Associated Integrated Marketing CEO Bill Fialka is out as agency eliminates position

WICHITA — Most people probably didn’t notice when Bill Fialka took over as CEO at Associated Integrated Marketing – and that’s how he liked it – but now he’s gone.

“The position was eliminated,” says Shawn Steward, vice president of client service and public relations.

He won’t say if Fialka was fired.

“I’ll let people draw their own conclusions on that.”

Fialka didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Steward says the agency is restructuring. He and three other vice presidents will manage the company. They include Dave Stewart, vice president and executive creative director, Luke Gutschenritter, vice president and group account director, and Kim Weprin, vice president  of finance and human resources.

“This is not a financial decision,” Steward says. “This was a proactive decision to better allow us to operate more efficiently.”

He says, “We essentially saw a lot of duplication of effort at the management level. We felt that by eliminating the CEO level of the agency … we’re just getting the management closer to the client level and just streamlining across the board.”

Steward says the agency’s board of directors made the decision.

Fialka has been CEO since January 2010. He followed much more high-profile CEOs, including Mike Snyder and Bruce Rowley most recently. Fialka, though, deliberately avoided media and other attention.

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Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates forges new local relationships for ingredient sourcing

WICHITA – Beth Tully plans to hit a trifecta this year, and she’s already made good on her first bet.

The owner of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates has long wanted to forge more local relationships to source products and ingredients for her Bradley Fair store. She’s now accomplished that in a couple of ways.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture asked for her help with something and in return asked if she needed help with anything.

“I said, ‘Find me a … Kansas dairy that I can get fresh cream from.’”

The department suggested Hildebrand Farms Dairy, which is a family dairy farm near Junction City that Tully has enjoyed milk from in recent years.

“It had never dawned on me to even talk to them,” she says. “We buy their milk all the time because I love their glass bottles.”

Then she tried Hildebrand Farms’ cream, which she says “is unbelievable.”

“And it’s a great story,” Tully says. “It’s another cool Kansas business.”

She says she hopes to make the cream the exclusive cream she uses in her products.

“I felt really kind of dumb, honestly, that it had taken me that long to figure out they make something other than skim and whole milk. I never even connected on that,” she says. “The relationship has been great.”

When Tully lost her coffee roaster connection, she found Topeka’s PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.

“They are unbelievable,” she says. “Their coffee is amazing.”

She says there are more than 100 varieties, and the coffee bags contain guides with flavor profiles and information about what beans were used and when they were roasted.

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