Business buzz

Chad Frey
The Kansan

Bethel College Board appoints Gering to second term

Jon C. Gering,

The Board of Directors has given Jon C. Gering, Ph.D., a second term as president of Bethel College in a unanimous vote.

Gering began serving as president Jan. 29, 2018. He has been appointed to a 5-year term effective July 1, 2021.

Gering is a 1994 Bethel honors graduate in biology, with master’s and doctoral degrees from Miami University of Ohio, and spent 17 years as a faculty member in the Department of Biology and as an administrator at Truman State University, Kirksville, Mo., before assuming the Bethel presidency.

“The board enthusiastically renewed President Gering’s contract for five years – a direct result of the confidence we have and value we place in his leadership,” said Lori Schmidt-Harrison, Santa Barbara, Calif., vice chair of the Bethel Board of Directors.

“He has met every challenge during these unprecedented times in higher education with thoughtfulness, tenacity and an eye to the future. The Bethel College community is significantly stronger because of it.

“President Gering has an important, strategic vision for Bethel College,” she continued. “The board looks forward to working with him in continuing to take the college we love to new heights of financial strength and mission-centric relevance as we serve students.”  

In his first three years, Gering has a long list of accomplishments to his credit.

Under his leadership, the college is operating with a balanced budget. It is nearing completion of a capital campaign, Engage the Future, which launched in the fall of 2018, just months after Gering took office, and was Bethel’s first broad-scale capital campaign in seven years.

The college is already seeing evidence of the campaign’s success: two of the highest years of annual fund giving in Bethel history; completion of a new softball clubhouse; and major gifts to academic programs and the Wellness Center (a campaign centerpiece).

Gering has overseen the development and approval of new mission, vision and values statements for Bethel. He is currently spearheading a new strategic planning process.

USD 373 announces new Santa Fe assistant principal

Santa Fe 5/6 Center has announced a new principal, Heidi Flores. Flores has spent the last year at Santa Fe 5/6 Center as the assistant principal and will move in the principal role for the 2021-2022 school year.

Heidi Flores

“I am extremely excited to have Mrs. Flores take over at Santa Fe as she brings a great depth of knowledge in teaching and learning that she will be able to apply in guiding Santa Fe during her tenure as principal,” USD 373 Superintendent Fred Van Ranken said. “She is a dedicated school leader that has the best interests of the students and staff at heart.”

Last year, Flores joined USD 373 from Wichita Public Schools where she was a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) facilitator. As an MTSS facilitator, she provided professional development for staff, conducted classroom visits and provided instructional support, supported district leadership and enhanced initiatives and collaborated with principal and teacher teams to implement district and building initiatives. Through all of that, however, Flores never forgot her key focus—the impact an educator can make on a student.

“Students will find a champion through their journey of learning,” Flores said. “Which brings about a favorite quote by Rita Pierson: ‘Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them. Who understands the power of connection, and insists that become the best they can possibly be. Is this job tough? You betcha. But it is not impossible. We can do this. We’re educators. We were born to make a difference.”

Flores also has experience as an elementary teacher in the Wichita School District. Flores taught kindergarten, first, third and fourth grades. She received her master of science in building leadership from Newman University and her bachelor’s in education from Bethel College. She is mother of three and her oldest will be a sixth-grade student at Santa Fe. Her Husband, Everardo, is an assistant principal at Newton High School.

Current Principal Deana Waltrip accepted an assistant special education director position for Cowley County.

Wheat State Manor announces administrator retirement 

Following 11 years as Administrator at Wheat State Manor, Mike Smith, a resident of Wichita, is set to retire on July 16, 2021.

Smith, 70, joined Wheat State Manor with 36 years previous experience in nursing home administration.

"My wife Nancy and I are going to adjust to retirement and then be off to our next adventure,” Smith said. 

During his time at Wheat State Manor, he was responsible for the sole operation of the home and many projects such as renovation of the Alzheimer’s Unit, renovation of the interior of the home, building the management team, implementing “person centered care”, implementing the Chaplaincy and resident worship program to name a few.

He was also active in LeadingAge Kansas, a not-for-profit nursing home association. He served on the KING Board [self-funded work comp program] and was Board Chair. He also served on the Employee Benefits Board [EBI] from its design and inception, and retires as the Board Chair of that group as well.

As a new graduate from KSU, he went to work for United Cerebral Palsy and was charged with opening and running its first adult residential facility for disabled adults and he was the first Administrator of The Timbers.

He worked at the Catholic Care Center, closed the old facility, and was the first Administrator of that newly constructed facility when it opened in Bel Aire, KS. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Kansas State University in 1973 in Psychology and previously held the position of Administrator at numerous facilities, both for profit and not for profit during his 47year career.

“In the mid 80’s I began noticing what was happening at Wheat State and thought to myself ‘I wish I could the Administrator there’ and in 2010, it came true. Being able to be a part of this community, the churches, the school and its culture has been the privilege of a lifetime and I have been blessed in so many ways" Smith said.

Governor announces opening for investor tax credit program

Governor Laura Kelly recently announced applications are being accepted for Kansas startups seeking investment through the Kansas Angel Investor Tax Credit  program for 2021. Through bipartisan Senate Bill 66, the Angels program was extended for five years.

“Paired with our pro-business environment and talented workforce, the Angels program will help Kansas recruit dynamic startups to strengthen our growing economy,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “This program will allow Kansas to compete with every state in the nation to attract new businesses, industries, and families. I want to thank the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Legislature for supporting this bipartisan initiative.”

The program offers Kansas income tax credits to qualified individuals investing in new Kansas businesses. Eligible entrepreneurs include those engaged in the development, implementation and commercialization of new and innovative technologies, products, and services.

The KAITC program is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce, and is designed to encourage investment in new, innovative Kansas startups. Senate Bill 66 extended KAITC for the next five years. Important updates have been made to the program, including changes to credit investment amounts, increased budget appropriations and more.

Companies must qualify in order to participate in KAITC and receive tax credits. Eligibility requirements can be found at kansascommerce.gov/angels.

Startups seeking investment can apply now at kansascommerce.gov/angels, with applications accepted until August 31.

Kansas charitable organization registration transfers to Office of the Attorney General

TOPEKA –  With the passage of legislation earlier this year, the filing requirement for charitable organizations, professional fundraisers and solicitors has transferred to the Office of the Attorney General.

For many years, the Kansas Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act (KCOSA) has required most charitable organizations to register with the state prior to soliciting. Professional fund raisers and solicitors working for the charitable organization also must register. Earlier this year, House Bill 2079 transferred the program from the Kansas secretary of state to the attorney general. The change was effective May 27 and is now complete.

“This change places registration and enforcement in the same office and will make charity regulation more efficient and effective,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. 

In addition, the filling fee has been set at $25 for all registrations, which is a reduction for most. The new online portal for the registration program is https://www.ag.ks.gov/charities. At that site, charitable organizations, fundraisers and solicitors can find the necessary forms to register.  A copy of the KCOSA, applicable regulations and a list of frequently asked questions are also available for review.

Although administration of the program has been reformed, no substantive requirements for who must register and who is exempt have changed.

Consumers can call (785) 296-3751 or visit the charities registration page to check whether a charity is active in Kansas. Questions regarding charity registration can be directed to this phone number or to charities@ag.ks.gov.

The Office of the Attorney General is responsible for enforcement of the KCOSA and protecting consumers from fraudulent charitable and solicitation activities. More information on staying safe from scams is available on the attorney general’s consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.