John Hunter Announces Retirement

John HeadshotTopeka, KS – The Heartland Visioning management committee announced today that executive director John Hunter will retire in June 2017. The management committee in collaboration with the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce will search for a replacement. Hunter plans to remain at Heartland Visioning until a new executive director assumes the post.

Under Hunter’s leadership, the community has increasingly worked together to address critical issues including community pride, downtown redevelopment, and overall quality of life for the greater Topeka area. Heartland Visioning this year has facilitated the establishment of a downtown neighborhood improvement association, phase ll development for the NOTO arts district and the week-long charette process with the National Park Service.

"John has been a visionary and steadfast supporter of working with people from across our community to make our community the best it can be,” said Roger Underwood, current chair for the Heartland Visioning management committee. “He understood that the only way to increase the quality of life was to bring together people from all walks of life. John worked with volunteers to bring about an open and inclusive environment to the work of Heartland Visioning.”

Hunter has led Heartland Visioning for 3 years after serving as an active volunteer in the visioning process since its inception in 2008. As co-chair for the quality of life subcommittee, Hunter was pivotal in bringing about the success of the NOTO arts district.

"John Hunter is a true community champion," said Matt Pivarnik, CEO for Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce & GO TOpeka. "He understood the need for this community to trust each other and collaborate bringing about changes needed to make our community shine. John’s passion and persistence laid a strong foundation for future success and moved the community in a positive direction."

John Hunter served Washburn University for 41 years, admirably as a faculty member, administrator and fundraiser. “Throughout his career, he was an idea person and a ‘doer’,” said Dr. Jerry Farley, President for Washburn University. “When asked to serve Heartland visioning as the chair of the Quality of Life effort, he did not hesitate to serve. Little did I know what his enthusiasm and energy would result in…NOTO. This is the single most successful and impactful project Topeka has seen in decades and it is thanks to John.”

Under John’s leadership the organization has grown in its number of volunteer leaders. “At our monthly steering committee, you will see 50 people fill the room to grow in their own education about Topeka and work together to make progress,” said, Kristen Brunkow, Director of Communications & Community Engagement for Heartland Visioning. “John worked tirelessly to make sure we had voices from all sides of the issue around the table.”

Hunter praised the willingness of the community to come together and dream big. "The volunteers have come together in the most spectacular ways," he said. “I have had the pleasure of watching ideas that may have seemed unattainable in the beginning grow and blossom. The progress has been inspiring and the future of our community is bright.” Hunter will remain in Topeka and involved in the community while also taking some much deserved time to focus on travel and family. "I'll be leaving Heartland Visioning but can't walk away from the work I feel so passionately about, namely building a better community."


January 13, 2017
Roger Underwood, 785-231-6006
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