In 2008, after a grassroots campaign focused on open government, Kai was elected to Harrisonburg’s City Council, a five-member body. Kai was unanimously chosen by his colleagues on the city council to be mayor of Harrisonburg for the 2009-2010 term. In 2012, he was re-elected to the Harrisonburg City Council for a second four-year term.
In his time on city council, he has also served a board or committee member on the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, the Community Criminal Justice Board, and more.
In order to better engage the community around specific concerns, Kai started the Harrisonburg Summit series (see videos of the Mayor’s Sustainability Summit, and clips from the Harrisonburg Intercultural/Interfaith Summit). There have been a dozen summits on a wide range of issues.
Kai honed his facilitative leadership style after co-founding The OrangeBand Initiative, a start-up project focused creating civil dialogue about meaningful issues. Since 2003, Kai has coordinated and moderated over 200 community discussions. After graduation, Kai continued to work with OrangeBand and as a consultant to environmental groups before taking a job as Executive Director of the Arts Council of the Valley, a position he held until the end of 2008.
To learn more about Kai – and his hometown Harrisonburg – consider tuning in to past episode of the Hello Harrisonburg podcast, a private effort he started to feature entrepreneurs, artists, and community leaders in The Friendly City. Hear the podcast to get know Kai: iTunes Google Play Stitcher HelloHarrisonburg.rocks
Kai’s mother and father live in Baltimore, MD, where they are educators. His brother, Philip, lives in Mooresville, NC – the NASCAR capital of the world (he works as an engineer in the industry). Kai was born in Wuerzburg, Germany, and the family stayed there until moving to Maryland before Kai started college in Harrisonburg.
Kai is a double-graduate of James Madison University, receiving a bachelors degree in Integrated Science and Technology and a Masters in Business Administration.