Planner happy to be ‘back home’
The commute is a tad shorter these days for Jason Auvil.
The 1993 Immaculata High School graduate moved back to Leaven-worth after completing two degrees at Kansas State University.
The past nine years, Auvil has worked with Native American tribes in northeast Kansas in environmental and planning offices as a director and planner.
That meant more than two hours in commuting time each day from Leavenworth to jobs north of Topeka.
But at the beginning of this year, Auvil started a new position, planner 1, or a county planner, with Leavenworth County in the planning and zoning department. The position carries a $34,850 annual salary, according to an official in the county's human resources department.
"The opportunity to come back to Leavenworth to serve my home community is an opportunity I couldn't pass up," Auvil said.
Auvil serves as a daily planner for the county department, reviewing permits and assisting other planners and directors in reviewing special-use and sanitary system permits, as well as rezoning requests, tract/lot splits and platting for subdivision processes.
"I work on special projects as assigned by the director and the county commissioners," Auvil said.
In addition, he works with other departments, such as public works.
And, of course, he answers questions from residents regarding planning and zoning regulations.
"Providing customer service to Leavenworth County residents is very important to me and our office," Auvil said.
After graduating from Immaculata, where he was class valedictorian, Auvil headed to Manhattan where he received a bachelor's degree in geography and a master's in regional and community planning, both from K-State.
For five years, Auvil worked for the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe in Mayetta.
He also worked just less than four years for the Kickapoo tribe in Horton.
Auvil said he had many responsibilities with each tribe.
"When you work for a tribe, because resources are so limited : you're assigned a large variety of tasks," Auvil said.
He was involved in everything from planning, environmental emergency management issues to infrastructure, public works, water and wastewater. While working for the Native American tribes, Auvil said he also served on regional tribal councils.
"So my background has a lot of variety," Auvil said.
After several years of long commutes to and from work, the 31-year-old Leavenworth native is excited about working in his home county.
"I think it's a very exciting time to be a planner in Leavenworth County," Auvil said. "I think the county has a lot of opportunities ahead of it. And I think that with proper planning, Leavenworth County can be an awesome place to both live and work."