2019 Rural Opportunities Conference Speakers Lt. Governor Rogers Lynn Rogers was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of Kansas on January 14, 2019. Lynn is a businessman, former State Senator, and former Wichita Board of Education president, who has been fighting for Kansas families for decades. Lynn spent over thirty years traveling Kansas as an agriculture banker assisting farmers and ranchers with financial planning and investment. He worked to provide more than $750 million in leasing and financing services to farmers, ranchers, and grain cooperatives. This experience helped him understand the challenges Kansans in rural communities and in the agricultural sector face. In 2001, Lynn was elected to the Wichita USD 259 Board of Education. He worked on behalf of the children and parents in Wichita serving as president or vice-president for seven of those years. Lynn also volunteered on his local Parent Teacher Organization and his local church. Lynn represented the 25th District which includes parts of Wichita from 2017 to 2019. He is a commonsense leader who has a passion for public schools and improving the lives of Kansas families. As Lieutenant Governor, Lynn will head the newly created Office of Rural Prosperity. He will focus on expanding opportunities in rural communities by working with farmers, ranchers, business owners, health professional and communities. Lynn has lived in Wichita for over 30 years with his wife, Kris. They have three adult children – Kyle, Kelsey, and Keegan – all of whom are graduates of Wichita North High School. David Toland, Acting Secretary, Kansas Department of Commerce Prior to joining the team at Commerce Toland was the first CEO of Thrive Allen County, a nonprofit coalition that works to improve quality of life and economic conditions in Allen County, Kansas. A seventh-generation Allen Countian, Toland oversaw the organization in its efforts toward improving healthcare access, healthy lifestyles and economic development in the small, rural Kansas county. Toland previously worked as an appointee of Washington, DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams. During his time in the District, Toland held a variety of positions, including Deputy Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and was later appointed as Chief of Staff in the Office of Planning. Prior to coming to Washington, Toland worked for the city managers of Reno, Nevada and Bonner Springs, Kansas. Patty Clark, Deputy Secretary, Kansas Department of Commerce Alicia Hutchings, Business Recruitment Project Manager, Kansas Department of Commerce Alicia manages site location and business recruitment projects generating from the central and southeast United States. Over the last 11 years with the Kanas Department of Commerce, she has upheld the mission of the state by improving the Kansas economy through both increased job growth and by promoting the assets of Kansas. During her tenure, she has successfully assisted over 300 companies grow or relocate to Kansas, which created over 30,000 jobs and invested over $2.5B of capital investment. Key projects include; Amazon.com, Hostess Brands, LLC, KMT Waterjet Systems, Inc., The Coleman Company, Triumph Structures, Dairy Farmers of America and Kan-Pak, LLC. Alicia holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kansas, is a graduate of Leadership Lawrence, Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and in 2016 she was recognized by Consultant Connect as one of the top 50 economic developers in the nation. Anne Dewvall, Director of Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Programming A member of the NetWork Kansas team since February 2008, Anne serves as the Director of Entrepreneurship Communities and oversees NetWork Kansas' board-certified programs. Anne has strong entrepreneurial roots, having owned three businesses herself in addition to working for numerous entrepreneurs. She is a passionate champion of entrepreneurship at all ages, serving as a BPA volunteer for Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas and coordinator of the NetWork Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge series. Catherine Moyer, General Manager and CEO, Pioneer Communications Pioneer Communications is a telephone and communications company that serves residents and businesses across southwestern Kansas. Catherine currently serves on the CoBank board of directors. Catherine also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Telcom Insurance Group. She is the Chairman of the Kansas Lottery Commission and is the immediate Past Chairman of the Kansas Rural Independent Telecommunications Association. She also sits on the board of the Rural Trust Insurance Company. Bob Dale, Grant County Economic Development Director Bob Wetmore, Executive Co-Director, Great Plains Development, Inc. Imagene Harris, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Impact Investment, NetWork KS Jeff Tucker, Exec. Director, K-State Technology Development Institute Jeff Tucker is the Executive Director of the Technical Development Institute (TDI) at Kansas State University. Tucker is also the volunteer President of the Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations (KARDO). TDI provides a broad range of business and community services and project management resources to both private industry and university researchers to advance the commercial readiness of new products or technologies through K-State. KARDO member agencies across the state provide community development services for cities, counties and regional development organizations in the form of grant writing and technical assistance. Jeff Usher, Senior Program Officer, Kansas Health Foundation Jeff Usher’s responsibilities include working with foundation staff to develop program initiatives. He also provides technical assistance to applicants and grantees, reviews proposals and monitors existing grants. Mr. Usher serves as senior program officer for the Foundation’s leadership, healthy behaviors and growing community philanthropy Initiatives. In the last twenty years he has supervised a portfolio of nearly 800 approved grants totaling more than $170 million to support the mission of improving the health of Kansans. A graduate of Wichita State University, Usher received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1982. He has also been active in several volunteer organizations including the Wichita Health and Wellness Coalition and the Kansas High School Cycling League Development Team. He is an avid cyclist and a grandfather of nine beautiful grandchildren. John Davis, Bush Fellow John Davis is the founder and former Executive Director of Lanesboro Arts in the rural town of Lanesboro, MN. He has more than 30 years of experience with small town and rural creative social change work. He is a national speaker on rural arts issues, risk and innovation. His work has been featured on National Public Radio and broadcast on C-Span; it has also been featured in Corporate Report Magazine, USA Today, The New York Times, and the NBC Today Show. Lisse Regehr, Deputy Director, Thrive Allen County Lisse Regehr is the Deputy Director for Outreach and Advocacy for Thrive Allen County, a nonprofit coalition that works to improve quality of life and economic conditions in Allen County, Kansas. Regehr oversees all aspects of communications at Thrive including social media, website, print and radio and is responsible for Thrive’s statewide rural health advocacy network, Thrive Kansas. Lynne Hinrichsen, State Director, USDA Rural Development Lynne Hinrichsen served the state of Kansas as the Agribusiness Development Director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture for the past four years. Prior to working in the public sector, she owned and operated a professional staffing service for 13 years where she provided human resource consulting services to companies as well as temporary and permanent employment opportunities to people. She has an extensive background in sales, marketing, advertising, management, strategic planning and business development through her career in the staffing, beef cattle and food distribution industries. She remains active in the agricultural industry through membership in the American Angus Association, Kansas Angus Association, American Angus Auxiliary, Kansas Angus Auxiliary, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Kansas Livestock Association. She has served in officer and committee roles within several of these organizations and most recently was the President of the American Angus Auxiliary after serving eight years on the board. Hinrichsen is a graduate of Michigan State University with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Communications. During college she was a member of the livestock, meats and horse judging teams and an active member of the MSU Block and Bridle organization. For over 25 years, Lynne, her husband, Ron and their two children, Cale and Eva, have owned and operated Hinrichsen Ranch, a registered Angus cattle operation in Westmoreland, Kansas. They have built their genetic program through an intensive artificial insemination and embryo transfer program with intent of producing functional, productive cattle with a balanced EPD profile. The ranch annually sells bulls and females in the fall to commercial and seed stock producers. In addition, the family has experience in marketing cattle internationally. The family enjoys successfully exhibiting cattle at the local, state and national levels each year. Marci Penner, Executive Director, Kansas Sampler Foundation Few have done as much for rural Kansas as Marci Penner. As one of her nominators wrote, "there are several small towns in Kansas that still have post offices and grocery stores because of Marci’s advocacy." Marci is the executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation and has spent more than 20 years promoting Kansas, particularly rural Kansas. While recuperating from a serious injury, Marci rode around the state with her father. Those long car rides gave rise to a passion for exploring Kansas, which Marci channeled into the publication of several Kansas travel guides. To research her first travel guide, which is now heralded as the go-to Kansas guide for rural travel, Marci visited every incorporated town in Kansas. She will soon complete—if she hasn’t already—a second trip to all of Kansas’s incorporated towns and the publication of a second edition of her prized guidebook, "The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers." Marci’s love for rural Kansas also led her to create programs to help highlight and sustain those communities. In 1990, Marci started the Kansas Sampler Festival, allowing over 150 communities to show what they have to offer. The three-day festival has moved every other year for the past two decades to towns across the state who compete to host it. Attendance in 2014 and 2015 averaged 12,000 people. She also organized the We Kan! Conference to bring rural communities together to discuss how best to promote themselves and to provide them with the tools to do so. Her influence and advocacy convinced at least one person to use his talents to help rural Kansas, Don Steeples, mayor of Palco, Kansas and professor emeritus of geology, told the Center that "Marci continues to be a source of ideas and inspiration to me as I search for ways to help keep a town of 270 people from becoming a ghost town." Mike Posson, Executive Director, Norton City/County Economic Development Mike Posson is the Executive Director for Norton City/County Economic Development. He is a native of Norton with a degree from K-State in Mechanical Engineering. For 30 years, he served in management roles, including President of a manufacturing and service business in the oil and gas industry. After relocating to Norton in 2013, Mike served as an active volunteer with several local and regional community development resources, including the City/County Economic Development Board, Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center, and Community Foundation. After recently accepting the position of Economic Development Director, Mike is excited to apply his skillsets and passions to help enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in Norton County. Nadine Sigle, Extension Associate, Community Vitality, K-State Research and Extension Randi Tveitaraas Jack, International Business Recruitment Manager, Kansas Department of Commerce Randi Tveitaraas Jack manages the state’s international business recruitment and trade activities. In this role, she oversees the agency’s efforts to assist Kansas companies in expanding their export sales, as well as working to bring international investment to Kansas. In her 30 years with the state, she has worked with companies in Europe, Asia, Canada, and across Kansas in key industry sectors including aviation, bioscience, and renewable energy. She also serves as the agency’s lead for energy development activity, with involvement in the state’s annual energy conference, as well as working with wind farm developers and wind turbine component manufacturers and service providers. Prior to joining the agency, Ms. Tveitaraas Jack worked in international marketing at Storage Technology Corporation, a computer peripherals manufacturer based in Colorado (now owned by Oracle Corporation). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University and an international MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University. She is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and has also studied at the University of Madrid in Spain. Randy Hrabe, Exec. Director, Pioneer County Development Randall Harbe joined the Northwest Kansas Planning & Development Commission/Pioneer Country Development, Inc. in 1988 as a business finance officer, working strictly with small business financing. In 1994, he was promoted to Executive Director of both organizations, a position he has held for 25 years. In 1997, seeing the need for decent affordable housing in northwest Kansas, the organization researched the possibility of becoming a Certified Housing Development Organization. In August of 1998, we received our non-profit status and certification. Since then, NWKHI has constructed 130 “affordable” single family homes or duplexes in northwest Kansas. All in communities of less than 5,000 people. In 2015 and 2016, the NWKHI received the Kansas Ad Astra Award in Excellence in Partnerships and Excellence in Housing Innovation. Born and raised in Plainville, Hrabe has lived his entire life in rural Kansas. After high school, he attended Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kansas on a basketball scholarship and graduated from Fort Hays State University with a bachelors’ degree in Business Administration and minor degrees in Accounting and Production Agriculture. Ron & Laura Martin, Owners, Sew Loved Quilt Shop Laura and Ron Martin live at Elkhart, KS. Ron grew up at Elkhart, Laura grew up on a farm near McCracken, KS. Laura and Ron bought and remodeled a historic building in downtown Elkhart and opened “Sew Loved” Quilt Shop, selling fabric, notions, and other supplies. The store also offers classes for all levels of experience. Rosslyn Schultz, Executive Director, Lucas Grassroots Arts Council Shekinah Bailey, General Field Representative, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Rural Utility Services Mr. Bailey has worked the government for the past 16 year, spending his last 5 year with the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Services. During his time with RUS, he has served as the Northern US General Field Representative Branch Supervisor, Loan Review Technician Specialist, Maine Field Representative and as a member of the Farm Bill Application Assistance Team. He is currently serving as the Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alaska GFR and serves on the RUS Field Advisory Committee. He has also spent the last 3 years working on the committee for the Kansas Broadband Technologies Conference. Stanley Adams, Broadband Program Manager, Kansas Department of Commerce Stan leads state broadband development efforts as Director of Broadband Initiatives at the Department of Commerce. A champion of harnessing broadband technology for economic growth, Stan works with internet service providers and a wide range of broadband stakeholders at the local, state and federal level to foster and promote improved broadband accessibility within the state and drive economic development, job creation, promote innovation and expand markets for Kansas businesses. Steve Radley, President & CEO, NetWork KS Steve Radley is the President and CEO of the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas. Since the launch in March of 2006, the NetWork Kansas partner network has assisted more than 25,000 entrepreneurs by making more than 50,000 referrals. NetWork Kansas has multiple loan programs and a venture fund that have provided loans and investments of more than $40 million to Kansas businesses with total leveraged capital exceeding $400 million. In 2007, NetWork launched the nationally recognized Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership. There are now 60 E-Communities working to create stronger entrepreneurial ecosystems across Kansas. A resident of Wichita, Steve began his career in the private sector as the 28th employee of a technology startup, Brite Voice Systems, which grew from $6 million to more than $175 million. Since then, Steve has co-owned two businesses including a manufactured housing dealership that was sold to the largest manufacturer in the country, Champion Enterprises. Steve serves on advisory councils for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and the College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Fort Hays State University. Steve has an MBA from Wichita State University, an MA in Christian Ministry from Friends University, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Tara Vance, Executive Director, Norton County Community Foundation Tara Vance is the Executive Director of the Norton County Community Foundation. She has worked in community development in various roles over the course of seven years. Bringing multiple agencies together to pool resources for a common goal is a passion and specialty of hers. Tara is a proud graduate of Fort Hays State University with a degree in Organizational Leadership. During Tara’s tenure at the Norton County Community Foundation, the organization has multiplied in fiscal size and community impact, fulfilling the capacity of community convener for many projects and programs. Outside of work, Tara’s passions are home remodel projects, traveling, her friends, and being at the lake. Tara’s favorite job title is “Mom,” a contract she fulfills for 11-year-old Evelyn, a.k.a. “Evie.” Trent Boaldin, President, Epic Touch As President of the EPICTOUCH, Boaldin’s primary role is to grow the company and foster an idea creation environment. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology, Boaldin returned to the company, a family business, and worked alongside his mother and father for twenty-five years. In 2008, he became interested in the content side of telecom, and went to law school to represent up-and-coming artists in copyright disputes. He returned to the company in 2015. According to Boaldin, enabling people to communicate with others and access the information they need to better their lives is his passion. He is honored to work alongside his EPICTOUCH team members as they pursue their desire to grow as individuals and as a company.