Nate Hinkel

Nate Hinkel
Senior Communications Specialist
Department of Transit
City of Wichita, Kansas


During the summer, many kids don’t get the resources schools provide the rest of the year, eg, transportation, a balanced lunch, organized activities, access to education. Life can become harder for a family. Wichita wanted to fill the gap.


From June to August this year, it tested a program open to all children in the city between the ages of seven and 17, called “Say YES! The pilot provided free public transportation through transit buses, free lunches at community centers, free access to public pools, free foot golf (golf with a soccer ball and your feet) at a local golf course, and even a waiver of library fees. 1300 kids participated.

The city was pleased with the program and expects to repeat it next year, broadening its numbers. Nate points out it also helps introduce young people to public services. And that, coordinating with other free summer programs provided by public libraries, community centers, and the like, the cost was minimal.

Lessons Learned

Using a pilot is a great way to show commitment to solving public issues, while being financially prudent. And once a city sees success, it gets confidence to continue and expand it.

Nate’s Background

Grew up in Topeka, bachelor’s in Technology Management from KSU, first job for six and a half years was as an underwriter for aviation insurance. Worked with the state aviation office in public outreach, learned about marketing to niche audiences. Worked for a drone company before coming to Wichita Transit.

Nate’s Job

Finding unique ways to grow ridership for Wichita Transit to partner with the community.

Startling Fact

“I enjoy home brewing. I have a room at home dedicated as a nano brewery.  I get a kick out of creating things. Minute adjustments in ingredients, brewing times, and even water chemistry can dramatically change taste. I enjoy experimenting with each batch.”

Connect with Nate!