Lunda Asmani has traveled a long way to get to his job as assistant city manager and chief financial officer for the city of Newton.
Asmani, who earned a master’s in public administration from Wichita State University in 2002, is originally from Tanzania, East Africa. He grew up in a diplomatic family and was able to travel all over the world as a child.
Despite those advantages, Asmani credits his on-the-job training as a WSU student with his ability to land a successful job.
While at WSU’s Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs, Asmani connected with the university’s Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning program. That connection helped him score two valuable internships: first for the city of Maize and then for the Sedgwick County manager’s office.
He was employed full-time as soon as he graduated.
“I truly believe that my WSU co-op experience bolstered my resume and gave me a leg up on the competition,” Asmani said.
Asmani took the long route to Kansas. From Tanzania, he came to New York City for first grade. Then he moved to Brussels, Belgium, for most of middle school and high school. He went back to Tanzania, where he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Dar Es Salaam.
Hoping for a career in environmental studies, Asmani moved to Wichita in the summer of 1998 and began his Master of Public Administration at WSU in spring 1999.
When he first arrived at Wichita State, Asmani contacted Daisy Kabagarama in the School of Community Affairs. She referred him to Sam Yeager at the Hugo Wall School, and, after a brief discussion, Asmani decided public administration was his future.
“As I went through the Master of Public Administration program, my passion for local government grew,” he said. “Although I had lived in the United States for a number of years, I continued to be intrigued about the democratic process and the role of local governments in everyday lives. I realized that to gain a better understanding of the profession and process I needed some sort of workplace study.”
That desire led to his internships for the city of Maize, where Asmani worked on the city’s comprehensive plan for 30 hours a week for six months.
“This was my first real exposure to local government, and the best part is I was also getting paid,” Asmani said.
In the summer of 2001, he began a management internship in the Sedgwick County manager’s office. Asmani said the county internship is one of the most respected public management internships in the region, and it set him up for his first real job after he graduated, working there for nine years in finance and enterprise planning.
In 2010, Asmani took his current job in Newton, where his responsibilities include investments, budgeting, risk management, accounting and oversight of the human resource functions.
Along with his work in Newton, Asmani has served on several area boards, is involved with the Kansas City/County Managers Association and serves as vice president of the Kansas Government Finance Officers Association.
He has been recognized with the De Vore Foundation’s 2010 Excellence in Public Service Award and was named a 2011 Wichita Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree.