Shelby Zuniga is still the chief financial officer (CFO) at Sunflower Diversified Services but she now has another title in front of her name – interim executive director.
Zuniga, a Great Bend native, is filling the temporary position until a new leader is named. Jon Prescott recently retired after five years on the job and he “is moving forward with his heart for service” as the newly appointed District 4 Barton County Commissioner, Zuniga said.
“Jon took our non-profit agency to a totally different level, while building on a long legacy of past achievements,” Zuniga commented. “He is a go-getter with innovative ways of looking at things.
“In addition, Jon has many connections to central Kansas residents, which means he brought more people to the table in support of Sunflower. He was an exciting injection into the lives of the people we serve; he will be missed.”
Sunflower serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and delays in central Kansas.
Because the duties of a CFO and executive director often overlap, Zuniga is up to speed on projects currently in the works. These include:
• Construction of a new transportation facility in the 5500 block of W. 10th that will be financed with the help of a $1.2 million grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation;
• Expanding the Applied Behavior Analysis program for children up to age 5 with an Autism Spectrum Disorder medical diagnosis;
• A new partnership with Housing Opportunities Inc. to build apartments just off 6th Street that will provide more living options for clients at Sunflower; and
• The Community Habilitation Services move from the K-96 location to the manufacturing plant near the Great Bend Airport. The K-96 building was sold and the cost-saving project is nearing completion.
“These are just a few of the bigger, ongoing projects,” Zuniga said. “Our staff deserves high praise for their input into these innovations, while they continue to demonstrate their professionalism and compassion in meeting the daily needs of clients. Their commitment is amazing.”
However, like other non-profits and private businesses, Sunflower is searching for new employees. “We don’t have deep pockets but we offer many non-tangible benefits. The personal rewards are especially gratifying because you can use your talents and skills to help your neighbors.
“For example, it was a bonus for me as a certified public accountant to apply my education to find new ways to serve clients.”
Zuniga is a 1998 Great Bend High School graduate; she earned an associate’s degree in business administration at Barton Community College before being awarded a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2002 at Fort Hays State University.
She then received a master’s of professional accountancy in 2012 at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa. Zuniga became a CPA in 2015.
Sunflower’s recruitment committee continues its search for a new leader. It is looking for someone with: leadership that builds relationships; executive-level skills; adaptive and creative leadership; and a passion for improving people’s lives.
Scott Donovan, committee member, said “we have interviewed quite a few applicants and are still searching for the right person. We need someone to lead our employees, who have big hearts.
“I just know the right person is out there. Anyone who is ready to make a real difference in people’s lives is encouraged to apply. It could be the best decision you ever made.”
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 57th year.