Success Stories

21 Century Bean Processing product

In 1997 a group of over 70 investors and bean growers in Northwest Kansas organized into an agricultural cooperative to improve their bottom line. What became Twenty First Century Bean Processing, LLC a few years later, now supplies over two-thirds of all the # 2 grade dry pintos, black-eyed peas, kidney, lentils, and northern white beans the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) distributes to food banks throughout the country.

“We have come a long way since the beginning,” said Ron Meyers, one of the original founders and current Director of Operations. “In 2001, the cooperative tried to tap into the retail sector by purchasing a bean packaging company in Amarillo, Texas.  The growers would truck their beans down there for sorting and packaging, however the market entry obstacles were more significant than anticipated,” recalled Meyers.       

Processing Closer to Home

The grower’s turning point came when they started selling their beans to the USDA’s... Read More

Sleeptopia

Kevin Kunz started Sleeptopia in January 2013 after three years of researching the growing sleep studies industry. Kunz had been a driver for a durable medical equipment sales company making $9.75 an hour, and worked his way up to being a sales representative for the company that sold oxygen service, CPAP machines and other medical devices. Kunz noted that home sleep studies was a concept that was gaining validity and market traction on the East and West coasts, and knew he could capture this new market here in Wichita.

Sleeptopia was the first business Kunz ever tried to start.  The home sleep study concept first struck Kunz when both his brother and mother paid for an expensive sleep study done in a sleep lab. They had to show up to the lab early, get several wires connected to them, and then were told when to go to sleep. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy for them to fall asleep on-demand in a strange place. In the end, they paid $2,000 dollars to be told nothing was wrong... Read More

Celco owners

In the agricultural town of Anthony, Kansas, 60 miles southwest of Wichita, you will find a unique company that does not seem to fit in the local picture of a farming community. They produce no material product; they don’t work for any local business; all their work is shipped to them, and they have very little competition. The company, Central Electropolishing Company, Inc. (CELCO), has been locally owned, operated and managed by the same family for 30 years. It was also started with the assistance of a SBA loan.

An Engineer’s Third Career Turned Brilliant

Ken Bellesine really enjoyed working with his design team at General Dynamics in the 1960’s. As a Senior Aerosystems Engineer, he thrived at creating new ways to design better products for the company. He was promoted after 14 years as a design specialist to a desk job in charge of program budgets. “When they took my design team away from me and ‘promoted’ me to doing budget work, I realized that I didn’t have the... Read More

Progressive Products' Apex Stage under construction

In business, growth is the number one goal. Foresight and flexibility are the attributes that often differentiate the businesses that continue to grow in a volatile marketplace. Progressive Products, Inc. has demonstrated those characteristics to keep their momentum moving forward.

Progressive Products, Inc., manufactures a wide variety of metal components and pipes at its 70,000 square foot facility in Pittsburg, Kansas. Progressive also has the distinction of being the market leader in the manufacture of mobile stages for the entertainment industry.

“We had been on a steep growth trajectory for the past four years, and 2015 was a banner year for us,” shared Todd Allison, President of Progressive Products. “However, the market for some of our core products – like, pneumatic conveying components – was starting to change.”

Progressive’s recent growth was aided by demand from the power industry for their activated carbon injection systems that help scrub the... Read More

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