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Wichita Eagle; People You Should Know

Greteman Group team members People You Should Know - Josh Wood, Heather Newell, Barry Owens, Melissa Cox

© Wichita Eagle 2016

Lessons Learned From a Leader

FlightSafety International CEO Bruce Whitman didn’t give a long speech. He kept his keynote to the April gathering of the Wichita Aero Club short, heartfelt and real. The venerable company

Bruce Whitman mingles with Wichita Aero Club attendees prior to his keynote presentation.
Bruce Whitman mingles with Wichita Aero Club attendees prior to his keynote presentation. Photo Credit: Visual Media Group, photographer Brett Schauf.

celebrated its 65th anniversary in March, so naturally he talked about that history, especially the start-up years and his role at the side of late founder Al Ueltschi. How they kept in the black at first by Ueltschi not taking a salary. How they financed their first simulator, for the Gulfstream I, by having customers pay for blocks of time in advance. How he had to convince the nascent business aviation industry of the importance of professional training.

Power to Your People

Whitman broadened his message from building one’s business to strengthening one’s team. A favorite activity of his: “I like to recognize and promote.” Which was not surprising to hear coming from a person who’s legendary in the industry for his ability to single out individuals, remember their names and make them feel special. Quite a good trait for a CEO whose worldwide network of Learning Centers has 1,800 instructors.

Bruce Whitman with the Greteman Group leadership team, (l-r) Ashley Bowen Cook, Sonia Greteman and Deanna Harms.
Bruce Whitman with the Greteman Group leadership team, (l-r) Ashley Bowen Cook, Sonia Greteman and Deanna Harms. Photo Credit: Visual Media Group, photographer Brett Schauf.

Whitman told about his decision at age 16 to never again work at a job or for a company that didn’t fully engage him. He wanted to live a life of purpose, one that required all he had to give. “I hope you all do what you like with people you like,” he said. Then he assured the crowd that he certainly does. And has for the 55 years he’s been with FlightSafety, 13 of which as its chief executive.

Bottom Line, It’s About More Than the Bottom Line

This accomplished businessman, pilot and patriot also urged us to broaden our outlook, to give back and to help others. “Find a cause you feel passionate about.” Whitman has a long list of nonprofits he supports, but two receive extra consideration: the Congressional Medal of Honor and Orbis International.

All the organizations, foundations, advisory councils, boards and committees that Whitman serves made Wichita Aero Club President Dave Franson say, “I’ve come to the conclusion that Bruce Whitman is really two people.” We have been thinking the same thing. Except wonder whether there might actually be three.

Featured at top: FlightSafety International CEO and President Bruce Whitman addressing the Wichita Aero Club meeting on April 13. Photo credit: Visual Media Group, photographer Brett Schauf.   This column ran in the April 20 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Joshua Wood Joins Greteman Group as Senior Writer/Editor

Joshua Wood has joined Greteman Group, a Wichita-based marketing agency, as senior writer/editor. He comes to the agency after nearly 20 years as a journalist at The Wichita Eagle.

Prior to joining the agency, he wrote and edited stories throughout the paper and its website. Beginning in the sports department, Wood moved to the news section, with an emphasis in online production and social media.

“Compelling content marketing relies on storytelling no matter the platform – digital, print, broadcast, environmental – and Josh is a master,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “He cuts through and connects – whether that’s motivating someone to learn more or spring to action.”

He helped the paper transition to a digital-first newsroom, pivoting writing, editing and production schedules to better serve readers’ needs throughout the day and night. He contributed to award-winning packages based on extensive research, insightful writing, compelling presentations and optimized multimedia.

Some areas of concentrated coverage included: real-time reports from damaging storms and tornadoes; politics and government, including state, local and national elections; crime and courts, with interactive databases; and high school and collegiate sports, focusing on championship seasons by the Wichita State Shockers, Kansas Jayhawks and Kansas State Wildcats.

Wood brings a reporter’s tenacity to dive into deep research to find out what makes a client unique. He wants to tell the story of the brand, delivering facts and information in the most compelling fashion. And he does that quickly, hitting deadlines with a sense of urgency.

A native of Michigan, Wood has become immersed in Wichita’s rich aviation history and business environment.

“It’s an honor to join a group of professionals so dedicated to serving their clients and to have an opportunity to build upon the tremendous legacy of aviation work the agency has delivered,” Wood says.

COVERAGE: Bulldog Reporter 4.14.16 Wichita Eagle 4.20.16

Barry Owens Joins Greteman Group as a Writer/Producer

Barry Owens has joined Greteman Group, a Wichita-based marketing agency, as a writer and video producer. He comes to the agency with more than five years behind a video camera and 15 years in the newspaper business.

“I’m always looking for the story, and then for the best way to tell it,” Owens says. “Greteman Group shares that philosophy, so I already feel very much at home.”

A writer whose interest first led him to newspapers, Owens worked most every beat at papers in Kansas and New York, started his own paper in Wichita, The College Hill Commoner, and finally was a special section editor at The Wichita Eagle. At every stop, he aimed to tell stories rather than stack facts.

He’s won multiple awards for his newspaper writing, especially in the feature-writing category where he excelled in finding compelling stories that were often off the beaten path and always engaging.

Owens was a video producer for five years at United Way of the Plains, a job that did not exist there before he created it. He was originally hired to write copy, but saw that video was often the best medium for their message and went to work producing many dozens of them a year on his own in-house. From commercials to campaign videos to social media shorts, he’s done them all.

“Barry brings a quirky, unexpected approach to every project,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “He captures your attention and holds it. Whatever the media. Video, print, digital, broadcast. Even better, he connects emotionally. He might have you laughing one minute and tearing up the next. The one thing he’ll never do: bore you.”

COVERAGE: Bulldog Reporter 4.13.16 Wichita Eagle 4.20.16

Digital Developer Heather Newell Joins Greteman Group

Greteman Group recently added digital developer Heather Newell to its team. Most recently she had worked for Prime Concepts Group as a web designer and developer. At the agency, she will create and support digital projects.

“Our clients depend on top-flight development to power their websites and interactive marketing. Heather jumps over obstacles to provide elegant solutions to difficult problems,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “Her unbounded energy and roll-up-your-sleeves attitude takes our clients to the next level.”

Newell brings a graphic design background to complement her extensive experience in website development. Building her first computer when she was 13, she graduated from Fort Hays State University’s prestigious design program with a bachelor of fine art’s degree with a graphic design emphasis.

“My eye for design is very beneficial when coding websites. I am always looking at how I can make something better in function or appearance,” Newell says. “Technology interests me, I like knowing how things work and how people interact with it.”

After working for a marketing agency in Tulsa, Okla., Newell returned to her hometown to join Wichita’s growing community of active young professionals who are making the city a vibrant place to live. Joining the ICT Roller Girls in 2014, Newell skates in competitive roller derby under the nickname “Heat,” scoring points as a jammer for the league’s All-Star team.

When she’s not on skates or writing winning code, Newell is an avid home remodeler. “Sometimes it feels good to take a sledge hammer to a wall. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and do some hard manual work,” she says.

COVERAGE: Wichita Eagle 4.20.16

Melissa Cox Joins Greteman Group as Office Administrator

Melissa Cox has joined Greteman Group, a Wichita-based marketing agency, as office administrator. Previously, she worked in the banking industry, serving as financial services advisor/head teller for Bank SNB for almost five years and as a teller at Fidelity Bank for more than two years.

“I’ve found a good home for both my organizational skills and my more creative roots,” says Cox. “Every day is new here – whether I’m tracking an important package in Argentina, arranging a business trip to the west coast, planning an agency retreat or welcoming international guests to our office.”

Cox earned a bachelor of fine arts in interior design at Fort Hays State University.

“Melissa’s a joy,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “Her talents keep our office humming and the vibe as calm as it can be in this industry.”

COVERAGE: Wichita Eagle 4.20.16

The Rewards of Shooting for the Stars

The desire for a community gateway befitting the Air Capital of the World led to the opening of a new terminal last June. And to the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Ad Astra award. It’s only the third one given. The others: Exploration Place in 2001 and Intrust Bank Arena in 2011.

The award was bestowed at the chamber’s 53rd annual Honors Night on April 7. The chamber commissioned, and the Wichita Airport Authority underwrote, a video highlighting the passion, the planning and the people behind the effort. We’re proud of Sonia’s and our full agency’s role throughout the decade-long project.

Showcasing Past, Present and Future

The June 2015 terminal opening at Eisenhower National Airport included the public’s first viewing of our aviation-history display. The full-access, pre-security mezzanine transports you to monumental-scale, interior-lit structures with pops of color more typically seen on an aircraft factory floor. Aviation insiders will recognize our turquoise and primer green as the colors of protective coverings used to transport fuselages across the country and the green of unfinished aircraft.

The light-infused terminal space makes the history of aviation display and art installation above it look different throughout the day. The dichroic glass of Ed Carpenter’s wing-like, public art shifts colors based on the light for a dynamic, ever-changing display. Response has been overwhelmingly positive.

With the opening of Eisenhower National, Wichita gains a gleaming, aviation-inspired front door. People seem to love it. When you walk through the mezzanine, you see people interacting with the aviation display and photographing themselves with it. We’ve received calls from family members who’ve discovered relatives featured on the panels – and feel so honored by the recognition.

Take Wing With Us

We hope you’ll watch the video. And, even better, that you’ll fly out of this marvelous new gateway.

COVERAGE: WorldNews 4.12.16

Gaining Altitude with Attitude in the Air Capital

I have a new appreciation for anniversaries. When you first start a business, you think once you get through that first six months. That first year. When you pay back your start-up loan. When, when, when. What you don’t realize is that throughout your business life, the bar keeps rising. New challenges appear. New realities. And that’s what makes business so darn great.

At 27-years strong this April Fool’s Day, our agency is right behind the WBJ’s impressive three decades. I’ve learned some lessons along the way. Here are a few.

Clothe Yourself in Fuchsia

Early in my career, I worked at Boeing Wichita as my father had before me. The job offered good pay and benefits. The other 25,000-plus workers seemed glad to be there. Yet, it was not right for me. I would show up to work in huge African turbans and outrageous punk-rock costumes. I can’t believe I did that and my bosses let me get away with it. When I turned in my resignation, a colleague gave me the best compliment I’d ever received, saying I was “fuchsia silk in a gray-flannel world.”

Keep Your Eye On the Prize

People are always surprised to learn that I’m a businessperson first and a creative director second. I watch the bottom line and emphasize results. Good creative captures attention and evokes emotion for a purpose. Think conversion. Moving people to action. To download information. Ask a question. Buy a product. Become a brand advocate.

Believe In Your Value

I learned early on to make it easy for clients to do business with us, to present concepts quickly to busy people, and to bill to estimate so there were no unhappy surprises. I have always believed our work had value so I was bold about charging going rate. Because if the dollars don’t work, neither do you. When dealing with numbers, clothes and cars, black has always appealed to me more than red.

Your Tools Will Change

In the early ’90s, we designed one of the region’s first websites. We developed it for ourselves because we couldn’t yet convince a client of the World Wide Web’s merits. It only had a few pages. There was little text. The navigation was so subtle finding your way around became a game. It had no SEO because Google didn’t exist. Nor did Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. You accessed the site through dial-up modems worse than old phone party lines. We persevered and evolved.

Surround Yourself With Greatness

Those first years in business passed in a business-generating, round-the-clock, always-thinking blur. I think back on the pace we set and wonder how we did it. Dashing around the office (and the world), hair aflame, obsessing over big ideas and small details. Our tight group developed a reputation for delivering top-flight creative, on time and on budget. We’re calmer now – thanks to noontime aerobics and after-hours yoga – but the passion remains.

Celebrate Your Wins

In a day where the lifespan of a business seems to be measured in dog years, I take great pride in each and every anniversary. The journey never ends. But what a ride.

This column ran in the Wichita Business Journal’s 30th Anniversary issue on April 1, 2016.