|Address||847 S. 9th |
Salina, Kansas 67401, United States
Mar 26, 2013 02:12pm
|Info||Former three-term Salina Mayor Alan Jilka was born and raised in Salina Kansas, graduating from Salina Sacred Heart High School in 1980. His father's family had opened Jilka Furniture in downtown Salina in 1923, whereas his mother's family farmed near Niles, KS. Alan spent his formative years working in the furniture store and spending time on his grandparents farm. In May of 1984 he graduated from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN with a Bachelor's Degree in History. Alan spent the summer prior to his senior year interning in the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Senator Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS). The experience sparked an interest in politics and public service that he has carried forward to the present day. |
Following college graduation Alan moved to Guadalajara, Mexico where he spent a year studying Spanish and teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). The following year he did the same in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this time learning Portuguese.
He returned to the United States in 1986 and lived in Washington, D.C. for a year during which time he worked for U.S. Congressman Dan Glickman (D-KS). In 1987 Alan published an article in the "Notre Dame Magazine," arguing for the creation of a Palestinian state in the Middle East, a proposal which became official U.S. government policy some fifteen years later.
In 1987 Alan entered the private sector and spent two years living in Youngstown, OH, where he worked in sales for a Eudora, KS based company that sold orthopedic medical products to hospital emergency rooms. His territory included seventy hospitals in northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania.
In 1990 Alan returned to graduate school at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. There he earned an MA in Comparative Literature in 1992. The same year he began studies toward a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The following year he continued his studies in Portuguese and Brazilian literature at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the fall of 1994 he studied Spanish literature at the University of Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After finishing the coursework for his PhD Alan returned to Salina at the end of 1995 and joined his family's retail furniture business. In April of 1997 he was elected to the first of three four-year terms on the Salina City Commission. His successful tenure on the City Commission was highlighted by a number of major capital improvement projects. He was the first local elected official to advocate the restoration of the Fox Theatre in downtown Salina. The restored theatre, now called the Stiefel Theatre, reopened in March of 2003 as a performing arts venue and has become a major part of Salina's cultural arts scene. Major drainage projects in south Salina were undertaken during his first term, ending perennial flooding problems in that part of town. The north Ohio Overpass was also constructed during his time on the Commission. And construction on another of his initiatives, a new aquatic park, was underway when he left the Commission. He was also involved, with Salina's congressional delegation, in efforts to remediate environmental contamination from the city's former Air Force Base.
In April of 2009 Alan stepped down from the Salina City Commission after twelve years and three terms as Mayor. He is one of only two individuals in the history of Salina to serve three separate stints as Mayor.