WIRE Conference Part 2

WIRE Conference Part 2


– I went over and talked
to Dr. Gery Markova, who’s an associate professor
in the School of Business, and she teaches human resources. I sat down with her and started talking
about the creative class. She said, “Oh yes, yes.” And she came up with a lot of comments that she does in her research,
which is a similar term. You already heard knowledge class, and she started talking about
this, and not only the values, but maybe they’re not as
productive as we think they are. And so we had a great discussion, and it clearly a way to
utilize the knowledge of the university and have an engagement with some businesses. So I’m very pleased that Dr.
Gery Markova will come up here and lead our panel discussion. And so with that, let me go
ahead and turn it over to you. – Okay, good morning, everyone. I’m so glad to see so many familiar faces and so many HR people. So I feel at home. We will take the discussion
down to the nuts and bolts, how do we do it, how companies do it. The creative class is a very catch name, but in the end of the day,
people make one decision at a time, and companies
make one decision at a time. So every member of the
creative class must make that decision to make which
the home or stay in which town. And that’s what we’re going to talk about. Let me introduce you to my panel, who are going to be
talking about these issues, in the order of the way they are sitting. Jennifer Rygg is the very
definition of the creative class. She’s an architect. She has worked for 16
years in large companies. And last year, she took the
leap to create her own company. She will talk about her
experiences as an employee and a member of the creative class. Jeff Weiford is the vice president of– – GLMV.
– GLMV, sorry (laughs). I do not like abbreviations. (audience laughs) It’s a very famous architecture
company here in town, and it’s the one that’s
drawing the picture for our innovative campus,
so close to my heart. He has employed many members
of the creative class. He himself is a member
of the creative class, and hopefully, we will kind
of look at the creative class, not as that homogeneous lump
of people but all the elements, and in that sense, Jennifer
Hughes is gonna help us, from High Touch, to further
discuss how the different groups within the creative class work together, and do they have the same needs? Do they make the same decisions? She’s an HR manager
and has been in Wichita for quite a while, but she
moved here from California, so she can probably talk about
her own personal decisions. And our final member, Leah Lavender is the newest member in terms of coming to Wichita. She has been here only six
months, but her enthusiasm about Wichita is contagious. So hopefully, some of us who’ve been here for a while will kind of get
more excited about being here and working here and
contributing to the community. She works with the Greater
Wichita Partnership, and she is eager to tell us more about it. So I’m gonna let her talk
about what they’re doing and why they create it and what they want to accomplish here. Okay, let’s get started. I will actually start with
Jeff and Jennifer Hughes. Talk, if you can kind of give us a sense of who are your creative class employees. And also, what are some of
the steps that you are taking in your companies to design in terms of making them attractive
for that creative class? Is it different? Is it the same? What are you guys doing? – Is it ladies first? – Ladies first.
– You bet, go right ahead. (Jennifer laughs) – Well, I work for High
Touch Technologies, and so we learned a lot
about the Three T’s, and one of those T’s is technology. And we heard a lot about
programmers, and they are a part of our creative class
and certainly are part of our creative class within High Touch. But when you think of technology,
we have several divisions within High Touch that requires
different creative classes. So you think about programming,
software developers, those are very creative in nature but think about once you
have a software program, where does it go? It’s got to go to the cloud, right? And it’s got to be managed. It’s got to be faster. So things in technology
are always changing. They didn’t hire me at High Touch for my technical abilities,
’cause I don’t have any, but what I can tell you is
it’s like a fashion trend, in terms of technology. It’s ever-changing. Back in the ’90s, we wore Birkenstocks, and guess what we’re wearing today. Well, back in the ’80s,
or when we first started with our cellular phones, how large were those
cellular phones, right? Then we wanted them super, teeny-tiny, and now look at them today? They’re growing in size. So everything is changing. So for High Touch, we
have a very diverse amount of service offerings that
are technology based. And so they require
different creative classes. So you’ve got your engineers. They’re designed to make things faster, which then requires security. And our security team is
there to protect the data that we’re putting in the cloud. Well, just think there’s hackers, right? They’re in there trying to
figure out how to break it. So the security team has to come up with faster, more innovative
ways to protect the data that we have out there. Software with our group is probably one of our creative classes. They’re supposed to help us
create things that are new. When you go to a restaurant
now, you see a kiosk. In that kiosk, you can play games. You can order food. You can then pay your bill and walk out. You don’t have to wait for the
waitress or waiter to come. Well, that’s gonna get boring. So how do our programmers
develop new things for that kiosk on the table? And that’s kind of what our developers are doing currently right now. So in our creative
class, we have engineers, we have developers, on the software side but also on the website side. Just when you get, as a business, your website up and
running, technology changes. And guess what? You have to reinvest and
re-modernize the current website. So those are the different classes that we have here in High Touch. – Good morning, I’m happy to be here. GLMV is a firm of 100 individuals. Those are professionals
as you can imagine made up of architects, interior architects, landscape architects
and interior designers. And I was real happy to hear Tim call this
class super creative. So I’ll take that back to the office and try to boost everybody’s emotions up. As Tim also mentioned, it’s
very a non-routine occupation, requiring creative problem-solving,
and that’s what we do. So when we started
talking about this panel, and the creative class, I’m
thinking well, that’s real easy, ’cause just about everybody
in our office falls in that category. But we are branching out, you know. Our job is to differentiate
ourselves from our competition. And in that role, we’ve
added a couple staff titles that you wouldn’t
necessarily expect to hear from an architecture firm, and one of those being our
Design Technology Manager. So when we talk about
building information modeling, virtual reality, things like that, we’ve got an individual
now who’s looking at that to add to our capabilities. And also we have a job title right now called the Curator of
Innovation and Partnerships. And that is a gentlemen who is kind of one our big thinkers in terms of how can we further combine
our client’s dreams with the work that we do, how can we better establish opportunities and create bolder visions. So those last two job titles that I mentioned are not
necessarily design professionals. Those are folks that we’re looking outside of the design profession to bring in to add to the conversation. And when we work, it’s very collaborative. What we like to do is form creative teams, and so those teams would
be led by a project manager that’s typically an architect. But they would have an
interior designer on the team, a landscape architect on the team, our BIM professional,
building information modeling, and we locate those folks all
together in furniture systems that are very low and
allow for conversation, because what we find is just
overhearing a conversation of your neighbor’s is gonna
add to the cooperation and collaborative nature of our projects. – Very nice, very interesting ideas, if you guys what to take notes. Jennifer, can you, and then
Leah, tell us a little bit about what does it mean to
embrace the creative class? – (laughs) It’s very hard in HR (laughs). – The other one is Jen, too. – Oh! – That’s fine. – Jen One, Jen Two. – Go for it. – Oh that, you can finish your statement. Go ahead.
– Do you want me to go first? – Yes. – Okay, well, firstly, thank
you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here in Wichita but here in the room with all of you. As Gery mentioned, I’m new to Wichita and also new to the Greater
Wichita Partnership. And for those of you who
don’t know who we are, we’re an economic development group who works alongside community
members and the business world in basically helping
fast-track economic growth through workforce
development, entrepreneurship and precisely, my job would be,
working alongside companies, to retain and recruit talent and more specifically, the creative class. So how do we embrace the creative class? That’s the question that
we’ve been talking together for the last few days. Well, I can’t really
speak for my research yet, because I’m still halfway through it. Moving here from San Francisco,
I’ve learned so many things about how firms there
are trying to attract and retain their programmers,
their developers, their engineers and their artists, and it is really thinking outside the box. How can we foster a sense of
creativity and a sense of trust in companies and in the
communities for them to be able to create
what they need to create or to find problem solving
and offering solutions? Are we creating a sense
of trust in communities where we are offering
more flexible work hours or more flexible work
arrangements for them to be able to work at night or work on the weekend or work from their laptop
anywhere in the world? So there are questions that,
I think, companies here, and across the country and
the world, are starting to think about in order
to foster that sense of creativity and trust in their companies in order to attract the creative class, since they’re a very mobile
and a very, not demanding, but they know that they’re in high demand, and they know that they can
find a job wherever they go. How can we, as a community,
look at what we can offer them in terms for them to be wanting to work here for us and with us? – Jennifer, can you share with us–
– Just elaborate, yeah. – What is the embracing for you? – So the embracing for me would be– – [Gery] Or when did you feel embraced when you worked for someone else? – Yeah, so that would be more
of the flexible schedule, I think that I know a lot of
Millennials are looking for, just being able to have that, you know, we say the life-work balance, but more, I think it’s just
being able to be feeling like you’re super creative
when you want to be and not being constrained
to certain hours. I think that was a big part of it. And then just being able
to be trust, oh sorry, just being able to have that trust between your employer and you and feeling like you’re able
to come in when you need to and be gone or have certain set schedules. But there’s just, it’s a very
fine line sometimes to walk. And sometimes that relationship
can take years to build for that to happen, but
I know these Millennials, they want it immediately,
so I think it’s trying to work with that, trying
to get them in the door and then trust and being
able to provide things for them that they’re looking for. – Very nice, Jennifer, do you want, finish your thought about how
it is from HR perspective. – Well, you know, and just
to kind of give an analogy of what Jennifer was playing on to, it’s some generations, newer generations, that are coming into market, they don’t want to live
off of a 40-hour work week, which is what we’ve always adapted to. Our salary is equated
to 40 hours per week. They want to be paid as if
it’s a 40-hour-a-week job but more paid on their production, right, of the work, their output. And so it’s how do you
take employers in HR who say, “Okay, well,
time is over 30 hours, “you get full-time. “You get benefits.” So in the HR world, it’s
how do we change everything that, our way of thinking, our
way of business philosophies and our policies and all
of that to kind of create that culture for the younger generations, but oh, don’t forget, we
still have Baby Boomers, that they like structure. They like to come in. They like the eight-to-five
or the seven-to-four or the nine-to-six. They want to come in. They want to get their job done. That’s that happy work-life balance and make it fair, right, because we have to be
consistent in our processes as HR or as employers, which is something that’s what we thrive off of as a company. So High Touch has a very
diverse group in terms of age. We have our newer generations coming in, and we have our, I guess,
traditional or older generations that are still there. And how do we make them work well together and play nicely together? And I think we’ve come a long way in our custom development team. We have a director who is kind of between Gen X and Millennials. So he’s bringing a different look and saying, “Hey, we have
a new group of developers “who can come in and train “on the more hip, cool, modern technology. “But yet, we need your expertise, “because you have a
knowledge that is so broad, “in terms of a point-of-sale system,” which is a system that
we use to exchange money, which every company needs. “So how can we take your
experience and train you “on this new, fancy modern
language and be hip, “and then how do you train
the younger generation “on the knowledge that you have?” And there’s some real synergy there, and it’s working very
well with our organization and playing board games, too. – Interesting. (audience laughs) Leah opened the conversation
to our next segment about recruitment and retention. Creative class, especially
the best of them, know that they’re in high demand and employers are going
to compete for them. So what do we do, and what
companies in Wichita should do, to recruit and retain the best talent? Jeff, do you want to take it first? – Absolutely, sure. We want to look at it
as a holistic approach when we look to retain and get talent. We want the work to be exciting. We want the work to be
innovative and diverse. So in order for us to do that, we have to look at
different market sectors. We specialize in six
different market sectors, a little bit of something for everybody. Some people might be
interested in zoo design. Some people might be
interested in aviation work. We’ve got four other
segments of specialties that we can use to recruit those folks. We want to keep things fresh. We host monthly, what we call GLMVU, or GLMV University, events
over the lunch hour, where we’re taking a different
facet of our business and making it multi-generational,
in terms of the input. Once a month, we do TED
Talks, where we take two or three different topics. Typically, it’s based on
design or presentation skills or the environment or something like that and then have a conversation
after those talks. We allow for remote logins
for folks if they need to work from home or
while they’re traveling. Talking about eight-to-five, last summer, we moved to summer hours, so we were able to take a half day off on Fridays, which was pretty on-the-edge for us. (audience laughs) But it was very successful, and I think we will continue
that this coming summer. – Very nice, and Jennifer. – You know, we talked about
eight-to-five and nine-to-six. We changed our policy to where
we allow more flexibility. We’re not necessarily counting the time. Our supervisors drive that. We have, what we call, an
all-included PTO bucket, so it’s no longer separated
by you have one week vacation. You accrue PTO, and if you
have it, you can take it. We don’t need a reason. If it’s a lazy day, it’s a lazy day. But we want to make sure
that we limit the amount of lazy days that you have, of course, (audience laughs) and save for those rainy
days when you are sick, and you really need them. We definitely listen to
our employees who say, “I don’t want to go back
for a four-year degree. “I want to change technology,” either in engineering side, or you want to go in the software side. Well, some of our engineers
want to go to software, but they don’t want to go
back for a four-year degree. So when I started with High
Touch, we worked together with some of the universities and groups to kind of come around and work with the educational sectors, or universities, excuse me, and said, “How can we
offer certification classes “that really get them exactly
what they’re looking for, “so we could try to change
them and transition them “into a new career path?” And that has been very helpful. Business savviness, you
know, some individuals that were coming into the workforce, they were great at doing,
and passionate about, doing what they signed up. They didn’t really know
how the business ran, the cost of things. How do we take this and try to keep money
towards the bottom line? How do we streamline processes? So we went through
financial literacy training, which not only helped them understand how to read an income statement,
how to forward forecast. It’s helping them personally
with their financials. So they’re understanding
how the business works. “Well, now that I know this, “how can I help my
personal finances work?” And that’s been good. And having ownership, we’re
an employee-owned company. So I think that has a lot going for us, but we’re all entrepreneurs. How can we grow this? We have an ESOP, which is
just like stock options that are given to us. So how do we hire Millennials,
but say this ESOP, you’re not gonna see the benefits today, but just think in 20 years, or 30 years, when you’re with a company, what you can potentially
cash out as a pension, and trying to educate them on that. So those are just a few things. We haven’t really
embraced the Beer Friday. (audience laughs) Maybe Near Bear, I don’t know. I have a hard time swallowing
those types of things, because there’s rules for a reason. And so sometimes we forget
why we said no drinking on the job, and then when we allow it, then you never know what’s gonna happen. Then we go, “Oh yeah, that’s
why we had no drinking “on the job.” So, you know, dang HR,
but we don’t do that. But we do try to encourage
fun, fun activities, fun games. During the day, we have an OT Fun Club, where we do different
activities, and one is Bingo. So we just, every once in a
while, shoot out an email. Here’s the widget is what we call it. And if you have Bingo,
we give them prizes. And we meet every month for Town Hall. So we try to have that synergy. We have some groups
that play poker during, not gambling real money, but
they play poker or board games or just do things that
help them have fun at work, ’cause it’s all about
enjoying where you go to work. You’re away from your family, but you’re providing for your family, but how can you make it fun? – I’m gonna step in real quick. We are also an ESOP, which I
think is pretty interesting in our talking, and they’re very similar in terms of the education
opportunities that we have to do to educate our employees
about the benefits of ESOP. And for Millennials it is tough, because it’s such a long-range outlook that they have to take. But I think that goes into making sure that we hire the right people. We do support a Beer Friday We have two microbreweries very close. They’re within walking distance
of our office, but I think– – [Jennifer H.] Is this televised? (all laugh) – [Gery] It will be. – [Jennifer R.] It’ll be edited. Nothing wrong with beer. – And we’ll get to it, but I do think that creates a nice creative cluster in the Douglas Design District,
where we’re at right now. – I just really wonder
if we have microbrewery on the innovation campus, if faculty will be more productive. (audience laughs) – I think so.
– Just a thought. Leah, do you think that
these fun activities on work will increase the
retention and recruitment and kind of the overall
interest towards companies? – I just want to clarify, as a Millennial, that we’re really not
looking for a free ride or just to play at work. But the idea that we are
part of the company culture, the idea that we are, as a
person, respected and wanting to be integrated into the
community and being engaged in the community is
what we are looking for. It could be Beer Friday, or it
could be playing board games, or it could be just monthly
outings with the company. It doesn’t have to
necessarily include alcohol. I think it’s just the idea of
collaboration and engagement within each other and the
company and just mentorship and just really feeling
part of a community. I think a lot of people who move to cities like Wichita
need probably an extra push to be able to integrate and
feel connected to other people. So I really do invite HRs
in companies to think about what kind of opportunities
do newcomers have in order to just, not just take the
job for a couple of years and already plan what their next move is, but to really see Wichita as their home. That’s also encouraging staff
to engage in the community. There are so many opportunities
to be part of boards, whether it’s creative boards or not, whether it’s not-for-profit or
just volunteering in general. We have Final Fridays. We so many arts boards. We have Tallgrass Film Festival. There’s so many opportunities that Millennials want to know about and want to know that
they’re not gonna just come and do their work and just go home. So that’s really what I
feel people are looking for, a sense of community and
a sense of belongingness. And I think it’s a community
effort, not just for HR to tell them about those opportunities, but for us in general and
hopefully through my job, do that in order to foster
a sense of Wichita is home, not just a pit stop. – Jennifer Rygg, do you
think that the company or the community or
something else will bring that creative class here
and retain the same people? Is there some magic bean
that you know about? (Jennifer R laughs) – The magic bean. I would say for Millennials
and even, I would say, I don’t what my age group is, a little older than Millennial, that it’s the opportunity to stand out in a smaller community. I think Leah and I were talking, we’re the big fish in the
small pond almost, we can be, which allowed me to just say okay, I’m just gonna do this thing
and step out on my own, because the community
here really embraces that. We have, what does that say, oh, like, we have 1 Million Cups. We have e2e Accelerator. We have all of these new kind of entities to kind of push this
entrepreneurial spirit. And I think that might be
the magic bean for Wichita for this being able to financially do it. I mean, I think in San
Francisco, New York, Seattle, those might be places
where it’s just too costly to start something, and here, I think the opportunity is really great. – I would like to note, we talk a lot about bringing in talent. And I think we will be doing that, and we should be doing that, but we also have a lot of talent here. I’ve had the opportunity to visit schools, high schools and middle
schools in Wichita, and we have some amazing STEM and art programs in our schools, and how do we retain those
high school students? Because trust me, at the age of 15, if they don’t see opportunities,
or they don’t see ways that they’re being embraced,
they’ve already decided to leave and go to a bigger city or a city where they can have
those diverse experiences, have that opportunity to
create the new thinking process where they can actually be creative. We have so many opportunities from, you know, Workforce Alliance
has a summer youth program. Are we hiring potential engineers
or potential scientists? I know YPW and WSU have
opportunities for young people in high school or at universities to experience the real, practical world. So there are so many options out there that we could right now work with retaining our future talent, that we could focus on right now as we’re looking at
attracting from the outside. But I really do think
about how are we utilizing those programs now in Wichita? – Very nice. My panel really wants to
talk about the community, but I will take you back in the companies, one decision at a time. (panel laughs) And just want to hear a little
bit about the successes, in terms of recruitment,
whether it’s local recruitment or national recruitment,
because oftentimes, with the creative class, we
go for national recruitment. It’s much easier, and there
are fewer boundaries now. So Jeff, do you have
any, what are those thing that you’ve been successful
with recruitment? In our conversation, you
mentioned that most of the time, when you’re successful to
bring somebody from outside, there’s a Midwest connection. Can you elaborate a little bit? – Sure, be happy to. Last year, we hired 11 new
employees in our company, which was representative of
substantial growth for us. That was a mix of new hires
from colleges in the Midwest. So as you can imagine, we
hit K State, we hit KU. We hit Iowa State. We go down to Texas. Some of those new hires
were from colleges. Others were hires from
architectural firms in our areas. We picked up three key employees from another architectural
firm this past year, all licensed architects. Then we hired also from the
general contracting community, as well as we did two new hires using, from outside, from outside our region, where we used a headhunter to find, and those individuals, we were looking for particular skill sets, a little bit more
experience in a market type. I’ll tell you that one has
worked out and one hasn’t. And part of that had to do with the fact that one brought their family with them, and the other one did not. So it makes a difference. As I mentioned to you, our best
success is from individuals that have some tie to the Midwest. We do love to hire people locally. Those are, if you’re from
Wichita, if we can hire you as an intern from one of the colleges, that is our absolutely best
retention that we have, as far as employees go. – And from an HR perspective, this is also cheaper
and easier, so (laughs). Jennifer, do you have, in your experience, when you’re hiring from
outside of Wichita, when the retention rate is higher, do you have some success
or failure stories you would like to share? – High Touch primarily tries to hire within the community and keep it local, but there are some times where we have to go outside of Wichita. We’ve mainly, however, because
we have seven locations, we don’t do a whole lot of hiring and bringing them in or relocating them. If we do, we’re bringing
it within the company. So we have seven locations
across the Midwest, so we’re trying to transfer somebody from another location in. And so I think that has helped. That’s been successful for us. Where we struggle, I
think, or where I struggle, or where HR struggles,
is the development world. We are now having to
go outside of Wichita. And I’m currently recruiting right now, and there’s just different language, more modern language, that’s just not here or just not enough on-the-job experience with the individuals that
we have in our community. So it’s trying to work with
those individuals, local, try to get them the experience they need. There are several
different types of groups that have formed to try
and grow and be mentored. But it’s not (fingers snap) a quick-fill for us here locally. We’re having to outsource
and bring them in or hiring contractors
from outside of Wichita, and then there’s the working remote. We have to hire them, but they don’t get that on-site building
relationship with the team. They’re through video web
conferencing, which is fine. That’s the areas where we
struggle with is the programming. – Okay, because everybody wants
to talk about the community, I’m just going to–
– I am so sorry. (panel laughs) – So in the rest of the
conversation, we will talk about why the creative class
wants to function here. Is it beneficial to have
a creative class cluster? How employers and the community
can benefit from that. So Jennifer, do you want to
comment a little bit about how the community can help to create that creative class cluster and
how that might be beneficial for you as a member of the creative class or as a small company now, on your own, who may need to hire very soon. – Right? – Hopefully. – Yeah, I mean, the work is
out there, let me tell you. I have experience. Yeah, I’m ready to hire, so (laughs). (audience laughs) I’ve always been involved in
community projects in the city. I’ve always embraced
that as something that, as being part of a
community, even as a worker or as an employer or the employee, that community engagement
makes you invested in your city, and I think that’s where you’ll keep your Millennials to stay, because if they invest in the city, then they feel a part of something. I loved volunteering for
Tallgrass Film Festival. That was the best thing
for any new Millennial, or any newcomer, like Leah,
you’d be interested in this, that people coming into
our city kept saying, “We’ve never been to the Midwest. “This is exciting. “We’ve never been here, wow.” They were thrilled with
what Wichita was like. They had no idea. And they were just excited that it was just something
they’d never seen before. But they were really excited about how open our community was, how engaging, how nice, how friendly, so just being involved
in events like that. I also was part of a Bike Walk Wichita. We started a cycling alliance
running group with the city. I know a lot of Millennials
that like to bike, and they want to commute. They want a different
way of transportation. They want to see the city as if you’re in a bigger New York or a
San Francisco, like to try to bring some of those things to Wichita, and just that community involvement. There’s the art museums,
Douglas Design District. There are so many things
that people can get involved in here with the community
but just how that, and then on the flip side, for me, if I have that
creative class staying here for all of that, that
just helps my business, helps me find creatives who
can also collaborate on design and be able just to bring
a different perspective, Just different ages, they’re
obviously gonna bring something different,
especially if they’re not from here, to the scene. – So Leah, how do you
think we create a cluster, whether there are more singular clusters within a specific industry or just a general cluster
of creative class? – I think there are already
opportunities for people to come together and collaborate. I mean, I did mention
a few boards earlier, but also there are multiple
industry-specific groups that come together and collaborate. There are opportunity to
network around the city. There are coding groups. Like, they have ICT that come together and collaborate and work together. I think in order to create
that sense of cluster, people need to find
people who are like them, who have similar interest, who have similar wants and to get together and start creating this
kind of environment. And it’s already there, but
one, are we communicating to the rest of the people? So people who are considering
moving to Wichita, or even considering leaving Wichita, do they know about all
these opportunities? Are we communicating it to HR and then HR communicating
it to their companies? Or how are we ensuring
that the community knows about all those opportunities? And are we offering a
diversity of experience? We’ve got the art scene, and
we’ve got movie theaters, and we’ve got some Broadway
shows that come in, but do we have a wide range of activities that people could do in
order to find themselves and feel like they could
be part of the city? – And just to kind of add,
’cause we talk a little bit about is HR aware? And that’s great for bringing
folks into our community. But as we talk in terms
of retaining, you know, parents, are we educating the parents on the opportunities that
their students have to stay? Are we letting them know
of the hire youth program through the Wichita Workforce? Are we talking to teachers
and saying how can we work with the parents of our young adults to help let them know? I’m a prime example. My daughter’s 17, and she plays softball. And she’s got a scholarship with the university in South Carolina. So she will be leaving in a year. How did I fail her to say,
“This is a great community, “great college opportunities
here in Wichita.” “No, Mom, I want to go out. “I want to explore.” So I think about, when
we talk about retaining, it’s got to come from our
youth, from that level, and are we letting the parents know what we can offer our children here? – Well, the good news is
that if she comes back, she will be just so much more enriched with experiences from out there. – Sure. – So we don’t want just
people who stay here and just stay here. We want kind of that
movement of ideas and growth. Just a pep talk for her, because– – Thank you. (all laugh) – She’ll come, we’ll bring her back. – We’ll bring her back. – Jeremy allowed me to
be a little bit messy. I’m going to start asking
the tough questions now. Do we present Wichita the right way? Do we give the realistic
picture of what Wichita is, what the culture is? And I will share just a
couple of my experiences. Before I came here, I did
very extensive research. I tend to do very extensive research when I’m interested in
something, and I will be honest. I had no idea how deep and
complex the culture here is, how long it took me to actually understand and connect with local people. For the longest time, most of my friends were implants like me. So I think sometimes,
Wichita is more complex than people see from outside. Even though we’re in the prairie, we are not prairie women anymore. (panel laughs) Do we present Wichita correctly? Do we sometimes oversell it, because we feel like we have to? Or do we undersell it? What do you think, Jeff? – We absolutely undersell ourselves. And I think the Chung Report
would say the same thing. And it has said the same thing. So we absolutely need to sell
ourselves in a better way. I think we, and I’ll just
dovetail with what Jennifer said. We have to work on parents of
our youth to upsell our city. This is a city absolutely that young professionals can thrive in, because I truly believe this
is the perfect size city for young professionals to
make a noticeable difference, a big impact at an early age, and Leah’s a perfect example of that. We need to find our brand, and I think that goes with saying hey, we’re a very cost-effective solution, high-talent, cost-effective solution. And I’m gonna go off in a little tangent. I think high-tech
manufacturing is creative class in this city that we need to acknowledge. The technology that we have and the folks that know the materials is absolutely part of that creative class, and
we need to work with them, and that goes along with those clusters of creativity and your question about is it singular clusters of same types? No, it’s absolutely not. It has to take a mix, and I’m encouraged by the folks that are here today. We’ve got Sonia Greteman, Don McGinty. We’ve got the reverie in our area. I think that the Douglas
Design District is a microcosm of, I think, what we need to
do in the rest of the city, Innovation Campus being one of them, the Delano area, Commerce District, the Douglas Design District. They’re all those that we need to promote, and we need to have parents sell to our youths those areas as far as what we can do to be innovative. – I really want to echo Jeff and Jen. I mean, the parents are really important, but I think the community
as a whole, like, in my conversation with people,
when I first moved here, they said, “What have you
done wrong in the world “to end up in Wichita? “You grew up in Abu Dhabi, “then lived in San
Diego and San Francisco. “What have you done to your husband “for him to bring you back to Wichita?” And we came back to Wichita
because of the ability for people our age in
our part of our career to make a difference. When we looked at all the opportunities for people in their 20s and
their 30s to sit on boards, make an impact in the community,
Wichita was open to that. So that’s why we’re here. But everybody in the first couple of months I was here was
really surprised why we chose to come back after living in
bigger, more vibrant cities. So we’re all ambassadors,
right, to Wichita. Parents are, HRs are,
because they’re recruiting, but we are all ambassadors. And the way we talk about
our city and react to what happens in our city is reflected to people who are here visiting or people who are even
considering coming into Wichita. There’s a procession task
force that is meeting and addressing how we
think of Wichita internally and how we could paint a
picture of Wichita externally, so people can have an
image of what Wichita is, like what is our culture. And so there are people coming
together, working on that. I’m sure they’ll have more
to share once they’re ready to share that, but there
are people working hard in creating our perception of Wichita. So I’m excited to see
what comes out of that. – You can talk.
– I was just gonna dovetail on that perception. It’s the perception that when you’re growing up as a kid here. So I grew in Wichita, and
I went away for college and came back and actually
quit my job at one point, and I was gonna leave and move
to Seattle, a bigger city. And I actually ended up staying and just took a different job opportunity, ’cause I just always felt that
there was something more here that I needed to investigate still. But it’s that perception of growing up. You grow up in the suburbs. You grow up outside. I didn’t even know what downtown was when I was in high school. I didn’t know anything really
about the downtown area. So I love bringing my nieces who live out in Andover to downtown. They think it’s really cool
to walk to go to a restaurant. So just encouraging that perception of the suburbs are just being
on the outskirts of the city and not being downtown and kind of pulling that community center
back into their kind of, even constantly starting it when they’re five, six,
seven, eight years old, reminding them that
there is actually a city, that they’re a part of something larger than their school or
their smaller community. – You know, this is more
of a personal opinion. We talk a little bit about
arts being huge to have, but I really think food (laughs), food. – [Gery] (laughs) It was about time. – We are culturally rich here. And we have an office in San Antonio, so we’ve got the River Walk. And well, we have a
river, a beautiful river. But I just think we’re
so culturally rich here, and we’ve come far in the 10
years that I’ve been here, but I like to see that step up even more, make it more encouraging
for people to come here and just taste the different taste of the world here in Wichita, right. – When we’re talking oftentimes
about the creative class, we assume that every member of the creative class is vegan-eating, bike-riding, size two Millennial. Most of the creative class
probably will live eventually in the suburbs, and while I love the arts, not big on concerts, but love
the arts, most of the time, I’m packing school lunches in the evening, so lots of things are happening downtown, but my lifestyle, at
that point, of my life, it just doesn’t allow me to participate. But I would like to have
something on Saturday morning that I can engage the kids,
because just life stages. And I would like for us to think about the creative class
a little bit broader, multi-generational, because
even the Millennial will get to our stage (laughs). – [Jennifer H.] Oh no. – It will be pushed away
from the next generation, by the next generation. – [Jennifer H.] Can I get that in writing? – With that said, I’m
going to break the rules and open to the audience, so we can engage a little
bit more and not just, I mean, and so you can answer
questions from the audience. I’ll moderate that, right? Okay, so questions? We’ll do the same way as Jeremy. Just stand up, ask a
question, I’ll repeat it, and we’ll go from there. If there are no questions,
I’m a professor, so I will call on you. (all laugh) Do you have a question? Yes, please. – [Brian] I’m Brian Rawson (mumbles), of you were hiring international students? – Mm hmm, yes. – I will repeat the question. Brian Rawson is faculty in
the Barton School of Business. He’s asking if any of you is
hiring international students. – Yes, High Touch has recently hired, in the past few months, in development. So it was a great experience, and we absolutely love our new hire. – [Gery] Do you sponsor
them for immigration status? – Yes, mm hmm. – [Leah] That’s amazing. – This is wonderful (laughs). We want to see more of that as
we saw the research earlier. – We’ve done the same. – Okay, wonderful. Any other questions? Yes, sir. (audience member mumbles) – [Audience Member] And
this question’s more for Leah and for Jennifer. I want to hear more about your thoughts about changing the perception. I think that you’ve both known
from the outside looking in, that you were talking about
changing the perceptions from (mumbles) and growing up there in the same way (mumbles). It always intrigued me that I had peers that couldn’t wait to get out. They’d been here a while (mumbles), and change your perception. What are your thoughts on that? – What are your thoughts about
changing the perspective? And he mentioned that he has peers who couldn’t wait to leave Wichita. – I will tell you that
those who couldn’t wait to get out have all come back (laughs). I’ve had a lot of friends in my class. I went to two different grade schools, so I kind of lost track of some of them but have reconnected as they all came back to either be with parents, it
was a family tie sometimes, pulling them back here, but
I think they also remember that Wichita just was
a great place to live. But it is, that perception is really hard. Someone told me once, “You’re like the ambassador of Wichita, “because you’re constantly
trying to get people “to go do something new.” And it is. It’s the bigger cities, everything kind of gets
dropped in your lap. They tell you oh, everything,
the theater, all the movies, everything to go see, it’s
all just ready available for you to just go pick and choose. Wichita, it’s kind of a little harder. I wish we could improve
upon this a little bit, but it’s that you have
to actually be proactive in going to see what’s
out in your community. So I think that’s part of
the perception change is that people just don’t think
there’s anything going on. Well, I haven’t been to
downtown in 10 years, ’cause there’s nothing going on. They just haven’t made the action to go actually look for that. I mean, there is something to
do two or three nights a week. I live downtown and near the Orpheum, so I constantly see tons
of traffic, lots of people, always walking around. And I feel like I’m actually
living in a real community. I think perception-wise, I
think it’s pulling those people from the suburbs, or even from downtown, or from your office even. There’s people I’ve worked
with that had no idea. “What, we have a Tallgrass Film Festival? “What’s that?” So just engaging your
co-workers, your employers, friends, and just letting
them know about other things that are in the community,
I think is one way to help change that perception. – Yeah, I agree with what Jennifer said. Being aware of what’s
happening in Wichita, what are the different
experiences that you can have? But for me, I think,
the way we can address internal perception is
starting really young, starting at schools, and I
know I brought it up earlier. But how are we showing
students from elementary school that they are part of a community. Are we having school visits
for business leaders? Or are we having an
internship when they’re young? Are they working during the summer? Are they volunteering? Do they feel part of a community? Do they feel like Wichita is a place where they can experiment
with their ideas, that they can start their
business if they want when they grow up, or they
can experience everything a bigger city has to experience? And I believe we do have opportunities, maybe more are needed,
but it is engaging them from a very young age. And so back to Jennifer,
if your child is bored during the summer, or if your child sees that other cities have more to offer, they’re gonna decide to leave, and they’re gonna start
putting Wichita down. I don’t think young kids,
you know, really young kids, have something against Wichita. They probably love it, ’cause it’s home. But it’s as they grow older, and they start comparing
it with other cities, that our perception, I believe, goes down. And so communication and
opportunities for engagement is what I think would the
best way to address it. – Okay, another question? Yes, sir. – [Darren] Hi, my name is Darren. I’m actually an HR student
at WSU and (mumbles). – That’s very exciting to hear. (all laugh) – [Darren] There’s a lot of demand, so. – That’s even more exciting, yes. – Yes, sir. – [Darren] This probably isn’t
the most elegant question, but I just recently moved downtown. Actually, I’m moving next
week into (mumbles) commerce. So you know, it’s a great area. There’s lots of things to do. I know that Wichita’s become
more and more exciting, especially being as I’m moving. So I graduate in a year. What advice would you guys
have for someone like me who yeah, my family’s here. I’ve got roots. I’m in an exciting new building. Yeah, whatever, but yet,
I want to move to Texas, somewhere else, just
to build my own roots. What advice do you have to help me kind of overturn those emotions? – Well, some things, oh, do you want– – I’ll just repeat the question. Darren, who’s an HR student. – She’s ready to go. – I’m ready. – Yes. (audience laughs) Is about to move downtown. He’s about to graduate
from our HR program. And he’s asking what
advice you have for him to stay in Wichita, rather
than move to Dallas. – Well, I think, on a personal level, understand where your roots come from, and there are some importance there. But also understand what
you get with bigger cities, things that you haven’t
yet been introduced to. Your rent, for example,
will go up significantly. And so a lot of people see dollar signs when they say oh, I can
move to a bigger city, and I’m gonna make x dollars. I get that all the time
when I’m recruiting people. I’ve gotten it as soon as yesterday, where we have some folks, I
don’t know what’s going on in Missouri, but I ran
into three yesterday that’s saying, “Oh, I’d
love this opportunity, “but too bad it’s not in Missouri, “because I’m leaving to go
to Missouri in the summer.” What does Missouri have
that we don’t have? (audience laughs) Right, it’s kind of an odd thing. I’m gonna research that, but I don’t know. But a big city, you know, San Francisco, you could probably weight in, you know, you’ve got traffic, let me tell ya. If you’ve never sat in an
hour-and-a-half traffic, bumper-to-bumper, you haven’t lived. (audience laughs) That’s three hours of
your day sitting in a car, and you can only hear Adele so many times in that hour-and-a-half when
you’re trying to get to work. So just think that things
are, while the city’s bigger, things aren’t always greener
and bigger on the other end. So understand that quality
of life is important. The work-life balance, if you’re spending an
hour-and-a-half in traffic, that’s not really work-life balance. You get home after dark
in some parts of the year. But just understand
that this is a community where you have so many
opportunities to get involved. And I’m gonna say community, I’m sorry.
– Just say it. – But that’s what our Millennials want. You could participate on boards. I have several boards that I participate, and I’d love to hear
what your interests are and how I can get you more
involved in the community. You can’t get that in Los Angeles. I was there, I lived there. I moved to Greenville, South Carolina, and Greenville has come a very long way since I’ve been there, 10 years ago, but they still don’t have
what we have here in Wichita. – I think community
support, in bigger cities, you will have probably
more options of restaurants and more options of entertainment, but the community support,
like the support that I’ve seen from entrepreneurs in Wichita,
if you go to 1 Million Cups or other events like that,
it’s probably gonna be harder to find in bigger cities. Quality of life, definitely,
I was in LA a couple of weeks ago, I spent
four hours in the car from the airport to my uncle’s home. So that wasn’t fun. I can’t believe people
do that on a daily basis. There’s nothing wrong with your thoughts. I just wanted to clarify that. I’ve moved five times in my 20s. I’m not advocating everybody should move, but there’s nothing wrong
with you wanting to compare, and there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to try out something new, if
you want, for a little bit. But Wichita, I feel,
will offer you that kind of community support, that
ability to engage and be on board at a very young
age, to have a voice in some of those conversations
and those decisions. – And you’re in HR, so
we want to keep you here. (audience laughs) – My only thing is travel. Living here gives you, I
think, a better opportunity to be able to travel. So I think you can kind of feed that bug that you may have to move
and live somewhere else by being able to
financially live here well and being able to travel and
to visit places more often. I guess that’s how I
kind of balance out that, that part of it. – I will give you a, when
I moved here in 2006, after six, seven months,
I started thinking what on earth did I do, why? But then I spent one
week in New York for work and that was the time when
everything turned around for me. I just came back and I was like, “I think I made a good choice.” (all laugh) So maybe we should send
everyone who has doubts, a few days in New York,
or a few days in Dallas. Dallas traffic is horrendous. – Or Atlanta traffic.
– And then when you come back, you really appreciate it. So there are good things. – And Wichita airport is amazing. I know we don’t have a
lot of direct flights, and that was one of the first things that really ticked me off,
having family overseas, having to take three flights to get home. It’s not amazing. But at least, you go through
security in five minutes. They’ve got a smile. You don’t feel like you’re a criminal. In other places, you’ll be
in security for two hours. Yes, they’ve got direct flights, but then by the time you
get on your 24-hour flight, you’re grumpy, right. So I feel like we do have the privilege of having a smaller airport
but with friendlier staff and a way easier process to get on board. – And it only took ten
minutes to get there. – Yes. – Easy airport. – Okay, other questions? Yes, ma’am. – Brandy, in ICC. First of all, I love Wichita, but I’ve been here a little
less than five years, and I’m gonna say my best descriptor of Wichita is this is a silo city. Like, you don’t know
what’s going on next door. And I’ve worked really
hard to get involved and meet people and become associative, and I love it, but how do
we break down these walls. For example, my son’s a fencer,
and everybody says to me, “We have fencing in Wichita?” – Yeah. – I mean, there’s all those things where you feel like
anything you’re involved in, you have to be in a fast lane, but why aren’t we sharing those things? What is the cultural gap I’m missing here that we’re not breaking down the walls? – How do we take the silos in Wichita down so different sub-communities can interact and know about each other? – That’s a tough one.
– I think it goes on, but I think it’s more of an
effective communications. Maybe we need to work
on how we communicate. We have several different partnerships that go more regional,
right, so not just High Touch or, you know, not just Wichita,
not High Touch, excuse me, but how we can connect
with them regionally. I think it’s 50-50, though. I think it’s not our
responsibility to go after them. I think the other communities
need to come together in our region and try to grow. If you want something,
why not go to Wichita and ask for their help, or how we can get people more involved. – I agree, ’cause I keep hearing about why don’t we have an app or a website or something where everything’s
on it, all the events, and it sounds great,
but I’m trying to think if other cities I’ve lived in have that. I don’t know if it exists
anywhere in the world, where you can go in one
place and have everything that is happening
everywhere in a city listed. I think there is room for us to grow, in terms of how we communicate
what’s happening in Wichita, but I also feel there
needs to be a willingness and a desire to want to learn more, to want to be like let’s learn
more about my city today. Let’s do something
different this Saturday. You know, we’ve done the zoo 15 times. It’s an amazing zoo, but
what can I do this weekend that is different. So I think there’s a two-way, I feel. We need to be a bit more
transparent, I mean, better about communicating
what’s available. And I think we’ve already been doing it, but how could we keep refining it. But we also need to want to know more about something, I feel. I don’t know. I’m trying to think of other cities and what they’re doing in that regards. – Actually, I have an, thank
you so much for this question. I have a question for Jeff
and probably Jennifer Rygg. Do you think that it’s not a part of the Wichita culture
to brag about ourselves or maybe to even tell others what we do? So maybe if people involved
in fencing advertise it and promote it, then everybody will know. But I have learned, over time,
that people don’t really talk about themselves in great terms, because it’s really not
a part of the culture. It’s not considered so acceptable as it will be maybe in Texas. – Yeah (laughs). (all laugh)
– I love people in Texas. – I think we’re a more humble people, maybe that’s why.
– Humble, yes. It is a part of the culture, and it’s a beautiful characteristic. – But, yes, but, yeah, that’s true. I get told that personally a lot. I don’t toot my own horn many times. And now I took on my own company. And people are like, “You did what?” I’m like, “I know, I know.” And I’m like I should, but
yeah, that’s a good point. It’s trying to promote
ourselves and just not. I guess there’s probably
a good way of doing that, a diplomatic way of bringing
up fencing to other people without sounding pompous or,
“This is what I’ve been doing.” Just not getting that way. – Well, Brandy, my son
plays lacrosse, you know, and it’s two teams in the city. – Now we know. – I know, I was gonna say. I know there’s lacrosse here. I had a neighbor who did that. – No, we, uh, I’m sorry,
I interrupted you. – No, no, no, go. – We are too humble on a personal level, but what I think we need to do is pump ourselves up on our actions. And I think the new airport
is a perfect example of that. It’s a world-class airport. I think our zoo is world-class. – Yes. – And I think what’s going to happen at the Innovation Campus is world-class. I do think that as a
city, our leaders need to do a little bit more
promotion in that area. There’s a lot of good opportunities
coming up for the city with potentially a new convention center, a new performing arts area,
new downtown baseball. – [Jennifer H.] NCAA. – NCAA is a perfect opportunity for us to showcase our actions. And our actions are the
city that we live in. Any chance we get, I
know it’s uncomfortable for people to say, “Well,
I’m super at this.” But we can say, “Take a look at this “as what we’ve accomplished.” – [Gery] Yeah, wonderful idea. John. – [John] Hi there, John Kirk, Wichita State University (mumbles). There seems like there’s
a lot of competition for the creative class and everything. If you’re really good at it,
and you’ve worked for 10 years as a programmer or a
professional for many years, do you want a person to retire you, or by that (mumbles), maybe
you don’t want him to. (John mumbles) There seems to be an assumption that, it was an earlier question (mumbles). Most all of us work and live within a couple of
miles, but not all of us. Is there, within Wichita, will it be okay if we had more firms, with
companies with employees who work on location? What has been happening
more companies want to do more than (mumbles) for freelancers who actually wind up flying out of our wonderful airport and
going to other locations. – Do you want to repeat it or just answer? – It was a long question. (all laugh) – It was a lot. (all laugh) Put you on the spot. – What is better for us, to
have people who work remotely and contribute to our company, so do we want more freelancers who work for companies outside of Wichita? – So for High Touch, I think
we like more community, individuals within the community. Where we go remote are
more of contract work, so they’re not really long term. Although, we do have remote employees that have been with the company 10 years that work from their home. But sometimes, we’re forced
to go out and work remote, because we have such a
small, tight time frame, in terms of our recruiting
time, to get somebody on board, ’cause we have to get
projects going and moving. So sometimes, it’s not
necessarily the easy button, but it’s a more quick, fast way so that we can get the right talent in and start working on those
projects that are due within a six-month period. So I think for us, we want
to hire people within, or we want to relocate people here, to enrich our community,
but we want to make sure when we relocate them here,
we want them to stay here, and so that’s a very
unique recruiting process, to make sure that you’re hiring a person who walks and talks and says,
“Oh, I’ll be there forever.” But when they show up,
sometimes it’s not the case. – At the Greater Wichita
Partnership, when we have companies that are considering
opening a branch here, or relocating here, they’re
first question is talent. They’re no longer looking at
real estate or tax incentive. Those will help, but the first question is if we relocate here, are
we gonna find the talent? You know, they see that we
have pretty low unemployment. And most people, who they’re
looking for already have a job. Are we gonna be able,
as a community, but also as an organization, to help
them fill in their position? So I don’t know what comes first. I don’t have an answer to that. But I know that until we
can prove to the companies that people want to move here, that will help them find the right talent for their positions,
it’s gonna be really hard for companies to want to
relocate, or expand, in Wichita. And so, that’s something to consider. They want people, again,
community, a sense of community, they want people here
on the ground working and contributing to the city as well. – And on an individual level, I’d say yes, we’d like to have people work remotely and then come check us out, you know, come to the home office and get a feeling of what it is to be here. And I think they’ll want to stay. – Very nice. You. – [Katie] Katie, and
I’m from Wichita State. But it’s really just years
of recruiting in Wichita. We can recruit talent in Wichita, and I think you guys have
hit on a lot of the elements where we are and we can sell more. And I think a lot of us have
been here for a lot of years. And we’ve never lived somewhere else. And we’re very comfortable with that, and we’re very comfortable
without knowing everything that’s going on in the city. And we don’t want to get involved with everything–
– That’s true. – [Katie] That’s going on in the city. So we don’t see that as a problem. But we have to be very intentional when we’re recruiting people in Wichita and be realistic about what it means, like Jeff, you touched on it, where I have the most success is with people that are from the Midwest, that understand what it’s
like to live in the Midwest. But being (mumbles) about
not just being in here, but we’re (mumbles)
themselves in the room. They see themselves
embracing this community into the future. So it’s a real challenge, but perceptions, how we represent our
city is very important when we’re outside Wichita. – Thank you. (Katie mumbles) Thank you, yeah. – I just want to comment to something that you just mentioned. I recently had a friend of
mine’s, her siblings moved back, or they moved to Wichita. They’d been living in Austin
for about eight years. They’ve lived in New York before. They’re not from Wichita,
not from Kansas at all. They’re from Oklahoma, so they do kind of know a little bit of the Midwest. But it was really interesting getting to know them this last
year, seeing the perspective of Wichita through their eyes. They really enjoy this city. They were so over Austin. They’ve been there since ’08. They are just done with it. “We’re tired of it.” The driving, just the whole
culture of it down there. And they really have embraced Wichita. They’re just looking for jobs now, which is really hard in their industry. But it’s that perception
that it’s been nice to see on the other side, that
there is a great perception of people coming to our city
and seeing what we have. So then it made me think. Oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot Pizza Hut. So you take them to the Pizza
Hut on Wichita State’s campus. Oh, there’s Coke Industries here. Oh, this is Cessna. Oh, this is Freddy. I mean, we have so many great company’s and great businesses here. I think people forget that. It’s like I’ve always
wanted a little, like, Wichita’s cool website or something for people when they come to Wichita, and that lists everything
that we have going on here. There’s so many great things to our city that I think we forget
sometimes to embrace. – [Katie] The city and the
talent very often (mumbles). How many times do you get
to sit down side-by-side– – Right. – Exactly. – Right. – [Katie] And really get to talk with them and really hear about how
they got to be where they are. You get to do that every day in Wichita. – Right. – Good point one, okay.
– I agree, very good point. – Joy. – [Joy] Hi, I’m Joy Akins, with (mumbles). I’m pleasantly surprised to find out. I’ve heard it’s a pretty good class today. (all laugh) I had a whole office of programmers. So I have a question. And maybe you need a
little bit in (mumbles). So I heard you mention
that you are struggling with finding some of the
talented programmers they need. I heard other programmers in town, programmers like Chris
Callen and Brett Chapman, who were all talking about the same set of programs that involve (mumbles). (panel laughs) Right? – Right. – [Joy] So once we recognize that, and we see that any
universities are trying to squeeze out, how do
you create partnerships? How do you work together
to assist us to do that, to change that, so
maybe we have a plethora of people to choose from, because
all of us are always sure? – I can repeat this question. How do you create partnerships
to assure the talent is here, and that you can grow that talent? – Well, I think, Joy, you’ll agree. We’ve come a long ways in five years with universities and training. I think it’s a matter of the business need that sends us on that path of
recruiting the right talent. It is not that we don’t have
developers or programmers here. We have developers and programmers. But when you think of
the software, and again, I’m not a technical person,
and the software world, there are lots of different
types of languages that are out there, and when
you try to work with a client that has this software, and
it’s coded in this language, well, it may not be a
modern language, right. So how do we find somebody
with that experience? But how do we also find an
individual that can make that system using that old
language and modernize it to give what the client really wants? So it’s not that we don’t have developers, and we do tend to, I guess not fight, but headhunt each other. I don’t know the answer. I know we’ve come far. I don’t know if anybody
really knows the answer of how we grow that, or how we find, it’s just a needs basis. And sometimes those
needs are just different, you know, and unique. – I know there are opportunities for businesses to come together and meet with the education
world to discuss it. I mean, I know that there’s the
Business Education Alliance, where the business world can meet with the universities
and the school system and be like we need that
language, or we need that kind of skills and find ways. Some will be maybe long-term solutions. They may take a couple of years. But some can just be putting
in place certificates at universities, where you
could actually get it done in a few months. So there are opportunities for companies and the education world to come together and talk about the needs
that they, you know– – And Joy, you know about devICT. There are some more technical based groups that have formed in the last few years, and as recruiter, we want to get involved and then speak to the group members and let them know the opportunities that exist here in Wichita,
or what we’re looking for, because the great thing about
technology is you don’t have to go to school for a four-year degree. It’s a plus, and you should,
but there are different things that can be taught in a
six-week program or a boot camp that is just as beneficial to the employer as a four-year degree. A four-year degree, to me, is important. It teaches them business savviness. So again, we want four-year
degree, but we need somebody who’s going to have their four-year degree but constantly be going and
getting new certifications and growing their skill
set, because again, it’s like Birkenstocks, right. We liked Birkenstocks in the
’90s, and we like them today, and you know, technology changes. It’s by trend, and so we need people to want to start changing. It’s just ever-evolving. – I understand the fear of
somebody taking your talent away. But I think recruiting in coalitions. Because if you think of
people relocating here, if they know there are
more than one company that is a potential employer,
they might be more willing. Because it may not work
for them in your culture but may work if there
are five other companies. So maybe you can, recruiting coalitions, I’ve seen that done in other industries, and
I think it may work well. I can take only a final
question, oh my, okay. Yes, sir. – My name is Don McGinty. I have a machine company. Aviation is the question
here in Wichita, Kansas, and it generates a lot of the employment, not only in the spirit but
all the way through the city. What other clusters do
you think Wichita the city should bring to Wichita? Because really we got to concentrate on creating that cluster so that demand for everything lets it grow. So they have this aviation have a multiple group of good clusters. And I ( mumbles). Well, it can’t be one of them. – [Man] I don’t know. – What clusters do you
think we should focus on creating in Wichita? – I’ll take it real quick. – Okay. – And it’s related to
the aviation industry, but I think composites is where we need to be focusing on right now. I think we need to go big time on that. We’ve got the opportunities. We’ve got the talent here. We need to double down on that. With National Institute
of Aviation Research, we need to parlay that. We need to really put the
pressure on growing that industry. – I think there’s a growing data in IT. It’s not as obvious right now, but I think there are
more, like with High Touch, and more companies that are starting to attract more data and IT sector. I know we have a pretty
good healthcare cluster. I mean, there are, I should
actually know them all by heart. I’m sorry, Craig. I should know all of our clusters by now. (audience laughs) But we do identify with
eight clusters in the region, and obviously, aviation
is the biggest one, but there’s oil and gas
and lots of other ones. – [Jennifer H.] Agriculture. – Agriculture, yeah. – Okay, I will let
Jeremy wrap it up for us. – Well, I want to thank everyone
for, and the panel members and the speakers, for a good
job, for having a discussion. (audience applauds) So I didn’t script this. So the conversation
kind of led down to art and community and culture. Even though we talked about business, it kept going back that way. But just as a, you know,
standing from the balcony, looking down, here’s some stuff
that we really didn’t cover. We really didn’t cover,
when you’re talking about the creative class and tolerance, some of the extremes that
some communities have gone to for embracing, or even
companies have gone to, for embracing the labor force. Everything that we kept coming back more to our Midwest, traditional values, but in that discussion, as I noticed, we said that there are
social infrastructures that we have in place
here that are of value. We’re just not completely
capitalizing or telling about it. So I want to bring that up. I’m not sure if we have
really an answer to it, but we didn’t exactly say hey, we’re gonna go completely
different as a community. I didn’t hear any suggestions
from the audience either, saying hey, we should go
completely different direction. But how can we bring the creative class and embrace what we are. And I think that’s
actually somewhat useful, saying hey, we know what our resources and our culture are here, how
do we just communicate those as being a unique environment for our tracking the creative class. So I think that’s somewhat
in the right direction. I just don’t know if we
completely understand that, from a business perspective of what the creative
class is really demanding, of that real cultural
change that they need or were asking for at the national level and what we’re providing. And I’m not sure we’re
really understanding it as a community either
from this discussion. So I don’t think we
really dug completely deep into all those things, and that’s okay. But I think it was just a
looking from the balcony, hearing what we had to talk about today, it gets us down that track. So a couple things, go ahead
and take your name tag off. You can put it on the table,
and we can recycle that. I’ll stay around and chat
with anyone who wants to chat, but maybe the panel
members can stay around for just a few minutes as well. Thank you very much for coming. I will just make an announcement. We will be having our
Economic Outlook Conference on October 5th, so it’s
coming up not too far in the distance, and we have
big changes coming for this. This became a pretty big event,
about 800-and-some people. So make sure you, you can
start registering now for that. So thank you very much. Have a good day. (audience applauds)


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