By Gene Meyer
TOPEKA, Kan. – Sixteen Kansas business executives were picked Wednesday to serve on a newly created Kansas Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced the appointments shortly a signing an executive order creating the new council, which replaces the 17 members of Kansas Inc., an economic development agency that legislators created in 1986.
The new group, which may include as many as 20 members all appointed by the governor, will have three main responsibilities, administration officials said – coordinating strategic planning and economic development efforts already underway in the state, evaluating policies and the performances of agencies making those efforts, and generally researching topics such as the state’s basic industries, its competiveness and tax structure.
That is a different assignment than the one originally given Kansas Inc., whose board members were chosen by legislative and executive branch leaders, the state board of regents, labor and business owners, to develop strategic economic development plans for the state.
The economic advisors named Wednesday include Patti Bossert, owner of Key Staffing, a Topeka temporary help enterprise, who also served as Kansas Inc.’s vice chair; Jody Horner, chief executive of Cargill Meat Solutions in Wichita, a major supplier of case-ready meats in the U.S.; Gerry O’Shaunghnessy, a Wichita oil executive and head of Lario Enterprises; Ivan Crossland, a Columbus construction company executive and longtime advocate of educational reform in Kansas;
Cliff Illig, vice chair and cofounder of Cerner Corp., a global supplier of software and computer systems to medical services providers; Bob Wheeler, retired chief executive of Hills Pet Nutrition, in Topkea; Patty Koehler, chief executive of JR Custom Metals, a Wichita specialty products maker, and director of the Wichita Independent Business Assocaiton; Jim Lewis, co-owner of a group of auto dealerships and other businesses in Kansas and Minnesota; David Murfin, president of Murfin Drilling Inc., a diversified energy company in Wichita;
Larry Sevier, chief executive of Nex-Tech Wireless in Lenora, which helps provide broadband service to western Kansas; Dan Tasset, a founder of Nueterra Cos., a Leawood company that develops medical services facilities; Bob Page, chief executive of the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City; Jan Lyons, a Manhattan rancher and National Cattlemens Beef Association executive; Steve Ortiz, tribal chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Mayetta; Larry Jones, a Finney County cattle company executive and county commissioner in Holcomb, and Jeff Turner, chief executive of Spirit AeroSystems, in Wichita.
Separately,the National Governors Association announced Brownback also will be chairman this year of the group’s economic development committee, which also is undertaking a new initiative to help individual states ramp up economic development and entrepreneurial activity within their borders.