Fast facts about Davidson Commissioner Laurie Venzon
• Hometown: Pittsburgh, Penn., but grew up in a small town outside Princeton, N.J. (West Windsor).
• Education: Bachelor’s degree in industrial management at Carnegie Mellon University.
• Date first elected to town board: November 2007.
• Family: Husband, John; son, Christopher; and daughter, Kathryn.
• Favorite movie: “Sound of Music.”
• Favorite book: The Bible.
• Favorite current TV show: “Castle.”
• Lunch with one person living or dead: Jesus. I think it would be fascinating to meet him as I have so many questions for him, but there are a lot of people I’d also like to meet, ranging from family members I never knew to famous people like Abraham Lincoln.
Leader leaving town for job opportunity in Kansas
DAVIDSON – Laurie Venzon and her husband, John, first came to Davidson in 1991 for the golf.? The couple sought a place to live and play, but they probably didn’t know how influential they would become.
Laurie became a commissioner. John serves as chairman of the board for town-owned media provider MI-Connection.
The power couple is leaving Davidson for Kansas City, Kan.?John has accepted a position with Jack Henry and Associates, where he is responsible for mobile and online banking for middle-tier banks and credit unions.
While John has been working in Kansas City for the last 11 weeks and commuting back and forth, Laurie will move with their children, Christopher and Kathryn, later this summer.
Her last board meeting was June 11.
She recently took time to answer questions about her time in Davidson.
What will you be doing in Kansas City
For the foreseeable future, I am going to be concentrating on getting the kids in school and unpacking. By the time I get settled, it will be Christmas, so I am not even thinking about my next steps.
A couple people have asked me if I am going to get into politics again. I don’t think I will initially, because in order to govern or help lead a community, you really have to understand it.
In order to be able to step in and do that, I need to understand what issues Kansas City and Overland Park are facing and how they operate.
Favorite thing about the town?
The sense of community.
There are very few places you go where the people really care about each other and you know each other. You may be able to find a close-knit neighborhood or perhaps a subset or area within a town, but with Davidson, because of its size, the whole town feels like one community.
There are different areas, but they are not 25 miles apart, so there is still a strong connection between them. You see that at Concerts on the Green, you see it at Town Day celebration – people who know each other and are connected.
It’s one of those communities where people are really involved and cares about each other.
That’s not why we moved here initially, but I’ve appreciated that the most in living here and raising a family.
What was your board’s biggest accomplishment?
We’ve had a different board each of my three terms because of turnover, but MI-Connection was the big issue when I first was elected.
To me, being able to turn MI-Connection around by hiring CEO Dave Auger, bringing a large percentage of operations in from BVU and developing a good relationship with the Mooresville board – that’s been huge.
We’ve been able to turn the corner and now MI-Connection is on a good path and making good strides to becoming profitable.
The second big accomplishment was the whole budgeting process and how we changed it.
This was one of the easiest budget seasons we’ve had because of the way the staff and the board now goes through the process. We changed our process to make sure that each of the departments has their necessary items covered in the base budget on a recurring basis (for example, police cars). Once staff determines this base budget, whatever is left from anticipated revenues, is what can then be used for incremental items or new programs. Those two things – turning MI-Connection around and improving the budget process – have really set us on a much stronger path financially.
What is your passion?
I think I am passionate about people and solving problems.
So as a result, I end up getting involved in a lot of different things. I am one of those people that gets bored quickly, so I like to have a variety of things going on.But when I look back at what is the common thread, I’ve always been involved with helping people, solving problems and trying to make things better.
Are there topics here in town that you will continue to follow?
John will remain on the MI-Connection board for another year to help transition to a new chairman. So that will probably be one issue I follow since John will still be involved with it.
Have a farewell message to the town?
I want to thank everyone for their support and helping to make Davidson the wonderful community that it is. I hope to come back and visit and see everyone as much as possible.