Ice carving was one of the attractions this past weekend as the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association celebrated its centennial anniversary on Saturday at the Sheraton Kansas City Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.
Persons from around the nation, including local chefs, participated in the ice carving event.
More than 500 persons attended this gala affair celebrating the centennial. Restaurant owners were asked about Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., and talked about future growth, the good labor force and work ethic here.
New officers were announced for the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association. James Eddy from Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen was named the new president of the GKCRA.
“The restaurant industry has changed in the many years I’ve been in it,” he said. “It offers a lot of opportunity for those who want to work. We are currently looking at Wyandotte County for restaurants in the future. We have a lot to offer for-persons who want to work. This is how I started off. As a young child I washed dishes, eventually I bought a franchise.”
People in the service industry are in high demand and it offers a lot of opportunity, he said. Mainly because of the fast-paced society, people want to come to a restaurant to relax and unwind, he added.
“My father was in the restaurant industry and so was my grandfather,” he said.
Dave Brown, with KC Hopps Ltd., was the GKCRA president in 2015.
He has worked for multiple locally based concept restaurants in the Kansas City area.
Brown became acquainted with the restaurant industry while he owned a nightclub and has managerial experience with several independent bars. He worked for Applebee’s International and held major roles in training and beverage departments. In 2004 he joined Houlihan’s as a vice president of operations support and regional operations director.
Brown joined North Star restaurants in 2014, which operates Jose Peppers and Cactus Grill restaurants and currently is employed by KC Hopps Ltd.
“I agree with James Eddy, this industry offers a lot for those who want to work,” he said. “I too started from the bottom and worked my way to the top and like James, I’m really impressed with what Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., are doing. I too am looking at future locations, especially in Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.”
He said a program called Pro Start, endorsed by the restaurant association, teaches young people to be restaurateurs in the future.
“This program teaches not only culinary arts, but the management skills as well,” he said.
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s culinary program currently has a program like this, he said.
“These young people are the future of our industry, they are the new owners and franchisors of future restaurants that will soon come about,” Brown said. “We have found that the young people who go through this program are highly trained. They must have a passion for food and a passion for learning.”
“They’re great employees that have a passion for the industry and they’re highly successful,” he said.
People who work hard can make a very good living in the restaurant field, he said, adding that the restaurant field is a major industry in the United States today.
Kathleen VonAchen has been appointed chief financial officer of the Unified Government, effective Feb. 22, according to an announcement today by the UG.
UG Administrator Doug Bach appointed VonAchen to the post that is being vacated by Lew Levin, the current CFO, who is retiring.
VonAchen is currently the deputy finance director for the city of San Mateo, Calif. She has 25 years of public sector experience and has worked in all areas of municipal finance, according to a UG news release.
“Kathleen has the expertise our government and community needs in this essential and key position,” stated Doug Bach, Unified Government county administrator, in the news release. “She brings a breadth of experience and knowledge in finance as well as the skills needed to effectively lead our award winning Finance Department.”
In San Mateo, VonAchen oversees the development of the citywide capital needs assessment of $1-plus billion, and managed all areas of the finance department while serving as interim finance director. She is the lead on the future financing of the $770 million San Mateo Clean Water Program, and previously oversaw municipal bond issuances of $35 million in 2014 Sewer Revenue Bonds and $29 million in 2014 Special Tax (Bay Meadows) CFD Bonds. She also restructured outstanding debt delivering savings of $3.25 million to the tax entities of the San Mateo Redevelopment Successor Agency and $2.5 million to sewer utility customers.
VonAchen began her public sector career with the Kansas Governor’s Division of the Budget assigned to adult and juvenile correctional facility budgeting. She has taught finance in various universities, and later continued her financial review of correctional facility budgets for the Colorado Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting and served as finance officer for the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
VonAchen’s municipal finance background includes serving as financial analyst for the city of Whittier, Calif., budget director for Aspen, Colo., finance director for Evans, Colo., and well as providing interim and consulting services for various California municipalities recently experiencing fiscal distress.
As the finance officer for the city of Stockton, Calif., during the 2008-2010 financial crisis, VonAchen was the first to signal to elected officials of Stockton’s significant fiscal year 2008-2009 budget gap and was the lead coordinator-writer of Stockton’s May 2010 Fiscal Emergency Declaration. She also was the lead for financing teams responsible for issuance of new money, debt restructuring and administration of $900 million in outstanding debt of over 50 bond issues, including issuance of the $217 million Delta Water Supply Program revenue bonds.
Originally from Hutchinson, Kan., VonAchen will be moving to Wyandotte County once she assumes her new position, according to the UG news release. VonAchen is a certified public finance officer (CPFO) by the Government Finance Officers Association. She earned a Master of Public Administration from Wichita State University where she completed a graduate research assistantship for the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs and a graduate internship for the League of Kansas Municipalities. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and communications from Washburn University.
“All my public sector finance experience has led me to here, and I am honored to be given the opportunity to benefit the lives of individuals in Wyandotte County,” VonAchen stated. “With its strong financial position, the Unified Government is looking forward to continuing its many important initiatives, and I’m excited to be given the chance to play a part.” – Information from the UG