Mr. Hannes Zacharias
Professor of Practice in Local Government
Organization: University of Kansas
Lenexa, KS 66215-4108
Membership: Honorary Member (Active)
Hannes Zacharias currently serves as the “Bob Kipp, Professor of Practice in Public Administration” at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. He has over 35 years of experience in City and County Government in jurisdictions both small and large. Positions held include Management Analyst for the City of Lawrence, KS; City Manager for the City of Boonville, MO; City Manager for the City of Hays, KS; and Assistant County Manager, Deputy County Manager, and County Manager for Johnson County, KS.
In his most recent position as County Manager with Johnson County, KS, Hannes oversaw a work force of over 3,900 employees in over 30 departments contained in a budget of over $1 Billion serving a growing population of 580,000 residents in the southwest part of the Kansas City Metro area. Major projects undertaken during his 17 years of service to Johnson County include voter approval of a $182 million new County Courthouse, major expansion of the county libraries and Park system, and a $280 million reconstruction of one the Counties seven wastewater treatment plants. During the 2008 recession, Hannes led the effort to reduce the existing workforce from 4,200 to 3,800 (a 12% reduction) and cut $47 million in ongoing expenses while maintaining a community satisfaction rating above 90%.
While in Johnson County, Hannes was also instrumental in advancing a “high Performance Organization” culture within all departments of County Government, advancing employee engagement scores and creating an environment where all employees are challenged to work for the community in ways that advance the ‘Athenian Oath”…to leave the community not only not worse, but better than they found it.
Upon leaving Johnson County in Jan. of 2018, Hannes embarked on his second 2060 mile kayak trip on the Arkansas River, this time paddling the headwaters in Colorado to the mouth of the Mississippi, retracing a journey he did some 42 years earlier. Few people have navigated the Arkansas River by kayak once, yet alone twice.
At the 2019 ICMA conference, Hannes presented the Eldon Fields Colloquium where he shared stories of his life in public management, pictures and insights of his river experience, and revealed the lessons learned both personal and professional as they relate to his new life in public service.