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HEART OF THE ENTREPRENEUR

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RECRUITMENT & RETENTION

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After tearing his ACL, Braeden thought he’d have to spend his senior year watching sports from the sidelines. But his story didn’t end there. With surgery and intensive physical therapy, the specialists at Cotton O’Neil Orthopedics & Sports Medicine got Braeden back on his feet in time for him to play linebacker for his high school football team — and go on to be captain of the wrestling team. Perseverance and expert care — a winning combination. For more information, visit stormontvail.org.

The story of you is the story of us.

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CONTENTS FEATURES

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HEART OF THE ENTREPRENEUR

Darrell Martinek and Rick Flynn share the story of their family business.

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A DEEPER LOOK AT FRANCHISE BUSINESS

Find answers to the question: To franchise or not to franchise.

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RECRUITMENT & RETENTION

Topeka businesses are using creative strategies to attract employees and encourage them to stay.

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FROM THE PROFESSOR

Dr. David Price discusses how creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand.

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TOP 20 PROFESSIONALS UNDER 40

Learn more about the young professionals being honored as the 2017 Top 20 Professionals Under 40.

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JOSH GORRELL—A DRIVER OF INNOVATION

Discover the story of entrepreneurship based on finding solutions to problems.

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INVESTING IN EAST TOPEKA

Local businesses are investing in East Topeka.

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SCENE ABOUT TOWN • • •

Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce Business Expo Topeka Active 20-30 Childrens Benefit Auction and Gala Valeo Unmasking Stigma

TK BUSINESS EXPERTS

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LANDLORD ADVICE GRACE BROWN MITCHELL

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RECRUITING & SOCIAL MEDIA KRISTINA DIETRICK

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SBA LOANS 101 BEN TENPENNY

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INSURANCE CHECKUP BRIAN GREEN


20 A toast to 20 years of firsts, bests, and many milestones...

...and most important, to our amazing patients. Thank you Northeast Kansas for your trust and loyalty. The Physicians of Topeka Ear Nose & Throat

Michael Franklin, MD, FACS

Douglas Barnes, MD, FACS

Matthew Glynn, MD

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Tyler Grindal, MD

Robert Lane, MD

Scot Hirschi, MD

Jason Myers, MD

Proudly Celebrating 20 Years Emporia Topeka 785-233-0500 620-340-0168

Lawrence 785-856-2185

Junction City 785-233-0500

Plus 10 Satellites Serving Northeast Kansas

www.TopekaENT.com WINTER 2017

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Desperation to Inspiration

There is a Tony Robbins quote that says, "In life, you need either inspiration or desperation." It is one of these two things that move us to change. If we are satisfied enough or if the pain of the situation is not that bad, we are often willing to let mediocracy go on forever, especially if it means that we won't add more to our already busy schedules.

Tara Dimick Tara@TKMagazine.com

As I reflected on the community through the lens of desperation and inspiration, I began to view the changes occurring in our community a little differently. I realized that things in Topeka had finally gotten to the point of desperation a few years ago. People became fed up with mediocracy and the ongoing apathy for progress in our community. So work began. Not quickly, because community change is not a fast process. Neither is it for the weak of heart or the impatient. Rather, community change is for the mighty that can see the vision and celebrate the small accomplishments to keep the fire alive.

As things have progressed and more people step up to the plate to invest in Topeka, work through the next phase of the community's vision— Momentum 2022—and encourage others to share their ideas through projects like Top Tank, we are now moving out of desperation and into inspiration. The hope for our community is alive. And with cranes recently in the air at Cyrus Hotel and FHLBank, we can visualize the progress that allows us to push back those negative thoughts like, “We’ve heard this all before and nothing happened.”

As individuals and businesses, we have the opportunity to encourage others to be excited about what the future of Topeka holds. We can embrace our local community, not just for the holidays (I hope you do spend your dollars locally), but also with every choice within our work and our personal life, every day. With each opportunity you have to purchase a product or service, ask yourself, “Could I do this local and help grow the community I love?” You matter to the success of our community. Light the torch and be the inspiration.

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CHECK OUT

magazine.com Check out TKMagazine.com to get expert business advice and up-to-date information on business in Topeka. Send your news releases to braden@tkmagazine.com. BUSINESS GROWTH

BUSINESS NEWS

MOLLY ALDRICH, owner of Continental Pharmacy, was presented with the Kansas Pharmacists Association's Excellence in Innovation Award for developing an innovative medication adherence packaging program.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT:

Don't Have an Open Door Policy!

Doug Sterbenz Present to Win Leaders

TECHNOLOGY:

Is It Safe to Store Corporate Information on Google drive (or similar services)?

AMY McCARTER joins the Greater Topeka Partnership as its VP of Communications.

WORKING CAPITAL is about local and regional businesses within the KTWU viewing area. WORKING CAPITAL showcases entrepreneurship and provides an atmosphere for sharing business concepts and practical business experiences. Tune in to KTWU-HD, Digital Channel 11.1.

ENVISTA CREDIT UNION staff cares for local organizations with more than 288 volunteer hours in one week. MICHELLE STUBBLEFIELD selected as the executive director for the Leadership Greater Topeka program.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR & DESIGNER Janet Faust MANAGING PARTNER & SALES DIRECTOR Braden Dimick braden@tkmagazine.com 785.438.7773 COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Nathan Ham CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Todd Boyd Jeremy Bryant Braden Dimick Nathan Ham Rachel Lock CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kim Gronniger Sarah Jepson Lisa Loewen Karen Ridder Adam Vlach Kathy Webber CONTRIBUTING EXPERTS Kristina Dietrick Jeremy Graber Brian Green Grace Brown Mitchell Dr. David Price Ben Tenpenny

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2017 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.

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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 Hosted by Tara Dimick, advertisement in this publication, including any errors Owner & Publisher of TK Business Magazine 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 Hosted by Tara Dimick, an advertisement, the advertiser agrees to indemnify the Owner & Publisher of TK Business Magazine publisher against any claims relating to the advertisement.

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lisa Loewen

tkmagazine.com

STORMONT VAIL HEALTH launches new cardiac procedure to reduce stroke risk.

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PUBLISHER Tara Dimick

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Photo by RACHEL LOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

Martinek & Flynn EXTERIOR AND REMODELING BUSINESS 10

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THE HEART OF THE ENTREPRENEUR By KAREN RIDDER

Photos by RACHEL LOCK

Rick Flynn and Darrell Martinek, co-owners of Martinek & Flynn, express that a "get 'er done" mentality has always been the mantra of this family-owned business.

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OPEKA HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED one house at a time, by a swarm of “busy bees” that is celebrating 60 years of working hard to get jobs done. Martinek and Flynn is an exterior home remodeling business, specializing in siding. The owners, Darrell Martinek and Rick Flynn, are proud of a business built on a “family that works together stays together” model, which started with Darrell’s father and uncle in 1957. Since then, so many members of the family have worked for the company it may be hard to count. At quick glance, there are the first brothers, Clarence and Steve, their kids Craig, Darrell, Cindy, Mark, Dan and Debbie; Debbie’s husband, Rick, Craig’s wife, Francine, and Mark’s wife, (another Cindy). Next, comes Mark’s two sons, Brett and Cody, Darrell’s son, Adam and Craig’s grandson, Joshua, and those are just the ones in the immediate family. There are also long time employees, like Steve Starnes, Tony Haynes, Chuck Delfelder, Steve Simon, Bill Copen, Fergal O'Donovan, Clint Dalsing and Tracy Smith, all who have more than 20 years

tenure, making them pretty much feel like family. “Some people can’t believe it that we can work with our family. We hear that quite a bit that what we’ve done is really unusual for four generations, and that we all still get along,” Rick Flynn said. TWO BROTHERS AND A GARAGE The company started when brothers Clarence and Steve Martinek, who had worked in remodeling for a number of years, decided to go out on their own by installing siding. They ran the business out of their garage for the first 27 years. In 1991, Clarence’s sons, Darrell and Mark, and sonin-law, Rick, joined forces with Steve’s son, Craig, to run the business so their fathers could retire. The four incorporated the business and opened up a showroom at 118 Roby Place, where they have been ever since. They have added windows, doors, awning, gutters and patio rooms to their product offerings through the years, but their main showpiece is their ability to “get ‘er done” on a home siding remodel.

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Photo by RACHEL LOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

Cody Martinek, Brett Martinek, Rick Flynn, Darrell Martinek, Adam Martinek and Josh Martinek, represent some of the family members who currently work at Martinek & Flynn.

“We do it in a day,” Darrell Martinek said. “You start out in the morning and the house looks one way. It looks completely different at the end of the day. The way we do it is really unusual.” Darrell credits his brother Mark (who passed away about five years ago) with the model. Mark was very organized and made sure every truck was geared the same. Long before all the home remodel shows made quick makeovers seem possible, Mark realized customers liked a job to get done as soon as possible. It is also good advertising. “The neighbors come over and compliment them, and their neighbors get excited too. That brings a lot of satisfaction when you see them really happy like that,” Darrell Martinek said.

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FAMILY WORKS AT WORK Debbie Flynn says the business works because they are always looking out for each other. She began working there after a career at Bell Telephone. The company needed help after three siblings, Cindy, Mark and Dan all passed away within a year of each other. “That was pretty hard. That’s when I came to work here. It’s pretty important for us to have family working in there. There’s a lot of trust to get things done,” Debbie Flynn said. Rick explains that working with the customers to make their vision come true is what everyone in the family enjoys. It was what they had in mind when they expanded beyond siding. “We saw a good opportunity with these products and took it a step further than what it was,” Rick Flynn said. “We really believe in the products we’re selling and we really want to bring that to the homeowners and that’s part of the reason we’re successful. We really care about making a difference for the customer.” Darrell explains they take the time to work closely with their crews and have fun. They use all of their own people on a work site, rather than subcontracting out the work. They bring lunch out to the job site so everyone working together can also have lunch together. “We just want something good for everybody. Everybody has their specialty running the business. Everyone has their niche,” Debbie Flynn said. TK


Becky Svaty & Roger Laubengayer Owners of Sunflower Strength & Conditioning

YOUR STORY is our passion. The Sunflower Strength & Conditioning story at EnvistaBusiness.com Federally Insured by NCUA

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RECRUITMENT

RETENTION By KIM GRONNIGER

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When Bartlett & West broke ground on a building expansion, its new building configuration broke boundaries on workspaces to facilitate collaboration.

From book discussions and boot camps to ping pong tables and popcorn machines, Topeka employers offer an array of benefits big and small to recruit and retain talent. Subsidized high-quality child care, student loan assistance, profit sharing, apparel policies that allow employees to wear jeans every day and an infant-at-work option are just a few strategies companies have implemented to entice workers to sign on and to encourage them to stay. While salary and advancement options were once the primary criteria for picking an employer, today’s workers are often equally interested in other amenities and ancillary benefits a company can provide, including paid time off to volunteer in the community and flexible work schedules. Find out how a few progressive employers are competing in our marketplace.

BARTLETT & WEST Bartlett & West, an employee-owned engineering and technology business, has created an environment to facilitate collaboration and differentiate it from competitors. The building expansion project, finished in April 2016, includes an outside deck, meeting rooms with large windows to maximize tree-line views, enclaves with varied furnishings and a large ideation room conducive for brainstorming. A self-serve café featuring fresh selections, a spacious seating area and even two popcorn machines create a welcoming ambience at the entrance. A new wellness center has treadmills, cardio equipment, lockers, shower facilities and a ping pong table for lessstrenuous stress-relief. With 360 employees from Washington to Washington, D.C., Warta says, the company realized it could expand the pool of candidates for positions if they were not confined by geography. “Employees can work at home or in the office or on the deck or meet the school bus at 3:30 p.m. It’s liberating,” Warta said. New hires become owners after completing a single hour of service, at which point a six-year vesting schedule begins.

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“Being employee-owned differentiates us because every employee approaches a situation from an owner’s perspective,” Warta said. Each June summer interns are steeped in the company’s can-do culture, demonstrated in part through participation in the Topeka Community Foundation’s annual Topeka Gives event. Interns are given an amount of money to allocate to participating agencies and then make a presentation to share their distribution rationale. “A fundamental aspect of our company is community service,” Warta said. “The quickest way to show interns what we’re passionate about is to immerse them in a meaningful activity like Topeka Gives. It also shows them that if they come here, they can stand out and make a difference with other young professionals in ways they may not be able to in other markets.” An expansive deck at Bartlett & West gives employees a place to refresh, recharge and reflect at work.

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ADVISORS EXCEL Advisors Excel strives to create an innovative workplace culture that exposes employees to an array of professional and personal development opportunities to enhance their skills, their perceptions about the jobs they perform and their participation to the community through volunteerism. Word of mouth, employee referrals and numerous engagement programs have helped the company establish a reputation as a fun, caring place to work, says Matt Beier, director of employee initiatives. “Everything we do, from an annual stretch goal incentive trip and quarterly bonuses to interoffice competitions and family events, is designed to make sure our employees like coming through our doors each day,” Beier said.

TK Business Magazine

The extensive involvement of the founders in all aspects of the operation, including recruitment, underscores their unified commitment to employee well-being. The interviewing process requires applicants to submit a letter describing why they want to work for the company and culminates in a face-toface conversation with a founder before an offer is extended. “The letter follows the individual throughout the interview process and shows us how the individual could be a good fit for us and also how our company could be a good fit for the applicant,” Recruiting Specialist Lisa Schmidtlein said. The company has grown from 240 employees to 495 employees in just three years because of several factors, including expanded divisions to address the wealth management market, radio and television promotion, and the acquisition of Go Modern, a printing company. The company has the Great Place to Work® Certification and surveys


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Advisors Excel offers its employees all types of contests to cultivate camaraderie, including sports tournaments.

employees each year to ensure that senior management assumptions about work satisfaction are accurate. “According to our survey, 97 percent of Advisors Excel employees say it’s a great workplace,” Beier said. “We have high expectations of our employees while they are in the office because if we don’t have satisfied advisors, we don’t have jobs. After working hours though, we really want them to experience work/life balance.” The company offers a subsidized health care plan and a 401(k) plan with employee matches. Advisors Excel also offers contests incorporating aspects of the Olympics and the Amazing Race, lunchtime tailgates and food trucks, sports tournaments, fitness boot camps, a gym, a subsidized cafe and family celebrations to cultivate camaraderie. Each week different groups of employees don their AE community service T-shirts to work at Harvesters, Let’s Help, Topeka 501 Public Schools, Catholic Charities and other organizations. All employees are given three hours to volunteer each quarter. Leadership development programs and well-known motivational speakers, including Dayton Moore, Royals general manager, and renowned life and business strategist Tony Robbins, encourage employees to fulfill their potential.

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FHLBANK TOPEKA One of FHLBank Topeka’s goals is to be the employer of choice in Topeka, and a new building designed with LEED Gold accreditation in mind will make an exceptional first impression when it’s completed in January. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Wanamaker corridor, the spacious four-story space is designed so that all employees will work in natural light. The environmentally conscious building will have geothermal heating and cooling and incorporate natural elements in the aesthetics and artwork.

When FHLBank opens its new building in January, employees will enjoy floorto-ceiling windows that ensure employees will work in natural light.

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More than 100 employees provided input, resulting in collaborative spaces, sit/stand desks for everyone, an outdoor seating area, a canopied walkway from the parking lot and a fitness center with weight machines and mobile ping pong and foosball tables that can be relocated for exercise classes. Julie DeVader, first vice president of marketing and communications and a member of the building committee, says employee involvement has been instrumental in creating a facility that will enhance not only productivity but also engagement, including work areas

TK Business Magazine

with high tables and stools and lower swivel chairs to accommodate employee preferences. The bank’s extensive recruitment and retention initiatives already in place include committees dedicated to community affairs, diversity and inclusion and other outreach efforts. Each year the Community Affairs Committee partners with a housingrelated nonprofit organization to provide volunteer assistance. The IDEA Council (Inclusion, Diversity, Equality and Awareness) sponsors monthly activities, which have encompassed luncheon speakers with prominent area professionals, free tickets to “Hidden Figures,” a book discussion on “Waking up White” facilitated by President and CEO Mark Yardley and an open forum on the rioting in Charlottesville following removal of Confederate statutes. In addition to a 401(k) plan, tuition reimbursement and a generous time-off policy, the bank has also implemented a student loan reimbursement program. “Student debt can hinder individuals and influence their decision making,” said Amanda Kiefer, first vice president and human resources and inclusion director. “When younger employees come here and we talk to them about retirement, that benefit is so far away for them. What’s of immediate interest to them is that if they come to us with a student loan, we’ll help them pay it off. We’ve found this to be a very important benefit in responding to the needs of our younger employees.”

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Premier Employment Solutions and Key Staffing offers an infants-at-work benefit, complete with an assigned peer that helps while a parent is at a meeting or when a phone call might be interrupted by a fussy child. Photo Submitted

PREMIER EMPLOYMENT SOLUTIONS AND KEY STAFFING Dropping off an infant with a childcare provider at the conclusion of a maternity/paternity leave can be stressful. However, employees at Premier Employment Solutions and Key Staffing can postpone that eventuality while enjoying prolonged bonding time with their baby and saving on child care expenses. Jamie Stafford, risk manager, says the infants-at-work benefit for babies up to four months old not only provides peace of mind for new parents but also enhances productivity for an employer. “It’s awesome to have that extra time with your baby while you’re at work. Plus, your mind’s clear when you’re here. You’re not wondering about what’s going on at day care or worried about a call to say your baby is sick,” said Stafford, who used the benefit for her two children, now ages 4 and 3.

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With some infant provider waiting lists topping a year or more, the extended time a parent can bring a baby to work can shorten the gap. “Our large cubicles can easily accommodate a Pack ‘n Play and a bouncy chair, and each new parent has an assigned peer to assist if the baby becomes fussy during a phone call or has to be cared for while the parent is in a meeting,” Stafford said. With a staff that averages 20 employees, about 15 individuals have taken advantage of the program since its introduction in 1989. A private room is available for mothers to use to tend to their infants too. “Clients love it,” Stafford said. “Any guests who are here and see a baby are interested in learning that we offer the benefit to give parents more time to bond with their child. We are a small family-owned business and an infant-at-work program is one of the ways we can treat our team as part of the family.”

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Photo by BRADEN DIMICK

"Our child care center is just one key example [of great benefit options]. If parents are happy and confident about their child’s care and appreciate the accessibility, then we can help them be more productive at work.” —Anne Trebino Senior Vice President of Human Resources Security Benefit

SECURITY BENEFIT Twenty-five years ago, Security Benefit became the first for-profit company in Topeka to open a subsidized on-site child care center, and the investment continues to be a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining employees. “All of the great benefit options we offer provide value to both the firm and our associates. Our child care center is just one key example. If parents are happy and confident about their child’s care and appreciate the accessibility, then we can help them be more productive at work,” said Anne Trebino, senior vice president of human resources. Another employee benefit is a more relaxed dress code. Employees can wear jeans daily while maintaining an appropriate business casual look. Security Benefit is also committed to health and wellness, providing a free gym membership to all employees and a subsidized café with healthy selections. Improving employee health and reducing stress are goals that complement the company’s interests as a self-insured entity. “We strive to provide benefits that enhance the well-being of employees while also helping our bottom line,” Trebino said. Boosting the bottom line pays off in other ways for employees through a 5 percent supplemental match on 401(k) contributions and a discretionary profit sharing allocation for eligible employees each year based on company performance. “Our corporate mission is to help people across the country move to and through retirement,” Trebino said. “Our management team has always felt strongly about offering competitive funding levels for retirement programs for our employees.” Employees also serve on various committees that facilitate community volunteerism and diversity initiatives. A Charitable Trust

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established in 1976 targets contributions to organizations locally and nationally with input from an employee committee. A matching gifts program enables employees to increase the impact of donations made to educational entities and another innovative program, Dollars for Hours, provides employees the opportunity to make a monetary contribution to a specific nonprofit organization in recognition of volunteer hours served. Security Benefit invests heavily in the Topeka community and supports a variety of efforts to improve economic vitality and quality of life, particularly with regard to business attraction and young professionals. “Topeka has always been a wonderful place to raise a family,” Trebino said. “Now we’re focusing on encouraging people in their 20s to stay or come here, while also working toward welcoming more companies to the community.” TK


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RECOGNIZING YOUNG LEADERS The Jayhawk Area Council Boy Scouts of America awards the "Top 20 Professionals Under 40" to recognize young professionals who are impacting the future of Topeka in a positive way. In order to be considered for this honor, a person must first be nominated. Nominees then complete an application, which is reviewed and vetted by a selection committee made up of community leaders and then scored based on: —— personal and professional goals —— leadership —— professional experience —— community involvement This year's honorees serve, lead, give and inspire. The following pages provide a glimpse into the lives of these young leaders.

Compiled by LISA LOEWEN and SARAH JEPSON Photos by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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MARSHALL MEEK

President Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation Marshall is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the private, philanthropic fundraising and alumni relations program supporting Washburn University. In addition to his numerous professional and community affiliations, Marshall and his wife are licensed foster parents, providing love and care to local children in need. They are currently in the final stages of adopting a 5-year-old boy from Haiti—all while raising their three biological children. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? As Northeast Kansas natives, Amy and I chose Topeka because it’s a large enough city to provide ample career opportunities, but small enough to make genuine connections in the community. Topeka has been a great place to make friends and raise our family. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? My wife and I are passionate about taking care of some of our community’s most vulnerable members. As licensed foster parents we have opened our home and shared our family with children in need from our community. Our current foster child has been with our family for more than a year. We view it as a way to serve God, our community, and to teach our biological children about giving back. AGE 38 EDUCATION Kansas State University Washburn University, MBA Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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SEAN FROST

Development Director Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation As the Development Director for the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation, Sean raises money to enhance the educational opportunities for students at Washburn. He connects people, resources, and ideas by building relationships to create a bright future for not only Washburn University but for the Topeka community as a whole. As the chairman, Sean has overseen the rebranding of Forge Young Professionals and currently serves on the Momentum 2022 Committee. In addition to serving on several other local boards, Sean co-founded NOTO Anonymous and managed the Young Leaders Society that distributed more than 10,000 books to local kindergarten students and developed the Born Learning Trail Park at Pine Ridge Prep. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? I see the work of Momentum 2022 allowing our community to be a great place to live, work, and play. In 10 years I hope that our residents brag about how they lived here before all these new people started coming to our community. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? I chose Topeka because you can really make an impact on the things you care about in our community.

AGE 29 EDUCATION Auburn University Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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BEN BROXTERMAN Supervisor, Child Life Services Stormont Vail Health

As a Certified Child Life Specialist at Stormont Vail Health, Ben helps kids and their families cope with the various experiences and emotions that come with illness and treatments. Ben also serves on advisory councils for the Midland Care Center for Hope & Healing–Grief Center and St. Matthew Catholic School, and is a core committee member and events coordinator for the Safe Kids Shawnee County Coalition. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? I see my role as a cheerleader and champion for our community. Changing people's attitudes takes time and commitment, but there are opportunities every day to highlight the great things happening here. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? I see us building a community that our kids will be proud of and want to stay in as they grow.

AGE 33 EDUCATION Wichita State University Southwestern College, MBA Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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LISA BROWN

Associate Attorney Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer Lisa works as a litigator on healthcare compliance and transactions, representing rural hospitals throughout the state of Kansas. She is the president of the Topeka Bar Association's Young Lawyer’s Division and the chair of the Law Day Committee. Lisa received the 2016 Kansas Association of Defense Council's Horizon Award and is a past Eileen Blaine Rudolph Scholar. She is actively involved in the community, working with developmentally challenged young adults and volunteering with numerous organizations. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? Topeka is full of folks who are committed to a singular vision of improving the community. I feel like in Topeka, I have found my place, and I can make a difference and leave my mark on the community. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? Over the eight years I have lived in Topeka, I have already seen marked changes, and I hope Topeka continues in those same directions. In the next 10 years, I hope downtown Topeka becomes a destination for Topekans and Northeast Kansans.

AGE 29 EDUCATION Wichita State University Washburn University School of Law Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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RYAN FICKEL

Chief Technology Officer Advisors Excel/AE Management Services As a member of the senior management team, Ryan identifies opportunities and risks for delivering AE’s services and client-facing services. He also strives to assure successful execution of the business mission through software development and technology initiatives. Ryan served four years as a United States Marine, much of which was spent conducting humanitarian aid missions in Sumatra, Sri-Lanka and throughout the Middle East. He also serves on the boards of the NOTO Arts District and Forge. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? I think we’ll see Topeka become a hub along a major corridor from Manhattan to Kansas City. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in a number of local boards and GO Topeka initiatives that will hopefully change the way people see Topeka. There has been so much research, strategy discussion and planning on how to make Topeka a better place to live and work, but now is the time for execution.

AGE 35 EDUCATION Baker University, BA/MBA Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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365.com Wing Fling 2017 @ Kansas Expo Dec 16 Forge New Year’s Eve Party Dec 31 Ramada Downtown New Year’s Eve Party Dec 31 First Friday ArtWalk Jan 5 Laugh Lines @ TCT Jan 5 & 6 Topeka Farm Show @ Kansas Expo Jan 9-11 Too Many Cooks @ TCT Jan 19-Feb 10 Cirque Du Soleil - Crystal @ Kansas Expo Jan 24-28 First Friday ArtWalk Feb 2 Laugh Lines @ TCT Feb 16 & 17 Restaurant Week Feb 19-26 Harlem Globetrotters Feb 27 First Friday ArtWalk March 2 Mamma Mia! @ TCT March 2-31 St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Irish Fest March 17 First Friday ArtWalk April 6 Laugh Lines @ TCT April 6 & 7 Tulip Time Festival @ Lake Shawnee April 8 King Lear @ TCT April 20-May 5 Ballet Midwest: Romeo & Juliet @ TPAC April 21-22 Combat Air Museum Pancake Feed April 28

FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN

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JILLIAN FISHER

Senior Director of Community Impact United Way of Greater Topeka Jillian is responsible for providing leadership and direction to ensure the achievement of the United Way’s education and health impact goals. In addition to multiple volunteer roles throughout the community, Jillian is the Shawnee County lead for the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and oversees the Neighborhood Opportunity for Wellness Initiative (NOW). Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? It's my hometown and my family is the most important thing in my life. I chose to build my life and career here because I take pride in our rich history and I want to be a part of the larger plan to build a brighter future for my young nieces and nephews and my future children. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? Topeka has a rich history and is full of hardworking, creative and diverse people who value community. I truly believe no matter what obstacles lie ahead socially, politically, or economically, Topeka will still be a place I'm proud to call my home.

AGE 28 EDUCATION Washburn University Clinton School of Public Service, MPS Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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MICHAEL KAGAY

District Attorney Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office Michael, the youngest District Attorney in Shawnee County’s history, directs all operations within the DA’s Office. This includes the prosecution of all homicide, sex offenses and other felonies occurring within the city of Topeka and Shawnee County. In addition to his professional service, Michael serves on the Boys and Girls Club of Topeka and coaches basketball, football and soccer with Upward Sports. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? There is something special happening right now in this community. Talented leaders are stepping up and working together to make this city safer, more cohesive and more exciting. This is the capital city, and it is a city of limitless potential and opportunity. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to start your career? This city has given me the opportunity to pursue my education, marry the woman I love, and raise a family. I am extremely grateful to now have the opportunity to serve this community as the District Attorney. In that role, I am responsible for law enforcement throughout Shawnee County. As such, my primary responsibility is to ensure public safety through victim advocacy, offender accountability, and law enforcement partnerships. My secondary responsibility is to keep the community informed and educated regarding the work that my office does on their behalf. AGE 34 EDUCATION Washburn University Washburn University School of Law Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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MISSTY LECHNER

Advocacy Project Director American Heart Association Missty works with communities throughout the state of Kansas to mobilize residents and leaders to advocate for public policies that increase access to healthier foods and beverages for all people. Missty chairs the Leadership Council for Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods and is the former chair of the United Way's Eat. Move.Live. Obesity Impact Council. She was the recipient Governor's Council on Fitness Kansas Health Champion Award, the Health Strategies Revenue Generation Award, and the Health Strategies Award of Excellence. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? As a healthy food “expert� I cannot do all the work to promote wellness myself, but instead I bring together the right people, organizations and resources so all residents get the tools to drive the changes they want to build a healthier community. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? My hope is that in 10 years, residents and visitors of Topeka will be healthier and happier. They will have the ability to walk or bike for transportation safely on roadways and sidewalks. Healthy, local foods will be served and sold in grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants, as well as in public venues like parks, community buildings and other public spaces. AGE 33 EDUCATION Washburn University Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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JARED RUDY

Security Systems Analyst Westar Energy President & CEO Norsemen Brewing Company In addition to Jared Rudy’s role as a security systems analyst ensuring security and accessibility for IT systems at Westar Energy, he is also President and CEO of Norsemen Brewing Company. Since the formation of Norsemen, Jared has stayed true to his desire to help the community by supporting nonprofits through direct sponsorships or by hosting events at the brewery. He is a Meals on Wheels volunteer, a member of Forge Young Professionals and recently elected to the United Way of Greater Topeka board of directors. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? My role is to continue using opportunities I have with my career at Westar and my business, Norsemen Brewing Company, to support the community. One big area that will help Topeka long term is getting involved with young people, and as they grow, help show them all that Topeka has to offer and entice them to stay in Topeka. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? With the revitalization of downtown, the addition of an arts district, and the many groups working together such as Forge, GO Topeka and Visit Topeka to bring cool events, I see growth. In 10 years, I see Topeka being a place that people truly love to live, work and play. We will be able to see that with growth in our population. AGE 39 EDUCATION Washburn University Topeka Technical College Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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TOP 20 UNDER 40 CLASS OF 2017

Moving our community forward. Congratulations to Jared Rudy on being a Top 20 Under 40 honoree! Westar Energy is made up of people like Jared who care about our community and work to move it forward. By forming partnerships and working in the community, Jared and all of the nominees are ensuring a bright future for Kansas. Jared Rudy Middleware Admin IT Production Support Westar Energy

We are proud of Jared’s recognition as a leader in the community. He sets a great example for us all, and provides positive energy for our community. Congratulations to all of this year’s 20 Under 40 honorees!

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ELIZABETH GERHARDT

Emergency Department Charge Nurse Stormont Vail Health As charge nurse in the emergency department at Stormont Vail Health, Elizabeth is responsible for real-time supervision of staff members including nurses, phlebotomists, radiology technicians, and patient care technicians to ensure the most appropriate care in the quickest and safest manner possible for all patients. She serves in multiple leadership roles throughout the industry, including Kansas Emergency Nurses Association President and State Delegate. In Elizabeth’s spare time she has dedicated hundreds of hours volunteering not only with her Girl Scout troop, but also for Girl Scout Service Unit 701, serving all of Topeka and Shawnee County. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? I serve as a mentor to young professionals in health care, and I am also active in Girl Scouts. Building future leaders is the most rewarding aspect of my community commitments. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? I am excited to see growth in the NOTO Arts District. I have grown quite fond of this area over the past year, and I’m looking forward to see what else is in store for NOTO over the next 10 years. AGE 34 EDUCATION Fort Hays State University Pratt Community College, RN Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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AARON SCOTT

Vice President, Project Manager Certus Structural Engineers Aaron is responsible for facilitating the engineering and construction document production process of the company's projects from start to finish. In addition, he has taken on the role of the company’s CAD technologies manager and works to keep them up to date and competitive in an ever-evolving industry. Through his role in the construction industry, Aaron has played a significant role in the community’s commitment to the revitalization of downtown. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? Beyond striving to make a difference in Topeka through the opportunities afforded through my professional career, I am proud to serve the community and its youth through extensive involvement in the Topeka Active 20-30 Club and my other civic volunteerism activities. The children of this community are the future of Topeka and at the end of the day, I can take a bit of comfort knowing that my philanthropic efforts are helping to provide opportunities to kids that may not have been afforded to them otherwise. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? Not being a Topeka native, it is my perception that this city has struggled to establish its identity and mark its place on the map in the past. But this is well on its way to change. The community is committed to reinvesting in itself, both in its physical landscape and embracing all the features that define what makes us great and sets us apart from other places. AGE 36 EDUCATION Kansas State University, BS/MS in Architectural Engineering Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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AMANDA VOGELSBERG

Partner Henson, Hutton, Mudrick, Gragson & Vogelsberg, LLP As an attorney Amanda helps her clients by providing legal advice and guidance. She also provides continuing legal education for the Kansas Bar Association. Amanda is an active member and board member of several professional organizations, but also serves on multiple committees for ARTSConnect. She has committed most of her spare time since 2013 to Junior League’s Diaper Depot program. Under her leadership, the Junior League provided diapers to thousands of families in Shawnee County. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? As I see it, I am a part owner of this City and I am proud to live and work here. I think that every action counts and so I volunteer locally. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? By 2027, Topeka businesses, particularly in the areas of finance, insurance and manufacturing, will have increased in size, providing more job opportunities for our residents. Topeka’s downtown and riverfront will be thriving, the city will have an expanded biking trail system, and residents will enjoy increased access to the Kansas River. Topeka will be THE place everyone else will wish they had invested in 10 years earlier. AGE 36 EDUCATION University of Central Missouri University of Kansas School of Law Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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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.

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ROBERT SIMMONS

Lieutenant Narcotics/Organized Crime and Gang Units Topeka Police Department Besides being named the Topeka Police Department's youngest sergeant at the age of 26 and the department’s youngest lieutenant at the age of 31, Robert has taken on multiple other roles throughout his career with TPD that have displayed his passion for teaching. He is an adjunct criminal justice professor at Washburn University and was appointed to the Shawnee County Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board by the mayor. Robbie is a founding member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Kansas' Red Shoe Crew and helped create the TPD Junior Pathfinders Academy. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? You just never know how much progress a city can make in 10 years. The optimist in me thinks Topeka will continue to make significant improvements. There is a lot of motivation and energy behind these improvements, so I hope to see Topeka continue to grow and become an even more exciting place to be. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? Topeka has always been home. I think what kept me here was a pretty overwhelming feeling and need to stay here with my family and friends and look for ways to make positive change in Topeka. AGE 32 EDUCATION Washburn University, BS in Criminal Justice Wichita State University, Masters in Criminal Justice Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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SARAH SHARP

Principal State Street Elementary School Lead Elementary Principal USD 501 Sarah is responsible for the overall function of State Street Elementary. She ensures that all students demonstrate continuous academic, behavioral and social-emotional growth. Sarah also supervises and mentors building principals and provides professional development to all district administrators as Lead Elementary Principal for USD 501. Sarah has successfully partnered with community organizations to provide enrichment opportunities for her students as well as additional support for their families. She also serves as a role model for her students by showing them how to be involved in their community. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? I love being an advocate for our students and working each day to ensure they receive the best education possible. I grew up in Topeka and feel fortunate to be able to give back to our community. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? It is my hope that Topeka receives national recognition for excellence in education and our successful collaboration with community agencies to support children and families. I look forward to continued increases in student achievement and watching former students become leaders in our community. AGE 39 EDUCATION Kansas State University Kansas State University, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction Washburn University, Masters in Building Leadership Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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ZACH AHRENS

President & Publisher The Topeka Capital-Journal In the two years that Zach has lived in Topeka, he has already impacted our community in more ways than most people will in a lifetime. Not only does Zach oversee the Topeka Capital-Journal, he also serves on numerous local boards and committees, including GO Topeka and Momentum 2022, and volunteers with the Jayhawk Area Council of Boy Scouts and Junior Achievement. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? As president and publisher of The Topeka Capital-Journal, I am its face not only in the city but also across the region. I believe I have the moral obligation to bring about good and make a profound difference within Topeka and Shawnee County and to maintain trust. I have the duty to build up others. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? I had the opportunity to relocate to my top site location within Morris Communications to lead the award-winning Topeka Capital-Journal. We have been blessed to find wonderful people here who have welcomed our family and given me tremendous opportunities for career growth and community service. Topeka is a great place for a young professional to get involved, grow a business and raise a family.

AGE 37 EDUCATION York College Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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SARA WILHELM Physician Assistant Cotton-O’Neil Pediatrics Stormont Vail Health

Sara has been a physician assistant at Cotton-O’Neil Pediatrics for the past 13 years, providing medical services to children ages 0-21. Actively involved in the industry, she serves as a voice for her peers and helps develop policies through Stormont Vail's Advanced Practice Practitioner Advisory Board. Her love of community prompted her to start Party with a Purpose as a way to raise money for families in need. That annual event has grown to more than 100 people, raising $7,000 to spend on adopted families. What do you see as your role to make Topeka a better place to live and work? For almost 14 years I've been taking care of Topeka kids as a physician assistant at Cotton-O'Neil Pediatrics. I love educating families about healthy habits and helping them navigate the growing years, which can prove to be pretty tough in so many ways. I love helping to improve the health of our community. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? In 10 years I see Topeka continuing to be a thriving community of people working to make it a great place to live and raise a family. It's important for Topeka to aim to be the place people want to spend their time on the weekends. I'm hopeful that Topeka will be the place that my children would want to start their careers as well. AGE 39 EDUCATION Baker University, BSN Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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KEVIN CHRISTIANSEN Executive Director/Founder Barnabas Movement, Inc.

In 2012, a series of teen suicides inspired Kevin to create Café Barnabas, a place he hoped young people could feel comfortable connecting with caring adult mentors. Café Barnabas, located in West Ridge Mall, employs youth volunteers and allows students to develop employable skillsets, provide community service hours, and build a resume. The tea shop has directly impacted the lives of 250 students since inception and indirectly made over 3,000 student connections in 2017 alone. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? My firm belief in three things allows me to enhance the community of Topeka. First, students possess the potential to vastly improve their community when challenged to do so, mentored to develop required skills, and empowered to secure the resources necessary to accomplish their vision of a better tomorrow. My role is to constantly improve the platform from which this leadership journey begins. Second, Topeka is blessed with many incredible community leaders and youth pastors. Collaborative efforts are always more effective and efficient. I diligently promote and connect community influencers with the goal of increasing Topeka’s mentorship capacity.

AGE 34 EDUCATION Moody Bible Institute, BA Specialty Tea Institute, Professional Certification Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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Third, I’ve been blessed to launch and use a business as a ministry tool. One of my personal distinguishing characteristics is I strive to serve with excellence. We have gained national recognition as a top teashop resulting from our constant desire for improvement and innovation. My role is to educate, develop, and promote the enjoyment of sensory captivating tea.


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TAble Sponsors

Shekhar Challa, MD Balaji Datti, MD Laura Welborn, APRN Traci Hoffman, APRN Susan Lueger, APRN Jayda Rupp, APRN

Advisors Excel, Clayton Financial Services, HOPE Communications, Frieden, Unrein, Forbes LLC, Key Staffing/Premier Employment Solutions, Henson, Hutton, Mudrick, Gragson & Vogelsberg, LLP., Dr. Kent Palmberg, Topeka Police Department, Vaerus Aviation, Visit Topeka, Washburn Law Office/The Washburn Mediation Company, Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation. Program Supporters:

Robert & Jan Maxwell

Nominee Reception Sponsor : Midwest Health, Inc. SPARK! SponsorS: The Brownstone, Pacha’s Catering & Events,

2200 SW 6th Ave., Topeka KMCPA.com

Café Barnabas, Norsemen Brewing Co., Hy-Vee

Www.jayhawkcouncil.org This event supports the Jayhawk Area Council, BSA and the development of youth through leadership and character building programs for boys and girls.

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JANICE WATKINS

Executive Director Topeka Habitat for Humanity, Inc. Janice works with families from preselection to the ribbon cutting and dedication of their forever home. She is responsible for overseeing four additional housing rehabilitation programs (including the Senior Rehabilitation Program and the Hi-Crest Housing Rehabilitation Program), as well as the daily operations for the organization as a whole. She is a member of several local organizations and volunteers for Silverbackks. Why did you choose Topeka as the place to build your career? I like to joke that I literally grew up "nonprofit." My grandmother was the first acting director of Let's Help, and from an early age she instilled in me that the people in any community are its greatest asset. I truly believe that the people of Topeka are some of the most amazingly resilient and caring people, and my career allows me to work side-by-side with people that inspire me each and every day. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? Housing is such a critical issue nationwide and in our own community. Through our partnership housing program and housing rehabilitation projects, we are creating safer and affordable housing opportunities for individuals that are changing the trajectory of their futures.

AGE 34 EDUCATION Washburn University Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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TRAVIS McKINLEY

President/Co-Owner Capital Insulation TRAK Roofing & Construction Travis co-owns two businesses: Capital Insulation Inc. and TRAK Roofing & Construction. Travis’ companies work with Mirror Topeka, which is a re-entry program for those who have been incarcerated. They give these men and women a second chance by teaching them a viable trade and helping them become productive members of the Topeka community. Travis volunteers his time with multiple organizations from the Topeka Rescue Missions' Children's Palace, where he brought 20 of his employees to finish the project when the timeline wasn't going to be met, to serving as an organizer and athlete with the Topeka Scottish Highland Games. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? Nothing that I have done as an individual has equated to success on its own. I have a strong work ethic, and I try to lead by example, but without countless others, I wouldn't be where I am today. I try to follow three basic rules that have really summed up my approach to all areas of life. I don't ask anyone to do something that I am unwilling to do myself. I don't talk down to anyone. I don't let anyone else talk down to me. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? I hope Topeka can become an example to the rest of the country on how to respect each other. AGE 35 EDUCATION Seaman High School Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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SUSANA PROCHASKA

President Kansas School Counselor Association School Counselor Washburn Rural High School Susana serves as the President of the Kansas School Counselor Association with an executive board of approximately 20 school counselors across the state. Susana is a graduate of the Latino Leadership Collaborative of Kansas and member of the Kansas Counseling Association board. She has worked on community revitalization projects, volunteered at Harvesters with her three sons, and volunteers to work with youth through the Topeka Forge Leadership Pillar. Where do you see Topeka in 10 years? I am excited about the positive energy and creative solutions being cultivated by collaborative groups of visionary Topekans. I am amazed by our local businesses who set a high standard for generosity through their sponsorships of community events and projects. Over the next 10 years, engagement and advocacy will determine how we focus our resources and energy. What do you see as your role in making Topeka a better place to live and work? Along with developing a vibrant economy, I believe it is also important to consider the social needs and conditions of our neighborhoods. Specifically, I'm drawn to projects that promote education, career readiness, community mental health, and holistic development of the young people who will become our future leaders.

AGE 35 EDUCATION Kansas State University, BS in Secondary Education Emporia State University, Masters in Counseling Kansas State University, PhD candidate Photo by NATHAN HAM PHOTOGRAPHY

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Renovation & Expansion is Underway at

TO

.

P E K A C.C

The Topeka Country Club

EST. 1905

membership - golf - tennis - swim - dining Overall Site Plan

T

he Topeka Country Club is in the midst of a multi-million dollar expansion and renovation project. Improvements are touching every aspect of club life, including a new health and wellness center, a new resort-style pool, dining facility expansions and golf shop renovation. Throughout its 100-plus year history, The Topeka Country Club has always been a warm and welcoming gathering place for members to call home. New amenities and décor will further enhance the club experience and make The Topeka Country Club an even better spot for families to gather and create lasting memories. Plus, with an active social calendar filled with themed dinners, wine tastings, holiday celebrations, family movie nights and more, there’s always something going on at The Topeka Country Club. Working with an award-winning team of architects and interior designers, the new clubhouse and accompanying amenities will provide members with the perfect retreat from the rigors of everyday life.

w w w. top eka cc. org

Members and their guests will enjoy the following newly renovated and expanded amenities:

• • • • • •

Resort-Style Pool Health & Wellness Center Youth Room Grille Room Lounge & Board Room Golf Shop

Now Offerin

g

Dining Multiple membership options are available Membe to fit your busy lifestyle! rships Contact Gina Patterson at (785) 354-8561 or gpatterson@topekacc.org WINTER 2017 TK Business Magazine 55 for more information.


Photo by RACHEL LOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

JOSH GORRELL A DRIVER OF INNOVATION

By ADAM VLACH

Photos by RACHEL LOCK

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If you buy a warranty on a car, it covers every part of the car—right? You don’t have to get a warranty for the steering wheel, a warranty for the speedometer, a warranty for the suspension. That would be ridiculous. And a warranty on a TV covers the entire product. There aren’t separate warranties for

the screen, the power cord and the internal wiring. Again, that would be ridiculous. So why, then, when you have an electronic system installed—one that might include a television, surround-sound speakers, and a home security system—do you have to purchase a separate warranty for each individual component?


T

HIS IS A QUESTION Josh Gorrell wondered many times before coming to his conclusion: You shouldn’t have to. An electronics system is one comprehensive product and should have one comprehensive warranty. Paying for an entirely separate warranty for each component of the system would be, to say the least, ridiculous. Gorrell’s solution to what he saw as an inefficient and painfully expensive way of doing things—the way warranties for electronic systems have always been bought and sold—is taking the nation by storm. With his second company, Techsafe, whose beta launched in May of 2017 and quickly expanded to 16 states, reaching consumers from the tech frontier of

California to the sun-bleached shores of Florida, Gorrell is looking forward to a future that’s becoming bigger and bolder by the minute. FORWARD THINKER But before he was the president and owner of two thriving businesses and a driver of innovation, Gorrell was channeling his forward-thinking into what he describes as “a side gig”—a small business he started more than 15 years ago to nurture his entrepreneurial spirit, right at home in Topeka, Kansas. As a high school student, Gorrell earned his gas and fast-food money by working at a car-audio shop. In his own words, “That was the coolest thing to do back then.” “I did that through high school and in the beginning of college. I figured when I got done with college,

I’d get a different job,” Gorrell recalled. “Well, this was before Best Buy was in the area, and there was a local homestereo store that had just gone out of business. Some people were looking for home-audio equipment, but my boss at the time wanted nothing to do with that, so he allowed me to order homeaudio electronics from our current vendors and start selling them on the weekends.” FIRST START UP BUSINESS After a couple years of selling these electronics products, Gorrell found himself busier with his “side job” than with his actual job. Seeing the opportunity, he quit his job at the caraudio shop, and in February 2002, Kansas Audio Video was born.

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INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

“I just kept going—cold-calling and door-knocking, shaking hands with everyone I met—and before I knew it, I was so busy with that, I had to hire somebody to help me. And then another guy, and then another guy,” Gorrell said.

Photo by RACHEL LOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

FIRST ACQUISITION As the go-to audio and video retailer in the Topeka area, Kansas Audio Video enjoyed strong, steady growth over the following decade until, in 2012, it made its first of now three acquisitions.

“Home automation is huge right now. You can control your entire home or business system with an app—audio/ video, security, heating and air, video cameras—pretty much anything electronic, we can tie into the platform.” —Josh Gorrell, President and Owner Electronic Life and Techsafe

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“Over the past five years, we’ve acquired three competitors and opened an office in Kansas City,” Gorrell said. “We ended up with six different brand names, which was confusing to customers, especially since we had a Kansas Audio Video office in Missouri.” In 2014, Gorrell did away with the confusion and rebranded his company under one, encapsulating name: Electronic Life. “It’s simple. Something I can take anywhere,” he said. Today, Electronic Life—which caters to both home and business needs—is an electronics integrator and dealer with a selection that includes audio

TK Business Magazine

and video products such as speakers and TVs, security systems and home theater components, as well as services such as lighting design, installation and automation systems. WHAT'S COOL AND NEW “The new and cool thing is automation systems,” Gorrell said. “Home automation is huge right now. You can control your entire home or business system with an app—audio/ video, security, heating and air, video cameras—pretty much anything electronic, we can tie into the platform.” In addition to the wide array of products and services, Gorrell’s company took customer service to the next level by guaranteeing the lowest price on a complete electronic system. Gorrell said customers will often go on the Internet and buy each component of an electronic system separately because one or two of the line items, individually, might initially seem cheaper than what he offers. “Usually, if a customer thinks someone else is cheaper, it’s because someone left something out,” Gorrell said. “But at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, with the materials and the installation, we guarantee the best final price.” Electronic Life currently boasts a staff of 16 members. Gorrell said that when he acquired the companies that now make up Electronic Life, he looked for businesses that not only provided similar services or products, but that also had valuable team members he could bring on board. ENTREPRENEURIAL THIRST While Gorrell appreciates the success of Electronic Life, it hasn’t quenched his thirst for entrepreneurial achievement. With the proliferation of total home/ office electronic systems, Gorrell identified a problem: the warranties

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INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

on those electronics, or rather how the warranties have historically been issued and handled. As an electronic system integrator and the dealer of electronics devices, Gorrell naturally receives plenty of calls from customers requesting help when one of these systems or devices breaks down. “I hate having to tell them, ‘No, you’ll have to call your extended warranty company.’ So, within the past couple of years, I decided it would be easier if the customer could cover any number of items in a system with one warranty,” Gorrell said. And why not, Gorrell thought, offer that warranty myself? In answer to that question, in May of 2017, Gorrell launched the beta of Techsafe, a comprehensive-warranty provider for electronics systems integrators and electronics dealers. Within five months of its launch, the two-person company now serves businesses that offer complete home/ office electronic systems in 16 states across the U.S. THE BUSINESS MODEL “We provide a billing system that allows integrator companies to add their own VIP-level support as part of the warranty plan,” Gorrell said. Typically, a local electronics dealer—whether it be the stores that offer the warranty through Techsafe, or the manufacturer of a device, such as Samsung—provides the actual repair or replacement services, and Techsafe covers the costs. The business model is somewhat similar to purchasing roadside assistance through a large auto-insurance

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Photo by RACHEL LOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

Josh Gorrell embraces innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit in the field of technology, where he started out working to just make spending money for gas and fast-food.

provider, except that it is for electronics. To Gorrell’s knowledge, no one has done anything like it before. If any element of a customer’s electronics system breaks down, whether it be a TV, stereo, security system, home automation control…you name it, the all-in-one warranty covers the cost to repair or replace it. Techsafe allows a customer to purchase a warranty on a month-tomonth basis. The option for a yearslong warranty is available, but most customers prefer to avoid the expensive, long-term commitment and to insure their electronics with month-to-month coverage. While Techsafe is focusing at this time on further developing its relationships with its current clients, when the beta ends in January, Gorrell said he plans to increase the staff size to four and then to roll out a significant sales initiative. SUCCESS FROM FAILURES Right now, Gorrell is enjoying the freedom and creativity—and the learning that goes hand-in-hand with

TK Business Magazine

the challenges—that come with being an entrepreneur. “Early on, I failed a lot. I made a lot of mistakes that cost a lot of money,” Gorrell said. “And it was always a struggle to get financing, in the beginning, and to get advice. I didn’t have some of the mentors that some other business people do. “You start a business because you’re good at something, or because you like something, but you don’t realize that’s only half of it. There’s the still the back end of it—working with the people, with HR, with payroll, the administration side of it.” For the past 15 years, Gorrell has continued to grow his companies. Each of them provides him with a unique sense of fulfillment: a satisfaction from working with technology, from Electronic Life; and a satisfaction from the opportunity to embrace innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, stemming from Techsafe. With Electronic Life now positioning to make another acquisition, and with Techsafe prepping for a major sales campaign in January, Josh Gorrell is looking to the future. TK


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LANDLORD ADVICE

Grace Brown Mitchell Photo Submitted

BALANCED PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

BECOMING A LANDLORD requires forethought.

Would you launch a company without a business plan? The answer is probably no.

A

LL TOO OFTEN investment and rental properties are purchased with no plan in place. While the income from real estate is considered passive, there is nothing passive about being a landlord. Success in investment real estate requires planning, discipline and persistence.

Grace Brown Mitchell is president of Balanced Property Management, a full service residential, commercial and investment property management company serving northeast Kansas.

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS Just like starting a business without a plan, investing in real estate without a plan can be a recipe for failure. Ask Yourself these 5 Simple Questions —— How will I acquire financing to purchase the property? —— How long can I afford to have the property sit vacant? —— How long do I plan to keep the property? —— Who are my tenants going to call for maintenance needs? —— Do I have enough money set aside in savings for large repairs? Proper planning helps prevent the landlord from stretching into his or her own wallet to pay for monthly expenses associated with their rental property. Or, worse yet, not being able to afford to make repairs when needed. All too often I hear landlords speak begrudgingly about their investment property because they get maintenance calls from tenants that interrupt family dinners, weekend vacations and other personal time. With some planning beforehand, addressing these crucial details can be the difference between investing in a profit generating asset or taking on a lifeburdening, money-pit.

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE To many investors and entrepreneurs, rental real estate is considered an excellent wealth builder. The monthly income generated added with the appreciation of the property itself makes for an excellent combination. Additionally, many find this method of investing beneficial because it allows the investor to generate side income while continuing to work on other projects or continue full-time employment. This strategy allows many individuals to create wealth faster than would be possible through full-time employment alone. However, many believe the myth that investing in rental real estate is a quick way to get rich, while reality looks quite different. Investing in real estate is a long-term game and one that each individual investor should evaluate prior to signing the purchase agreement. Each investor has their own goals for their money along with expectations on its rate of return. Success in investment real estate ultimately requires discipline to remain dedicated to the long-term vision and persistence to keep going even when things seem bleak. While all of this may seem daunting, there are plenty of resources available for those interested in becoming a landlord. Start by forming a network to assist in the journey. Consider hiring a reliable property management firm that can offer client guidance by developing a personal, customized plan that encompasses maintenance to marketing.

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The business of franchising in the United States has been around since the 1800s when a druggist named John S. Pemberton concocted a drink made of molasses, sugar, spices and cocaine (this ingredient is no longer used). Pemberton licensed select people to bottle and sell his drink that we know today as Coca-Cola.

F

RANCHISING IS AN ARRANGEMENT where one party (the franchisor) gives another party (the franchisee) the right to use its trademark or brand name and provides a business model and expertise. The franchisee typically pays a one-time franchise fee plus a percentage of sales revenue as royalty. Franchising should be a win-win for both parties. The franchisor grows rapidly for minimum or no capital outlay, and the franchisee in return gains immediate name recognition, a successful business plan, and the ongoing support of the franchisor.

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Photo Submitted

The Dobski family owns 8 of the 9 McDonald's franchise locations in Topeka and is upgrading them to the new modern style on the right.

BECOMING A FRANCHISEE Dobski & Associates McDonald’s represents the epitome of franchising success. With 36,899 restaurants in 120 countries around the world, 31,230 of which are franchised, McDonald's is the world's second largest private employer with 1.5 million working for its franchises compared to Walmart’s 1.9 million employees. Tom and Marilyn Dobski bought into the McDonald’s franchise nearly 36 years ago and own 14 restaurants located throughout Northeast Kansas. The Dobskis owned eight of the nine McDonald’s in Topeka until recently, when their middle son, Kevin, purchased

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one of the locations. Kevin Dobski plans to continue keeping the franchises in the family with his purchase of another location before the end of this year. Being a McDonald’s franchisee truly is a family business for the Dobskis. Tom Dobski and his two brothers each owned a grocery store in the Chicago area called Edmunds Foods, but when the big grocery store chains moved into the area, the brothers sold their stores and each purchased a McDonald’s restaurant in a different state. Tom Dobski’s first McDonald’s was located in Leavenworth, Kansas, and he eventually purchased additional McDonald’s franchises in Lawrence and then Topeka.


McDonald’s of Topeka

Photo Submitted

NEW Buttermilk Crispy Tenders

The process to become a McDonald’s franchisee is highly regulated and can take several years. It took Kevin Dobski four and a half years to complete. As part of the process, McDonald’s corporation requires a candidate to be the General Manager of a McDonald’s for one year to prove they have sufficient business skills, and all applicants must attend Hamburger University located in McDonald’s Corporation headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. “It is a real thing,” Kevin Dobski said. “People think it is just McDonald’s terminology, but we actually have a fully functioning accredited University called Hamburger University where you get your degree in Hamburgerology.” Once qualified, owners are expected to sign a 20-year lease, pay monthly fees and undergo inspections every 18 months. Kevin Dobski said the McDonald’s corporation also expects its franchise owners to invest in their restaurants and keep up with current trends and designs.

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Multiple Franchise Locations

“They want more successful, profitable operators that can afford the reinvestments that are expected,” Kevin Dobski said. “When you have been in business for as long as McDonald’s has, they only want the best of the best. I can understand that. It hurts us as a brand if we aren’t invested like they expect us to be.” Kevin Dobski said his dad always wanted his sons to be in the McDonald’s business and was pleased when he decided to begin the process to be a franchisee. “My dad did not necessarily want to be the most successful; he wanted to be the most well respected. He has set the expectations for us high, so just trying to meet or exceed those has always been a little challenging,” Kevin Dobski said. BECOMING A FRANCHISOR GreatLIFE Rick Farrant owner of GreatLIFE started his business with three separate golf country clubs in Topeka and the surrounding area: Berkshire Country Club, Lake Perry Country Club and Prairie View. In 2006 Farrant made the decision to change the three properties he owned to be branded under one name, GreatLIFE. GreatLIFE added the fitness side of the business in 2006 and grew to include eight golf and fitness facilities. It wasn’t until around 2009 that Farrant determined he needed to look at other options to grow his company and began to look into the concept of franchising. He credits the economy crash during that time period for helping facilitate that business decision. Because of economic conditions, Farrant said, it was extremely difficult for anybody to obtain a business loan for a golf course, so he needed to be a little creative.

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Congratulations, you are expanding into new markets. In addition to having a larger footprint, you are also presumably obtaining various efficiencies and economies of scale based on your growth. Hopefully, it also means more revenue. Before moving into new locales, you should keep in mind the following: 1. Are there any new permits, fees, license or related authorizations that you need to obtain? These permits, etc. can vary by city, even within the same county. Is there proper zoning in place for where you want to locate? 2. Crossing state lines raises a whole host of additional issues. Will you be creating a new entity? Or will the existing entity be used? If the existing entity, it likely needs to be registered as a foreign entity with that state’s secretary of state (or equivalent) to do business there. If creating a new entity, follow that state’s laws (and annual filing requirements). Some states impose franchise taxes that will be triggered by either registering an existing entity or creating a new one. 3. Be sure you are handling sales and income taxes correctly. Each city, county, and special taxing districts charge varying levels of sales tax. It is typically your obligation (as the selling merchant) to collect and remit those properly. In addition, some municipalities charge an earnings tax (like Kansas City, MO). Is this new location subject to any of these sorts of special taxes? 4. Expansion likely means more employees. Does this growth cause you to be subject to additional employment laws that you were not previously subject to? For example, do you now have to offer health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act? You also may be subject to FMLA and WARN if you have grown to more than 50 employees. 5. Do you have any license agreements for software (e.g., point-of-sale software and equipment) that has limits on the number of users or various size restrictions? Will your growth cause possible violations of the current agreements? If so, they should be restructured or new agreements entered into. 6. Lastly, any political issues with opening in the new location? Understand local politics for your franchise before signing a lease or expending significant resources if the politics simply will not allow you to operate business there. In short, hire an expert (or experts) in tax, business, and employment matters before expanding to new markets. Jeremy L. Graber, Attorney Foulston Siefkin LLP

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Photo Submitted

Rick Farrant, owner of GreatLIFE, plans to continue his focus on the franchise model as a way to grow the business. Currently GreatLIFE owns 60 golf and fitness clubs, four of which are franchisees.

By becoming a franchisor, Farrant would be able to grow GreatLIFE without the necessary capital needed to buy golfing facilities outright. Franchisees paid a franchise fee and a percentage of revenues to GreatLIFE in exchange for name recognition and the business expertise of a successful golf and fitness company. GreatLIFE acquired its first franchisee in 2011 in Lebanon, Missouri, but after Farrant’s attorney became terminally ill, the franchise business model stalled for a few years. However, Farrant did not let this setback stall his company’s growth. GreatLIFE now has 60 golf and fitness clubs, four of which are franchisees. Farrant said GreatLIFE will continue to focus on the franchise model going forward

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because it is a much easier way to grow the business. “When we buy a location, we put our heart and soul into it. You grow at a lot slower pace if you are buying and growing them internally than you do if you franchise,” Farrant said. While franchising has helped his own company grow, Farrant said it also gives franchisees a stronger foundation on which to grow their own businesses. “We can go to a business and say, “Here are 20 or 30 mistakes we made, and you don’t have to make those now,”” Farrant said. “We can also use our buying power to pass our discounts on to the franchisee, and almost always, the net benefit of that pays for the franchise fees. We believe that we can help a lot of golf courses that are financially struggling.”

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Offering Franchise Opportunities You must be doing something well because other people want to expand on your ideas. This allows you to grow, without taking all of the financial risk. It also permits your brand to gain access to untapped markets that you are not familiar with or could not navigate on your own. Although franchising can be complicated, there are two key documents/requirements to keep in mind: (1) the franchise agreement between the franchisor and franchisee, and (2) complying with state and federal franchise laws.

FRANCHISE VS. SECURITY Lastly, be certain that you are offering a franchise and not a security. A franchise is a contractual agreement between franchisee and franchisor where both parties have some degree of control over, and involvement in, the underlying business. A security is an investment and is subject to state and federal securities law requirements, such as registration and anti-fraud rules. The line can be gray, and you should obtain the advice of counsel before offering any franchising arrangement.

Photo Submitted

THE AGREEMENT The franchise agreement is the contract you have with your franchisees that outlines the control you retain versus the autonomy the franchisee has and the sharing of revenues, expenses, advertising costs, etc. As a new franchisor, you may be more willing to be flexible with a franchisee that shows significant potential. As you grow, most, if not all, of your franchise agreements will be identical. Individualized franchise agreements are too unwieldy for the Subways and McDonald’s of the world. This may not be true for a newer franchise.

FRANCHISE OFFERING If you are offering a franchise, you must comply with federal law, particularly the disclosure requirements of the Federal Trade Commission’s Franchise Rule. This applies regardless of the state you will be offering the franchise in. Secondly, certain states have additional requirements. For some states, this is filing a simple form, and for other states the process is more complicated. Individualized filing requirements should be understood before considering new markets.

Jeremy L. Graber, Attorney Foulston Siefkin LLP

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Heather Keener, co-owner of CryoX, stands firm that creating their own business model was the right decision to provide what they envisioned.

CHOOSING A DIFFERENT PATH CryoX When Heather Keener and Eric Buckman, co-owners of CryoX, opened in Topeka in October of 2016, they had the opportunity to buy into an existing franchise to start the business. While it might have made the initial setup and marketing easier, Keener said they chose to start the company from scratch and haven’t regretted that decision. CryoX provides cryotherapy, a treatment that uses freezing temperatures to relieve chronic pain and inflammation, as well as other medical benefits. Cryotherapy, which has been used medically for many years in other countries, is relatively new to the United States, so a limited number of franchise choices were available for purchase. Keener said she didn’t see any franchises that looked like a viable option. “I had an idea already in my head of what I wanted the business to be and how I thought it should look,” Keener said. “I wanted to go more toward the relaxing spa feeling rather than the sporty gym doctor’s office feeling, which is what most of them were geared toward.” While Keener admits purchasing a company with an established business plan might have been easier at times, she stands firm on their decision to create their own business model. "Looking back now, I am glad we did it. I felt we could create everything we were going to get out of a franchise without having to pay franchise fees, and not have to stick to certain standards and restrictions,” Keener said. Now that CryoX has established a successful business model, Keener said they are researching ways to grow their business—even possibly offering a franchise opportunity to others. “We designed and built this to be a cookie cutter for additional locations, whether it be opening other locations with investors or franchising this business format,” Keener said.

Photo Submitted

MAKING THE FRANCHISING DECISION Regardless of whether a business chooses to purchase an existing franchise, expand its own footprint by selling franchises to others, or forge its own path, the guidance of a legal expert is always a good decision. TK

Charting Your Own Course Paving your own trail comes with increased risk, but also increased reward. You have total control over your business and its operations, and therefore, you control all of the upside benefits. You are also not subject to any limitations of a franchise agreement or particular standards or requirements of a franchisor.

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The downside flows from the upside. You do not have the same brand recognition as a franchise. Financing may be more difficult and other support that may accompany an existing and established franchise (e.g., relationships with vendors and associated discounts) will not be there. Be careful not to infringe on any intellectual property of a similar business.

TK Business Magazine

This may include trade dress (the general appearance) and any patented or trademarked processes, symbols, etc. An over-the-top example of what not to do is the fast food restaurant “McDowell’s” mimicking McDonald’s in the classic 80’s movie, "Coming to America." Don’t be Mr. McDowell. Jeremy L. Graber, Attorney Foulston Siefkin LLP


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FROM THE PROFESSOR

By DR. DAVID PRICE

The Relationship between

Three inter-related concepts that each business owner should know and use PART 4 of a 4-Part Series on Entrepreneurship

CREATIVITY

INNOVATION

The first two articles on entrepreneurship discussed the importance of creativity and innovation, and how these two concepts are different yet essential for any business. The third article focused on developing a sound business model, a framework of how the business will function and how it can be used for competitive advantage. This final installment will focus on an area that takes a business to the next level, from ordinary to extraordinary: growth.

A

CCORDING TO the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 50 percent of all startup firms survive the first five years while a third survive for 10 years. Therefore, it makes sense that owners should question how to make their business profitable and sustainable, and the answer is to create and maintain an effective growth strategy. Growing and expanding is an exciting time for any business. While reaching the breakeven point is a priority for a startup and often pure relief, growth can be exhilarating and a sign of real arrival in the marketplace. It is often signaled with a rapid rise in sales, hiring employees, larger facilities and greater market share. Whether a startup or an established business, growth should be a fundamental strategic goal.

Dr. David Price is the Associate Professor of Marketing and Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Washburn University.

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Photo Submitted

ENTREPRENEURSHIP


BUSINESS LIFE CYCLE As in life, businesses experience a birth, growth, maturity and decline. Figure 1 illustrates the classic life cycle of a business. This model also helps explain the early adoption of new products by consumers, where sales begin slowly and reach a point where they rapidly accelerate (early stage scaling) as new products are accepted in the marketplace at an exponential rate.

FIGURE 1 BUSINESS LIFE CYCLE GROWTH

MATURITY

DECLINE

SALES

START UP

TIME

DECISIONS However, growth will slow down, and Figure 2 highlights this tipping point, where firms have reached the maturity phase. This may be for many reasons, such as market saturation due to an influx of competitors, environmental changes such as new technologies or a general lack of innovation. In either case, many firms in this phase begin to compete on price, and margins start to decrease. Firms must decide to either grow, stay with the status quo or face decline. THE S-CURVE The S-curve is a term that is derived from mathematics; it is used in business to describe the performance of a company or a product over time. As seen in the Business Life Cycle, it has a characteristic slow and flat start with an eventual steeper upward trajectory that again begins to flatten out, and eventually declines, giving it the classic “S” shape.

For startups and long-time business owners alike, its importance has to do with growth and sustainability. When a new company has hit a plateau or an established firm is finally tired of “just getting by,” a growth spurt can change the trajectory of the S-Curve so it trends upward once again. Importantly, firms should not wait to begin developing a growth strategy until they reach the maturity level. The growth stage is the time to start planning, as it will take time and resources for development that can lead to new growth. Many business owners know these concepts instinctively. Beyond hard data such as sales, they sense the market, the competitive environment and consumer preferences, and the direction the industry is leaning. As a result, their strategy and product offering may need updating. The secret to sustained growth is in creating a series of new S-Curves. Owners and managers should have enough foresight to see over the

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FIGURE 2 TRAJECTORY PATHS TO THE NEXT CURVE

SALES

THE GROWTH MYTH Generally, whether in business school or popular culture, we are taught that growth is good. While that belief is common, it is not necessarily true. A 1954 Time magazine article entitled “The New Magic Word in Industry” seems to have found its way into business folklore with an adage that businesses must “grow or die.” However, there is no science behind this claim. Many firms whether small, medium or large have continued operations while maintaining a similar size (based on number of employees and/ or sales) after many years, even decades. If firms sustain pace with inflation and their competitors, they can maintain the status quo for many years. Additionally, many believe that growth is a simple linear function that climbs continuously upward at a steady pace. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Research suggests that this type of growth is the rare exception and not the rule, and it usually occurs when a company is scaling in its early stages, but it will eventually flatten out. Several studies point toward a far more complex pattern of growth, a pattern that is far more likely to represent a zigzag path, with many dips and plateaus. As founders of high growth companies will attest, the growth model can represent a roller coaster ride, beginning with an initial upward rise (early stage scaling) and suddenly a takeoff in an instant – which unfortunately could up or down. To better understand these patterns, it is first useful to understand business life cycles.

GROWTH & IMPROVEMENT

STABILIZING/ PLATEAU

FUTURE CURVE

MANY FIRMS?

PRESENT CURVE

DYING

STARTING

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FIGURE 3

SALES

NEW "S-CURVES"

TIME

METHODS OF GROWTH How do businesses grow? This is a difficult question to answer and is often industryspecific. Here are some broad strategies that each business owner can contemplate: 1. Innovation, which is creating something that’s new for your business that adds value for customers (a new product or service). 2. Improving existing products and services (or your business processes). 3. New geographic markets (local, national, international levels). 4. Introduction of complementary products to existing customers (oilchange business may also clean cars). 5. New customer segments with existing products (niche markets, such as a nursery that specializes in exotic flowers, or plants from a specific region). 6. Acquire (usually on a small scale) new products, customer segments or services. 7. Look to your competition (they must be doing something right?) 8. Invest in talented employees that can help you grow or innovate (learn to delegate, motivate and trust). 9. Franchising/Licensing (could another take your business model/brand and grow it?). 10. Exploiting existing competencies (what do you do well, perhaps consulting for non-competing firms? Do you have a large facility and can lease out storage space to other firms?)

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peak of the curve and decide that change is necessary and the timing is right. Each business owner has experienced this, standing on the edge of a new opportunity, wondering whether the change involved is worth the additional work and risk, but knowing the payoffs could be substantial. Figure 3 shows the evolution of a growth-oriented business life cycle by creating S-Curves. THE TROUBLE WITH GROWTH Many small businesses struggle to manage operational issues during a growth phase, and several issues must be considered when contemplating this option: Leadership—As a business owner, you should maintain a management role in the organization and hire enough help so that you may focus on management and strategy. Your ability to lead and manage falters as your work processes come under pressure from increasing demand. As the business grows, the founders should eventually transition to a leadership role, delegating most of the operational decisions and functions to someone else. Systems and Procedures—Tied closely to leadership, a business needs systems and procedures for managing staff and providing the products or services of the company. Look at your daily business operations and determine what tasks can follow specific systems and procedures, and then get staff to buy in. Your employees will be key to successful growth, owners must delegate, make smart hiring decisions and keep them motivated. Cash—Growth brings with it the need for more capital, and during the push

TK Business Magazine

for higher sales, monthly expenses will increase and possibly exceed your revenues. Cash flow can become a concern at this stage, and firms need a realistic plan that accounts for cash shortages due to delays in receivables or investments in growth. Prepare a backup plan for raising cash from personal sources, loans or a line of credit. Customer Service Issues—If customer complaints are mounting, it may be an indication you are spread too thin, cutting corners to meet customer demand. If you feel overwhelmed, monitor your feedback and be as responsive as possible with customers. Keep an eye on real time outlets such as social media. Job Satisfaction Decreases or Disappears—You may have started your own business so that you could set your own hours, be your own boss, and provide a product or service you are passionate about. One of the counterintuitive risks of growth is that your level of job satisfaction could significantly decrease. As a business grows, it changes. A small dynamic personal firm may become a very different organization, and owners must make a clear decision about what they want their business to be. CONCLUSION Developing a growth strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. You need to adapt your plan as you grow and understand that your organization is unique. My advice is to have a “work the gas pedal” approach to growth. Just like stressing an engine in a car by continuing to rev the engine, entrepreneurs should not continuously try to rev their operation. Just like engines, a business can only take so much stress, and growth will demand time, energy, resources, additional risk and personal sacrifice. Asking too much too quickly places a great deal of stress on you, your employees and the firm infrastructure. As you grow, there may be times when you need to back off the pedal, let yourself, your employees, manufacturing, partners and suppliers catch up and take a breath. Otherwise performance and quality may suffer. TK


After Decades of Slow Growth.

Kansas Must Act.

VISION

2025

AN

ACTION

PLAN

FOR

K ANSAS

Kansas must remove barriers to growth to strengthen its prospects and secure the future for all Kansans. Kansas businesses must lead efforts to renew our state’s vitality. Vision 2025 is our strategic action plan to address the state’s sluggish economy.

Learn how you can be part of getting Kansas back on the path of strong growth: www.KSVision2025 .com THE KANSAS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 835 SW Topeka Blvd. • Topeka, KS 66612 785.357.6321 • KSVision2025.com • Vision2025@kansaschamber.org WINTER 2017

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RECRUITING AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Kristina Dietrick Photo Submitted

HR PARTNERS

FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

if you are screening employment candidates through social media.

In a world where 90 percent of businesses use social media, the temptation to incorporate the wealth of knowledge available through social media during the recruitment process is growing in popularity.

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ITH 43 PERCENT of employers actively using social media to screen candidates, the risks of violating a potential employee’s rights increase significantly. This can be concerning as 36 percent of organizations have disqualified candidates based on the collection of data through social media.

Kristina Dietrick, PHR, president of HR Partners, has over 20 years of experience in the human resource field and holds the distinguished designation of Professional in Human Resources.

Potential Risks of Screening Candidates through Social Media:

—— Invasion of privacy. —— Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008. —— Disparate impact/treatment. —— Exposure of protected status, i.e., race/color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity/ transgender status and marital status/parental status. —— Exposure of protected activities/complaints, i.e., discrimination/harassment, NLRA/NLRB union activities, common law “Whistle Blowing,” workers' compensation history, political affiliation, military status and protected leaves. —— Bankruptcy or credit difficulties. —— Criminal convictions.

So, is there a benefit to using social media for recruiting purposes? The simple answer is yes. The one benefit to using social media when sourcing applicants is the avoidance of negligent hiring. With that being said, to eliminate the potential risks, each business should check its company's procedures. Is Your Business Compliant?

—— Is management checking on each applicant through social media in an equal, consistent manner? Deviation is discrimination. —— Do the business’ policies prohibit managers from gathering their own “background” information? —— Does the business have a written procedure to obtain the applicant’s consent to gather information from social media?

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Best Practice Key Learnings:

—— Businesses must obtain the applicant’s written permission to conduct the background check. —— They must advise the applicant that they may use the background information to make decisions about his/her employment. —— This notice must be in writing and in a standalone format (the notice cannot be included in the verbiage of an employment application).

There are benefits to conducting informal background checks through social media, and the trend will most likely continue to increase in popularity. If your company chooses to use social media to conduct background checks on applicants, be sure to avoid the risks and use “best practices” to prevent potential violations of the applicant’s rights. You should have a written policy in place, and be consistent in its application. HR Partners specializes in ensuring each of our valued clients is in compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to their respective businesses, including proper recruitment strategies and processes. SOURCES: Freeman, Shelly, and Amy Fowler. (2017) Managing Social Media Inside and Outside the Workplace [Video Webinar]. EECO Articles and Guidance.

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City of Topeka Neighborhood Health 2014 Composite Map

By LISA LOEWEN

Investing in East Topeka For the past 17 years, the Topeka Planning Department has been evaluating the “health” of the City’s neighborhoods to set priorities for funding and infrastructure planning. Based on measures from the five key indicators—poverty level, public safety, residential property values, single family home ownership and boarded houses—neighborhoods are scored to determine their overall health as follows: Healthy–optimal conditions Out Patient–favorable conditions At Risk–emerging negative conditions Intensive Care–seriously distressed conditions

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HE LATEST HEALTH EVALUATION in 2014 showed that while most neighborhoods in Topeka have made improvement in all categories, a few still fall under the “Intensive Care” classification. While a large part of the prescription to nurse these neighborhoods back to health is public safety and infrastructure improvement, another key ingredient is investment by private businesses to build economic opportunities in these areas. Several Topeka businesses have been operating in these “Intensive Care” neighborhoods for years and have chosen to stay and help improve the economic climate. Others are new to the area, looking to invest in these communities while growing viable businesses.

}


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Photo Submitted

Highland Crest

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NEW BUSINESS When T. K. and Lindsey Adams were searching for a location to open their second Owls Nest Antique Store and Flea Market, they originally decided it would be in Manhattan, Kansas. However, when the owner of Boyles Joyland Flea Market approached them about purchasing his building at the corner of 29th and Adams, the couple reconsidered. They already had a location open at 3411 SW Topeka Blvd., and the idea of a second location in a different part of town appealed to them. “We love Topeka so much that when the opportunity came up to have another store here, we jumped at it,” Lindsey said. Lindsey says they did have people question their decision to purchase the old building in the Hi-Crest neighborhood because

it wasn’t exactly in the best area of town. But the couple felt this opportunity was a win-win for both the Owls Nest and the community. “If no one is willing to step in and take a chance on these neighborhoods that need help, then all they will do is keep going downhill,” Lindsey said. ‘We just felt like it was an opportunity for us to make a difference in Topeka.” Even though they knew it was going to take a lot of hard work and a significant financial investment, T. K. and Lindsey wanted to be part of revitalizing that area of town, so they purchased the building in 2016. “It didn’t scare us to do the hard work,” Lindsey said. “I grew up with a dad who bought houses and fixed them up, so we knew what were getting into.”

}


Photo Submitted

After hauling off more than 100 tons of trash and spending double what was budgeted, T.K. and Lindsey Adams, owners of the Owls Nest Joyland, still say the investment and restoration of a Highland Crest property was worth it.

Photo Submitted

Photo Submitted

Before

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Photo by BRADEN DIMICK

The couple spent the next several months hauling off more than 100 tons of trash, including old freezers left behind from when the building housed a Harry’s IGA, replacing the roof, adding a new concrete floor, installing an HVAC system (it didn’t have one before), repainting the entire exterior and interior (including the ceiling) and adding new signage. The costs ended up being more than double what the couple expected to spend. “We didn’t get any government grants. We didn’t use any tax dollars. We saved our money and

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took out a loan to pay for this building,” Lindsey said. Now that the Owls Nest Joyland is open for business, Lindsey says they couldn’t be happier about their choice. The vendors appreciate having another location where they can market their goods, and customers are happy to have a place to shop for unique antiques and crafts. “People love the store,” Lindsey said. “Everyone who drops in just stops and gasps at what this building has become.” EXISTING BUSINESS While the Owls Nest Joyland represents

new business investing in this “Intensive Care” neighborhood, other businesses have been operating and investing in this area for years. American Tax Service has been serving customers out of its location at 420 SE 29th Street for more than 20 years. When the company decided to consolidate its two locations into one office 10 years ago, owner Kurt Guth opted to move from the west side of town to the HiCrest location because of its proximity to a majority of his customer base. While he says it was sometimes challenging in the past to


Kurt Guth of American Tax Service has been serving customers for over 20 years from an east Topeka office and sees a bright future as infrastructure strides continue, new businesses open and existing businesses renovate.

attract new customers, the future is looking pretty bright. “The perception issue is sometimes hard to get over,” Guth said. “But in the past couple of years, people don’t seem to have the same concerns that they used to have about coming into this part of town.” Guth said he is excited about the changes he is seeing all around him: street improvements, new businesses coming in, and existing businesses taking more pride in their locations. As older buildings are renovated and vacant spaces fill up, Guth says he hopes their

corner of the neighborhood becomes a beacon to attract even more people to the area. ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT A growing number of people see the value of investing resources to grow business in an area of town neglected by others. The old K-Mart building on SE 29th Street, which has been vacant since 2002, will be the new home to 450-500 self-storage units owned by O&H Investments out of Iowa. The company hopes to have the facility open early next year.

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Just a little farther south on Kansas Avenue, the new BMW and Volkswagen dealership opened its doors in May to a brand new facility, boasting the largest new car showroom in Kansas. The addition of the luxury import dealership brings welcome excitement to not only the surrounding businesses, but also to the people in the neighborhood. Continuing the momentum, Sharp Honda plans to move its dealership to a new 34,000-square-foot facility at 32nd Terrace and Kansas Avenue sometime next year. NEIGHBORHOOD BENEFITS Joe Ledbetter, Highland Crest Neighborhood Improvement Association president, says he is happy to finally see a serious turnaround happening in his community. The

NIA lobbied extensively for major infrastructure improvements to the roads in Hi-Crest, Ledbetter says, and now most of the residential streets have been improved. “In the past five years, I have lobbied for $10 million in roadwork improvement in the Hi-Crest neighborhood,” Ledbetter said. “Of course we didn’t get everything we asked for, but we have seen significant improvements.” One of those infrastructure improvements still underway is the widening of SE Fremont Street from 29th to 31st streets. This project replaces the 2-lane street with a new 3-lane section, updates storm sewers and water lines, and includes a sidewalk and walking trail. With these improvements, as well as businesses continuing to open

their doors in Hi-Crest, Ledbetter says the neighborhood as a whole benefits economically. “Commercially, Hi-Crest is seeing great investment by local business,” Ledbetter said. “I hope that leads to investment by homeowners and rental property companies as well.” In addition to private investment, the NET Reach (Neighborhood Empowerment and Transformation) program, which was founded by the Topeka Rescue Mission, strives to combat homelessness in neighborhoods labeled as Intensive Care on the city health map. Operating out of the Avondale East NET Center since July of 2013, NET Reach has worked to bring about increased quality of life, as well as homeless, poverty and hunger prevention.

WHERE TO SHOP

For Every Occasion WESTRIDGEMALL.COM 1801 SW WANAMAKER RD, TOPEKA, KS

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Photo by BRADEN DIMICK

The BMW and Volkswagen dealership opened its new facility on Kansas Avenue in May and features the largest new car showroom in Kansas. In 2018, Sharp Honda will move its dealership to a new facility on Kansas Avenue as well.

Monroe

Monroe is another Topeka neighborhood that falls under the Intensive Care rating. Stretching from 21st to 14th streets, between Topeka Boulevard and Adams, this neighborhood also has its challenges. With poverty levels close to 60 percent and one of the highest crime rates in the city, Monroe doesn't have the best

environment to attract business investment. However, a number of businesses continue to thrive in that area. Concentrated along Kansas Avenue because of the high visibility and easy access, businesses including Schendel Pest Control, Stearns Super Center and

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Photo by BRADEN DIMICK

Jonathan Gorman, owner of L & H Mobile Electronics on South Kansas Avenue, says, "Every business around me has been here as long as I have or longer, and we are proud to do business on the east side."

Bob Florence Contractor have been serving customers for years from their locations along the avenue. L & H Mobile Electronics sits in this corridor at 1818 S. Kansas Ave. and has been doing business out of the Monroe neighborhood since 1986. When owner Jonathan Gorman purchased the business 10 years ago, it never occurred to him to change its location. “We are right on Kansas Avenue, so we have high visibility,” Gorman said. “I like the proximity to downtown and we are centrally located to car dealers, which make up about 15 to 20 percent of our business.” Gorman also credits lower real estate costs and availability as part of his decision to stay in his existing location. “It costs a lot less to do business on this side of town,” Gorman said. “It would cost me three times as much for a location on the west side of town, if I could even find one that fit my needs.” While Gorman hasn’t noticed a lot of changes in his immediate vicinity, he said he is pleased by the improvements he has seen in other areas.

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“We are pretty good here in our corridor,” Gorman said. “It is nice to see some investment in areas along the stretch of Kansas Avenue farther down, and the things happening in downtown and North Topeka are pretty exciting too.” Gorman says that even though his business is technically located in a neighborhood noted for some blighted areas, he doesn't feel like he is in one. “I haven’t had any more issues with break-ins or crime over here than I did when I had a business on Wanamaker,” Gorman said. “Every business around me has been here as long as I have or longer, and we are proud to do business on the east side.” ECONOMIC IMPACT The investment by local businesses into these less advantageous neighborhoods, combined with the efforts of neighborhood improvement associations and social services, is beginning to make a difference. As these areas become more viable and businesses continue to thrive and grow, the entire community benefits. Strong neighborhoods plus strong businesses equals a strong Topeka. TK


SBA LOANS 101

Ben Tenpenny Photo Submitted

CAPITAL CITY BANK

In its mission statement, the Small Business Administration (SBA) states its purpose has always been to help Americans start, build and grow businesses.

T

4 COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS about SBA loans.

Q Are these SBA loans from the Government?

O AID AND ASSIST small businesses in achieving growth and success, there are two primary loan types offered by SBA today—504 and the 7a loans.

504 loan—This loan is for lending on a new purchase, construction or a refinance of hard assets such as land, buildings and equipment. Borrowers can get into these loans for as little as 10% down for most projects and can also have as much as 40% of the project placed on a long term 10 or 20-year fixed rate loan.

7a loan—These loans are more flexible and used more for working capital, business purchases and business startups. Interest rates and terms will vary, but generally loan maturities will be 5-10 years. Ben Tenpenny is vice-president and commercial lender at Capital City Bank, a full-service bank that focuses on serving individuals and small to mid-sized businesses.

A 504 loan is a combination of a loan with your local lender and a direct loan from the SBA that is serviced by a local Certified Development Company. 7a loan funds are offered through local financial institutions, such as Capital City Bank, which participate in a variety of SBA lending programs. 7a loans are backed by a partial guaranty from the SBA, but are made by and serviced by the financial institution.

Q What does that mean to me?

With a 504 loan, the borrower gets the benefits of putting as little as 10% down and also having as much as 40% of the amount borrowed locked into a fixed rate loan of either 10 or 20 years. Utilizing the SBA's 7a guarantee makes it less risky for the financial institution to make the loan and, therefore, easier for the borrower to get approved.

Q Do my borrowing needs fit into the SBA programs?

Most borrowing needs can fit into an SBA loan program. From business startups, buying an existing business, equipment purchases, real estate purchases, construction, remodeling, leasehold improvements, and working capital to debt consolidation; all are examples of eligible uses of proceeds for an SBA loan.

Q How do I apply?

The process is similar to applying for a conventional commercial loan. An application containing financial statements, financial projections and a detailed business plan outlining how you intend to pay the loan back will be required.

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SCENE ABOUT TOWN

Topeka Chamber Business Expo RAMADA DOWNTOWN TOPEKA OCTOBER 24, 2017

Photos by BRADEN DIMICK

PHOTO 1 Todd Mosiman, Irene Haws, Mitch Miller and Phil Tysinger, Dynamic Computer Solutions

PHOTO 2 Zach Thompson, Jesse Reid, Delaine Markle and Jennifer Kirmse, Azura Credit Union

PHOTO 3

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Stephen Osborne, The Osborn Company; Jeremy Barnwell and Christina Barnwell, B'well Market Downtown; Kevin Conard, Blue Jazz Coffee

PHOTO 4 Erik Evans, Amanda Merryman, Erika Lucero, Ashley Schmidt and Taylor Hartner, Envista Credit Union

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SCENE ABOUT TOWN

Topeka Active 20-30 Childrens Benefit Auction and Gala

PHOTO 1 Aaron Bivens, Accenture and Caroline Bivens; Travis Stryker, CAS Constructors and Annie Stryker, USD 437; Sarah Sharp, USD 501 and Chad Sharp, Hills Pet Nutrition

PRAIRIE BAND CASINO AND RESORT AUGUST 19, 2017

PHOTO 2 Adam Schmidt, University of Kansas Health System, St. Francis Campus and Ashley Schmidt, Envista Credit Union; Tylor McNeill, Lake Shawnee Golf Management; Tanner Knowland, Thrivent; Erika Lucero, Envista Credit Union; Amanda Knowland, WIBW

Photos by TODD BOYD | PHOTOS BY BOYD

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Angie Sanders; Mike Munson, Central National Bank and Lindsey Munson; Rhonda Letz; Abbie Carlson, Rodan + Fields and Chris Carlson, National Distributing Company; Britt and Ben Trier, Native Stone Company

PHOTO 4 Daryl Mellard, University of Kansas and Patti Mellard, Premier Employment Solutions; Martha Bartlett Piland, MB Piland Advertising + Marketing and Gary Piland, Umbrella and Roaring Rat Films

PHOTO 5 Mark and Kathy Ward, Mark Ward II, Data-Tel Inc.; Heather Woods, Advisors Excel; Paige Jones, Data-Tel Inc.; Phil Jones, Tonganoxie Middle School

PHOTO 6

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Tara and Chad Logan, Logan Business Machines; Jeff Lolley, Bartlett & West and Hillary Lolley, Washburn University

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INSURANCE CHECKUP

Brian Green Photo Submitted

ALLSTATE INSURANCE

The most common phrase I hear when someone turns in a loss is, "I never thought it would happen to me."

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E ALL SPEND a great deal of money on insurance, but many of us do not know exactly what we have purchased. We go to the store to buy candy and we know the difference between a Snickers and a Baby Ruth, but when it comes to insurance, we become “comfortable” that all policies are basically the same. This isn’t the case. Every company is different, and what is covered is different. Many times we have clients that switch coverage without comparing. They assume that one policy and one company is as good as another, and the focus is on getting the better price rather than maintaining the accurate level of coverage. Sometimes the savings can be real, but other times people will sacrifice coverage because they haven’t consulted a professional agent to understand both sides of the switch.

Brian Green has been a local Allstate insurance agent in Topeka for seven years. He has earned several recognition awards from Allstate including Best In Company (B & C Growth), Honor Ring and Circle of Champions.

CONSIDER THESE 3 THINGS when you are insurance shopping.

Your agent matters. Choose someone who is knowledgeable and has experience in the field. Don’t be afraid to ask questions specific to what you value. No two clients own all of the same items or place the same level of importance on their specific property. If you don’t feel comfortable with the agent or staff, keep searching for someone who understands what is important to you and can explain the coverage. Price is important, but not everything. If something happens and you need service, who will handle that? Will you be left calling repeatedly for service or will you have someone that knows what you need? Some agents are very responsive and some are not. Technology is improving in the insurance field as well. Are you seeing those benefits? Does your company handle claims efficiently and are they taking advantage of technology to make your claim smooth and easy? Regularly review all your insurance policies. Take time out to do a review of your coverage. Your coverage is what protects all of the expensive assets you are working for. Your business, your home, your vehicles, and your life are all protected by the coverage you purchase. It is an agent’s job to point out holes in coverage, to make sure that you are aware of those gaps and make sure you understand how you will be paid if something does happen. A regular review will ensure that despite life changes your coverage will be correct when you need it.

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EXPERT AGENT IN THE KNOW What does it mean to be IN good hands?Ð It means that I know the risks in the area. I’ll use my local expertise to help you choose the right amount of protection. And I’ll be there to help you over the years. Call or stop in for a free, no-obligation Personalized Insurance Proposal today.

Smiles are what people notice first almost 50% of the time they meet someone.

Brian Green 785-271-5060 brianjay1@allstate.com

Julie C. Swift, DDS, MS | www.topekaperio.com

Brent Boles Schendel Lawn & Landscape and Top Spin, LLC

Debra and Randy Clayton Clayton Financial Services

Subject to terms, conditions and availability. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate Indemnity Co., Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., Allstate Insurance Co. © 2016 Allstate Insurance Co.

Susan Garlinghouse Topeka Collegiate School

227109

Find out what we can do to help make that first impression the best it can possibly be.

Philip Charles Morse KS Commercial Real Estate (awarded posthoumously)

Congratulations, 2018 Laureates!

Junior Achievement of Kansas is pleased to recognize these outstanding business leaders who exemplify the qualities the organization teaches the young people of Kansas: financial acumen, entrepreneurial spirit, workplace leadership and community service.

Save the Date

Thursday, March 1, 2018 Sponsorships Available | 785.235.3700 | sarah@kansasja.org

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SCENE ABOUT TOWN

Valeo Unmasking Stigma SERENDIPITY OCTOBER 7, 2017

PHOTO 1 Aimee Copp-Hasty, Valeo Behavioral Health Care; Major Bill Cochran, Criminal Investigations Bureau and Kelley Cochran, State of Kansas

Photos by JEREMY BRYANT | J THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO 2 Susan and Dr. Mike Reynolds, Valeo Board of Directors

PHOTO 3

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Nina Daries and Henry Daries, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas; Zoe Gruber, Security Benefit; Patti Mellard, Premier Employment Solutions

PHOTO 4 Mayor Larry Wolgast, City of Topeka; Bill Persinger, Valeo Behavioral Health Care; Anita Wolgast, NOTO Arts District; Shereen Omarkhail Ellis, Cenpatico Behavioral Health Care; Steve Ford, Actor

PHOTO 5 Laura Hartley, CBIZ MHM, LLC; Cassandra Windler; Angie Haggard, Valeo Behavioral Health Care; Kathy Collins and Ruben Lara, Valeo Board of Directors; Matt Lara, GO Topeka; Ashley Charest, Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce

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PHOTO 6 Wendy Pivarnik, Red Crown Credit Union and Matt Pivarnik, Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce; Ashley Henderson, Rockhurst University student; Frank Henderson, Topeka Rescue Mission; Hope Dimick, Washburn Rural High School student; Tara Dimick, Envista Credit Union and Braden Dimick, TK Business Magazine

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Visit us at:

Phone: 785.233.1730 24-Hour Crisis Line: 785.234.3300 24 Hour Detox Number: 785-234-3448

or valeotopeka.org

The Happiest Holidays are Healthy Holidays

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24 Hour Crisis Intervention

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Community Medication Outreach

Homeless Outreach and Housing

Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment Expressive Therapies

Services for Employment Success Peer Support

Community Education and Outreach

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Picture this: Sidelined by cancer to champion mom

Amy’s breast cancer diagnosis left her shocked — she had no family history of breast cancer or high-risk factors. As a passionate sports mom, Amy worried that she wouldn’t be able to cheer on her daughter’s sports teams. But thanks to Cotton O’Neil Cancer Center, Amy’s story continues. After surgery and chemotherapy, Amy is cancer free and back to showing her spirit at her daughter’s sporting events. Compassionate, expert care that’s close to home. Now that’s something we can all rally around. For more information, visit stormontvail.org.

The story of you is the story of us.

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TK Business Magazine - Winter 2017