Seven prominent KC leaders join advisory board at Olathe campus

Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 | Written by Megan Gould


OLATHE — Kansas State University's Olathe campus is welcoming seven new members to its advisory board this year.

The advisory board is a group comprised of business, industry, government, public education and community leaders. The board members provide guidance and feedback on educational, research and outreach programs and work toward the goals of the K-State strategic plan. They serve as advocates in the community and connect K-State's Olathe campus to Greater Kansas City. Board members actively participate in the continual assessment of campus progress and work to expand its reach in the community.

"We are excited to welcome the seven new advisory board members," said Debbie Kirchhoff, executive director of strategic initiatives. "The expertise and knowledge this group possesses will be very valuable to help guide K-State Olathe to meet the workforce and research needs in Kansas City."

The newest members to join the campus' 23-member advisory board are:

  • Kristen Allen, area operations executive at Hilton Brand Hotels. With her passion for the hospitality industry, she has led several teams honored with Guest Services awards and has twice been awarded the Connie Pride Award of Excellence with Hilton Hotels.

  • Anita Davis, workforce development program director at Mid-America Regional Council, or MARC. She leads her team at MARC to collaborate with regional education and workforce development stakeholders in order to support economic growth and prosperity in the Kansas City Region.

  • Paul Ewing, CEO and financial advisor at Prosperity Advisors and the Prosperity Network of Advisors. As a certified financial planner, he has confidently made a career of helping clients prepare for retirement through insightful financial guidance. Additionally, he founded a local registered representative supervisory branch that supports over 180 independent financial professionals serving clients in 49 states.

  • Emily McVey, director at Kansas City Animal Health Corridor. With nearly 10 years of workforce development and association management experience, she works collaboratively with KC's business, educational, scientific and government communities to cultivate a climate of opportunity for companies in the animal health and nutrition industry.

  • Michael Glasker, vice president/principal at George Butler Associates Inc., or GBA. With more than 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry, he provides guidance and is responsible for the development of all life sciences projects at GBA.

  • Dre Taylor, founder of Nile Valley Aquaponics 100,000 Pound Food Project, KC Urban Farm Co-Op and M2M. As one of the country’s leaders in food systems, he created sustainable initiatives to produce local fresh fish and vegetables to create healthier choices and economic stability in the urban core. In addition, he created Males to Men, a mentoring program geared toward guiding and employing at-risk youth.

  • Mike Wiegers, vice president of consumer engineering at Garmin. As a K-State alumnus who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, he has served in his vice president role for over 10 years where he directs the day-to-day operations of Garmin's worldwide consumer engineering group.

The Olathe campus thanks outgoing board members whose terms have ended. Outgoing members are Scott Berghaus, formerly of UMB Bank; Dan Abitz of George Butler Associates, Inc; Tim McKee of Olathe Chamber of Commerce; Laurie Minard of Garmin International; David Warm of Mid-America Regional Council; and Kimberly Young of Kansas City Animal Health Corridor.