Excel names new leadership
HESSTON – Excel Industries, a manufacturer of commercial and residential turf equipment sold under the Hustler and BigDog Mower Co. brand names, recently announced President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Mullet will retire. Joseph C. Wright will join Excel Industries as CEO on Feb. 12.

Mullet’s decision to retire comes after 45 years with Excel Industries, serving as president and CEO since 1991. He will remain actively engaged through March, assisting with Wright’s transition. Mullet also will continue to serve on the company’s Board of Directors, a role he has held since 1983.

Mullet’s father, Roy Mullet, was a founding member of Excel Industries. Paul Mullet started as a welder at Excel in 1972 and progressed through a diverse range of roles with a variety of responsibilities within the company, including production supervisor, service manager, and VP of sales and marketing until his promotion to president.

“Professionally and personally, now is the time for me to transition the leadership of Excel Industries,” said Mullet. “We’ve grown significantly over the last decade and we’re starting 2018 in a strong position. The entire leadership team is excited to welcome Joe as our new CEO and continue our growth trajectory.”

The Board of Directors selected Wright as CEO. Wright comes to Excel Industries from Concept Metal Group, a provider of metal processing, metal finishing, powder coating, assemblies, and supply chain management, where he served as president. Prior to that, he spent 21 years with Briggs & Stratton Corporation, the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.

“I wish Paul the best in his retirement and would like to express my gratitude to the Board of Directors for this opportunity,” said Wright. “For years, I’ve followed the progress of Excel Industries. Under my leadership, the company will continue its legacy of innovation and quality craftsmanship. I look forward to returning to my lawn and garden industry roots and becoming part of the local community.”



Habitat names new board members

The Harvey County Habitat for Humanity Board is pleased to announce three new members to its board of directors.

Fawn R. Berger is the Harvey County Manager with the Security First Title office in Newton. She began her career with Regier Title, Inc. in November of 1991 and served as Vice President until they were acquired by Security 1st. Fawn maintains both a Kansas title insurance and abstracter’s license and is involved in all aspects of the title examination and closing process for real estate transactions in our area. She also serves on the Executive and Education committees for the Kansas Land Title Association and is a frequent instructor/speaker at the annual title school for the association.

Sylvia Bartel has worked in real estate since 2004 and is currently a real estate agent at JP Weigand. As a Senior Real Estate Specialist she is trained to help meet the particular needs and demands of clients age 55 and older. Prior to moving to Newton with her husband in 2011, Sylvia and her family lived Hutchinson. In addition to actively working in real estate in Hutchinson, she also worked as a housing specialist for New Beginnings, helping homeless persons transition into permanent housing, administering rental assistance, as well as managing, a rental database for Reno County. Sylvia sings with the Newton Chorale and currently serves on their board. She also leads several fitness classes at the North Newton Wellness Center.

Michele Ediger currently works for Northridge Elementary School as an administrative assistant. She brings broad experience in marketing, business, and non-profit to the Habitat Board. Previously Michele was a part owner of Next Element Consulting. She also worked for several years at Prairie View in marketing and business services. In 2017 she launched a non-profit in her hometown, “Revitalize Walton,” helping those in need with simple home repairs. She also volunteers at the Newton Et Cetera Shop.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing organization working locally and in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and approximately 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward this vision by building and improving homes in partnership with individuals and families in need of a decent and affordable place to live. The Harvey County chapter of Habitat for Humanity recently completed its 13th house the chapter has built in Harvey County.



Westar Energy to reflect tax cut in utility rates

TOPEKA – Westar Energy recently announced it will file a request before the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to reflect in its electricity rates the full amount of tax savings from the change in the federal tax law.

Westar said that a detailed application is being prepared and will be filed later this month or early February. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which decreased the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, and became effective Jan. 1.

“We agree with the KCC Staff and others that all these tax benefits should go to our customers,” said Mark Ruelle, President and CEO of Westar. “This application to update rates starts that process.”

All utility rate changes must be approved by the KCC. That process typically takes a few months to review and confirm. While the company estimated the tax benefit to be $65 million annually, or more, the KCC Staff and other parties will confirm the precise figures before the KCC. In addition to passing through the benefit of lower tax rates, regulators will review and update all other costs to provide electricity.