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Game On! Spiral Chutes Are Among the Coolest Things Made in Kansas

Spiral Chute Inside Food PlantGood news!

Our spiral chutes are among the coolest things made in Kansas. These slipper slides eliminate breakage inside food plants so you can get a potato chip the size of a frisbee instead of a bagful of crumbs.

The Kansas Manufacturing Council is hosting the Coolest Thing Made In Kansas, a friendly competition highlighting the state’s manufacturing industry, which employs one out of 11 Kansas workers. Fans nominated the product, which qualified through an inital round of public voting.

Manufacturers are competing head-to-head match ups to determine which manufacturer will win the ultimate prize – being named the People’s Choice Coolest Thing Made in Kansas.

Spiral chutes are manufactured in Topeka at Stevenson Company, Inc. The innovative chutes save fragile foods - frozen, packaged, or naked - from certain annihilation. In the same velvet-soft fashion, spiral chutes eliminate breakage of pharmaceuticals and other delicate goods.

The People’s Choice winner will be announced during the Kansas Manufacturing Summit on Thursday, October 13, 2022 at the Kansas Star Casino and Event Center. The 16 companies who make the tournament are invited to display at the summit.

You will be surprised to see what's being made in the Sunflower State. To learn more about the finalists and vote for your favorite, visit


Surging Stainless Prices

Stainless Chart April 2022 FNLHave you heard about the price of stainless? A year ago, I advised a customer, “Stainless is the new lumber.” At the time, the market for wood was sky high and headed north. People couldn’t build fast enough, couldn’t find material, couldn’t ship material, couldn’t harvest enough trees to keep us supplied with toilet paper, let alone pallets.

Since then, you have noticed the price of gas has gone up. And you may have heard that used trucks are demanding a premium.  And new trucks. And eggs. Milk. Homes. Taxes. Everything but wages.

Stainless steel will not be outdone. March saw a 90% spike in nickel price, with an April increase of an additional 25% on its heels. Nickel is the added element that makes steel stainless. So if you watch nickel prices, you’re watching the stainless price.

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"Making Kansas" Bus Tour Visits Topeka Manufacturer

Joe Pennington and Curtis Sneden outside the Making Kansas busThe Making Kansas Bus Tour made a stop in Topeka to hear about the state of the manufacturing industry. Curtis Sneden and Joe Pennington wowed the group of industry leaders and advocates from across the state. The monthlong event, sponsored by the Kansas Manufacturing Council, highlights the state’s manufacturing industry and career opportunities.

Mr. Sneden, president of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, said “Although the capital city is correctly regarded as a government hub, the manufacturing sector is poised to take over as an economic engine.” He shared information showing 12,000 people in Shawnee County work in public administration, while 11,500 have jobs in manufacturing and distribution.

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Pretzel Makers Expanding in KC Area

Pretzels, Inc. haLady Eating Pretzel by Marina Diakova croppeds announced plans to construct a state-of-the-art production facility in Lawrence, Kansas. The new 150,000-square-foot facility will create a significant number of new jobs and increase the company's capacity across a range of products. It is expected to be operational in late 2021. 

Chris Gutierrez of the Kansas City Area Development Council touts the region to potential employers.  “We are marketing KC as the snack capitol of the world,” he said. “The area offers a multitude of advantages for manufacturers: Proximity of raw materials, distribution efficiency, and a heartland work ethic.”

Pretzels, Inc. joins powerhouses PepsiCo and Dot’s Pretzels in the KC area.

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 Pennington Joins Kansas Manufacturing Council

Joe P Tours at Downtown Hays with Dustin Roths, Craig Lofton, Sara BloomThe Kansas Manufacturing Council has added a new face and some stimulating events in its mission to create a stronger and more prosperous manufacturing sector. 

Joe Pennington, president of Stevenson Company in Topeka, recently joined the Board of Advisors. “The Kansas Manufacturing Council is providing support, knowledge, and resources for the manufacturing industry. The voices of innovation and jobs creation should be heard and disseminated. I’m excited to listen, learn, and advocate where I can,” said Pennington.

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Jason Huston Named Project Manager for Growing Clientele

Stevenson CompaJason Huston 2021 Portraitny, Inc. is pleased to announce that Jason Huston has been promoted to Project Manager to the delight of an expanding clientele.

“Jason stood out among the candidates due to his experience, his reputation as a man of integrity, and his demonstrated ability to connect with customers,” Stevenson president Joe Pennington said. “I am especially impressed with Jason’s vision for the success of our food manufacturing partners. Jason understands the critical issues of food safety, allocation of resources, and minimizing downtime inside plants. He is well-equipped to help customers increase consumer confidence and grow profitability.”

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