Michael Monteferrante named Envision CEO

WICHITA — The fixer is back.

Michael Monteferrante, the turnaround specialist who first came to Wichita in 2003 as CEO of Optima Bus, is returning as the new president and CEO of Envision.

“It’s a nonprofit, and we didn’t know if someone with as entrepreneurial spirit as Michael has would want to make the leap to the nonprofit world,” says Sam Williams, chairman of Envision’s board.

“This opportunity I’m looking at completely different than I have at previous opportunities of employment,” Monteferrante says. “I can’t be more excited than to take all the things I’ve learned over the years and apply it to a company that helps people.”

In addition to serving the blind and low-vision community through services and education, Envision is the second-largest employer of blind and low-vision people nationally. Envision Industries has a number of production and distribution divisions.

“I’ve always been extremely passionate about the mission of Envision,” Monteferrante says.

He still remembers his first tour of the Envision plant on Water Street years ago.

“I could not tell who was blind and who wasn’t, and I just said, ‘Wow. I want to be a part of this. This is one of the most inspirational plant tours I’ve had.’”

Monteferrante sees bigger things for Envision, though.

“While it has grown – it’s grown tremendously over the years – I believe that the boundaries of growth for the mission of Envision … are endless,” he says. “I’ve always felt that the mission at Envision could be more than a Wichita-based, Kansas-based situation.”

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Logan St. Fine Wood Products to open showroom in Douglas Design District

WICHITA — About five years ago, businessman Herb Krumsick sat down his friend Tony Ferraro for a talk.

Ferraro is a contractor – his business is Ferraro’s – who started his career more than two decades earlier as a finish carpenter and cabinet maker.

“It was an interesting conversation,” Ferraro says. Krumsick pointed out that “everything I was doing was building for other people. I really wasn’t creating my own thing.”

Three months later, Ferraro stopped into a millworking shop in Belle Plaine where he lives, and the owner said everything he had was for sale.

“Next thing I know, I bought the millwork company,” Ferraro says. “It really was on a whim.”

Now, Ferraro is going a step further and opening Logan St. Fine Wood Products in Wichita to sell the high-end wood products he creates. That includes furniture, cabinets, doors, floors and staircases, among other things.

“Anything you put in a house with wood, that’s us,” Ferraro says.

The store, which opens Monday, is at 1824 E. Douglas just down from the American Red Cross Midway-Kansas Chapter. It’ll be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and by appointment on Saturdays.

Ferraro hopes to attract homeowners, designers and builders.

“It’s going to allow us to build more pieces and actually generate more work for Ferraro’s,” he says. “We can sell the product, and Ferraro’s can install it.”

Customers can buy off the showroom floor or custom order what they want.

“I tried to model it after somebody, but I couldn’t find anybody doing the same thing,” Ferraro says.

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Michael Monteferrante to become CEO of Texas-based Future Food

mmf2WICHITA — 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.

American Capital has hired Monteferrante to be CEO of Future Food in Carrollton, Texas.

“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.”

Future Foods has two major brands: Santa Barbara Bay, which includes spreads and dips, and Salads of the Sea, which has things like “krab” dip.

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