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Monday, March 4, 2024

Planning Ahead

Mayor-Elect Stephanie Terry takes her first step toward the Civic Center.

Transitions can be tough, but after her historic election, Mayor-Elect Stephanie Terry is prepared to make her move to the mayor’s office impactful. She’s assembled a transition team, which she announced on Nov. 29 at the Ford Center, that will help guide decision-making into who will fill her administration.

The first two people the Democrat has assembled to co-chair the transition team and decide the rest of its 22 members are retired Old National Bank CEO Bob Jones and the Rev. Adrian Brooks, pastor of Memorial Baptist Church and founder of the Memorial Community Development Corporation. Kip Tew, a partner with Ice Miller legal firm, will provide pro-bono counsel to the team.

Terry says a lot of thought went into the choices.

“Some quiet time just sitting, reflecting, and jotting down names on an iPad. Thinking about people who have impacted me in my professional and political career,” she says. “I shared that with the two individuals who I asked to co-chair, who have been mentors to me. We talked through those individuals and thought about what each of these individuals brings to the table. I think they all have pretty unique backgrounds. You’ve got retirees and brand-new talents. I think we will have a nice blend in terms of providing input as to who we need to serve in the next administration.”

Members include:
• Josh Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Evansville Regional Economic Partnership
• Melanie Atwood, Chief Advancement Officer, Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp.
• Linda Bennett, President Emerita, University of Southern Indiana
• Abraham Brown, co-owner of La Campirana and a Latino business leader
• Serita Cabell, Executive Director, Memorial Community Development Corp.
• Shayla Calhoun, Assistant Principal, Lincoln School.
• George Flowers, former Evansville Fire Department Chief
• Sean Georges, Executive Director, Evansville Wartime Museum
• Patrick Johnson, former Executive Assistant to Mayor Frank McDonald II
• Joe Kiefer, owner of Hahn Kiefer Real Estate and member of the Vanderburgh County Council
• Amjad Manna, owner of Manna Restaurant
• Jack McNeely, President of Southwest Indiana Building and Construction Trades
• Sally Rideout, owner of Rideout Public Affairs, Inc.
• Connie Robinson, a former Evansville City Council member and owner of HMR Enterprise
• Ben Trockman, a current member of the Evansville City Council
• Sharon Walker, President of The Long View Group LLC
• Bryanna Water, a University of Evansville student
• Greg Wathen, former President of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership
• Patricia Weinzapfel, founder and CEO of Patricia Weinzapfel Communications and Consulting and wife of former Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel
• Eric Williams, former Vanderburgh County Sheriff

Photo by Rachel Matthew Photography

Brooks says the transition team’s vast network and experience will help ensure the most qualified people make up Terry’s administration next year.

“You notice that is a group of individuals who have a history of achievement in our community and service in our community. We’ll tap into that network and all those critical thinking skills and leadership skills that they bring to the table to make sure that we have the most qualified individuals for our department heads. That’s what Bob and I are looking forward to doing, is really seeing the group operate,” Brooks says.

For the incoming team, 21 positions are available, including paid and volunteer roles like Parks and Recreation Executive Director, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Deputy Mayor, Chief Information Officer, and Communications Director. Terry has not ruled out people from outgoing Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s administration filling those positions.

“If they express interest, I really hope there will be individuals who will apply because we want to keep some of the talent already there in the Civic Center. There’s a lot of information there, and we don’t want to lose that. But again, we want to be sure that people are in the right places,” Terry says.

Several Winnecke administration employees in the mayor’s office already have taken jobs outside of government, including Deputy Mayor and Parks and Recreation Department Interim Executive Director Steve Schaefer, who has transitioned to Vice President of the Evansville Region at Garmong Construction. Director of Communications Noah Stubbs is now CenterPoint Energy’s Lead Communications Specialist for its Indiana and Ohio territories.

Terry will take the oath of office at noon on Jan. 1, 2024, at a swearing-in ceremony for all newly elected officials at Benjamin Bosse High School.

“This is historical, and I’m excited because we have a young visionary leader who will be representing our city. I think that that’s going to draw both state and national attention to our city and hopefully facilitate some growth. I think most of us are happy to see somebody who young people can relate to. You have an African American, intelligent, smart female who has a lot of ideas and a lot of energy. That’s a blessing,” Brooks says.

Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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