Skip Navigation


Virtual Job Fair to Highlight Hundreds of State Agency Opportunities Jobseekers are encouraged to attend the upcoming State of Kansas Agencies Virtual Job Fair from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 27. This month’s virtual fair, hosted by KANSASWORKS, will feature many exciting employment opportunities available across the state’s 98 government agencies. Currently, there are more than 700 vacancies across the state. Governor Kelly Travels to Japan, South Korea to Create More Jobs for Kansans This week, Governor Laura Kelly traveled to Japan and South Korea to participate in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA/JMWA) Conference. While there, she met with business leaders to continue building on Kansas’ historic economic development success and create new job opportunities for Kansas workers. Kansas Commerce Department Hires New International Director Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland announced today Laura Lombard has been named the agency’s new International Director. Lombard brings 15 years of experience in international relations and business development to the position, most recently serving as President and CEO of Kansas Global Trade Services in Wichita. Governor Kelly Announces Funding to Grow Small Business Exports Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded $200,000 to the Kansas Department of Commerce to expand the state’s robust export sector, which hit an all-time high of $13.97 billion in 2022. The agency’s International Division oversees the administration of the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) award, enabling eligible businesses to leverage these funds for conducting focused activities that promote export growth. View All


Business Regions Made in Kansas Our Department Publications Initiatives & Incentives Transparency Database About Us Notices Contact


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.

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.

Mike Beene

Assistant Secretary of Commerce

Mike Beene serves as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce, overseeing Workforce Services, Human Resources, Building Services and Workforce AID for the Kansas Department of Commerce. Beene started with the agency in January 2007 as a Regional Director in Southeast Kansas (Workforce Services Division). His duties include oversight of all federal workforce programs and grants, in addition to the 23 workforce centers located across the state.

Beene received a Master’s degree in Education from Kansas State University. Prior to his career with the Department of Commerce, he was an educator and administrator in both secondary and postsecondary institutions in Kansas.

Bridgette Jobe


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. 

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.

Sandy Brown

Director of Human Resources

Sandy Brown joined the Department of Commerce in 2004 as a Human Resource Professional.

Before joining Kansas Commerce, she served as a Human Resource Professional with Kansas Department of Human Resources. Previously, she served as JTPA Case Manager in Emporia. She studied business at Wichita State University.

Kelsey Haile

Operations and Logistics Coordinator

Kelsey Haile serves as the Operations and Logistics Coordinator for the Lt. Governor and Secretary of Commerce.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Wichita State University and is currently earning her Masters of Public Administration. Kelsey has served in various economic development roles and interned with the Kansas Department of Commerce in 2021.

Matt Godinez

Director of Performance and Programming

Matt Godinez is the Director of Performance and Programming. In this role, Matt takes an organization-wide view to improve and streamline programs throughout the Department of Commerce, develop metrics to gauge the results of programming and engage with external stakeholders. He assists in continual development and monitoring of the department’s strategic plan, process improvement, customer service and agency priority goals.

Matt previously served as the Executive Director of the Chanute Regional Development Authority and the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission. Matt has been named one of the Top 50 Economic Developers in North America, Top 40 under 40 in Economic Development and Leadership Kansas Class of 2019. In 2022, Matt received his Master Economic Development Practitioner designation from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Jim Haugh

Chief Information Officer

Jim Haugh joined Commerce in December of 2016 as the Chief Information Officer. Prior to Commerce, Haugh was a Cloud Services Architect for the State of Kansas.

Haugh spent more than seven years at the Kansas Department of Transportation beginning as a System Software Analyst and leaving KDOT as the Enterprise Platform Support Supervisor. In 1992, Haugh earned his B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Missouri Western University.

Nadira Hazim-Patrick

Assistant Secretary

Nadira Hazim-Patrick serves as the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Commerce. She manages the recruitment team and in-state business teams within the Business Development Division. Nadira directs and aligns teams to recruit new businesses to Kansas while continuing the growth and retention of existing business.   

Nadira joined the Commerce team in 2002 as field staff for the Community Development Block Grant Program and has over 30 years of experience in state government.  Most recently, Nadira led the Business Finance Team which includes oversight and compliance of our statewide incentive programs.    

Nadira holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State University.  

Patrick Lowry

Director of Marketing and Communications

Patrick Lowry joined the Department of Commerce team in June 2022. He helps promote the best Kansas has to offer with the purpose of enticing new businesses into the state and retaining existing businesses.

A long-time newspaper editor and publisher, Lowry also has led marketing/communications efforts at the Kansas Health Institute and the Community Care Network of Kansas. He earned his bachelor’s in Journalism and Political Science from Indiana University and an Executive MBA from Benedictine College.

Jade Piros de Carvalho

Director of the Office of Broadband Development

Jade Piros de Carvalho was appointed Director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development (KOBD) in June 2022. The mission of KOBD is to facilitate affordable and reliable high-speed internet service to every Kansan home and business.

Prior to joining the Kansas Department of Commerce, Jade worked in advocacy for rural broadband expansion policy for a private Kansas internet service provider. She also served on the Hutchinson City Council for 10 years, including three terms as Mayor. Jade earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Wichita State University and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Missouri.

Trisha Purdon

Director, Office of Rural Prosperity

Trisha joined Commerce in 2021 as the Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity. Trisha previously held rural economic developer leadership roles in both city and county-levels for over a decade.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare, focusing on public policy, from the University of Kansas (KU). She also earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from KU, concentrating on local government management as a part of the Kansas University City Managers and Trainees Alumni Organization program.  A native of Kansas, she grew up in the small town of Kiowa.

Sherry Rentfro

Chief Fiscal Officer

Sherry Rentfro joined Commerce in June of 2014 as Fiscal Analyst and became the Chief Fiscal Officer in February 2018.

Prior to Commerce, she worked for over 10 years managing the accounting and finances of a non-profit association that serves the telecommunications industry in Kansas. She earned a BBA in Finance from Washburn University and MBA from Baker University.

Kayla Savage

Director, Community Development Division

Kayla Savage is Director of the Community Development Division at the Kansas Department of Commerce. She provides direction for the following Community Development programs: Kansas Main Street, Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, Rural Opportunity Zones, Kansas Angels, Community Service Tax Credits and Community Development Block Grants. She represents Commerce on the Kansas Water Authority and Kansas State Fair Board.

Before coming to Commerce, Kayla spent 14 years in nonprofit management and community development. She earned her BFA in Communications-Public Relations from Emporia State University and Master of Science in Community Development from Kansas State University.

Leisa Shepherd

Executive Assistant to Lieutenant Governor/Secretary of Commerce David Toland

Leisa has been with Commerce since 2019 and oversees scheduling and administrative functions for Lt. Governor/Commerce Secretary Toland. Prior to joining Commerce, she held various administrative roles with prominent Topeka employers including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas and Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center. She also has several years of executive-level administrative experience with an association management/lobbying firm and just prior to joining Commerce, with Topeka Metro. Leisa studied business management at Washburn University and is a proud lifelong Kansan.

Rachel Willis

Director of Legislative Affairs

Rachel Willis earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washburn University, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Communications. She also received a master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in non-profit leadership from the University of Kansas. Rachel has over a decade of experience in educational nonprofit management and most recently was a lobbyist advocating for a variety of interests at small public affairs firm in Topeka.  

Ryan Wills

Special Assistant to Lieutenant Governor Toland

Ryan Wills is the Special Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce, David Toland. Wills previously served as the Manager of Constituent Services and Hospitality Industry Liaison for the Kansas Department of Commerce. He was also a project coordinator on the Back to Business Team where he helped with the administration of Small Business Working Capital Grants. Previous to Commerce, Wills held various management roles within the hospitality, restaurant, and music industries.

Curtis Young

KCAIC Director

Curtis Young serves as Director of the Kansas state arts agency, the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. He leads a team dedicated to supporting, promoting and expanding the role arts and culture play in education, workforce development and community well-being in our state. Prior to joining Commerce, he spent nine years with Florida’s state arts agency, the Florida Division of Arts & Culture. A practicing theatre artist, Curtis holds a B.F.A. in Performance from the University of Memphis and an M.F.A. in Directing from Florida State University.