2008 Best in Business – Winner

Jun 10, 2008
2008 Best in Business

L-R: Alex Ammar-Wichita Surgical; E Stanley Guyer-Moridge; Steve Cox-Cox Machine; Mitch Herren-Hinkle Elkouri; Rich Kerschen-Law Company


It’s fitting that the CEOs from the five winning companies honored at Thursday’s Best in Business awards luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Wichita will spend a few days this fall in Northern California’s wine country.

Napa Valley is home to some of the world’s top wine makers. And there is a correlation between the time, skill and effort necessary to make wine and to build a successful business, says Craig Anderson, president of UMB Bank’s Wichita operation.

“There is probably a very strong analogy between a good wine and a well-run company,” Anderson says.

That said, it isn’t a stretch to refer to the Wichita Business Journal’s 2008 Best in Business class as vintage.

“This year’s group of 15 finalists is arguably the strongest we’ve had top to bottom in the three years of the program,” said John Ek, publisher of the Wichita Business Journal. “The five winners this year come from a wider group of business categories than in year’s past.”

The five determined by a selection committee as winners were:

• Cox Machine Inc.

• Hinkle Elkouri Law Firm LLC.
• The Law Company Inc.
• Moridge Manufacturing Inc.
• Wichita Surgical Specialists PA.

The winning group represents the small- to mid-size businesses that often fly below the proverbial radar, but represent the vast majority of American industry, Anderson says.

It’s the reason UMB Bank, along with Allen, Gibbs & Houlik LC, Bescorp, Delta Dental of Kansas and Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer LLPtake an active role in sponsoring the program, Anderson says.

“I would say we’re supportive of this particular program because it recognizes the small- to middle- size businesses that often go unnoticed,” Anderson says. “They represent about 75 percent of the economy. The companies winning (Best in Business) play a significant economic role across the state and across the nation.”


They also contribute greatly to making Wichita a better place to live. The 15 finalists were judged on three criteria: profitability, product innovation and corporate citizenship.

The first two items are part of any successful business model — a business won’t survive long without profits, and profits won’t come without providing something the competition doesn’t — but the third judging component is one that transcends the bottom line.

“It is equally important to us that the management and staff recognize that we have an added obligation to the community through the support of charitable or similar organizations that benefit the community,” says Jeff Kennedy, managing partner at Martin Pringle.

In the previous two years of the Best in Business competition, winners spent a two-day summit in Monterey, Calif., touring the world-class aquarium as well as Pebble Beach Golf Course and taking part in a roundtable discussion on business and the state of the economy.

Best in Business award winners and CEOs
• Cox Machine Inc………………….Steve Cox
• Hinkle Elkouri Law Firm LLC……..Mitch Herren
• The Law Company Inc……………Rich Kerschen
• Moridge Manufacturing Inc………E. Stanley Guyer
• Wichita Surgical Specialists PA….Alex Ammar