StaffInspiring a Deeper Interest in Science and Technology

Through interactive exhibits and engaging programs, Exploration Staff inspire the next generation of scientists, inventors and innovators. Meet the passionate individuals behind the magic of discovery!

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.

Kent Shank

Executive Vice President

Kent Shank

Kent has worked in the museum industry for more than 32 years, including more than 16 years at Exploration Place. He is responsible for the financial and human resource functions of the museum. 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

Vice President for Advancement

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.

Chris Flippo

Senior 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.

Ashlie Brockleman

Director of Retail Operations

Ashlie Brockleman

Ashlie is a passionate and accomplished individual who serves as the Director of Retail Operations. With a background in business management, customer service and a deep appreciation for fostering creativity in young minds, Ashlie joined Exploration Place in 2017.

As the Director of Retail Operations, Ashlie continues to make a profound impact, leaving an enduring legacy that inspires both colleagues and visitors to embrace the marvels of science and technology with curiosity and excitement. Her nurturing and compassionate nature make her a valued leader, empowering her team to deliver memorable experiences for visitors patrons alike.

Married and proud mother of three daughters, Ashlie also embraces her role as a devoted Dog Mom to her furry companions. When she is not supporting the organization, Ashlie enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends as well as indulging in outdoor activities.

Ashlie is a proud graduate from Derby High School and serves her community by having a seat on the Citizens Advisory Board for Sedgwick County.

Brooke Rowzee

Director of Exhibits

Brooke Rowzee

Brooke joined Exploration Place in 2021 after 10 years working in New York City. She has over a decade of experience in stage management, attraction management, and guest experiences. Prior to joining Exploration Place, Brooke worked at esteemed institutions like the Santa Fe Opera, Juilliard, Wicked: the Musical, the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey and had the privilege of being Kathy Najimy’s personal assistant. She achieved a remarkable feat as the manager of two cutting-edge attractions, the Vessel and Edge at Hudson Yards, where she spearheaded the development of operational procedures, training programs, and guest experience processes.

Brooke’s passion for science ignited during her time as the Associate Director of New Jersey’s Field Station: Dinosaurs. This passion led her to dinosaur excavations with paleontologists and volunteering as a Fossil Explainer at the prestigious American Museum of Natural History. As Director of Exhibits, she will channel her passion for science to create memorable guest experiences through captivating, fun, and educational exhibits at Exploration Place.

Brooke earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance at Southwestern College in Winfield, KS.

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 25 years of customer service experience. At Exploration Place, he oversees gallery interaction and guest experiences. Prior to becoming the director of Visitor Services, Dustin was the Visitor Services Manager for 10 years.

Erin Manning, MBA

Director of Marketing and Special Events

Erin Manning, MBA

Erin joined the Exploration Place team as Marketing Manager in July of 2021 and was promoted to Director in 2023. She is responsible for Exploration Place’s website, social media accounts, email marketing, digital ads and overall marketing strategy. Her love for events and guest experiences also lead to her involvement in many sell-out events and the eventual addition of overseeing special events designed and executed by Exploration Place.

  • 2023 Marketer of the Year by the Wichita chapter of the American Marketing Association
  • 2020 Women who Lead in Marketing by the Wichita Business Journal
  • 2019 Women in Business by the Wichita Business Journal
  • 2017 40 Under 40 by the Wichita Business Journal
  • 2016 Leadership Class through the Young Professionals of Wichita, now known as W.

Her dedication and talent have earned her multiple awards for her exceptional contributions to various marketing projects, in addition to those listed above.

Erin holds a Bachelors of Business Association in Marketing from Wichita State University and a Masters of Business Association from Friends University.

Victoria Mitchell

Director of Facilities and Grounds

Victoria Mitchell

Victoria joined Exploration Place in 2014 as an educator and worked in the Education Department for more than seven years. During that time, she participated in a wide variety of projects, including initiating the digital pivot during the 2020 shut down and the epic Rube Goldberg Machine that launched the museum’s reopening in July that same year. Her past role as Director of Exhibits and Programs included overseeing new special exhibits, floor programs, Live Science Shows, movies in The Dome and special programs. As the Director of Facilities and Grounds, Victoria is managing the design and development of Exploration Place’s newly announced outdoor expansion.

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, graduated from Leadership Academy in 2022 and is an active member in W Young Pros.

Staff by Department

Development and Membership
  • Sarah Buie, Membership and Donor Relations Coordinator

    Jennifer Clark, Development Officer

    Kimberly Cronister, Campaign Director

    Mary Hengel, Member Services Associate

    Amelia Richter, Process Improvement Manager

Marketing and Special Events
  • Conley Brown, Graphics and Exhibits Designer

    Jessica Compton, Special Events Manager

    Alan Cook, Graphics Manager

    Nate Jones, Multimedia Specialist

Exhibits
  • Kai Thomas, Exhibit Project Coordinator

Education, Camps and Programs
  • Erica Gaither, Outreach Education Manager

    Nicole Johnson, Education Logistics Manager

    Natalie Kuhn, Live Science Show Performer

    Ron Mallory, Live Science Show Performer

    A.J. Moll, Live Science Show Performer

    Jessica Nickel, Program Manager

    Emma Schinstock, Live Science Show Performer

    Dana Smith, KASS Elementary Educator

    Jose Vigil, KASS Elementary Educator

    Denzal Zarinelli, Floor Programs Coordinator

    Outreach Education Coordinator [APPLY NOW]

    Camp Program Manager [APPLY NOW]

    Travel Camp Coordinator [APPLY NOW]

Facilities and Grounds
  • Brian Adams, Custodial Associate

    Rudy Arellano, Custodial Associate

    Jeremy Dawkins, Exhibits & Facilities Tech

    Iris Glenn, Custodial Associate

    Scott Hopper, Exhibits & Facilities Tech

    Nathaniel Lehman, Custodial Supervisor

    Keith Pyle, Exhibits & Facilities Manager

    Tim Robu, Exhibits & Facilities Tech

    Stacy Smith, Groundskeeper

Visitor Services, Rentals and Retail
  • Neva Benton, Hospitality Manager

    Jaivon Ballard, Visitor Services Associate

    Megan Bigelow, Visitor Services Associate

    Ann Blick, Retail Manager

    Julian Blick, Event Associate

    Kayley Brown, Visitor Services Associate

    Nathan Bruyere, Visitor Services Associate

    Holly Drury, Visitor Services Associate

    Patrick Dupuis, Visitor Services Supervisor

    Hailey Evans, Visitor Services Associate

    Kelsey Gudenkauf, Visitor Services Associate

    Jennifer Hawkins, Visitor Services Associate

    Stephen Hileman, Visitor Services Associate

    Finnley Irvin, Visitor Services Associate

    Annamaris Landaverde, Visitor Services Associate

    Veanna Lytle, Visitor Services Supervisor

    Dianne Mackie, Retail Associate

    Rachel Maddox, Visitor Services Associate

    Kay Manning,  Visitor Services Associate

    Madeline Rankin,  Visitor Services Associate

    Bethany Solter,  Visitor Services Associate

    Roland Vogt,  Visitor Services Associate

    Sabrina Watie,  Visitor Services Associate

Accounting, IT and Administrative
  • Melanie Emond, Accounting Assistant

    Kathy Frimel, Human Resources Manager

    Kristy Henderson, Accounting Manager

    Dina Potter, Executive Assistant

    Sai Powers, Volunteer Manager

    Ian Wentling, IT Manager

    Jael Wilde, IT Support Technician