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Annual Chamber Banquet recognizes 2013 award winners
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The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce 2013 Business of the Year award was presented to Great Bend Regional Hospital with Pam Chambers and Dr. L.T. Fleske accepting the award from Jan Peters, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development President/CEO. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Saturday night, Feb. 22,  the 2013 Business Person of the Year and Business of the year were announced at the 92nd Annual Meeting and Banquet of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development at the Great Bend Convention Center.

Business Person of the year
Roger Murphy received the 2013 Business Person of the Year Award from his friend and last year’s winner, Rick Ball.  Ball shared many stories that spotlighted Murphy’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that has benefitted the Great Bend business Community for over 50 years.   
From a young age, Roger Murphy proved to be a tenacious leader. After graduating from Great Bend High School in 1957, he juggled college classes at Fort Hays State University, a busy farming operation, and seven years of service in the US Army Reserves.  As with most successful businessmen, his interests and knowledge grew from farming and livestock to include real estate and banking as well. Because of this, Murphy’s entrepreneurial spirit could not be contained to just agriculture. Over the years, he has founded or co-founded many other successful business ventures.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Murphy has an impressive volunteer service record. He helped found the Golden Belt Community Foundation, and has served as a board member for many long-standing Barton County organizations.  Roger lives in Great Bend, with his wife Mary Lou of 54 years. They have two children, Kayla Murphy Fischer and husband Steve, and Andrew Murphy and wife Megan, and five grandchildren.

Business of the year
Great Bend Regional Hospital received recognition as the 2013 Business of the Year for its business success and long-standing commitment to the community,
The Surgical and Diagnostic Center was opened in April 2001, striving to create an environment and culture of customer service for patients and their families. The facility started with 28 employees, with approximately 200 cases per month. By 2005, the physicians expanded the facility to include an extra operating room and an imaging center with MRI, DEXA, and x-ray services. Then in 2008, the major expansion began that would transform the growing company into Great Bend Regional Hospital.
In addition to providing jobs for 324 employees, the hospital staff works with the Great Bend High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club each year to put on the Human eMotion Run/Walk/Bike event, which promotes a healthy community while raising money for the student group’s extracurricular projects. They are also major advocates for the Family Crisis Center and other local charities, while providing millions of dollars in free health care to the uninsured population in Central Kansas.
Today, the growing hospital provides physician services covering family practice, OB/GYN, orthopedics, general surgery, ophthalmology, internal medicine, podiatry, pediatrics, cardiology, ENT, oncology, radiology, urology and pain management. In 2013, there were over 3,000 surgeries performed, both inpatient and outpatient. The OB unit welcomed 328 babies.  The Emergency Room cared for over 8,000 patients.
“As Great Bend Regional Hospital continues to grow, the original goal stays at the forefront,” Administrator Pam Chambers says. “We strive to create an environment and culture of customer service for patients and their families, as well as staff and physicians.”

NextGen Leader of the year
For the second year, the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce awarded the NextGen Leader of the Year award.  The previous recipient was Great Bend High School teacher Cody Lee, and this year the award was presented to Kristy Hogan.
Kristy Hogan was born and raised in Great Bend, daughter of Ron and Kathy Straub. After graduating from Great Bend High School in 1998, she continued her education with a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Kansas and a Masters in Business Administration from Friends University.  
She began her career with the family company, Straub International, at the age of 14, where she has worn many hats. Currently, Kristy serves as the Customer Service Relations Representative and is responsible for the annual customer service plans and marketing events at all seven locations.
“Kristy is always the first to step forward to help with a new project that may present itself,” says David Tremain, General Manager for Straub International. “But her accomplishments go far beyond our company, and her personal successes are what really set her apart for this award.”
In addition to extensive volunteer service with several area board and committees, she has also served as a Great Bend Chamber Ambassador in 2013.  
She and husband Toby have joined with a group of other investors to improve the inventory of quality rental homes in Great Bend.
“The financial and emotional investment into this new business venture speaks to the commitment she continually shows for the betterment of the Great Bend community,” says Jane Isern, a local attorney who nominated Hogan for the award. “She is always encouraging others to share in her passion for community, and her enthusiasm is contagious.”
Kristy, and her husband Toby, live in Great Bend with their daughters, Baze, 3, and Brooks, 6 months.

This year’s theme, “Great Bend...This is home” was presented by the chamber and Coldwell Banker Sell Real Estate, Burton Real Estate, Jaco Real Estate and Insurance, Keller Real Estate and Insurance Agency, Inc. and Employer Housing Partners.