Gabriel O’Shea Joins Fast Forward as Executive Director

Gabriel OSheas(Friday, May 13, 2016) Gabriel O’Shea, a participant in the trio intern program at Advisors Excel, has been named executive director of Fast Forward, the community’s young professionals organization. Fast Forward’s primary mission is to attract and retain young talent and to develop Topeka’s next generation of leaders.

Matt Pivarnik, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka, said Fast Forward, formed in 1999, is one of the oldest organizations for young professionals in the country and will be a key driver in helping grow the community.

“The Fast Forward executive director position will be pivotal in the community’s efforts to attract and retain young talent,” he said. “Gabriel will bring expertise and enthusiasm to the role as he builds relationships with young professionals and complements the efforts of our corporate partners to provide engagement programs to build our regional workforce.”

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Chamber and GO Topeka Announce New President and CEO

MATT PIVARNIK 1 2015(Tuesday, Dec 1, 2015) Brent Boles, chairman of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, and Scott Griffith, chairman of GO Topeka, announced today that Matthew (Matt) Pivarnik, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, will serve as president and chief executive officer of the Chamber and GO Topeka, effective Jan. 11, 2016.

Boles said the search committee worked with Waverly Partners, LLC, a firm specializing in finding chamber executives across the country.

“The extensive search process also included input and guidance from elected officials as well as business leaders in our community,” Boles said. “Chamber staff also had an opportunity to meet candidates and provide feedback. We interviewed several highly qualified candidates, and ultimately we believed Matt’s credentials, personality and enthusiasm for our community’s progress and potential made him the ideal choice. We are thrilled to have him join us and look forward to his leadership.”

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Ichabods Around Town

(Friday, October 23, 2015) The Chamber's Ichabod is up and looking sharp in a mosaic jacket, thanks to a creative, mutual effort with artist Patricia Kahn, who created the distinctive "In the Black" Ichabod.

Her depiction is a result of an enduring collaboration between the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and Washburn University. The character represents the university's business school graduates, who strongly affiliate with the Chamber and its member employers. White lettering on his pants have the words "pride, prosperity and progress" in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese. He clutches a large book titled "Good to Great" and his glasses reflect the broad vision of the Topeka cityscape as he steps forward.

"We are very proud to have this custom Ichabod displayed in front of the Chamber office and eager to see other statues positioned around the city in celebration of Washburn's sesquicentennial," said Curtis Sneden, interim president and chief executive officer.

Click here for a list of Ichabods Around Town.

photo  web3  web4 

Vice President Membership Development Hired


(Nov. 2015) Curtis Sneden, interim president and chief executive officer, recently announced the addition of Ashley Charest to the Chamber staff as vice president of membership development.

“Ashley’s extensive chamber and client relationship experience will serve our members well,” he said. “We look forward to her expertise, enthusiasm and ideas and are eager to introduce her to our members.”

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The Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka Announce Operational Changes for Effectiveness, Efficiency

(Tuesday, October 20, 2015) The boards of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka have announced changes that the respective chairs of these organizations said will improve efficiency and effectiveness in growing the community.

Brent Boles, chair of the Chamber board and president of Schendel Lawn & Landscape, and Scott Griffith, chair of the GO Topeka board and president of INTRUST Bank, said the boards approved the following changes recently:

  • Public posting of GO Topeka board meeting minutes on its website
  • Separate payrolls for the two organizations, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • A revised purchased services agreement underway estimated to decrease GO Topeka’s costs for Chamber services by approximately $50,000 and the appointment of a third-party vendor to periodically review the agreement and make recommendations (purchased services include marketing and communications, financial services, government relations and administrative expenses)
  • Separate bylaws and governance by each organization’s respective board of directors

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