Loren and Janet Korte’s Personal Service Insurance was named Business of the Year at the annual banquet Friday night of the Iola Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Kortes have owned the business since 1986, when purchased from the Houk family of Moran. The business has had a presence in Southeast Kansas for 86 years; additional offices are in Moran and Humboldt.
Besides being a successful businessman, Loren Korte is an avid volunteer contributing to both city and county endeavors, including serving on the Allen County Fair Board, USD 258 Board of Education, Allen County Community College Board of Trustees, Iola Industries and as a supporter for the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Relay for Life, the Jingle Bell Jog and the Charley Melvin Mad Bomber Run for Your Life.
The Kortes exemplified a theme that threaded itself throughout the many presentations of the night: service, and it how it pays back.
In his speech, “Givers Gain,” Andy Mason of Joplin, Mo., told the audience, “The more I give to others, the more they are likely to give to me.”
Mason, a counselor, advised the crowd of professionals to use the attitude of a farmer, as opposed to a hunter, in regards to the Chamber.
“The hunter looks at the Chamber as to what prospects it can drum up for him,” Mason said. “The farmer looks at the Chamber as an opportunity to sew seeds of service, which help build relationships,” which in time help grow a business.
A person — who he is and what he stands for — is what sells a product, Mason said.
“If you are someone to be trusted, if you are a person of integrity,” then your product must be, too, he said.
A business grows mainly by referrals, Mason said, to which “none of us are entitled to, but must be earned by building trust through relationships.”
Mason viewed the actual sale of an item more as a byproduct of good service, which, after all, is “a long-range game. It’s not about a one-time transaction.”
OTHER PRESENTERS for the evening included Wade Bowie and his role as chairman of the Allen County Young Professionals. Bowie, who hails from Detroit, is the assistant county attorney who initially viewed his stint in Iola as a short-term position when he moved here several years ago.
He has since come to view Iola as a “close-knit, family-oriented city,” which has been such a draw that he has purchased a home here. He and other young professionals have a sincere desire to work in efforts that will help attract others of similar demographics, he said.
“What can we do to assist to help develop the city as a whole,” he asked.
The young professionals hold several events each year, including the Halloween “Trunk or Treat,” helping out at Santa’s house and mixers at various locations. On March 27, the members will have a “Lunch ‘n Learn” with Ray Maloney of Ray’s Metal Depot to learn of his experience as an independent business owner. For more information call the Chamber of 365-5252.
FRED HEISMEYER told Chamber members of the new endeavor Allen County Together, which works to develop active leadership for “the future of Allen County.”
Fifteen candidates are being recruited for the first class that begins in April and will meet for six sessions. Heismeyer encouraged local business owners to consider their employees as possible participants. Next year’s leadership class will be for high school students. Organizers will look for 18-24 students interested in developing their leadership potential.
Program organizers intend to continue the alternation between adults and teens to help develop a broad range of talent.
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