Published April 11, 2022
Kristi Ohlschwager, DC3 Assistant Vice President of Administration and Human Resources, shakes hands with Jesus Bautista Lara, who is the manager of Riddle’s Jewelry, during the Bid Process Expo on Tuesday, April 5. [Photo by Luke Fay]
Dodge City Community College (DC3) and the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce have partnered together to form the first-ever Bid Process Expo. The event, which took place Tuesday, April 5 in the DC3 Student Activity Center, included a mix of more than a dozen local businesses, vendors, and taxing entities.
Launched as a way to help bridge the gap between taxing entities, businesses, and regional vendors, the Bid Process Expo featured speakers from five separate organizations. At the event, DC3, USD 443, Ford County, City of Dodge City, and Cargill all shared their own bid processes and ways of easily engaging in business with them.
Anna Bjerken, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce, collaborated with Kristi Ohlschwager, DC3 Assistant Vice President of Administration and Human Resources and Title IX Co-Coordinator, to organize the expo.
“The concept of this event stemmed from conversations between the community college and one of our chamber members,” Bjerken said. “The college wanted an avenue to learn more about local services to aid in their bid responses, and our chamber members wanted an avenue to also learn and to share their services more broadly.”
Ohlschwager said that because the college is constantly looking for local vendors to help with its capital projects, the expo was a great way for DC3 to reach out to local businesses and to exchange information about how to better navigate the college’s bid process.
“By partnering with the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce, we are getting to know our local vendors for our future projects and helping to educate the vendors on each entity’s processes, so they can actively seek out more projects and gain more business locally.” Ohlschwager said.
“Community is one of the four core values of Dodge City Community College,” she said. “Not only is it our duty to provide education and services to our local community, but it is also our responsibility to support local business.”
The expo provided an opportunity for local Kansas businesses–both large and small– to network with each other over dinner and drinks throughout the course of the evening.
“It’s critical for the chamber to act when members ask,” Bjerken. “In this case, we created a space where businesses could not only network, but share services to gain more knowledge and business. It’s important to also connect faces with names, and the expo helped people do just that.”
Ohlschwager said she considers this first expo a “huge success.”
“In the conversations we had, the business owners said they really enjoyed the event,” she said. “Because of this feedback, we are hoping to make this an annual event in the future.”
By Luke FayDC3 Marketing and Media Specialist