Kansas City / County Management Conference 2016

Speakers' Bios

Schedule and speakers are subject to change.

City Manager, City of Fort Collins, Colorado

Darin Atteberry is the City Manager for the City of Fort Collins, CO, a position he has held since December 2004. Prior to that, Darin served as the Assistant City Manager for more than 8 years. As City Manager, Darin has led the City government through a time of transformational change, moving the organization from a "trust us" model to one that uses a data-driven, performance based approach. Darin is an advocate for community collaboration and has built strong relationships with both public and private sector partners.

Prior to coming to Fort Collins, Darin worked with cities in California, Washington, and Georgia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, a Master's Degree in City Planning and a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering, both from Georgia Tech.

Darin, his wife, Deborah, and their four children enjoy living in Fort Collins and are active in several community and school activities.


Brad Allen

Brad Allen
Director, Lawrence Public Library

Brad Allen is the Executive Director of the Lawrence (Kansas) Public Library. In his fourteen years of public library service, he has worked as a children’s librarian, teen librarian, subject specialist, public services supervisor, branch manager, and now executive director. His library career has taken him to Los Angeles, Seattle, and back to his native Kansas. In his life previous to working in libraries, Brad was a mathlete, wrote an oral history of a Los Angeles funk band, and played in a rock band for over ten years with childhood friends.


John Deardoff
City Manager, City of Hutchinson, Kansas

John Deardoff began his public administration career as an administrative assistant and Assistant City Manager for the City of Dodge City, Kansas, from 1979 to 1985. He then became the City Manager of Sterling, Kansas, from 1985 to 1989. Mr. Deardoff moved to Hutchinson to work as Assistant City Manager from 1989 to 1994, and he left Hutchinson to continue his public service as City Manager of Dodge City from 1994 to 2005. He returned to Hutchinson to become City Manager in March of 2005 a position he still holds.

Mr. Deardoff is a 1979 graduate of St. Mary of Plains College in Dodge City with a Bachelor of Political Science and a Master of Urban Affairs from Wichita State University in 1984. He is also a 1994 graduate of Leadership Hutchinson and a 1998 graduate of Leadership Kansas. In 1998, Mr. Deardoff was honored as the Hugo Wall Alumni of the Year by Wichita State University.

Mr. Deardoff is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and he has continued his commitment to professional development by becoming an ICMA Credentialed Manager. Mr. Deardoff is also a member of the Kansas Association of City/County Management (KACM), and he served as President in 2002. He received the 2008 Buford M. Watson Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Management from the Kansas Association of City and County Managers.

Mr. Deardoff serves on the Kansas League of Municipalities Governing Body and served as President of LKM 2013-2014

John and his wife Jerri have three daughters, Lindsay (29), Lacey (26) and Taylor (21).

Emily Graf
City Manager, City of Kingman, Kansas

Ms. Emily A. Graf began her duties as Kingman City Manager in May 2014, having worked as the Assistant to the County Manager at Sedgwick County. She earned an undergraduate degree from Fort Hays State University and a graduate degree from Wichita State University. Ms. Graf is a board member of the Kansas Association of City and County Managers (KACM) and a member of the International Association of City and County Manager’s (ICMA). She serves as a board member on the ICMA Task Force on Women in the Profession. She is the President of the Kingman Lions Club and volunteers for many community activities. She was awarded the Early Career Excellence Award by the Kansas Association of City/County Management in December 2015.


Cheryl Harrison-Lee
City Administrator, City of Gardner, Kansas

Cheryl Harrison-Lee started her career in municipal government in 1984 with the City of Gainesville, Florida. As the current Chief Executive Officer for the City of Gardner, she is responsible for managing a leadership team tasked with municipal operations for a full service city. Her functional areas of responsibility include Information Technology, Risk Management, Public Works, Public Safety, Business and Economic Development, Finance, Human Resources, Parks and Recreation, and Utilities. Her responsibilities include providing policy direction in areas related to economic development, quality of life, fiscal stewardship, and infrastructure/asset management as well as assuring the needs of a rapidly growing community are met or exceeded.

Ms. Harrison-Lee holds a graduate degree from the University of Florida and a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. Ms. Harrison-Lee’s experience includes employment in statewide, regional, and local government sector as well as private consulting firms. She was a municipal administrator in Florida for almost three decades in the cities of Orlando, Daytona Beach, Titusville, and Ormond Beach.

Ms. Harrison-Lee served as District Manager for Public Transportation with the Florida Department of Transportation, where she was responsible for a $180 million transportation capital projects. Other significant professional accomplishments include master plan approval for a $457 mixed use urban entertainment center, developing a plan for reuse of the Orlando Naval Training Center and annexation and master plan for development of 7,500 acres the home for the Burnham Institute, Nemours Children Hospital, Veterans Administration Hospital, and University of Central Florida Medical School. In addition, she was the chief development officer for the Daytona Live Project, a 71 acre tract of land proposed to include more than 400,000 square feet of retail, service and business uses, 450 multi-family units, a hotel, and a 2,500 seat movie theater. The project has an overall economic benefit of $172 million for state and local taxes and payroll with 2,400 new jobs. The construction economic impact is $855 million.

Ms. Harrison-Lee’s professional recognitions and affiliations include International City Management Association, American Institute of Certified Planners, American Planning Association, and University of Florida Board of Regents Fellow. She is a credentialed manager through the International City Management Association (ICMA). She is a member of ICMA Strategic Planning Task Force, MARC Sustainability Committee, SW Johnson County EDC, Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Johnson County Chapter and The Links, Incorporated, The Greater Kansas City Chapter.


Meredith Hauck
Assistant City Manager, City of Raymore, Missouri

Meredith Hauck joined the City of Raymore in December 2014 as the Assistant City Manager. Prior to coming to Raymore, she worked at the City of Riverside, Missouri for eight years where she served as the Director of Administration.

Meredith has a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, both from the University of Kansas. She is a current board member with Midwest Public Risk insurance pool and Girls on the Run Serving Greater Kansas City, an active volunteer with the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, and recently co-founded the Kansas City Women’s Chamber of Commerce.


Laura Howard, J.D.
Director, KU Public Management Center

Laura Howard is the Director of the University of Kansas Public Management Center. She comes to the University of Kansas from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she served as the Region VII Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Laura has also served in various leadership positions with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS). Prior to her service with SRS, Laura served as a principal fiscal policy analyst for the nonpartisan Kansas Legislative Research Department for more than 10 years.

Laura received her Bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford Ohio in Public Administration (with an emphasis in public policy analysis) and Economics. She received her law degree from the University of Kansas.

Nathan McCommon

Nathan McCommon
City Manager, City of Tonganoxie, Kansas

Nathan McCommon has served as the city manager of Tonganoxie, Kansas, since early 2012. The dairy farm of his grandparents, where he spent much of his childhood, sits just west of Tonganoxie on the way to Valley Falls. For much of his working life, Mr. McCommon has worked for local government, which began in 1990 for the City of Kissimmee, Florida, and later working for Topeka, Kansas, Sedgwick County, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to a vast array of management experience and prior to university studies, he worked as a garbage collector, parks maintenance worker, facility maintenance worker, and traffic signal technician. At the University of Kansas, Mr. McCommon completed a bachelor of arts in Spanish and a master of public administration. He brings not only the philosophical and analytical training of academia to city management but also the practical knowledge of serving the public at the street level.

In his personal time, Mr. McCommon enjoys traveling, performing musically, and volunteering his time for community causes. He and his wife Roz can be heard regularly around the Kansas City area playing music at festivals, other public events, corporate events, and restaurants. Mr. McCommon has volunteered as Spanish/English interpreter for the Kansas City School of Dentistry, Kansas City Rescue Mission, and others.

Ron Norris

Ron L. Norris, P.E.
Consultant and Past President American Public Works Association


  • Master of Public Administration, University of Kansas
  • BS Civil Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Professional Engineer, Kansas and Missouri
  • Public Works Leadership Fellow


  • National President, American Public Works Association (APWA)
  • President, National Assn. of State Facility Administrators
  • APWA National Top Ten Public Works Leader
  • Mid-America Regional Council Regional Leadership Award

Professional Affiliations

  • American Public Works Association
  • American Society of Professional Engineers
  • Water Environment Federation


  • City of Olathe, Kansas - Director of Public Works (Retired)
  • City of Lenexa, Kansas - Director of Public Works (1996-2009)
  • Clark County, Nevada - Deputy Director of Public Works (1995-1996)
  • Mid-America Regional Council - Director of Transportation Policy (1992-1994)
  • State of Missouri-Office of Administration - Director of Design and Construction (1985-1992)
  • City of Liberty, Missouri - Director of Community Development (1973-1985)
  • State of Missouri-Department of Transportation - Division of Materials and Research (1968-1973)


Godfrey Riddle
Development Manager, ArtsKC - Regional Arts Council

Godfrey Riddle joined ArtsKC in March 2014 where he works in fundraising and event and program management. He launched and manages the First Friday Showcase program, which included the June 2015 Art of Data exhibition in partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Office of Performance Management. The exhibition was documented by Socrata, a national performance management consultant, and featured as a best practice for public engagement in municipal performance management at Socrata’s national annual conference in October 2015.

Godfrey was drawn to ArtsKC's mission and focus on the arts as a public resource. He is a firm believer in the arts' ability to empower individuals to unlock their fullest potential and build sustainable communities.

Prior to joining ArtsKC, Godfrey served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the City of Phoenix, Arizona Neighborhood Services Department Director’s Office and City Manager’s Volunteer Office. He is a CORO Fellow. Godfrey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies with a minor in Slavic languages and literature and a Master of Public Administration both from the University of Kansas.

ArtsKC's mission is to unleash the power of the arts. Its work brings together people, resources, and ideas to support, promote, and advocate for the arts in the five-county Kansas City region.


Brian Silcott
City Administrator, Goddard, Kansas

Brian Silcott was appointed to the position of City Administrator on March 31, 2008 after the position being vacant for more than 20 years. Prior to coming to Goddard, Brian served as City Manager in the Kansas communities of Sterling (2002-2005) and Osage City (2006-2008). Before pursuing a career in city management, Brian worked for the City of Wichita as a firefighter (1993-2000) and in the City Manager’s Office (2000-2001) as well as the Office of Budget & Research (2001-2002). Brian is currently an ICMA-Credentialed Manager.

Brian is a graduate of Wichita State University majoring in Political Science and has a Master of Public Administration from the Hugo Wall School of Urban & Public Affairs. Brian is an active member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Kansas Association of City/County Management (KACM). He has served on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency, Kansas Municipal Utilities, and the Executive Board of the Kansas Municipal Gas Agency. Brian is also a proud member of the following local civic clubs: Lions Club, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Wichita State University Delta Upsilon Alumni chapter as well as the Phi Kappa Phi academic honorary.


Dana Walden
Assistant City Administrator/HR Manager, City of Park City, Kansas

Dana Walden is the Assistant City Administrator for the City of Park City, Kansas. She has been with the City for the past ten years. Prior to joining the staff at Park City, she held positions in Administration and Human Resources in the field of disability services. She received her graduate and undergraduate degree in Sociology from Wichita State University. In 2015, she completed the Certified Public Manager Program through the KU Public Management Center. Her capstone project, “Building the Image of the Senior Center, Attracting Baby Boomers” focused on refreshing the image of the Center, building community support and collaborative relationships, and developing programming to attract and meet the needs of the rapidly expanding aging population.


Jeff White
Principal, Columbia Capital Management

Jeff White serves as a Principal of Columbia Capital Management. Prior to joining Columbia Capital in 2001, Mr. White spent more than a decade as a local government management practitioner.

As a city manager, assistant city manager, department head, and budget director in cities from 14,000 to 124,000 in population, Mr. White became very familiar with the financial needs of local governments as debt issuers and investors. As public works director responsible for transportation, building inspection, engineering, parking and water utilities (water, wastewater, and storm water), he managed annual operating budgets of nearly $55 million and capital programs exceeding $150 million. He enjoys bringing his passion for public service and an understanding of the business of local government to Columbia's clients.

Mr. White has experience serving a wide variety of issuers and borrowers of municipal bonds. His clients include the City of Los Angeles; Chicago Public Schools; the Kansas Turnpike Authority; the Illinois Toll Highway Authority; St. Louis County, Missouri; Metro Bi-State Development Agency (St. Louis); East-West University (Chicago); Roosevelt University (Chicago); and numerous cities and counties in Kansas and Missouri.

Mr. White is currently advising the City of Edgerton, Kansas, on the financing of significant public infrastructure supporting BNSF railroad's newest intermodal transportation facility, the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi. The underpinning of this financing is a three party agreement between the City, BNSF and a master developer of the surrounding logistics park. Because of the City's small size, the parties have developed a public/private partnership model to finance infrastructure costs that would be beyond the City's ability to support on its own.

Mr. White holds an AB in Political Science from the University of Michigan and an MPA from the University of Kansas. He is a Series 65 Investment Adviser Representative.



Rex Buchanan
Interim Director, Kansas Geological Survey

Rex Buchanan grew up near Little River, in Rice County, Kansas, on the edge of the Smoky Hills. He has been at the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, since 1978, and has been the Interim Director since 2010.

He is the co-author of Roadside Kansas: A Guide to its Geology and Landmarks (rev. edition, 2010) and editor of Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils (rev. edition, 2010), both published by the University Press of Kansas; co-author of The Canyon Revisited: A Rephotography of the Grand Canyon, 1923-1991, published by the University of Utah Press (1994); and co-editor of Geowriting, published by the American Geological Institute (1995).

He is currently the Secretary of the Association of American State Geologists, past chair of the Geology and Public Policy Committee of the Geological Society of America (GSA), and past president of the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE), the Kansas Academy of Science, and the Association of Earth Science Editors. He chairs the Kansas Task Force on Induced Seismicity. In 2008 he was named a Fellow of GSA, and in 2009 was given the John Strickler award for environmental education from KACEE. He also provides occasional commentaries on Kansas Public Radio.

He has an undergraduate degree from Kansas Wesleyan University and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Kelly Dumais
Class of 2017 Co-President, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas

Kelly Dumais, a Darwin Daicoff and Mary Litchfield scholar, graduated cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN in the spring of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. While at Gustavus, Kelly earned the Ron and Rolf Christiansen Political Science Award for academic excellence and public service.

During her senior year, Kelly served as co-chair for the 2014 Building Bridges Social Justice Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College. Through this role Kelly developed marketing materials, negotiated speaking contracts, publicized the event, and led the efforts of 40 student participants through the entirety of the conference conceptualization and implementation, ultimately attracting more than 1,000 participants. The conference highlighted environmental justice and the relationship between communities in environmental crisis. Following graduation, Kelly worked as an Executive Team Leader for Target in Holland, MI. She coordinated the store human resource operations including staffing, training, team development and culture while also managing daily business needs as Leader on Duty.

Currently, Kelly serves as the management intern at the City of Eudora, KS City Manager’s Office. She is leading Eudora’s effort to promote the Network Kansas E-Community and E-Accelerator programs to promote business resources for entrepreneurs in Douglas County, KS. She has also developed two wellness city ordinances for the City of Eudora which expanded the Indoor Clean Air Act to include restrictions of the use of e-cigarettes indoors and also tobacco and e-cigarette free public parks and recreation facilities. Kelly’s other projects have included the City’s annual report, a weekly newsletter of community events and updates, as well as serving as the coordinator for the 1st Annual Great Kaw Adventure Race and City Liaison for the Eudora Chamber of Commerce.


Dave Johnson
CEO, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

Mr. Johnson has served as Chief Executive Officer at the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Inc. in Lawrence, Kansas since March 1, 2001. He is responsible for a staff of 200 people including psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, educators, case managers, employment specialists and personal attendants who focus on child, adolescent, adult and geriatric mental health care.

Bert Nash is a licensed, comprehensive community mental health center committed to excellence in the delivery of a wide array of behavioral and mental health services. Each year, Bert Nash provides services to around 5,000 Douglas County residents. The Center was one of seven sites to pilot Mental Health First Aid training in the United States, and Johnson was one of the first fourteen certified trainers in the country.

Johnson was previously President/Chief Executive Officer for Behavioral Health Resources of Central Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa (1979 to 2001) and Associate Director for Iowa Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC, Inc.), which was a United States Department of Justice project (1975 to 1979).

Johnson is a Member of the Douglas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (newly formed), a member of Douglas County Community Corrections / Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, on the     Board of Directors for the Tower Mental Health Foundation and the Danish American Archive and Library, the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Kansas Health Information Network, and on the Board of Managers for BrightEHR, LLC.

Johnson has a Master of Science degree in Health Services Administration conferred “With Academic Distinction” from the College of St. Francis (now the University of St. Francis) in Joliet, Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.


Phil Lammers
City Administrator, City of Merriam, Kansas

Mr. Lammers has more than 35 years of government experience. He is the City Administrator for Merriam, KS, a position he has held since 2008.

Education and Associations

  • MPA – University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • BS Sociology - University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Certificate of Completion, Economic Development Institute (EDI), University of Oklahoma, Norman
  • Phil was a Credentialed City Manager (ICMA) for six years.

Leadership and Work History

  • Program Manager, Kansas City, Kansas
  • City Administrator, Albany, Missouri
  • City Manager, Cameron, Missouri
  • City Administrator, Merriam, Kansas

Mr. Lammers has chaired the board of directors for a regional hospital, local Rotary club and the board of directors for MARCIT (MPR). He has been active in city management and municipal associations.


Tyler Marr
Class of 2016 President, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas

Tyler Marr, an Ethan Allen and Buford Watson scholar, graduated summa cum laude from Colorado State University in 2014 with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science.

While currently in his second year in the intern-option MPA program, Tyler is serving as the Graduate Management Assistant in Fort Collins, Colorado. In Fort Collins, he has helped with many efforts, including negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the police union, updating the City’s strategic plan, as well as projects related to homelessness, targeted industry cluster funding, and the City’s nudity ordinance.

As an undergraduate at Colorado State, Tyler completed multiple internships, including one with the Colorado Legislature where he provided research and assistance on a variety of proposed legislation. He also interned with the City of Fort Collins, where he worked on projects that involved government access television, performance metrics and environmental policy.


Melissa Mundt
Assistant County Administrator, Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County, Kansas

Melissa Mundt joined the Unified Government’s County Administration team in 2015. She brings with her nearly 18 years of municipal experience. As an Assistant County Administrator, Mundt is responsible for providing direct oversight of County and City departments such as Public Works, Community Development, Transportation, Purchasing, Clerk’s Office and Planning.

Mundt has acquired a great deal of experience during her career in public service. Before her appointment to the position of County Administrator, She worked for the City of Ames, Iowa as the Assistant City Manager from June 2012 to March 2015. She worked directly with Human Resources, Finance, Parks and Recreation, Fleet and Facilities, Transit (CyRide), Library, and the City Attorney. She also played a direct role in the executive management of the City’s Excellence Through People initiative that emphasized exceptional customer service and an enjoying and stimulating work environment.

Mundt has also worked in Illinois and Kansas, including the City of Gardner, KS as the Assistant City Administrator, as well as Interim City Administrator during her nine year tenure. She is knowledgeable of every aspect of the services and programs that are provided through the departments and divisions in municipal government. She enjoys engaging employees in process improvement and innovation in delivery of local government services.

Melissa has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and is a credentialed manager through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). She is a member of the Downtown Kansas City, KS, Rotary Club. Melissa was also privileged to be elected and served on the ICMA Executive Board of Directors.


John Nalbandian
Professor Emeritus, KU School of Public Affairs & Administration

John Nalbandian, now retired, was a faculty member in public administration at the University of Kansas since 1976, following his doctoral education at the University of Southern California and service in the Army and CIA. John specializes in human resources management, having co-authored a text now in its sixth edition. John developed an interest in local government after joining the program at KU, and he has taught every full time MPA student specializing in local government since his arrival. John has developed special relationships with MPA alumni, and he is frequently invited to work with local government officials throughout the United States. In addition to continuing to teach and work with students at KU, he advises the local government certificate program at Virginia Tech, and he regularly works in executive development programs at the Universities of Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina. He also has presented his work in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. John is the recipient of numerous national awards and recognition from KU for his teaching, research, and service. In addition to his academic accomplishments, John served on the Lawrence city council for eight years, including two terms as the council’s mayor. John has chaired the board of trustees for the public library in Lawrence and also served as board president of the Willow Domestic Violence Center. John’s present research interests focus on contemporary trends in local government and the relationships between the arenas of politics and administration.

Erin O'Donnell
Captain, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office

Captain O'Donnell started with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in December, 1997. As a deputy she was assigned to the Detention Division, Juvenile Intake and Special Investigations. She was promoted to Sergeant in August of 2005 and was assigned to the Detention, Court Services and Communications Divisions. She was promoted to Lieutenant in August of 2011 and assigned to the Detention and Judicial Services Divisions. In August of 2014 she was promoted to Captain and is currently in charge of Operations at the Central Booking Facility. She was a member of the Kansas CIT Council for five years and serves as the Coordinator for the Sheriff’s Office Peer Support Team.

Captain O'Donnell is a 2011 graduate of the Kansas Certified Public Manager program, and her capstone project was titled, "Mental Health Co-Responder." Capstone Synopsis: It is the purpose of the Johnson County Criminal Justice-Intercept Project to effectively divert the mentally ill from the criminal justice system through the provision of community based mental health services. On April 8, 2011, the Johnson County Commission, located in Kansas, approved a Mobile Crisis Rapid Response pilot project to reduce criminal justice involvement among persons with mental illness.

Katrina Pollet
Executive Director, Finney County Department of Corrections, Finney County, Kansas

Katrina has been with Finney County Kansas since 2011 serving as the Director of the Southwest Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). In March 2016, Finney County reorganized the 25th Judicial Adult Community Services, 25th Judicial Youth Services and the Juvenile Detention Center forming the Finney County Department of Corrections.

Katrina received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS. Prior to Finney County, she worked with the KS Department of Corrections-Juvenile Services where she served for nine years as a social worker then was the Director of the Beloit Juvenile Correctional Facility, Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility and the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex.

While serving as the Director at the JDC, Katrina has worked with Compass Behavioral Health to bring in mental health counseling and substance abuse groups. Memorandum of Understandings were completed with USD 457 and Youth Services to provide substance abuse groups. In 2015 Finney County residents voted for a sales tax increase for office space to integrate not only the adult and juvenile community corrections services but also the JDC and Court Services.

Katrina serves on the Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence; Garden City Housing Authority Board; Garden City Community College Public Safety Board; and Finney County Health Coalition/LiveWell Finney County.


Phil Smith-Hanes
County Administrator, Ellis County, Kansas

A native Kansan and a graduate of three Kansas universities (including KU), Phil Smith-Hanes started his local government career with the League of Kansas Municipalities and Sedgwick County before spending 15 years on the West Coast, where he most recently served as County Administrative Officer for Humboldt County, California for six years. On March 1, he was appointed County Administrator of Ellis County, Kansas. He has recent experience in ending one chapter in his career and starting another; we'll see whether he did that well. Phil loves acronyms, and accordingly is a member of ICMA, NACA, KACM, and ELGL as well as a KUCIMAT and a graduate of SEI at UVA. After his presentation you might be tempted to ask WTF.


Drew Vincent
Class of 2017 Co-President, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas

Drew Vincent, a Mary Litchfield, Bob Lowry, and Clarence E. Ridley scholar, graduated from Baylor University’s Honors Program with a B.A. in International Studies. Following graduation, Drew worked as Project Manager for the Waco Downtown Development Corporation (WDDC), implementing a strategic plan for Downtown in preparation for the opening of Baylor’s McLane Stadium. Additionally, he contributed to issues ranging from historic preservation to economic development of the Brazos Riverfront.

Following his time at the WDDC, Drew worked as an Emergency Preparedness Planner with the Heart of Texas Council of Governments (HOTCOG). In this capacity, he worked under the direction of HOTCOG’s Homeland Security Manager to assist county and city emergency managers, rural/municipal fire and police departments, and elected officials on projects. These projects include mass fatality planning and data analysis that serves to inform the region’s emergency management policies. A certified firefighter and EMT-Basic, Drew volunteered with the City of Bellmead Fire Department during his time in Texas.

Currently, Drew serves as the Management Intern for the County Administrator of Douglas County, KS where he manages several projects, including the County’s E-Com-munity program, which serves to enhance the county’s entrepreneurial and economic development community through a $150,000 revolving loan fund. Other significant work to date includes working with local emergency responders to establish and procure a $73,000 County commitment for a county-wide Rapid Intervention Team (a unit that serves as a rescue team specifically for firefighters); overseeing the County’s community partner budget agreements; active involvement in the renovation strategy for the County Fairgrounds; and, management of the County’s Energy Star portfolio, which helps set build-ing energy usage benchmarks for greater sustainability.


Hannes Zacharias
County Manager, Johnson County, Kansas

Hannes Zacharias has been County Manager since August, 2009. He joined the management team in 2001 as Assistant County Manager and was promoted to Deputy County Manager in 2005. As County Manager, Mr. Zacharias serves as the chief administrative officer, coordinating the delivery of services provided by more than 3,800 employees to the County’s nearly 570,000 residents. He also prepares the County’s annual operating and capital budgets totaling more than $900 million.

Mr. Zacharias has spent his entire career in public service, beginning in 1980 when he served as Associate Director and Chief Grants Officer for the Kansas Arts Commission. He has also served as Assistant to the City Manager for Lawrence, the City Administrator for Boonville, Missouri, and the City Manager of Hays, Kansas. As City Manager of Hays KS from 1991 to 2001, he was involved in water issues from many perspectives including the purchase of the “R9 Ranch” near Kinsley to be used as a water source for the Hays community.

He received the Buford M. Watson Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Administration from the Kansas City/County Management Association and the Regional Leadership Award from the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), both in 2007. In 2015 he received the “Distinguished Public Service Award” from United Community Services of Johnson County for bright lining suburban poverty issues to Johnson County residents and policy makers.

Locally, Mr. Zacharias serves as the Co-Chair for the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee of MARC, is on the United Community Services board of advisors, the Greater Kansas City United Way board of directors, and the Heart of America Council Boy Scouts of America Executive Board. He also serves as an instructor for graduate students studying Public Administration at the University of Kansas, Edwards Campus.

A native of Dodge City, Kansas, Mr. Zacharias received a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 1988 and a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies from Wichita State University in 1979.

He and his wife, Marcia, have lived in Johnson County since 2001. They have two daughters, Lydia and Isabel, and a son, Kurt.

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