An Ottawa economic leader recently was tapped to serve on a state wellness committee.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has appointed John Coen, Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, to serve on the Sunflower Foundation Community Advisory Committee.  

“I’m always willing to serve in a capacity that has the potential to help the community,” Coen said Wednesday. “It seemed like a great opportunity to get involved. ... It’s a very important organization that works to improve [Kansans’] health. It’s a worthy cause, and I’m honored that he thought of me.”

Coen, who previously worked under then-state Sen. Schmidt from 2006 to 2008 as a special assistant, said he has yet to begin work on the committee, which conducts quarterly meetings. Along with Coen, Schmidt called on Terry Presta, Overland Park, and Dr. Donna Thomas, Mission Hills, to serve the group.

“These three individuals share a strong commitment to the health of our Kansas communities,” Schmidt said in a release. “I am grateful they have agreed to serve Kansas on this important advisory committee.”

Founded in 2000, the Sunflower Foundation was formed to support work that improves the health of Kansans through grant programs, awards and other related activities, the release said.

The advisory committee nominates candidates to serve on the foundation’s board of trustees, the release said, and acts in an advisory role to it as well.

Before taking his post at the chamber office, Coen was an agriculture and commercial loan officer at Ottawa’s Kansas State Bank. A former dairyman, Coen also serves on the Ransom Memorial Hospital board, the Ottawa University Board of Trustees and previously served on the Ottawa school board.