This summer of hot tempers and hotter temperatures hasn’t been a lot of fun at times. But there were new reasons this week to be upbeat about the community as a place that nurtures commerce, feeds its hungry, newly educates pharmacists and even excites gearheads.
* It sounds like the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce is getting a fitting new leader in Gary Plummer, who will start Sept. 14 as its president and CEO, replacing Bryan Derreberry. Plummer comes to Wichita from a similar job with the Greater Springfield (Ill.) Chamber of Commerce. The chamber and Wichita should be well-served by what the search committee saw in Plummer, including his proven abilities to listen, advocate for economic development, and work well with others in the community. As Wichita seeks to come out of the downturn with a diversified economy and its aviation-manufacturing cluster strong, Plummer’s ability to build partnerships and help businesses grow will be tested.
* The Lord’s Diner lost a strong leader last month with Wendy Glick’s resignation. But in Jan Haberly, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita has a new executive director of the Lord’s Diner who already thoroughly appreciates its mission of nourishing body and spirit. Having spent six years commanding the volunteer army of 7,000 that powers the diner, Haberly seems an excellent choice to lead the charity into the future.
* The inaugural class of 20 students is off and studying this week at the long-sought
$6 million Wichita campus of the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, officially enlisting the community in KU’s stepped-up effort to supply the state with pharmacists and keep Kansans and their communities strong and healthy. It’s a great honor and responsibility for Wichita to be home to the KU School of Pharmacy’s only branch. Congratulations to all involved, and good luck to the class of 2015.
* Having demonstrated its power last year to attract a crowd of 140,000 and satisfy sponsor Ford Motor Co., the gearhead heaven that is the BlackTop Nationals classic car and motorcycle show is back this weekend in downtown Wichita and Park City. This festival of chrome and camaraderie is great for tourism, downtown redevelopment, the economy and the community’s mood. May the second-annual BlackTop Nationals lead to many more.