Witness board unanimously elects new editor
Jan 13, 2014

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—The Florida Baptist Witness board of directors voted unanimously Jan. 9 to hire an editor who has held top positions with business-to-business publications and websites. He will be tasked with leading Florida’s 130-year-old state Baptist newspaper into a new era.

Kevin Bumgarner, editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been named executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, the official newspaper of the Florida Baptist State Convention.

Bumgarner, 47, was elected in a specially called meeting of the Florida Baptist Witness board in Jacksonville. He succeeds James A. Smith Sr., who became the seminary editor and chief spokesman at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. last June.

The new editor will begin his duties Feb. 1, according to Randy Huckabee, chairman of the Witness board, and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dade City.

“I am thrilled how the Board has unanimously come together to welcome Kevin Bumgarner as our new executive editor,” Huckabee said. “Kevin is a journalist who brings many years of experience to our organization. He is an outstanding layman who is rooted in Southern Baptist life.”

NEW ERA Kevin Bumgarner, new executive editor of Florida Baptist Witness with his wife, Melanie, and their three children (l-r) Alex, Taylor and Austin. Courtesy photo
Added Bumgarner: “I am looking forward to the opportunity of helping people see how Southern Baptists are making a difference for the Kingdom in the way they worship, work and live their lives.”

Huckabee said the board is impressed with Bumgarner’s experience and “tremendous work ethic.” 

Bumgarner has served as editor-in-chief of the Pacific Business News since 2010, and previously was editor of other newspapers and websites owned by American City Business Journals—Dallas Business Journal (2007-2010) and Triad Business Journal in Greensboro, N.C. (1998-2007). He was business editor of The Huntsville (Ala.) Times (1997-1998) and prior to that was advanced several times at the Wichita Business Journal (1990-1997).

At the Pacific Business News, Bumgarner recently oversaw the redesign of PBN’s print edition and website, and he has implemented a comprehensive social media strategy. Under Bumgarner’s leadership, the news organization also debuted three blogs and saw its online presence double in the past two years. PBN’s print circulation also has among the highest executive-level penetration of any of the company’s 43 markets.

Among his career highlights, Bumgarner served as the founding editor of the Triad Business Journal in 1998 and was responsible for the launch of The Huntsville Times’ Sunday business and personal finance sections prior to that.

Bumgarner is an accomplished journalist, with more than 60 writing and editing awards from organizations including Hawaii Publishers Association, American City Business Journals, North Carolina Press Association, 

Society of American Business Editors & Writers, Society of Professional Journalists, Kansas Press Association and National Newspaper Association.

Ordained as a deacon at Life Community Church in Jamestown, N.C., in 2007, Bumgarner has a long history of ministry as a laymen, and has served at various churches since then including The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas; and Mililani Baptist Church in Mililani, Hawaii, where he currently is a member.

At the board meeting, Bumgarner shared his testimony of being raised in a Christian home. He said while his brother, Bob Bumgarner—lead strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention’s church health group—and others made commitments to vocational ministries, he was previously led to further Kingdom growth in the marketplace. 

Kevin Bumgarner received a bachelor of arts degree from the school of communication at Wichita State University in Kansas in 1988. 

He has been married to Melanie for 25 years. They are parents of Austin, who is in the U.S. Marine Corps and returned from a deployment in Afghanistan in January; Alex, who is a college student in Hawaii; and Taylor, a senior in high school in Hawaii.

Huckabee, who is also the recording secretary of the Florida Baptist State Convention, said he believes Bumgarner has demonstrated an “ability to relate to his audience and the needs of his organization.”  

“We are very blessed to have Kevin leading Florida Baptists in telling the Good News throughout our state and denomination!” Huckabee said.

[With reporting by Joni B. Hannigan, managing editor]

rknepper (1/13/2014)
Thank you, Joni. Great article. Randy Knepper - Randy Knepper, Fleming Island, FL

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