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.”

Read More »

Envision CEO is out after less than six months on the job

Clepper

UPDATED — Less than six months after becoming Envision’s president and CEO, Frank Clepper is gone.

Former board member and interim CEO John Marstall says Clepper is “off pursuing some other personal activities.”

Marstall says he won’t discuss Clepper’s departure further because it’s a personnel matter.

“I really couldn’t respond.”

Clepper couldn’t be reached for comment.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Dave Unruh, who is vice chairman of Envision’s board, says Clepper’s departure is a setback.

“Well, it presents a little bit of a challenge for us, and obviously these changes create some turmoil and uncertainty,” he says. “But we have a great mission, and we have a lot of committed leadership to our mission, and I believe we’ll survive. But it is a challenge.”

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.

Marstall is an accountant who just came off the Envision board, where he served for 13 years, including three as chairman.

“The board is real committed to finding a long-term, permanent, highly qualified CEO, so I’ve agreed to serve until that person can get on board.”

A source close to the situation says Clepper recently began a corporate restructuring. Marstall says he doesn’t know anything about that.

“I’ve been here two days, and I’m trying to learn what has been transpiring,” he says.

Unruh was aware Clepper had a restructuring plan.

“We hadn’t seen it yet, so that wasn’t a factor. Frank just wanted to experience other opportunities.”

Marstall says Envision is a “very solid operation.”

“We are financially strong and solvent.”

In spring 2011, longtime Envision CEO Linda Merrill-Parman announced her retirement due to health reasons.

Unruh says the board took its time replacing Merrill-Parman, but it won’t now.

“I would like to move fairly quickly, so I think we need to get it in gear and get after it.”