OPINION

Letter: The ideal candidate

Kennith R. Burns/Leavenworth

To the editor:

As a young captain returning from Vietnam, my first assignment was as an ROTC instructor at Kansas State University in 1971. The thought of using my experience and knowledge to mentor others at the age of 27 was mind-boggling.

Little did I know that the young men I was about to challenge mentally and physically would change my life more than I would change their lives. One of those men I am proud to call my ‘student’ is Mark Preisinger. Mark came to K State on a 4-year ROTC scholarship. It was evident from the start that he arrived prepared to work at the highest level in this immersive leadership experience.

Natural leaders emerge in this developmental process, and I can say that Mark proved himself among the best. I pinned on his bars during his Commissioning as a 2LT in 1973 and watched his career unfold.

After initial officer training, he was deployed to Korea. He was decorated for valor for his actions in Korea and spent 2 months in the hospital recovering from a myriad of injuries. Mark achieved the rank of Captain during his 6 years of service with assignments at Fort Bliss, Texas and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

While Mark’s career continued to flourish, he subsequently worked for Johnson & Johnson in manufacturing and industrial engineering and then moved to Hallmark Cards where he worked in international operations. This prompted an entrepreneurial spirit in Mark. He started and still has his own company (Mark 8 Global Source) concentrating on product development, manufacturing, and consulting in the international arena.

When I returned to Leavenworth, Mark had continued to distinguish himself by perpetually giving back to the community. He served on the Leavenworth School Board from 1997-2005 and has served on the City Commission since 2009. During his tenure on the City Commission, I served on the Planning Commission and witnessed first-hand Mark’s ability to combine relationship building, strategic thinking, and timely execution of transformational projects that continue to add value to our community.

I observed his professionalism and commitment to our hometown while he was reverse mentoring me on the Planning Commission. Mark added to our city’s appeal by leading the effort to reduce property taxes by 40% by putting a sales tax initiative on the ballot that Leavenworth voters overwhelmingly passed. Working in concert with Commission members, Mark has used economic incentives judiciously to entice and expand businesses in our Leavenworth community.

Each incentive is strategically administered to provide a payback to the city in increased property tax and/or sales tax for the long term. He continues to promote blight removal throughout Leavenworth. These efforts resulted in the removal of dilapidated structures which have been replaced by thriving hotels, vibrant retail shops, restaurants, an urgent care clinic, and an educational center.

As diverse as his career, the causes that Mark continues to champion for the First City of Kansas span health and public safety, infrastructure reform, advocacy for Police and Fire protection, regulatory compliance, and appropriate stewardship of city monies. His enthusiasm, "can do" attitude, and desire to promote Leavenworth are infectious. He remains committed to the foundational principles that built our hometown and continues to see it thrive. In short, Mark Preisinger is the ideal candidate for City Commissioner.

– Kennith R. Burns/Leavenworth