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2021 MED Week Winners

Women-Owned Businesses​

Kansas Woman-Owned Construction Firm

Cynthia Smith
Universal Construction Company, LLC
Kansas City

Universal Construction Company has been developing the way you live, work, and learn.  They are a 5th generation family owned construction firm that delivers a unique one-on one partnership with its clients.

Masonry and construction had been in Cynthia’s family for generations. In 1931, the business made a shift to offer general contracting services, which they still offer today.

Kansas Woman-Owned Manufacturing Firm

Bethany Thimesch
Thimesch Enterprises, LLC dba BEPC

This company performs blasting and powder coating services. Bethany and her husband Ron started small and worked their way up. Many manufactures depend on them and like their centralized location.

They plan to work towards making future expansions to improve their own operations, as well as offer more services to the community.

Kansas Woman-Owned Professional Service Firm

Brandee Johnson
LimeLight Marketing

Brandee Johnson started Limelight Marketing, a professional marketing service business, after leaving her corporate job to pursue her dream of entrepreneurship.

The company has partnered with the City of Pittsburg on multiple projects. This past summer they purchased a vacant building downtown and are restoring it to be a beautiful new office space for LimeLight.

Kansas Woman-Owned Retail Firm

Tammy Lane-Reese
Reeses Enterprises, Inc.

Reese’s Enterprises offers a wide range of products and services, such as flowers, trinkets, candles, decorations, balloons and more.

Tammy credits her success to the outstanding customer service she provides to her customers. She listens to what people are looking for and she tries to offer those goods and services locally.

Her newest acquired adventure of the Red Rock Experience and Venue has brought their community tourism dollars from all across the United States and the world.

Kansas Woman-Owned Service Industry Firm

Heather Graves
Onyx Salon, Spa and Wellness Café


Heather Graves is the Owner, stylist, teacher, manager and baker for the business.

She trained and worked at one of the top salons in the US. When she moved to Topeka, she purchased a building in NOTO and began rebuilding the structure.

Her wellness cafe offers amazing services to the health community. In addition, when you walk in her lobby, you will find all local made products from other Topeka women entrepreneurs.

Heather’s goal is to open another Onyx in southwest Topeka.

Kansas Woman-Owned Supplier/Distributor

Nicole Williams
N’Credibly Sweet, LLC

After working more than 20 years in the technology industry, Lenora Payne had noticed two things: businesses lacked a full-service technology provider with a customer-centric mentality; and there were no certified minority- and women-owned full-service technology providers in the region.

In 2005, Lenora founded Technology Group Solutions (TGS) to fill these needs for the Kansas City area. Nicole does demonstrations, lectures and tutorials. In the near future, her goal is to own a sweet truck and create a happy space for any and all celebratory moments.  Lastly, she would love to have brick and mortar bakery where customers can come and create their own gourmet chocolate covered strawberries with lots of toppings.

Minority-Owned Businesses

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Construction Firm

Lotus Millin with Blue Bear, Inc.

Blue Bear, Inc. is a specialty contractor. Lotus has developed a niche in the market for high quality service in Commercial painting, interior renovations, fencing and building maintenance.

Her future goals are to continue to have a positive impact on the community and to continue to serve her clients with the highest quality and service and to be able to pass the business on to future generations.

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Manufacturer

Dora Garcia
Natural Choice Company
St. Mary’s

Dora and her husband Miquel started Natural Choice Company.  They proudly manufacture essential oils and other natural products.  They recently invested in an essential oil bottling, capping and labeling machine as well as a machine to manufacture sanitizing essential oil towelettes.

They just opened their first retail store in their community and are scheduled to open 3 more stores by the end of the year. 

Future goals include being recognized as a national brand while developing many more all-natural products.

Kansas Minority-Owned Professional Service Firm

Dr. Crystal Davis
CJD Consulting Solutions, LLC
Junction City

CJD Consulting Solutions, LLC is an internationally recognized leadership development firm dedicated to helping individuals and organizations become more authentic leaders.

Today, CJD Consulting Solutions has a robust Leadership Academy where over 130 curated leadership and organization development courses assist organizations in becoming Servant-Leaders. Future plans include offering her course online as well as pre-recorded sessions. Dr. Davis is working on her fifth book -Servant -Leadership. 

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Retail Firm of the Year

Clinton Appelhanz
Reliant Apparel, LLC

This company provides custom printed garments & gifts. Clinton started this business with the intention of printing t-shirts for his touring band so they could be profitable on the road. 

Once the business moved out of the house and to a downtown location, they were able to provide a place where clients could get consistent, professionally printed, apparel & gift products.

They look to continue to grow their main operation then look at brick and mortar franchising.

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Service Firm

Jy Maze
Maze Freight Solutions, Inc.
Overland Park

Jy Maze had been in the field of transportation, logistics and supply chain management for more than 13 years. She launched Maze Freight Solutions, Inc. in 2017.  The company brings diversity, innovation and integrity to the logistics industry in Kanas and beyond.

When demand for water and essential paper goods was reported during the Pandemic, MFS rallied to put shipments on the road to wholesalers and retailers ASAP. Their goals for growth include growing the business over the next five years and continuing to develop customized technology.

Kansas Minority Supplier/Distributor

Kari Wagner
Mid Star Lab, Inc.

Established in 1998, Kari and her late husband, Ron started the business out of their garage in Basehor, KS.  Mid Star is the second largest employer in Tonganoxie.  It is also the only central medical device fabricator in the state of Kansas.  They specialize in custom foot orthotics, ranging from semi-flexible inserts to braces and advanced prostheses primarily for diabetics, children athletes, elderly, the walking professional and veterans nationally.

They are working to introduce 3-D printing in their clinics and customers over the next six months.

Kansas Women Business Advocate

Sheri Berger
Here To There Consulting

Sheri has over 20 years of experience leading, consulting, training, and mentoring companies. She has converted her business to serve women entrepreneurs online during Covid by revamping her business website. She also established a YouTube Channel with supporting educational videos related to managing, developing, planning and expanding businesses. She has done all of this while beginning the editing process on her first book, which is to be launched by end of 2021.

Kansas Minority Business Advocate

Sheila Ellis-Glasper
SEG Media Collective

Sheila has launched dozens of minority and women led brands and have coached and consulted even more. She has helped many minority and women businesses harness the power of social media, branding and storytelling to open new opportunities and connect them with their audiences to grow their business.

Sheila founded the Black Entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills in 2020 after seeing increased need for unity amongst black owned businesses. She has served on several diversity committees in Manhattan and launched the areas first Minority Business Directory

Kansas Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Nelson McConnell
Nelson’s Flavorades, LLC
Kansas City

Nelson wanted to make money and the thought of selling lemonade came to mind.  Since then, he has participated in popup events in Wyandotte County and Youth Entrepreneur Day, to name a few. 

Nelson recently did a radio announcement with a local radio station and was interviewed by a local news channel that went national. Nelson an eleven-year-old entrepreneur is the youngest member of the Kansas City Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce. 

His immediate goal is to raise funds for a food truck or trailer and to secure a warehouse.

Corporation Of The Year

Kiewit Energy Group

As part of one the largest construction and engineering firms in North America, their engineers understand the crucial role that contractors have in the overall development and delivery of every project from start to finish.

Kiewit developed a formal supplier diversity supplier program to help them maximize their effectiveness. Sharon Cruz serves as the Sr. Supplier Diversity Manager. Kiewit believes a community is only as strong as the businesses they support. Through their policies, practices and commitment to this approach, they make inclusiveness happen.