During the 94th Annual Meeting & Banquet for the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development, Matt Hiss was recognized as the 2015 NextGen Leader of the Year for his impressive efforts to give back to the Great Bend community. This award program was launched in 2013 as a joint project of the organization’s board of directors and the Barton County Young Professionals Group to recognize up-and-coming leaders for their volunteer service.
Hiss was born and raised in Great Bend, graduating from Great Bend High School before attending Baker University, where he joined the fraternity Delta Tau Delta and served as treasurer. He played football all four years of college, and was captain of the team his senior year. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business with concentrations in finance and management in 2008 before returning to Great Bend to join the Hiss Sherman Wealth Management practice, alongside Dennis Sherman and Bob Hiss.
Hiss’s business education has served him well as a financial advisor for the locally owned company, where he serves as a fifth-generation business owner. He has developed an innovative risk management system to help protect clients from market crashes, and purchased a practice in Atwood. Hiss has also shared his entrepreneurial spirit with others, helping start an accounting firm owned by other young professionals in the community.
While impressive as a businessman, what is probably most impressive is how involved Hiss has been since moving home from college. He wasted no time getting involved, coaching middle school football in 2008 and 2009, then stepping up to the high school offensive line coach in 2010 and 2011. After being inspired by a mission trip with Habitat for Humanity as a student, Hiss also joined the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity, a post he filled for three years. As a project for the nonprofit organization, Hiss and a group of his friends led the efforts to hang Christmas lights on all the storefronts in Great Bend.
His passion for improving the downtown area didn’t stop there. He and his wife Dena partnered with another couple in 2013 to form B&H Development LLC. The couples purchased the former Mason building that houses Great Bend Coffee and renovated the space next door to provide improved commercial real estate opportunities for small business owners.
Hiss served as a Chamber Ambassador for three years, and is finishing a two-year term on the Great Bend City Council. The hat he has worn most recently in the volunteer sector is the 2015 president for the USD 428 Education Foundation, a board he has served on since 2014. Hiss took his idea to have a computer for every student in the district to the superintendent, and helped find funds to finish the $330,000 technology investment. Hiss also helped revitalize the Foundation’s annual dinner and auction, which resulted in double the revenue from previous years.
Hiss is active at First Christian Church, where he serves as an elder and deacon, Sunday school teacher and youth sponsor. Hiss also serves on the church’s stewardship committee.
Matt and Dena live in Great Bend with their oldest son Graham, age 2, and their twin boys Ethan and Owen, who are 5 months old. Together, the young couple serve as CASA volunteers, advocating for children abused and neglected in the foster care system. They are also active members of the Barton County Young Professionals group, and have both attended classes at the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita.
NextGen Leader of the Year Criteria
The “NextGen Leader of the Year” award is presented by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development to recognize an individual for their volunteer service. The winner must be creating a meaningful impact as a role model for others, and be seen as a rising leader in their workplace and in the community.