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Executive Leadership
 Gov. Brownback  Governor Sam Brownback

Governor Sam Brownback has spent his life in the service of others. He was born in Garnett, Kansas and raised on the Linn County family farm where his mother and father still live. At Prairie View High School, Sam was elected state president of Future Farmers of America. His interest in public service continued as he attended Kansas State University. During his senior year at KSU, Sam served as student body president. After graduation, Sam decided to attend law school at the University of Kansas where he was his class president before completing his law degree in 1982. Sam met his wife Mary while they were both in law school. They have now been married for 28 years and have five children.

In 1986, Sam became the state’s youngest Secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. During his stint as Ag Secretary, he also served as a White House Fellow in the first Bush Administration. At the age of 38, he was elected to represent the 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1996 he was elected to complete the term of U.S. Senator Bob Dole, followed two more terms of his own.

As governor, Sam is focused on getting the state’s economy growing again through improved regulations, controlled spending, and lower tax rates. Governor Brownback is working with Kansas business and community leaders from across the state as well as current and former state legislators to craft policy solutions.
Antonio Soave.jpg
Secretary Antonio Soave                    

Appointed by Governor Sam Brownback, Antonio J. Soave of Overland Park is the Secretary of Commerce.

Soave is the current chairman and CEO of Capistrano Global Advisory Services (CGA). In a career spanning more than 20 years, he has helped numerous entrepreneurs and businesses to expand and grow. He previously served as an adjunct professor of international economics and finance at the Walsh College of Business in Troy, Mich. and was an intern in the White House Office of Public Liaison’s Department of Foreign Policy and Defense under President Ronald Reagan.

“Antonio’s experience working with businesses in a wide range of industries including rail, construction, oil and gas, biotech and manufacturing gives him an excellent understanding of industry needs and how Kansas can help those companies grow and create jobs,” said Governor Brownback. “He brings both enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and solid business experience that will benefit all Kansans.”

His wife, Ann, is a native of Ft. Scott. They have four children, Francesco, 6; Maria Bernadette, 3; Gianpaolo, 2; and Anna Maria Faustina, 3 months. 

Soave is active on a number of boards and organizations. He is an International Advisory Council member of the United States Institute of Peace and served as the Executive Director of the School of Business at Benedictine College. He has a Bachelor’s degree in international studies from The American University in Washington, D.C., a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University and a Masters of Law in International Law from the University of San Diego.

"It is an honor to serve the state of Kansas in this position,” Soave said. “Kansas is a great state for businesses looking for a skilled workforce and tax-friendly environment. In fact, it is one of the best states in the nation when considering pertinent factors such as overall business climate, quality of life, quality of healthcare and quality of education, as well as ease of doing business.  Kansas is an exceptional place to live and work, and it is strategically located in the middle of the country.”

 Steve Kelly
Steve Kelly, Deputy Secretary

Steve Kelly is Deputy Secretary and also serves as Director of Business and Community Development for the Kansas Department of Commerce. Currently his responsibilities include those programs and resources focused on business and community development and international trade. Steve has been a part of Commerce for over 20 years and has served in a variety of different capacities during that time. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and also holds an MBA from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining Commerce, Steve was the marketing and operations manager for a small publishing and software development firm and has also done business and loan development work for a finance organization.

Steve Kelly
Deputy Secretary 
(785) 296-5298 

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