As the largest city in
Browse the rest of our web site to find out more about the exciting things to see and do in Wichita! Or give us a call at the Greater Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau: 1-800-288-9424.
Wichita is a jewel in the heartland of the United States. It’s right at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers meet. The “Keeper of the Plains”, a majestic and commanding figure that many people associate with Wichita, created by the late Wichita artist Blackbear, now marks the historic spot. The Wichita Indians who lived in this area gave our city its name. Later, settlers discovered this land of subtle beauty, good soil, water and abundant wildlife, which was to be named Sedgwick County.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the site of present day Wichita, located at the junction of the Arkansas Rivers in south-central Kansas, has served as a trading center and meeting place for at least eleven thousand years. Early inhabitants were nomadic, following the game they hunted throughout the central continent. European explorers may have first visited the area in 1541, when the Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado hunted for the mythical "golden" cities of Quivira, followed by several French and American explorers in later centuries.
The forces of westward expansion and financial rewards attracted the first white settlers to the area in the 1850's and 60's, some of whom realized great profits from hunting and trapping the wildlife and trading with the native population. Among them were J.R. Mead, Jesse Chisholm, William
The first recorded permanent settlement was a collection of grass houses built in 1863 by the Wichita Indians. Due to the tribe's pro-Union sentiment in the midst of the Civil War, the Wichita moved north from Indian Territory (
Due to the efforts of Mead, Greiffenstein and others, the city of Wichita was incorporated in 1870 as a village, and became county seat of Sedgwick County soon thereafter. A short-lived army post known as Camp Beecher was established nearby, serving to provide a market for local businesses. In 1872, the railroad arrived, and Wichita became the destination for
Just as the city experienced its initial growth during the Civil War era, so did the periods of the two twentieth century world wars witness further development. In 1914-15, oil was discovered in the area, and Wichita soon became known as the "oil capital of
Wichita today reflects the impact of each development throughout its history. Evidence of these eras can still be seen in the city's architectural heritage. From the mansions of the early cattlemen to the industrial buildings of the twentieth century, the spirit of those who built Wichita into a manufacturing, financial, educational and cultural center lives on.
Aviation and Wichita
The Air Capital of the World
Why Wichita? According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Wichita-based aircraft companies produced seven out of every 10 planes delivered in the first six months of 1998, representing 59 percent of total billings! These numbers do not include commercial jetliners.
Our Aviation Heritage:
By 1916 Wichita was by far the largest city in south-central
In the spring of 1920, the three were joined by Laird's brother, Charles, and they organized the Wichita Laird Aircraft Corporation and developed a two-place biplane, the Swallow. The rest, as they say, is history.
By 1929 a total of 16 aircraft factories, employing some 2,000 people, were producing one-forth of all commercial aircraft built in the USA. In addition, the city boasted 11 airports and 41 support companies.
Over the years a number of aviation pioneers, including individuals whose names would come to define the industry, established themselves in Wichita. Among these visionaries were Lloyd
The Second World War transformed Wichita's aircraft plants to the status of a major industry. By 1943 fully one half of the cities 184,000 dwellers owed their livelihood to the aircraft plants. Following the war, Wichita's plane makers successfully switched their emphasis to commercial and business aircraft, and in doing reestablished the city as the "Air Capital of the World."
In 1980, the Beech Aircraft Corporation was merged with Raytheon Aircraft. In 1990, Learjet was acquired by Bombardier Aerospace.
A visit to Wichita may just entice you to join more than 350,000 people who call Wichita home. Wichita is the largest city in
Wichita has diverse housing options, wonderful schools, great weather and some of friendliest people you'll find.
Wichita provides various opportunities for worship, excellent universities, and an array of healthcare facilities and financial institutions. And, thanks to new low-cost carriers in the Wichita market, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport provides easy and inexpensive access to any travel destination you may have.
"A pioneer spirit dressed in the latest high-tech fashion."
Perhaps that description best identifies a key component to the Wichita area prosperity. That pioneer spirit originated more than a century ago, and to understand the success of Wichita today, as well as all the future possibilities, you need to take a quick look back.
Now recognized as one of the major mid-sized cities in the nation, Wichita has come a long way since its infant years as a trading post and
Wichita...a dynamic community rich in culture, activity and opportunity.
The Wild, Wild West!
The beginnings of the community date to 1868, when J.R. Mead founded a trading post on the banks of the confluence of two rivers, the Arkansas and the Little Arkansas. For centuries this location had also served as a trading place for Native Americans. The name Wichita comes from the Wichita Indians, who settled at various times in the vicinity, and means either "scattered lodges" or "painted faces," depending on which historian you ask.
In 1868, a Wichita Town Company was organized with Mead and six others as original incorporators. Wichita was incorporated as a city of the third class on July 21, 1870. One hundred twenty-three men and one woman signed the original incorporation petition. The woman was Mrs. Catherine McCarty, who owned and operated a laundry. Later, she moved to
Move Along, Little Doggies!
Within a year of incorporation, Wichita experienced phenomenal growth, due largely to the cattle trade from
Jesse Chisholm came to Wichita first in about 1863, leading a party of sportsmen and adventurers here to hunt game. He later marked the cattle trail, best known as the Chisholm Trail, from the King Ranch in south
Spurred by this influx of cowboys in the 1870s who brought hundreds of thousands of cattle out of Texas north to Wichita along the Chisholm Trail, Wichita was indeed a rough and tumble cowtown. It was a city where Wyatt Earp, "Buffalo Bill" William Mathewson, and Bat Masterson walked the dusty streets. Just west of the river, the area known as Delano was especially wild and woolly. All manner of vice could be found in saloons, dance halls, gambling and prostitution houses to entertain the thirsty and lonely cowboys.
Down To Business!
Wichita fell on hard times in the late 1870s when the cattle trade moved further west to take advantage of the construction of rail lines. But, by 1880, the city had rebounded with a growing economy in agriculture and manufacturing. The first Board of Trade was opened in 1880. The Commercial Club was founded in 1897 and became the Chamber of Commerce in 1901. The present day Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce dates from 1917. Even though the cattle trade lasted only three or four years, its presence assured
Wichita's position as a commercial hub. With the trade groundwork firmly established, manufacturing and agriculture industries thrived in the late teens and early 1920s. In addition, savvy aviation entrepreneurs moved in to take advantage of the benefits of a prosperous oil industry, agreeable climate and wide open spaces perfect for building and testing these new birds of flight.
Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines!
Men like Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna, E.M. Laird, J.M. Mollendick and George Weaver were responsible for starting the aircraft industry in the area. With Mollendick as the financial backer, Laird started the Swallow Airplane Company to build the Swallow airplane that had been designed in
Chicago. Interestingly, Beech, Stearman, and Weaver all worked for Laird and Mollendick until each went on to establish his own company. Stearman's company later was purchased by The Boeing Company of Seattle. Today it is Wichita's largest employer with more than 20,000 employees. The Beech (now Raytheon Aircraft Co.) and Cessna companies continue today, as does Learjet (now Bombardier Aerospace Learjet), founded by William Lear in the mid 1960s. It was through the efforts of these aviation pioneers that Wichita earned the title of "Air Capital of the World." With all companies still located in Wichita, that title firmly remains today. Cessna, Bombardier Aerospace Learjet and Raytheon supply more than half of the world's general aviation and military aircraft. Boeing supplies two-thirds of the world's commercial airliners.
W.C. Coleman at HQ
It was not only aviation that established Wichita as a hotbed of entrepreneurship. Many other Wichita business leaders have made their mark too. W.C. Coleman, a name synonymous worldwide with camping and outdoor recreational equipment, produced his first Coleman lantern in Wichita in 1914. About the same time, another innovative business leader, A.A. Hyde, invented a product that was to become a household word...
We Grow Them Big Out Here!
Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company in the U.S., is another homegrown success story. Originally established as the Wood River Oil and Refining Company in 1940, Koch Industries has become one of the most diverse firms in the nation. Koch operations include refined products, chemicals, crude oil services, gas liquids, energy services, chemical technology, minerals services, agriculture and capital services. In 1958 Frank and Dan Carney borrowed $600 from their mother and established their first Pizza Hut in Wichita in a small red-bricked building. This original Pizza Hut now resides on the campus of Wichita State University as testimony to the possibilities of vision, hard work and the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Making Themselves At Home!
A sampling of other well-known national and international companies with roots in Wichita include: Big Dog Motorcycles,
Obviously, Wichita has come a long way since its beginnings as a trading post and
Sources: Dr. Craig Miner, The Wichita State University; "Wichita Century" by R.L. Long; "Visions from the Heartland" by Howard
Get out your clubs and take a swing at golfing in Wichita! Discover new and exciting golf courses, beautiful scenery and an atmosphere of fun and affordability when you play in Wichita. Golfers of all ages and skill levels will enjoy the variety provided by the city’s five fantastic municipal courses. There are over 35 courses in the Wichita metropolitan area including public, private and semi-private all within a 50-mile radius.
Experience why Wichita is an excellent golf destination! You can golf for as little as $17 a person on some public courses! Or stay in one our luxurious hotels and play a round at their course.
In Wichita and surrounding areas there are over 26 golf courses both public courses as well as country clubs.
FACTOID: Nationally, Wichita's violent crime rate is less than half the average of all cities with populations of 250,000 to 500,000. Part of that success is due to our nationally recognized community and police initiatives that have made Wichita a sound choice for a safe home and business environment.
Wichita Independent Neighborhoods (WIN)
Wichitans get involved...and they make a difference. Perhaps one of the best examples is the number of neighborhood associations (more than 80) that have sprung up around town to help keep a lid on crime. To keep this solidarity and momentum going, The Wichita Independent Neighborhoods organization was formed. WIN serves as a communications/training center to keep the neighborhood organizations informed and connected for continued success.
Community Policing Programs
By foot, bike, door-to-door, at neighborhood get-togethers... Wichita police officers are developing more than a presence in Wichita neighborhoods, they're developing personal, positive relationships. This police-community partnership has strengthened the neighborhoods' spirit, heightened crime and drug prevention awareness and generated support for local anti-crime programs.
Data covers the 3-county Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) consisting of Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey County unless otherwise specified.- Sumner County was added to the Wichita MSA in June 2003. -Most official statistics based on the new 4-county MSA will not be available before January 2005. Four-county MSA statistics are indicated by an (*)
Civilian Labor Force......................................................... 294,805
Unemployment Rate.............................................................. 5.5%
Manufacturing Employment (Percent of Total).......... 57,400 (21%)
Roughly double the national manufacturing percentage of 11%. According to Industry Week magazine (April 2001)
Wichita ranks #1 in manufacturing among metro areas with populations under one million, and 13th overall among the top manufacturing cities in the United States. Much of the workforce is accustomed to shift work due to the industrial history of the area.
Source: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (August 2004)
Source: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (2002)
Source: National Right-To-Work Foundation
Nearly 88% of residents age 25 and over are high school graduates. About 6% hold associate degrees, 19% hold bachelor’s degrees and 6% have advanced degrees. Another 24% have some college credit. Wichita public schools are among the first in the U.S. to incorporate workplace skill standards into curriculum development and graduation requirements. Wichita voters recently approved a $284 Million school bond issue, the largest in
National median age
Source: U.S. Census Bureau (2000)
Source: Sedgwick County Clerk
Source: Actuarial & Technical Solutions (2004)
Source: Utility Providers
Source: ACCRA Cost of Living Survey (Q1-2004)
New Spec Single-Family Home Average Sale Price........ $217,791
Over $47,000 or 19% lower than the national average price of $249,440
(2,400 sq ft newly site-built multi-level, central air, gas heat, 3 bedroom, 2 full bath, living-dining room, kitchen with built-in cabinets, family room, fireplace, utility room, finished basement, attached 2-car garage. 8,000 sq ft lot in desirable subdivision)
Source:ACCRA Cost of Living Survey (Q
Source: National Association of Realtors (Q1-2004)
(Unfurnished 950 sq ft, 1½ or 2 bath, stove, refrigerator, water/sewer in rent)
Source: ACCRA Cost of Living Survey (Q1-2004)
Property Crime Rate............................................................. 5,462
Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report (Preliminary 2003)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau (2000)
Downtown Office-Class B....................................................... $11.25
Suburban Office-New Construction.......................................... $21.00
Suburban Office-Class A........................................................ $20.00
Suburban Office-Class B........................................................ $14.25
Industrial-Bulk Warehouse....................................................... $ 2.75
Industrial-Flex....................................................................... $ 8.50
(Rental Rate/Square Foot/Year)
Source: NAI Global Market Report (2004)
Source: Means Construction Cost Indexes (July 2004)
Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey and Sumner counties and is the largest metro area in
Quality of life and livability impacts not only the attitude of the existing work force, but also the ability of employers to recruit key personnel to the community. Wichita possesses wide diversity of cultural, entertainment and recreational options that compares very well to that of many larger metro areas.
Wichita also possesses what many larger metros lack – affordability, short and easy commuting and a high degree of public safety.
Morgan Quitno Press compiles its State Overall Livability Rankings annually. The 2004 Rankings are based on 44 factors covering a broad range of economic, educational, health-oriented, public safety and environmental statistics reflecting a state’s basic quality of life.
Overall Cost of Living
Even with its many amenities, Wichita’s overall cost of living index is a very moderate 94.9, over 5% below the national urban area average of 100.
Housing is a particular bargain in the Wichita market. The median selling price of existing single-family homes in the Wichita metro area was $105,800 in the 2nd Quarter 2004 survey by the National Association of Realtors. Wichita ranked 13th lowest of 130 reporting metro areas and nearly $78,000 or 42% below the national median price of $183,800.
Newly-built home prices are also quite reasonable. The average sale price of newly-built homes with the following specifications was $202,080 in the 2nd Quarter 2003 ACCRA Cost-of-Living Survey. Wichita’s price was over $47,000 or 19% lower than the national average price of $249,440.
Specs: 2,400 sq. ft. newly site-built single-family brick one-story multi-level, central air, gas heat, 3 carpeted bedrooms, 2 full baths, living-dining room, kitchen with built-in cabinets and cooking island, family room, hardwood floors, fireplace, utility room, finished basement, attached 2-car garage.
Wichita Transit provides bus service within one-quarter mile of 90% of Wichita's residents. Buses run every half-hour during rush hours. Monday-Friday 5:30am – 7:00pm and Saturday 7:00am – 5:30pm
(no Sunday service.) One-way commute fare is $1.00.
In both 1996 and 2000 the Wichita Police Department was one of the very few law enforcement agencies worldwide to receive the prestigious Webber
Violent Crime Rate .................... 681
Property Crime Rate .............. 6,250
City of Wichita – Rates per 100,000 population
Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report (Preliminary 2002)
Holiday and ethnic events take place year-round, culminating in the area-wide nine-day Wichita River Festival in May. Beginning as a centennial celebration in 1970, the River Festival has grown steadily, with annual attendance now more than 350,000 people. In 1996, the Festival was named one of the top 100 tourist attractions in North America.
The first annual Wichita Aviation Festival took flight in 2003. Held on the flight line shared by Boeing and McConnell Air Force Base, the event features top-rated airshow acts as well as static displays.
Multi-Cultural Celebration Week is held each spring. This celebration is a week-long showcase including open houses throughout the community and a variety of events spotlighting our area's diversity. Other diversity-based celebrations that
Numerous state and private colleges provide collegiate sports entertainment. Major local attractions include a first-class public ice skating arena and
Camping, water sports and fishing are available at two federal reservoirs and one county lake within
30 minutes of Wichita. An additional eighteen recreational areas are within a 200-mile radius of the city.
Because Wichita lies within the central waterfowl flyway, huge flocks of waterfowl are a common sight in our area during the spring and fall. Deer, pheasant, quail, wild turkey and ducks are just a few examples of wild game that may be hunted in the area.
For those with interests in natural science and technology there are a number of prime attractions.
Exploration Place, Wichita’s $62 million science education center, opened in March 2000. The
Cosmosphere in nearby Hutchinson features the largest collection of space program artifacts outside of the Smithsonian Institution. The Lake Afton Observatory features astronomy displays and space- related phenomena.
The Sedgwick County Zoo is nationally acclaimed in natural habitat design.
Inside Wichita there are over 100 municipal parks covering more than 4,200 acres. They include hiking and bicycle paths, community centers, swimming pools, softball and baseball fields, tennis courts and disc golf courses. Nearly 40% of total park area is “Wichita Wild Habitat” offering wildlife and plants in natural settings. An additional 50 parks can be found in the Sedgwick County area.
The Wichita Public Library system offers over 900,000 items. It consists of a downtown central branch, two district branches and nine neighborhood branches. Any
The City of Wichita and private developers have invested $250 million in downtown Wichita over the past decade. Downtown Wichita is the economic, cultural and entertainment center of the region. Wichita is the leading convention and tourism center in
Old Town also hosts over a dozen festivals and events throughout the year.
Construction of the new
Warren Theater cinema project includes a 28,000 sq. ft. six-screen theater with food and beverage service, 500-stall multilevel parking garage and a host of retail shops and entertainment venues.
Talbots, Ann Taylor and
There are over 90 denominations in the Wichita area expressing their faith in over 500 places of worship.
Wichita area churches cut across every demographic variable. Services conducted in languages other than English (Spanish and Vietnamese, for example) are common.
Air quality is very good. Wichita is in compliance with all national ambient air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and rarely experiences stagnant air masses of the type that cause smog problems typical of many cities. The prevailing wind is southerly at 12 mph.
Sedgwick County has the second-highest concentration of manufacturing jobs and skilled labor in the country. Manufacturing accounts for roughly 21% of employment - roughly double the national percentage. The labor force is highly skilled, in large part due to the concentration of manufacturing firms in the area using high technology design and production methods. According to a Milken Institute study, Wichita has the highest concentration of aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturing employment (skills) in the nation. Wichita area manufacturers also utilize these precision production skills to produce high value-added products such as industrial-commercial machinery, computer equipment, fabricated metal products, instrumentation and controls, photographic equipment, plastic and composite products, chemicals, petroleum refining equipment and electronic equipment.
The Wichita area workforce has a reputation for productivity and quality as the result of strong training investment.
Nearly 88% of residents age 25 and over are high school graduates. Wichita public schools are among the first in the U.S. to incorporate workplace skill standards into curriculum development and graduation requirements.
Population 25 Years & Over (336,225 Persons) - 100%
Less Than 9th Grade....................................... 3.7%
9th to 12th Grade - No Diploma........................ 8.4%
High School Graduate (Inc. Equivalency)........ 32.4%
Some College - No Degree............................... 24.4%
Associate Degree............................................ 6.1%
Bachelor Degree.............................................. 18.5%
Graduate or Professional Degree.................... 6.4%
Source: Census 2000 Supplemental Survey
Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had 2003 population of 582,781. Workforce availability is enhanced by the area’s healthy population growth. MSA population grew by 46,517 persons or 8.7% from 1993 to 2003. It is a relatively young population with a median age of 34.1 years (national median age is 35.3 years.) Sedgwick County (pop. 462,896) is the central county of the MSA (79% of MSA population.) Planning Department population projections are 500,859 in 2010 and 533,946 in 2020.
Wichita metro area civilian labor force is approximately 294,800 persons. As of August 2004 the preliminary unemployment rate was 5.5%, representing about 16,230 persons. The Workforce Development Center estimates an additional underemployment rate of at least 3.0%, or about 9,000 persons.
A considerable pool of both high-skilled and semi-skilled manufacturing labor is available due to recent downsizing of the aviation industry. The Wichita area has experienced over 12,000 aerospace industry OEM and subcontractor layoffs since 9/11/2001. Total manufacturing employment is expected to decrease by another 2,000 jobs during 2004.
Approximately 3,800 high school graduates are produced annually in Sedgwick County alone. There are over 36,400 college students in the Wichita metro area (about 16,500 are part-time.) These institutions graduate roughly 2,500 Bachelor Degrees and 1,900 Associate Degrees annually.
McConnell Air Force Base borders southeast Wichita. Its mission is secure (primarily aerial refueling.) Its presence adds about 2,000 spouses of military personnel to the labor pool. The base also produces about 500 local military discharges annually. These discharged personnel offer excellent technical skills in a wide variety of fields.
Much of the Wichita area workforce is accustomed to shift work due to the area's industrial history. Large manufacturers commonly run traditional 3-shift operations or flexible 24-hour schedules.
A one-stop system to match job seekers with employers - including comprehensive testing, assessment and counseling is available through the
The most recent federal statistic (2003) for Wichita MSA average annual pay is $34,120. That is over $2,090 or 5.8% below the national metro area average of $36,210. Actuarial & Technical Solutions, an authority on manufacturing worker's comp costs, assigns
Kansas Dept. of Human Resources >
Employment figures are based on survey data and indicate the number of persons employed in each occupation in the Wichita metro area (not sample size.)
Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics >
Employment figures are based on survey data and indicate the number of persons employed in each occupation in the Wichita metro area (not sample size.) Wage data including 10th, 25th, 75th and 90th percentile are available in downloadable Excel files.
Local medium to large-size manufacturers typically report that benefits total 30-35% of the wage/salary base. That figure includes Workers Compensation premiums. It does not include the employer-paid portion of Social Security. Cafeteria Plans* in which employees can trade off wage/salary compensation for benefits are common.
Typical benefits: medical insurance (primarily company-paid/partially employee-paid), dental insurance, vision insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, 401K plan (defined contribution - not necessarily including company match) and possibly defined-benefit pension plan, vacation and sick leave. Other benefits sometimes offered - tuition reimbursement for relevant coursework, etc.
* Cafeteria Plan - A benefits arrangement whereby employees can elect in or out of various benefits such as health insurance, dental, vision, disability coverage and/or select from various levels of health insurance coverage (deductibles/co-payments.) An employee can have maximum insurance protection and a somewhat lower hourly wage, or trade off some benefit coverage in exchange for a somewhat higher wage rate … whatever the employee feels is likely to best serve their particular circumstances.
There is a long-term trend of decreasing demand for unions in the Sedgwick County area. Labor-management relations are generally mutually cooperative. Work stoppages are relatively rare and almost never locally originated (national strikes.) Currently about 8.4% of the MSA private workforce is unionized (only 4.0% outside of the major aircraft plants), versus 13.5% of the national private sector. The primary private sector union presence is in the four major aircraft plants. There is virtually no union activity among the 200+ small to medium-sized aviation subcontract manufacturers, and a very low level of union activity among office employers. The vast majority of local companies are firmly non-union.
The Wichita area has a strong concentration of aerospace manufacturing, however the overall economy contains a diverse mix of industries providing a wide variety of products and services to markets around the globe. There are approximately 11,900 business establishments in Sedgwick County, 97% of which are small- to medium-sized firms with under 100 employees. Service firms, particularly regional health care facilities, are also an important sector for long-term growth.
The Wichita metro area is highly industrialized. Sedgwick County is home to nearly 600 manufacturing firms. Manufacturing accounts for approximately 21% of employment - roughly double the national percentage. According to Industry Week magazine (April 2001), Wichita ranks #1 in manufacturing among metro areas with populations under one million, and 13th overall among the top manufacturing cities in the United States.
Products which flow from Wichita's manufacturers may generally be characterized as high-tech and high value-added. Those products include transportation equipment (primarily aircraft), industrial-commercial machinery, computer equipment, fabricated metal products, instrumentation and controls, photographic equipment, plastic and composite products (an offshoot of aviation industry research & development), chemicals, petroleum refining equipment and electronic equipment.
Sedgwick County Foreign Trade Zone benefits import/export manufacturing, assembly and distribution operations. The FTZ is a general-purpose zone where foreign and domestic goods are not within U.S. Customs territory. Users are thereby exempt from paying duty or federal excise tax while goods remain in the zone or are exported. If final product is imported into the U.S., import tax or duty is due only at the time of transfer.
About 55% of manufacturing employment (31,600 persons) is in aerospace products – Wichita is often referred to as the "Air Capital of the World." In 2001, Wichita won the Aviation Week Quality Award from Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. Wichita companiesThe Boeing Company, Bombardier Aerospace Learjet, Cessna Aircraft and Raytheon Aircraft produced more than half of all the general aviation aircraft built in the U.S. in 2003. Decades of aircraft production has built a comprehensive network of over 200 precision machine shops, tool & die shops and other subcontractors. According to a
These 30 industries accounted for 82% of average 2003 Wichita MSA private employment.
Average 2003 Employment
Manufacturing – Transportation Equipment (Primarily Aircraft)
Food Services and Drinking Places
Administrative and Support Services
Ambulatory Health Care Services
Specialty Trade Contractors
Professional and Technical Services
General Merchandise Stores
Merchant Wholesalers (Durable Goods)
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities
Food and Beverage Stores
Manufacturing – Machinery
Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealer
Construction of Buildings
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
Manufacturing -- Fabricated Metal Products
Personal and Laundry Services
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
Management of Companies and Enterprises
Repairt and Maintenance
Manufacturing - Food
Insurance Carrier and Related Activities
Manufacturing - Micellaneous
Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores
Miscellaneous Store Retailers
These 10 industries accounted for 92% of average 2003 Wichita MSA manufacturing employment. Due to disclosure restrictions only the 10 largest manufacturing subsectors could be listed.
Average 2003 Employment
Transportation Equipment (Primarily Aircraft)
Fabricated Metal Products
Computer and Electronic Products
Printing and Related Support Activities
Plastics and Rubber Products
Furniture and Related Products
Note in the following summary list that 11 of the 25 largest private employers are manufacturers. Click here for a more extensive and detailed list of Wichita area employers.
Local FT Employment
Boeing Aircraft Wichita
Aircraft Component Manufacturer
Cessna Aircraft Company
Raytheon Aircraft Company
Via Christi Regional Medical Center
Bombardier Aerospace Learjet
Oil & Chemical Equip. Manufacturer
Wesley Medical Center
HVAC Equpment Manufacturer
The Coleman Company
Recreational Products Manufacturer
Bank of America
Wichita Clinic PA
T-Mobile Call Center Wichita
Cargill Meat Solutions
Engenio Information Technologies
Data Storage Equip. Manufacturer
Cable TV, Phone & Internet
Love Box Inc.
Corrugated Packaging Manufacturer
CNH America LLC
Construction Machine Manufacturer
Security Systems & Monitoring
Industrial Chemicals Manufacturer
Tax and Business Law Information
Since 1954, McConnell Air Force Base has been a vital part of the Wichita community. And why not? Wichita is the Air Capital of the World. We're proud of McConnell and the men and women who work there. Their commitment and dedication played a considerable role in the awarding of the new mission for McConnell AFB as the world's largest KC-135R supertanker base.
McConnell AFB is home to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing of the Air Mobility Command. The 931st Air Reserve Group is at home there. Across the field is the 184th Air Refueling Wing of the Kansas Air National Guard.
The 89th Army Regional Support Command Headquarters has a strong presence in Wichita as well. The reservists serve as the command post for Army Reservists in four states. In addition, there
Keeper of the Plains
Located in America's heartland, airmanship in the Wichita area began in the first decade of the century. In 1916, as the US prepared to enter the World War, the city of Wichita started buying land to build a municipal airport.
In October 1924, Wichita hosted the National Air Congress that attracted over 100,00 people. The event highlighted an air race of 47 military and civilian aircraft participating, including the locally produced Swallow. After this nationally recognized event, several new aircraft manufacturing companies opened. Firms such as Travel Air, Beech Aircraft's predecessor, Boeing, and Cessna began operations. With this growth of aviation in Wichita, aviators began pushing for the proposed municipal airport's construction. Construction crews broke ground on 28 June 1929; however, the Great Depression delayed the terminal's completion of almost six years.
Although only one hangar and three small warehouses available for use, the Army Air Force Material Center (Material Command) established its headquarters in the Wichita Municipal Airport Administration Building in March 1942. The Material Command chose this site to take advantage of the airport's five 50 foot wide runways, each with a 60,000 pound wheel load capacity. In September 1945, the Material Center moved to Oklahoma City,
Since Wichita Municipal bordered the Boeing plant, the Air Force moved back into the site in June 1951 and changed the name to Wichita AFB. This time, the Air Training Command's 3520th Combat Crew Training Wing (CCTW), under the command of Col H.R. Spicer, began training Boeing B-47 Stratojet bomber aircrews. For the first six months after the activation, a "tent city" housed assigned personnel. This "city" consisted of 174 tents, a fire tower, and a few leased buildings in Wichita.
The Flying McConnells
In April 1954, the base became McConnell Air Force Base in honor of two of the three "Flying McConnell Brothers" of World War II. The brothers, from Wichita, entered the Army Air Corps together during WW II. The trio gained fame as "three of a kind." Second Lieutenant Thomas McConnell perished in July 1943, when his B-24 Liberator crashed into a fog covered mountain while en route to his home base in Guadalcanal after a bombing mission. Captain Fred McConnell died when his private plane crashed in October 1945 near Garden Plains,
Strategic Air Command
During this time, SAC selected site for 18 Titan II missile complexes for the newly activated 381st Strategic Missile Wing (SMW). Using McConnell as a base, the silos formed a ring from the northeast and south to the west 20 to 50 miles from the installation. Construction crews finished the project in the early 1960s, costing $80 million.
Tactical Air Command
In October 1962, the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) started at McConnell and flew the F-100C Super Sabre, and later the F-105D Thunderchief. This wing inactivated in 1964.
Operations in South East Asia
Two years later, the 388th began operating from Korat RTAFB, Thailand. The 23rd TFW, replaced the 388th. It trained F-105 crews for combat in Southeast Asia. The 355 TFW transferred from George AFB,
The base received a new mission in April 1971 with the arrival of the 91st Air Refueling Squadron and their KC-135A Stratotankers.. In July 1972, the 23 TFW departed for England AFB,
In October 1981, President Reagan announced that the Air Force would phase out its Titan II ICBMs. In early 1983, the 384 ARW's leadership learned that it would be the first wing to receive the R model KC-135 tanker and the B-1B Lancer bomber. On 8 August 1986, the 381 SMW inactivated.
The 384 ARW became the host organization and redesignated to the 384th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) in the summer of 1987. The 91st Air Refueling Squadron inactivated later that year, and the 384th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) became the sole refueling unit. The first B-1B touched down at McConnell on 4 January 1988 and one year later the first Lancer aircrew and aircraft assumed alert duty.
In August 1990, Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait. McConnell members deployed throughout the area of responsibility to help eject the invaders from the small kingdom.
1991 Tornado Changes the Landscape
On 26 April 1991, a tornado devastated McConnell. The cyclone destroyed 102 base housing units and nine major facilities including the base hospital as it traveled from southwest to northeast. Despite the colossal property damage, there were 16 reported injuries and no deaths. As a result of the tornado, the base constructed new facilities to replace the destroyed base services. Three years later, the prize of that construction, Emerald City opened up, containing the bowling center, officer and enlisted clubs, and various other services.
Change Becomes Common
In mid-1992 the 384th became the 384th Bomb Wing. At the same time, the Air Force restructured the major commands. The 384 BW and the 384 ARS moved from the inactivated SAC. The 384 BW moved under the newly activated Air Combat Command (ACC) with the 384 ARS and joined the Air Mobility Command (AMC) remaining at McConnell as an associate unit.
In May 1992, the Air Force announced more significant changes McConnell. The Kansas Air National Guard (the 184th Fighter Group), long a resident of McConnell, would lose their F-16s and gain the B-1B bombers and become the 184th Bomb Group. In January 1994, the 22 ARW assumed the role as host wing, moving without personnel and equipment from March AFB,
On 1 January 1995, the 931st Air Refueling Group (ARG) joined Team McConnell. The Air Force Reserve associate unit provides aircrews while the 22d furnish the maintenance crews and aircraft
Since 1996, McConnell served as the test site for the PACER CRAG avionics modernization program. The next year, the base became the test unit for the multi point refueling. In the same year, the Republic of Singapore's Air Force chose McConnell over two other American bases to train their KC-135 aircrews and maintenance.
In 2002, as part of a plan to reduce and consolidate the Air Force's B-1 fleet, the 184th Bomb Wing's B-1s were transferred to other bases. In September 2002, the 184th took on a new mission flying KC-135s and was officially designated the 184th Air Refueling Wing.
McConnell came a long way since the days of landing planes in hayfields to living in tents in the 1950s to surviving the devastation of the 1991 tornado. The professionals of Team McConnell and the 22 ARW have a rich history and a proud future.
Boeing Wichita is one of The Boeing Company's prime aircraft engineering, fabrication, assembly, and modification centers. Its operations encompass both commercial and military work.
Current Programs: Boeing Wichita performs commercial aircraft production and assembly support for most Boeing commercial jetliners. Wichita produces about 75% of the 737, and designs and builds nacelles and nose sections for the 747, 757, 767, and 777 jetliners. The new Next-Generation 737, the world's most popular commercial jet transport, has secured more than 1,300 orders.
Modification and structural updates on military and commercial aircraft are accomplished in Wichita,
Military programs -- Wichita Division provides support for Boeing military products, including Airborne Laser, updates on the KC-135 tanker program, upgrades for the AWAC's and B-52 bomber, and commercial derivative work, including maintenance of Air Force One.
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Current Programs: A pioneer in the business jet industry, Learjet, Inc. has delivered more than 2,000 airplanes worldwide since 1964. Learjet currently manufactures and markets the high-performance Learjet 31A, the transcontinental Learjet 60, and the new Learjet 45.
The Wichita production site has also been selected by Bombardier Aerospace to assemble the company's newest business jet, the Continental. This new super-midsize jet will be produced by a consortium of partners from around the world.
The Bombardier Flight Test Center in Wichita is the world's busiest civil flight test facility. It certified at least one aircraft per year throughout the decade of the 1990's.
Currently, the center is anticipating the arrival of the new Continental business jet. Its nearly 600 employees are also engaged in post-certification test programs on recently-certified aircraft, including the Global Express, Dash 8-400 turboprop and Learjet 45.
Bombardier Aviation Services operates a factory service center in Wichita that provides a complete range of maintenance and support services for more than 600 Bombardier business aircraft annually. One of seven BAS facilities worldwide, the Wichita site is also engaged in completions of Learjet and Challenger aircraft.
Background: The Cessna Aircraft Company, the pioneer of general aviation, currently enjoys worldwide leadership in its addressed markets. 2000 will mark Cessna's fifteenth consecutive year of sales and employment growth.
2000 is the 73rd year in which the Cessna Aircraft Company has maintained its worldwide headquarters in Wichita. Also located in Wichita are Cessna's marketing and manufacturing organizations, the Cessna Finance Corporation and Cessna's Award-Winning
In July of 1996, Cessna opened its new single engine assembly facilities in Independence,
Current Programs: Cessna manufactures or has under development the industry's most extensive line of business jets -- the CitationJet, Citation CJ1, Citation CJ2, Citation Bravo, Citation Encore, Citation Excel, Citation Sovereign, Citation VII and the world's fastest business jet, the Citation X. The Cessna Caravan, which recently exceeded 1,100 units shipped and is the best selling turboprop utility aircraft in the marketplace, is also manufactured in Wichita.
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Background: Raytheon Aircraft, a subsidiary of Raytheon Company, is the world's leading business and special mission aviation company, meeting a wide variety of aviation requirements for businesses, governments and individuals. With some 17,000 employees worldwide and more than $2.6 billion in annual sales, the majority of its operations are located in
In the last five years, the company has invested more than $350 million in facilities and machinery at its Wichita headquarters.
Current Programs: Raytheon Aircraft's commercial product lines include the new super mid-size business jet the Hawker Horizon, the Hawker 800XP medium jet, the Beechjet 400A medium light jet, and the new Raytheon Premier 1 entry-level light jet. Turboprop products include the 1900D airliner and the Beech King Air series -- the most popular twin turboprop ever, with more than 5,200 sold. The Beech Baron and Beech Bonanza piston aircraft round out the company's commercial line.
Raytheon Aircraft is also building more than 700 T-6A Texan II aircraft to provide primary training for U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force pilots, and for export to international customers. Internationally, special mission versions of the Hawker 800XP's serve in search-and-rescue airborne electronic intelligence roles. On the service side, Raytheon Aircraft's two-year-old subsidiary, Raytheon Travel Air, offers fractional ownership in the new King Air B200's, Beechjet 400A's and Hawker 800XP's, and already has more than 400 customers.
About Wichita State University
With an enrollment of more than 15,000, Wichita State prides itself on specialized attention to each student. Although the University's students come from almost every state in America and 110 foreign countries, 87 percent are from
The 330-acre campus is modern and accessible and at the same time retains the flavor of the University's 107-year heritage. More than 60 pieces of sculpture by internationally known artists adorn the campus. Personnages Oiseaux, a colorful mural created by the great Spanish artist Joan Miró, is displayed on the wall of the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art.
During the past 20 years, Wichita State has more than doubled its instructional space, adding major buildings for art, engineering, health sciences, biological sciences, physical education, music, dance, and liberal arts and sciences.
Approximately 120 social and special interest clubs provide opportunities for students to meet and work with others who share their interests. Nine national sororities and 11 national fraternities are active on campus.
Wichita State University (WSU) is a Division I institution and fields teams in tennis, cross-country, basketball, track, golf, crew, bowling, men's baseball and women's volleyball and softball. The men’s and women’s bowling teams have won numerous national championships, including the men’s 2003 title. The university’s mascot name, the Shockers, reflects the university’s heritage: Early students earned money by shocking, or harvesting, wheat in nearby fields, hence the earlier mascot name of
The average age of freshmen at Wichita State is 19; the average age of all undergraduate students is 24. Approximately half of the students at
Committed to fulfilling the needs of each student, WSU offers the traditional fall and spring semesters; it has the largest number of evening and summer course offerings in the Kansas Board of Regents' system. The summer session features a flexible time format with a two-week pre-session and two four-week sessions held concurrently with the regular eight-week session. During the traditional sixteen-week semester, an increasing number of courses are offered in an eight-week, four-week, or shorter format.
Although WSU's first commitment is to excellence in instruction, it has an equally strong commitment to excellence in research and public service as integral parts of its educational mission. Its National Institute for Aviation Research (
About Newman University
Newman is a growing, progressive, regional Catholic liberal arts university focused on preparing you for a successful career and a worthwhile and rewarding life. We care about your future. Our programs challenge you to explore and reach your potential. And best of all, you don't have to do it alone. At Newman, you can count on developing close mentoring relationships with your professors. You'll learn from faculty who are passionate about teaching, and you'll find yourself discussing issues with them both inside and outside the classroom. Newman will prepare you for personal, professional and civic success. Newman is here for you. Newman is about you.
Fall 2003 Freshmen Enrollment*
by Academic Performance
by Gender 59% female, 41% male.
by Ethnicity 68% Caucasian, 5% African American, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander/Other, 2% Native American.
by Religion 48% Catholic, 52% Baptist, Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist, Muslim and other faiths.
* First-time, full-time high school graduates
Where is Newman University?
In the heart of Midwest, within easy reach of most major cities. Click here for complete address, maps and driving directions to NU.
From Wichita to-
Austin, TX - 527 miles
Chicago, IL - 735 miles
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX - 364/360 miles
Denver, CO - 522 miles
Houston, TX - 603 miles
Kansas City, MO - 198 miles
Lincoln, NE - 281 miles
Little Rock, AR - 451 miles
New Orleans, LA - 969 miles
Oklahoma City, OK - 162 miles
Omaha, NE - 311 miles
Phoenix, AZ - 1053 miles
San Antonio, TX - 545 miles
Santa Fe, NM - 581 miles
Shreveport, LA - 548 miles
St. Louis, MO – 445
Topeka, KS - 141 miles
Tulsa, OK - 177 miles
Friends University is a comprehensive, independent university. It is the largest, independent institution of higher learning in
Friends University's main campus is located in Wichita,
The University's Fall 2002 enrollment of 3,112 students makes Friends the largest independent university or college in
A nondenominational Christian university, Friends is not affiliated with a specific religious organization. The University was originally founded in 1898 by the Society of Friends (better known as the Quakers) who operated the University until the 1930s. At that time, governance of the institution was turned over to an independent Board of Trustees. Representatives from the Society of Friends continue to serve on the board, but the church no longer controls the institution. Friends University provides a welcoming Christian environment for students of all denominations.
Friends University offers associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees through three colleges: the College of Adult and Professional Studies, College of Business, Arts, Science and Education, and the Graduate School. Five baccalaureate degrees are offered with more than 40 degree options. The University also offers nine master's programs. Five degree completion programs are offered for adult students who already have some college credit and want to complete their degrees while maintaining full-time employment. The University also offers a program for working adults who want to complete the first two years of college. Friends University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools,
There are 17 buildings on the Wichita campus, including the 117-year-old Davis Administration Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The University is currently undertaking a $7 million renovation of this historic building. The Olive White Garvey Business and Technology Building (opened in October 1996) features cutting-edge technology and design to enhance students' ability to learn. Friends has recently expanded its science and fine arts facilities and constructed a new building for its marriage and family graduate programs.