Congratulations to all of our awardees!
KanPack wins Governor’s Award of Excellence at To The Stars: Celebrating Kansas Businesses Awards Banquet on May 11.

For the past two decades, the Kansas Department of Commerce has recognized June as “Business Appreciation Month” or BAM, as it was known.  June was selected as the month in which we recognized businesses across the state for the vitally important contributions they make to the well-being of our communities. This includes jobs, added amenities, community involvement, sponsorship of various activities, economic impact and so much more.

Last year, because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were unable to honor the month of June as Business Appreciation Month.  We felt that the sacrifices made by the amazing people who keep Kansas strong deserved something more.  With that in mind we developed a brand-new business appreciation program: To the Stars:  Celebrating Kansas Businesses.

This year, a total of 178 businesses were honored as part of the celebration, including 133 Merit Award winners and 45 Regional Award winners. In addition to KanPak, six of the Regional Award winners were recognized as the overall statewide winner in their award categories.  These include:

  • Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Pittsburg, Hospital/Non-Profit Award
  • Dodge City Brewing, Dodge City, Retail Award
  • Landoll Corporation, Marysville, Business Innovation Award
  • NIC, Inc., Olathe, Service Award
  • Paul Porter, Iola, Welcome Back Award
  • Waylon Sheetz, Belleville, Under 30 Entrepreneur/Businessperson Award
  • KanPak, Arkansas City Kansas, Manufacturing/ Distribution

“We are grateful to the Kansas business community which supports what we all want to achieve for Kansas: strong communities, healthy families and a high quality of life,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “These businesses are prospering and creating new opportunities for continued growth and opportunity across our state.”


To the Stars: Celebrating Kansas Businesses
Statewide Award Banquet

KanPak – Governor’s Award of Excellence Winner (Manufacturing/ Distribution)

KanPak, located in Arkansas City, is a leading supplier of beverages and desserts using aseptic processing
technology and a subsidiary of Golden State Foods. KanPak’s facility has undergone many enhancements through the 56 years of providing excellent products and customer service. KanPak was originally founded in 1965 as a local, family owned dairy business. As the early years progressed, the need for expansion was recognized and the company expanded across North America, Central and Latin America and into China and other Asian markets. KanPak has continued to invest in their home community with building remodels and improvements totaling over $60 million over the past five years. KanPak also proudly works with local companies for the building upgrades and renovations further contributing to economic growth in the community.

Under 30 Entrepreneur/Businessperson Award

Waylon Sheetz, Sheetz & Suds – Under 30 Entrepreneur/Businessperson Award

In addition to serving as the Executive Director of Belleville Chamber of Commerce and Main Street, Waylon Sheetz also is a small business owner having opened Sheetz & Suds Laundromat in late 2020. Waylon identified an opportunity to provide a much needed laundromat service to the town, a service that hasn’t existed for nearly 20 years. Taking the Main Street mission to heart, Waylon purchased a vacant building in the downtown area with assistance from a local revolving loan fund. Waylon proves that entrepreneurship can be achievable for young people through local community support and an ambitious mindset. His accomplishments and involvement in his community are truly impressive for a young entrepreneur.

Business Innovation Award

Landoll Corporation – Business Innovation Award

Landoll Corporation is a pillar of the Kansas economy and has been on the cutting-edge of innovation in recent years. Family owned and operated since 1963, Landoll has grown to be a leader in innovative design, world-class manufacturing, and marketing of quality products and services for the agriculture, transportation, material handling, OEM and government industries. Their unique equipment is sold internationally to 50 countries and fills a niche for a wide variety of industries. The company’s continual focus on innovation has led to the
implementation of innovative technologies including 3-D printing, fiber optics, tube lasers and robotics. Landoll’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mindset has been a driver behind their ability to continually grow over the years. In addition, Landoll has shared its success with the community by being good stewards to the area community, renovating and putting into operation several vacated properties and supporting multiple fundraising efforts.

Welcome Back Award

Paul Porter, Big Square Media – Welcome Back Award

Paul Porter returned to Iola to own and operate Big Square Media. Big Square Media offers full-service video production along with real estate and event photography. Big Square Media offers a variety of services including simple design all the way to feature film production. They have the knowledge, skills and experience to handle a variety of audiovisual and media production needs. From making movies in New Mexico and California, to doing government and military work on the East coast, Big Square Media has been all over. After seeing the revitalization of his hometown, Porter chose to move back home to Iola to contribute the revitalization and build on the
momentum so others would be inspired to move back and do the same.

Dodge City Brewing Company – Governor’s Award of Excellence Finalist (Retail)

Dodge City Brewing Company – Governor’s Award of Excellence Finalist (Retail)

Dodge City Brewing, founded in 2017, has been an exciting addition to downtown Dodge City and the Boot Hill area. In their relatively short existence, they’ve been recognized as an employer of choice and have earned the
distinctions of Business of the Year by Main Street Dodge City and Small Business of the Year by the Seward
Community College Small Business Development Center. Dodge City Brewing products have received numerous recognitions including earning gold, silver & bronze medals at the Colorado State Fair. As a strong corporate partner in the Dodge City community, Dodge City Brewing is an active supporter of many local charities included the crisis center, local food pantry, toy drives, meals on wheels, and more.

NIC – Governor’s Award of Excellence Finalist (Service)

NIC – Governor’s Award of Excellence Finalist (Service)

Founded in 1992, NIC is approaching its 30th anniversary in Kansas as the nation’s leading provider of official
government websites, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. Headquartered in Olathe, NIC has offices in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The company’s innovative eGovernment services help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the country. NIC has grown from a start-up business of five employees to a publicly traded company with approximately 1,000 employees across the U.S. NIC has been recognized by Forbes as one of the “100 Best Small Companies in America.”

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas – Governor’s Award of Excellence Finalist (Hospital/ Non-Profit)

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas offers services in a number of communities throughout the region. CHC treats more than 70,000 patients every year, providing medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and support services, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. CHC has continually expanded over the past 18 years moving from an initial staff of eleven in one community to more than 600 employees across 13 communities. CHC and its employees give back to their communities in a number of ways, including service as ministers, school board members, mayors, artisans and volunteers. CHC strives to make communities across Kansas healthier places to live, work, play.

To the Stars: Celebrating Kansas Business Award Banquet – Event Photography

Award Luncheons 2022

Southwest Region
Northwest Region
North Central Region
Northeast Region
East Central Region
South Central Region
Southeast Region

Awards Luncheons and Banquet

In addition to this new appreciation program, we are reinstating the popular regional business awards luncheons of years past.  We will be hosting seven awards banquet events this Spring. These will culminate in a state-wide event this may.

Thank you to all our economic and community development partners around the state.  Despite all the challenges of the past year, we were able to shatter our previous nomination record.  We finished with 176 nominations, truly an impressive reflection of how Kansans feel about the businesses in our state.  We look forward to celebrating with every nominee and winner very soon.  We’re especially excited to honor three new business award categories:  The Under 30 Entrepreneur/Businessperson, Business Innovation and the Welcome Back award.

Luncheon Registration Deadline is March 31st

2022 Spring Awards Luncheons

Southwest Region:

April 5, 2022 Boot Hill Museum (Mariah Gallery)
500 West Wyatt Earp Blvd, Dodge City
11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Northwest Region:

April 6, 2022 Northwest Kansas Technical College (Student Union)
1209 Harrison Avenue, Goodland
11:30 am to 1:00 pm MST

North Central Region:

April 7, 2022 Rose Garden Banquet Hall
2350 East 8th Street, Hays
11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Northeast Region:

April 11, 2022 Holiday Inn @ The Campus
1641 Anderson Avenue, Manhattan
11:30 am to 1:00 pm

East Central Region:

April 12, 2022 The DoubleTree Hotel Conference Center
200 McDonald Drive, Lawrence
11:30 am to 1:00 pm

South Central Region:

April 19, 2022 Butler Community College – Andover Campus Kanza Meeting Room
713 East 13th Street, Andover
11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Southeast Region:

April 20, 2022 Parsons Conference Center
1500 Cattle Drive, Parsons
11:30 am to 1:00 pm