New trustee intends to tackle problems at the college

David Lindstrom, newest member of the Board of Trustees, smiles outside the Hugh Speer Board Room on Thursday, Nov. 29. Photo by Daniel De Zamacona

By Mackenzie Clark

David Lindstrom, newest member of the Board of Trustees, smiles outside the Hugh Speer Board Room on Thursday, Nov. 29. Photo by Daniel De Zamacona

If you listen closely at the next Board of Trustees meeting, you may hear the faint remnants of a Boston accent. This voice belongs to David Lindstrom, third district Johnson County Commissioner and the newest member of the Board.

The Board of Trustees selected Lindstrom from a pool of five candidates at a special meeting on Saturday, Nov. 17. Although this is typically an elected position, the unexpected resignation of former trustee Don Weiss necessitated an application and selection process.

Lindstrom grew up in Boston, Mass. with six brothers. He is eternally grateful to his father’s commitment to education.

“[My father] took the job [as a groundskeeper at Boston University] because he knew he couldn’t afford to send his kids to college, and he knew that a college education was very important,” Lindstrom said. “That’s a gift that my brothers and I will never forget.”

Lindstrom graduated from Boston University in 1976 with a degree in education. After playing football throughout high school and college, he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1977. In 1978, he became a player for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I went from east coast to west coast to the center of the heartland,” Lindstrom said. “My wife and I love it here in the Midwest and as long as it’s our choice, we plan on staying here.”

Lindstrom retired from football in 1986 and began a career in business. He owned four Burger King restaurants until he sold them in 2011.

Lindstrom thanks Jim Otto, a former player for the Oakland Raiders, for the advice that inspired him to pursue ownership of Burger King: persistence pays off.

“I don’t think I would’ve gotten by the first stage if it weren’t for being persistent, and for his advice,” Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom became involved in politics when then Kansas State Treasurer Tim Shallenburger asked Lindstrom to join him as his lieutenant governor in the 2002 gubernatorial election, which they lost to Kathleen Sebelius.

“When we weren’t successful in that statewide campaign, I was approached about applying for an open seat on the County Commission,” Lindstrom said.

He was selected through a process Board used last month and is currently finishing out his second full elected term. He has decided not to run for reelection.

“I didn’t have an interest in politics; I had a tremendous interest in my community,” he said. “Based on that passion that I had for where I live, and the fact that I have a philosophy that when you are given much, you are expected to give back. I’ve always felt compelled to give back to my community. […] I’ve never really had a burning desire to be in elected office, but I have had a burning desire to serve.”

Lindstrom said his decision to apply for the college’s Board came from encouragement from friends.

“I thought about it, and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the college,” he said. “Most people in this community understand the value of the college and I certainly am among that population. I look at this as an opportunity for me to be a steward of a community asset and also, selfishly, to learn more about what the college actually does.”

No stranger to the college, Lindstrom has previously served on the Athletic Advisory Board, the advisory for the Regnier Center and the Foundation board. He is also aware of challenges facing the college.

First, Lindstrom said, he believes the Board needs to focus on working within the college’s current financial restraints. Secondly, but “as important,” is selecting a suitable replacement for retiring college president Terry Calaway. Lastly, he wishes to work to maintain the college’s standard: “Learning comes first.”

Jon Stewart, trustee, has known Lindstrom for “a number of years,” and looks forward to working with him.

“He’s a very good person; he has a really good perspective, good heart,” Stewart said. “I think he’ll be a very good trustee that keeps the interest of the college first.”

Jason Osterhaus, fourth district Johnson County Commissioner, echoed Stewart’s sentiments.

“It’s been a joy working with Dave, because I have witnessed his dedication to serving others in his time as commissioner,” he said. I know he will take that same spirit with him as he starts his new role as trustee.”

Lindstrom will be present at the next Board meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 in the Polsky Theatre. His term expires June 30, 2015.

Contact Mackenzie Clark, editor-in-chief, at


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