Bumgarner named Fla. Baptist Witness editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) -- Kevin Bumgarner, editor in chief of Pacific Business News in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been named executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, the newspaper of the Florida Baptist State Convention now in its 130th year.

Bumgarner, 47, was unanimously elected to the post by the Florida Baptist Witness board of directors Jan. 9 and will begin his duties Feb. 1. He succeeds James A. Smith Sr., who became executive editor and chief spokesman at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., last June. Smith had led the paper since 2001.

Randy Huckabee, chairman of the Witness board and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dade City, said, "I am thrilled how the board has unanimously come together to welcome Kevin Bumgarner as our new executive editor. 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."

Huckabee, who is also the Florida Baptist State Convention's recording secretary, said the board was impressed with Bumgarner's experience and "tremendous work ethic." Bumgarner has demonstrated an "ability to relate to his audience and the needs of his organization," Huckabee said. "We are very blessed to have Kevin leading Florida Baptists in telling the Good News throughout our state and denomination."

Bumgarner said he is "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."

He has led 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, founding editor). He was business editor of The Huntsville Times in Alabama (1997-1998), where he was responsible for the launch of The Times' Sunday business and personal finance sections, and he was on staff at the Wichita Business Journal (1990-1997).

At the Pacific Business News, Bumgarner oversaw the redesign of its print edition and website and implemented a comprehensive social media strategy. Under Bumgarner's leadership, its online presence doubled in the past two years and the print circulation is among the highest in executive-level penetration in any of the American City Business Journals' 43 markets.

Bumgarner has won more than 60 writing and editing awards from various organizations including the 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 since served at various churches including The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas, and Mililani Baptist Church in Mililani, Hawaii.

At the Jan. 9 meeting of the Witness board, Bumgarner told of his upbringing 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 led to advance Kingdom growth through the marketplace.

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

He and his wife Melanie have been married 25 years and have three children: Austin, who is in the U.S. Marine Corps who has returned from a deployment in Afghanistan; Alex, a college student in Hawaii; and Taylor, a high school senior in Hawaii.


Reported by the Florida Baptist Witness (www.goFBW.com), the newspaper of the Florida Baptist State Convention. A Spanish-language translation of this article by the Florida Baptist Witness is available at http://on.gofbw.com/1a7dSAX.

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