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2022 MED Week Winners

Women-Owned Businesses​

Kansas Woman-Owned Construction Firm

Amber Lutz-Sherman

Lutz Plumbing, Inc.

Shawnee

Lutz Plumbing provides services with drain and sewer, water treatment or testing, leak detection and water heaters.

After a decade of firsthand experience at Lutz Plumbing, Amber proudly became the sole owner and the first woman in her family to sit behind the owner’s desk.

Amber’s goals include expanding residential and commercial services, while doubling the number of employees. She plans to establish a program to hire, train and promote young women at her business both in office management and as on-site technicians.

Kansas Woman-Owned Manufacturing Firm

Janie Curtis

Curtis Machine Company, Inc

Dodge City

Curtis Machine Company is a 76-year-old company that designs and manufactures gearboxes, gears and precision and machined parts. They are one of the most progressive manufacturing companies in the Midwest with state-of-the-art machine tools and CMM testing equipment.

The future goal for Curtis Machine is to continue to grow the company and to provide good jobs for their community.

Kansas Woman-Owned Professional Service Firm

Anna Crable

Anna Crable Agency

Hutchinson

Anna’s inspiration for opening the business was her love for the customers and wanting to make sure that they were getting the best care and education for the industry that she could offer. She is a Farmers insurance agent serving Hutchinson and surrounding areas. 

She helps customers identify the insurance coverage that best fits their needs.

Kansas Woman-Owned Retail Firm

Laura Martin

Sew Loved Quilt Shop

Elkhart


The biggest desire for Laura was to provide a service and retail goods in an under served community.

Laura deliberately built her business with fabrics that blended with what she already had and tried to provide many neutral fabrics for them. Another service she offers is longarm quilting.  

She has taken advantage of the Network Kansas e-community loan and expanded to add a retreat center. Laura shared that quilters drive a long distance to get to her shop.

Kansas Woman-Owned Service Industry Firm

Jill Harrison

Interim HealthCare

Topeka

Jill was inspired to start the business after caring for her father when he was in Hospice at home.

After 10+ years, the business has grown tremendously, with over 200 clients on “Home Health”, 90 in “Hospice” and over 300 “Private Duty clients.” Jill shared that Interim HealthCare receives notes from families of their patients all the time – telling them how much their care was a comfort and help.

Interim HealthCare also has a very large “We Honor Vets” program where they do a pinning ceremony and present a flag to their Veterans on Hospice.

Currently, they have 98 full-time and 220 part-time employees.

Kansas Woman-Owned Supplier/Distributor

Martha Everhart

Phast Parts Enterprise, LLC

Wichita

Martha started the company with her Spanish speaking customers in mind. She wanted them to come to her company for all their inquiries. Phast Parts Enterprise strives to provide parts and services of the highest quality in order to help their customers meet their aviation needs. Phast is located in a strategic location with easy access to local suppliers who manufacture aircraft parts or support aircraft in some way.

Most of Phast’s customers are located in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, South Africa, and France among other countries. Martha states it is imperative to communicate with customers in their language (Spanish) and for that reason their team has members that speak fluent Spanish and English.

Minority-Owned Businesses

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Construction Firm

Peter Salmeron

Professional Landscaping Services

Wichita

Professional Landscaping Services includes bed maintenance, irrigation and drainage, spring and fall cleanup, tree removal, seeding, sodding, retaining walls, water features, mowing, and pond maintenance to name a few services.

Peter had always had an “entrepreneurial” spirit and wanted to manage, develop, and grow a business. In 2014, he found landscaping to be his passion and so he worked seven days a week, 12-14 hours a day trying to get the business going. All of his efforts paid off as he now has 22 employees, 3 subcontractors and has been profitable for the past 4 years. Peter hopes to exceed the $1.5 million mark this year.

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Manufacturer

Debra Roark

Spirit Life Apparel & Screenprinting

Merriam

What started as a small screenprinting business in 2010 has grown to include screenprinting and embroidery to create made-to-order apparel for every occasion.   

Debra works with corporate customers, sports teams, volunteer organizations and individuals to provide high-quality shirts and uniforms.

Debra is also working with the area school to create an intern program that would serve as a great opportunity for those wanting to get into the apparel business and/or entrepreneurship. Her goal is to open another store or franchise one day.

Kansas Minority-Owned Professional Service Firm

Okturia Ross

KORE Lab Solutions

Overland Park

During the onset of the pandemic, Okturia Ross and her husband made the decision to invest in and establish Kore Lab Solutions (KLS) in Overland Park. They quickly assembled a team of medical professionals and subject matter experts and completed numerous training curriculums in order to become a certified Covid-19 testing laboratory.  

Their long-term goal to become involved in the clinical/drug research arena and to become a Site Management Organization partnering with drug companies to oversee the testing phases of their newly developed drugs.

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Retail Firm of the Year

Lee Meisel

Leeway Franks

Lawrence

After many years of working in food service management, and as the in-house butcher, Lee decided to open his own business.  So, in 2015, Lee opened Leeway Franks, a counter-service eatery focused on serving high quality comfort foods made with local ingredients. The business expanded in 2018 with the opening of Leeway Butcher adjacent to Leeway Franks.

Lee works directly with local farms, ranchers, dairies and bakeries to source meats, seasonal produce, breads, and cheeses.

Lee intends to further develop the Leeway Franks restaurant concept with potential franchises in other Kansas cities as well as a dedicated production facility for his signature sausages.  

Kansas Minority-Owned Business Service Firm

Cheryl Clark

Dare to Dream Event Management

Topeka

Cheryl is a Certified Wedding Planner, Certified Wedding and Event Designer and provides décor along with rental items.  She has planned events for families, corporate businesses, weddings, birthday parties and children’s events. Even during the pandemic, Cheryl rolled out “luxury pop-up picnics” so families could connect outdoors.  


She has been a guest on two shows with KTWU and has done 2 cut-in commercial segments designing the perfect holiday decorations. One of her main goals is to build an event venue in Topeka where she could host community events and provide a safe place for kids to have activities.  

Kansas Minority Supplier/Distributor

Sash Selvaraj & Roger Thang

GLOBAL Link, LLC

Kansas City

Sash’s dad, Roger Thang, started this business in May 2015 when he started his real estate and consulting business. He started it with a vision for a “better tomorrow.” The company switched to a full-fledged PPE/Medical supplier/distributor during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sash then took over the day-to-day operations in April 2019.

Their determination and vision to develop their company helped them through the challenging times. They continue to have challenges but are persistent and continue to add value to their customers and stay on course for a better tomorrow.

Kansas Women Business Advocate

Glenda Washington

Greater Topeka Partnership/Minority Women Business Development

Topeka

In 2020, Glenda Washington received a new assignment serving as the Chief Equity and Opportunity Officer of GO Topeka and Senior Vice President and Women Business Development for the Greater Topeka Partnership. 

This position gives her a way to ensure everyone has opportunities and allows the city to place greater priority on economic development for all and allows her to be a champion for diversity and inclusion.

Kansas Minority Business Advocate

Dave Sotelo

City of Hutchinson

In 2020, David began his work as the Human Relations Officer at the City of Hutchinson where his task is to create harmonious relationships and eliminate prejudice amongst the various groups within the City.

He leads equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts for the City and advises other community organizations on equity strategies. Dave brings energy and a wide range of experience in community mobilizing and coalition building.

Kansas Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Kate Smith

Kate Smith Soiree/Butterfield’s Bakery

Lexena

In 2018, Kate Smith formed Kate Smith Soirée. She began selling French Macarons and sold them at craft shows and catered weddings to test market. Eventually, she launched a bi-weekly pop-up cart. After 3 months of pop-ups, Kate was offered an incubator stall to grow Kate Smith Soirée.

Kate then grew her wedding catering business and opened her “brick and mortar” in June 2019. After a successful year and a half and fighting through the pandemic, Kate opened her restaurant, Butterfield’s, in December 2020.

Kate’s goals include expanding into a second retail location in the Leawood/Prairie Village market or the Lawrence market. She would also like to expand wholesale accounts and open a French macaron wholesale production facility.

Corporation Of The Year

Terracon

Olathe

Terracon is an employee-owned, multidiscipline consulting firm providing facilities, environmental, geotechnical and materials services. They are comprised of more than 5,500 curious minds focused on solving engineering and technical challenges from more than 175 locations nationwide. ​

Their culture of care and concern is an important part of who they are at Terracon. That’s why their Guiding Behaviors outline the responsibilities of every employee in setting the example to treat everyone fairly and respectfully, speak up for others and themselves, and commit to inclusion. They believe that by focusing on inclusion and diversity that equity will follow.

These Guiding Behaviors also provide a foundation for their growing Supplier Diversity Program which supports small business participation in all diversity categories including LGBT-Owned, Disabled-Owned, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, Veteran-Owned, Women-Owned Enterprise, Minority-Owned Enterprise, Self-Certified Small Disadvantaged Business, HUBZone, and Small Businesses. Terracon’s national footprint allows them to connect with partners from across the country and encourage small business participation in their purchasing decisions through a database of companies.

These efforts are just a starting point. Their journey of committing to inclusion has no final destination; it is an ongoing commitment at Terracon.  

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