By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The city’s new director of marketing and public relations says he has a heart for communities like Enid.
Steve Kime has been named director of marketing and public relations for the city of Enid. He succeeds Becky Hodgen, who took a position in the private sector.
Kime talked with City Manager Eric Benson during the summer and was prepared to start work in September, but underwent two eye surgeries that delayed his start. A native of Perry, Kime said he came to Enid for the Tri-State Music Festival and occasionally while working harvest as a youth. He said his job is to be a liaison between the city and the community, keeping communication lines open.
“Eric has set some tasks for me — basically to find a way to promote the city to Enid residents,” Kime said.
It is easy for someone who has lived in Enid for many years to question why the city needs someone like him, Kime said. However, he said as a newcomer, he can come into the city “with new eyes” and see things in the community that others may overlook. He is the former executive director of Oklahoma Community Institute, a nonprofit group working with communities. Funded by the Legislature, the group goes to communities to help with strategic planning, economic development and other community needs. The Legislature stopped funding for OCI last session.
Previously, he was in broadcasting and worked for Phillips Oil Co. in Bartlesville for 15 years. While at Phillips, he was in corporate training and community relations. He also performed the same job for Dollar and Thrifty car rental companies.
“As a kid in Perry, I hauled hay in the summertime in 110 degree heat. I thought, ‘there’s got to be a better way,’” Kime said.
The common theme in his past jobs always has been media and community relations. He said he is excited about the Enid job.
“I’m convinced I’m not here because things are broken. I’m here to find ways to enhance what’s in place,” Kime said.
As a sideline, Kime also does motivational speaking, which he started in the 1970s while still in broadcasting. He became involved in the professional association and learned how to speak to people, developing his credentials as a public speaker. He has written two books; his newest will be published in March or April. It’s a children’s book titled “Rolling on Route 66,” about a boy who gets a bicycle and becomes involved in a daydream to get on the bike and ride. The book is based on his experiences and the people he met during a cross-state bicycle ride on Route 66 in 2004.
In 2001, Kime ran 397 miles across Oklahoma dressed as Forrest Gump to raise awareness and funding for Special Olympics.
Kime’s salary is $75,000. He said he does not know if he is here for a six-month or a 60-year project. Kime said growing up in Perry, which he left 40 years ago, he understands and appreciates communities like Enid and Perry.
“I have a heart for communities like Perry and Enid. If those communities are successful, the state will be successful,” Kime said. “I really care about communities in the state.”
Kime’s wife Cheryl has a doctorate in educational psychology and teaches at the University of Central Oklahoma. Kime has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s degree in management from Oral Roberts University.