Archive for KCKCC

Successful business needs vision, systems

by Murrel Bland

To be a successful business, it is important to have a vision and build systems.

That was the message of Aaron Brauch, a Lenexa business owner who was the keynote speaker at an all-day workshop Friday, Aug. 11, at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

The 50 or so persons attending the workshop included those wanting to start a business along with staff members of the college’s Entrepreneurial Innovation Center.

Brauch defined a successful business as one that has a collection of systems that solves problems for people at a profit. He said it is important for a potential business owner to first determine what the end result should be and then work backward.

“Start small and dominate a niche,” Brauch said. He cited the example of Mark Zuckerberg who started working in his dormitory room at Harvard University in 2004. He put the photos in the Harvard yearbook on the internet to meet women and get dates. That was the launch of Facebook. Today, Facebook has more that 2 billion active users worldwide.

The visioning process is very important, Brauch said. He cited the vision of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest persons in the world, who had a vision of a computer on every desk. Now Gates wants to find a cure for malaria.

Brauch warned potential business owners not to count on just a 40-hour week.

After determining a vision, it is important to build systems. He said the marketing effort is reaching the customers that need solutions. He said that all sales decisions are made on an emotional basis.

Brauch is the chief executive officer of Rebus Digital Marketing. He has a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Evergreen State University, Olympia, Wash., and a Master of Business Administration degree from Cornell, Ithaca, N.Y.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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Plans underway for 14th annual Keith Lindsey Scholarship Golf Tournament

Only a couple of weeks remain until the 14th annual Keith Lindsey Scholarship Golf Tournament, and there is still plenty of time to make plans to attend.

A fundraiser for the Kansas City Kansas Community College men’s basketball team, registration for the tournament starts at 11 a.m. Aug. 25 at Dub’s Dread Golf Course, 12601 Hollingsworth Road in Kansas City, Kan. The tournament starts with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $100 per player, $400 per team. All registrations need to be submitted by Aug. 22.

Keith Lindsey was a life-long resident of Kansas City, Kan., before he died in 2003. He was an athlete, coach, teacher and businessman, inducted into both the KCKCC Athletic Hall of Fame and the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame. A graduate of Wyandotte High School, he owned Varsity Sports for almost 30 years and was a supporter of KCKCC basketball. He taught and coached basketball at both Washington and Turner high schools before opening his business.

Golf teams consist of four players with each team playing a scramble format. Each player must contribute at least one drive during the 18-hole tournament. Prizes are awarded for each flight, to be determined by the number of entries. There will be special prizes for winners in designated hole contests. Dinner will follow the tournament. In addition, there will be a special presentation made to the first recipients of “The Keith Award” following the tournament and dinner.

In addition, Randy Curnow is sponsoring a Par 3 Hole in One Contest. In the contest, there will be a chance to win a prize on every Par 3 hole. The grand prize is a new 2017 Cascade Convertible. Other prizes include a set of golf clubs, vacation voucher and a $500 gift card.

Businesses have the opportunity to contribute through tournament sponsorships. These include – Cart, $50; Hole, $100; Business, $500 and Corporate, $1,000.

If interested in registering, making a donation or becoming a sponsor, contact Kelley Newton at knewton@kckcc.edu; by mail to KCKCC Men’s Basketball, 7250 State Ave., Kansas City, KS, 66112; or in person in the Athletic Department office in the KCKCC Field House.

– Story from Kelly Rogge, KCKCC public information supervisor

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Opinion column: College needs to look past problems

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

During the past few weeks, several persons have asked me what is going on at Kansas City Kansas Community College. I had known for some time that there had been personnel issues at the school, including those in senior administrative positions.

That all came to a head when the college’s Board of Trustees voted 6-1 on Friday, July 14, to place its president, Doris Givens, on administrative leave with pay. Givens, the first woman and black person to be president at the college, has been at the school for about six years. Her present contract, which calls for her to receive nearly $200,000 a year in salary plus benefits, expires in 2019.

The board, on advice of its lawyer, Greg Goheen, isn’t talking except for Wendell Maddox. Maddox, whose term expires at the end of the year and is not seeking re-election, was critical of J.D. Rios, the president of the board, who initiated an internal investigation. Maddox, according to an article in The Kansas City Star, said Givens didn’t have a chance to tell her side of the story.

In the meantime, the board has hired Jackie Vietti as acting president. In a prepared news release, the board said Vietti was chosen because of her extensive experience, having served as president of Butler County Community College, El Dorado, and as interim president of Emporia State University. Those who follow college administrators report Vietti is very qualified.

Rios has said that Vietti will serve until a permanent successor can be found; he said the board will conduct a national search. Rios is not seeking another term as a trustee; however, he is a candidate for Unified Government Commission.

I have been a close observer of the college for some 45 years. Over the years, I have seen various conflicts and disagreements between college administrators and the
trustees. That was particularly the case in the mid-1970s when Alton Davies (a senior administrator who later became president) and the president, Jack Flint, wrote undated letters of resignation and filed them away; I recall Davies telling me that writing those letters gave him a real sense of relief. The letters were never presented formally to the trustees; however the board was aware they had been written.

At times, conflicts among board members became public during trustee meetings, particularly between Ron Mears and Cliff Nesselrode. In some of these cases, it was the college president who was the “referee.”

Fast-forward to the present. The college has grown during the past several years, playing a very important role in providing a much needed, well-trained workforce. And the college continues to provide a very cost-effective way for traditional students to receive the first two years of a four-year college education.

Thanks to foresight, the college has built a Technical Center in a building that was a former Walmart. A major concern however, is that often students from the Kansas City, Kansas, School District, are not prepared for college-level work and must take remedial classes in such basic subjects as reading and mathematics. That forces the college to pay for training that should have happened in high school or earlier. The college must accept anyone with a high school diploma.

There are plenty of good-paying jobs awaiting those who successfully complete technical training in such career fields as machinist, welder and diesel mechanic. It is not unusual for such jobs to command a starting pay of $40,000 a year. The college has worked closely with the Wyandotte Economic Development Council to determine workforce needs. Despite this effort, there are still critical shortages of qualified workers.

In looking at the public notice published July 27 in The Wyandotte Echo, I find that the trustees approved a budget for the coming year that totals more than $72.2 million. That compares to actual expenditures of about $67.2 million for the current year. About one-fifth of a typical residential tax bill in Wyandotte County goes to the community college.

The trustees should conduct a national search for a new president. Despite its challenges in recent years, it will offer an opportunity for the right person to lead an excellent community institution.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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