Excitement for the future was the mood in downtown Topeka Thursday.
The Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center.
Local economic leaders celebrated adding 400 new jobs to the community over the last year and retaining 200 more identified as at-risk for leaving.
Outgoing Chamber Board Chairman Carl Koupal said he was proud of completing the Heartland Visioning process, which involved more than 5000 people from Topeka and Shawnee Couny. He says now the strategies it developed must be implemented. He says that will involve everyone working together.
Incoming Board Chairman Rick Wienckowski agreed. He says the fact that so many people were involved in the Visioning process means there will be a lot of support for the changes and improvements it suggests. He says he believes enthusiasm will grow even more as people start to see little things being accomplished.
Welch touched on efforts to recruit and retain young people. He says part of the effort involves getting in touch with technology, such as text messages and Facebook, and appealing to their personal influences in ways like writing a personal letter to their parents or spouse.
The Chamber's event also honored Capitol Federal as the Chamber's Member Firm of the Year and James Davis of Custom Neon and Vinyl Graphics as the Chamber Member Volunteer of the Year.
Other awards presented during the annual meeting included the Top Ambassador Award to Mickey Shaver, Mickey’s Promotions. Steve Johnson, Prudential First REALTORS, was presented the Chris Canfield Volunteer Sales Award. Mike Braum, Xpedx, was presented the Top Diplomat Award.