By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer
After 19 years as executive director of the Cloud County Development Corporation, Kirk Lowell submitted his resignation at Tuesday night's CloudCorp meeting, effective immediately.
Lowell said Wednesday morning that his desire to make a lifestyle change was one of the main factors in his decision to end his tenure with CloudCorp.
"Over all these years – almost 29, 30 years – of a life in a fishbowl and constant projects, evening meetings and weekend, I just desire a life change," Lowell said. "I would like to be able to do more things with my family and work on our home."
With three grandchildren now in the family, he said he and his wife, Janet, would like to be able to visit them more.
"That's what's prompted my decision – it's absolutely nothing negative," Lowell said. "I have an excellent board of directors, good officers, a good support staff and technology – everything we need to be successful."
Being in the position as long as he has, Lowell said it's time not only for a change for him, but for CloudCorp, too.
"I believe people shouldn't wrap their arms around something and always be in a position like mine," he said. "I think it would probably be good to have some fresh ideas, a younger person with the energy I had 30 years ago with some interesting and exciting ideas to carry our community forward."
Lowell said he had been contemplating leaving his position for the last year and a half, and felt now was the right time to leave.
"There's probably never a good time for the organization, but I think I'm leaving at a good time where we're very well postured for the future," he said, adding that this time of year is usually the slowest for economic development.
"This gives the executive committee a chance to start a search for a new executive director, and I'm willing to do the best I can to keep current projects moving forward."
Lowell said he will remain available to the CloudCorp board through Dec. 31 to help accommodate the transition of executive director.
"I want to keep things moving forward almost seamlessly," he said. "It's not my intent to do any harm to the organization or the projects we're working on. I want to see things continue to move forward."
The future for Lowell includes taking six months to a year off from working, he said. With his free time, he said he plans to work on home improvement projects and spend time with his parents, who have been in failing health.
"I have not been solicited to leave CloudCorp. No other entities are after me, and I don't have my resume out there," he said. "I would just like to take six months to a year off to recharge my batteries.
"After a period of rest, then I'll start thinking about what I want to do. I probably won't go back into the field of economic development. I'd like to be in something in the private sector, but what that is, I don't know."
With the recent completion of fueling stations in Aurora, Jamestown and Glasco, Lowell said he feels the communities in the county are coming closer together. And, he said he is leaving CloudCorp, and the community, in a good position for the future.
"My board of directors are kind, smart and important people located throughout the county, and I have every confidence they'll think this thing through and you probably won't see much of a blink as far as a transition goes, if we do it right."
Over the last 19 years he has served as CloudCorp's executive director, Lowell said he has had a great time in the position.
"I've really enjoyed working with the community and the businesses in our community," he said. "I've enjoyed all the projects we've worked on, both large and small. It's just been a great time. Concordia and Cloud County are very well positioned in the Northcentral Kansas region to be very successful, and I think it's about us and the decisions we make as a community."