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story.lead_photo.caption Photo submitted Kevin Gambrill

Kevin Gambrill started as director of the city's Community Development Services department June 1 this year.

He is replacing Chris Suneson, who resigned earlier this year.

Gambrill has a master's degree in urban planning from Morgan State University in Baltimore and 18 years of planning experience, most recently as planning director with the Benton County Development Department, a job he started in 2014 and held until he started his new job with the city.

He also has a bachelor's degree in geosciences and an associate degree in business administration and holds professional certifications from the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Association of State Floodplain Managers and is a Certified Floodplain Manager and certified erosion, sediment and stormwater inspector.

"What I do is kind of like Sim City but for real," he said, explaining that city planning and working toward development isn't that far off from the computer game -- though the real thing has plenty of complexity. It's worth noting, he said, that explanation is painting the job with a very broad brush.

His office handles property line adjustments and zoning issues, he said, as well as full, large-scale developments, stormwater management, floodplain management and more, in addition to handling code enforcement.

"You get to do a lot of different things," Gambrill said.

But it's important, he said, to recognize that he isn't working alone. He coordinates closely with other department heads, he explained, as well as his own staff.

This job, he said, is all of his work experience coming together.

"I was always predisposed to land development through my father," Gambrill said, explaining that his father was a builder. "I'm now that government person he would have to deal with."

After graduating from Salisbury University in Maryland with a bachelor's degree in geosciences, Gambrill said he worked with a firm that built maps for geographic information systems, or GIS. This put him working with city officials as he drove roads to map them, meaning he had to stay aware of new roads being built.

In 2004, he said, he became a planner himself, working with Anne Arundel County in Maryland as a long-range planner for seven years and as a community planner for Baltimore County another three years.

After moving to Arkansas in 2014 and working for Benton County for the past few years, Gambrill said he saw an opportunity with the city that looked like it would provide exciting new challenges.

His overall goal for the department, he said, is continued modernization, something at which, he said, the city has already done an excellent job, but there is still room for improvement. Gambrill said he would also like to improve the city's GIS data.

Moreover, he said, he wants to ensure his department is working for the community.

"Our staff is committed to our citizen-first mentality," he said. "We will be as responsive as we possibly can to any issues under our purview."

General News on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Gambrill heads up Community Development

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