Entrepreneur / Rural Enthusiast / Community Developer
Kelli Hansen was born and raised in Plainville, Kansas. She attended Washburn University and completed her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance in 1996. After marrying her longtime hometown boyfriend, they had their first son and knew they wanted to find an opportunity to move back to small town, rural Plainville to raise their family.
In 2000, they moved back to Plainville and shortly thereafter, Kelli Hansen joined the Dessin Fournir Companies and served in various capacities from business finance, national sales and marketing, business administration, legal and compliance . Hansen also managed Liberty Group’s real estate and development portfolio in neighboring downtown Hays working with local entrepreneurs to start their businesses in addition to being a founding partner of Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing Co.
Hansen’s passion quickly evolved into a community developer and leader as she became very active leading community projects and her roles in City Government, notably she joined the City Council in 2004 and served as the Mayor of the City of Plainville from 2010 to 2018. Successful projects completed under Hansen’s leadership include funding for new playground equipment at City Park, new swimming pool construction financed by a City sales tax, water line replacement, funding and purchase of 4 new fire trucks, ongoing storm water and street improvement projects through the use of CDBG funding and other municipal financing methods. Hansen also wrote and funded the Physical Improvement Plan Grant/Loan Program for commercial businesses to facilitate façade improvements resulting in more than $800,000 of private investment in Plainville and still active and growing today.
In 2018, Dessin Fournir Companies faced financial obstacles and ceased operations leaving both Kelli and her husband without jobs. Determined to remain in their hometown the Hansen’s acquired Palmer Hargrave Lighting from the bank, a successful division of their former employer that was recently closed down and restored operations of one of the Nation’s oldest and most trusted lighting resources for interior designers. Recently, the couple acquired an additional lighting manufacturer from Sacramento California to move back to Plainville and merge with their current operations.
Continued economic development achievements in downtown Plainville includes the start up and management of The Hub Coworking Space operated in a once vacant historic property.
To pursue Kelli’s passion for community service, the Plainville Wellness Coalition was formed and was awarded a Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield in the amount of $500,000. Kelli serves as the Director coordinating activities centered around active living, healthy eating and developing community assets such as walking trails, childcare, community gardens, local leadership development programs, community commercial kitchen and programs to address food insecurities. Kelli was instrumental in coordinating the efforts between the school and hospital to establish the new daycare at USD270 with plans to expand to an additional daycare for local hospital employees. Grants written and awarded for The Nest Daycare and Early Childhood Preschool, as well as The Nest at RCH were written and administered by this team.
Hansen also actively serves the community in leadership positions in several non-profit organizations: President of the Board for Heartland Community Foundation, President and Founding Member of Downtown Plainville Inc.; Operator of The Hub Coworking Space; Chair of Rooks County Economic Development Board, Rooks County E-Community Board, Secretary of the Plainville Community Foundation; CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Sponsor and a member of the Plainville Lions Club, Plainville Booster Club, Sacred Heart Church.
Hansen is 48 years old and resides in Plainville, Kansas with her husband of 26 years, Chris. They have two sons and a daughter.
Mari Tucker has more than 20 years’ experience in grant proposal development and post award
management and extensive knowledge of all aspects of sponsored projects, including grant seeking and writing, developing, and administering budgets, and federal, state, and private foundation grant management. She earned the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification in 2020 and completed the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH)’s Rural Health Data Institute in 2019. Ms. Tucker is a graduate of the Leadership Hays program, offered through the Kansas Leadership Center, and has completed courses through the Grantsmanship Center.
Ms. Tucker currently serves as a grant consultant/writer for the Plainville Community Foundation (Plainville, KS). She was the former Partnership Liaison for the Registered nurse Education for a Nurse-Led Enhanced Workforce (RENEW) grant in the Washburn University School of Nursing. The federally funded RENEW grant was designed to recruit and educate undergraduate registered nurse (BSN) students and licensed registered nurses (RN) in the skills needed to practice at the full scope of their license in community-based primary care teams and improve access to and delivery of health care services to rural and underserved consumers. Prior to that role, she served as the Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects at Washburn University and, in that capacity, was responsible for promoting and facilitating the acquisition of external funding to support the University’s programs, projects and related activities. She has also held Director level positions at the Kansas Board of Regents and North Central Kansas Technical College. Ms. Tucker serves as the Advisory Council Chair for the Pine Ridge Family Health Center, a primary and urgent care clinic located in Topeka’s Pine Ridge public housing community, and she is a member of the Plainville Lions Club, the Rooks County Health Center Auxiliary, and the Rooks County E-Community Board. Ms. Tucker holds two degrees from Fort Hays State University: a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and a M.B.A. in Management.
Mari recently relocated from Topeka to her hometown of Plainville with her husband Mike.
Advocate / Business Woman / Rural By Choice
Sally Lowry is a small-town-rural-transplant. She has lived in Hutchinson, Arizona, Manhattan and Kansas City. Originally from Hutch, living in different places gives her a unique perspective to rural life and its value. She attended Kansas State University, earned a BS in Interior Design in 1991. She married and moved to the city. Two years later, she and her husband Mark desired a simpler, family-focused, entrepreneurial way of life and chose Stockton as their home. They have four grown children, first year grandparents and celebrate 30 years of rural living.
Sally’s work experiences have been diverse like the places she has lived. Careers in small business, government, as a partner with her husband in a multi-agency business to Corporate professional; her strength is to see the potential, research the possible and develop a process to move forward. She is experienced as a leader in operations, bookkeeping and human resources. These roles have given her tangible know-how to research, project management, budgeting, process and preparation proposals. Problem-solving is one of her favorite hobbies.
Sally’s nonprofit interest turned to passion when she, her husband Mark, along with two other couples were called to create a christian youth center called Fusion in their community. This understanding of non-profit building from the ground up was vital. Defying the odds; Fusion is still in ministry today.
Sally’s involvement in the Heartland Community Foundation, a three county affiliated to Greater Salina Community Foundation, for six years provided the fire to pursue community non-profit work as well. Her roles included; grant writing for ministry and community focused projects, assisting with county-wide strategic doing initiatives and holding local grant writing workshops and fundraising for small to larger designated funds like the Rooks County Legacy Fund.
Knowing grant dollars are the legacy to a community, she and five others created the Stockton Community Fund, a designated fund for Stockton. She continues to serve on this board providing annual grant dollars to projects specific to this community.
Today, Sally actively serves on the Stockton UMC council as a project manager and Main Street Development Inc., a 501c3 which serves the Stockton & Plainville communities to restore our main street buildings back to life. She co-owns and manages a local real estate holding company. Sally is honored to be an emeritus board member to Heartland Community Foundation.