Meet the Staff

Jan Olson, Executive Director - 816-813-4758

Jan Olson


Jan Olson started as Executive Director for the Association in February 2013. In this position, he oversees the administrative and operational aspects of the Association, along with providing supervision for the Water Patrol. Prior to accepting a full-time position for the Association, he served on the Board of Directors for 6 years (the last three as President.) He has also served on the Board of Adjustments and the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Lake Lotawana. After starting out as a “Joco” he considers himself lucky to have been married to a “Lake Rat” since 1975. Jan and Belinda have been members since 1999. They have three children (Jenny, Jacob and Madeline) and four grandchildren. All of them living close enough to enjoy the Lake frequently.

Before becoming a “Community Organizer” Jan previously was the General Manager of Family Tree Nursery (a local garden center chain) for 35 years and the co-host of a popular radio talk show “The Gard’n Wise Guys.” He claims to have fallen in love with Lake Lotawana one cold and snowy night in January of 1974 (a long story for another time.) Like most everybody else here, he spends his spare time teaching his grandkids to fish, enjoying the Lake and keeping his boat running & dock maintained. He is proud to be a part of this community and hopes to be able to make a difference here.

Laura Smyser, Office Manager - 816-578-4272

Laura Smyser

Laura Smyser


Laura Smyser started as Office Manager for the Association in January 2016. In this role she is responsible for the management of the administrative functions of the office. She manages the 3-person office staff. The office is responsible for ensuring the rules and regulations, bylaws and deeds of restrictions are adhered to and provides information and answer questions for homeowners in positive, helpful manner. Laura also maintains all of the financial aspects of the Association.

She has been a member of the community since 2004 and has been active with the Association since 2006. Prior to her joining the office full time, she served as District #7 Cove Director for many years, served as Treasurer for the Association and managed all the financial aspects for the Association, as a contractor, from 2007 through 2015.

Laura grew up in Chicago, but moved to the Kansas City area in 1978 to start her career at Hallmark cards. She brings many years of business management experience across product development, inventory control and financial management. She worked for multi billion dollars companies to small million dollar companies to help them manage the financial aspects of the company. She still does some contract work to help smaller companies manage their books.

Laura has 2 grown and married children. One son, Rob who lives in Ohio with his wife and 2 children and one daughter, Jessica, who lives in St Louis with her husband and 2 children. She resides with Mike Foglesong in G block at the lake who has 7 grandchildren. Her favorite pastime is to spend time on the water and spend time with her grandchildren. She also loves to travel to tropical places to snorkel or scuba dive.

Connie Buckley, Water Use Enforcement Board Coordinator - 816-578-4272

Connie Buckley

Connie Buckley


Connie started in the Association office in February 2008. She brings a lot of experience to the front office. She serves as the Water Use Coordinator supporting Ron DesCombes, Water Patrol Supervisor, with executing citations and doing the administration for the Water Use Enforcement Board. She also functions as a member coordinator helping with all of the front office functions. This varies from helping homeowners on the phone or who come into the office, to issuing boat and trailer stickers, to updating insurance records, doing mailings, to educating and enforcing the Rules & Regulations and Deed of Restrictions.

She has been a member of the community since 1981. She lives in R block with Russell VanVactor. They travel in their RV when time allows. She has one adult son, Robert. with one granddaughter and 2 grandsons.

Connie grew up in Kansas City, KS and moved to Independence in 1972. She started her career at Monumental Life Insurance Company and worked up to District Cashier in her 13 years with them. In 1981, she joined Yellow Freight in Jonesboro Arkansas and transferred to their corporate office in Overland Park, KS in 1983 working in claims, customer service and corporate revenue accounting. She retired in January 2008 after 25 years of service. Her experience at Yellow Freight has helped her in her current position.

Brandy Murry, Permit Facilitator - 816-578-4272

Brandy Murry


Brandy Murry started as Permit Facilitator for the Association in October 2016. In this role, she coordinates all of the permit requests with the homeowners and contractors, provides the information to the Lake Improvement Board and attends their monthly meeting. She also functions as a member coordinator helping with all of the front office functions. This varies from helping homeowners on the phone or who come into the office, to issuing boat and trailer stickers, to updating rental tables, to maintaining the dock database, to educating and enforcing the Rules & Regulations and Deed of Restrictions.

Brandy worked at Kinderphoto International for 21 years with her last position being Vice President of the traveling division. She worked with Applied Reserve Analysis in the function of ensuring that various Homes Associations were in compliance. This experience transferred over to her current role as Permit Facilitator for the Association.

Brandy grew up in Lee’s Summit, but spent 38 years in California before returning to the Kansas City area in 2016. She lives on acreage in Bates City with her dogs, cats and horses. She is an animal enthusiast. She loves to show her horses in competitions across the country. She also is an equine appraiser and equine facilitator.

Greg Rudder, Operations Manager - 816-564-4629

Greg Rudder started at the Association in September 1999 and serves in the capacity of Operations Manager. He is an integral part of keeping our community running smoothly. His long-term experience working at the lake makes him a resident expert of the Rules and Regulations. Greg personally reviews most of the construction building permits, inspects dock changes and inspects new boats to make sure they are legal for our lake. He supervises the Operations crew of 9 who take care of the common areas around the lake and the lake itself.

Ron DesCombes, Water Patrol - 816-564-8250

Ron DesCombes


Ron DeCombes started at the Association in 1987 and serves in the capacity of Water Patrol Supervisor. He is an integral part of keeping our lake safe! He knows all of the rules and regulations and patrols the lake between Memorial Day and Labor Day. He hires, trains and supervises the Water Patrol staff who are usually interns from CMSU criminal justice program. He knows a lot of the homeowners on the lake and helps them out with boating issues when needed.

Ron has lived in the lake community since 1975 and lives in H block. He has 1 son and spends time with his 3 grandchildren. Ron loves to travel to Mexico during the winter month when he isn’t patrolling the lake.

Ron has been very active in the Kansas City area for quite a long time. He was an elementary school teacher in the Kansas City Missouri school district for 30 years, teacher retiring in 2015. He was a member of the Boy Scouts for 35 years and served as Scout Master for troop #251 for 10 years. He has refereed for high school football for 41 years.

Marilee Magerkurth, Database Coordinator - 816-578-4272

Marilee Magerkurth


Marilee Magerkurth started at the Association in 2017 and serves as Database Coordinator. She has responsibility for the database, as well as the management of the website and our social media presence. She is strong in her role with a background as a Chartered Financial Analyst as well as an MBA in Finance. She came to the Association with varied experience in corporate finance, the U.S. government, and in community volunteerism. She loves all things to do with computers and the analytical, detail-oriented work she does in her role as Database Coordinator as well as the creativity she gets to use in managing the website.

She’s lived full-time at the Lake for 26 years and loves looking at and being in the water, and enjoys supporting her community in her role at the Association. She is married to Fred and has two adult children, Laura and Matt, who grew up at Lotawana.

Association Phone: 816-578-4272
Association Fax: 816-578-4080

Office Hours
Tuesday thru Friday 9am – 4:30pm
Saturday 8am – 12 Noon
Closed Sunday & Monday

janolson@lakelotawana.net – Executive Director

laurasmyser@lakelotawana.net – Office Manager

conniebuckley@lakelotawana.net – Water Use Coordinator

brandymurry@lakelotawana.net – Permit Facilitator

marileemagerkurth@lakelotawana.net – DataBase Coordinator

jennifermorgan@lakelotawana.net – Office Staff