I grew up on a family farm west of the small town of Frankfort, Kansas, with my mom and dad, an older brother and a younger sister. My parents taught me that civic and public service were not only good things to do, they were a responsibility of citizens in a free country. My dad served 8 years on my hometown school board, as did my brother twenty years later. My mom was active in many civic, church and school clubs and organizations. We learned that making a family farm work required both independence and teamwork.
After graduating from high school in 1975, I attended Kansas State University on an Army ROTC scholarship, joining the U.S. Army Reserves and anticipating an Army career. My plan was to serve as an Army attorney in the JAG Corps. That dream ended with an accident in 1976 that led to the amputation of my right leg and re-routed my career. I changed my focus to "civilian" service and was elected K-State Student Body President in 1979.
In 1987, I moved back home to Kansas, only this time to Overland Park. We started our family in 1988, with our daughter, Elizabeth. A second daughter, Madeline, was born in 1995. In 1993, I successfully ran for a position on the Overland Park City Council, where I served for 8 years, until 2001. I am pleased that my fellow council members twice elected me as the Council President, in 1999 and again in 2000. During my eight years on the Council we accomplished much, including maintaining or reducing the city's property tax rates, providing the needed initiatives for the Sprint Campus and a major expansion of Black & Veatch, retaining Universal Underwriters' (now Zurich's) headquarters in Overland Park, committing and spending millions of dollars to improve streets, curbs and sidewalks in the older parts of Overland Park, attracting Nordstrom to Oak Park Mall to solidify it as the leading shopping destination in the metro area, and kicking off the construction and financing of the Overland Park Convention Center and the Sheraton Hotel at the Convention Center. The 1990s were a time of growth and vision and it was exciting to be part of the building of the Sanders Justice Center 124th and Foster, the Environmental Awareness Center and other projects at the Overland Park Arboretum, and the expansion of the Deanna Rose Farmstead. The great support of the citizens and business community in Overland Park and the surrounding area made all of that and more possible.
Since 1987 my "day job" has been as an attorney. I joined Shughart Thomson & Kilroy, P.C. in 1987 and, when the firms merged in 2009, I became a member of Polsinelli Shughart PC. In December 2014 I decided to move to a smaller, high quality, full-service law firm, Douthit Frets Rouse Gentile & Rhodes. My practice has always been centered in Johnson County and has primarily focused on business disputes, commercial litigation and real estate development and valuation.
It's never clear to me what someone really wants to know about a candidate, but I have listed information from my biography below. I urge you to talk to people who have worked with me, whether as an attorney, a member of a charity effort, at church, in my daughters' schools or in a public service role. I think you will find me described as a hard working, diligent, articulate team member who does his homework and who believes that no matter how hard the project or difficult the discussion, it should always include respect and civility and can usually include a smile.
- Professional Experience and Service
- Community, Civic and Charitable Activities
- Political Involvement
- Truly Important Activities