The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition said that in 2013 it helped bring in companies that have promised to create 1,117 jobs over the next five years.
The average annual pay for those jobs was projected at $28,525.
The coalition provided the 2013 recap at its annual meeting Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. As part of its review of the past year, the coalition said it brought in $43.1 million in capital investment.
The biggest project of the previous year was arrival of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts contact center, which brought the promise of 907 jobs over five years averaging $23,816 per job, along with $4.9 million in capital investment at the former Wichita Mall on East Harry. Starwood interim site leader Tony Alwora said the center presently has 415 people and is adding 60 a month.
Other projects were:
Looking into the future, Steve Sharp, chairman of the coalition’s board, said the group has plans to accelerate its economic development efforts over the next five years.
Members of the Wichita Leadership Council, a collection of the city’s most influential business and community leaders, assessed Wichita’s competitiveness at 2.5 on a scale of 1 to 5, and said that must rise to 4.5 to be effective.
Wichita has to essentially double its competitiveness, said coalition President Tim Chase. That means being aggressive and being innovative.
“Business as usual is not an option,” Chase said. “We have to try some new things. Try them, evaluate them, see what works and what doesn’t, and, if they aren’t working, try something else.”
New coalition efforts include:
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who attended the event, told the audience that state government has moved strongly to support job creation efforts, creating a pro-business climate by making substantial tax cuts for small businesses.
“The governor has made it very clear, he wants this to be the best place to have a family and the best place to have a business,” he said.