Kansas City / County Management Conference 2017

Speakers' Bios

Schedule and speakers are subject to change.

Publisher, Governing Magazine; former mayor, Kansas City, Missouri

Mark Funkhouser began his career as a social worker and then went on to become an auditor, first in Tennessee state government and then for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, where he served from 1988 until 2006. Funkhouser was Mayor of Kansas City from 2007-2011. He is credited with stabilizing the city’s finances during his term. He holds several degrees, including an interdisciplinary PhD in public administration and sociology. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.


Nathan Eberline
Associate Legislative Director and Legal Counsel, Kansas Association of Counties

Nathan Eberline serves as the Associate Legislative Director and Legal Counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties (KAC). His practice focuses on public policy, government relations, legal aspects of management, KOMA/KORA, and municipal law. Prior to joining KAC, Nathan worked for the League of Kansas Municipalities.

Nathan is currently president of the KBA’s Young Lawyers Section. Nathan holds a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and a B.A. from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. He is also a Certified Public Manager (CPM), having attending the Kansas CPM program with the KU Public Management Center.

Patty Gentrup
Former reporter, local government practitioner and consultant

Patty Gentrup has been in direct service or as a consultant for local governments for 25 years, including six years as a city administrator. She is a skilled facilitator, working with governing bodies and other organizations to develop their vision, mission and goals. She also has extensive experience in managing public engagement processes, ranging from community strategic planning to infrastructure development to neighborhood plans. Patty has a bachelor's degree in journalism and a masters in public administration, both from the University of Kansas. Patty and her husband Gene own i9 Sports in Kansas City's Northland and have two daughters, Meg and Abigail.

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Dave Helling
Reporter, The Kansas City Star

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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.

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Beth Linn
City Administrator, City of Edgerton, Kansas

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Erik Sartorius
Executive Director, League of Kansas Municipalities

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Cherise Tieben
City Manager, Dodge City, Kansas

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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.


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Brian Bickers
Class of 2018 Co-President, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas

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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.

DJ Gehrt
City Administrator, Platte City, Missouri

Dennis J. (DJ) Gehrt has been City Administrator of Platte City, MO since November 2011. He is a former Marine Corps infantry officer with 25 years of local government experience. He is a graduate of St. Louis University and received his Master of Arts in Public Administration (MAPA) degree from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.

He has been a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) since 1993 and has been an ICMA Credentialed Manager (CM) since 2005. He has served as chief executive of three local government agencies since 1997 with local government experience in California, Kansas and Missouri.

He has extensive military and civilian international experience including non-combatant evacuation and stabilization operations in West Africa and nearly two years in country service as the ICMA local government advisor for 14 provinces in Afghanistan.

He has served on the ICMA International Committee and has been a presenter at five ICMA annual conferences He was the first President of the Board of Directors of the NW Missouri Wholesale Water Commission and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Missouri City/County Management Association.

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Heather Getha-Taylor
Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas

Bio coming soon

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Brad Long
KU Career-option MPA student

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Joshua Robinson
Class of 2018 Co-President, School of Public Affairs and Administration, University of Kansas

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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.


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.

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