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Wichita Welcomes First Navy Week

Welcome, to the Air Capital, Navy Week. Roughly 70 U.S. Navy sailors put on 111 events in the Air Capital and at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson Sept. 9-15 for Wichita’s first Navy Week. The goal: to help our landlocked region better understand the Navy’s unique, safety-serving role.

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians wowed. Drill teams inspired. Bands and quintets entertained. It was our privilege to help them spread the word.

wichita navy week promotion at kwch12
We attended press interviews with Navy Lieutenant John Stevens before Wichita Navy Week to encourage the community to attend its 111 inspired events.

I think ships when I hear Navy, but it operates everything from combat aircraft and transport to helicopters and trainers. Imagine the skills needed to take off and land on an aircraft carrier. The U.S. Navy has also produced more astronauts than any other branch of the Armed Forces. Sailors visited the Kansas Cosmosphere to talk about the Navy’s involvement in the U.S. space program. What a history and heritage.

Rear Admiral Nancy Lacore, Vice Commander of the U.S. 6th Navy Fleet and Director of Navy Maritime Partnership, posed for a photograph with Victor White, executive director of airports, including the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. Photo courtesy of the Wichita airport.

Navy Week Kicks Off with a Pop-Up Performance

Navy band Great Lakes put on a lunchtime show at the ICT Pop-UP Urban Park in downtown Wichita. Musician 2nd Class Matthew Durr told KWCH, “As far as Navy music goes, it gives people a chance to basically have a full-time job playing their horn and doing it for their country. … Not a lot of musicians get to say that.”

Thanks, KWCH12 and The Wichita Eagle for coming out for this Navy Week event.

Navy Band Great Lakes performs at each Naval class graduation. It’s also the Navy’s “Ambassadors to the Midwest,” serving an 11-state area from Ohio to North Dakota. Wichita had the chance to hear them at performances throughout the week. There’s nothing like a tuba to put a bounce in your step.

While photographer Jaime Green captured Navy Week band shots for The Wichita Eagle, something else caught my eye. A captain with the U.S.S. Wichita LCS 13 Keeper of the Seas – Wichita’s namesake Navy ship – wearing a can’t-miss-it, Wichita-flag-emblazoned belt buckle. When asked if we could take a photo, he said, “Sure. Believe it or not, that’s not the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to do.”

Photo courtesy: Jaime Green, The Wichita Eagle.

Special Guest Highlights the Navy’s Best

Rear Admiral Nancy Lacore, Vice Commander of the U.S. 6th Navy Fleet and Director of Navy Maritime Partnership, joined Navy Week sailors at various events. Highlights included her visit to our community’s beloved B-29 “Doc” with U.S.S. Wichita sailors, joining Mayor Jeff Longwell for a Navy Week proclamation, and meeting with 300 veterans and their families at the fair.

navy week visits docs friends
Rear Adm. Lacore aboard the B-29 Superfortress Doc at its Hangar, Education & Visitors Center during Wichita Navy Week. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.
Sailors, including Wichita native Chief Information Systems Technician Brian Tanner, tour the B-29 Superfortress Doc at its Hangar, Education & Visitors Center during Wichita Navy Week. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.
wichita navy week proclaimed september 9-15
Rear Adm. Lacore delivers remarks following a proclamation by Jeff Longwell, mayor of Wichita, declaring September 9-15 Wichita Navy Week. Sailors assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Wichita (LCS 13) and commanding officer Cmdr. Chavius Lewis also attended the reading. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.
Rear Adm. Nacy Lacore meets with veterans and their families at the Kansas State Fair Veterans Brunch, held in remembrance of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and United Airlines flight 93. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.

Rear Admiral Lacore also spoke to numerous groups, from Rotarians and veterans to Girl Scouts and Doc’s Friends. She met with civic leaders, business owners and students. Her jam-packed schedule had her running. Literally. She took the first lap in the 9/11 Commemorative Flag Run at 6:30 in the morning, then headed out for full day of presentations and meetings.

911 memorial run held during wichita navy week
Rear Adm. Lacore, Vice Commander is interviewed by KWCH12 before participating in a Team Red, White & Blue 9/11 Flag Run, held in remembrance of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and United Airlines flight 93, during Wichita Navy Week. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.
wichita navy week sailors run in 911 memorial run
Sailors participate in a Team Red, White & Blue 9/11 Flag Run. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.

Rear Admiral Lacore swore in several new sailors at the Kansas State Fair. The pinning ceremony, a key part of naval heritage, is the culmination of intense training that prepares sailors for new responsibilities.

Rear Adm. Lacore administers the oath of enlistment to future Sailors in the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program, at the Kansas State Fair during Wichita Navy Week. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.

Lost Sailor Comes Home

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Wilbur Clayton Barrett, killed during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II, returned home to Kansas on September 12. Was it fate that he returned during Navy Week? Navy Week sailors, U.S.S. Wichita Master Chief Ryan King and Navy Lieutenant John Stevens joined the Naval honor guard that carried Barrett’s casket to the hearse. Barrett was buried with full military honors in his hometown of El Dorado. Wichita Eagle photographer Travis Heying captured this moment. Read the in-depth article.

Hooyah, the Navy Endures

The Navy protects us from ships on the sea, submarines under the sea and aircraft over the sea. Their very presence serves as a deterrent and a safeguard. The motto, Semper Fortis, means Always Courageous. Its unofficial motto is equally inspiring: Non sibi sed patriae, or Not for self, but for country. Throughout the week, Wichita had the opportunity to meet the men and women of the U.S. Navy. To talk with them. To hear firsthand what it’s like to serve in this distinctive branch of the armed services.

Sailors assigned to littoral combat ship USS Wichita (LCS 13) visit the Original Pizza Hut Museum on the Wichita State University campus during Wichita Navy Week. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.
Twenty years later, Wichitan ETNCM Greg Prichard had a great visit to Butler Community College during Wichita Navy Week. Photo courtesy: Navy Outreach.

Navy Week sailed into our landlocked city as a way for us to understand this branch of the U.S. Armed Services. It’s gone both ways. The U.S. Navy has gotten to know the Air Capital just a little more – and from everything we’ve heard, they like us. They really like us.

Culinary Specialist 1st Class Ebony Sharpe, assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Wichita (LCS 13), volunteers at the Wichita State University Shocker Hall Cafeteria during Wichita Navy Week. Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin R. Pacheco.

Grow Business with Talented Young Workers

The largest generation in American history is starting to hit the workforce en masse. No, it’s not the Millennials – the group that older generations routinely use as a shorthand for youth. We’re talking about Generation Z.

Born after 1997, this group’s first college graduates are beginning their professional lives, a few years after their colleagues started earning paychecks immediately following high school.

As retiring workers leave the workplace, a huge demand for skilled labor grows. Now Boomer, Gen X and even Millennial managers and company owners need to answer the questions: How do we recruit and retain the best young talent? What can we do differently to ensure company growth in this environment?

More Similar than Different

Despite how young people are often depicted, their wants in the workplace aren’t that much different than others. Research has shown young people’s top-5 workplace desires are:

  1. Culture
  2. Pay and benefits
  3. Technology
  4. Flexibility
  5. Incentives

The order of those might change for someone who is 25 versus someone who’s 55. But generally, the equation is simple: we all want to be paid well for our work and have the ability and tools to strike a good work-life balance.

Culture is King

Our office has an excellent mix of seasoned vets, Gen X leaders and Millennial achievers. Now we’re starting to bring in outstanding Gen Z talent.

Finding great workers is one challenge but keeping them happy and productive is another. Our secret is in our company culture. We have a set of defined values, like other companies, but we strive to live them daily. We use those values to recruit people who will be a great fit.

Our team regularly shares what makes their co-workers special. At weekly meetings, team members talk about designers imagining better ways. Or how the team had their back to get a project over the finish line. We listen loudly to everyone in the room, which creates a better environment internally and a focused to path to deliver results to our clients.

We work hard, but we know how to have fun. Our team is invested in each other because we share our successes and let our hair down when the time’s right.

We laugh together as our 25-year-olds and 60-year-olds take turns trying out the city’s new electric scooters on a summer afternoon. And we engage in post-work yoga to improve our bodies and minds. We’re always looking for activities to bring us together. The result creates better work, and more important, a better workplace.

Offer Opportunities

Another way to attract the best young talent? Give them opportunities to stretch and shine.

Today’s young workers want to be a part of it.

Help them outline a career roadmap – and how you’ll assist them achieve that. Don’t just make it about 10 or 20 years down the road, either. Check in frequently and offer the training to advance their position. Expecting them to “pay their dues” for a decade won’t motivate them. They want a voice and a path to increased responsibilities and challenges to keep them engaged while they conquer goals along the way.

Let them become more well-rounded by learning more than just one silo of the business. They don’t expect to be the company president at 30, but better training gives them the chance to be in a leadership position sooner than you’d think. Create the connections now that lead to the next generation of workplace change agents.

Listen and Adapt

Whether it’s workers in their 20s or 30s, one commonality of these two large generations is the expectation of collaboration. They’ve learned school lessons in group settings and have connected through the internet and social media for much of their lives.

Value the contributions young people make to a company. Actively listen to their ideas and feedback. Their perspectives may offer better ways to tackle a problem and getting many voices together will produce creative solutions.

Frequent face-to-face conversations can also help managers gauge stress levels of their team members. There’s no substitute for checking in to find out what’s working well and what needs to be changed. Their improvement ideas might produce the elusive workplace culture everyone seeks. Flexible hours? Taking a dog to work? Better wellness programs? Chances are, those ideas first came from a young person.

Trust Them to Work

Young people aren’t lazy. No more than all Gen Xers were slackers or all Baby Boomers were dropouts.

They have high expectations of themselves and what they bring to the workforce. Hold the same high standards for them. Give them honest feedback without coddling. They want to impress. If given the proper tools to succeed, they will.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 12, 2019, issue of BlueSky News.

New Book Celebrates Wichita as the Air Capital

Recent Coverage

WICHITA, Kan. – Kansas aviatrix Amelia Earhart once famously said, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” Greteman Group, a Kansas-based agency specializing in aviation marketing, recently took that advice to heart.

“We’re publishing the history of the Air Capital – a daunting but delightful project,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “Telling these stories has made us fall in love with our city and industry all over again.”

Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing is based on creative the agency developed for a large-scale history display at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport. The new aviation-themed terminal opened in 2015 and drew raves. Greteman Group worked with area manufacturers and suppliers to update the content for the book. Content was also given more breathing room. Photos that may have only run in a cropped version might now occupy a full spread. Anecdotes formerly grouped in a collage could have a dedicated page.

wichita the air capital history display
Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport aviation history display

“When you’re flying through the airport, you only have so much time to interact with the display,” says Greteman. “The book lets you hold these stories in your hand – and be struck all over again by the sheer audaciousness of our becoming Air Capital of the World.”

Multiple Purchase Opportunities

The book is available online at It can also be found at a number of Wichita retailers and gift shops including B-29 Doc Hangar & Education Center, Exploration Place, FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training, Kansas Aviation Museum, Sedgwick County Historical Museum, The Workroom, Watermark Books, and Yingling Aviation Aviator’s Attic. More retailers will be added soon. Sonia Greteman is scheduled to speak about the book at several aviation and community events this fall.

The Air Capital’s Birth and Growth

The book takes readers from the early birds and barnstormers to the pioneers and entrepreneurs who established dozens of aircraft and associated factories in the 1920s. The story continues with the founding of Cessna, Beechcraft and Stearman (which became Boeing Wichita, then Spirit AeroSystems) and the massive build-up during World War II. Robust post-war growth got another boost when Bill Lear came to town and launched the business jet revolution with his Learjet. Today Wichita remains at the center of global aviation design and manufacturing with Textron Aviation, Spirit AeroSystems, Bombardier Learjet, Airbus and many dozens of smaller aviation manufacturers, suppliers and support organizations.

Walter Beech, who had the heart of a barnstormer and the head of a businessman, founded Beechcraft with his wife, Olive Ann.

What made Wichita the Air Capital? Flat prairies resembled one enormous landing field. Southwesterly winds added extra thrust to get and stay aloft. Farming and small manufacturing provided a legion of imaginative, industrious problem-solvers. Local boosters latched onto and promoted anything that flew. The city’s central location provided an ideal refueling stop for coast-to-coast airmail routes. And oil generated a class of savvy, starry-eyed entrepreneurs who both used aircraft and had money to invest. Wichita brought it all together. The people. The promise. The planes.

Audacious Visionaries Risked Their Lives – and Changed Ours

On Sept. 2, 1911, Albin Longren became the first person to build and fly an airplane in Kansas. His pusher-type biplane lifted off from a hayfield with a four-gallon gas tank and “flight instruments” that consisted of a pocket watch and barometer. The first plane built in Wichita rolled out of production in 1917, when Clyde Cessna assembled his Comet.

Clyde Cessna, founder of Cessna Aircraft Company, became the first pilot to fly over Wichita in 1913.

Wichita’s first commercial aircraft, the Swallow, came from the E.M. Laird Airplane Co. in 1920. By 1928, Wichita was general aviation’s manufacturing grand central, producing 120 airplanes a week – a quarter of all U.S. output. A Chamber of Commerce Air Capital logo contest celebrated the city’s 16 aircraft manufacturers, six aircraft engine factories, 11 airports and dozen flying schools.

Wichita produces more airplanes – almost 300,000 to date – and offers more skilled aviation workers than any other city. Aviation forms Wichita’s heritage and future.

Book Jacket Testimonials

“We’ve lost a number of contributors to the development of this magnificent history display who shared their accounts of Wichita’s rise to the Air Capital. They deserve our grateful remembrance.” –Victor White, Director of Airports, Wichita Airport Authority

“You want this book on your desk, on your bookshelf, on your coffee table. Most of all, in your hands.” –Dave Franson, President, Wichita Aero Club

“This isn’t just a book of facts. It’s a living account of a dynamic time that shaped a community, an industry and the way we travel. I’m proud of the role my parents played in making these things happen.” –Mary Lynn Oliver, daughter of Walter and Olive Ann Beech and publisher of The Barnstormer and the Lady

“I applaud Greteman Group’s decision to commemorate the Air Capital’s history in this one-of-a-kind book. You will fall in love with the people who gave Wichita wings.” –Teresa Day, Former Executive Director, Kansas Aviation Museum

Greteman Group has developed an international reputation as an aviation-specialty marketing agency based in Wichita, Kan. – the Air Capital. Leading aircraft manufacturers, flight support, aftermarket services, fractional ownership, insurance, in-flight Wi-Fi, regional airlines and airport analytics have entrusted their brands to Greteman Group. Clients include FlightSafety International, SmartSky Networks, Wichita Eisenhower National Airport, Clay Lacy Aviation, USAIG, King Aerospace, Piedmont Airlines, Aviation Partners and APiJET. It also supports causes and clients such as Saint Francis Ministries, Mark Arts, the City of Wichita, Hutton, GLMV Architecture, MKEC Engineering, AGC of Kansas and Celebrity Cruises. Greteman Group has won Telly, Internet Advertising Competition, Metro and Business Marketing Association Pro-Comm awards. It has been recognized in such publications as Adweek, Advertising Age, Aldus, Communication Arts, Designing Identity, Identity, Graphic Design USA, Graphis, Hotels, HOW, Novum, Print, Step-By-Step, and by such organizations as the Mead Top 60, Kansas City Art Directors, Strathmore, International Festivals, Graphex Art Directors, and The National Library Council, American Advertising Federation, American Institute of Graphic Artists, Public Relations Society of America, and American Marketing Association. The firm is a founding member of the Wichita Aero Club and a longstanding member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Since its founding in 1989, this certified women-owned business enterprise (WBE) has developed a team of purpose-driven pros. The agency provides advertising, marketing and public relations for everything from new product launches and pilot recruitment to brand building and lead generation. Today, almost every Greteman Group project is digital or has a digital component: responsive design, search-engine optimization, data-driven marketing, email campaigns and social-media management. Analytics gauge performance for ongoing adjustments as needed. The agency celebrated its 30th anniversary April 1, 2019.