Daily Archives: April 7, 2010

Farmers Insurance consolidates and renames two claims offices

WICHITA — Farmers Insurance is consolidating its property claims and auto casualty claims offices into one location at Occidental Management’s Northrock office building at 32nd North and Rock Road.

The 7,000-square-foot space at Northrock isn’t larger than the two offices currently have, nor does it particularly create efficiencies.

“It’s more to give our employees a better facility with . . . nicer and larger conference rooms, training rooms and more work space, basically,” says Rob Koch, assistant vice president of property claims.

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Wichita Association for Motion Picture Arts changes its name to Tallgrass Film Association

WICHITA — The Wichita Association for Motion Picture Arts has changed its name to the much-less-cumbersome Tallgrass Film Association.

“The Wichita Association for Motion Picture Arts is a long-winded thing to say,” says Mike Marlett, executive director. “When I have to say that and then have to throw in ‘which sponsors the Tallgrass Film Festival,’ it gets really long.”

The late Tim Gruver founded WAMPA eight years ago when he started the film festival.

“It sort of amused him to have the WAMPA acronym,” Marlett says.

He says Gruver, a Native American, liked that WAMPA sounded like the Native American word wampum.

“It’s not that amusing when you try to use it all the time,” Marlett says.

He says the change will help streamline marketing efforts.

“We’ll be able to make better use of our marketing and be able to promote things year round that in a way advertises what we’re doing in the fall” with the festival, he says. “That’s a very helpful thing for us.”

Marlett says the association will take this time to do a new push for members, too.

He says using the new name instead of the old one will be easier for them — not to mention him.

“My jaw physically gets tired of it.”

Metro Grill II to open on North Rock Road

gonzWICHITA — Metro Grill owner Michael Gonzalez is still opening a new restaurant, but not where he originally planned.

Gonzalez’s Metro Grill stand is at Towne East Square, which is where he also hoped to have a sit-down restaurant.

Instead, he’s going to open Metro Grill II at 366 N. Rock Road in a building that’s been home to Plant and Patio and Rugs to Riches in recent years.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Gonzalez says of the three-level space.

He plans to have the kitchen be a central part of the restaurant by putting it by the windows that face Rock Road and by leaving it visible for diners to see throughout the restaurant.

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Key Construction adjusts staffing levels while waiting for projects to start

WICHITA — Key Construction laid off seven of its 110 employees in Wichita last week, including four assistant project managers and three clerical workers.

“We’ve got a couple of projects wrapping up,” says chief financial officer John Walker.

There are some new projects on the horizon, he says, “But not as soon as we’d like.”

Financing and getting commitments take longer than in the past.

“Everything takes a little bit longer to start right now,” Walker says.

About a month ago, Key laid off five of its 26 workers in its Dallas-Fort Worth office.

Walker says that area is much harder hit.

“We have so many opportunities down in that office that we don’t have in other markets, but you still have to adjust to the amount of work that you have and that you’re going to get.”

Key has a total of 175 employees.

“There’s a lot of good things happening,” Walker says. “We just need them to happen faster.”