David Redfern

President
Exploration Place

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What makes Wichita a great place to live?

There are so many great things about Wichita and living and working here has been packed full of blessing for my family and me. One thing I especially enjoy about Wichita is its strong locally-driven presence. While we have a great mix of local, national and international businesses, we have a strong base of locally-owned businesses that offer added flair and flavor to our community. To celebrate these local hot spots, we created an exclusive program within our hotels called Gold Cap. With Gold Cap, visitors get to experience special offerings from some of the best local restaurants and entertainment venues Wichita has to offer. This is such a great community and the people here are one-of-a-kind, which is why we’ve always started all of our hotel brands in Wichita!

What is the biggest challenge or opportunity for our community in 2016?

In recent years, the number of people living downtown has been steadily growing. The number of apartments, condos and corporate living facilities available for this growing population has increased as well, and the range of options available to renters has never been better. One challenge that exists is the need for additional businesses that cater to the people who live downtown. Other cities our size have been successful in establishing strong downtown communities. We have to continue our focus on attracting younger people to live downtown, and increase the base of businesses that provide the needed services and we, too, will enjoy a vibrant downtown community.

What would you tell a person who is considering moving to Wichita?

After you move here, you will not want to leave! My wife, Jing, and I moved here 20 years ago after first living ten years in California, followed by a short time in Florida. One thing that immediately struck us upon moving here was that this is a community with a strong focus on relationships, connection, and taking care of each other. We have had the pleasure of raising our three children here, Miles (19); Savannah (17); and Luke (15); and Wichita is home to us. Admittedly, from a business perspective, getting people to relocate here for work has not always been an easy sell, but once they are here and begin to settle in and connect, people tend to fall in love with Wichita just like we did.

Who is someone locally that has influenced you?

Wendell Skinner, our company Chaplain. He joined our team providing faith-based services to our employees when we opened WaterWalk Hotel Apartments in September of 2014. His influence has been enormous as he daily demonstrates kindness, compassion, empathy, spirituality and generosity to me, our team, and our guests within our three Wichita properties. He has an incredible presence about him that exudes Godliness, peace and love. He also has a background in social work and has shown a direct way of providing faith, hope, encouragement and resources to all of us while generously making himself available to us 24/7. Having a Chaplain on staff shows our employees how much we care about them and that our care goes beyond their job responsibilities. Wendell is always there for us with open arms and is a treasured member of our work family!

How long have you lived in Wichita?

20 Years.

What is the first thing you would show a visitor to Wichita?

Exploration Place