Sullivan, Higdon & Sink lands Sonic account

WICHITA — “Route 44s for everyone!”

That’s how one Sullivan, Higdon & Sink employee heralded the news on Facebook that the agency landed Sonic as a client.

“It’s a great start for the new year,” says Lathi de Silva, vice president and director of brand reputation.

The agency’s Kansas City office will handle what’s called below-the-line communications for the chain’s 3,500 drive-ins nationwide. That includes in-store communications and any communications on Sonic lots. It also includes menu boards and any localized marketing for specific stores.

“We’re really building … what we call our food value chain practice,” de Silva says.

She says the agency serves clients from farm to fork on the food chain, such as Cargill and Borden Cheese.

“It’s just good for everybody to have these kinds of brands in our backyard,” says Sam Williams, SHS managing partner.

Though most of the work will be done in Kansas City, he says the Wichita office will offer support.

“Every time you win a national brand, it’s just huge when you’re a small, independent agency,” Williams says. “The thrill of winning never changes no matter how many times you’ve done it.”

He says the agency’s food connection goes back to the days it did print work for Pizza Hut when it was headquartered in Wichita.

“A farm-to-table strategy is very much in our DNA,” Williams says. “It’s been part of what we like to do for a long time.”

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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Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce cancels issues forum after calls of complaint

WICHITA — The Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce has canceled a federal issues forum it planned for April 19 in response to complaints from its members and U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s office.

“We’ve been well communicated with,” says Sam Williams, chamber chairman.

“It’s a political year, and we didn’t probably pay enough attention to the political ramifications.”

The chamber invited U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran to speak at the forum.

Moran and Tiahrt, both Republicans, are running against each other for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback’s seat.

Williams says the forum is meant to be a nonpolitical gathering to discuss issues in Washington that affect local businesses.

“We thought this was going to be pretty interesting just because of all the health care stuff going on,” Williams says.

With the pressure that everyone is under these days, though, he says, “Things that maybe in the past wouldn’t have been so important just get overblown.”

The forum will be rescheduled, but neither Moran nor Tiahrt will be at it.

“Bottom line?” says Todd Novascone, Moran’s chief of staff. “As of yesterday or the day before, we are disinvited.”

Regarding Tiahrt’s office, Novascone says, “I don’t want to use the word arrogant . . . but I’ve never seen pressure like that. It just kind of really shocked me.”

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You don’t say

WICHITA — “I can agree with Carl or disagree with Carl and you can all make your own mind up on which Carl.”

Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce chairman Sam Williams, speaking after Mayor Carl Brewer and Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Karl Peterjohn today at the chamber’s Chairman’s Lunch

Karl Peterjohn, onetime Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce foe, to speak at the group’s Chairman’s Lunch

peterWICHITA — When invitations recently went out for the Feb. 11 Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Chairman’s Lunch, three speakers were listed, but only two by name.

Mayor Carl Brewer will speak, as will 2010 Chamber Chairman Sam Williams.

The third speaker is the Sedgwick County Commission chairman, who at the time the invitations were printed was not yet elected.

Now he has been, and it’s Karl Peterjohn. As in the same Peterjohn who in 2008 claimed there was a “political jihad” against him by the Chamber and its political action committee.

“I was the No. 1 candidate that the Chamber opposed,” Peterjohn says.

derre“Oh . . . that is all old history,” says Chamber president and CEO Bryan Derreberry.

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