2019 Presenters (Updated 11/6/18)

Kansas Governor Elect Laura Kelly and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue have been invited.

Research Fellow at the School of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brian Dabson became Research Fellow at the School of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in July 2016 after serving as Associate Dean, Research Professor, and Director of the Institute of Public Policy in the University of Missouri’s Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. Prior to coming to the United States, Dabson was director of the Center for Employment Initiatives, a UK-based research and technical assistance nonprofit that worked across Europe on community and economic development programs, and in a number of local government planning and economic development positions in Liverpool and Glasgow.

Dabson’s presentation is based on his essay published in the Federal Reserve System’s new publication Investing in America’s Workforce:  Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers available at www.InvestInWork.org.

presenter_gieberSTEVEN GIEBER
Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities

Steven Gieber is the Executive Director of the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities (KCDD) and serves as Treasurer on the Area One Local Workforce Board. The Council has a long history of providing leadership in the area of employment for people with disabilities from supporting self-employment, supported employment and bringing Project Search to Kansas. The Council is currently working with the state to implement the, “Roadmap to Employment for Kansans with Disabilities.”  The Speaker of the House appointed Steve to the Kansas Employment First Commission in 2015.

Steve is a lifelong Kansan who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Art, then a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University.

presenter_tenbrinkTYLER TENBRINK
Kansas Department of Labor

Tyler graduated from Kansas State University in 2005.  While at Kansas State, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics. Tyler then attended graduate school at the University of Kansas starting in 2005. In 2006, he graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in Economics. Upon graduation, Tyler joined the workforce taking a job in the financial services industry. Nearly two years later, he started as a Labor Economist for the Labor Market Information Services (LMIS) division of the Kansas Department of Labor.

Since 2008, Tyler has worked in LMIS moving from Labor Economist to his current position as Senior Labor Economist. He works on several projects within LMIS including long-term employment projections, high demand occupations, and the monthly labor report.

RobertsPAT ROBERTS – Invited
U.S. Senate

Pat Roberts is a senior member of the United States Senate. A member of the Republican Party, Pat has served since 1997. He previously served as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Born in Topeka, Kansas, Roberts is a graduate of Kansas State University. He served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked as a newspaper reporter before entering politics in the late 1960s. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980. He served eight terms in the House, including one as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Roberts was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and is currently service his fourth term.

 Kansas Senate

Senator Lynn was elected to the Kansas Senate in 2006 after a long career in Marketing and Sales. Senate Committees include Chair of Commerce, Vice Chair of Judiciary, Tax, Utilities, Legislative Post Audit. Other appointments include Governors Council on Tourism, KansasWorks Board, the Judicial Council Sub Committee on CINC.

When not serving in Topeka, Senator Lynn is an Account Executive for an IT Business Solutions company.

presenter_budestesBUD ESTES
Kansas Senate

Bud Estes represents District 38 in the Kansas Senate. Senator Estes resides in Dodge City, Kansas, and formerly represented the 119th District in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2013 until 2017. Estes, along with his brothers, owns Bucklin Tractor & Implement, which includes five John Deere dealerships in western Kansas. Bud is a graduate of Fort Hays State University.

presenter_bergerED BERGER
Kansas Senate

Ed Berger is a lifelong Kansan raised on a small family farm in Harvey County. He attended Hutchinson Community College, has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wichita State University and a Doctorate in Education from Kansas State University. Berger was part of the charter faculty at Seward County Community College in 1969 before becoming Dean of Continuing Education. He then served as Dean of Continuing Education at Hutchinson Community College before becoming President, a position that he held for 23 years. He is now President of Berger Training and Consulting. In 2016, Berger was elected State Senator for the 34th District in Kansas.

presenter_ballardBARBARA BALLARD
Kansas House of Representatives

Rep. Barbara Ballard was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1992. She represents the 44th House District, covering most of western Lawrence.

Within the Lawrence community, Rep. Ballard serves on the Board of Directors at the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Cottonwood, Inc. She and her husband attend Plymouth Congressional Church, where she participates in the Chancel Choir. In the past, Ballard has also served on the board of directors of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and was a member of Rotary International. She also served eight years as the first black woman on the Lawrence Public School Board and was elected Board President twice.

As a state legislator, Rep. Ballard is active on the House Appropriations Committee. She also serves on the House Committees on Social Services Budget. Rep. Ballard was the first black member elected to the House Leadership team and has served as Democratic Caucus Chair for over 10 years.

Nationally, Rep. Ballard has been extremely active in the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), a policy organization committed to advancing the welfare of African Americans. She currently serves as the Vice President of the NBCSL Executive Committee and has also served as a State Regional Chair and Vice-chair. Rep. Ballard was recognized in 2007 as the organization’s Outstanding Legislator of the Year.

presenter_rahjesKEN RAHJES
Kansas House of Representatives

Ken Rahjes was raised on a family farm and ranch in north central Kansas near the community of Agra, where he lives today. He is beginning his third year as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, serving the 110th District. He currently serves on the Taxation and Transportation committees and is Vice-Chairman of the Water & Natural Resources Committee.

Rahjes is also President of Authentic Ag, Inc., a multi-channel agriculture media company, including the Kansas Ag Report television program along with AgView.net and radio network.

presenter_ralphBRAD RALPH
Kansas House of Representatives

Representative Ralph is currently the City Attorney for Dodge City, Kansas. Prior to this position, he was in private practice with the firm of Williams, Malone & Ralph for 25 years. He is in his first term in the Kansas legislature.

Representative Ralph currently serves on Committee on Appropriations, Judiciary Committee, and the Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development.

Brad has been active in his community in leadership positions with his church and the Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas.  He has also served the legal profession on several professional committees, including the Kansas Bar Association’s Professional Ethics Committee.

Representative Ralph is a graduate of St. Mary of the Plains College and Washburn University School of Law.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Carla Tillmon is a Community Affairs Specialist with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection. Tillmon is responsible for convening banks, non-profits and other community stakeholders to identify community development opportunities through appropriate outreach events and serves as a liaison for financial institutions, examiners, community organizations and other stakeholders in the areas of economic inclusion, the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws in Kansas and South Dakota.

Prior to joining the FDIC, Ms. Tillmon was employed for 10 years with the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, implementing projects and programs related to promoting the interests of women and families. She worked as a workforce development professional for fifteen years before joining the Women’s Bureau. Tillmon is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

U.S. Department of Labor

Theo Coney joined the U.S. Department of Labor and became the Director of Veteran Employment and Training for the state of Kansas in November of 2016. Coney has over 15 years of public service experience, seven of which were served in a law enforcement capacity and five years as a State Veteran Employment Program Manager with the Kansas Department of Commerce. Coney served as a Field Radio Operator in the United States Marine Corps. After serving honorably at two American Embassies, Coney exited the Marine Corps in 2004 to pursue higher education endeavors.

In 2008, Theo graduated from Upper Iowa University, with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and an Undergraduate Certificate in Human Resources Management. Currently, Theo is attending the University of Missouri, pursuing a Doctorates degree in Higher Education Administration and Leadership, with research that focuses on veterans’ transition and service accountability. Coney’s commitment to veterans, passion for service and values are in accordance with the highest standards and tradition of the USDOL-VETS.