New employees join ‘City with a Future’
A few new faces joining City Hall will bring with them an attitude of making a difference in the "City with a Future."
Three positions - Economic Development/ Convention and Visitors Bureau director and assistant and an assistant city clerk - have been filled with new hires.
City Administrator Mike Smith, who was involved in the hiring process, said he looked for employees that fit his philosophy for the growing city and wanted people who were genuinely interested in making a difference in the community where they lived.
"Lansing is on the move," Smith said. "I want people who are bringing in ideas and are always looking for better ways to do things."
Fitting that philosophy was Nolan Sunderman, who will be taking over for Shanae Randolph as the director of Economic Development/ Convention and Visitors Bureau. After Randolph left in August for another job in Atchison, Smith began looking for a replacement.
That's when Sunderman, who was working for the city of Republic, Mo., applied. Smith said he was impressed with his outgoing personality and his work with another city that was so similar to Lansing.
Sunderman will begin his new job in Lansing on Nov. 5 and he said he's excited about the opportunity. After graduating with a master's degree in public administration in May, he worked part-time with the parks and recreation department in Republic, Mo.
The new post is Sunderman's first full-time job, and he said he was glad it was in Lansing because his impression has been that the city has a great future and a lot to offer.
Joining Sunderman as his assistant will be Sundae Holler. While she may be new to this particular position, she is no stranger to Lansing.
Holler has worked as a police officer in Lansing for four years, but the rotating schedule of the job did not work with her children's increasing school activities. Holler said the new job was a "divine intervention" because she wanted to stay an employee of the city and work with some of the same people.
Holler will be taking over for Lorraine Gluch, who is retiring. Holler said her work with the Police Department would help her in the new position. As the department's community oriented police officer, she became familiar with the people and the community, and she said her years as a police officer have taught her effective communication skills.
Sunderman and Holler will work together planning various community events such as Lansing DAZE, the Fourth of July fireworks display, the annual barbeque contest and coming in 2009 the city's 50th anniversary celebration.
Also joining the city staff is Jennifer VerVoort as the new assistant city clerk.
Smith said VerVoort set herself apart from other good candidates for the job during her interview, when she made it clear that she wanted to make a difference.
VerVoort has a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in human resources and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Before moving to Lansing with her finance, Mark Hazaert, who was assigned by the Army to Fort Leavenworth, she worked as the executive assistant to the CEO of the large company in Green Bay.
VerVoort said when she moved to Lansing, the city had just received the ranking of the 88th best place to live by Money Magazine, which intrigued her. She said she did a lot of reading about the city before moving here and said she found out what an exciting place it was in terms of growth.
She said she hopes her outgoing personality and her love of dealing with the public and the city will help her in the new position.
On a daily basis, VerVoort will be assisting City Clerk Sunshine Petrone by helping with employee payroll and City council meetings.
For Smith, being able to fill all three positions within 45 days of them opening was great, but what was even more of an achievement was filling them with quality people. He said the city has never had a hard time filling vacancies because, in general, people know it's a great place to work.
"I think they're surprised we do so many things for our employees for a city this size," he said.