CLOSE
      No Content in Report

View Custom Report

Navigation

Author Archives: Matt Lara

About Matt Lara

Matt is the resident social media guru and website guy, working on the marketing and communications team. He supports GO Topeka, the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development, Forge and Heartland Visioning.
  1. Reser’s fine foods celebrates grand opening

    Leave a Comment

    Topeka, KS, April 25, 2018 – Just over one year ago, Reser’s Fine Foods broke ground on a 320,000 square foot prepared salad plant that sits on more than 40 acres; yesterday, they celebrated the grand opening.

    “Our partnership with this community goes back decades, so yesterday we not only celebrated our new plant, but also our continued commitment to the City of Topeka,” said President Mark Reser.  “The speed with which we were able to build this new facility is a testament to why it made perfect sense to expand our business here again – we all worked together toward a shared goal of long-term growth, for both the company and the community.”

    The new prepared salad plant will not only support the sustained growth Reser’s has experienced over the past several years, but will also position the company for future expansion. The plant began full production on March 13th of this year, and is already exceeding daily production expectations.

    “This expansion is a huge win for Topeka and its residents,” said Matt Pivarnik, President and CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership. “Reser’s provides sustainable careers with competitive salary and benefit packages. But more than that, the plant was built in record time and the majority of the work was done by local and regional companies, adding to the overall economic impact.”

    During its peak periods, the new plant will:

    • Process 10 – 12 truckloads of potatoes per day
    • Process 2 truckloads of cabbage per day
    • Cook over a truckload of pasta per day
    • Process a truckload of celery and whole cooked eggs every other day
    • Make nearly 400 unique products
    • Shuttle 50 – 60 trucks a day to the Distribution Center that will, in turn, ship up to 70 truckloads a day across the United States

    “Reser’s has a long history in Topeka and we were thrilled to support them in their new endeavor,” said Michelle De La Isla, Mayor of Topeka. “We look forward to the positive impact this expansion will have on our community and the residents employed there.”

    Of their current 1,100 employees at the Topeka campus, 390 will work in the prepared salad plant. The new positions created will provide annual wages of approximately $25,000 plus benefits.

    # # #

    If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Amy McCarter at 785.234.1030 or Amy.McCarter@TopekaPartnership.com.

  2. East Topeka Learning Center – Focus Groups

    Leave a Comment

    In an effort to advance the process of the East Topeka Learning Center project, GO Topeka has partnered with Ketchum Global Research & Analytics to glean information directly from the Topeka community.

    The project started by reaching out via a telephone survey asking for volunteers to be a part of a focus group. Many who were called were receptive to being a part of a 90-minute focus group.

    The objectives of the focus groups are to further understand the needs of East Topeka community residents in their own words in regards to the East Topeka Learning Center project and validate the findings and market segments from the survey.

    Some of the questions asked of the participants were written to better understand both the desire and the barriers to continuing education. Some examples include:

    • Would you consider taking a course for continued education or job training?
    • If you were interested in taking a course, what would be most important to you when deciding whether or not to take it?
    • What are some potential barriers you could see affecting your decision to take a course?

    Also of interest is gaining a better understanding of overall feelings related to job and education opportunities in Topeka.

    • How do you feel about educational opportunities in Topeka currently?
    • If you were to take a continued education or job training course now, where would you consider taking it?

    And specifically, in relation to the East Topeka Learning Center project.

    • Would you be interested in taking an educational course at this new community campus?
    • What types of courses do you think should be offered?

    The findings from these focus groups will be compiled and analyzed, then reported back to staff. It is our hope the information gained will be a guide in the process. GO Topeka will continue to update as we move forward in this process.

  3. INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE MOVES TO TOPEKA

    Leave a Comment

    Contact: Amy McCarter

    Title: Vice President of Communications

    Telephone: 785.234.1030

    Email: amy.mccarter@topekapartnership.com

     

    INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE MOVES TO TOPEKA

    Topeka, KS, December 13, 2017– Industrial Maintenance of Topeka Inc, better known as IMI, has relocated from their previous location outside of Shawnee County to a new location in Topeka to better serve current local clients and sustain continued growth.

    IMI specializes in fabrication, installation and maintenance and currently employs 52 individuals. With this move they anticipate hiring another 45 full-time employees with an average wage of $40,000. The relocation required $2 million in capital investment. The addition of 45 new jobs and $2M in capital investment creates a $15M one-time economic impact and a $12M recurring economic impact. A five-year analysis on overall economic impact will mean a total benefit of $63,156,652 with a cost of $180,000.

    “Working with the State of Kansas and the Go Topeka staff allowed the IMI team to make the decision to relocate to a new, larger facility that accommodates our company’s growth needs. We are proud we made the decision to invest and continue our growth in Topeka,” said Todd Harrington, President of Industrial Maintenance of Topeka Inc.

    Services include a robust engineering and design team with 3-D scanning abilities, full fabrication shop with 35 certified welders and equipment including Press Brakes, CNC plasma cutters, Flow Waterjet, and a full machine shop. Their new location at 4501 NW US HWY 24 will allow for the continued growth they have projected with adequate undeveloped land for future opportunities.

    “This relocation is a great thing for Topeka and its citizens. We’re very pleased IMI chose this location and wish them much success in the future,” said Larry Wolgast, Mayor of Topeka.

    “A primary goal of our agency is to help businesses grow and create quality jobs that provide for good incomes and opportunities for Kansas families,” said Nick Jordan, Interim Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce. “When a great Kansas company like Industrial Maintenance is expanding its operations, and adding new well-paid jobs, it is great news for the Kansas economy as well as for our vital manufacturing sector.”

    “We were so pleased to work with IMI on this project and are excited for their future here in Topeka,” said Molly Howey, Senior VP Economic Development.

    Following GO Topeka’s incentive guidelines, IMI will be receiving up to $180,000 based on the performance of the company’s jobs created and investments in capital.

    # # #

    If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Amy McCarter at 785.234.1030 or Amy.McCarter@TopekaPartnership.com.

     

  4. New Kansas PTAC Subcenter in Topeka creates opportunities for local businesses

    Leave a Comment

    For Immediate Release:
    Friday, Oct. 6, 2017

    News from GO Topeka & EMBD
    120 SE Sixth Ave., Suite 110, Topeka, Kansas 66603
    GOTopeka.com

    Contact: Glenda Washington, v.p. of entrepreneurial and minority business development, 785.231.6048

    TOPEKA, KANSAS – GO Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development program is now a Kansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center subcenter and Kristi Dunn, who joined EMBD this summer as subcenter director, already is helping area businesses navigate the complex requirements of government contracts and procurement.

    “The addition of a PTAC subcenter in Topeka – and Kristi’s skill and experiences as a subcontractor and project manager applied to the role of director – ensure we can provide local businesses with services they need close to home,” said Glenda Washington, vice president of EMBD. “This is a service set we were not previously able to provide. This assistance can mean big things for businesses that meet the required guidelines.”

    Dunn, who came to GO Topeka with program development and project implementation experience with NASA, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and other agencies, is providing Topeka area businesses with individualized support and training previously accessible only in the Kansas City area or Wichita.

    The Kansas PTAC is headquartered at Wichita State University. PTAC was created by Congress in the 1980s to assist businesses involved in government contracts. Today, Kansas PTAC assists qualified businesses in locating, obtaining and performing federal, state and local government contracts. Kansas PTAC is funded through a partnership that also includes Pittsburg State University, Johnson County Community College, the City of Wichita and now GO Topeka.

    PTACs are the bridge between buyer and supplier, Dunn explained, bringing knowledge of both government contracting and the capabilities of contractors to maximize fast, reliable service to our government with better quality and at lower costs. Services include bid-matching, bid preparation assistance, specifications and standards, regulations and certifications, procurement/price history and training seminars. PTACs also can assist small businesses looking to utilize designators such as woman-owned, minority-owned or service disabled veteran-owned.

    “My goal is to help some businesses grow by assisting them as they navigate the complex process of working with the government,” Dunn said. “My role is to act as a helpful guide along the way. I also have a robust network across the country of other PTACs and participate in on-going technical training. If I don’t have the answer, I can certainly find someone who does.”

    All Kansas PTAC clients must meet specific guidelines and complete a registration process before services can be provided. Information about that process is available at http://www.kansasptac.org. Scheduled training opportunities in Topeka are online at http://www.gotopeka.com/training-events/ptac/

    “The businesses we work with must be viable and have a track record of quality product or service,” Dunn said. “The first step is to become a Kansas PTAC client. If we can help, we will through every step.”

    Dunn has extensive experience working in the complex world of federal and state contracting, with specific experience in program development. As a sub-contractor with NASA, she managed a team based at Kennedy Space Center, providing contracting support to NASA Headquarters. Prior to this role, she was on overseas assignment as a Subject Matter Expert to Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. This role required interface with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and British Command for shore-side operations. As support staff for the base, she gained extensive knowledge about the individual roles and requirements to successfully navigate multimillion-dollar procurement contracts. Dunn is a graduate of Washburn University.

    XXX

    A program of GO Topeka, EMBD provides programming, training and financial incentive support opportunities for small businesses throughout Topeka & Shawnee County. Learn more at www.GoTopeka.com.

  5. SBA’s Powerful New All Small Mentor-Protégé Program-New Release

    Leave a Comment

    The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) powerful new All Small Mentor-Protégé program has shifted the landscape of federal government contracts.  Government contracts attorney Steve Koprince will be outlining steps for small business to become a part of this powerful tool when he makes a presentation on Tuesday, October 17 for the Kansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at Wichita State University. The program starts at 8:30 with registration beginning at 8 a.m. in the Harvester Room at the WSU Old Town 238. N. Mead in Wichita.

    The program allows any small business to obtain critical developmental assistance from a mentor (large or small), with the blessing of the SBA.  And best of all, SBA-approved mentor-protégé teams get special exceptions from the SBA’s ordinary affiliation rules–including the ability to joint venture for set-aside and sole source contracts even when the mentor is a large         business.

    Of course, these important new benefits don’t come without strings attached.  Before entering into a mentor-protégé relationship, it’s critical for contractors to understand the rules–both to maintain compliance, and take advantage of a special status that lasts a maximum of six years.  In this program, government contracts attorney Steven Koprince provides an in-depth look at the SBA’s new mentor-protégé program, including requirements to participate, the application process (what is the SBA looking for?) and tips for developing a strong and successful mentor-protégé relationship.  The program concludes with a discussion of the special affiliation exceptions and joint venturing possibilities the All Small Mentor-Protégé program affords.

    On Tuesday, October 17, the program will be presented in Wichita at WSU Old Town, 238 N. Mead. This program will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with registration starting at 8 a.m.

    On Thursday, October 26, the program will be presented in Topeka from 8:30 to 12:30 p.m. This program will be in the Topeka Chamber Board Room on the 2nd floor at 120 SE 6th Avenue.

    Registration information can be found at www.kansasptac.org, or by visiting the Kansas PTAC calendar at http://webs.wichita.edu/dt/calendar/show/calendar.asp?VIEW=ptac.

    Wichita State University’s Kansas PTAC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. It is funded additionally by Johnson County Community College, the city of Wichita, Pittsburg State University, and GO Topeka.

     

    Contact:

     

    Scott Knapp

    scott.knapp@wichita.edu

    Certified Contracting Assistance Specialist

    Deputy Director

    Kansas PTAC

    Wichita State University

    Office address: 238 N. Mead

    Mailing Address:1845 Fairmount St., Box 215

    Wichita, KS 67260-0215

    Phone 316-978-6876

    www.kansasptac.org

  6. Agricultural Technology and Bioscience Industries Key to Area’s Future

    Leave a Comment

    Development and expansion of the Kansas State University north campus, along with the development of the University of Kansas west campus leaves an obvious gap (Topeka) in the expansion and growth of the corridor from Kansas City to Manhattan.

    A group of business and community leaders, along with the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka, have begun the process of determining how Topeka can participate in continued and future growth of the Animal Health Corridor, as well as emerging opportunities in AgTech and Translational Health in the region. The effort has been dubbed BAAFTech which stands for Bioscience, Animal Health, Agricultural Tech and Finance Tech.

    While the precise nature of the opportunities and focus are still to be determined (i.e., Fintech, AgTech, logistics, etc.), it is abundantly clear that the biosciences should and will be an area of focus.

    In conjunction with the efforts of the Science and Technology Task Force, an Entrepreneurial Task Force has been formed and has begun to map local resources available for start-up efforts. Momentum 2022 also includes an entrepreneurial-focused workgroup.  Combined with GO Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development Council and the chamber’s Small Business Development Council, Topeka & Shawnee Country are setting the stage for a new era of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

    The BAAFTech project is primarily run by a task force. That task force has visited eight different communities in the past six months that are focusing on this industry to identify best practices that can be implemented here.  At the same time, a feasibility study has been commissioned and a recommendation is expected in early 2018.  Given the emerging nature of these technologies and the industry at large, time is of the essence.

    “Topeka sits right in the middle of the country, more importantly in the middle of the Animal Health Corridor but does not play as active a role as it should. There are great examples here like Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Stormont Vail’s Clinical Research efforts, but we could take a more active role in the corridor,” said Duane Cantrell, CEO of Fulcrum Global Capital, who sits on the BAAFTech Task Force. He is the former CEO of the Kansas Bioscience Authority and added, “I saw first-hand the untapped potential, which should include Topeka.”

    Fellow task force member Dan Foltz, president of KBS Contractors, Inc. shares that passion.

    “We specialize in building critical construction projects, more specifically in research and development facilities for animal science, pharmaceuticals and food grade manufacturing,” Foltz said. “We are passionate about providing for companies that are responding to critical needs like this.”

    More than 60 percent of the animal health research underway in the United States is occurring in the Animal Health Corridor. Topeka & Shawnee County has a responsibility to play a role in that. The jobs in this industry are continuing to grow and pay well over the average annual wage in Shawnee County at nearly $70,000/year. Topeka & Shawnee County are ideally situated to be part of the Silicon Valley of Ag Tech and Bioscience companies.

  7. INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL ELECTS GO TOPEKA’S MOLLY HOWEY TO TWO-YEAR BOARD TERM

    Leave a Comment

    WASHINGTON, DC – The Nominating Committee of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has elected Molly Howey, CEcD, senior vice president of economic development at GO Topeka to its Board of Directors for a two-year term. The election took place during IEDC’s 2017 Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 – 20, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Howey, will begin her two-year term January 2018.

    “We are honored to nominate Molly Howey, CEcD, as a new member of the IEDC Board of Directors, and look forward to her leadership and service,” said Jeffrey Finkle, CEcD, President and CEO of IEDC.

    Howey is a Kansas native and has spent the last six years marketing the capital city, Topeka, Kansas to site selectors and prospective corporate citizens. She is a graduate of Washburn University and received her CEcD in 2016. In her role, she manages two industrial parks the organization owns and oversees all business attraction efforts in Shawnee County, Kansas.

    “Serving on this board will allow me to connect with economic development professionals throughout the United States and beyond, and to bring even more innovation and best practice to fruition in Topeka and Shawnee County,” Howey said.

    Some companies that have grown in or relocated to Topeka during Molly’s time with the organization are Mars Chocolate, Big Heart Pet Brands, Target, Federal Home Loan Bank, Home Depot and Frito-Lay. GO Topeka is a public-private partnership funded mostly by a ½ cent county-wide sales tax that was just renewed for another 15 years.

    XXX

    About the International Economic Development Council

    The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. www.iedcONLINE.org.

    About GO Topeka

    GO Topeka creates opportunities for growth, prosperity, innovation, and economic diversity and vibrancy that positively impact current and future citizens of Topeka & Shawnee County by attracting world-class companies, providing existing companies with the knowledge and resources to reach their highest potential and cultivating entrepreneurial development and growth. Learn more at www.GoTopeka.com.

  8. Advisors Excel

    Leave a Comment

    AE began with three innovative Kansans: Cody Foster, Derek Thompson and David Callanan. Like Gradient Annuity Brokerage, the trio got their start at Personalize Brokerage Firm (PBS). Post PBS, the group first tried their hand as financial advisors. However, once they stepped into the role of advisors to financial advisors, they knew that they had found their market.

    AE was established in 2005. The company’s first office was nestled in the basement of a dentist’s office on Barrington Court, a stone’s throw from their current office at 2950 McClure Rd. From there AE upsized to the corner of 9th and Kansas.  The company moved to its current site in 2014. During the first year of business, AE had a total of 4 employees, excluding the three founders. Now, 12 years later, the company has approximately 475 employees. With 100,000 square feet, plus the 30 employees housed in the upper level of Tall Grass Office Building and continued projections for growth. The question becomes, will AE need to move to an even larger space? Only time will tell.

    One of AE’s very special features is its in-house ad agency. This team of 120 people helps advisors with everything from business logos, letterheads, websites, radio commercials and more. In fact, they currently have around 600 small business clients.

    According to Cody, Topeka has been their biggest competitive advantage. “From a service based standpoint, you’re only as good as your people, and the people here are awesome,” he says. “It’s never been a challenge to find good people.”  Indeed, the company has benefited from its capable employees. And, in turn, AE has become a fixture in the Topeka business community and a strong supporter of many civic and philanthropic endeavors.

    You can find more information about the Financial Services Summit and the other blogs here.

  9. Gradient Annuity Brokerage

    Leave a Comment

    For the second installment in our Financial Services Blog Series, we are covering Gradient Annuity Brokerage (GAB). GAB is part of Gradient Financial Group, LLC (GFG) and its family of companies. This home-grown business first opened their doors 12 years ago in Topeka, Kansas. During their first year of business, the organization set up shop in a small facility at Forbes Field that had a roll-up garage door and no air conditioning. The company has come a long way since its humble beginnings and now has offices in both Topeka, Kansas and Arden Hills, Minnesota.

    GAB is a field marketing organization (FMO) lead by GFG founders and owners, Chuck and Tami Lucius, along with Gradient Insurance Brokerage, Inc. President Chad Roesler. This means they offer products lines exclusively to independent financial service professionals (FSP). These FSPs traditionally focus on income solutions, retirement planning, life insurance needs and financial safety for their clients. Some of the main carriers GAB partners with include hometown names like Security Benefit and Athene as well as brands such as Nationwide and American Equity. GAB seeks to educate FSPs so they can assist their clients with their financial decisions, and GAB is committed to this through the sales tools and technology solutions that are made available to the FSPs who work with them. This includes unparalleled support, specialized expertise, proven marketing systems, and comprehensive value-added professional and educational services to meet the needs of today’s population who are near or in retirement.

    As Chuck and Tami Lucius have seen much success over the years, they also want to give back to their local community. The Gradient Gives Back Foundation is a non-profit organization that devotes its resources to assisting families who have fallen on hard times. The Foundation provided a “hand-up” to a Topeka family by awarding 12 months of mortgage payments to help them rebuild their financial life.  The Foundation and employees of the Topeka office regularly seek to unite the local community and inspire Americans for the purpose of charitable giving through activities and donations to the Topeka Rescue Mission and other organizations.

    GFG and its family of companies employ over 80 people in its Topeka office. Roesler believes one of Topeka’s greatest assets to be its people. As Roesler stated, “You get good quality people in Topeka…it’s also a central hub for educated young people.” He noted that as long as an individual has the drive to succeed and desire to learn, GAB can teach them to be successful professionals in the financial industry. This ties in well with his notion that the Midwestern work ethic in Shawnee County factors into GAB’s overall success and good workforce continuity.

  10. Shawnee County company plans business expansion and job creation with incentives from Joint Economic Development Organization

    Leave a Comment

    For Immediate Release
    Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017

    News from GO Topeka
    120 SE 6th Ave., Topeka, KS 66603 | 785.234.2644

    Contact: Michaela Saunders, v.p. of brand strategy, 785.234.1030

    Shawnee County company plans business expansion and job creation with incentives from Joint Economic Development Organization

    TOPEKA, Kansas –  The Premier Advisory Group, an existing Shawnee County company and the umbrella company of ActionCOACH Business Coaching, Bajillion Agency and MotoVike Films, has announced it will create 45 new jobs over the next five years and invest nearly $2.5 million dollars to expand in the community.

    The project, referred to as ‘Project Leaf’, received approval Wednesday evening from the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) of Topeka and Shawnee County for an incentive package that will assist the company with the anticipated job growth.

    The company currently employees 17 full-time positions and anticipates adding an additional 45 new full-time positions at an average salary of $52,000. Further, the company will invest $1.6 million to acquire and revitalize a downtown Topeka building, at 100 S. Kansas Ave., and $800,000 on equipment for the space. GO Topeka’s economic impact analysis indicates that the 45 new jobs will have a $16 million annual recurring impact to the Topeka & Shawnee County economy.

    “We’re committed to building a work culture that young professionals want to be part of. Topeka is home, and we think it’s a great place to recruit talent. We’re only as good as our people are, and our team is made up of talented individuals who love showing up to work every day. We are excited for what the future holds,” said Andrea Engstrom, CMO of The Premier Advisory Group, President of Bajillion Agency

    The incentive package approved by the JEDO board entails a maximum incentive of $225,000 for job creation. The incentives are performance based and will be paid by GO Topeka upon completion of performance indicators.

    “We are happy to support these companies as they plan their move to downtown Topeka and upcoming expansion,” said Bob Archer, Shawnee County Commission Chair and member of the JEDO board. “This kind of job growth is significant.”

    Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast, JEDO board chair, stated, “Adding these creative and business-improvement focused jobs to our community is substantial, as is the addition of three new companies to our Downtown Topeka business community.” He continued, saying, “This is exciting for Topeka. Creating additional jobs is what these incentives are intended for.”

    Learn more about the involved businesses:


    XXX

    GO Topeka creates opportunities for growth, prosperity, innovation, and economic diversity and vibrancy that positively impact current and future citizens of Topeka & Shawnee County by attracting world-class companies, providing existing companies with the knowledge and resources to reach their highest potential and cultivating entrepreneurial development and growth. Learn more at www.GoTopeka.com.