Commissioning Committee

Jeff Longwell – Honorary Chairman

  • Mayor of Wichita, Kansas

Jeffrey Penfield – Chairman

  • 2 star US Navy Admiral
  • Originally from Wichita
  • WSU Graduate
  • LinkedIn

Jeffrey Penfield Bio

Rear Adm. Jeffrey Penfield was commissioned in October 1982 via the Aviation Officer Candidate Program and earned his Navy Wings of Gold in June 1984. His operational assignments include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA 136) as a plankowner, VFA-94 and command of VFA-115. While in command, he deployed on the maiden F/A-18E Super Hornet cruise participating in Operations Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch and the initial combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His shore tour assignments include Training Squadron (VT-23), Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 5, the Super Hornet Fleet Introduction Team and VX-9 where he was the lead operational test director for the F/A-18E/F operational evaluation.


His assignments as an acquisition professional include program manager air (PMA) 265, the F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office; command of PMA-259, the Navy’s Air-to-Air Missile Program Office; command of PMA-268, the Navy Unmanned Combat Aerial System Program Office; and assignment to the Naval Air Systems Command staff working Integration and Interoperability initiatives.


Penfield’s previous flag assignment was commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.


Penfield has over 4,000 flight hours and 750 carrier landings. He has been recognized as the 1995 Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet Pilot of the Year and the National Defense Industrial Association Navy Military Tester of the Year for 1999. He has been awarded the Legion of Merit (two awards), the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Air Medal (six awards, one individual with combat V/five Strike Flight), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards, one with combat V), and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Awards along with various other personal, unit and service medals.

Pat Gallagher – Co-chairman

  • Chamber of Commerce

Russell Horner – Co-chairman

Ward Cook – Executive Director

David Dennis

David Dennis Bio

David T. Dennis and his wife Janet of 47 years, have two sons, David, a teacher at Northwest High School, and Eric, a principal in Conestoga School District, Nebraska. They have five grandchildren, Brittany, Amanda, Devan, William and Elizabeth. David served in the United States Air Force for 29 years and worked his way up through the ranks from Airman to Colonel. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Education from Fort Hays State University and a Masters of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Following his retirement from the Air Force, he returned to school at Wichita State University and obtained his teacher’s license and taught at North High School for 11 years. He was elected to the Kansas State Board of Education in 2008 and served as the chairman for two years. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Boards of Education, and served on the Executive Board of Directors for the Kansas State High School Activities Association. Locally, he served as the Chairman of the District V Advisory Board for eight years and served as a Commissioner on the Wichita and Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission for nine years, he is the president of his homeowner’s association, was a Boy Scout leader for 30 years and recipient of the highest awards a Boy Scout District and Council can present to a volunteer. He is an Eucharistic Minister for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was elected in 2016 to the Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners to represent District 3.

James Hand – Treasurer

Mark Kiefer – Chief Council

Sharon Hamric – Commissioning Committee PAO

Jack Davidson

Megan Lovely

Chuck Gumbert

Wink Hartman II

Scott Bishop

Howard Hutchinson

Herb Duncan

Robert Kennedy

Patty Gnefkow

Bill Nestelroad

John Doswell

Leigh Bellinger

Debbie Luper

Tamera Woods