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


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


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


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


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


Motoman Robotics Joins Partners

Yaskawa Motoman Robotics Joins Topeka Partners
|to Launch First Secondary Education Program

August 17, 2011, Topeka, Kansas:  Yaskawa Motoman Robotics will join GO Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development (EMBD) program in implementing the first Advance Automation Robotics Secondary Pilot Program in the country according to Diana Ramirez, 2011 chair of the Minority Women Business Development (MWBD) Council. Representatives from Motoman Robotics were introduced and recognized at a celebration ceremony today at Highland Park High School, 2400 SE California. 

Read more: Motoman Robotics Joins Partners


Mars Announces Plans to Build State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Facility in Topeka, KS

Download Groundbreaking Invitation

TOPEKA, KS (June 29, 2011) – Today Mars Chocolate North America announced plans to build a new state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Topeka, KS. The announcement was made in Topeka by Mike Wittman, Vice President of Supply at Mars Chocolate North America, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on the campus of Washburn University.

Read more: Mars Announces Plans to Build State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Facility in Topeka, KS


Topeka Earns Silver Shovel

GO Topeka has been notified by Area Development Magazine that the Allen Foods/Bimbo Bakeries USA project in south Topeka earned Kansas a Silver Shovel Award in the “states with populations of fewer than 4 million” category from the magazine.

Read more: Topeka Earns Silver Shovel


Gallup Healthways Survey Ranks Topeka MSA High

Efforts throughout the Topeka and Shawnee County community to improve our well-being are paying off according to a recent Gallup-Healthways study that surveys 1,000 Americans every day for a nation-wide snapshot of health and well-being.

Read more: Gallup Healthways Survey Ranks Topeka MSA High


Small Businesses Honored With Annual Awards

Four local businesses were recognized as winners in their category at the 2011 Small Businesses Awards Luncheon May 18.  The Small Business Awards event is presented annually by the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka.

Read more: Small Businesses Honored With Annual Awards


Innovation and Manufacturing and the Supply Chain Grant to Benefit Topeka Community

The Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce/GO Topeka and MAMTC announce that they along with partners Washburn University, the National Growth through Innovation Foundation and the Eureka! Ranch have been awarded $500,000 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (NIST-MEP) as part of a $1.1 million dollar project to promote innovation and competitiveness in Topeka and Shawnee County.

Read more: Innovation and Manufacturing and the Supply Chain Grant to Benefit Topeka Community

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