“Giving back.” It is a simple but powerful concept. Today we’ll meet a Kansas entrepreneur with small town roots who created a remarkable marketing organization that assists independent insurance agents and financial advisors across the
nation. They also emphasize the importance of giving back to their community.
Cody Foster is co-founder of Advisors Excel, an industry-leading financial and insurance marketing organization in Topeka. Cody grew up in Stockton. His grandparents owned the café in town, but when he was in the fifth grade his grandma had to run the café by herself. “As the oldest grandchild, I worked with my grandma a lot,” Cody said.
October 2016. It is the League of Kansas Municipalities annual conference, and it is time to pass the gavel to a new president. This new president will have several distinctions: She is a woman, she is an African-American, and she comes from rural Kansas.
Kim Thomas is the mayor of Stockton, Kansas. Her family has deep roots in northwest Kansas, where she is the fifth generation to come from the community of Nicodemus. As we have previously profiled, Nicodemus is a historic African American community which was settled after the Civil War.
“My great-grandfather had the annual Nicodemus community celebration in his grove,” Kim said. She grew up in Plainville but spent lots of time with her grandparents in Nicodemus.
While still in high school, she worked for Southwestern Bell as a telephone operator. She went on to Emporia State and then came back to northwest Kansas to work for Southwestern Bell on equipment. She spent 32 years before retiring as a communications technician with the company, located at various towns throughout the region.
As the rodeo queen rides by, the light flashes from the fancy spurs which she wears on her boots. These attractive spurs were created by a couple of cowboys from rural Kansas.
Dan Atkisson and Tyler Brown are the co-owners of Lady Luck Ironworks, the maker of rodeo queen spurs and more. Dan and Tyler grew up near Stockton. They are capable cowboys, having grown up working on farms and ranches.
Dan went to K-State where he studied ag technology management with a minor in animal sciences, and Tyler went to North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit. After graduation, both came back to Stockton.
Stockton is a rural community of 1,327 people. That’s rural – but there’s more. Dan grew up on the family farm where his parents still live, located on the Rooks-Graham county line. That farm is 20 miles west of Stockton, north of Nicodemus and northwest of the town of Damar, population 154 people. Now, that’s rural.
Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University writes Kansas Profile. The weekly posts highlight individuals or companies in rural Kansas who are making a difference to their community and state.
The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is a public / private partnership between Kansas State University and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The mission of the institute is to help rural people help themselves. Learn more at www.huckboydinstitute.org.