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Meet Alan

When I was a teenager I had a dispute with my dad (not the only one, to be sure) and said I would be happy when I was an adult and didn't have to answer to anyone. He replied that I would always have to answer to someone, for instance, bosses. I said I would start my own business and be the boss. He said, "Alan, then you will be serving your customers or clients." How right he was! I have spent a very rewarding career being of service to others and would now like to serve the residents of north Leawood as their representative on the city council.

My wife, Mary Lou Nolan, and I moved to Leawood in December of 1989, shortly before our daughter, Maura, was born. Attracted by the mature trees, walkable neighborhood, good fire & police protection, and friendly neighbors, it quickly felt like home and has remained so ever since.

I have been the fortunate beneficiary of excellent public infrastructure my entire life: 

  • Outstanding public school education, from Holmes Elementary School in Darien, Connecticut, Ladue High School in St. Louis County, through the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri (I know Mizzou might be a deal-breaker for some of you Jayhawks and Wildcats but, in my defense, I was young and received in-state tuition)
  • SBA guaranteed loans in building, and then expanding, our business
  • Libraries, parks, well-maintained roads, and reliable fire and police protection

Right out of college, two friends and I started a retail store in Columbia, Missouri, serving the college market with custom-decorated (college seals, fraternity & sorority crests, etc.) sportswear, glassware, and jewelry. When Mary Lou, who was to become a long-time reporter and editor for The Kansas City Star, and I decided to move to Kansas City, I expanded our wholesale division, Questmark, drawing on the experience I had gained during summers in college working for a screen-printing company, to supply stores nationwide with printed glassware for collegiate and business customers.

Of course, I wore all the hats necessary to run a small business: Short- and long-term planning & budgeting; supply-chain management; employee relations; putting out fires (mostly figurative - we used very volatile solvents so there was that one time a trash can ignited); and, most importantly, attending to our customers' needs.

In 2001, after 30 years, we sold our building and business and I went to work for Gateway Computers, solving computing and data storage problems for small and medium-size businesses. I learned about supply-chain issues in another industry as well as working in a medium-size company with the complexities of a larger number of co-workers. 

In 2006, missing the physically active nature of my previous business (a portion of most days were spent on the production floor at Questmark), I looked for something with more exercise and found the U. S. Postal Service. There, I enjoyed being outside most of the day delivering mail and getting to serve a really wide variety of customers - the residents of northeast Johnson County - until 2015, when I retired completely.

Since 2015, I have enjoyed playing golf, playing softball, cooking, gardening, traveling, and dining in the many great restaurants in the area as well as watching the professional & collegiate sports teams nearby. In addition, I have volunteered and helped candidates get elected to office. Recently, it was suggested to me that, with my lifetime of serving customers, I should consider running for office myself, which brings me back to the top of this short biography. I spoke of enjoying the many benefits of a good public infrastructure: That doesn't just happen; it is provided by the tax dollars of residents and facilitated by hard-working public employees and conscientious elected officials. I would be honored to have your vote as your representative from Ward 1 and, if elected, promise to be as conscientious in that role serving you as I have been in my career of service to customers.

Paid For by Alan Sunkel for Leawood
Julie Fern, Treasurer
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