Through the years, Lewer has participated in charitable works within its community. It has also come to the aid of natural disaster victims throughout the world. Nearly a decade ago, President Mike Lewer and Vice President, Communications Lori Lewer Kaylor developed the Lewer Charitable Fund (LCF) which created a consistency in the company’s giving and enabled employees to select and support their own causes. The LCF has now been expanded to support the Mid-America Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) through the new Lewer Corporate Outreach Program (LCOP), a new arm, or “helping hand,” of the LCF.
Managers and past LCF captains at Lewer recently met HR Manager Susan Steiner, President Mike Lewer and LLS representatives to finalize plans for the LCOP’s first fundraising event for the LLS. The event is the Light The Night Walk which will be held Friday night, September 18, at the Cleveland Chiropractic College in Overland Park, Kansas.
The Lewer team’s participation in Light The Night Walk will help fund life-saving research and support for people battling cancer. According to the LLS website, friends, families, and co-workers will help by donating money at selected retail locations. These efforts will culminate in three inspirational, memorable evening walks – in Wichita, Kansas, Overland Park, Kansas, and Lawrence, Kansas – during which participants will carry illuminated lanterns: white for survivors, red in support and gold in memory of a lost loved one. For the first time this year, Lewer team members will be there to carry the light and symbolize hope by way of their lanterns.
According to Lewer, the LLS was chosen as the LCOP’s first benefactor at the suggestion of an associate at its accounting firm BKD who has a family member with cancer. “After attending a recent LLS breakfast, I felt that the Light The Night event would be an opportunity for the Lewer Companies to take the LCF to another level,” he said. “Our company will be one of the primary sponsors of the annual Light The Night event. The event is a walk and not a run which means more families will be able to participate. We have all known victims and we have all known survivors. This is another reason to participate in the walk where we can ‘Support. Celebrate. Remember.’ Susan Steiner was very instrumental in the development of the LCOP; selecting folks for the planning committee. They looked at alternatives and made the decision to work with the LLS organization and now we are all looking forward to our first Light The Night event.”
The NACS Human Resources Forum, organized by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), was held March 3 – 5, 2015 at the Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel in Louisiana. John Owens and Tom Kohl, two representatives from Lewer’s Commercial Lines division, attended the forum.
Each year, the forum provides attendees with information on topics specific to their job – in their industry. National-caliber speakers and industry peers provide in-depth insight and knowledge about new laws and regulations that impact the convenience industry, best practices and how to find and keep the right talent, and ways to manage rising labor and benefit costs.
This year’s theme was Preparing Your Organization for the Future. It was Kohl’s first NACS forum since his promotion to Director of the Commercial Lines division last spring. “NACS is a great organization for us to be involved with as it helps us gain insight into the day-to-day world of the c-store business,” he said. “The forum was great for putting faces with voices of current clients and prospects we’ve spoken with in the past year.”
Owens, who has attended the annual meeting for almost a decade advised that the forum was another success for The Lewer Agency. “It was a great meeting with some of the industry’s biggest marketers,” he said. “More than 70 convenience and fuel retailing human resources professionals attended the forum this year.”
The Lewer Agency is pleased to announce the recent appointment of John Owens to the position of Vice President, ACA Regulated Business. He is now responsible for selling qualified health plans to Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulated markets, generally defined as employers subject to ACA penalties – those with at least 50 employees. His new role also involves identifying appropriate partners for core health care products.
Prior to this appointment, Owens served the company as Vice President, Commercial Sales. He is a recognized expert in ACA employer requirements effecting the convenience store industry. In the last several years, he has presented Now That Obama Care is Here, What Does It Mean For My Business at corporate and association meetings throughout the country, helping c-store business owners of all sizes transition to the post-ACA environment as cost effectively as possible.
Owens, a graduate of the University of Kansas, began his career at Lewer in the Policy Issue department in 1980. He received a license to sell insurance in Missouri in 1981 and was named Marketing Representative of the Month in February 1982. That year, he received a promotion to Director of Marketing Services and, in 1984, was promoted to the position of Regional Marketing Director for the Mid-Central Region. He was promoted again, this time to the position of Division Manager in 1984, the same year he earned his Series 26, 6 and 63 securities licenses. One pinnacle of his long career was his 1998 election to the Board of Directors for Lewer Life Insurance Company.
Recent ACA-related engagements include the 2011 Benefits Selling Expo in Tennessee. Owens was also a guest speaker at the 2013 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) HR Forum in North Carolina and at the 2013 Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association (TFCSA) conference. In addition to individual consulting projects, he has been involved in conducting workshops for members of the National Association of Shell Marketers (NASM) as well as members of the British Petroleum Association of Marketers (BPAMA).
“John has a real passion for helping businesses deal with the complexities of the ACA”, according to President Mike Lewer. “He has immersed himself in understanding the intricacies of this federal statute signed into law in March, 2010 and following its evolution over the past five years, which we believe has great value to businesses with large populations of employees that have often not been covered under traditional health insurance programs. John and his team are highly focused on this very effected and specialized market segment.”
Commercial Lines’ representatives Tom Kohl and Matt Lewer attended the Clipper Petroleum Dealers Convention, March 18, in Duluth, Georgia. “The convention went well,” said Kohl. “This was only the second Clipper show they’ve had and I have been to both. Over 150-plus dealers attended the show.”
“The event was very well organized and showcased over 50 vendors,” said Lewer, who recently joined the company that was founded by his grandfather, D. C. “Chuck” Lewer in 1956. “It was a great opportunity for me to get out of the office to meet business owners and employees that LewerBenefits can help.”
Clipper Petroleum has been a Lewer client for over a year. The company, which is based in Flowery Branch, Georgia, has been a Petroleum Marketer operating as a convenience store retailer, fast food retailer, and wholesale fuel distributor for over 70 years. The company operates 28 convenience stores in Georgia and South Carolina under the On the Run, Circle M, and Subway brands. Clipper also distributes fuel to independent dealers under the major oil brands of BP, Exxon, Shell, Chevron and Citgo in Georgia and South Carolina.
On March 13, 2015, members of the LewerMark team attended the annual International Dinner at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Overland Park, Kansas. This year’s theme was “A Taste of South Africa.”
Since its inception in 2006, the annual dinner, organized by LewerMark client Patricia Donaldson and her international students has raised thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for students attending the Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Patricia is a member of the International and Immigrant Student Services team at JCCC.
Much enjoyed themes in the past have included A Taste of Eastern Mediterranean, A Taste of Asia, A Taste of Italy, A Taste of the New World, which featured cuisine and entertainment from South America, A Taste of Brazil, and A Taste of India.
The entire production of the event is managed in-house utilizing the “best of the best” talent from a variety of clubs and departments, including the Chef Apprenticeship Program, Dining Services, and Student Life and Leadership.
Awarding scholarship funds is managed by committee. Students complete an application and write an essay. There are two scholarships, one for unforeseen financial need and one for academic and volunteer service excellence. One year, JCCC awarded a scholarship to a student after discovering that the student could not afford books. He was trying to get by with books he was checking out at the library.
LewerMark producer and broker Mark Dolliver, who has attended 7 of the 9 international dinners at JCCC, says the annual dinner is never a disappointment. “I’m not sure how you could listen to both the merit and needs-based scholarship recipients and not be moved,” he said. “This year, in particular, reminded me of the importance of helping students visiting our country, the same way I would hope people in another country would help my kids if studying abroad. I continue to be amazed by the students who end up in our city with limited to no contacts and end up making Kansas City a better place to live. They are truly remarkable kids.”