New HMB exec. director equipped for assignment

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
The new executive director of the Hillsboro Management Board was anxious to begin her duties Dec. 9 at the Chamber of Commerce office on Main Street.

“I do know I have big shoes to fill,” said Megan Kilgore, who was recently hired for the position previously held by Carol Wiebe for 21 years. “But I’m excited and ready to work.”

She’s qualified to take the board into the future with technology and especially with strong emphasis in working with the Chamber, said Darrell Driggers, president of HMB.

“I think she’ll do a fine job for us.”

HMB is also accepting applications for a part-time administrative assistant to work with the new director.

Kilgore was born in Topeka 25 years ago and raised in Lyndon, a small community 25 miles south of the Kansas capitol.

“I grew up with a farm background,” she said.

After graduating from Lyndon High School in 1995, Kilgore attended Kansas State University. Four years later, she graduated with a degree in animal science and industry.

Kilgore and husband Tim were married in May 2000. For a few months following graduation, she worked for Sunflower Bank in Manhattan.

In July 2000, she accepted a position with the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing as an economic-development representative in the agriculture-marketing division located in Topeka.

KDOC&H is responsible for fostering Kansas economic development through the promotion of business, commerce and industry.

The agriculture-marketing division is one of seven divisions within the department.

The focus of that division is to improve the economic condition of Kansas producers and boost the prosperity of rural communities.

Kilgore has been with KDOC&H for the past 21/2 years and at one point was approached to apply for a tourism-management position within the travel and tourism division.

The job would have placed her in a rank just below the travel and tourism director. Although it would have meant a promotion, Kilgore decided not to apply.

“At that time, I wanted to stay within agriculture, and I had some special projects that I was working on,” Kilgore said.

“But the main reason I didn’t apply is it’s a very deep-into-politics position-you have to know the state government inside and out. I’ve learned it very extensively, but I didn’t feel like I was ready to jump feet first into that.”

By August, husband Tim moved ahead of her into their duplex in Hillsboro so he could begin his new job as the agricultural teacher at Hillsboro High School.

Kilgore joined him one month later, but at the same time, her office with KDOC&H was moved to Wichita.

She has been driving to her job in Wichita, a two-hour commute every working day, for the past three months.

The work in Wichita was scheduled to be finished the end of June, and Kilgore said if she kept her position within KDOC&H, she would have had to go back to work in Topeka in July.

When she sent in her resume for a position as Marion County Fair manager, she had an opportunity to visit with Driggers.

“He called me to see if I would be interested in talking about either position-Marion County Fair manager or executive director of the HMB,” Kilgore said.

“Technically, I applied to an open position.”

By mid November, Kilgore accepted the position of executive director of HMB. After giving her notice to KDOC&H, her last day there was Dec. 6.

And what was her reaction to learning she had the job with HMB?

“I was thrilled-very excited to have the opportunity to come on board with the community,” Kilgore said.

Kilgore will work with five entities that make up the HMB.

The board is composed of the Hillsboro Development Corp., Chamber of Commerce, Arts and Crafts Association, the Marion County Fair Association and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

“Megan will work with the Marion County Fair association as a co-manager with her husband, Tim,” Driggers said.

Listing her qualifications for the position with HMB, Kilgore said the last three years have given her experience in economic development, event planning, financial analysis, grant writing, grant administering and state-government issues.

Driggers agreed and added, “Her experience in program management, grant administration and communications will provide HMB with a solid foundation to continue with traditions while building new relationships and activities for the community.”

Kilgore said: “I think the biggest thing I have is communication. I have the ability to communicate with the diverse community that we have here on the business level and reaching into the community level.”

In the short time the couple has lived in Hillsboro, they have felt welcomed by the community, she said.

“We’ve participated in football and volleyball events, Future Farmers of America, the high-school play and those kinds of things.

“And we’ve really been welcomed with open arms.”

She is looking forward to working in Hillsboro because of the commitment she sees in the community, Kilgore said.

“My hope for the job is to continue in the success the community has had and build on opportunities that may come in the future.

“I think the future is bright for Hillsboro.”

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