Small Business Awards

Topeka Community the Real Winner During This Year's Small Business Annual Awards.

(Wednesday, May 16, 2012)  Four local businesses were recognized as winners in their category at the 2012 Small Businesses Awards Luncheon held today in the Washburn Memorial Union.  The Small Business Awards event is presented annually by the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, GO Topeka Economic Partnership.

Doug Kinsinger, president/ceo of the Greater Topeka Chamber/Go Topeka who welcomed the 260 attendees, and challenged them to do their part. “Please enjoy today’s celebration and do your part to shop small business or volunteer with a non-profit not just for a day, but year around.”

“The celebration paid tribute to those businesses and organizations that are the core of what makes Topeka and Shawnee County our capital city.  Our community is the real champion, together the twelve finalists generate 297 jobs.  They give our great city its character and make it livable, memorable and profitable,” said Cyndi Hermocillo-Legg, GO Topeka’s vice president, entrepreneurial and minority business development.

Steve Kelly, deputy secretary for business development for the Kansas Department of Commerce stated, “We applaud the Greater Topeka Chamber/GO Topeka’s effort to provide a small business component in their economic development model through their Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development Department.  They are rich in resources to help elevate the small business through their entrepreneurial courses, lending tools and connectivity opportunities.”

The 2012 winners were:

  • Emerging Entrepreneur of Distinction: -  Grace Brown-Mitchell – owner/operator
  • Non-profit Award of Distinction:
    TARC, Inc., chief executive officer – Eileen Doran
  • Minority and Women Business of Distinction:
    Color Works Paint & Supply, Diana Swafford- owner/operator
  • Capital City Business of Distinction:
    Educational Credit Union, president/ceo –Greg Winkler

Sponsors for the Small Business Awards Luncheon include:

  • Platinum—Kennedy and Coe,
  • Media—WIBW Channels
  • Gold—Schwerdt Design Group
  • Silver—Bimbo Bakeries USA; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Century Health Solutions, Core First Bank & Trust, Jayhawk File Express, PTMW, Inc.
  • Bronze—Griffith & Blair American Home Service, Lower Heating & Air Conditioning and Parrish Hotel Corporation.

Read more: Small Business Awards

GO Topeka Staff Hires

GO Topeka Announces Two Vice Presidents Hired; Replacing Two Who Left For Other Cities

(Monday, September 16, 2013) Go Topeka has hired two new vice presidents to take over the operation of attracting and developing businesses.

Scott Smathers, of Denison, Texas, has accepted the position of vice president of economic development. The position became open when Dawn Wright moved to Chicago for family reasons. Glenda Washington, of Jacksonville, Fla., will take over the role of vice president of entrepreneurial and minority business development, because Cyndi Hermocillo-Legg, former vice president of EMBD, decided to take a job in Lawrence.

Both Smathers and Washington will start work Oct. 4

ScottSmathers Glenda Washington

Scott Smathers
GO Topeka
Incoming vice president of economic development

Glenda Washington
GO Topeka
Incoming vice president of EMBD(Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development)

Read more: GO Topeka Staff Hires

Go Topeka Honorable mention

Go Topeka wins honorable mention as an organization of Economic Development by Business Facilities, The Location Advisor.

(April 2012) Business Facilities has introduced a new annual series of Economic Development Awards to honor the agencies and organizations that have established and consistently executed the best practices in our industry, bringing measurable success in targeted economic development to the locations they represent.

We have created more than a dozen new awards categories, including overall economic development excellence awards, best practices awards that cite achievements in specialized programs like workforce training and incentives, and awards for marketing excellence in the use of new media (including social networks and video).

The finalists for our new overall Economic Development Excellence awards were asked to prepare a detailed submission that summarized the most productive project development in their locations and gave our judges an overview of the economic development strategy they have deployed to ensure sustained long-term growth. The information provided to the judges included the top projects (initiated since the beginning of 2011), in terms of capital investment and job creation. These projects included new facilities, expansions, relocations or corporate headquarters.

In their strategic narratives, finalists identified the growth sectors they are targeting and described the specialized tools being deployed to achieve growth in these sectors. We encouraged them to specify their approach to workforce training, specialized incentives and the support they provide to the development of start-ups, small businesses and other entrepreneurial initiatives. Our judges assessed the diversity and scope of the agency's overall economic development program (in terms of the expansion of existing industries as well as the attraction of new ventures).

Today, we are pleased to announce the winners of our Economic Development Excellence Awards.

Our Honorable Mention in the 200k – 500k category goes to GO Topeka/Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

GO Topeka's efforts on behalf of Topeka and Shawnee counties yielded a combined capital investment of $250 million in 2011. The "icing" on Topeka's economic development cake came from Mars Chocolate's decision to build its first U.S. factory in more than 35 years in Topeka. The $250-million factory, which is expected to have an economic impact of $3.24 billion over the next 10 years (creating 425 new jobs), garnered an honorable mention in our 2011 Economic Development Deal of the Year Awards.

In addition to food manufacturing, GO Topeka is targeting new development in biomedical, back office/financial services, logistics and distribution and clean technology.

Read more: Go Topeka Honorable mention

Southwest Publishing purchases Jostens Building

Southwest Publishing plans more jobs after purchasing Jostens building

(Friday, September 20, 2013) A new building and a new press could mean more jobs, according to Southwest Publishing.

Southwest Publishing & Mailing Corporation announced Friday that it has purchased the former Jostens facility located at 4000 S.E. Adams. Shane Hillmer, president of the company, said he hopes the expansion will allow its workforce to increase from the current 260 to more than 300, and increase its sales from about $30 million to $40 million.

Jostens announced in 2012 that it would move production work from Topeka to its plants in Clarksville, Tenn., though it planned to keep 87 employees in Topeka, mainly in customer service, marketing and technical support. Hillmer said Jostens signed a lease for 30,000 square feet of office space for the next five years.

Read more: Southwest Publishing purchases Jostens Building

Washburn University/Washburn Tech Awarded $20 Million Grant

Washburn University/Washburn Tech awarded $20 million grant
TOPEKA (Sept. 28, 2011)-- Washburn University and its affiliate, Washburn Institute of Technology, were recently awarded a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to support the collaborative effort of seven community and technical colleges in Kansas to provide workers with academic and industry-recognized credentials and training to meet the need for a skilled workforce.
The grant will also expand and improve the provision of training opportunities to a large geographical pool of eligible applicants. The training programs will be student-, worker- and employer-centered, rather than centered with an institution.

Read more: Washburn University/Washburn Tech Awarded $20 Million Grant

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