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Executive Leadership

Kansas Department of Commerce

Governor Laura Kelly

Laura Kelly is the 48th Governor of Kansas. She has made it her life’s mission to fight for Kansas children and families on the job, in her community, as a four-term state senator and as governor.

Kelly has prioritized fully funding public schools, expanding affordable healthcare, reforming the child welfare system and growing the Kansas economy – especially in rural communities – as Governor.

Kelly is ready to bring people together and lead Kansas into the next chapter.

Lieutenant Governor/Secretary of Commerce David Toland

David Toland is the 52nd Lieutenant Governor of the State of Kansas and also serves as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce. A seventh-generation Kansan, Toland was appointed Secretary of Commerce by Governor Laura Kelly in January 2019 and Lieutenant Governor in January 2021.

As Secretary of Commerce Toland has led Governor Kelly’s efforts to transform the state’s economy, directing a top-to-bottom overhaul of the Kansas Department of Commerce. His efforts at Commerce have included rebuilding its in-state, domestic and international business recruitment teams; launching the state’s Office of Broadband Development; re-establishing the Kansas Main Street Program; revitalizing the state’s Registered Apprenticeship program; designing and implementing the Kansas Framework for Growth strategic plan; and shepherding passage of the APEX Megaproject Bill, which gives Kansas one of the most aggressive economic development incentives in the country. Toland also led Governor Kelly’s successful recruitment of the largest private sector investment in Kansas history, Panasonic Energy’s $4 billion Electric Vehicle Battery plant in De Soto.

These efforts have resulted in back-to-back record-breaking years for Kansas economic growth—including 2021, when Kansas had the most private sector investment of any state in the nation on a per capita basis.

Toland has extensive experience in urban and rural economic development, having worked at the local level in both Washington D.C. and in his hometown in Allen County, Kansas. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Kansas.

Paul Hughes

Deputy Secretary for Business Development

Paul Hughes is the Deputy Secretary for Business Development. In this role, Paul directs 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. 

Paul previously served as the Executive Vice President at the Arizona Commerce Authority and oversaw Arizona’s business development team including workforce development, business attraction, international trade, and rural markets. Paul also has experience in the start-up world having developed a seed-company into a high-growth, publicly traded company.  He 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.

Abby Works

Chief of Staff Lieutenant Governor/Secretary of Commerce David Toland

Works earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Kansas State University, majoring in Food Science and Industry with a minor in Business Administration. She also received a master’s degree in Advanced European and International Studies from Centre International de Formation Européenne. Prior to beginning work at the Department of Commerce, Works was an Agribusiness Development Coordinator at the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Bob North

Chief Counsel

Bob North serves as Chief Counsel for the Kansas Department of Commerce. Bob is responsible for Commerce operations and has served as Chief Counsel for Commerce since 2004. He has extensive experience in public financing, bond-funded economic development programs and other economic development incentives. Prior to joining Commerce, he was in private practice.

Bridgette Jobe

Director

Bridgette Jobe is the Director of the Kansas Tourism Division at the Kansas Department of Commerce where she leads a dedicated staff of tourism professionals whose mission is to inspire travel to and throughout Kansas. As Director, she oversees the state’s marketing to visitors, the publication of KANSAS! Magazine, the Kansas Agritourism program, and the Kansas Byways program. 

Bridgette joined Kansas Tourism in 2019.  Previously, she spent over twenty-one years with the Kansas City Kansas Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is a past president of the Travel Industry Association of Kansas and served as chairman of the Kansas Governor’s Council on Travel and Tourism.  Bridgette is a life-long Kansan and an Original Dotte. 

Kansas Commerce Leadership Team

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