Heartland Visioning Announces Retirement of Executive Director
The management committee in collaboration with the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce will search for a replacement.
Hunter has led Heartland Visioning since spring of 2014.He had been an active volunteer in the visioning process since its inception in 2008 and served as Chair for the Quality of Life Foundation from 2009 – 2014.According to Mr. Hunter, “Heartland Visioning is an exciting, healthy, successful and well-functioning organization.We have an incredible group of voluntary leaders who work on a wide-variety of projects and initiatives throughout our community.”
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 in 2016 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.”
"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 holds the title of Professor Emeritus from Washburn University after working there for 41 years.According to Dr. Jerry Farley, President for Washburn University, Professor Hunter served admirably as a faculty member, administrator and fundraiser. “Throughout his career, he was an idea person and a ‘doer.” “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 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.” I am humbled by the efforts of so many and proud to be a part of the change process in Topeka and Shawnee County.
Hunter will remain in Topeka and stay involved in the community however, he also wants to have time with Lynette, his wife of 45 years and his family and a bit of time trying to improve his golf game. "I'll be leaving Heartland Visioning but can't walk away from the work I feel so passionately about, namely building a better community."