridge Mall that offers both on and off-site photography experiences. It all began on her 15th birthday when her dad bought her first camera. “He told me I would make a horrible employee!” Kristin

laughs. “He made me promise to figure out how to make money with it.” Her dad, an entrepreneur himself, was not making false assumptions. Her grandfather and uncles were small business owners as well. And so Kristin was destined to follow in that same spirit. Starting with senior pictures for her older siblings’ friends and eventually her own friends, she has been taking pictures of people ever since. Living in Olathe after high school graduation, she begged a local studio to hire her. After several attempts and an awkward beginning, she finally began to really learn the portrait photography business. Within a year, she was running the entire studio. After almost five years with them, one of the owners approached her about co-owning and working in a studio he had recently leased in Topeka’s West Ridge Mall. That was in 2008 and she has been in this location under all of its various guises since then. After parting with her previous co-owners, she reopened the studio as Worth a 1000 Words in September 2010. With their business experience and direction, her family has been key in contributing to her continued success. In 2013, she expanded to St. Joseph, Mo. and just this past year opened a location in Olathe, Kan.

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


COOKIES BY GAYLA If you are walking through West Ridge Mall and smell something delicious, you can be sure Gayla Kirk and her crew are baking. A familiar face in the Topeka area, Gayla has been baking cookies for celebrations and events for many years. From frosting shots to specialty cookies, her new shop offers a variety of tasty treats, including gluten-free selections. Cookies by Gayla is the only company in the Midwest capable of printing cookies with photographs, monograms, logos and characters directly onto the frosting on top of the cookies. And everything used to decorate the cookies is 100 percent edible. Gayla started making cookies for school bake sales and class parties when her oldest child started school. The kids and parents all loved her birthday and holiday treats and began telling their friends. She was soon getting requests from friends of friends, as well as their neighbors and acquaintances. “I never advertised my business. It just grew by word of mouth,” Gayla said. Once her kids were finally grown, she began officially taking orders and began her special order cookie business in

Gayla Kirk, Owner photo by BETHANY HUGHES 1997. From farmers markets to festivals, she took her cookies all over Topeka and the surrounding areas. In May 2014, Gayla opened her store in West Ridge Mall. “I haven’t been open in the mall very long but I have had a great experience here. Right now I am training new people to help me with the Christmas rush.”


West Ridge Mall Local Shop List 4-1-9 Designs Avon Bounce ‘n Play Zone Cookies by Gayla E-Vape Shop Furniture Mall of Kansas Hot & Roll Jock’s Nitch Lunar Mini Golf Petland


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Rewards Wireless SolarX Street Corner Stuff 4 U The Pink Suitcase Topsy’s V-Jay’s Safari Rides WestRidge Jewelry Repair Wheat State Pizza Worth a 1000 Words Studio

Rock a Career in Real Estate! Call or visit us online for more info.


To Join our Team of

Award-Winning Agents, Contact Sara Fox today!

2222 SW 29th St., Topeka, Kansas 66611

785-267-8322 |

© 2014 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated Except Offices Owned And Operated By NRT Incorporated.

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 •

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



THENEWRETIREMENT by LISA LOEWEN photos by BETHANY HUGHES Retirement—the holy grail of the workingman. We begin saving for it early in our careers; we start praying for it in our middle-age years; and we savor it in our golden years. At least that what normal people do. Some individuals (we won’t call them abnormal—although we think it in our heads) choose to live their post-retirement years working harder than they ever have—as entrepreneurs. Grey entrepreneurs, as those over age 50 have been termed, are on the rise. A study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reported that the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity over the last few years is Baby Boomers in the 55-64 year age group. Longer life expectancy, a turbulent financial landscape and the need for additional income have fueled this emerging trend. However, the primary reason retired individuals are opening businesses is that they seek more fulfilling sources of work. Many of them have worked for someone else their entire working lives and now relish the opportunity to be their own bosses. continued on page 22


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

GET YOUR HORMONE LEVELS CHECKED AND GET BACK TO LIVING. Are you experiencing these symptoms?

Almost all of us over the age of 40 experience hormone imbalance.

• Weight Gain • Low Libido • Decreased • Mood Energy (Fatigue) Swings

• Depression • Loss of Muscle Mass

Did you know that by age 40 you could be producing 50% less hormones than when you were 20? This could be the cause of your symptoms. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) may be the answer. At Aspire we can test your hormone levels and determine if this is the case, using science based results with lab testing. We can help manage the aging process by balancing hormones in both Men & Women.

Call to schedule your FREE private consultation with hormone assessment today!



Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Seizing the Moment

Lakeside Wine & Spirits and Ice & Olives Owners • Barry Busch & Sandi Wilber For a consummate entrepreneur, retirement is hard work. Barry Busch should know—he has tried retiring three times now. In his first life, Barry was an ad guy. He met co-worker, Sandi Wilber, who managed media sales and buying, and it was a match made in ad heaven. The couple


Fall 2014

flouted the cardinal rule of workplace relationships and married soon after. Barry retired the first time (or as he terms it “went on sabbatical”) at age 50. His second attempt at retirement happened in 2004, when he sold his company, Kid Stuff, and went sailing for an extended period of time.

TK Business Magazine

In 2005, looking for something to keep him busy, he started a landscape design firm. As if that wasn’t enough to fill his time, he opened Lakeside Wine & Spirits the following year, originally seeing it more as an investment than a job. Finding himself spending way more time at the liquor store than he had

anticipated, he knew it would be impossible to juggle both businesses, so he retired from the landscape business and focused on the liquor store. Barry needed a way to distinguish the store from the competition, so he searched for something that would complement the liquor store and find natural synergy. A conversation with some friends gave him the perfect idea: A place where people could get their wine, mixes, ice, a gift bag, card and hostess gift. When the couple opened Ice and Olives in November 2007, Sandi was still working full time for World Company. “Somebody had to have a job,” Barry chuckled. Even though she was happy where she was working, Barry talked Sandi into quitting her job and giving Ice and Olives a chance. “Barry said ‘Just come work here one year, and then we’ll decide,”’ Sandi said. “That was four years ago.” The idea was to open the store, turn it over to a manager, and sit back and watch from the sidelines. As luck would have it, they opened their doors right before the economy tanked in 2008. The dream of being outside observers went by the wayside. Being a specialty market offering luxury items, business suffered. So they adapted. They began offering Boar’s Head specialty meats and party trays. That soon expanded into offering sandwiches, but there was no space inside for people to sit down and eat. “We needed a dining room,” Barry said. “So we bought the coffee shop next door.” Barry and Sandi felt the big hole in the market at their location was breakfast. They hired John Phillips, former chef at the Kansan Grill, so they could offer a full weekend breakfast service. John began making hors d’oeurves that were out of this world and inspiration struck again. “I thought, why not offer a gourmet wine dinner every three months?” Barry said. Those private wine dinners became so popular they decided to make them a regular event. Now, every Friday and Saturday night, Ice and Olives serves a five-course casual gourmet meal. “We never intended to become a fine dining restaurant,” Sandi said. “It’s because John landed on our doorstep that this is such a success.” Success often comes with a price. Like most entrepreneurs, Barry and Sandi have put their blood, sweat and tears into the business. “If I’d have realized how hard it was going to be, I don’t know if I would have done it,” Barry said. “But if you have that entrepreneurial spirit, you are always looking for that next opportunity.” Barry has now found his latest opportunity—an Ice and Olives food truck will hit Topeka’s streets later this fall. As for retirement, they simply laugh. “If we ever get the chance to retire again, we’ll do a better job of it!” Right now they are too busy to think about it.

Roofing excellence since 1979.

Do the right thing. “When a customer needs help, we always do the right thing.” For 35 years and three generations our family has kept that promise. Our proven approach saves money and prolongs the value of your investment.

(785) 232-4276

Don’t risk your roof on an unproven contractor. Call the pros at Midwest Coating.

Randy Morris


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Brickhouse Antiques Owners • Tom & Mary Norskov


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Entrepreneur Tom Norskov spent the first 20 years of his career doing auto bodywork and painting, and the next 22 as an insurance auditor. His wife, Mary also spent 26 years working in a factory in Nebraska and then in a variety of positions in Kansas. The couple had put in their time and grown a solid retirement nest egg. So why did they choose to swap out the rocking chairs and cold glasses of lemonade on the porch for the rigors that come with business ownership? “It all hinges on the fact that we are both collectors,” Tom said. “We have 82 curio cabinets and probably about 15,000 pieces of glass showcased in our house.” Mary happened to be working part time at Brickhouse Antiques when Tom’s employer offered him early retirement. Upon learning that Tom was retiring, the owners promptly asked if he and Mary would be interested in buying the place. It didn’t take long for them to make that decision. “I didn’t want to lose my part time job,” Mary said. “So I turned it into a full time one.” “We’d never been small business owners in our life,” Tom said. “But you never know unless you try.” May 16, 2012 they took over operations. Mary ran the business from that day until Tom officially retired in August. The problem was they didn’t really know how to run a business. Tom heard about the Washburn Small Business Development Center and took advantage of their resources. “I don’t know how a person can start a business without their help,” Tom said. “They will hold your hand and walk you through the process.” Mary says the bookkeeping has been the biggest challenge for her. Knowing when and what to file, how to track vendors and payments—it was like learning a foreign language. While they jumped into the business with both feet, they didn’t jeopardize their nest egg to do so. “We would never compromise our investments and retirement,” Tom said. “If that were necessary, this place would be sold.” Right now, the business is solvent. “We aren’t going to be millionaires,” Tom said. “But we are in the black.” It’s just the two of them running the business and they take turns being at the store. When Mary is working, Tom is out meeting with vendors or doing yard work. When Tom is at the store, Mary spends time with her pride and joy, Anya, a 14-year-old West Highland Terrier. “I couldn’t retire and just sit,” Mary said. “What would I be doing if I didn’t have this?” The Norskovs plan to keep riding this ride until they physically can’t do it anymore. “Of course it’s work, Tom said. “But it’s fun work.”

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


For retirees Chuck and Ruby Bradley, the decision to open an art gallery in Topeka was long in the making. They spent many a vacation visiting cities with vibrant art communities, always with the thought in the back of their heads, “Topeka needs something like this.” After 32 years working for the State of Kansas and the Department of Transportation, Chuck retired in 2007, taking on the role of caregiver for three of Ruby’s elderly family members. Ruby retired four years later. The couple didn’t want to just sit at home; they wanted to be involved with the arts in Topeka. So when NOTO came to fruition that same year, it was serendipitous. Topeka now had an art district, but no place for artists to display their work. Having grown up in North Topeka, Ruby, a self-proclaimed risk avoider, went against her nature (and business research that indicated the venture would fail) and threw all caution to the wind. In April of 2012, they purchased a building at 909 N. Kansas Ave. and Yeldarb Gallery became a reality. “We were in a position to invest in this opportunity,” Ruby said. “At the time we felt it was a better investment than the market.” Coming up with a name was the first obstacle. They couldn’t use Bradley Gallery, because a local eatery, Bradley’s Corner Café, was just across the street. On a whim, they came up with the idea of flipping the name Bradley into Yeldarb. “Our 30-something kids all hated the name, so therefore we knew it was the right one,” Chuck said with a laugh. The second obstacle was massive renovation. Wanting to save as much money as they could, the Bradleys chose to do the majority of the labor themselves. Working 12-hour days, they opened the gallery doors in July 2012. About that same time, the Bradleys purchased the building next door and are now in the process of renovating it into studio space. While both Chuck and Ruby adamantly insist that they would do it all over again if given the chance, they have learned a few things along the way. The most obvious lesson is the sheer amount of work it takes to operate a business. “We are here seven days a week,” Chuck said. “It doesn’t matter if we don’t feel well. If we don’t come in to work, the gallery doesn’t open.” “You need a good backup plan when it’s just the two of you,” Ruby said. “You need that one person who will run the business if you have an emergency or need a day off.” With maturity comes a more realistic view of expectations. Chuck and Ruby knew they weren’t going to become rich opening an art gallery in North Topeka. “If we wanted to make money, this wouldn’t be a gallery,” Chuck said. But at this point in their lives, they also realize wealth isn’t always measured in dollars. TK


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Realizing a Dream

Yeldarb Gallery

Owners • Chuck & Ruby Bradley

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Baby Boomers l Gen-x l Gen-y BABY BOOMER Born Between 1946 - 1964


Born Between Late 1960s - early 1980s


Born Between Late 1980s - early 2000s


Salary Healthcare Location BB 53% 47% 44% X 56% 39% 37% Y 56% 37% 36%






20 10 0




Workplace Differences

Baby Boomers

Gen X

Gen Y

Behavior Problem solving Learning style Communication style Leadership style

Challenge the rules Horizontal Facilitated Guarded Unilateral

Change the rules Independent Independent Hub and Spoke Coach

Create the rules Collaborative Collaborative Collaborative Partner

You might be a Boomer if:

You might be a gen X-er if:

You might be a gen Y-er if:

ü You remember when a quarter was a

ü Your work is completely unconnected

ü You don’t remember the last time


decent allowance. No ü one asked where the car keys were because they were in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Stuff from the store ca me without safety ü caps and seals. ü Your first house cost as much as your last car. All ü your male teachers wore neck ties and your female teachers wore heels. It ü was considered a real privilege to be taken out to dinner with your parents.



Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?

to your college major. You ü or your best friend was a “latchkey” kid. Your television never turned off. ü Your first “cell phone” looked like a ü brick. ü Your parents thought heavy metal had subliminal satanic lyrics and tried to find them by playing records backwards. You ü rode in the back of station wagon without a seatbelt and faced the cars behind you.

you watched “live” television thanks to your DVR and Hulu. On ü any given day your ratio of text messages to minutes talked on the phone is at least 3 to 1. You do not have to wait for dress ü down Fridays to wear your tennis shoes to work. You tried to set up the next weekly ü tea m conference call as texting-only, to make it more productive. ü You recommend to the training department that a 3 D virtual reality ga me would be a perfect orientation for new employees.

Source: Survey data by Quinn, Patricia. “A multigenerational perspective on employee communications.” Risk Management 57.1 (2010):32+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 1 May 2010

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Why Has

Been the Most Trusted Bank in Topeka for Over 140 Years?

Our People. Kent J. Schwerdt Senior VP of Lending

Danna Petrik VP of Lending

Craig Heideman Senior VP of Lending

Richard Montano VP Compliance Officer

Patty Trotter Trust Officer

Tony Konrade VP of Lending

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Developing quality employees to meet the demands of local manufacturing companies.


It seems more often people are getting educated, but not finding a job to use that education because the skills they have learned don’t match up with what companies need. The Kansas Department of Commerce heard repeatedly from the local food manufacturing companies that they needed quality, skilled entrylevel employees. To meet this demand, the Department of Commerce developed Workforce AID (Aligned with Industry Demand), a new statewide pilot project developed in conjunction with community and technical colleges, including Washburn Tech. As part of this program, Washburn Tech, in cooperation with area food


Fall 2014

manufacturing companies and in partnership with GO Topeka, has launched a new training initiative called Manufacturing Technology or M-Tech. The program provides students intensive technology training and prepares them for the Certified Production Technician exam. Graduates have a greater opportunity to receive an entry level position with local manufacturers, including: Bimbo Bakeries, Big Heart Pet Brands, Frito–Lay, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and Mars Chocolate North America. And to top it off, for a limited time, funding from the Department of Commerce is available for adults who qualify. “Our goal was to meet the employers’

TK Business Magazine

demands,” said Zoe Thompson, director of Workforce Training and Education at the Kansas Board of Regents, who also directs the Workforce AID pilot project at the Kansas Department of Commerce. “Employers define the skills and curriculum they need. This project is education linked to a job.” According to Stan Ahlerich, executive director of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, the timing was right for this kind of program, and it is already making a difference. “We are changing people’s lives,” Ahlerich said. “We have heard great things from the students in the program.”

continued on page 32

“As a participant in the various Lean Six Sigma courses, I have learned to use Lean Six Sigma to help my company eliminate waste, develop effective systems, and work to be a company of continuous improvement.”

Tara Dimick Owner of E2 Communications

(785) 670-1399

An affiliation between Washburn University and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce / GO Topeka

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


“It is really hard to get hired, but with this program you have an advantage.” — Angela Cain M-Tech Graduate continued from page 30

Changing Lives

Angela Cain, 47, graduated from the program in June. Previously Cain and her husband both worked for Goodyear. When the strike occurred in 2006, they were without an income for three months. After that experience, they decided it would be better if they weren’t employed at the same business. Cain took the buyout opportunity Goodyear offered in 2009 and sought employment elsewhere. When Mars Chocolate North America came to Topeka, Cain knew she wanted to work there. She applied six different times for six different positions, but she was never hired. “I was on the Topeka Workforce website homepage looking for jobs when I saw the announcement for the course at Washburn Tech,” Cain said. She applied for the program, was admitted and completed the course in June. With her new set of skills and


Fall 2014

certifications, Cain was able to get a job at Mars Chocolate North America and began work in August. “It is really hard to get hired, but with this program you have an advantage,” Cain said. “People are out there hitting walls, and this program helps you get your foot in the door. Even if you have been in production before, the program is a very positive thing.” Cain said one of her favorite parts of the training was “Industry Visits.” Local manufacturing companies came to the class and visited with the students to inform them about their companies, policies and employment opportunities. Ahlerich says these visits are a crucial element to the project. Because the manufacturers helped develop the course, graduates learn exactly what these companies want their employees to know for an entry-level position, and, as a result, are more likely to be hired.

TK Business Magazine

“The program is very much a roll up your sleeves, go to the employers and find out what employers need and want,” Ahlerich said. There are pilot projects ongoing across Kansas with participation from more than 25 companies and more than 100 students enrolled. Of the 50 students who have completed training, 38 of those have found jobs. The first phase of the Topeka pilot program involved Topeka area food manufacturers. The second phase, which launched June 16, will partner with companies such as Goodyear, Innovia TK Films and PTMW, Inc.

For more information: Luci Zieman Washburn Tech 785-670-2373

Post-Acute To Home (PATH)

PATH acts as a bridge between hospital and home by helping patients overcome the challenges of recovering from an injury, illness or surgery. To learn what we can do for you, contact Topeka Presbyterian Manor at 785-272-6510.

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


“Being an entrepreneur is more than just waking up and thinking you want to do something.” — Melissa Patterson

Six staff members, including a full-time certified teacher and a bilingual instructor, carry out Patterson’s philosophy of the difference a quality pre-school program can have in the lives of small children and their families.

Melissa Patterson Patterson Family Childcare Center by KAREN ROTH RIDDER photos by BETHANY HUGHES 34 34

Hardly Child’s Play Melissa Patterson’s start as an entrepreneur came as a toddler on Granny’s knee. She has a newspaper clipping featuring herself at 18-months of age in the arms of the great-grandmother everyone called the “Granny of the Block” because she cared for all the neighborhood kids. The warm embrace of Granny and memories of the good care she received as a child inspired what became Patterson’s life work and turned her into a business owner whose reach steadily grows. Patterson owns Patterson Family Childcare Center at 24th and Wisconsin. The preschool program currently serves 24 children ages 2 ½ to 5 and their families.

Fall 2014 BUSINESS MAGAZINE Fall 2014 TKTK Business Magazine

The center opened two years ago in June, but Patterson’s career teaching preschool started long before. In high school, Patterson took a child-development course that required her to observe at a childcare center. Two weeks into the project, she was offered a job. Two years later, she opened her own home-daycare business. “When I started operating my own, giving kids one-on-one attention was my goal,” Patterson said. “I always wanted to be more than the typical what people would call a babysitter.” She worked toward that goal by furthering her own education and opening a pre-school program in her Topeka home using the resources of ERC, an

organization now known as ChildCare Aware® of Eastern Kansas. Patterson took advantage of classes, their lending library and ideas they offered to improve her business. After taking the class, “Developing Your Childcare Business,” which helps childcare providers understand the

named the Kansas Child Care Provider of the year. That year she also was recognized as an outstanding woman-owned business by the Kansas Department of Commerce and earned a five star rating for care from the state. Her husband urged her to expand. Others supported and encouraged her, but what really spurred Patterson to act were the children on her waiting list that she couldn’t serve. “I had one little boy on my waiting list. He went into kindergarten not ever being able to go through the program,” Patterson said. “I was running out of room at my home, and it was time to give more children a firm foundation in education.”

Continual Learning

business side of the profession, Patterson decided to become a mentor to other childcare providers. “A lot of people go into childcare thinking they are going to play with kids all day and have fun and not understand the business aspect of it,” Patterson said. “When I started out, I wish I had someone who held my hand and walked me through.”

As an entrepreneur, Patterson says her business growth has been about leveraging resources and learning to look beyond just acting on a good idea. Throughout her career, she has never stopped pushing forward because she believes in her profession. She became a businessperson because it allowed her to live her passion, but it has been a hard road to travel. “Being an entrepreneur is more than just waking up and thinking you want to do something,” Patterson said. Patterson still focuses on the oneon-one attention for children and their families. She is a hands-on director offering parents resources to help with their children’s learning. Patterson says

that when she takes a child into her care, she also takes on a family, and works to help them in any way she can. Owning her own childcare center was always a dream for Patterson. Even though the journey hasn’t always been easy, Patterson says she is glad for the longroad it took to get there. “I wouldn’t change anything, because I‘ve learned from everything I’ve taken in my past experiences and grown on those to become better. Now that I’ve expanded, I’m learning all over again,” Patterson said. TK

Serious Business

Promoting the profession she loves has become an important part of Patterson’s mission as a business owner. She tries to counteract the negative impression many people have of family childcare. “I really want people to see there are more positives in family childcare. Children do learn in family childcare,” Patterson said. “If I can help someone grow in this profession, all they have to do is call.” Patterson’s vision has also led to the growth of her business. In 2011, she was BUSINESS MAGAZINE FallFall 20142014TK TK Business Magazine

35 35


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine












decline in small businesses (2000-2010) Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau of Economic Analysis; US Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Admin. Office of the U.S. Courts; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and U.S. Small Business Admin. Office of Advocacy


Fall 2014

Building Minority Business Opportunities by KAREN ROTH RIDDER What does a business owner look like? Most in Topeka are still white males, but the opportunities for those with different ethnic, racial and gender identities are growing. For minorities who are wondering if the time is right to make a step toward entrepreneurship, resources targeted at traditionally “disadvantaged” groups are designed to break down hurdles that may have prevented ownership in the past. Glenda Washington, vice president of entrepreneurial and minority business development at GO Topeka, seeks out minority business owners and encourages them to learn about the resources available in the community and put them to use. She says many people have been scared to open a business in recent years, but small business ownership for all entrepreneurs is on the rise. “People are putting their heads together and are getting really serious about starting businesses in Topeka,” Washington said. “We really just want them to get all of the resources they need.” Washington encourages minority business owners to tap into three areas of resources:

TK Business Magazine

continued on page 40

“People are putting their heads together and are getting really serious about starting businesses in Topeka. We really just want them to get all of the resources they need.”

Glenda Washington Vice President of Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development GO Topeka

Life Changes may allow you to buy insurance NOW. Although Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace is closed until November 15, you may qualify to buy NOW! Changes in your life that allow you to buy now include: Adding a Dependent – Birth, marriage or adoption. Loss of Coverage – Divorce, job loss, relocation, etc. Coverage Ended – Group no longer offers coverage. Other Loss of Coverage – Visit our website for details. Act Now! – You have 60 Days to enroll or change your plan when one of these events occurs.

An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association N .1415

Filename: 114BCBS009-TK2_ColorRun_7.875x4.875_1_0_jg

Client: Blue Cross Blue Shield Paper: TK Magazine Dimensions: 7.875 x 4.875 Output Time: 07/29/2014

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


2. Money continued from page 38

3 Areas of Resources 1. Training

In the past it was common for entrepreneurs with an idea and a dream to just go out and start their own business. The rough economy and many business failures in recent years have awakened people to the fact that training and a solid business plan can make the difference between success and failure. “When you are starting a business, you really don’t know what to expect, so a lot of people need that education,” Washington said. Planning helps reduce the risk, or at least helps potential entrepreneurs think through potential risks before they get started. GO Topeka offers workshops, one-on-one counseling and small business counseling. Karl Klein, director of the Small Business Development Center, agrees that tapping into available resources can be vital for potential minority business owners. “The biggest picture is trying to recognize there are tools out there for specific markets and understanding which ones apply to your business and to your business plan,” Klein said. The Fast Track Program is designed to help entrepreneurs develop a business plan. The 10-week program exposes entrepreneurs to others in the community who are thriving in certain areas of business. New business owners are given the chance to examine how the experiences of others might help their business. “Interaction is key. At the end of the day you should have all the components to create a business plan,” Washington said.


Fall 2014

National studies show that access to start-up capital is one of the biggest hurdles for minority business owners. While minority-owned businesses are creating jobs, they often have a hard time getting access to working capital to pay the bills and keep things going (U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, 2010).

First Opportunity Fund

In Topeka, the Topeka and Shawnee County First Opportunity Fund helps level the playing field. The program has been created to assist businesses in need of working capital for expenses such as inventory, fixed assets, construction or capital improvements. The First Opportunity Fund offers up to a $15,000 line of credit or up to

3. Certifications

Another way minority business owners can grow their business is to look at certifications offered by state and federal government. These certifications are designed to help increase the visibility of small businesses. Government agencies, private corporations, prime contractors and school districts look for and utilize certified small business owners. The State of Kansas offers certifications for women-owned, disadvantaged and minority business enterprise. While the certification programs only work for those in certain industries, they can be a significant resource for small businesses. The federal government also offers an 8a certification. Those certifications provide access to counseling, training and other guidance for businesses and individuals considered socially and

“The certifications don’t make a business good they help a business position itself in the marketplace better.” — Steven Castaner, Small Business Administration a $100,000 term loan, depending on existing credit history. More information is available at The idea is more job creation, business expansion and a strengthening of the financial foundation for small businesses in places where they might not normally thrive. Washington says loan programs like this are aimed at helping business owners get to the next level.

Additional Lending Programs

The Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce also offers a variety of lending programs and loan guarantees for minority business owners. “We don’t make the loans. We just make them better,” said Steven Castaner, division director for business at the SBA’s office in charge of Northeast Kansas.

TK Business Magazine

economically disadvantaged. Certain work is set aside for businesses with 8a certification. While any person can qualify, certain minority groups are automatically considered disadvantaged. “The presumption is that if you are socially and economically disadvantaged you have not been able to compete in the marketplace as well as someone who is not,” Castaner said. The real advantage of certification is being able to better compete for government contracts. “The certifications don’t make a bad business good, they help a good business position itself in the marketplace better,” Castaner said. There are currently 16 SBA approved certified minority businesses in Shawnee County. TK

Julie C. Swift, DDS, MS Offering a full range of periodontal services, including maintenance, surgical, esthetic and implant procedures.

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT you decide. This fall Shawnee County residents will have the opportunity to vote on extending a county-wide half-cent sales tax, which, in addition to funding a number of infrastructure projects, will set aside $5 million per year for economic development programs meant to entice new businesses to locate in Shawnee County and to retain current businesses. As voters consider their decision to fund economic development, let us consider how businesses supported by economic development incentives impact the local economy.

Economic Multipliers

Paul Byrne, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Economics of Washburn University School of Business


Fall 2014

The impact of a business on the local economy extends well beyond its physical location and impacts more than just the businesses and households in which it has a direct relationship. When a business

TK Business Magazine

pays local workers, those workers spend a portion of their income at local groceries stores, restaurants, car dealerships, and other local businesses. They also pay more in local taxes and may increase donations to local non-profits. Similarly, the business may purchase goods and services from local suppliers, who themselves may hire workers and make purchases from other local businesses. As a result, the initial business under consideration has an economic ripple effect on the local

continued on page 45

Opportunities abound! Call now to schedule a personal tour and enjoy lunch on us! Brewster Place 785.274.3350 (option 2)



T h e r e ’s m o r e t o e x p e r i e n c e !



785.235.1700 : 515 VAN BUREN TOPEKA Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


continued from page 42

g pendin s mer S Consu l Businesse a at Loc


Payr Initial Spending



Purchases from Local Suppliers

Purchases from Local Suppliers

Pur No chase s n-L oca from l Su ppl ier

rs m lie ro pp sf u se l S ha ca rc Lo Pu onN

economy, illustrated in the figure to the right, as the initial demand for its product generates smaller and smaller subsequent rounds of economic activity that work its way through the local economy. Policy makers often rely on economic multipliers to take into account these type of interactions when estimating the total economic impact of a business. The concept of economic multipliers is somewhat straightforward. Most estimates rely on multipliers created by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) which examines input-output flows throughout the economy for various industries and geographies, even down to the county level and smaller. Industries differ in the extent to which they rely on out-of-area suppliers. An industry where a larger proportion of costs go to out-of-area suppliers and workers (red arrows in figure) will have a smaller multiplier as more spending “leaks” out of the local economy, resulting in a smaller ripple effect (blue and green arrows in figure). Multipliers vary by geography as well. A Topeka manufacturer making a purchase from a Wichita supplier is considered local spending when measuring the economic impact on the State of Kansas, but outof-area spending when measuring the economic impact on Shawnee County. The BEA estimates multipliers based on actual economic transactions for hundreds of industries for each state and


This illustration diagrams the ripple effect of how one business impacts the economy beyond its physical location. To see why this is important consider what would happen if a new grocery store opens in Topeka. This business would benefit the local economy by giving its customers added conveniences, such as savings on driving time and a greater diversity of goods. However, since grocery stores cater to local spending, most of the spending taking place at the new business is offset by less spending at other local grocery stores. As a result, any increase in economic activity, such as, sales, employment and tax revenue is not considered a net gain to the local economy, as it would likely be offset by lower sales, employment and tax revenue at other local businesses. For this reason, economic development practitioners typically avoid

county in the country. These multipliers simply estimate the total impact that an initial round of economic activity will have on an area. For example, a multiplier of 1.5 means that $1 million of initial spending will generate an additional $500,000 in additional economic activity. In Shawnee County, multipliers may vary from 1.4 for general merchandise stores to 1.7 for financial services1.

Shifting of Economic Activity

Although estimating a business’ economic impact seems somewhat straightforward, these estimates give only part of the picture. A crucial question that needs to be answered before we can rely on economic multipliers is: Where would the initial economic activity take place if the business being examined was not located in Topeka?

1This is based on BEA multipliers from 2005.

continued on page 46

Above all, we are

COMMITTED TO YOUR Anderson Chandler

Allan Towle


SUCCESS! Integrity

Financial Strength

Troy Mitchell


Local Decision Makers

Call us today! 785-295-2100 Mark Kossler

Tim Royer

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


continued from page 45

offering incentives to businesses that cater to local spending and instead target businesses that draw economic activity into an area. Mars’ manufacturing facility, for example, does not suffer from the problem of shifting economic activity within the Topeka economy. The opening of the facility in Topeka will not shift chocolate production from other parts of the Topeka economy, but instead shifts economic activity from some other part of the national or global economy. Similarly, if Goodyear were to shut down its tire manufacturing plant, there would not be an offsetting increase in tire production at other Topeka plants.

The Impact of Economic Development Incentives

Perhaps the most difficult to assess and controversial issue regarding economic development incentives is whether or not the incentives truly influence a business’ decision to operate in a particular location. While we can be fairly confident in estimating the economic impact of a business or event that draws economic activity from outside Topeka, it is more difficult to determine whether the economic activity and corresponding multiplier effect can be attributed to an economic development incentive. A business that receives an economic development incentive could have a large, positive impact on the local economy that far exceeds the incentives and tax breaks given to it by local governments, but if the business would have located in the area with or without the incentive, then that economic activity cannot be fairly attributed to the incentive. Businesses seeking incentives know with certainty how much of an incentive, if any, they need in order to locate or remain in Shawnee County. However, economic


Fall 2014

Mars employees at grand opening of Mars Chocolate North America Topeka development practitioners and policy makers must make their decision to offer incentives with limited information on just how much of an incentive is necessary to ensure that the local economy receives the substantial benefits of having the targeted business locate here. Many who oppose such incentives believe that they do not impact businesses’ location decision and unnecessarily divert valuable tax dollars from other local businesses, households or public spending options. On the other hand, many proponents of incentives believe that, fair or not, failing to offer certain businesses incentives will result in an even greater loss of valuable tax dollars and jobs as these businesses would locate in other cities.

Do Economic Development Incentives Work?

Shawnee County voters are being asked to pay $5 million per year to fund economic development incentives meant to attract and retain businesses to help maintain a strong local economy and job market. A reasonable question for voters

TK Business Magazine

to ask is whether taxpayers are receiving a profitable return on their investment. The first conditioning necessary for a positive return is for those incentives to be focused on supporting activities that draw new economic activity into Shawnee County or prevent existing economic activity from leaving Shawnee County. This means refraining from supporting activities that simply shift economic activity from one area within the local economy to another. The second condition depends on how effective economic development practitioners and policy makers are at focusing incentives on businesses whose location decision is, on the margin, more sensitive to receiving the incentives. The most important factor in helping voters determine the return on investment of their economic development tax dollars is a transparent accountability of how those monies have been utilized. TK

by providing expert accounting services

services provided by CBIZ

by minimizing your taxes

solutions challenging economy providing

Š Copyright 2012. CBIZ, Inc. NYSE Listed: CBZ. All rights reserved.

in a


by identifying tax planning opportunities by improving your profitability

by understanding your goals by developing an effective business plan


services provided by Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. Together, CBIZ and Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. are one of the Top Ten accounting providers in the country.

by providing you with an advantage 785.272.3176


our is growing

Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. is an independent CPA firm providing audit, review and attest services, and works closely with CBIZ, a business consulting, tax and financial services provider.

Fall 2014


TK Business Magazine


economic • development (noun)

The sustained, concerted actions of policy makers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area. Economic development can also be referred to as the quantitative and qualitative changes in the economy. Actions can involve development of human capital, critical infrastructure, regional competitiveness, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, health, safety, and literacy.*


economic • growth (noun) The increase in the market value of the goods and services produced by an economy over time. It is conventionally measured as the percent rate of increase in real gross domestic product (GDP).* * Definitions provided by Wikipedia

Community Pride Community Services Dynamic Core Entertainment Parks & Recreation Transportation Infrastructure Attraction of New Primary Jobs & Investments Expansion & Retention of Employers Workforce Development Entrepreneurial Development Minority & Women-Owned Business Development Public Safety

continued on page 50


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Visit Topeka

Joint Economic Development Org

Heartland Visioning

Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods

Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce

Go Topeka


Downtown Topeka, Inc.


City of Topeka

No one can argue that Topeka doesn’t have a desire to be great. We have been through multiple visioning processes and countless focus groups to determine the best way to improve the quality of life in Topeka and create a vibrant and growing business environment. The landscape is changing as organizations and coalitions focused on economic development, directly or indirectly, find themselves working together on overlapping priorities.

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


continued from page 48

Funding Economic Development

Shawnee County voters approved a half-cent county-wide sales tax in 2004 to fund economic development in Topeka. That sales tax is set to expire in 2016. In the general election this November, voters will once again decide whether or not to extend that sales tax through 2031. If approved, the half-cent sales tax extension would fund the following projects: l Topeka Zoo l Kansas Expocentre l Bikeways Master Plan l Economic Development (currently contracted with GO Topeka) l Street Repairs

THE COMMON THREAD Jim Colson discusses the city’s role in creating a better community.

“In many regards, the city is the common thread that runs through all these organizations at least in terms of the major initiatives that they *At the time of publication no specifics funding levels had been determined. are attempting to address. TK It is my impression that the city sat on the sidelines in the past and was often a roadblock. We are trying to play a more influential leadership role and drive a change of culture, pace and expectations. We are trying to create an understanding that there is great value to effective dialogue between the public and private sector. Also, we JEDO funds raise approximately are trying to convince people that the world is $14 million annually. changing and we have a great opportunity to assert ourselves in the role as model builder as opposed to one who has been passed by. Rather than focus on the status quo - which Economic development receives is not good for the community as a whole, this approximately $5 million new model understands that the economy is annually. Funds are managed by in a major pattern shift right now and we have GO Topeka. an opportunity to assert a leadership role and create a better community - not utopia, but a community where everybody has a chance The Joint Economic to compete and succeed. No guarantee of Development success, but of opportunity Organization (JEDO) to compete.�

$14 million

$5 million JEDO

is the governing body that allocates dollars generated by the half-cent sales tax.


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

Create awareness of your not-for-profit organization and increase your position in the community and your fundraising! Let KTWU show you how to enhance your media message and engage your supporters, working within your budget.

“KTWU listened to what our story is and how we wanted it told...for this I can’t thank them enough.” — Nancy Johnson, Ronald McDonald House

1 Call 785.670.3170

our Progress to new awareness in the 2 Receive video brochure 3 community for your organization!

We understand your business, let us help. Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Topeka’s Brand Development Committee:

Lisa Boyd, The Merchant Jim Colson, City of Topeka Terry Cook, Visit Topeka Sheyvette Dinkens, Women Empowerment, Inc. Sarah Fizell, ARTS Connect Vince Frye, Downtown Topeka, Inc. Scott Gales, Architect One, PA Councilwoman Karen Hiller, City of Topeka Brendan Jensen, Jensen Communications, LLC Doug Kinsinger, Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce / GO Topeka Stephanie Luke, Mize Houser & Company, PA Joanne Morrell, Kansas Children’s Discovery Center Angel Romero, Kansas Board of Regents Councilman Nathan Schmidt, City of Topeka Marsha Sheahan, Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce Jamie Slack, Safe Streets & Talk About Topeka Scott Smathers, GO Topeka Allan Towle, Fidelity State Bank & Trust Co. Kurt Young, Topeka Lodging Association

Visit Topeka is now in the process of transitioning the Brand Development Committee into a Brand Leadership Team that will champion the cause.


Fall 2014

In the world of marketing, branding is everything. A brand identifies a specific product, service or entity and sets it apart from the competition. It resides within the minds of people who interact with the brand and is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions. For this reason, it is imperative for a brand to accurately reflect the ideals of the organization it represents. Recently Visit Topeka hired consulting firm Roger Brooks International to develop a branding campaign for Topeka. Roger Brooks International works primarily in the public sector with a bottom-line, “make-something-happen” approach. The consulting firm surveyed members of the community asking for their input on the assets of Topeka and Shawnee County. With 2,028 respondents, the survey had the highest response rate ever received by Brooks’ company. Once input was received, it was up to the Brand Development Committee to check each item for feasibility and identify niche and sub-brands with the goal to pick just one element to become the brand for Topeka.

TK Business Magazine

As the brand comes to life, Roger Brookes International recommends the following: • Build a Brand Bank that fully embraces the brand and reinforces it throughout the community. • Develop a Brand Promise that describes what Topeka will be 10 years from now. • Create a Brand Identity the provides the look and feel of the brand (i.e. Logo, color schemes, taglines, etc.) • Generate an Action Plan that defines roles, provides timelines, identifies where money will or could come from. • Introduce it to the community. • Energize the community so the brand will become who we are. • Tell the World who you are. • Revisit the Plan every year if not more.

Why do we need a brand

• To put us on the map. • Fun, vibrant, exciting and progressive community. • More than the state capital. • Differentiate Topeka from other Midwest communities. • Slow the leakage of local earned money being spent elsewhere. • Strengthen local businesses and to attract new business investment. Information provided by Roger Brooks International 13 Steps of Success

Killers of Any Branding Effort

1 2 3

Local politics

Brooks says that it is far worse with membership organizations than it is with elected officials.

Lack of champions

The brand must have tireless pioneers who champion the cause, even when faced with criticism.

Lack of money The cause must be supported by the private sector.

“The 7 Phases of a Public Project” 1. Enthusiasm 2. Planning 3. Disillusionment 4. Fear and panic 5. Search for the guilty

6. Punishment of the innocent 7. Praise and honors for the nonparticipants Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Also available at 900 N. Ks Ave


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


EXPERTS Bob Evenson

Century Health Solutions

Rachele Pruett

Making Spaces

Kelly Lipprand and Amber Gentry ISG Technology

Rick LeJuerrne

Flow Capital LLC


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Expert: Medicare Bob Evenson

Century Health Solutions


“Oh My,”

I am having a birthday and turning 65! How can this be? I remember when my parents turned age 65! Everyone will face this “Oh My” moment. When retirement is in the future, it is time for Medicare. Medicare is America’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people under age 65 may also qualify for Medicare due to disabilities, permanent kidney failure or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The program, signed into law July 30, 1965 by President Johnson, helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of longterm care. Medicare is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. It also is financed in part by

photo by MEGAN ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHIE monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the agency in charge of the Medicare program.

Signing up for Medicare:

If you are already getting Social Security retirement or disability benefits or railroad retirement checks, you will be contacted a few months before you become eligible for Medicare and given the information you need.

If you are not already getting retirement benefits, you should contact Social Security about three months before your 65th birthday to sign up for Medicare. You can sign up for Medicare even if you do not plan to retire at age 65.

Supplemental Insurance:

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) is health insurance sold by insurance companies to fill gaps in Medicare Parts A and B. While Medicare pays most of your

4 Parts of Medicare Part A:

Hospital Insurance helps cover inpatient care in hospitals. It also helps cover skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or longterm care), hospice care and home health care. People with Part A are responsible for paying a deductible or co-pay for each covered service.

Part B:

Medical Insurance helps pay for doctors’ services and other medical services and supplies that are not covered by Part A such as outpatient care and durable medical


Fall 2014

equipment. People with Part B are responsible for an annual deductible and 20% of the Medicare approved charge.

in a Medicare Advantage Plan. These plans are only available in certain areas and include Shawnee County, Kansas.

Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage are plans required to provide the same coverage as Original Medicare Part A and B. Some plans offer extra benefits, such as dental and vision services (benefits not covered by Original Medicare) and many include Part D drug coverage. You must have Part A and B of Medicare to be eligible to enroll

TK Business Magazine

is available to everyone with Medicare. Enrollment in Part D is optional, but if you decide not to enroll when first eligible you may pay a penalty if you join later. However, if you have prescription coverage that is at least as good as what Medicare offers, you may not need to enroll in Medicare Part D.

healthcare costs, Medicare Supplement policies help pay your share (co-payments or deductibles) of the costs of Medicare approved services. Depending on the plan, you incur little or no out-ofpocket expense after Medicare and the Supplement policy pay the healthcare provider. Medicare Supplements do not cover the cost of prescription drugs so a separate drug plan is needed. So when your “Oh My” moment happens, do not panic! Contact your local Social Security office and a licensed insurance agent specializing in Medicare. With the help of a professional, the transition into Medicare can be easy and painless. TK

Frequently Asked Questions Q. Can I delay enrollment in Medicare Part B? A. Medicare rules allow you to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B when you are covered by an employer group health plan, regardless of the number of covered employees, if your health coverage is based on you or your spouse’s current, active employment.

Q. What is open enrollment and when is it? A. For Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans), Medicare Open Enrollment is the period between October 15 and December 7 each year when an individual can choose a plan for the next calendar year. This enrollment is guaranteed with no medical underwriting.

Q. Is Medicaid and Medicare the same? A. No, they are two different programs. Medicaid is a state-ran program that provides hospital and medical coverage for people with low income and little or no resources. Each state has its own rules about who is eligible and what services are covered under Medicaid.

For Medigap polices (in the State of Kansas) open enrollment is a sixmonth period following the effective date of Medicare Part B. Insurance companies must offer coverage regardless of your health. If you apply after six months of obtaining Part B, insurance companies may decline to offer coverage based on your health history unless you have a special enrollment situation.

Do you understand the basics of Medicare? Consider your choices when you turn age 65 or to prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment 2015. Make the right move with Century Health Solutions. Your local expert in Medicare planning. | (785) 233-1816 | (800) 227-0089

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Expert: Professional Organizer


My office is a mess. How will I ever get organized?


Some projects are so overwhelming that we can feel paralyzed. Here are keys to getting started:


Rachele Pruett, Owner & Professional Organizer, Making Spaces


Once a little progress is made, it’s easier to ride the euphoria and keep going.


Start with the inflow, dealing with anything that comes in today (mail, etc.). It is easier to keep up than catch up.


Consider trading time with a friend or hire help for accountability and faster results.

SCHEDULE TIME FOR ORGANIZING Put your project on the calendar and keep that appointment.


Break the project into manageable tasks, or “eat the elephant one bite at a time” so to speak.


Spend your energy on areas where results are immediate. For example, clear the top of your desk rather than sorting old files.


Fall 2014

The Cost of Being Unorganized

There are financial, time and emotional costs to being unorganized. What we already own continues to deteriorate as it sits lost in a pile or in storage. Anything that goes unused or un-enjoyed has lost all value already.


Making the same purchase over and over because we can’t find it when we need it, purchasing organizational tools and systems to contain and tame the excess, or renting storage units can be costly.


In his book, “When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box,” John

Ortberg says we spend 16 minutes a day (roughly one year of our lives) looking for lost possessions. Visual clutter clutters the mind, hindering our ability to focus or be creative.


Keeping everything that we would like to do, read, reference, etc. can be overwhelming. Every magazine and project idea that we pile on our desks is adding to our to-do list, and creates more guilt over not being able to get it all done. Hanging onto something because it was costly to acquire, even though it’s not being used or enjoyed, is just a reminder of a bad purchase. TK

Paper Overload [Paper is a main issue in most offices. There is a two-step approach to this conundrum. ] STEP 1 REDUCE incoming PAPER clutter STEP 2 Set up a SYSTEM • Invest in a good app such as Evernote. • Switch to online statements and bill pay. • Curb the number of incoming catalogs with the free service at

TK Business Magazine

• Use attractive organizational tools to help create and maintain order. • Have a to-do list with tasks assigned to a master calendar and bulletin board. • Gather all items needed for common tasks.

Full Spectrum Data Center and IT Infrastructure Partner

Data Centers | IT Infrastructure | Bandwidth Provider | ITaaS

Single Source Partner

ISG is an experienced IT partner who can deliver a realistic ROI. You’ll enjoy working with one company for all aspects of your IT environment— whether that’s on-premises, in the cloud or a hybrid mix of both.

What To Expect From ISG

ISG can help you manage, access, transport, store and secure data. Using the right mix of infrastructure, managed services, applications and connectivity—we solve your toughest IT challenges.

Call for a Consultation Local 785-266-2585 Toll Free 877-334-4474

Online Learning Resources Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Expert: Small Business



How do I maximize the profits in my business?

I love to ask small business owners the question, “How profitable should you be?” I often get quizzical looks followed by smiles. It is a liberating question. It takes the entrepreneur back to the early days of planning their business, when everything was exciting and possible, when profitability was the plan. It reminds us that profitability is a goal, not just a result. The answer? It depends on the type of business, the location, and the economic environment. Most net profitability percentages average between 5-10% of sales. Think of it like a report card:


Rick LeJuerrne, President, Flow Capital LLC Professor of Entrepreneurship, Washburn School of Business “What do I do when I meet the small business owner who is driving 20% of sales to their bottom-line? I shake their hand because it is not easy to do.”

Focus First on Your Business Model to Improve Your Grade 1. Start in the middle.

2. Turn, turn, turn.

Look at the middle line of your P&L, your gross profit. Your gross profit is the amount of money you make on each sale.

If you have dialed in gross profit, the key to increasing profitability is either increasing sales transactions or reducing inventories, or a combination of both.

Sales - Direct or Variable Costs = Gross Profit

Profitability %

20% 15-20% 10-15% 5-10% 0-4% 60

Fall 2014


A+ A B C D

• Are you perfecting pricing? Perfecting pricing requires aligning the market and customer perceptions with your business model. • Are you discounting too frequently? Small business owners discount too frequently out of a misconception that discounting equals value. • Are you managing your costs? For the retail business, this means understanding your true cost of goods sold. For the service business, this means getting good at estimating time and managing labor. If you are averaging a gross profit margin of 45% as a percentage of sales, but the industry averages 60%, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, your business model is broken and profitability will be allusive.

TK Business Magazine

COGS ÷ Inventory = Inventory Turns Just like profitability and gross profit margin, turns can be benchmarked to the industry. If you’re turning at a lower rate than the industry, the question is why? • Low Sales • Poor Purchasing / Poor Estimating Time • Obsolete Inventory / Overstaffed

What’s Next? If your business model is humming with good margins and turns, looking at your fixed expenses is the next step. It is possible you are misallocating resources and this is negatively impacting profitability. The key is to keep asking the question, “How TK profitable should I be?



“Dad has always been there for me. So when he needed more help to stay independent at home, I called Midland Care.”

Call today at 1-866-394-3600 or visit us online at to learn more

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Expert: IT

Q: What are the tech trends that my company should be considering?



Below are top system architecture trends that help businesses remain competitive, protect critical data, and support cross-team access of intelligence.

Kelly Lipprand, Data Center Solution Consultant Amber Gentry, Senior Account Executive ISG Technology

TREND 1: Virtualize infrastructure.

Rather than laboring to oversee, protect and pay for bloated onsite data centers and convoluted infrastructure, many companies are virtualizing their servers and desktops. Creating a virtual version of an actual object allows processes to be pooled into virtual machines (VM). These VMs can be more efficiently and effectively stored on a much smaller physical hardware environment and accessed in a more flexible way. Virtualization can also decrease server energy consumption by as much as 82 percent and take up to 85 percent less floor space, according to Gartner*. Reducing energy consumption is a significant cost-saving measure—instead of 25 underutilized servers, a company can operate with just three servers, virtualized machines and a storage area network.

TREND 2: Leverage economies of scale.

Industry has begun to invest heavily in the cloud to avoid spending on application updates, software patches and IT infrastructure. Online backup in the cloud delivers a convenient way to ensure data is safe against damage or disaster. Moving infrastructure management offsite to a cloud data center enables organizations to take advantage of next-gen


Fall 2014

support systems they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, manage or maintain— such as comprehensive network security, redundant cooling and real-time backup. A cloud services provider offers its highperformance data centers, continuous monitoring and redundant, enterprisegrade network bandwidth to enable business continuity and information security strategies.

TREND 3: Quit worrying about technology. Staying ahead of rapidly escalating data complexity and associated costs is causing some companies to look for an

IT exit strategy. They want to simplify technology to focus on their core business. Delegating select IT tasks and processes reduces costs, improves efficiency and safeguards priceless data and information systems. IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) can be tailored to fit the unique needs of an organization. Any or all IT functions can be outsourced. Managed IT services mitigate operational and security challenges that cause lost profitability, customer churn and a tarnished reputation. A strategic understanding of long-term business goals is key to a successful TK ITaaS partnership.

ROI Calculator: “Cost of Downtime” ROI Calculator: “Annual Budget for IT” So how much does downtime cost?


÷ 250 WORK DAYS = COST OF DOWNTIME PER DAY Ex: $100M ÷ 250 = $400,000 a day

TK Business Magazine

As legacy equipment ages, it forces IT budgets to swell.



= =

} ÷ 5 YEARS 2 x { } GROWTH


Fall To Do List Lawn Seeding and Aeration

Leaf and Flower Bed Cleanup 2015 Lawn Fertilization Program Irrigation System Turn Off

Plant Bulbs, Trees & Shrubs Call Schendel Lawn & Landscape to take care of it all! A beautiful yard in 2015 starts this fall. Have better things to do than yard work? Call Schendel Lawn and Landscape and find out how we can make your life easier and your property more valuable.


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Topeka Active 20|30 Childrens Benefit Auction and Gala Ramada Downtown and Convention Center August 2, 2014 PHOTO 1 Ben & Britt Trier, Sara Wilhelm, and Jennifer & Eric Wilson

PHOTO 2 Craig, Kyra & Caleb Stromgren, Leslie & Tom Palace, and Melinda & Dana Field

PHOTO 3 Mark Ward II, Rachel Thornburgh, Kathy & Mark Ward, Paige Ward and Philip Jones


PHOTO 4 Brett & Liz Klausman

PHOTO 5 Matthew & Laura Stallbaumer, Vincent & Lyndi Cox, Liz & Eric Mueting, and Kelly & Judd Herbster

PHOTO 6 Justin & Tonya Glasgow and Jody & Zac Broughton

PHOTO 7 Nathan & Annie Morris, Amber Beckley and Brendan Jensen

PHOTO 8 Sarah Sowers, Andrea Holland, Cadie Maas and Carrie Buckley



PHOTO 9 Suzann & Jeff Biggs





Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Science Night Live Kansas Children’s Discovery Center August 8, 2014 PHOTO 1 Dr. Craig Yorke and Mary Powell

PHOTO 2 Tim Wright and Barbara Greathouse

PHOTO 3 Misti Robertson, Jamie Nichols and Jason Robertson


PHOTO 4 Maureen Washatka, Dr. Susan Voorhees, Margaret Hennessey Springe and Peggy Hickey

PHOTO 5 Roger Stoner, Noble Morrell, Paula Hladky, Willard Epling and Joanne Morrell




Fall 2014


TK Business Magazine


Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine


Grape Escape Topeka Performing Arts Center August 8, 2014 PHOTO 1


Pam Beck, Ed Carmona and Val Wolken

PHOTO 2 Missy Middendorf, Lucinda Evans, Earle Evans and Alyce Bishop

PHOTO 3 Amy Little, Jared Hitchens, Kayla Bitler, Nicole Bell and Mike Bell

PHOTO 4 H.R. and Connie Cook

PHOTO 5 Jeff and Hillary Lolley

PHOTO 6 Jonathan Snyder, Kelsie Dawson, Stephanie Luke, Andrew Wiechen and Brett Oetting




Fall 2014


TK Business Magazine



The Last Word

Doug Sterbenz

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Westar Energy

TK: What is your role at Westar?

As the chief operating officer, I am responsible for leading the operational activities of the largest electric company in Kansas. Ultimately, my job is to make sure customers are satisfied with their electric service.

TK: Why are you on the public speaking circuit? I frequently speak to groups outside of Westar to share our great story about leadership and safety performance. I draw from real experiences with people throughout my career and share what I have learned about leadership in my years moving from a shift supervisor to executive management. I’m passionate about safety and leadership. If we can share our successes in those areas and save a life at another company or inspire people to be better leaders, I’m all for that.

TK: How does this fit into your position as COO of Westar? In today’s social media world, you have to develop the skills to get your ideas across. Every time I see the impact that a professional speaker has at a safety meeting or leadership conference, I’m reminded how important it is that


Fall 2014

I work those skills myself. Being a good public speaker is hard work and takes a lot of intentional practice. I want to get better at it, so I do it more. When I grow and expand my horizons, I come to work a fuller person.

TK: How important was it to define your relationship inside and outside Westar as a public speaker? Very important. Because it is an ethical deal, I sat down with Westar’s CEO and we talked about the proper parameters for both Westar and me. If the engagement is related to our work at Westar, I don’t get paid—I do it as part of my job. If the engagement is not related to Westar, I do it on my vacation time. If I get paid, I donate the fee to charity.

TK: What is the ONE piece of advice you give about being a better leader? Be present—really present in the moment as the leader. I believe that Leaders Must be Present to Win™. We must be present physically, knowing what is happening in the day-to-day operations; present

TK Business Magazine

mentally, thinking deeper about the business and challenging the status quo; and present emotionally, aligning what inspires people with the mission of the organization.

TK: What advice would you give to business professionals? Spend most of your time doing what invigorates you. Mine is pretty visible—standing in front of a group talking—but it’s really not much different than other areas of our lives where we pursue something of interest either outside or alongside our careers. I think having that other pursuit is healthy. We should continue to develop our skills and gifts wherever they may take us and strive to become better every day. TK

Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine



Fall 2014

TK Business Magazine

TK Business Magazine Fall 2014  

The Fall Issue of TK Business Magazine is Topeka and Shawnee County's business magazine packed full of expert advice by local business profe...

TK Business Magazine Fall 2014  

The Fall Issue of TK Business Magazine is Topeka and Shawnee County's business magazine packed full of expert advice by local business profe...