As of June 17, 2020, Christy Rodriguez began as the new Executive Director of the Flint Hills Regional Council--a seven-county regional voluntary service association working to enhance economic development and improve quality of life throughout the Flint Hills. Christy is an urban and regional planner with twenty years of working experience with municipal, county, regional, private sector and non-profit community organizations. Since 2018, Christy has also served as a Professor of Practice teaching Plan Administration with the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning at Kansas State University.
She is passionate about making the community a better place and doing her part. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, Board Member of the Childcare Aware of Eastern Kansas, and a Board Member of the Friends of the K-State Libraries.
Christy was previously the Program Director of Region Reimagined--a community and economic strategic plan among Geary, Pottawatomie and Riley counties. The long-range strategy of Region Reimagined is ultimately inclined toward job creation that enhances the region's prosperity.
Rodriguez comes to the region after nearly 10 years with the Fort Worth Police Department as Program Support Administrator, overseeing the Program Support Division (twenty-four professional staff), consisting of Research and Planning Section, Technology Services Section, Procurement and Contract Management Section, and the Asset Management Unit. Her work included strategic planning and implementation, facility planning (assisting with the management of approximately 40 Police facilities), capital improvement planning, research, and grant and program management. She also assisted in managing approximately 60 programs funded by the Crime Control and Prevention District.
Prior to her role with the Fort Worth Police Department, Rodriguez served four years until 2009 as Senior Planner at Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Department in the Advanced Plans Division working on neighborhood revitalization efforts, downtown projects, floodplain management and a tri-jurisdictional land use plan. From 2001 to 2005, Christy served as a Grant Development Specialist and Planner at Traylor & Associates working on a broad spectrum of projects including housing, water and sewer improvement, and economic development projects for non-entitlement jurisdictions throughout Texas, as well as, regional hazard mitigation planning for East Texas Council of Governments. Christy also worked with the Growth Council of Oxford Hills in South Paris, Maine assisting with community and economic development projects, as well as, for the City of College Station, Texas' Planning Department working on neighborhood planning.
Rodriguez earned a Master of Urban Planning from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in 2001, and a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Urban and Regional Planning from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in 1999. Christy has been a member of the American Planning Association since 1997.
Christy is a mother of two daughters, Alexandria and Ayden, and the wife of Adrian Rodriguez. She previously has been a Girl Scout Leader, a volunteer in the church children's program, and a member of the Wings Circle of the United Methodist Women. Professionally, Christy strives to positively impact both the region as a whole and the lives of students at Kansas State University to ensure they are prepared for their next endeavor as professional planners.
Janna joined the Flint Hills Regional Council team in February 2017, and most recently served as the Interim Director until June 2020. Janna is our lead on two Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation grants supporting the implementation of Fort Riley / Flint Hills Joint Land Use Study recommendations. The most recent award of $518,246 is funding a variety of projects including Military Infrastructure Resiliency, Wind Turbine proposed legislation, the Green Valley Transportation Study, the Unmanned Aircraft System Corridor Phase II project, the Junction City Housing Condition Assessment, and more.
Williams also serves as our lead on a 2018 Community Assessment of Hazardous Substance & Petroleum Brownfields Program funded by a $600,000 award through the Environmental Protection Agency and assists the Executive Director with some financial and operational management duties.
Her prior work with the Flint Hills Regional Council included serving as the lead on the Wabaunsee County Comprehensive Plan, which includes seven incorporated cities. She also developed the Communities to Call Home website, which is a marketing tool for 26 communities in the Flint Hills Region and managed the Flint Hills Regional Institute that provided technical assistance and capacity building for communities throughout the Flint Hills.
Janna earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, with a Certificate in Geographic Systems. Janna served as an Assistant Planner in Stillwater, Oklahoma before joining the Division of Agriculture at Oklahoma State University as a statewide Facilities and Project Manager.
Recovery & Resiliency Planner & Grant Specialist
Marissa Jones-Flaget joined our Flint Hills Regional Council team on November 16, 2020 as our new Recovery & Resiliency Planner and Grant Management Specialist. She is the lead in developing a Regional Recovery & Resiliency Plan, including the launch of a Regional Business Confidence Survey that will be issued quarterly throughout 2021. She is also assist with several coordination and implementation efforts serving as support staff of the Manhattan Area Recovery Task Force, assisting Junction City with the Main Street application and so much more.
The Economic Development Administration awarded the Flint Hills Regional Council ~$400,000 in CARES Act funding over a two-year period to build capacity to be able to assist with COVID-19 recovery efforts. This new position is made possible as a result of this funding award.
Marissa has demonstrated experience in the public sector working with various echelons of government. Prior to joining the Flint Hills Regional Council, Jones-Flaget served as a Planner with the Junction City-Geary County Planning and Zoning Department assisting with downtown revitalization efforts, area-wide planning, and web-administration. She previously worked for the Kansas State University Foundation, the Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority, and the Lee County Port Authority. Marissa also serves as a Member At-Large on the Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency Board.
Marissa earned a Master of Public Administration from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas in 2020, and a Bachelor of Science degrees in Aviation Management and Managerial Accounting from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana in 2015. Marissa is a member of the American Planning Association, the American Association of Airport Executives, and a 2019 recipient of the Kansas Association of City/County Management Scholarship.
After growing up in Littleton, Colorado, Rachel Peterson moved to Manhattan, Kansas to complete her Masters Degree in Regional and Community Planning at Kansas State University. She feel in love with communities in the Flint Hills and interned for the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Flint Hills Regional Council, ATA Bus, and Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation.
Upon her 2019 graduation, she took a full-time position as a Transportation Planner for the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization where she spearheaded long-range planning and worked on educational and promotional material for ATA Bus.
Rachel rejoined the Flint Hills Regional Council as a part-time Planner and is working on the Saint George Comprehensive Plan, the Ogden Comprehensive Plan Update, and housing assessments throughout the region.
Ashton grew up in Lenexa, Kansas and is currently finishing up her degrees in Geography and History at Kansas State University and is set to graduate this May. She has experience as a Transportation Planning Intern at both the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City and the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization. Ashton is currently working with the Flint Hills Regional Council on housing assessments throughout the region.
Abby is a fourth-year student pursuing a Masters degree in Regional and Community Planning with a secondary major in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. After growing up in Wichita, Kansas, she started school at Kansas State University in 2017. Once Abby discovered an interest in helping communities and planning for the future, she began interning with the Flint Hills Regional Council in January of 2019 and with the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization in August of 2020. Abby has recently rejoined the Flint Hills Regional Council to work on housing assessments throughout the region.