Did you know that Emporia Kansas is considered to be the disc golf capital of the world? I didn’t realize it until I talked with my guests Doug Bjerkaas and Jackie Morris from Dynamic Discs, an Emporia Kansas business that sells discs and other disc golf equipment and operates events for the popular sport disc golf.
I like to focus a few episodes each season on Kansas businesses that have a national impact. Kansas has a deep history of businesses that grow beyond the state and, in a lot of cases, become a household name. Ever heard of Garmin? What about White Castle? These are just 2 businesses founded in Kansas that fall into the household name category.
Dynamic Discs falls into this category. If you know about disc golf, then you know about Dynamic Discs - it is a household name within the sport. I didn’t realize that until earlier this year when something quite unexpected happened to me at my day job - you’ll hear more about it in the episode.
This episode made me feel so good about the things we have going on in Kansas. The story about how Dynamic Discs grew from a dorm room start-up to an internationally known business is such an interesting story and then you throw in the community support that Dynamic Discs gives to Emporia and the community support that Emporia gives to Dynamic Discs. It’s just a great all-round story and I’m sure you will enjoy this episode.
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Dynamic Discs website
Halfway to Everywhere music festival
What You’ll Learn in this Episode
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Economic Development in Kansas is changing. A banner program and important effort driving this initiative is the Kansas Framework for Growth, a comprehensive strategy for economic growth in the coming 15-20 years. More than 1,000 Kansans have given their input into the process. We first heard of the strategy and program as citizens. And, wanting to engage in the process, we attended two different events. In this episode, Rachel talks with Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce, Patty Clark, about the outcome of the study and current status of the program.
Note: This episode was recorded before the effects (closures and self-isolation protocols, etc.) related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are unaware of any curtailments to the rollout process of the Kansas Framework for Growth and, because we believe in the importance of the effort, are releasing this episode per our original schedule for March. Please visit the website to discover how you can get involved and any impacts or changes to the calendar or events as a result of pandemic protocols.
Kansas Framework for Growth
Kansas Department of Commerce
Kansas Main Street Program
Get to Know a Kansan (links)
Symphony in the Flint Hills
Kansas State Parks (Cabin reservation info)
Depot Theater Company
Dodge City (Amtrak information)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Presidential Library)
Were you aware that there is a group of Kansans providing thought leadership in the area of caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and seniors? In this month's episode, Rachel talks with Mike Strouse, CEO of Goodlife Innovations. Remember KC Pop Co? They are one of Goodlife's innovative life enrichment and skill development programs. Rachel sits down to listen and learn (uncover) how they are delivering the kind of life people they support want to lead, and how other agencies are looking to them in order to implement similar models across the country.
How do you more cost effectively deliver the kind of lives that people want to lead? That’s what it’s really about. ~Mike Strouse, CEO Goodlife Innovation
Rachel describes herself as a self-proclaimed Kansas Ambassador as does this month’s guest, Bryan Lisbona. Bryan is driven by the philosophy #lovewhereyoulive, and he invests in that philosophy and takes daily steps to live his truth. Through our conversation listeners will uncover details of Bryan and his family’s journey into small town life after their decision to leave one of the state’s (sub)urban areas. Listeners uncover the benefits of smaller towns, and why Kansas offers distinctive qualities of life such as knowing your neighbors, the ability - perhaps necessity - to get involved and impact your town in concrete ways, and living in communities whose energy wellspring is generated by the various personalities and characteristics and actions of the town-folk themselves, not by the depth of restaurant reservation wait-lists and number of new openings of entertainment venues.
We talked and uncovered A LOT, so the ‘links in the show notes” are pretty long!
Nick Hague - Astronaut
Kansas Sampler Foundation
Uncovering Kansas: Big Kansas Road Trip 2019 episode
Uncovering Kansas episode (featuring Gypsum Hills)
Flint Hills Discovery Center
Johnson County Museum
Rachel and Geoff briefly review highlights from the podcast's second (2019) season, and discuss our upcoming 3rd season and beyond. A few side projects are shared with listeners and then -- WOW! Rachel uncovers for our listeners an absolutely fascinating figure from Kansas history. A pioneer, in multiple ways, Emanuel Haldeman-Julius.
A state with socialist leanings (Kansas was a hotbed at the time). A Jewish man sympathetic to these, Emanuel Halderman-Julius served as editor for the Appeal to Reason before becoming, as many consider him to be, the inventor of the paperback book and, perhaps ironically as seen through the lens of the 21st century historical observer, the Henry Ford of the publishing industry. A true innovator and forward thinker in both business and culture, Haldeman-Julius and his wife took on each other's last names. With laser-like precision, using methods described in modern business vernacular as guerilla marketing, he created and built a publishing enterprise he wanted to see serve the working class reader—fulfilling their need for learning AND enjoyment.
Clarification: In the audio, Rachel refers to William S. Burroughs and listeners might misinterpret his status as a Kansan. He was a Lawrence, KS resident (we were there!) though not a Kansas native.
Links mentioned in episode:
www.pmocoaching.com (new business-centric podcast on developing skills behaviors and attitudes hosted by Rachel)
www.sixstringcpa.com (new audio-format short story series Geoff writes under his name)
Love frozen snacks? How about all natural ingredients, do they make you smile? Does the thought of small businesses creating jobs that foster skill development and increased independence for people living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ID/D) make you smile from ear to ear? We're a 'YES' for all three and that’s why Rachel interviewed Ky Kanaman of KC Pop Co for the November ‘19 episode.
Enjoying an all natural ice pop for breakfast during the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. Believe it or not, that's how we discovered the Kansas business featured in this month's episode. Unexpected, yes. But what would you expect in the Land of Oz?
KC Pop Co is a small batch manufacturer of ice-pops whose kitchen facility is located in Baldwin City, on Midnight Farm. We learned of KC Pop Co while participating on the Farm Tour, and fell for KC Pop Co’s mission and approach. Sure, it may be a little colder outside while you’re listening to this. But, this is Kansas. We may get a 66F day in January. And, besides, summer gets closer with each passing day and frozen natural treats will soon be needed. Even for breakfast, to which Rachel can attest.
Most of us have experienced that always exhilarating, and sometimes frightening, feeling when we end up doing something we never quite expected doing. Chris Alexander's path took her from theater to stained glass to metal working. As co-owner of Alexander Artworks, Chris has found herself busier than she ever imagined as she and her co-owner husband try to keep up with orders. Rachel and Chris talk about metal working, the importance of personal connection, and what it's like to be a business owner in a small town. Chris' answers and responses during the Get to Know a Kansan section impressed, and Rachel captured her insights so our listeners can add to their list of places to check out when exploring Kansas.
Morris County Community Arts Council
Strong City Rodeo
Bloody Bill Anderson
Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park
Rails to Trails
Kanopolis Drive In
Lost City of Etzanoa
Andy Wise found himself unmotivated by the conference rooms at his office filled with blank walls. He longed to see whiteboards at his workplace covered in art. A trip to his local library gave him an idea to create a robot that could be attached to the white board and draw whatever picture it was asked to draw.
And, so Andy created what he calls a drawing robot.
He is an example of someone participating in the Maker Movement – a DIY movement that started to gain momentum in 2005. Technology is often a component of this movement but it doesn’t have to be. We discuss Maker Spaces, locations designed for people to come together and work on projects. There are many of these found across Kansas: Andy refers to the Johnson County Library Makerspace in Overland Park. (Other examples are MakeICT in Wichita, and 712 Innovations in Topeka, and Fort Hays State Makerspace in the Forsyth Library.)
Listeners with certain Kansas interests, will note my conversation with Andy Wise includes the following:
Liberty Hall, Lawrence Kansas
Kansas State Fair
John Steuart Curry
If you want to see the drawing robot in action, check out these links:
The podcast about culture, travel, people, history, and enterprise in Kansas.