Governor Laura Kelly Announces 2022 Award of Excellence and Exporter of the Year Recipients

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that Salina-based Vortex Global has won the 2022 Governor’s Award of Excellence and Textron Aviation in Wichita earned the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award. Businesses and individuals from across the state were honored Thursday night for outstanding contributions to Kansas communities and the state’s economy at the Kansas Department of Commerce’s 2022 To the Stars: Kansas Business Awards ceremony. 

“Both Vortex Global and Textron Aviation exemplify what Kansas has become – a state where innovation thrives and businesses can grow and succeed,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “These companies, and all of the To the Stars award-winners, deserve credit for their significant contributions to Kansas’ record-breaking economy.” 

An all-time high of 237 businesses, organizations, and individuals were nominated in 10 categories for this year’s To the Stars: Kansas Business Awards. Nominees were reviewed and scored for various criteria such as business expansion, employee recruitment and retention practices, training and educational programs, capital investments, and support of local community events. A total of 181 Merit Awards and 56 Regional Awards were presented at the event. Additionally, one nominee in each category was designated a Statewide Winner, making them finalists for the Governor’s Award of Excellence. 

“These recipients are driving local and statewide success with their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Because they are doers, I also challenged these amazing businesses and businesspeople to help normalize the incredible run our state is on.” 

The 2022 Governor’s Award of Excellence winner, Vortex Global, was founded in 1977 in Salina. Vortex specializes in the design and manufacture of components for the transport and flow control of dry bulk solids. With a global service network that spans more than 120 countries, Vortex delivers global solutions through localized relationships to more than 20,000 companies. 

In addition, the following businesses and businesspeople were the 2022 Statewide Award winners: 

  • Nicholson Ventures, Dodge City – Agribusiness Award 
  • Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita – Apprenticeship Champions and Partners Award 
  • Radiation Detection Technologies, Manhattan – Business Innovation Award 
  • Build SMART, Lawrence – Cool Things Made in Kansas Award 
  • Topside Manor, Goodland – Healthcare/Nonprofit Award 
  • Cashco, Inc., Ellsworth – Manufacturing/Distribution Award 
  • Russell Stover Chocolates, Abilene – Non-Traditional Talent Pools Award 
  • Majestic Service & Truck Stop, St. Francis – Retail/Service Award 
  • Akul Patel, A-1 Computers, Fredonia – Under 30 Entrepreneur and Businessperson Award 
  • Travis Young, Vortex Global, Salina – Welcome Back Award 

The Governor’s Exporter of the Year award has been given to a Kansas company for more than three decades. The award brings statewide recognition to companies for their exporting efforts and showcases companies as role models of exporting success in Kansas.  

The 2022 Exporter of the Year winner, Textron Aviation, is home to Beechcraft, Cessna, and Hawker brands. Textron has one of the most versatile and comprehensive aviation product portfolios in the world, providing customers with more than 250,000 aircraft in over 170 countries. 

Other finalists for the Exporter of the Year award include Industrial Accessories Company (IAC) in Mission and DataLocker in Overland Park.  

A full list of 2022 To The Stars: Kansas Business Award winners and photographs from the event can be found at