WICHITA — Seven years after coming to Wichita to lead Optima Bus, Michael Monteferrante is leaving to work for the same company that used to own Optima.
“It’s pretty interesting,” Monteferrante says of his career path. “From subway cars to locomotives to buses to real estate to food.”
Monteferrante was with Optima until American Capital sold it in 2006. He then joined Occidental Management as CEO.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” says Occidental chairman Gary Oborny.
He expected this to happen, though.
“Just because of his . . . business experience it would be difficult to keep him in Wichita very long,” Oborny says. “Not a lot of companies can compete with those larger national companies when they come calling. You can’t match what they offer.”
Monteferrante says he has a lot of respect for American Capital.
“It’s one of those outstanding firms in America that is a privilege to be part of,” he says. “However, it’s very difficult to leave a great city like Wichita.”
When Monteferrante arrived here, he quickly jumped into a number of civic organizations. Only a year after coming, he helped attract more new Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce members during a membership drive than anyone else.
Monteferrante will remain on Occidental’s board.
“We’ve made a lot of great progress and done some wonderful projects,” he says.
Oborny is seeking Monteferrante’s replacement, most likely from the Wichita area.
Monteferrante will start his new career in the food business June 7.
Though he’ll miss Wichita, he says he likes change.
“It keeps it exciting.”