Category Archives: Awards

Spirit AeroSystems shares award for crisis communications with American Airlines

UPDATED — Which is a bigger crisis for an aircraft company or an airline to deal with: An EF-3 tornado, or Alec Baldwin getting kicked off a flight for playing Words With Friends when he’d been told to shut down all electronics?

Turns out they’re both big deals for crisis communicators, so Ragan’s PR Daily recently awarded Spirit AeroSystems and American Airlines an award for best crisis communications.

“I was totally blown away,” says Spirit spokesman Ken Evans. “I thought we had a 10 percent shot.”

He figured no matter how dramatic the April 14 tornado was, it’s hard to top a celebrity crisis.

PR Daily says Spirit won because it lost all its traditional communication tools – e-mail, its website, even desk phones – but still managed to keep the public, the media and employees informed.

“We were kind of forced to think outside the box for us,” Evans says. “We’re a fairly conservative communications group. … I know that’s shocking to you.”

Twitter became one of the company’s chief communication tools. It also used YouTube and Flickr.

Evans says Spirit’s communications team made a case to management that it needed to reach out immediately, particularly to the media, “so that all of our local stakeholders wouldn’t panic.”

“One of the best results of the week was that our stock did not take a major hit even after that EF-3 tornado.”

He says the company learned lessons from the crisis as well.

“The one audience we didn’t spend (time) keeping up to date was an internal audience at other Spirit sites around the world. They were hungrier for information on a daily basis than we thought they would. They felt left out.”

Evans says the company is using some social media more these days than it used to.

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You don’t say

“When you handed that to me, I just froze with fear.”

Jeff Turner’s comment to Gov. Sam Brownback when accepting Butler Community College’s Corporate Diversity Award for Spirit AeroSystems Friday. The award was handmade Karg Art Glass, and Turner explained he once accidentally knocked over and shattered a large piece of glass at Karg’s Kechi gallery.

Butler Community College inducts new members in Mid-America Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame

WICHITA — Butler Community College’s Mid-America Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame awards were at the Hyatt Regency Wichita Thursday night despite swirling dust storms outside.

“Our (weather) guys, they’re blaming it on Nebraska,” joked emcee Michael Schwanke of KWCH, Channel 12.

Former Butler baseball coach B.D. Parker introduced Rising Entrepreneur winner Justin McClure of Justin McClure Creative.

“I’m still scared of that man,” McClure said upon taking the stage.

A couple of Dustrol employees introduced Business Entrepreneur winners Ted and Barb Dankert, who founded what today is the largest in-place asphalt recycling company in the country.

“When I went to work for Ted in 1979, I didn’t have gray hair,” vice president Brian Hansen said. “I don’t know what that tells us.”

Ted Dankert said he’d hoped to have a couple of teleprompters to help him with his speech.

“I got to checking on it but found out they were all tied up till November 7.”

After his remarks, his wife teased him by saying, “I don’t know if you noticed or not, but Ted took up all our speaking time.”

She had some words of advice for the audience before she left the stage.

“Get in your cars, buy lots of gas and drive lots of miles, and wear out the asphalt as quick as you can, and Dustrol will have work to do next year.”

Perhaps the most intriguing comment of the night came from KT Wiedemann Foundation president Doug Pringle, who accepted the Social Entrepreneur award on behalf of the organization.

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You don’t say

“Well, Susan Lucci, how does it feel?”

– What Jay Tully said Wednesday to his wife, Cocoa Dolce founder Beth Tully, after she lost the finals of the Wichita chamber’s Small Business Awards for the second time (she’s also been a finalist, but not a winner, for two national chamber awards)

Helen Galloway earns her Uncommon Citizen title

WICHITA — She could barely reach the podium – her head just peeked over the top – but First Place owner Helen Galloway was a commanding presence as she accepted the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Uncommon Citizen award Tuesday night at the Beech Activity Center.

“And all that trash you saw tonight — half of it’s true,” she said after a video of her life and work was shown.

Between getting emotional herself – “I’ll only cry for 10 to 15 minutes,” Galloway said – and perhaps making a few in the audience cry as well, she was a laugh a minute for the rest of her acceptance speech.

“Oh, God!” a horrified Galloway declared when seeing herself on a live video. “Tonight I look 200 up there.”

Chamber chairman Walter Berry stood nearby to present Galloway her award, and she used him as her straight man as she chatted on.

“Walter, how much would you pay me to go home?”

Eventually she did exit the stage because, as she told the packed crowd, “You know more than I ever wanted you to know.”

You don’t say

“As a youngster, I would have preferred to be inducted into the baseball hall of fame, but this is a nice alternative for a guy who couldn’t hit a curve ball.”

Joe Johnson of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, who was inducted into the Junior Achievement 2012 Wichita Business Hall of Fame Tuesday

Mike’s Wine Dive joins Chester’s Chophouse in receiving Wine Spectator award

WICHITA — Mike’s Wine Dive has joined an exclusive club.

It has received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.

In the last few years, Chester’s Chophouse — which also won the award — has been the only Wichita restaurant to have the distinction.

A number of factors, such as the depth of a restaurant’s wine list, determine selection.

This is the first year for Mike’s, which opened in April 2010, to vie for the award.

“We were just getting going (last year) so it wasn’t something that I was ready to do yet,” says Brad Steven, Mike’s co-owner and wine director.

He’s already thinking about next year because he wants to increase his rating.

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Bill Guy Technology Solutions owner Bill Ramsey is named SBA’s 2011 Kansas Small Business Person of the Year

WICHITA — Bill Ramsey, owner of Bill Guy Technology Solutions, was in his office Thursday morning when he received a letter from the Small Business Administration.

His wife and son were there, too, and saw his face drop.

“My wife was like, ‘What? What’s wrong?’”

Nothing was wrong, but Ramsey couldn’t believe what he was reading was right.

It said the SBA named him the Kansas Small Business Person of the Year for 2011.

“There’s got to be a mistake,” he told his family. “I’m not reading this right.”

So he called the SBA.

“They knew exactly who I was,” Ramsey says. “I’m just stunned.”

Ken Elliott with the Kansas Small Business Development Center nominated Ramsey.

Elliott has been Ramsey’s business counselor.

Ramsey started his business as a one-man shop in 2001 to help businesses manage their computer networks.

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Sportscaster Jim Kobbe to leave KSN, Channel 3; chief meteorologist Dave Freeman wins award

WICHITA — KSN, Channel 3, hasn’t officially announced plans for a new 10 p.m. newscast, but sportscaster Jim Kobbe isn’t waiting around to hear them.

He’s turned in his resignation for a new job in human resources at Spirit AeroSystems, where he worked between KSN and a previous job with KWCH, Channel 12.

“I’m really delighted,” Kobbe says.

His last day at KSN is March 20.

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that Kobbe, anchors Stephanie Bergmann and John Snyder and chief meteorologist Dave Freeman were told their services will no longer be needed at 10 p.m.

Freeman has just won a public service award from the National Weather Service.

His award is the civilian equivalent to the federal award the National Weather Service’s Dick Elder and Chance Hayes recently received.

The three worked to get the national criteria for the definition of a severe thunderstorm raised from hail three-quarters of an inch in diameter to one inch – or about the size of a quarter.

The problem, Freeman says, is sometimes “waking people up at 2 o’clock in the morning to tell them to go back to bed.”

“Most people think weather guys love warnings,” he says. “Ironically, it was a bunch of weather guys trying to find a way to issue fewer warnings.”

Freeman says he was happy when his colleagues won their award and had no expectations for one for himself.

“I was literally speechless, which anybody who knows me will tell you is remarkable.”

You don’t say

“They take it away from people, too.”

Chester’s Chophouse co-owner Bobby Lane, who says he worked hard and isn’t blase about earning the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence (the only Wichita restaurant to get the award this year) for the fifth straight year