Donnie Rodgers, Jr., is settling in at his new job as assistant director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Inc.
Rodgers has been attending committee meetings, digging out from under the snow and generally learning about the community. He started work Feb. 3.
He said he had met Executive Director Trisha Drape and other DLSMS staff at Main Street events and visited Lee’s Summit during conference a few years ago in Kansas City.
Knowing the excellence of the organization and the community, he applied when the position opened.
“I’ve always been impressed by the work they’ve done,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers for the past five years had served as Community Development Coordinator for the Urban Districts Alliance in Springfield.
That city, the third largest in Missouri, has a population of about 160,000 or 400,000 when including smaller surrounding towns, he said, and the Urban Districts Alliance served three distinct historic areas of the city.
There he worked on branding for one of those business districts. He also was staff liaison and manager for the Commercial Street Community Improvement District. It helped provide maintenance such as trash pickup and some additional security for that area, he said.
“Donnie is the perfect fit for Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street and this community,” Drape said in a written statement. “He possesses the skills and experience needed to continue the growth and success we are seeing in Downtown Lee’s Summit.”
Rodgers coordinated all print, electronic and social media for the alliance. He also worked with the city on small business development and served on the Responsible Hospitality Panel and the Convention and Visitors Bureau Public Relations Advisory Committee.
Rodgers is a 2006 graduate of Drury University with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and minors in Global Studies and Art History. He is near finishing a master’s degree in Community Development from Kansas State University.
Rodgers is single, owns two mutts “completely unidentifiable” as any breed (he was a member of a dog-rescue organization in Springfield) and enjoys taking pictures of historic buildings and places.
“I’m looking forward to exploring Lee’s Summit and the greater metro area,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said his early impression is that Lee’s Summit has great opportunity to add residential units through infill development downtown, which would support businesses.
He said as an outsider observing Lee’s Summit, along with friends and acquaintances, that everyone mentions Lee’s Summit’s downtown as giving it a “sense of place, a sense of identity” that differentiates it from other area suburbs.
“It really sets Lee’s Summit apart,” he said.