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Department of Commerce strengthens team with new Deputy Secretary and Community Development Director

Jul 14, 2020

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TOPEKA – Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland today announced the hiring of two economic development professionals to help direct business and community development efforts for the state.

William (Bill) Murphy will become the new Deputy Secretary for Business Development at Commerce, directing efforts to drive the growth of existing businesses in Kansas and recruit new businesses into the state. He will oversee the Business, Community and International development divisions, as well as the Bioscience/Technology and Marketing and Communications divisions.

With more than two decades of experience in economic development leadership roles, Murphy currently serves as senior vice president of economic development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He previously worked as executive vice president of economic development for the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and before that held various economic development roles in Ohio and Maryland. He also worked in the energy sector in Ohio.

“Bill will be a tremendous asset for Commerce and Kansas in this very critical role,” Toland said. “He has a strong record facilitating job creation and capital investment, and his expertise and experience in economic development for markets of all sizes will be instrumental as we continue to work on a statewide, national and international approach to growth in Kansas.”

Murphy earned a Master of Urban/Public Administration degree and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Magna Cum Laude) from Wright State University. He also completed various economic development-related certifications and training.

“I’m thrilled to join the Commerce team that is leading the state’s economic comeback at this critical juncture,” Murphy said. “Kansas is very well positioned to return to a posture of aggressive growth, and to seize opportunities created by COVID-19, which is why I’m eager to get to work with Governor Kelly, Secretary Toland and businesses and communities statewide.”

Toland also announced the hiring of Kayla Savage to lead the newly established Community Development Division.

As director of Commerce’s Community Development Division, Savage oversees the Community Development Block Grant program, the Community Service Tax Credit program, Rural Opportunity Zones and Kansas Main Street, which was relaunched in December 2019. Her role also includes partnering with the Office of Rural Prosperity to ensure that rural Kansans have the tools and skills necessary to create thriving, resilient communities.

“Kayla is bright, creative and a natural collaborator,” Toland said. “She’s helping Commerce ensure that all Kansas towns can have the resources and tools they need to create vibrant communities.”

Savage previously was program coordinator and assistant director for the community education unit of Global Campus, and before that served as executive director of the Main Street program in Emporia, Kansas.

She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication, Public Relations and Business from Emporia State University and Master of Science in Community Development from Kansas State University.

“It’s an honor to be part of this vital effort to help communities across Kansas connect with the tools they need to move forward and prosper,” Savage said. “Our team will be innovative and visionary in partnering with communities of all sizes and geographic locations during this very critical time, and beyond.”

For more information on Commerce’s Business and Community Development divisions and other programs, visit