This week, we celebrated the 159th Birthday of our great state. We have so much to be proud of after 159 years of history. And yet, we still have so much to look forward to on the horizon here in Kansas.
Since being appointed by Governor Kelly, a large portion of my first year as Secretary was spent on the road, traveling our state to connect with the business and community leaders who work every day to make our state a better place to live, learn and work.
My trips across Kansas have taken me far and wide across our geographically-large and economically-diverse state. And many of the places I spent time had not been visited by state officials in far too long. That is no way to run a railroad.
Our work to grow Kansas does not happen in a vacuum. We must work in collaboration and partnership with individuals, businesses, community groups and other public-private partnerships across the state to form networks that foster growth.
In my visits, I’ve hoped to convey to these networks that the Department of Commerce is a willing and engaged partner in their efforts to build a better state.
I had the opportunity to tour some of our state’s largest employers and most innovative companies as well as small companies and local shops. I’m continually amazed by the work happening at these Kansas businesses. And I’ve learned so much about these companies, their operations and successes in our state, their concerns for our future and the ways our agency can help them elevate their impact and foster continued growth for Kansas.
In my Twitter wrap-up to last year, I shared some reflection posts and pictures from my travels using the hashtag #TolandTravels2019. I hope you’ll take a look at some of these tweets and stay tuned throughout the year for more #TolandTravels.
It’s been such a joy to travel the state, and I’m grateful to all the Kansans I had the opportunity to meet over the past year. I look forward to continuing this into 2020 and beyond.
As our agency works hard to get back to “Best in Class” and establish a Framework for Growth that will create pathways to prosperity for all Kansans, it will require deep engagement with businesses and communities—both large and small—all across Kansas to identify opportunities, address challenges and breathe new economic vigor into our state.
It is critical that we continue showing up across the state and listening to Kansans. Together, we can set priorities based on our shared goals and create lasting, sustainable momentum around a true Kansas plan for GROWTH.
Our state was built by men and women with big ideas—innovators, risk takers, free thinkers.
So, on this 159th Birthday of our state, we celebrate our history of progress and look forward to a bright future on our way to the stars.
Ad Astra Per Aspera,