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Lt. Governor Toland Announces Paul Hughes as Deputy Commerce Secretary

Oct 04, 2021

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TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland today announced Paul Hughes as new Deputy Secretary for Business Development for the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Hughes will direct efforts to drive the growth of existing businesses in Kansas and recruit new businesses into the state, with oversight of the Business, Community and International development divisions at the Department of Commerce.

A resident of Prairie Village, Hughes previously served as Executive Vice President at the Arizona Commerce Authority, where he oversaw Arizona’s business development team in areas of workforce development, business attraction, international trade and rural markets. He also has significant experience with startups, as he developed seed-stage companies into high-growth, publicly traded firms.    

“Paul’s impressive and diverse record of success in economic development — and in particular strong job creation and business investment — speaks for itself,” Toland said. “He will hit the ground running in pushing our record-setting business development and recruitment efforts to even greater heights across Kansas.”

Hughes holds an MBA from Arizona State University and an Entrepreneurial Development Program certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. He also is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I’m honored and excited to move into this new role for the Kansas Department of Commerce, and especially for the opportunity to be part of the important economic development resurgence directed by Governor Kelly and Lieutenant Governor Toland,” Hughes said. “I’m keenly aware of Kansas’ ongoing upward trajectory in project successes and eager to work with such an outstanding team on innovative approaches to economic growth that deliver still more good jobs and capital investment in communities across the state.”

Hughes succeeds Bill Murphy, who recently accepted a position as President and CEO of the Ardmore, Okla., Chamber of Commerce. 

“Bill deserves our utmost thanks for his stellar leadership, which helped Kansas achieve record capital investment in 2020 and climb even higher in 2021,” Toland said.

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, nationwide and worldwide. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new business.