Newly-Elected BPU Board Members Sworn In
Three members of the newly elected board of directors for the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) were sworn-in at a ceremony held at the BPU Administration Building on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.
Two incumbent members, Mary Gonzales (At-Large - Position #1) and Tom Groneman (2nd District), as well as newcomer Ryan Eidson (At-Large - Position #2), took the oath of office at a ceremony prior to this week’s Board meeting. The oaths of office were administered, and each elected board member was given an opportunity to make brief remarks following their official swearing-in.
About the recently appointed members:
Mary Gonzales, At-Large Position 1 - Ms. Gonzales retired from teaching school in 2006 after a 33-year career. For many of those years, she was an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Piper Middle School. Besides her BPU Board and other community activities, she is a member of the American Public Power Association and the American Water Works Association. A graduate of Leadership 2000, she serves on the board for the Rosedale Development Association and also on the advisory board for the Civic Leadership Academy for Olathe, KS schools. Mary was also District 5 Coordinator in the successful effort to consolidate the Wyandotte County/city governments and served on the advisory board of the Wyandotte County Library. In addition, she is past President of Delta Kappa Gamma International Educational Society and is a former board member for both El Centro and City Vision Ministries. Ms. Gonzales has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama, and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Emporia State University.
Ryan Edison, At-Large Position 2 - Mr. Eidson is a lifelong Wyandotte County resident and currently serves as the General Manager for Wil Fischer of Kansas (Wyandotte County Anheuser-Busch Distributor) He has served in this role since 2014 and previously held several leadership positions at Schatz Distributing. He serves as a board member of the Chris Kugler Memorial Trust and also serves on the board of directors for Helpful Hands Inc. Eidson is a graduate of Piper High School and attended Kansas State University where he graduated with a degree in communications and advertising. Ryan and his wife Jennifer are the parents of two children, Riley and Aubrey.
Tom Groneman, District 2 - Mr. Groneman is a lifelong Wyandotte County resident, graduating from Wyandotte HS in 1965. In 1969 he graduated from Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS with a Bachelor's degree in Business/Economics. Following college, he entered the United States Navy and was trained as a Vietnamese linguist. Groneman was stationed for 15 months at the Naval Communications Station, Philippines where he was assigned to temporary active duty with the Commander of Carrier Division 5/Task Force 77 aboard the USS Enterprise, USS Kitty Hawk, and USS Constellation. He finished his tour at the National Security Agency, Ft. Meade, MD. After the military, he returned to Wyandotte County and worked briefly as a probation officer for the 29th Judicial District. In 1975 he was appointed Register of Deeds to fill out the unexpired term of Jack Reardon who had been elected mayor. Groneman was subsequently elected to seven consecutive four-year terms as Register of Deeds. In 2003, newly elected Governor Kathleen Sebelius asked Tom to join her staff in Topeka as Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the State of Kansas. Tom commuted for nearly eight years between Kansas City and Topeka until the change in administrations in 2011. During his time in public service, Tom has served in numerous positions in various state and national organizations. Tom and his wife Kay have two children, Brooke and Jared and four grandchildren.
BPU’s water department was originally created in 1909, and its electric utility was operational in 1912. The purpose of the utility, then and to this day, is to provide the highest quality electric and water services at the lowest possible cost. Today the publicly owned utility serves approximately 63,000 electric and 50,000 water customers, primarily in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The mission of the utility and its employees is “to focus on the needs of our customers, to improve the quality of life in our community while promoting safe, reliable and sustainable utilities.” BPU’s Web site is www.bpu.com.