Gov. Sam Brownback recognized Nex-Tech of Lenora with the Governor’s Award of Excellence and Pitsco Inc. of Pittsburg with the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award at the annual Kansas Cavalry Encampment at the Kansas State University Alumni Center in Manhattan.
The two awards are the state’s top business honors and are the culmination of Business Appreciation Month, the Department’s annual statewide tribute to Kansas businesses for their contributions to the state. The event is sponsored the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Cavalry, a volunteer group of business leaders who promote the state as a desirable business location.
“Nex-Tech and Pitsco are well deserving of their recognitions,” Brownback said. “These companies are leaders and innovators, in addition to being active partners in their communities. I look forward to their continued growth and success, as we work to make Kansas the best place to start and grow a business.”
Finalists for the Governor’s Award of Excellence were Carter Automotive Warehouse (Coffeyville); Custom Foods Inc. (DeSoto); Gove County Medical Center (Quinter); Midland Marketing (Hays); and NetStandard Inc. (Kansas City, Kan.).
Finalists for the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award were Bergkamp Inc. (Salina); Bunting Magnetics Co. (Newton); Global Parts Inc. (Augusta); and Tank Connections LLC (Parsons). The Exporter of the Year Award is sponsored by the Department and the Kansas International Trade Coordinating Council.
“I want to congratulate all the companies recognized during Business Appreciation Month,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “There are many outstanding companies doing some great things in business and in their communities. We are fortunate that these businesses call Kansas home.”
Also recognized were Greg Brenneman, chairman and CEO of Burger King Corp., as the Contemporary Award Winner, and Dwane L. Wallace (1911-1989), aviation pioneer and long-time leader at Cessna Aircraft Co., as the Historical Heritage Award Winner.
Profiles of the award winners follow:
Nex-Tech of Lenora is a subsidiary of Rural Telephone and provides local and long distance telephone services, cable television and Internet service to 39 exchanges in central and western Kansas. Additional services include a wide variety of voice, wireless, video and data solutions specializing in business systems, local and wide area networks, security systems and video production. The company employs 378, and Larry Sevier is the CEO.
Nex-Tech was awarded $101 million in funding to deploy broadband throughout its territory. This project will bring high speed broadband to 23,000 households and businesses, as well as 335 anchor institutions in 21 communities and 26 rural areas covering 11 counties in northwest Kansas. After this project is complete, more than 39,000 households and businesses in 60 cities in 17 counties will have high speed broadband within the more than 9,300 square miles Nex-Tech’s territory covers.
Employees enjoy a wide variety of training opportunities and programs. Nex-Tech Training Services is certified as a proprietary school through the Kansas Board of Regents and is registered as a Kansas Service Provider. Through a partnership with Fort Hays State University, employees and customers can attend classes in Microsoft Office applications and earn college or continuing education credit.
The company created a youth services/community development coordinator position in 2011 to administer all of the company’s youth programs (internships, educational school presentations, career days and other events), and to serve as a liaison to businesses, schools and communities. Nex-Tech offers a variety of youth-centered programs that feature keeping children safe from online predators, tips to stop cyber bullying and the dangers of texting while driving.
Pitsco Inc. (Pittsburg)For more than 40 years, Pitsco has provided innovative hands-on curriculum to enhance the learning experience in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). From its beginning in 1971, the company’s commitment to educating the next generation is based on four pillars of student success: teacher enablement, industry-leading customer service, quality/cutting edge curriculum and products. The company has a partnership with LEGO to develop LEGO Education curriculum. Pitsco products are exported to more than 35 countries and accounts for more than seven percent of the company’s sales. Over the last three years, Pitsco’s commitment to innovation has led it to introduce more than 20 new products to meet the needs of international customers.