Blog Archives

Project Spotlight: Innovation Stimulus Program

Program Provided Support, Engineering Services to Local Businesses including Double L Manufacturing

By Bret Lanz, Commercialization Director for Technology Development Institute

Double L Manufacturing worked with Technology Development Institute to create SolidWorks™ models for some of its product lines. (Courtesy Photo)

As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, supply chain concerns and labor shortages continue to impact businesses across the region. In an effort to streamline production processes and document its growing line of products, Double L Manufacturing applied to receive engineering support through the Innovation Stimulus Program.

The Innovation Stimulus Program was a partnership between the Technology Development Institute (TDI) at Kansas State University and the NCRPC. It was made possible through funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) through the CARES Act.

Since its inception in 2017, Double L Manufacturing, located in Clay Center has continued to grow despite the pandemic challenges. The company specializes in metal fabrication with a mixture of tractor and skid steer attachments which can be private labeled and are sold at a number of implement dealers across the region. It also provides custom fabrication services.

The company applied to the Innovation Stimulus Program in hopes of obtaining engineering support to create CAD models of several of its highest selling products. The models would enable creation of individual part drawings and a detailed set of manufacturing instructions to assist in training new employees.

“We are focused on daily production and ensuring we have all the materials on hand to meet our customer’s needs. We don’t typically have time or the resources to create engineering models and detailed work instructions” said Thomas Mulligan, owner of Double L. “Working with the engineering team at K-State has been a great experience to generate the documentation needed to ensure the highest quality product possible.”

As part of the project, TDI created SolidWorks™ models of the company’s bale spear, pallet forks and tree saw product line in addition to many of the fixtures needed to produce the products. They used the models to work with Double L staff to create detailed manufacturing instructions for each product to improve quality and reduce production time.

“Thomas has done an excellent job of growing his company during some of the most difficult times in recent memory and continues to expand into new products and services,” said Bret Lanz, Commercialization Director for Technology Development Institute.

This article appeared in the June 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

Business Owner Creates Platform for Mental Wellness Tools

Loan Provides Capital for Business to Pivot Operations
image of Catherine DiNuzzo

Catherine DiNuzzo

A revenue decline during the pandemic pushed one local business owner to take a new and proactive approach to her business.

Catherine DiNuzzo is a Licensed Professional Counselor, author, and speaker. Based in Beloit, Kansas, she has been in private practice since 2010. Faced with challenges during the pandemic, DiNuzzo pivoted her business model and founded Sacred Heart Mental Wellness. The new platform provides tools and resources for mental wellness and dealing with anxiety from a Catholic perspective. Her accompanying book, “The Catholic Guide Through Anxiety,” is currently available on Amazon.

“When the pandemic hit, the mental health sector did very well. However, in the months immediately following, there was uncertainty and financial constraints and it began to have an impact on my business,” DiNuzzo said. “I was also seeing how the pandemic would affect people’s mental health as a whole and I saw a need. My goal is to change mental health into mental wellness. Part of that shift for me was to be proactive and make tools and resources more accessible with shorter, smaller snippets of information that are more digestible.”

A business loan enabled DiNuzzo to invest in the online resources that she says she would not have otherwise had the capital to do at the time.

“I worked with a local studio for website design/videography and a local person helped me with my book. I really appreciated this opportunity and this was one way I could give back to my area. The loan provided a bridge to help me get to the next place with my business goals.”

The project was made possible, in part, through assistance from the NCK Business Relief Loan Program that was funded by the EDA CARES Act RLF 2020 and administered by the NCRPC. Additional investment was made by the owner.

Learn more about NCRPC Business Finance services and the business.

This article appeared in the June 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

Celebrating 50 Years

Organization Celebrates Major Milestone in 2022

image of 50th celebration of NCRPCMarch marks the 50th year since the North Central Regional Planning Commission (NCRPC) was organized.

The NCRPC was first formed in 1972 under K.S.A. 12-716 et seq. (now K.S.A. 12-744) as a multi-county planning organization headquartered in Beloit, Kansas.

In 1980 the NCRPC was designated an Economic Development District by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. Since that point the organization has evolved into a comprehensive community development and planning group based on K.S.A. 12-744 and structured by K.S.A. 12-2901 et seq. that provides a variety of staff assistance to cities and counties within the traditional planning area at their request. The NCRPC also provides contract services in a much broader area through various programs.

While much has changed over the years, we remain committed to serving communities across North Central Kansas. Thank you for your partnership — past, present and future!

This article appeared in the March 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

Communities Awarded CDBG Grants

Several North Central Kansas communities learned last month that they will be receiving funding to help complete a variety of improvement projects across the region.

The awards come from the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce.

NCRPC staff assisted with the following projects and will provide project administration. Each of these grantees will be contributing matching funds from a variety of sources.

  • City of Burr Oak — $330,000 – Water system improvements
  • City of Cawker City — $454,250  – Water tower
  • City of Concordia — $560,000 – Purchase of a fire ladder truck
  • City of Glasco — $323,530 – Improvements to the lift station and sanitary sewer system
  • City of Lincoln Center — $300,000 – Housing rehabilitation and demolition
  • City of Mankato — $600,000 – Wastewater collection system repairs and improvements
  • City of Marysville — $600,000 – Sanitary sewer treatment facility improvements
  • City of Miltonvale — $383,000 – Wastewater collection system and treatment facility improvements

For more information about the CDBG program, visit the Kansas Department of Commerce or contact the NCRPC staff.

This article appeared in the March 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

Project Spotlight: City of Washington Completes Major Water Improvement Project

The City of Washington celebrated the completion of its water project with a ribbon cutting in June 2021. (Courtesy Photo)

Reduced water loss, reduction of water main breaks, and minimal down time due to service interruptions are all benefits that the City of Washington’s utility customers are enjoying after the completion of a major water improvement project in the city in 2021.

The City of Washington is located in North Central Kansas at the intersection of Kansas Highway 15 and U.S. Highway 36 and serves as the County seat. Nearly 80% of the city’s water distribution system dated back to the original system installed in 1914. The original system with small, cast-iron lines had exceeded its useful life. Leaks, water main breaks, and repair expenses for streets that were disturbed in order to access lines were becoming increasingly troublesome.

Improving its water system was a high priority need for the community, but also a costly proposition. The city ultimately applied for funding assistance and was awarded $600,000 through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce. The City of Washington secured additional funds through a combination of a USDA Rural Development loan of $6.3 million and grant of $1.2 million. The city also committed $200,000 in city cash to the project.

The resulting project updated critical infrastructure by installing new water lines, fire hydrants and an automated meter reading system. At the time the CDBG application was submitted (Fall 2018), the city had experienced 58 pipe failures in the previous 5 years. The city is now well positioned for minimal water distribution system maintenance for many years.

“The project has provided upgrades to our water supply system with decreased leaks and line breaks, along with less waste of precious resources. It has also provided improvements to fire protection,” Caroline Scoville, City of Washington EMT, said.

Non funding key partners involved with the project were engineers BG Consultants, Manhattan, Kansas, and contractor Orr Construction Management, Raytown, Missouri ensuring project success. In addition, Kansas Rural Water Association completed a rate study analysis and CES Group P.A. Engineering Consultants, Marysville, helped the city complete the Low to Moderate Income Survey to qualify for funding. NCRPC staff provided project planning assistance, grant writing and administration.

The project took approximately two years from start to finish. Original costs were estimated at just over $8 million, but actual project costs came in under the budgeted amount.

“The upgrades to the system were funded by USDA and CDBG projects, including grant funding and low interest loans. This provided significant cost savings to the citizens over the life of the project, which ultimately affects quality of life for our residents,” Scoville said. “The North Central Regional Planning Commission staff was extremely helpful working on this project, and provided valuable knowledge and assistance.”

For more information about the funding sources used for this project or to discuss a project need, contact the NCRPC community development staff.

This article appeared in the March 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

There are many great things happening in North Central Kansas. Project Spotlight shares stories from communities around the region and how they solved challenges. To view more Project Spotlights, visit

Help Wanted

The NCRPC is growing and we are excited to add a community development position.

image of we are hiringJob Title: Community Development Representative

The North Central Regional Planning Commission (NCRPC) located in Beloit, Kansas, has an immediate opening for someone interested in becoming a Community Development Representative. Interested candidates should possess the following:

  • An interest in public and private sector engagement, creative and technical writing, problem solving, and an ability to speak to small groups.
  • The ability to manage multiple projects at one time.
  • A willingness to regularly travel to surrounding cities and counties and to attend evening meetings.
  • A valid Kansas Driver License and a clean driving record.
  • A proficiency with Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).

All candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree from Arts and Sciences (e.g., Community Development, Planning, Geography, Political Science, or Economics) or Business. Associate’s Degrees in similar fields with preferably three (3) years’ experience working in a community-oriented setting are also acceptable. Prior experience with community development is useful, but not mandatory.

Compensation includes a monthly salary commensurate with the candidate’s experience plus health insurance for both candidate and family and retirement benefits.

Submittal Requirements: If interested, submit a cover letter and resume with three professional references to North Central Regional Planning Commission, P.O. Box 565, 109 N Mill, Beloit, KS 67420-0565 or e-mail to – Subject Line: CDR Employment Opportunity. Contact NCRPC at (785) 738-2218 with questions. Position is open until filled.

Visit the Employment page


This article appeared in the March 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

Couple Relocates to Concordia to Open Restaurant

When Steven and Brittany Salgado began looking into the startup of a new steakhouse restaurant in Concordia, they were not planning on the extra challenge of navigating that process through a pandemic.

The couple lived in Kansas City and had several years of experience in the industry including 2+ years as chefs with upscale restaurants there before making the decision to relocate to North Central Kansas.

“We were looking into this before the pandemic hit. We had already signed papers and everything,” Brittany said. “As we were celebrating, Kansas City shut down due to COVID. ”

image of Maverick's Steakhouse logoMaverick’s Steakhouse, located at 103 W. 7th Street in Concordia, opened on February 1, 2021. Relocating to Concordia was returning home for Brittany who came to Concordia her freshman year and graduated from Concordia High School. Brittany now spends most of her time working in the front end of the business while Steven spends the majority of his time in the kitchen.

There have been ups and downs, but the couple is optimistic as the business as it enters its second year.

“We are figuring out what brings people out and experimenting with new menu items and comfort foods,” Brittany said. “We are looking forward to a good year in 2022.”

In addition to offering steaks and a full menu, daily specials are featured including burgers on Tuesdays, fried chicken on Wednesdays, prime rib on Thursdays, drink specials on Friday/Saturday and breakfast on Sundays. The restaurant also hosts private events.

The business startup project was made possible with investment by the owner as well as funding from The Citizens National Bank, Concordia, a Get in the Cloud Grant, and the NCK-Four Rivers Business Down Payment Assistance Loan Program.

For more information about the financing programs used, contact NCRPC Business Finance Director Debra Peters at 785-738-2218 or visit the Business Finance page.

For more about the business, visit them on the web or find them on Facebook.

This article appeared in the March 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.