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Department of Commerce announces two new hires

Apr 01, 2021

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TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland today announced the addition of two new key hires at the Kansas Department of Commerce to better serve and respond to the needs of Kansas businesses.

Ryan Wills has been named Manager of Constituent Services and Hospitality Industry Liaison in the Office of the Secretary. In this role Wills works with businesses and residents to eliminate obstacles, and will be responsible for establishing and monitoring customer service standards for the agency.

Wills’ role as Hospitality Industry Liaison represents the first position at the Department of Commerce dedicated to supporting the hospitality industry. This new position was created as part of the Department of Commerce’s Back to Business initiatives, specifically in response to challenges faced by the hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wills has assisted Commerce since November as a member of the Back to Business team helping to facilitate the Supporting People Across Kansas (SPARK) grant program. Prior to Commerce, Wills’ career was in the music, hotel and restaurant industries, and he previously served as General Manager of the RowHouse Restaurant in Topeka.

“Ryan has been a tremendous asset to our Back to Business team, and I know he will serve our state well in this dual role,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary Toland said. “Ryan’s new duties reflect our Department’s dedication to transparency and effective communication with the people of Kansas and our commitment to being a strong partner to the hospitality industry. His firsthand experience in the hospitality industry will be key to addressing the needs of this significant sector of the Kansas economy.”

Toland also announced the hiring of Kirstin Hadel as the Department of Commerce’s new Marketing Manager.

In this position, Hadel will oversee numerous marketing functions for the state’s lead economic development agency, including print and digital product design, website maintenance, social media and other marketing strategies.

“From day one, I’ve focused on making sure Commerce is telling our story effectively – a function that depends heavily on marketing and communications,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary Toland said. “Kirstin brings a wealth of private sector experience in marketing and communications with her to Commerce. I look forward to her efforts to help us do even more to spotlight Kansas as the best place in the nation to do business.”

Hadel previously worked in marketing and communications as Community Relations Specialist at AMC Theatres, and prior to that as Senior Manager for Diversity and Inclusion for Sprint, which included her work for Sprint on Leadership Development Programs.

“I’m beyond excited to join the incredible team at Commerce and help tell the story of Kansas to the world,” Hadel said. “The Department of Commerce is doing amazing work for Kansas businesses and communities, and I can’t wait to help in every way I can.”

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses.