Wichita — A group of economic advisers assembled by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will operate as a board of directors for economic development in the state, the Republican said during a news conference Wednesday.
Brownback signed an executive order in Wichita establishing the council, which he will chair.
"The economic future of Kansas depends on the growth of existing businesses and the development of new industries," Brownback said. "Economic competitiveness requires a detailed understanding of regional, national and international conditions and trends."
The governor said the group will work closely with him to assure strategy integration, coordination and accountability across all of the state's economic development entities and agencies. Those would include the ones for commerce, agriculture, transportation, revenue, labor and the Bioscience Authority, he said.
The council will be asked to coordinate strategic planning and economic development. It also is expected to evaluate state policies and agency performance as well as conduct research on topics such as tax competitiveness and regulations.
Brownback said his new council is the successor to Kansas Inc., an independent economic development research agency that was abolished in the reorganization after he took office. Unlike Kansas Inc., the new economic council will work in conjunction with the administration rather than separately from it. The former independent group did good economic work, but nobody picked it up, Brownback said.
The council will put so-called benchmarks for the various entities it oversees.
His economic council will have up to 20 members from the various industries in the state.
Brownback announced the first 16 members at a news conference: Patti Bossert, Key Staffing, Topeka; Ivan Crossland, Crossland Construction, Columbus; Jody Horner, Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita; Cliff Illig, Cerner, Kansas City, Mo.; Garry O'Shaunghnessay, Lario Enterprises, Wichita; Larry Jones, J O Cattle Co., Holcomb; Patty Koehler, JR Custom Metals, Wichita; and Jim Lewis, Lewis Automotive Group, Hays; Jan Lyons, National Cattleman's Beef Association, Manhattan.
Also named to the council were David Murfin, Murfin Drilling, Wichita; Steve Ortiz, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Mayetta; Bob Page, University of Kansas Medical Center; Larry Sevier, Nex-Tech Wireless, Lenora; Dan Tasset, Nueterra, Leawood; Bob Wheeler, Hills Pet Nutrition; and Jeff Turner, Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita.