By Charles Segebrecht
An amazing team works daily to make Lake Quivira our home. For this article, several share their activities here and away, what they enjoy most about working at Lake Quivira, their holiday traditions, what they would like to see changed at Lake Quivira and their New Year’s Resolutions.
Within the Guard House
Brenda’s last name may not be known to all (Bernhardt), but her welcoming waves and persistent smile certainly are. She feels lucky coming here four days a week and states while smiling says, “I love this place!” It’s obvious to us she takes pride in her job, and underscores this with, “No matter what your job is, you have to give 110 percent.”
She came here from Milburn Country Club, where she worked in the kitchen. She did not know of Lake Quivira until Gary Anderson’s sister-in-law introduced her. Hired in 2007 to serve and tend bar, Brenda immediately loved looking at the lake. . . “troubles would fade.” She became familiar with residents and enjoyed the laid-back and relaxed vibe here; a contrast to other clubs she had worked. She loves seeing familiar faces, the children waving from the car seats, and enjoys the quick talks as traffic allows – “all along with sunsets or the beauty of the stars in the background and with the equally calming nature found looking toward the golf course.”
Brenda’s Christmas is spent sleeping in and cooking (one of her two passions). Her mother lives with Brenda (Mom uses a walker since she took a fall last winter), and fondly remembers spending summer days swimming at Lake Quivira when twenty-five cents would go a long way. Brenda brought her mother out several years ago when the many eagles descended upon our paradise; she was amazed, of course, with the eagles and certainly stunned at the many physical LQ changes.
At any other time of year, Brenda would be immersed with her other passion, gardening, a passion she blames her green thumb on her mother. Brenda grows butternut squash, tomatoes, pole string beans, asparagus, herbs and flowers. Some of these ingredients will go into week-long meal assemblies, which she plans, prepares and delivers to a friend who can’t cook for herself.
Brenda is also proud how LQ locals trust her with their pet care, plant watering and occasional house sitting. It is obvious she is always busy, but if she finds a moment, Stephen King books, along with a small bit of television (Bull is a favorite), will satisfy. She strongly believes she should always be challenging her brain: “Stop learning, stop living!” she says, smiling.
To accomplish all her tasks, she makes lists–even lists of lists. Her New Year’s Resolution: “to make fewer of these.”
The best part of any day is completing her morning task of needed organization and summoning the eagerness to get on with it. The worst parts are the “small and occasional bumps in the road when visitors are not called in, resulting in inefficiencies.” Brenda hopes she will see changes in the physical guard house–not for her, but rather “for the first impressions absorbed by visitors.”
Within the Clubhouse
Richard Borchers, the steadfast team manager in the clubhouse, is a familiar face to all. He’s a people person who loves talking to people. Having worked Blue Hills for fifteen years and Brookridge for fourteen, he has healthy comparisons to LQ. What has become his second home was a “neat old place” when first introduced to it in 2010. “This is absolutely a good fit; my best club!”
Richard enjoys getting to know residents, making his work more personal. “I want to do more to make each happy; kids, too. I have a soft spot for kids!” He is witness to time having gone by quickly as young adults return from college he has known since their childhood.
His own children have left the nest. Smiling big, he mentions his four grandchildren and exclaims, “Oh-yeah!” Free time doesn’t really exist. He has juggled another Kohls’ retail job for over fifteen years. If he and his wife can step away, they gravitate to one of their favorites: J. Alexanders or Nick and Jakes. TV is a rarity; 20/20 or The History Channel are all he schedules. The go-to family vacation spots are Corpus Christi and Padre Island, and he loves south Texas weather in August and September.
To help remain focused and more mindful, whether it is with his grandchildren, while at work or on vacation, he did what could be considered quite bold and perhaps noble: he gave up his personal cell phone sixteen years ago.
Remaining busy is his preference. The worst part of his day is the slowdown between lunches and dinners. Things “start moving” again in early evening–his favorite time of day. When issues arise, he enjoys improvising and playing a part in solutions and enhancements (e.g. a seating arrangement challenge or a decoration need). Making familiar faces happy throughout their evening is his main concern while at work.
He’d like to see the dining room updated to mirror the new bar, believing the residents would be more comfortable. The proposed locked doors on the bar liquor cabinets and the resulting time savings are still on Richard’s wish list.
Additional notes of interest: The pontoon crawl is his happiest LQ event. He likes the annual themes and the team effort. If something is missing at Lake Quivira, he believes a separate, nondenominational chapel would be nice to have on the property. As far as a New Year’s resolution, he is going to become more familiar with computers for his calendar organization.
Within the Police Department
Chief of Police Fred Griner did not know of Lake Quivira until he was invited for an interview. He sees it still as an incredible secret: “It’s one of the things making this place so great!” Growing up in Leavenworth County, with a father in the US Army, he gravitated to a full-time police administration job with the City of Lansing. He learned early on being anchored to a desk would not suffice. When his wife opted to go back to school for a nursing degree, he added the part time job of LQ Police Officer, not knowing where it would take him. The then acting Deputy Chief left six months later, and Fred volunteered to help the acting Chief fill the void. Mayor Wayne Hidalgo appropriately kept Fred on staff, and four years later Mayor Olson appointed Fred full time Chief. Fred’s wife has graduated and is a practicing NICU nurse at Overland Park Regional.
Fred manages his work using his prioritized task lists, despite his duties being quite dynamic some days. He is fortunately self motivated–a key to his successes–along with his willingness to wear many hats. “No job is below me, and no job is above me,” and has raised his three children to have the same attitude. He looks forward to his days here “in a beautiful office on the road” as he makes his routine drives. He is “mindful of the beauty … sunsets, views, details; no tunnel vision.” He continually witnesses welcoming and appreciative residents sharing positive words and friendly waves. “It means a lot!” Going home to the family (including two Great Danes and one Cocker Spaniel) is yet another daily highlight.
He tries to balance work (on call 24/7), family, and his other interest: building and restoring cars and hot rods. He proudly belongs to Good Guys Rod and Custom, a national organization, and he humbly shares his crowd pleasers. His ’17 Silverado, lowered five inches in front and seven in back, with Denali Transport wheels, and ’65 dog dish center caps on each, can catch anyone’s attention. A renovated ’58 Ford Country station wagon fooled the competition with his faux wood-grained siding. He is a perfectionist to a fault. “I don’t know when to stop with a car project. Timelines must dictate my completions. I am, without a doubt, my toughest and hardest critic.” His scrutiny of detail compliments his duties as our Chief of Police.
He coached his son’s baseball teams over the years in off-hours. Occasional movies are a rare diversion. His favorites: Deuces of Spades and The World’s Fastest Indian. His invitations to participate in the end-of-summer rec programs with the dunk tank and water slide are appreciated. He says, with a big smile, “These are great fun and awesome to watch!” Fred shared another LQ highlight: Mayor Olson took Fred out on the water to teach his son how to ski. “Everyone recalls their first time up on skis, and what lake you were on,” states Fred. “So, knowing that day for us on Lake Quivira will be a forever-memory for my son and me!”
Additional notes of interest: Vacationing in Colorado Springs is his family’s favorite. As a New Year’s resolution, he intends to lose weight this year by eating healthier. He wouldn’t change anything at Lake Quivira, yet does wish “there wasn’t as much confusion between roles and responsibilities between those of the City of Lake Quivira and those of Q Inc.
Within the Q Inc. Office
Debbie Peed began working at Lake Quivira in the golf halfway house for two summers. She transitioned to full-time housekeeping in the clubhouse and quickly graduated to the clubhouse secretary. Not surprising. The Q Inc. comptroller saw her potential and stole her away five years later to handle account receivables. Thirty-two and one-half years later, she could run the whole show.
At her twenty-year anniversary, everyone gathered around the board table with a cake and presented the History of Lake Quivira coffee table book. She confessed she was a bit underwhelmed with a book taken from purchased inventory until she was asked to look inside the cover, only to find a twenty-diamond-studded ring!
You will find a day-planner on her desk with numerous other notes in her own organized fashion. She is always adding to it throughout the day and deleting as completions occur. Her planned days can go sideways with a phone call, a sick employee, a complaint or a walk-in, but she manages each with grace and moves forward. Debbie is most humble, but did quietly share how she derives great satisfaction from her work accomplishments. She hopes this year to become even more organized, believing there is always room for improvement. Note this: her high point in each day is approximately 3 p.m., when most of her workday is over. She recognizes at this point she still has time to complete her to-do list and finds satisfaction in crossing the final things off!
She lives at home with one of two daughters and two cats (one, Sly James, can be found on social media – compliments of her daughter; 5,600 followers!). Her other daughter is the mother of her two grandchildren. Debbie will be the first to share she sees herself as a homebody. She took a family vacation when eighteen to St. Louis and has remained in the Argentine area of Turner in her childhood home ever since. She has traveled vicariously, however, far and wide. Debbie will tell you, “It is important to read every day. Reading has to be a part of your every day!” If you talk with her long enough, not only will you see she is always nice, but this important habit of hers will also become apparent. Her favorite author is Lisa See, who focuses on a shared love: Chinese culture. Currently, she is reading A POW’s Story: 2,801 Days in Hanoi, by Col. Larry Guarino. This signed book will go with all her others collected for years from book signings (e.g. Rainy Day Books in Fairway). An interesting tidbit: she read out loud to one of her grandchildren with cholic whatever book she was reading at the time–it worked.
Additional notes of interest: A highlight of Debbie’s, several times a month, is a gathering of women in the office for lunch in the board room. She also enjoys working with all of them, “a fun group.” The Big Bang Theory is a favorite TV program.
She would like to see more stability with finances and structure at LQ.
Within Golf Maintence
Brad Lackey doesn’t play golf at Lake Quivira. Should he, he’ll find he is constantly looking for improvements to the course; nothing relaxing about his playing here. This is his only negative he can come up with surrounding his Golf Course Superintendent position. Playing at other courses allows for not only a bit of R&R, but also an opportunity to scout out ideas to incorporate at LQ.
He is from Seneca, Kansas, and attended K-State, initially intending to get a degree in marketing. He soon realized he needed to be outdoors and complimented his marketing degree with another in golf course management. His career began at Butler National Country Club, then to Kansas City Country Club, Meadowbrook Country Club, and finally to here as Assistant Superintendent in 2006 and Superintendent in 2008. He feels as though he is home with the LQ small-town feel. His first impressions were a sense of community, warm and welcoming residents and beautiful vistas. No regrets whatsoever.
The pro-shop is a separate entity from the maintence of the grounds. Brad clarifies, “If it isn’t live, it’s not us.” His 2020 calendar has moved from large project mode to fine tuning details within a maintenance mode: “things making the course pop!” His job requires considerable organization following the seasonal calendar and course events. He uses an Excel spreadsheet for the chemical applications and multiple lists to manage and accomplish everything else. He often finds crossing off a completion and adding two more to-do items.
His favorite time of his workday is early morning before anyone else has arrived; he takes a drive and relishes the serenity. He jokes frequently, helping him get through the day. “Life is too short without laughter.” He asks his employees to “keep things in perspective by asking yourselves if what has you upset is important enough to make it onto the six-o’clock news?”
Brad has one daughter (7), his “princess,” and three boys (10, 3 and 8 months). His wife and oldest son are the second highest in book checkouts at the Wyandotte County Library. Their children are home-schooled, with the aid of Leavenworth Virtual School and the KC Christian Academy. Brad also participates in their studies, coaches their baseball and is a Boy Scout leader. He’ll tell you he plays slow-pitch softball, was an Eagle Scout and aspires to be an expert woodworker. Regarding a New Year’s resolution? Lose twenty-five pounds.
He prides himself in having created a solid team working on the LQ course, mowing Blessing Park or satisfying a resident’s additional need (e.g. a wedding prep detail). His office door is always open. Satisfaction is gathered throughout each week seeing LQ members enjoying what golf maintenance has helped create. Always present for Brad is a concern an employee will be injured by a piece of dangerous equipment. Each new employee receives two weeks of training with multiple instructors (cross-training) prior to their use of any equipment. A hierarchy of equipment risk is respected with a hierarchy of an employee’s experience. Eye, ear and skin protection are always required along with the charge: “Think!”
Additional notes of interest: He would welcome expansion of the shop area for additional shelter for some of their stored, expensive equipment. Brad is presently reading Paddle Your Own Canoe, by Nick Offerman. Colorado is a favorite vacation spot for Brad; Pensacola, Florida, for entire family.
Within Facilities Management
Justin Thomas knew of Lake Quivira while growing up in Turner and always wondered what was behind the main gate. He believed it had an unrevealed Disneyland aura. He spent two years at Wichita State in accounting and chose instead to nurture how he likes to physically work. He shifted to KCK Community College and studied heating and cooling. Before coming to Lake Quivira, Justin was a mechanical contractor for multiple lofts in thirteen downtown buildings, where he enjoyed improving and maintaining the quality of life for the tenants.
When hired at LQ as the Facilities Management Director, he felt welcomed immediately by the community and now enjoys everyone’s friendliness. His love of learning continues. validating his job shift decision. He wants to continually learn, whether it is snowplowing of streets or repairing a salt hopper to solving an electrical issue in a golf cart storage garage or preserving lake water quality.
Justin appreciates how community members notice small completions; he calls them “finesse factors–small things go noticed!” He’s looking forward to “making a difference here and moving Lake Quivira forward; further nurturing it and helping build community.”
Justin’s a note taker. To-do lists are always in front of him. Those completed get moved to a completion spread sheet shared with his staff. “They are a great group and take pride in their work and accomplishments. I encourage them to take a breath when they view their completions.” He recognizes the members are grateful for Facilities Management’s issue resolution (e.g. changing a defective lightbulb or removing an inconvenient snow pile). “The solid part of my day is when I’m debriefing my staff; we have fun having gotten the jobs done; staff are happy despite having started the day perhaps at 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. We’re there for the residents; to preserve and improve their quality of life.”
His daughters, Lily (4) and Emery (5 months), beckon to him as he heads home from work. He tries to balance work with a homelife, but still does side heating and cooling repairs and mows an occasional lawn. The family’s favorite vacation spot is Nassau, Bahamas. When needing a local diversion, Justin and his wife enjoy going to movies (4+ per month!). The Prestige is this movie buff’s favorite.
Additional staff members will be recognized throughout this year. The above profiles represent a portion of the many essential people hard at work to make Lake Quivira function, prosper and shine.