Staff & BoardCommitted to Fulfilling Our Mission

The Exploration Place senior staff and Board of Directors are committed to fulfilling our mission, which is to inspire a deeper interest in science and technology through creative and fun experiences for all. They remain dedicated to creating innovative STEM-centered exhibits and programs.

Senior Staff

Adam Smith

President

Adam Smith

Adam joined Exploration Place on November 11, 2019. He has led museums or has served in museum leadership positions since 2001 and has served in the museum field since 1997. He most recently was executive director for Comic-Con Museum in San Diego, California. Before Comic-Con Museum, Adam served as executive vice president at Commemorative Air Force, the world’s largest flying museum. He led the organization’s move from Midland, Texas, to the new headquarters in Dallas. The new museum location includes an Aviation Education Center and STEM innovation hangar, classrooms and exhibit space.

Adam also spent 11 years as museum director and vice president with the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he elevated its STEM-based learning, career development programming, distance learning and summer camps. Adam served with other museums as well, including the National Museums of Scotland, Lower Methil Heritage Trust and Pendle Heritage Centre.

Adam earned a postgraduate diploma in museum and gallery studies (Awarded With Distinction) from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and a Bachelor of Arts in Modern History (First Class Honors) from the University of Leeds, England. Originally from England, Smith has lived in the United States since 2001 but especially cherishes the time he spent in Wisconsin and is happy to be back in the Midwest.

Chris Flippo

Interim Director of Education

Chris Flippo

Chris Flippo has worked in the nonprofit industry for more than 25 years in education, marketing, fundraising, and program management. Prior to joining Exploration Place, Chris was the Executive Director of East Side Learning Center, St. Paul, MN, a literacy nonprofit dedicated to helping at-risk children learn to read by the end of third grade. Chris joined Exploration Place in 2021 as a Development Officer. Chris visited Exploration Place many times and has fond memories of the Castle and Kansas exhibits with her grandchildren. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Evangel University, Springfield, MO, and a Masters of Arts from William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Chris’ first job after college was as an elementary educator.

Dustin Hendricks

Director of Visitor Services

Dustin Hendricks

Dustin has been a part of the Exploration Place team since before the museum opened. He is a lifelong Wichitan and has more than 20 years of customer service experience. At Exploration Place, he oversees gallery experiences, guest relations, volunteers, facility rentals and the Explore Store. Prior to becoming the director of Visitor Services, Dustin was the visitor services manager for 10 years.

Kent Shank

Chief Financial Officer/Human Resources

Kent Shank

Kent has worked in the museum industry for more than 25 years. He is responsible for the financial and human resource functions of Exploration Place. Kent spent 16 years at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center as vice president of Finance and Human Resources, where he was responsible for the finance and human resource functions as well as many operations functions throughout his career there. Before Exploration Place, he worked for Via Christi Senior Services, Inc. as regional director of finance. Kent received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Kansas State University.

Laura Roddy

Chief Advancement Officer

Laura Roddy

Laura joined Exploration Place in 2021 after five years in a similar role at Mark Arts. She is also a former president of the Junior League of Wichita and has worked as a contributing editor for The Journal of the Kansas Leadership Center, copy editor for the Dallas Morning News and public information officer for the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

Laura earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in communication from Wichita State University. She has been an Exploration Place member since 2006, spending countless hours enjoying the exhibits. Once, as a Girl Scout leader, she and her troop even camped out overnight in the Where Kids Rule exhibit.

Laurel Zhang

Director of Special Projects

Laurel Zhang

Laurel has worked in the education field for more than 20 years. She oversees the development, delivery, and evaluation of all directed education programs for schools, youth organizations, libraries, after-school programs, birthday parties, camps, preschool classes and more. Laurel joined Exploration Place in 2005 as program coordinator for the education department. Over the years, she has filled many roles at the museum, most recently director of special projects. Laurel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Oklahoma Christian University and a Master of Science in Management from Friends University.

Victoria Mitchell

Director of Exhibits and Programming

Victoria Mitchell

Victoria joined Exploration Place in 2014 and worked in the Education Department for more than seven years before being promoted into her current role. She has participated in a wide variety of projects and programs, including the epic Rube Goldberg Machine that launched the museum’s reopening in July 2020. Her role as director of Exhibits and Programming includes overseeing new special exhibits, floor programs, Live Science Shows, movies in The Dome and special programs.

Victoria graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2012 from Southwestern College. She is a Wichita native, having graduated from Wichita North High school in 2008. She participated in Wichita’s Finest Heroes 2019 and is an active member in W Young Pros.

Executive Committee

  • Patrick Goebel, Chair – President & COO, Star Lumber & Supply
    Patrick Goebel, Chair
    President and COO, Star Lumber & Supply
  • Gayle Malone, Vice Chair – Community Volunteer
    Gayle Malone, Vice Chair
    Community Volunteer
  • Richard Holt, Treasurer – Chief Investment Officer, IMA Wealth, Inc
    Richard Holt, Treasurer
    Chief Investment Officer, IMA Wealth, Inc.
  • Linda Davison, Secretary – Founder, Seeders, Inc
    Linda Davison, Secretary
    Founder, Seeders, Inc.
  • Patrick Tuttle, Immediate Past Chair – Chief Operations Officer, Delta Dental Of Kansas
    Patrick Tuttle, Immediate Past Chair
    Chief Operations Officer, Delta Dental of Kansas
  • Matt Goodson, At Large – Owner Mighty Dog Roofing Of Wichita
    Matt Goodson, At Large
    Owner Mighty Dog Roofing of Wichita
  • Mindy McPheeters_Executive Board Member at Exploration Place
    Mindy McPheeters, At Large
    General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Spirit AeroSystems

Board of Trustees

  • Amy Seery, MD Pediatrician, Ascension Via Christi
    Amy Seery, MD
    Pediatrician, Ascension Via Christi
  • Brandon Johnson City Council – City Representative, City Of Wichita
    Brandon Johnson
    City Council - City Representative, City of Wichita
  • Brian M Pate, MD, FHM FAAP Professor And Chair, Department Of Pediatrics, University Of Kansas School Of Medicine Wichita
    Brian M Pate, MD, FHM FAAP
    Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita
  • DarrenWheeler (2)
    Darren Wheeler
    Director of Field Operations, COX Communications
  • Dyane Smokorowski Head Of Digital Literacy USD 259
    Dyane Smokorowski
    Head of Digital Literacy- USD 259
  • Jane Shaw Owner, Shaw Health And Wellness
    Jane Shaw
    Owner, Shaw Health and Wellness
  • Jason Neal Director – Experimental Operations, Textron Aviation
    Jason Neal
    Director - Experimental Operations, Textron Aviation
  • Jeff Beasley Retired Vice President, Customer Care, Evergy, Inc
    Jeff Beasley
    Retired, Vice President, Customer Operations, Evergy, Inc.
  • Jennifer Hitschmann BKD – Partner
    Jenifer Hitschmann
    Forvis - Partner
  • Lisa Clark Wesley Healthcare – Vice President Human Resources
    Lisa Clark
    Wesley Healthcare - Vice President Human Resources
  • Patty Koehler President & CEO, JR Custom Metal
    Patty Koehler
    President & CEO, JR Custom Metal
  • Phil Frick Honorary Trustee
    Phil Frick
    Honorary Trustee
  • Raymond Dondlinger VP Operations, Dondlinger Construction
    Raymond Dondlinger
    VP Operations, Dondlinger Construction
  • Sara Garrison Community Volunteer
    Sara Garrison
    Community Volunteer
  • Sarah Lopez Sedgwick County Commissioner – Sedgwick County
    Sarah Lopez
    Sedgwick County Commissioner - Sedgwick County
  • Sheree Utash National Center For Aviation Training
    Sheree Utash
    National Center for Aviation Training
  • Sherii Farmer Senior Community Relations Manager, Evergy
    Sherii Farmer
    Senior Community Relations Manager, Evergy
  • Susan Skibba Honorary Trustee
    Susan Skibba
    Honorary Trustee
  • Tim Kaufman Deputy County Manager, Sedgwick County, County Representative
    Tim Kaufman
    Deputy County Manager, Sedgwick County, County Representative
  • Tom Stolz County Manager, Sedgwick County, County Representative
    Tom Stolz
    County Manager, Sedgwick County, County Representative