Todd Kennemer’s career took him from a high school shop class in the Texas panhandle to the city halls in Pittsburg, Kan., and Ponca City.
Now, Kennemer is starting another chapter in his career as Ada’s new community development director.
Kennemer taught shop for seven years, first in Texas and then in Putnam City. He later went back to school to earn his planning degree, then took a job as Ponca City’s planning director.
Kennemer remained in Ponca City for two years before moving to Kansas in 2001 so he could be closer to his son. He worked as Butler County’s director of planning and community development, then took a job as assistant director of public works Pittsburg, Kan.
Kennemer lived in Kansas for eight years, then came back to Oklahoma to become Ada’s director of community development.
Kennemer, who holds a master’s degree in regional and city planning from the University of Oklahoma, started working for the city in early October.
As community development director, he is responsible for managing the city’s growth and drawing up a road map for future development.
“If you want to grow, have a plan,” Kennemer said. “Don’t just do it willy-nilly and what happens, happens. Let’s have a plan. Let’s follow this plan. Let’s make it better for everybody.”
The Ada News spoke to Kennemer on Thursday about his background, current project and goals for his new position.
Here are questions and answers from the interview.
AN: How did you get from teaching shop to planning and zoning?
TK: I taught shop because of teachers’ hours. I had a small child to take care of and stuff, so while I had him in the summer, I wanted to be off. But as he got older and started wanting more things, I needed to get into something that paid a little better than teaching.
As he got older, I went back to school to do planning.