Former Lawrence Chamber president hired in Overland Park

The most recent CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce now has a new job, just a few miles to the East.

June 27, 2008, 11:17 a.m. Updated June 28, 2008, 12:00 a.m.


Lavern Squier, who resigned earlier this year as president and CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, has accepted a new job a few miles to the east.

Squier is the new senior vice president of the Economic Development Council, the economic-development operation of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce.

"I am excited to become associated with a progressive community with a great reputation," Squier said, in a statement released Friday. "I look forward to be part of a great staff as we continue the Overland Park tradition of quality growth."

He starts work July 28.

Squier had been the Lawrence chamber's top administrator for nearly five years, until chamber officials announced his resignation in April. Before that, Squier had been executive director of the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development, and vice president for business development at the Wichita/Sedgwick County Partnership for Growth Inc.

"Lavern Squier brings excellent knowledge and experience to our Overland Park economic development efforts," said Leo Nunnink, the council's chairman.

Squier's hiring also allows the council's current senior vice president, former Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer, to become a senior consultant.


mytwocents555 9 years, 10 months ago

I think it's really interesting how everyone still contends that Lavern Squier resigned from the Lawrence Chamber. Do you really think we are idiots? It's heartwarming how we play so nice when a CEO or President of an organization leaves by allowing him to "resign." I agree with kcm, prayers are the only thing that could possibly save any staff members or associates from his paranoid, schizophrenic, obsessive behavior. As for the ED future of OP, not looking rosy folks. This man doesn't know his place and will be vying for the Alpha Dog position as soon as he can. Tracey Osborne, watch your back girl! OP's loss is our gain:hmmm, shouldn't that be the other way around when a valued Chamber leader "resigns"?

BigPrune 9 years, 10 months ago

I would call Overland Park as progressive in the sense that it is a pro-business community. As for Lawrence, no way. From one extreme to the other. Lawrence is known nationally from sea to shining sea to be the lowest of the low in liking new businesses and jobs. Too bad Lawrence is filled with elitists who hate private enterprise. This is the very reason why our property taxes keep going up.

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 10 months ago

And I thought that Merrill and others had decided that Gary Toebbin was the source of all evil in the City? Did Lavern overtake him?.... Maybe we need Toebbin to come back.

WBKC 9 years, 10 months ago

Mark my words: Lavern D. Squier will single-handedly rip the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce into tiny little pieces like he did the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. Within one year, 90% of the staff will have turned over and each year he is there it will continue to turn over. Any staff member worth anything will willingly leave just to get away from him. He makes everyone's lives miserable and people will leave to reclaim their sanity. Good luck OP Chamber.

kcm 9 years, 10 months ago

Lavern was the worst thing for Lawrence. Say your prayers for Overland Park as they have no clue what is in store for them. In particular, say your prayers for the staff members of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. Their life just got so much worse.

BigPrune 9 years, 10 months ago

Thanks newsreader. You put it much better than I. Our conclusions are also based on facts, not delusions.

OhHai 9 years, 10 months ago

Oh, Merrill, you know not of what you speak. He was the ENTIRE problem. Trust me, once they get someone else in there, you will see a difference. But if you hate what the C of C stands for in the first place, it's doubtful that you will like anything that they ever do. No?

Confrontation 9 years, 10 months ago

I actually feel sorry for Overland Park. Coming to you soon: Empty buildings and higher taxes.

justthefacts 9 years, 10 months ago

It does not take a genius to figure out property tax and its impact upon those who must pay it... See for an overview.If you want to attract people (business people or just plain old citizens) you keep the taxes down. If you want to keep them away, you run it as high as possible. What you want out of life (and your community) will largely dictate how you feel or what you think about property tax or other policy decisions. However, before assuming something is true, it is almost always a real good idea to do the research and get the facts. For example, just b/c a county like Johnson is more pro-business and has high property values does not automatically mean what you might think: "Property tax rates are generally lower in Johnson County because property values in the county are higher than in other counties throughout Kansas.,_Kansas"Those who favor growth in Lawrence (of any kind) and those who oppose it are never going to agree on this issue. It's a matter of personal preference, with far too much emotion to be rationale about the topic. But it might do both sides some good to do more research into the FACTS as to what happens if/when a place the size of Lawrence does - or does not - continue to grow and/or attract new businesses.

newsreader 9 years, 10 months ago

I agree with BigPrune! And, he's not saying that taxes are cheaper here then JOCO, he's saying that when we need money we instantly look to raise taxes as opposed to bringing in more businesses to create tax dollars.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

Tax rebates,tax abatements and low wage jobs don't do much towards generating tax revenue. Then again neither does overloading the retail market considering there are only so many retail dollars available in any community.Actually I was told recently that Overland Park was doing a study wondering if OP is overstocked in retail. Then Lawrence leaders decided to construct a bedroom community which in and of itself = higher taxes. If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality. Too many houses drop property values. Lawrence has been living off inflated home values. Why not IMPACT FEES or EXCISE TAXES? Local real estate developers have had a great time laughing all of the way to the bank on the backs of taxpayers. This is the root of the problem.Shutting down the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce or at least cutting off city tax dollars would be a sign of fiscal responsibility. It seems at times the Lawrence Chamber works very hard at putting downtown retail out of business.Perhaps Lavern Squier was not the problem only the scapegoat. For all anyone knows the problem(s) never left the Chamber of Commerce = business as usual.

igby 9 years, 10 months ago

As far as Overland Park goes. They need a grunt like Squires so they can use him for a scapegoat and blame him for their failures. Overland Park has the bechinest people on earth. Relentlessly bechin all the time about everything and everybody else. Blood sucking trolls who's kids moved to Lawrence to rape and pillage and when they are done, they move back to OP, too mommy and daddy's old house. With stale old carpet from 1959. You know who you are. Their kids are mutated and have troll horns on both sides of their temples. Lol.Squires will love it there!

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 9 years, 10 months ago

He'll fit right in with the OP bunch. And if OP is talking about being over retailed its because the powers that be have bought up a lot of commercial space and don't want any competition.

igby 9 years, 10 months ago

How do you know when the Lawrence, economy is bad ?When all the tuck-tails are running too the city looking for work. lol.These are the people who have ran Lawrence from behind the seen for the past 15 years. These people pushed elections and development, residential and commercial. First, Mark Buhler, now Squires. Who will be next to join the Lawrence, has beens and pony-up to the big city.

rosening1 9 years, 10 months ago

I too feel sorry for the OP Chamber. It will not be the same. If you are an employee of the OP Chamber take this advise...FIND ANOTHER JOB NOW...this man will make your life miserable. mytwocents555 is right on the money; this man is loves drama and will stir things up. He's worse than a girl. Any grown man that secretly reads his employees emails to see if they are talking about him needs to get a life. Talk about OP chamber dollars - well watch them close, he too likes to spend them foolishly on lunches, trips back west to visit Ellis Co (you all know what I mean). Lawrence is so much better off that Lavern is gone. It's just a shame they didn't do it about 30 employees sooner. The Lawrence Chamber Board lost a lot of great people that worked for them by keeping him so long.

guybeau 9 years, 10 months ago

There was just not enough pump priming stock from the bio science company to go around. Hack, Simons, Johnson and others. They may reboot Dolphs pal Clay Blair for another shot at allowing a local company make a load of money on building improvements making it look like they have the inside track for another round of phony bio science development. Today, they claim they are close enough on a cure for cancer they can ask Lawrence locals for multi millions. A few years ago culture farms, fake skin and wine. Before that they claimed they had the Air Force Academy coming to north Lawrence. Perhaps you will want to verify what they say. What a break for LaVerne to move on.

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