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Solid Vision

A change-agent product and machine-design firm recently opened its doors in Wichita. As a business owner and community champion, I couldn’t be happier. Solid Design Solutions develops concepts and brings ideas to life through smart innovation, creativity, machine design and expertise in delivering products to market. Watch for great things.

Solid CEO and President Pete Gustaf launched the new branch office of the Minnesota-based company for several reasons. Mainly because he feels it is such a good fit for the Air Capital. This visionary business leader has called Wichita home long enough to recognize our community is full of roll-up-the-sleeves engineering types. People who know how to move ideas from concept to production.

It’s difficult to not get excited about what Gustaf’s bringing to town. He talks so passionately about the products and the possibilities of uniting Solid and an engineering hub such as Wichita. He has every confidence that the local office will help clients solve complex product and production challenges. As you listen to him, you become a believer, too. After all, Solid has done it before, partnering with companies such as Honeywell, 3M, Bose, Boston Scientific, Medtronics and Fastenal.

Gustaf thinks outside the box. While others doggedly journey on a prescribed path, Gustaf blazes his way, zigging and zagging if need be, and bounds ahead. I like that.

When Gustaf became president of Wichita Area Technical College back in 2007, he transformed the institution from a low-tech vo-tech school housed in dated buildings scattered around the city to high-tech, industry-backed programs housed on a state-of-the-art campus in northeast Wichita. Working directly with Wichita businesses he helped fill their pipeline with educated and capable employees.

Solid Design Solutions Open House
City County Member James Clendenin offers remarks during Solid Design Solutions’ open house event in late January.

Solid Design Solutions team
Solid Design Solutions team members cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the Wichita office.

When the city was proposing how to bring new vibrancy to our downtown library, Gustaf talked with local leaders and encouraged them to consider moving beyond a mere update. His words spurred fresh, new thinking. And, as a result, the Advanced Learning Library that will open next year on the Arkansas River isn’t so much a library as it is a spark for intellectual stimulation and exploration.

Wichita City Council Member James Clendenin said as much when he spoke at Solid Design Solutions’ open house on Jan. 26.

“Without you, Pete, we wouldn’t be building the modern library that’s rising now,” Clendenin said. “You were the catalyst.”

Here’s to Gustaf’s next journey. Wichita is fortunate he likes moving forward – and that he wants to bring the community along. We’re with you, Pete.

Wichita Eagle: Have You Heard?

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 8.46.49 AM Wichita Eagle 1.13.17

Beyond Vine, Live Video Today

Bye-bye, Vine. The world of real-time, self-publishing continues to evolve. Next Tuesday, Jan. 17, Twitter’s once-loved, six-second, video-looping app goes the way of the dinosaur. Launched in 2012, it’s being wiped from existence as we know it. But this time not by a meteor or climate change. By ever-better, social video-sharing services.

Top competitors in the crowded marketspace for live-streaming, real-time apps are jockeying for position and bumping into each other as they scramble for ways to make their apps more customizable. Letting you use filters for added creativity and pop. Broadcasting to specific followers. Searching for videos by topic, location or broadcaster. If you have Wi-Fi or a 4G connection, you’re in business.

  • Facebook Live lets you broadcast video for up to four hours while simultaneously answering questions, listening to concerns and gauging reactions. It gives you the ability to archive and replay highlights of a past live stream. (In comparison, Instagram’s option is in-the-moment only.)


  • Periscope, owned by Twitter, has proven itself as not just a medium for content, but for connection. Those heart streams provide a visual means of seeing how people are responding to your scope (i.e. video) – either within the app or on Twitter. Periscope doesn’t archive the content, but third-party provider let you capture and download scopes, while enables you to aggregate and store them on a page with your user name.
GE pushes out Periscope videos on Twitter.
GE pushes out Periscope videos on Twitter.
  • Hype, developed by Vine’s founders, offers Periscope-like simplicity with features similar to Facebook Live. Sparkles lets users indicate approval with effervescing stars (like Periscope’s hearts). It keeps a running tally of viewers and sparkles.
  • Instagram Stories launched late 2016 by Instagram, owned by Facebook. Users can broadcast to followers for an hour at a time – and when the recording ends, the broadcast disappears, with no way to watch again.
  • Snapchat recorded more than 7 billion views per day and more than 100 million active daily users in 2016, five years after its launch. Unlike the video platforms mentioned above, Snapchat offers both private messaging and mass sharing to the followers of your choosing. Stories only stick around for 24 hours, where a private message is gone the second it finishes playing. That makes robust analytics impossible. Still, Snapchat reigns as one of the best online word-of-mouth engines for everyone from Gen Y to Gen X.

And if you find yourself still hankering for Vine, a vestige lives on as Vine Camera. It lets you shoot and post short loops on Twitter. And, you can always visit the Vine website to watch older uploads, which continue to be archived there. And, if you have a Vine video still in need of publishing, do it fast, before January 17. For more information, visit screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-12-03-06-pm This column ran in the January 12th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Look Ahead More Than Back

When charting your course, consider where you’ve been. But don’t dwell on those experiences. Bogging yourself down in what was hinders thoughts of what can be. Position yourself carefully and purposefully with knowledge of the past and a vision of where you want to go.

Think of Janus – ancient Roman god of beginnings, transitions, and endings – depicted with two heads, one viewing the future, and one peering into the past. Learn from his balanced approach. He does not appear confused, but centered by insight.

It can be the same with your marketing. A successful strategy considers both past experiences and future hopes. And then, launches with confidence.

SmartSky Networks began a journey of a lifetime in 2009. It brought together a team of industry-leading telecommunications and aviation professionals to launch an inflight connectivity revolution. They built on past successes but stayed open to new ways to overcome entrenched competition. This future-forward focus puts them on track for a 2017 nationwide network roll out.

You are here

Take stock of the current situation and ask the relevant questions about how you arrived at this juncture. Who was the intended audience? What was the message? Did you make the hoped for connection? Answer with unflinching honesty and don’t gloss over failures. Apply lessons learned along your long and winding road to correct or to confirm your direction.

SmartSky Network Operations

Executive AirShare Website Executive AirShare got its start in 2000, growing out of a highly reputable fixed-base operation in Wichita, Kansas. Now the nation’s third-largest fractional aircraft provider, AirShare doesn’t limit itself to the nation’s heartland. From its operational centers, customers fly all over the United States and into the Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America and Canada. It’s grown by developing a do-it-right, get-it-done culture that puts shareowners first.

Get packing

Prepare for the road ahead. Figure out what kind of creative will be deployed. Consider what worked before. What life can be infused into the strategy. Plot a strategy for leveraging social media and other integrated marketing platforms. Employ a thorough, critical review. Stay on track. Keep the list concise and focused. The way forward will be clear.

Green Alliance Joe Clark

Aviation Partners stands apart as a leader in advanced winglet technology. Founder, CEO and aviation legend Joe Clark continually seeks efficiencies to keep aviation on the cutting edge of green technology. That effort extends to Aviation Partners’ outreach, appropriately targeted to its tech-savvy and highly mobile target audience.

A pocket full of sunshine

Rainy days come. Draw from previous wins to maintain motivation and stoke energy for you and your team. Recall the greatest risk that reaped a monumental reward. Let these experiences spur you on and keep the project moving forward. They can keep you from stalling out or worse – kicking into reverse.

Lewis Air Legends

Perhaps nothing underscores the value of perseverance more than Glacier Girl, the jewel in Rod Lewis’ impressive Air Legends warbird collection. In July 1942, this aircraft (and seven other warbirds), low on fuel, crash-landed on Greenland’s vast ice cap. In 1992, Glacier Girl was taken from its wheels-up position, removed section by painstaking section through shafts carved 25 stories (268 feet) into the ice. The sole rescued survivor of the entire squadron. Since returning to the air in 2002 before a crowd of 20,000, this P-38F Lightning has thrilled thousands more at air shows and events.

Lessons learned

Draw upon the insights of others. Collectively, your teammates know more than you. Collaborate and aha moments will come. Take the time needed to share knowledge so you learn from and don’t repeat mistakes.

Look back at your best work, but don’t live on past glory. Face forward and you may find your best work before you.

This column ran in the January 5th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

This New Year Resolve to Make Your Website Healthier and Users Happier

Wichita, Kan. – A free online tool could be the first step in improving your website. Wichita-based Greteman Group created an interactive checklist that lets you score your site on five key areas: search-engine optimization (SEO), analytics, content, functionality and digital marketing. You can access it here:

“We made our scorecard low on jargon but high on utility,” says Jordan Walker, Greteman Group digital director. “We designed it to serve as a helpful guide that sparks conversation and thinking.”

The scorecard takes 10 to 15 minutes to go through. Each of the five areas has you answer five questions, then scores you on that area. “It could be an interesting exercise to do with your team,” says Walker, “prompting discussions that could lead to valuable insights.”

If 2016 flew by without significant digital examination, 2017 could be your year to prioritize and execute. No one can afford to miss out on customers who are doing their research online. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a restaurant, retailer or roofer, you need to make it easy for people to find out how to do business with you. Why your product or service is better. Whether they like your prices. Your website serves a key role in brand building, lead generation and customer relations. Create a positive experience that encourages people to stick around, share findings and engage.

Two-thirds of B2B marketers without mobile websites said they planned to invest in a responsive website design in 2016, according to research conducted by eMarketer. “If you haven’t taken that step yet,” says Walker, “think about building that into your critical actions for 2017. If your site doesn’t function well on all devices, customers will move on to one that does. The mobile-experience bar keeps rising. Visitors demand better experiences and CEOs demand better metrics.”

Since Greteman Group launched its scorecard, respondents have included marketing managers from a broad range of businesses and nonprofits.

“We just received responses from an east-coast aviation supplier and a yogi in Colorado,” says Walker. “Change starts by asking the right questions – then learning from the answers.”