BCC ACBSP Business Student Leader Award

Butler DECA President, Mara Stewart, receives annual leadership award

EL DORADO, Kan. – This year’s Butler Community College ACBSP Business Student Leader Award recipient is Mara Stewart of El Dorado. Stewart was nominated by Marketing Department Chair Jared McGinley. 

Butler Community College Marketing student, Mara Stewart was recognized for the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Business Student Leader Award.

The Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) developed the Business Student Leadership Award to recognize excellence in business student leadership. Butler business faculty nominate students they feel exemplify business leadership. Faculty then review applications and select the recipient. Recipients are presented a plaque as well as have their name placed on a perpetual plaque on Butler’s campus.  

Stewart, a May 2021 associate degree graduate, was very involved at Butler. She entered Butler on a scholarship for singing and dancing with the Butler Headliners, worked as an intern for Butler’s College Relations & Marketing Department, was an Order of the Gold recipient achieving a 4.0 GPA, and served as President of Collegiate DECA, a professional business fraternity. 

Her involvement in school activities led her to attend numerous conferences and seminars to improve business and leadership skills, tour various businesses, and compete in business case competitions. Over the past two years at the Kansas Collegiate DECA State Conference, she placed first in Event Planning with partner Beth Walker, first in Business Ethics with partner Sophia Dawson, and individually placed third in Travel and Tourism.  

As President of Collegiate DECA, Stewart was active in fundraising, as well as organizing and leading weekly meetings. Stewart also organized and led a Leadership Development Conference for all the Kansas DECA college chapters in the state, and helped plan, organize, and lead a trip to Kansas City where the chapter met with the marketing team of Sporting Kansas City.  

In addition to her studies and involvement on the Butler campus, Stewart has worked at two additional jobs, and regularly volunteered at her church. Stewart plans to continue her studies to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Marketing at Oklahoma Christian University.  

Brandon Leach Named Construction Technology Lead Instructor at Butler Community College

El Dorado, Kan. – An exciting new program is coming to Butler Community College this August – Construction Technology. The program is in the new Manufacturing Engineering & Construction Technology building, just south of the newly renovated 5000 building in Andover on East 13thStreet.  

In January, Brandon Leach was named lead faculty for the Construction Technology program.

Brandon Leach, lead faculty for Construction Technology at Butler Community College.

In addition to teaching Construction Technology courses, Leach will be responsible for curriculum development, collaborating and partnering with high school technical education faculty and counselors, and creating and sustaining partnerships with four-year colleges as well as business and industry.

After receiving his Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Drafting from Cowley Community College, Leach spent a year working for a custom furniture maker before moving on to Nies Homes, where he worked for many years doing all their drafting and design. When the housing market crashed in 2008, Leach was moved to a contract role, which led him to start his own drafting and design business that he still operates today.   

Leach went on to further his education and received a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Teaching Instruction and Curriculum from Wichita State University.   

In addition to running his own drafting and design business, Leach has been teaching at the high school level for the past seven years, the last three at El Dorado High School. Leach believes the Construction Technology program will fill a much-needed deficit in local skilled trades education.   

“The Wichita area has been lacking a good construction program,” said Leach. “Most of the education in the area focuses on manufacturing and aircraft, but we forget all those people need houses and buildings to put their businesses in. The construction trades have been kind of struggling in the area, so this program will hopefully help builders in the area have more educated and well-trained employees.” 

Leach has seen first-hand the need for skilled workers in the construction industry. Having just finished building his own home, Leach recognized that his subcontractors across the board – from masons to electricians to plumbers – were struggling to find good, trained workers. He is happy to be working with industry leaders to create a program that will produce the skilled employees needed to fill that void.   

“I have my own connections, primarily in the residential industry over the last 25 years, but also companies like Conco Construction and Wildcat Construction have played a central role in developing this curriculum with Butler Community College,” says Leach. 

The Construction Technology program is supported by local industry leaders like Eby Construction, Conco Construction, Wildcat Construction and Beran Concrete. Butler was approached by industry to develop a curriculum that could meet the needs for skilled labor. The 62-credit hour Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree also includes a summer internship. The program will provide a breadth of knowledge across various areas of the construction industry and will prepare students to enter the workforce immediately or transfer to a Pitt State University’s four-year degree program in Construction Management.  

Although the program launches in August with its construction courses, students can start earlier by taking any required general education courses which are offered in the spring or summer.  

In addition, Rose Hill High School is completing a building to house a Construction Technology pathway through Butler’s Early College Academy. The program will train high school students for the industry as juniors and seniors and prepare them to graduate with their associate of applied science degree the same time they graduate high school.  

Leach feels strongly that technology and two-year degrees are a great option in pursuing a lifelong career.   

“I brag that my little two-year associates degree I got in 1996 is still what pays my bills today. My business is built off that associates degree. Granted, I went and got further education, but that two-year degree set my life on the course I’m on now.”   

With his background in both construction and education, Leach will bring a wealth of knowledge to the program as well as his optimism about the future of the industry. 

Says Leach, “Working with high school students, I definitely see a lot of kids that want to work with their hands and create something and make something. I’m encouraged about the next generation.”

COVID-19 Vaccine in Limited Supply

Virginia Ball and her son Randy Ball learned that Kansas entered the second of the COVID-19 Vaccinations Phases. Phase 2 in Kansas includes persons aged 65+; congregate settings such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes; high contact crical workers; all unvaccinated persons prioritized in previous phases.

The Butler County COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee has determined the first three priority groups for Phase 2 will be First Responders, K-12 Staff and individuals 65 years and older.

Virginia is 95 and Randy is 71, which qualifies them to receive the vaccination under these guidelines. Butler County receives the Moderna vaccine and the vaccine sign-up for Butler County residents, as well as those who work in Butler County, must be completed online at the Butler County website: http://www.bucoks.com/covidvax

When Ball logged on to the Butler County Health Department’s website to schedule their appointments, she discovered there are no upcoming appointments available. Not next week, or the week after that, not even within the next couple of months.

“If all goes as planned, said Jaime Downs, Director of the Butler County Health Department, “we should get 600 vaccines a week. That’s based on supplies. Each week KDHE centrally decides the allocation of each incoming shipment to each enrolled provider.”

“Limited vaccines mean limited supply,” said Downs. “We are tasked with exhausting the full weekly allotment that we get so we are in the process of doing that.”

“Currently, the hospital receives an allotment to administer to their staff and long term care facilities receive an allotment for their residents,” said Downs.

The Health Department is the only provider able to administer the vaccine to all the other populations in Butler County.

“We have 10 pharmacies and 2 clinics requested to be a provider but we don’t know when they will come on board. We’re hoping very soon,” said Downs.

In a statement, the Butler County Health Department said, “We have only so much vaccine. If the appointment slots are filled keep checking back to see if more have been added. The following week’s appointment slots will open as we are notified of vaccine shipments. We will get everyone vaccinated that wants it but it will take time. We request your patience as we move through this process.”

Virginia Ball is a “Rosie the Riveter” who is committed to helping fight the pandemic. “Together we can do it,” she said.

Ball and her son intend to keep checking back each week until they are able to get vaccinated. Both have recently recovered from having COVID-19 and want to be vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent a possible reinfection.

“This is a horrible disease,” said Ball.

World College Radio Day

Butler Community College Radio students participated in the 10th annual World College Radio Day by hosting 12 hours of live programming on KBTL 88.1 The Grizz on Friday, October 2, 2020.  KBTL is one of over 600 college radio stations across the world to participate and is being recognized for participating in all 10 years.  

The goal of World College Radio Day is to raise a greater, international awareness of the many college and high school radio stations that operate around the world.  By encouraging people who would not normally listen to college radio, to do so on this day, World College Radio Day helps celebrate the important contribution of college radio.

According to their website, “The organizers of College Radio Day believe that college radio is one of the last remaining bastions of creative radio programming, free from the constrictions of having to be commercially viable, and a place where those involved in its programming believe passionately in its mission. College radio is the only free live medium brave enough to play unsigned, local, and independent artists on a regular basis. Indeed, many famous and successful bands today, owe their initial break to being played on college radio. Put simply, college radio is an important part of the media landscape because of its unique and fearless programming.” 

The original idea for College Radio Day was conceived by Dr. Rob Quicke (General Manager, WPSC FM, William Paterson University, NYC market), and was founded in December 2010 by Quicke, who worked with Peter Kreten (General Manager, WXAV FM, Saint Xavier University, Chicago market) to help develop the idea.


Community action projects presented as Class XII concludes

EL DORADO, Kan. – The 12th Advance Kansas class culminated on Friday, September 18 as 39 area business and community leaders were welcomed by previous graduates to the alumni network known as Advancers. This brings the network of prepared leaders to 471, representing 147 organizations in the greater Wichita area. 

This year’s class proved their resilience and dedication to diversity, meeting over eight months instead of the normal five months, due to COVID-19 restrictions. They formed relationships and developed skills to become better leaders in our increasingly diverse organizations and communities. Between class sessions, they worked in teams to accomplish community-action projects benefiting area not-for-profit organizations. 

The Starkey team worked with staff at Starkey to develop a community access program to expose the individuals that Starkey serves to diverse, engaging, inexpensive, and convenient opportunities within the community. It consists of a call to action for community residents to share their talents and resources with the organization, specific activities to engage in, and a proposal for how the organization can partner with local high schools to the benefit of all in the future. Starkey team members are Lisa Capps, EmberHope Youthville; Silas Dulan, Evergy; Donnie Mercer, Butler Community College; Ken Merry, Emprise Bank; Olivia Newfarmer, Hutton; Tracie Partridge, City of Wichita; and Renee Walker, EmberHope Youthville. 

The Dunbar team partnered with the Historic Dunbar Theatre to create a community fundraising playbook. Wichita’s Dunbar Theatre opened in 1941 and until 1963 served as the only movie theater available to the African American community. Having fallen into decline, there has been a recent effort to revitalize the theater and help make it an economic catalyst for the McAdams neighborhood. The team’s goal was initially to help the Dunbar Theatre create a fundraising plan but has expanded to the creation of a community fundraising resource legacy project. Dunbar team members are Luke Amend, Hutton; Tom Borrego, Butler Community College; Alan Fearey, Ascension Medical Group; Mark Jarvis, Butler Community College; Tiffany Kelsie, T-Mobile; Davian Lawrence, Koch Industries; Ebony Pollard, T-Mobile; Chevis Rebstock, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce; and Jillian Seitz, Fidelity Bank

The New Leaf team worked with New Leaf Mercantile, a social enterprise of Union Rescue Mission, to create a business strategy. New Leaf Mercantile resales donated books through online channels and uses the proceeds to support the work of the Mission while providing opportunities for men at the Mission to gain job experience through apprenticeships. The Advance Kansas project team worked with the store manager to create a self-sustaining business model that supports ongoing growth, including a robust apprenticeship program. The team offered operational recommendations, facilitated valuable connections with Amazon and DHL, created tools for tracking and onboarding new apprentices, and plans to continue working with management to complete a formal business plan. New Leaf team members are Rakesh Babu, Envision; Deidra Butterfield, JR Custom Metal Products; Norma Estrada, Intrust Bank; Heather Gates, Meritrust Credit Union; Amanda Gish, Credit Union of America; Edward Hinojos, Spirit AeroSystems; and Saras Rogers, Meritrust Credit Union. 

The Dreamkeepers team worked with Wichita Public Schools to find a way to further engage middle school students with STEM careers. The team developed an 8th grade program that will expand on what 7th graders learned from their industry days by attending a career fair with companies that represent each pathway offered at their high school. This won’t be an average career fair as it will feature activities from each industry to give students a taste of what a career at that company would encompass. Industries will be asked to provide career path information and include a variety of possible careers that require different education levels and certifications. This will give students a chance to explore diverse careers by talking with professionals in the fields they are interested in pursuing and leaving with an understanding of how to pursue their dream job. Dreamkeepers team members are Miranda Aarons, AGCO; Don Berner, Foulston; Cheryl Childers, Cox Machine; Lauren Clary, Kansas Gas Service; Terrell Davis, USD 259 Wichita; Brandt Hagel, Evergy; Pete Loecke, Spirit AeroSystems; Alfredo Ortiz-Aleman, Intrust Bank; and Cesario Rodriguez, High Touch Technologies. 

The Raise My Head project’s goal is to help the Raise My Head Foundation create a retail plan for their locally made products. The Raise My Head Foundation provides women who are breaking free from sex trafficking a safe residence to heal and acclimate back to normal society. They have started a cottage industry to provide employment skills, a paycheck for residents, and program sustainability by producing and selling all-natural skincare products such as body creams, lotions, scrubs, and more. With COVID-19 limitations, the team still managed to place a KWCH 12 news story about the program that can be used any time for promotion, brainstormed ways to promote their products, conducted research on getting UPCs placed on their products, and located retailers willing to place their products. Raise My Head team members are Brooke Feikert, Emprise Bank; Shea Griffin, Koch Industries; David Herrmann, KWCH Channel 12; Aliex Kofoed, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas; Megan Madasz, WSU Tech; Kim Wilhelm, KWCH Channel 12; and Cassie Zeiner, Butler Community College. 

Hosted by Butler Community College with support from Spirit AeroSystems, Evergy, Meritrust Credit Union and Envision, Advance Kansas is designed to bring together leaders from all demographic groups and across all sectors of society – business, nonprofit, education, religion, government – and to educate them in effective ways to engage pressing diversity issues in their communities. Advance Kansas is facilitated by Juan Johnson, president of Diversity Leadership in Action, of Atlanta.