Lawrence isn't just losing a Quaker Oats plant manager. The city's also losing a key promoter of education, Lawrence arts and local amateur athletics.
Tom Ferriter, who has been plant manager at Lawrence's Quaker Oats plant for more than four years, will become plant manager at Topeka's Quaker Oats plant in September. With the move, he'll have to hang up the many other hats he wears in this community.
Quaker Oats expects Ferriter to be involved in the Topeka community just as he has been in the Lawrence community.
"In order to keep that accessibility and availability, I'm moving to Topeka," Ferriter said this morning.
Ferriter, 38, won't actually take up his new post until Sept. 1. That's when Herm Simon, present site manager of the Topeka plant, will be retiring. Quaker tabbed Ferriter as Simon's successor earlier this month.
Ferriter, who transferred here 4 1/2 years ago from a Quaker plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., said he's going to miss Lawrence.
"Lawrence just has a unique culture that not many towns have," he said. "It's friendly. It's open. It's just very accepting of newcomers, and people have a great work ethic."
Ferriter said the Quaker Oats corporation holds the Lawrence plant in high regard as well. He said that's reflected in the selection of Mark Schiller, business unit director for Kibbles 'n Bits at Quaker's corporate headquarters in Chicago, as Ferriter's successor.
"I think that demonstrates the respect that corporate offices have for Lawrence employees," Ferriter said.
Ferriter is president of the board of the Lawrence Arts Center. He also has served on the board of the Lawrence Sports Corp., which has been responsible for organizing the Sunflower State Games.
He has served on the steering committee of the Kansas Open golf tournament, and he has been president of the board for Warm Hearts of Douglas County.
Ferriter has been vice chairman of operations for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and he has chaired the chamber's Business-Education Task Force.
Ferriter and his wife, Kris, have three children: Erin, 15, Timmy, 12, and Tara, 10.