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FlagshipKansas.Tech Celebrates Five Years, Announces 2024 Board


WICHITA, Kan., Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- FlagshipKansas.Tech, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing Kansas as a hub for technology and innovation, is pleased to announce its 2024 board of directors and officers as it celebrates a milestone anniversary. February 27, 2024, marks five years since FlagshipKansas.Tech held its kickoff event at the Advanced Learning Library in Wichita, where hundreds of tech professionals and community leaders converged to learn about the organization and its mission.

"FlagshipKansas.Tech is a catalyst for innovation to propel the Kansas tech industry forward," said Ben Sebree, Chair of the FlagshipKansas.Tech Board. "Through its critical role, Flagship is facilitating connections to support tech education, workforce, and economic development."

The governing board will be led by Chair Ben Sebree, SVP of R&D at CivicPlus – an international software provider founded in Manhattan, Kan., and Vice Chair Megan Harper, Director of Marketing & Sales at Twin Valley – the state's largest independent broadband and communications company. Amanda Duncan, Vice President & Chief Development Officer for Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, will serve as Treasurer along with Tonya Knipp, Senior VP & Information Technology Manager for Emprise Bank, as Secretary.

Additional members of the board include:

  • Callie Harris, Assistant Principal, Pray-Woodman Elementary – Maize, KS
  • Robin Huber, VP and General Manager, NetApp Wichita
  • Thomas Papadatos, Venture Investment Manager, Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures
  • Jade Piros de Carvalho, Director, Kansas Office of Broadband Development
  • Dan Reisig, VP of Technology, UV&S
  • Troy Tabor, Director, WSU Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Steven Werner, CEO, Lawn Buddy
  • Jonathan Wiersma, VP of Product and Marketing, TrueRoll

Additionally, the advisory board was expanded significantly with 21 new members. A new committee focused on FlagshipKansas.Tech membership benefits and recruitment will be led by Steven Werner. Board member bios are available at flagshipkansas.tech/leadership.

"I was very pleased to see the level of interest in involvement for the Flagship board," said Vice Chair Megan Harper. "Coming off the success of the second annual Ad Astra Technology Summit, we're heading into 2024 with significant momentum and excitement around our mission. Our talented and diverse board will be an asset as we advocate on behalf of the Kansas tech industry."

FlagshipKansas.Tech has had many successes in its five years, despite the pandemic hitting hard just a year after launching the organization. Some of the highlights include:

  • Helped recruit tech companies to Kansas, including Novacoast, Millenium and Knowmadics. Driving economic development, Flagship often partners with the Greater Wichita Partnership to help recruit tech companies to the area. Flagship was instrumental in the recruitment of Novacoast, hosting a tech industry event with its membership to allow Novacoast leaders to get a feel for the Kansas tech ecosystem. They later cited the event as a key influencer in their decision to move to Wichita. Flagship also helped secure Millenium and Knowmadics.
  • Received $150,000 in grant funding from Microsoft. The funds supported Kansas tech education and workforce development initiatives.
  • Lobbied for Computer Science Education, which led to the passing of HB2466, allowing CS to be a core graduation requirement in Kansas schools. Additionally, other funding was passed for current and aspiring teachers to receive training in computer science programs.
  • Supported the application of the One Workforce Grant, a $10 million department of labor grant awarded to the Workforce Alliance. This grant funds training in advanced manufacturing and technology for a 10-county region in South Central Kansas. Many Flagship companies have received training funds to hire new employees or upskill existing staff. As one of just 17 grantees nationwide, One Workforce is the single largest grant award the public workforce system has received in Kansas.
  • Helped members receive more than $400,000 in workforce development funding through the DRAW grant and apprenticeship programs.
  • Exposed students to technology careers and skills through partnerships with the Workforce Center of South Central Kansas and its Youth Employment Project along with AT&T.
  • Established the Ad Astra Technology Summit. Industry leaders, startups, government officials, and educators come together to explore current issues, attending informative sessions on digital skills development, industry panels, apprenticeship programs, and new/startup business enablement. The event won an Innovation Award following its first year.
  • Established the state's technology awards, highlighting leaders, innovators, educators and students in Kansas tech.
  • Brought Steve Wozniak to Kansas. The STEM teacher, engineer and Apple co-founder participated in an exclusive fireside chat moderated by Kansas tech giant Luis Rodriguez.

Technology companies continue to find themselves accelerating to meet current market needs and position themselves for the future. According to CompTIA, the tech industry makes a 10-billion-dollar impact on the Kansas economy and employs over 65,000 individuals across the state.

This year, FlagshipKansas.Tech will gain even more momentum in its efforts to raise awareness, attract and retain technology talent, and support technology workforce training and education initiatives in the state. Additionally, developing a positive climate in support of startups is essential for the growth of Kansas tech.

"I am so excited to carry out the FlagshipKansas.Tech mission, serve our members and be wildly disruptive in 2024," said Conner Hampton, Executive Director. "The work we do across Kansas is not possible without the leadership from such an impactful and powerful Board of Directors."

Those interested in learning more about FlagshipKansas.Tech's mission, membership, and/or collaboration opportunities can contact Executive Director Conner Hampton at flagshipkansas.tech/contact.

About FlagshipKansas.Tech

FlagshipKansas.Tech is a nonprofit organization that brings together Kansas technology companies to shine a light on the depth of skill, ingenuity, and innovation running through our cities and communities. Current goals include raising awareness, attracting and retaining technology talent, and supporting technology workforce training and education. Learn more at FlagshipKansas.Tech.

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SOURCE FlagshipKansas.Tech