2015 Winner and Finalist Profiles
ITC Great Plains (Winner)
ITC Great Plains LLC is a transmission-only utility operating in the Southwest Power Pool region. The company currently operates 436 circuit miles of transmission lines in Kansas and Oklahoma. ITC has focused on transmission and grid development to achieve operational excellence and deliver value for customers, communities and stakeholders.
Since opening its Topeka office in 2006, ITC has invested nearly $550 million in Kansas. Notable projects in which the company is involved include a 60-mile transmission line in the central part of the state, a 200 mile line linking Spearville to Wichita and a 225 miles line from Spearville to Nebraska. The company has expanded from its Topeka office and now has locations in Dodge City and Wichita.
ITC offers its 16 employees training and educational opportunities through its Organizational Learning team, which is dedicated to creating and delivering corporate and job specific employee training. It also provides employees with external development opportunities through professional development conferences and programs.
ITC is actively engaged in supporting Kansas communities. The company has funded scholarships at Dodge City Community College and Pratt Community College, and donated to Cloud County Community College’s Wind Energy Technology program. It has supported elementary school events and has sponsored Scripps National Spelling Bee events in Kansas. ITC has also helped construct parks in Concordia and Dodge City and sponsored community events.
In 2013, the Kiowa County Economic Development Corporation awarded ITC with its Business of the Year Award. Last year, the Medicine Lodge Chamber of Commerce and Ford County Emergency also recognized ITC’s work.
Community National Bank & Trust
Community National Bank & Trust (CNB&T) opened its doors in 1987 in Chanute. Since that time, it has rapidly grown from that single location, and today has 27 banking facilities in 23 communities throughout southeast, south and central Kansas, managing more than $900 million in total assets. CNB&T provides full banking services and offers a wide array of deposit products, including key proprietary accounts created by the bank.
CNB&T opened its newest banking center this year in Augusta and recently acquired a new operations facility in Chanute for its IT department and Internet and Mobile Banking department. In addition, it has acquired or built several new banking centers during the past five years to bring its employment total in Kansas to 320. Employees that join the bank in entry level positions participate in mentoring programs that allow them to gain valuable knowledge and experience, earning career advancement opportunities through performance. CNB&T also reimburses employees who take classes to further their education.
The bank participates in numerous programs and organizations that support secondary and post-secondary education. It is also active in supporting local groups, charities and economic development initiatives in the various Kansas communities that it serves.
CNB&T has received several awards in recent years, including the 2012 Patriotic Employer Award from the Kansas National Guard and Reserve and the Office of Secretary of Defense. Pittsburg State University awarded CNB&T with its President’s Society Award in 2010.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC was founded in Arkansas City in 2003 with the goal of providing superior beef. The company uses select Black Angus cattle, audited feeding programs and state-of-the-art processing to consistently deliver high quality beef to its customers.
Creekstone has expanded several times in recent years. In 2013, it designed and built a fabrication department to maximize efficiencies and product quality. The expansion added 73,000 square feet of production capability and was built with best practices for employee safety, food safety and efficiency in mind. In 2014, the company launched an All Natural Duroc Pork program to provide fresh pork and processed pork products. It has only one location from which it exports to chefs and retailers in more than 70 countries.
In addition to providing competitive benefits to its more than 750 employees, Creekstone involves its workforce in extensive safety training, as well as training on equipment and for job skills. The company also works with partners to offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to interested employees.
Creekstone and its employees are active supporters of local schools and community organizations. Creekstone employees serve on the Manufacturing Technology Advisory Board at Cowley College and have volunteered at many events for area schools. The company sponsors teams for Relay for Life and Bowl for Kid’s sake, as well as other community fundraising teams.
The recipient of numerous awards, Creekstone has been recognized for the quality of its products by the American Culinary Federation, as well as for its community engagement by the Cowley County Salvation Army and the Arkansas City Chamber of Commerce.
LifeTeam is a pre-hospital, critical care air and ground ambulance service. The company, which is headquartered in Newton, is engaged in the transportation and care of critically ill or injured patients to tertiary care.
LifeTeam was founded by two Kansas physicians in 2001. Both doctors were also pilots who saw a need for high-quality medical transport service in rural communities in Kansas. The company, which began operation with one fixed wing aircraft and one helicopter, now has five helicopter bases, eight fixed wing bases and three ground ambulance bases. During the past decade, it has strategically expanded and most recently opened a base in Garden City. It also operates bases in Liberal, Hutchinson, Emporia, Newton and Dodge City, as well as in Colorado, Hawaii and Nebraska.
The company, which has grown from eight to 183 employees, has made significant investments in training programs. All medical employees are provided the opportunity to maintain certifications through LifeTeam sponsored educational courses. Pilots receive extensive recurrent training, and leadership programs are available to all employees to encourage advancement within the company. In 2014, LifeTeam developed a new leadership training program to encourage employees to pass a series of learning modules and earn a “Crew Chief” designation.
The Victory Electric Cooperative Association
The Victory Electric Cooperative Association Inc. is a local electric utility serving an area of Southwest Kansas that includes agricultural, rural and urban settings. Chartered in 1945, the cooperative’s name was chosen to recognize the Allied victory in World War II.
Originally serving parts of nine counties with 300 miles of transmission and distribution lines, Victory has expanded to a broad consumer base of diversified loads including industrial, commercial and irrigation, with 2,700 miles of lines. Recent expansions have added thousands of members, new office space and a 29,000 square foot warehouse. Victory currently serves Ford and Gray counties, along with parts of seven other southwest Kansas counties.
Victory works to provide training and advancement opportunities to its 73 employees. The cooperative sends outstanding employees to a six-week national management internship program aimed at training individuals for executive leadership roles. It has enrolled in a national wage program to ensure that its employees receive competitive and fair compensation. Victory also offers employees health and fitness programs and a free service that includes counseling and legal advice.
A passionate supporter of the community, Victory sponsors four week long trips for high school juniors in its service territory. The cooperative also gives safety demonstrations at local schools and attends numerous career fairs. It plans and hosts an annual community health fair in Dodge City to provide free services for more than 800 Kansans, and is an active sponsor of many other community events.
Victory has been awarded the Kansas Electric Cooperatives’ Safety Achievement Award, Dodge City Main Street’s Good Neighbor Award and a graphic design award from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.