Tim Witsman is a man of many interests: tennis, musical theater, traveling and listening to the symphony.
But what he enjoys most is “making things happen,” be it legislative action or helping businesses make contacts.
“I like solving problems. It’s fun to figure out how to beat them,” said Witsman, president of the Wichita Independent Business Association for the past six years.
An Indiana native, he had a full ride to Brown University in Rhode Island before getting master’s and doctorate degrees from Purdue University. He started out as a professor and then got into managing cities and counties in places like Savannah, Ga., and Chicago before coming to Kansas. He was president of the Wichita Metro Area Chamber of Commerce from 1987 to 2003 and has taught finance and economic development classes at Wichita State University off and on since the 1980s.
In May, Witsman took on an additional role as executive director for the 150-member Nonprofit Chamber of Service, which is now housed with WIBA at 200 E. First St., Suite 101.
Early on, after trying some committees and not getting anything done, I said I’d stick with my style of “Stop me before I kill again.” And what I mean by that is I will always tell them what I’m doing, but I’m going to keep going until I stop. That way you have initiative and the people who should have the power can say, “Tim, stop that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” But it’s a good way to not have to wait to get something done.
Frankly, it’s less challenging than the Chamber, because there you had to watch the large and the small. … We don’t get pressure from large companies here. In some ways that’s easier. We also survey all the time. “Here are some issues; tell us what you think.” Our board does not overrule the membership.