ThinkMHK Podcast

FINAL Podcast artwork

Think MHK Podcast is provided by the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and serves to keep the community informed on issues that impact business and quality of life in Manhattan. On each episode hear from members of the community about a timely issue as well as hear insightful interviews with Manhattan business leaders. Topics covered include community and job growth, small business, leadership, public policy, military issues, entrepreneurship, tourism, economic development and general chamber business and programing. New episodes weekly. Hosted by Jason Smith, President/CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, with co-hosts Karen Hibbard, Director of Convention and Visitors Bureau, Sharla Meisenheimer, Director of Membership and Daryn Soldan, Director of Economic Development. Learn more about the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce at Manhattan.org.

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Season 2

Episode 7: (6/14/22) Tori Berard, Bank Manager at ESB Financial, joins Jason and Sharla on Episode 7. Tori shares her experiences with Leadership Manhattan from when she was in the program herself to being board chair in 2021. They also discuss how by getting more involved with the Chamber of Commerce her perceptions and understanding of what the Chamber has to offer have substantially changed. Tori continues to stay involved with the Chamber and is currently serving on our Membership committee. 

Episode 6: (6/7/22) C. Clyde Jones fell in love with Manhattan on his first visit in 1960. Since then he has made a substantial impact in our community from being the first Dean of K-State's College of Business to countless hours spent volunteering and in various leadership positions. We were lucky to have C. Clyde join us on the ThinkMHK podcast! Be sure to listen in because this week's episode is packed full of K-State history, entertaining stories, great advice and even 100th birthday party plans! 

Episode 5: (5/31/22) On April 18, Governor Laura Kelly and several other partners announced that Scorpion Biological Services, a biological manufacturing company, will be expanding into Pottawatomie County. They will have operations from drug discovery to manufacturing and plan to construct a new 500,000 square foot manufacturing facility that could ultimately employ up to 500 people making a $75,000 average salary. In this week's episode, we invited Rebecca Robinson, Chief Corporate Engagement and Economic Development Officer at K-State Innovation Partners and Daryn Soldan, Director of Economic Development at the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce to share some of the behind the scene details on the process of obtaining this project for our region. 

Episode 4: (5/24/22) In this episode, we are joined by Brian Rempe, CEO of CivicPlus. Throughout this episode, Brian shares more about what CivicPlus does and his leadership journey. Brian also shares how close ties to K-State, the Chamber and the City have made Manhattan a great home for CivicPlus. Jason and Brian also discuss the importance of creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem in Manhattan.

Episode 3: (5/17/22) On this episode of the ThinkMHK Podcast, we are joined by the current Economic Development Committee Chair and Executive Vice President at KS StateBank Lowell Kohlmeier. During this episode, Lowell dives into the purpose of the Chamber's ED committee, their current top priorities and some of Manhattan's greatest challenges and opportunities. We are also joined by Steve Altobello, CFO of Shilling Construction and current Leadership Manhattan Board Chair. Steve discusses why Shilling Construction has been involved with the Chamber for decades and how Leadership Manhattan helped him gain a deeper perspective of what the Chamber does. Steve, Jason and Sharla also discuss all the positive impacts Leadership Manhattan has on those who have participated in the program.

Episode 2: (5/10/22) From teammates and roommates at Oklahoma State University to local Manhattan Business Owners, Ben Sigle and Trey Vernon join this week's episode of the ThinkMHK podcast. Trey and Ben opened Manhattan Running Company in 2008. Throughout this podcast, they share their stories of entrepreneurship including the rewards and challenges they have faced. They also share the benefits they have found from starting their business in Manhattan, Kansas. Also on this week's episode is Susan Adams Director of the Flint Hills Discovery Center. This year the Flint Hills Discovery celebrates its 10-year anniversary. In this episode, Susan shares all about what the Discovery Center is, the interactive and immersive exhibits you can experience, and the importance they have within our community.

Episode 1: (5/3/22) We kick off our second season of The ThinkMHK Podcast with past Chamber President/CEO Lyle Bulter. During this episode, Lyle shares his experiences while being President/CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. From projects accomplished like the downtown redevelopment and the recruitment of NBAF to why he decided to retire in The Little Apple®. This episode was brought to you by McCown Gordon

Season 1


Episode 0: (10/5/21) Guests: Jason Smith, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce; Karen Hibbard, Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau; Sharla Meisenheimer and Daryn Soldan, both with the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.

Episode 1: (10/12/21)  Board of Directors Chair, Mark Bachamp discusses his goals and accomplishments with the Chamber and shares why he thinks the Chamber is important. Plus hear from Small Business of the Year award winner, Alan Parker with Borck Brothers Clothing.

Episode 2: (10/19/21) Board of Directors Chair-Elect, Summer Ott Dierks, shares her story and how she became involved with the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. Dan Springer and Amber Petty with Wildwood Adventure Park, the 2021 Tourism Development Award winner, join this episode sharing the immense adventure that is waiting for you at this local attraction! Plus hear what they love most about the Manhattan community.

Episode 3: (10/26/21) In this week's episode, we are joined by Mike Matson and Chris Gergeni. Mike Matson shares what the Chamber's Business Advocacy Committee does and his role as Chair. Chris Gergeni, Director of the Midwest Dream Car Collection, describes the ins and outs of the Midwest Dream Car Collection and what makes it a great attraction in Manhattan.

Episode 4: (11/2/21) Economic Development Committee Chair, Matt Crocker, joins this week's episode to share some of the Chamber's economic development priorities and their latest efforts. We are also joined by Aly Swanson with Bockers II, a recent inductee to the Chamber's Legacy Circle. Listen as she shares her favorite stories from growing up working for her father to now owning their family business.

Episode 5: (11/9/21) Hype, Helping Young Professionals Emerge, is the Chamber's young professional program. Tara Grubb, Chair of the Hype Steering Committee, joins this week's episode to share what all Hype does and how you or your employees can get involved. Entrepreneurship award nominee and owner of Therapie, Tiffany Oppelt, is with us this week to share her journey of starting a new business in Manhattan. From how to all started, why she loves pie, to her take on entrepreneurship in Manhattan, don't miss this episode.  

Episode 6: (11/16/21) Attracting visitors and fueling growth in Manhattan are just two things the Convention and Visitors Bureau does. This week learn more about what the Convention and Visitors Bureau does and the impact it has on our community from CVB Steering Committee Chair, Bernie Haney. Whoville, Inc is all about togetherness and celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with community members and visitors alike. Joey Athon and Belinda Snyder also join this week's episode to share what Whoville and the Festival of Lights are.

Episode 7: (11/23/21) Leadership Manhattan serves to be a continuous source of motivated leaders who are educated about the community, its challenges and opportunities. Kiley Moody, Leadership Manhattan Board Chair, shares the value the Leadership Manhattan course has to all who participate. Bobbi French, Owner of G. Thomas Jewelers, joins this episode 7 to share her journey as a female business owner in Manhattan including how she started, what motivates her, and why she enjoys being a business owner. 

Episode 8: (11/30/21) In 2020, following a competitive RFP process, the Chamber approved and entered into an agreement with The Spark, Inc., a local not-for-profit corporation, to provide entrepreneurial ecosystem development services and implementation of the Manhattan entrepreneurship strategy. With the Chamber’s support, Spark-led initiatives deliver value directly to entrepreneurs and continue to grow the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Sarah Siders, Executive Director of Spark, joins episode 8 of the ThinkMHK podcast. We are also joined by Adam Krebsbach, Garrett Paulman, and Jake Voegeli, owners of Manhattan Brewing Company. Manhattan Brewing Company was a finalist for the 2021 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Having recently opened their doors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic these three guys share their experiences as small business owners in Manhattan.

Episode 9: (12/8/21) The Greater Manhattan Economic Partnership is a division of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation. Nancy Burton, GMEP Advisory Board Chair, joins episode 9 to share why this partnership was created and the successes they have created. During this year's annual meeting Jeff Sackrider was recognized as the Young Professional of the Year. Also in this episode, Jeff shares his gratitude for receiving this award and more about his roles with WTC and Incite MHK. 

Episode 10: (12/15/21) Jarrod Willich, Membership Committee Chair, joins episode 10 of the ThinkMHK Podcast speaking about his role with the Membership Committee and the Chamber's recent Membership Drive. Manko Windows received The Cornerstone Award during the 2021 Business Awards. This award honors a business that exemplifies what being a "solid pillar of the community" is about. Brett Jones joins this episode to share more about Manko Windows

Episode 11: (12/22/21) Lucy Willams, C. Clyde Jones Volunteer of the Year recipient, joins this episode of the ThinkMHK podcast. Lucy shares her experiences being engaged with the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. Sink, Gordon, and Associates recently celebrated 75 years in business. Jim Gordon, co-principal of the firm, joins this episode sharing the keys to their success as a local firm in Manhattan.

Episode 12: (12/28/21) The Chamber's Military Community Liaison Janet Nichols and past Military Relations committee Chair Rich Jankovich join this episode of the ThinkMHK Podcast. Covering topics like the Military Relations Committee, Little Apple Brigade, monthly events, Fort Riley's economic impact, and much more. Andy Ellis, Partner at Arthur-Green, LLP joins episode 12 of the ThinkMHK podcast. Arthur-Green was a finalist for the small business of the year award during the 2021 Business Awards. On top of sharing what Arthur-Green does during this episode, Andy discusses what makes Manhattan a great place for business and a great place to live. 

Episode 13: (1/4/22) Dick Carter, Lobbyist for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce joins episode 13 for both segments of the ThinkMHK Podcast. During this episode, Dick Carter and Jason Smith cover what a lobbyist does and how they engage with legislators and other elected officials. In the second segment, they share the key issues they expect the legislature to take up this year including redistricting, tax cuts, dark store theory and much more. They also dive into what METL is and the Chamber's 2022 legislative agenda.

Episode 14: (1/11/22) Tom Phillips, 2021 recipient of the Lyle Butler Distinguished Leadership Award, joins episode 14. Tom shares his career experiences while being on both the Manhattan City Commission and a member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Tom also dives into his current role within the Chamber's Business Advocacy Committee and the chair as the Growth Task Force.  At the young age of 14 years old, Allyn Weddle founded Weddle and Sons, Inc. with his 2 brothers. Weddle and Sons, Inc. was the 2021 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award winner. During this episode, Allyn shares his experiences as an entrepreneur and what makes Manhattan a great place to start a business. 

Episode 15: (1/18/22) Jake Wassenberg with Pepsi-Cola of Manhattan joins this week's episode. Jake joined the Chamber's Executive Committee in 2021 and shares his experiences while being involved with the Chamber and his career with Pepsi-Cola of Manhattan. We also feature Neil Horton on this episode, winner of the 2021 Lud Fiser Citizen of the Year Award. Neil is the Vice President/CEO of Bayer Construction Co and has served the Chamber in many different roles over the years, including being a past Chamber Board Chair and serving on the Business Advocacy and Economic Development Committees. Listen to hear why he has invested his time into this organization.  

Episode 16: (1/25/22) City Manager, Ron Fehr, joins the 16th episode of the ThinkMHK Podcast. Listen in as Jason Smith and Ron discuss a wide range of topics including the City's and Business Community's relationship, past and future projects and Ron's career journey.  

Episode 17: (2/1/22) This week on the ThinkMHK podcast we are joined by LaFarrris Risby. LaFarris is a local entrepreneur who founded Loving Arms Enterprises and was awarded our Women/Minority Owned Business Award at our 2021 Business Awards. Throughout this episode, LaFarris shares her story on why she became an entrepreneur and the satisfaction that comes with her accomplishments. 

Episode 18: (2/8/22) On this week of the ThinkMHK Podcast, we are joined by Wayne Sloan and Patrick Schutter with BHS Construction. Wayne and Patrick share their career journeys and what has made Manhattan a great place to grow both their professional and personal lives.  We are also joined by Lisa Sisley. Lisa is one of the co-founders of New Boston Creative Group. During this episode, Lisa shares her journey of entrepreneurship and how she has been involved with the Chamber throughout her career. 

Episode 19: (2/15/22) On this week's episode, our hosts are joined by Callie Marks with Charlson & Wilson Bonded Abstracters, Inc. After a couple of years serving on the Membership Committee, Callie transitioned to Membership Committee chair at the beginning of 2022 placing her on the Chamber's Board of Directors as well. Throughout this episode, Callie shares the value she sees in the Chamber and what people may not know about the Chamber.

Episode 20: (2/22/22) In honor of March being Woman's History Month, we are joined by Women in Business committee chair, Kerri Winter, on this episode of The ThinkMHK Podcast. Kerri joins our podcast to discuss the importance of Women in Business, why she got involved and the impact it has on our Chamber members. Kerri has also worked for Florence Corporation here in Manhattan for almost 20 years. Kerri dives into some of her experiences working in Manhattan and how she has found value in the Chamber of Commerce.  To close out season one we are also joined by our producer Dave Lewis. Dave and Jason discuss some of their favorite highlights from season one and what they are looking forward to in season two.  This episode was brought to you by McCown Gordon