Continuing a 90-year tradition of extending university resources, K-State Research and Extension created the Office of Local Government in 1997. The OLG program makes explicit K-State Research and Extension's commitment to enhance community economic viability by offering assistance to local governments, a vital partner in the continuing endeavor to strengthen communities.
The goal of the Office of Local Government is to enhance the economic viability of Kansas communities and improving the quality of life for the citizens who live there by strengthening local government institutions.
OLG provides educational outreach, technical assistance, applied research, and information and referral services to city and county governments, local organizations, the county Extension network and citizens throughout Kansas.
Dr. John Leatherman delivers outreach education programs and conducts applied research related to local economic development policy and practice; public finance and public service provision; and environmental/water quality and local/regional planning. His research interests include state and local public finance; state, regional and local economic development policy; the use of analytical tools (e.g., economic and fiscal impact analysis) to improve local decision-making; and the creation of advanced regional economic models for policy analysis.
Dr. Biswa Das works as a Community Development Economist and delivers outreach programs and conducts applied research in the areas of community and regional economics and natural resource and environmental economics. His research interests include economic and community development policy; state and regional natural resource and environmental issues and policy; use of a variety of analytical tools (including statistical and mathematical programming, economic and fiscal impact analysis) to develop econometric and mathematical models; conduct economic impact analysis – all aimed at studying issues affecting citizenry and relevant for academic advancement and disseminated to a wider audience through the outreach educational programs and services for public consumption. He received his PhD from Texas Tech University. Prior to moving to Kansas State University, he worked at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville as a Post-doctoral Research Associate specializing in Economic Development and Public Finance.
Rebecca Bishop is the Local Government/Public Finance specialist. Through publications and community outreach, she helps community leaders understand trends in local government finance. She received a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University.
As a Watershed Economist, Josh Roe specializes in water quality improvements through the implementation of cost-effective best management practices. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State and Iowa State, respectively and is a native of North-Central Kansas where we grew up on a diversified crop and cattle operation.
Robert Wilson is an Environmental Planning Specialist, providing technical assistance, project management, outreach/education, and community involvement facilitation services. His current projects focus on the development of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) in the state’s priority watersheds. Past projects include the Kansas Urban Water Quality Restoration & Protection Initiative, focusing on technical assistance for cities and counties working to incorporate water quality protection into local land use planning and decision-making. Robert co-authored the Kansas Local Government Water Quality Planning & Management Guide, published in 1999. Other past projects include the Kansas Environmental Decision-Making Institute, which focused on engaging community leaders in effectively addressing local environmental challenges and opportunities. Robert has been a regular speaker at a variety of statewide environmental conferences, including the Kansas Environmental Conference and Water and the Future of Kansas. He is also active in community development and leadership development initiatives. He currently chairs the K-State Leadership Seminar Committee and previously chaired Extension’s Leadership Development Program Focus Team. Robert has been with OLG since 1998. He earned a BS in Business Administration and did his graduate work in Regional and Community Planning at K-State.