Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:38
Wilson said he commended the two Chambers for coming together for the event. About 250 people came to the dinner and program.
“It is a wonderful thing and, if we work together, it is the mutual benefit that can strengthen all of us,” Wilson said.
In his presentation, Wilson spoke about a sampling of “amazing people” in the state in the areas of business, agriculture, arts and tourism, history and places and technology.
Wilson highlighted Don Landoll of Marysville, who, along with three other men, began a welding shop that turned into a corporation of 600 people.
“Landoll Corp. sells worldwide,” he said, “and employs people from 43 different zip codes.”
Wilson also spoke of Pat Sinclair, who liked boating.
“Pat went to a boat show in Chicago and didn’t sell any boats, but he got an idea,” Wilson said.
Sinclair realized that no one was targeting the upper end of the market—the “Cadillac” of boats. Today, Cobalt Boats has dealers in South Africa and Saudi Arabia, employing about 600 people.
“You can’t get much further from the ocean than Neodesha, Kan., yet Cobalt Boats and Sinclair are shipping products around the world,” he said.
In the arena of agriculture, Wilson talked about Lee Reeve, who is president of Reeve Agri Energy in Garden City.
Wilson said Reeve built a small ethanol plant on the family farm when ethanol wasn’t fashionable.
“He turned grain into ethanol and in the process of fermenting the grain found that the water was heated to a temperature conducive to raising tilapia,” Wilson said.
Reeves circular system continued with leftover grain used to feed cattle, and the cattle waste was used to fertilize crops.
“Beef cattle and fish co-existing in western Kansas,” Wilson said. “It gives new meaning to the words ‘surf and turf.’”
Wilson said Marci Penner of Inman stands out as the champion in arts and tourism.
Founder of the Kansas Explorer’s Club, Kansas Sampler Foundation and Festival and the Eight Wonders of Kansas, Wilson said Penner cares deeply for rural Kansas.
“She has visited every one of the 627 towns in Kansas, and she believes that we, as Kansans, need to see our state and communities with new eyes,” he said.
In the other categories of history and places and technology, Wilson talked about the 106th county and Linda Katz and her tumbleweed business.
Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce board of directors for 2012 are: Cynthia Fleming, president; Roger Sinclair, vice-president; Cheri Barton, treasurer; and Pam Riesen, office manager. Board members are Patty Decker, Katherine DeFilippis, Kris Erickson, Lea Isaac, Lori LaLouette, Barb Nowak, Kodi Panzer and Gretchen Wagner.
Marion Chamber of Commerce board of directors for 2012 are: Don Noller, president; Shawn Geis, vice-president; Gene Winkler, treasurer; Kevin Fruechting, secretary; and Margo Yates, executive secretary.
Other board members are Linda Carlson, Tamara Christiansen, Chris Costello, Doug Regnier and Dave Richmond.