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 

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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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)

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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:
    ShopGracieb.com -  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.

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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.

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