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Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Dan Murphy, Mid-America Piano

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.

Let’s sit down at a piano keyboard. As fingers start to move across the keys, a beautiful sound is generated from the heart of the piano. Where does this piano come from? Today we’ll learn about a remarkable Kansas business which is selling pianos across the nation and beyond.

Dan Murphy
Dan Murphy

Dan Murphy is the founder and owner of Mid-America Piano in Manhattan, Kansas. He grew up near the rural community of Keats, in Wildcat Township which has a population of 834 people. Now, that’s rural. Dan’s grandparents were dairy farmers and apparently that work ethic stayed with him.

Dan grew up in a musical home. “I played piano since I was a little kid,” Dan said. “My grandmothers and my mom played piano, my dad played guitar, and my sister played the saxophone. Sometimes we’d go play music at the nursing homes in the area.”

After graduating from Riley County High School, he attended Cloud County Community College where he played trumpet in the jazz band. His plan was to attend Kansas State University, but he also wanted a part-time job. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Dan Murphy, Mid-America Piano”

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Todd Steinbach, Aero-Mod

“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” That old saying refers to a situation where lots of resources are around us but none of them are useable. In the case of water itself, this saying reminds us that water is vital to life. Today we’ll learn about a Kansas company which specializes in cutting-edge technologies for waste water treatment. This company’s systems are being used across the nation and around the globe.

Todd Steinbach is co-owner and CEO of Aero-Mod, Incorporated, the company which is designing and providing such water treatment systems. The company began as a project of K-State civil engineering professor Larry Schmid. In 1981, Professor Schmid and some partners founded a company to work on treatment systems for waste water. They designed and installed small treatment plants and worked on housing developments as well.

Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Todd Steinbach, Aero-Mod”

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Ryan Semmel – Geocaching – Part 2

Let’s go hunting. No, not for deer or turkey. Today we are going hunting for a geocache, a hidden container which we can find with the aid of GPS technology. The practice of finding geocaches is not only attracting visitors to Kansas, it is bringing a major gathering of geocachers to our state in spring 2017.

Last week we met geocaching enthusiast Ryan Semmel. He is a leader of the effort to bring a major geocaching event to Kansas. After serving in the Army overseas and most recently at Fort Riley, he retired in Manhattan. Ryan and his wife have two daughters and a son.

Ryan enjoys geocaching, the practice of finding hidden caches outdoors through the use of GPS technology. The caches are small containers containing a logbook and, in some cases, trinkets for exchange. Someone will hide the cache and then post the location on the geocaching.com website for people to find. When a cache is found, the finder enters his or her user name in the logbook, exchanges gifts if desired, and then posts about it on the website.

Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Ryan Semmel – Geocaching – Part 2”