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College of Health and Human Sciences

Human Ecology honors six professionals for "focusing first on people"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Western Kansas catering entrepreneur, a national leader in health care for the elderly, and a product development director for Under Armour are among the professionals to be honored Oct. 24 by the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University.

The six honorees were selected for their outstanding contributions to their disciplines. They are Shawn Bloom, Kali Buchanan, Jami Dunbar, John Ross Harmon, Dennis Hulsing and Mary Montgomery-Shatz.

Shawn Bloom, Public Advocacy Award

Shawn Bloom

Shawn Bloom

Shawn Bloom, president and chief executive officer of the National PACE Association, receives the Public Advocacy Award for making a significant impact on issues important to the field of human ecology. He graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Gerontology.

At PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), he helps people meet their health care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility. PACE, working with Medicare and Medicaid, provides the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while maintaining independence in their home for as long as possible.

With more than 25 years in the elder and health care industries, Bloom is a well-known expert and frequently testifies before state and federal policy makers on health care policy reform for the aging.

He has served as a member of the gerontology program’s long-term care alumni advisory committee, contributed to the Center on Aging’s excellence fund, and hired summer student interns to work with his Alexandria, Va., office.

Kali Buchanan, Rising Professional Award

Kali Buchanan

Kali Buchanan

Kali Buchanan, NCIDQ, Assoc. IIDA, LEED AP, receives the Rising Professional Award for significant contributions to the field of human ecology at the early stages of her career.

A 2008 graduate in interior design, she is director of interior design with Hufft Projects in Kansas City.

At Hufft Projects, she is an advocate and partner to clients, creating environments that support and enhance the lives of her clients from workplaces, retail, hospitality, residents, and education and worship facilities.

Buchanan approaches interior design with equal attention to large scale concepts and minute details, thinking about the way a space relates to living, working and the transition through live.

She also serves on the college’s interior design advisory board.

Jami Dunbar, Partner Award

Jami Dunbar

Jami Dunbar

Jami Dunbar, senior director, product development and technical design at Under Armour, receives the Partner Award.

The 1996 graduate in apparel design is honored for providing sustained partnership on the corporate level with the college to enhance student and faculty research, internships and other educational opportunities.

Before joining Under Armour in Baltimore in 2012, she was vice president of technical design at Abercrombie & Fitch in New Albany, Ohio. She has also worked in technical design with Hollister Co. and with Nordstrom as well as holding positions in footwear product development.

She serves on the apparel and textiles advisory board, attending meetings and interacting with students on the K-State campus. She has also participated in the annual ATID Student Symposium as a panelist and a sponsor. She also helps students with internships and job opportunities at Under Armour.

John Ross Harmon, Entrepreneur Award

John Ross Harmon

John Ross Harmon

John Ross Harmon, owner of John Ross & Co. Signature Catering in Garden City, receives the Entrepreneur Award in recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit and success in business. He graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Harmon offers catering services throughout Kansas and the Midwest. He started his Garden City-based business in 2010 after working as a chef at John Elway Steakhouse and at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Denver.

He designed and built a 35-foot mobile kitchen that allows him to cater events within an 800-mile radius of Southwest Kansas. From there he has fed groups ranging in size from 25 to 5,000. He specializes in weddings, rehearsal dinners and company meetings.

He says his menu mixes down-home food that his mother taught him to cook with the 5-star cuisine he learned at the Ritz-Carlton. He specializes in made-from-scratch food such as mini beef Wellingtons, Cajun gumbos, Italian dishes and barbeque. Being a big supporter of the cattle industry, Mr. Harmon enjoys cooking beef more than anything.

Dennis Hulsing, Friend of the College Award

Dennis Hulsing

Dennis Hulsing

Dennis Hulsing, president and CEO of Hulsing Enterprises, LLC, Asheville, N.C., receives the Friend of the College Award.

Hulsing, who graduated from K-State with a degree in business administration in 1985, built his company with hard work and a passion for business development. A group of Hulsing Hotels has expanded into 26 businesses: nine hotels and resorts, three durable medical equipment companies, a sleep lab, two golf and tennis clubs, a residential development company, three real estate investment companies, two grocery stores, a spa, a scuba center, zipline, mountain bike park, plus a treetop adventure center.

Previously he was senior vice president of Omni Hotels.

He serves on the hospitality management advisory board, has established the Hulsing Hotels Scholarship, and has developed an internship program to help develop the next generation of K-State graduates.

From Topeka, he, his wife Jill, and sons Kyle and Will live in Asheville where his business is headquartered.

Mary Montgomery-Shatz, Executive Leadership Award

Mary Montgomery-Shatz

Mary Montgomery-Shatz

Mary Montgomery-Shatz, director of operations at LongHorn Steakhouse, Darden Concepts, receives the Executive Leadership Award.

She is recognized for her business leadership and sustained interest in the College of Human Ecology.

In business, she combined her “servant’s heart” with her love of food and entertaining, stepping into the restaurant business and working with such institutions as McCormick and Schmick’s, Houlihan’s and Bristol on the Plaza. Jobs have taken her from her home town in Sabetha to Topeka, Columbia, Mo., Wichita, Dallas, Minneapolis, and then Kansas City. She oversees seven restaurants with about 400 employees.

She is a former K-State Fellow and adviser for the college's hospitality management programs. Montgomery-Shatz proudly says she has hired 13 K-State graduates and one of her greatest successes is mentoring. She graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant Management.

During her career, Montgomery-Shatz has received the Joe Gilbert award, the highest honor in the company, and the regional director award at Darden.

This article was posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, and is filed under Center on Aging, College News, Hospitality Management, Interior Design and Fashion Studies.