2018 ROC Speakers

Keynote Address

HazlettAnne Hazlett

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development
United States Department of Agriculture

Anne Hazlett serves as the Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture. An Indiana native, she has a deep and lifelong passion for rural America, small towns and the people who call them home.

Anne has worked on agriculture and rural issues for over fifteen years.  Serving as legal counsel for the Agriculture Committees in both the U.S. House and Senate, Anne has been an advocate for rural communities on many issues important to rural America from Farm Bill legislation to broadband and nutrition programs.

In addition to her service on Capitol Hill, Anne also served as Director of Agriculture for her home state of Indiana and Chief of Staff for Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman.  In these key leadership roles, she worked to ensure that Indiana’s agriculture industry and rural business sector were a significant part of the state’s economic revitalization.

At USDA, Anne is leading the Rural Development mission area to create an environment for rural prosperity, from greater access to broadband connectivity and medical care to workforce training through distance learning.

In this work, she is particularly passionate about helping families and community leaders touched by the opioid epidemic find hope and partnership in building a brighter future.

Hazlett is a graduate of Kansas State University and the Indiana University School of Law. She also holds a masters degree in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas.


Harry Allen

Coordinator of Research & Advisory Services
Council of Development Finance Agencies

Harry Allen is a Coordinator of Research & Advisory Services with the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA). In this roll, Mr. Allen assists in the management of Cseveral of CDFAs contracts and events including the CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program and the National Development Finance Summit. 

Harry’s work is focused on access to capital tools including Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs), seed and venture capital, and various other lending programs. Prior to joining CDFA, Harry worked as an Intern for the Village of Marble Cliff where he created a plan to guide Village development for the next 10-15 years.


Alan Badgley

Associate Director
Kansas Small Business Development Center

Alan Badgley joined the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Wichita State in 2007, now serving as Associate Director.  Alan’s specialization includes: financial analysis, SBIR/STTR and Tech/Commercialization, Exporting, Strategic Planning and Sales support.  Alan holds the following certifications: Economic Development Financial Professional; and Certified Global Business Professional.

His MBA with dual concentrations in Finance and Marketing have been the foundation for his development of Strategic Planning template and process, providing strategic planning to 25 companies during this time.

BaileyShekinah Bailey 

Kansas Rural Utility Services

Shekinah Bailey has been serving at the Kansas Rural Utility Services GFR for the past four years. Prior to that he worked for the Department of the Army for the previous 11 years; most recently serving as the Real Estate Management Chief of the Pittsburgh District Army Corps of Engineers. During this time, he oversaw two national policy projects and was recognized for his leadership with awards from both the Department of the Army and the North East Federal Executive Board. 

He also serves on the board and is the strategic planning officer of Save-a-Life Inc. a live organ donation Non-profit.


Kurt J. Carraway

Executive Director
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Applied Aviation Research Center

Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus

Kurt J. Carraway is the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Executive Director of the Applied Aviation Research Center (AARC) at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus.  In this capacity Carraway provides strategic leadership in advancing KSU’s UAS program goals.  He directs the executive of research activities involving UAS through the AARC.  Carraway also directs flight operations development and maturation of the UAS training through direct supervision of Flight Operations staff.  He sets policies and procedure for unmanned flight operations. 

Prior to entering the Air Force where he achieved the rank of Colonel, Carraway received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Missouri Science and Technology in Rolla.


Dr. Diane DeBacker

Executive Director
Business and Education Innovation
Kansas Department of Commerce

Dr. Diane DeBacker is the Executive Director of Business and Education Innovation at the Kansas Department of Commerce. In this role, Diane connects business and industry with the numerous educational opportunities in Kansas. Dr. Diane has spent her career in education in a variety of roles including:  Director of Education Research for RTI International; senior advisor to the Abu Dhabi Education Council in the United Arab Emirates; Kansas Commissioner of Education; district and building level administrator in the Shawnee Heights and Auburn Washburn school districts; and as a member of the Kaw Valley USD 321 board of education.


Sharolyn Flaming Jackson

Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist
K-State Research and Extension

Sharolyn Flaming Jackson is a Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist for K-State Research and Extension. She provides support and professional development opportunities for local Extension agents in Kansas, and leads several state-wide health programs including Walk Kansas and Stay Strong Stay Healthy, a strength-training program for older adults. She also chairs the Healthy You Workplace Wellness Leadership Team for K-State Research and Extension.


Ashley Hutchinson

Executive Director

LanningJonathan Lanning

Assistant Professor
Friends University

Jonathan Lanning is responsible for the Cyber Security program in the College of Graduate & Professional Studies. Jonathan provides program oversight and management for Master of Science in Cyber Security curriculum and courseware. Highly skilled in Incident Response, Cyber Threat Hunting, Information / Computer & Network Security, Government, Intelligence, Operational Planning, and Command & Control. He is a strong engineering professional with a Master of Science (M.S.) focused in Security Administration from Southwestern College.

Jonathan is also a Cyberspace Operations Officer with the Kansas Air National Guard. Jonathan previously served in our United States Air Force as a Defensive Cyberspace Operations Strategy Planner for the 624th Operations Center (AFCYBER), Chief of Operations Scheduling and Mission Planning as well as a Flight Commander leading the Intrusion Prevention and Response Flight and the Mission Assurance Networks Flight for the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team (AFCERT).


Missty Lechner

Advocacy Project Director
American Heart Association

Missty Lechner was the Worksite Wellness Specialist and Program Manager for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for five years managing cardiovascular health, arthritis management, and worksite health promotion efforts before starting her current position in 2013 at American Heart Association where she is the Advocacy Project Director managing the Kansas Alliance for Wellness, a statewide partnership to improve access to healthier foods and beverages throughout the state. 

Her position at the American Heart Association has provided her the opportunity to work with dozens of communities around Kansas to plan healthy food systems initiatives and establish resolutions creating new food and farm councils. Missty chairs the Leadership Council for Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods and is the chair of the United Way’s Eat | Move | Live Council.


Katie Manbeck

Quality Assurance Manager
B&W Trailer Hitcher


Weston McCary

Director of Precision Agriculture Technology
and Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Northwest Tech

Weston McCary is currently the Director of Precision Agriculture Technology and Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Northwest Tech where the program has seen monumental growth over the past two years. In 2007, Weston began teaching evening classes in Engineering and Agricultural Technology at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colorado. In 2010, he was encouraged by Aims Administration to develop Colorado’s first classes in Precision Agriculture, which he began to teach at the Aims Fort Lupton campus in late 2011.

Two of the four courses developed by Weston are still being taught at Aims and at Colorado State University. In 2012, Weston was invited to join staff from the University of Colorado and UAS Colorado in applying for an FAA UAS Test Site. While the application was not approved for Colorado, elements of the operations guidelines and other discoveries by Weston and his team were formative to the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Remote Pilot regulations released in 2016.


Heather Morgan

Executive Director of Project 17

Heather Morgan has served many organizations including as a Budget Analyst in the Kansas Division of Budget and as a Director of Public and Legislative Affairs and Community Programs for the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority, as a County Manager in Kansas, as well as a lobbyist for child welfare, health care, and behavioral healthcare issues in Topeka. 

She currently serves as the Executive Director of Project 17, which is a 17-county regional economic development initiative working to address economic vitality, generational poverty, health, and civic leadership issues throughout the 17 counties in Southeast Kansas.  Additionally, she serves at the Director of Economic Development for the Kansas State University Advanced Manufacturing Institute working with communities across Kansas to improve their economic vitality.

PatridgeDan Partridge

Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department

Dan Partridge has worked in local public health since 1991. In 2007 he was named Director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. His prior public health service was at the Reno County Health Department where he served in various roles including; Associate Director and Environmental Health Supervisor.

Partridge, currently serves on two National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) workgroups, public health informatics and public health transformation. A Kansas Health Foundation Fellow and Leadership Lawrence alum Partridge is also a graduate of the Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute and the Kansas Public Management Center Public Health Certification program. Partridge is currently treasurer of the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments Board and served as president in 2013. He has also served on the boards of the Kansas Association of Counties and Kansas Environmental Health Association.


Fred Vocasek

Senior Laboratory Agronomist
Servi-Tech, Inc.


Angie Schwerdtfeger

Director of Public Relations
Tri-County Telephone

Angie Schwerdtfeger grew up in Garden City, Kansas, and has been the Director of Public Relations for Tri-County Telephone for the past 10 years. She has worked with the public throughout her career in the newspaper, radio and television industries, as well as her own business.

In her duties as the Director of Public Relations, Angie works with community groups and businesses in TCT’s exchanges areas, overseeing the company’s community and economic development initiatives and she administers the company’s Community Project Assistance Grant.

StevensonJuliana Stevenson

Human Resources Manager
B&W Trailer Hitches


Stephanie Trumpp

Human Resources Director
PrairieLand Partners

Stephanie Trumpp is the Human Resources Director for PrairieLand Partners, a John Deere dealership with nine locations across south central Kansas.  

Before joining PrairieLand, Stephanie was an attorney specializing in employment law. She advised her corporate clients on matters including discrimination, FMLA, harassment, wage and hour, workers compensation and other state and federal employment issues. 


Chris Vuks

Community and Economic Developer

Chris Vuks has spent his entire career working in the community and economic development field on projects that transform communities both in the U.S. and abroad. Chris began his real estate career utilizing New Market Tax Credits to close financing gaps in rural projects and has been involved in over $250mm NMTC projects nationwide. In addition, Chris has worked in non-profit finance navigating projects that required a layered financing approach and non-traditional capital. Chris has a passion for projects that require out of the box thinking and maximize community impact.


Aaron White

Executive Director
Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development

Aaron White is the Executive Director of the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development. A native of Iowa and Marine Corps veteran, Aaron was transferred to Salina, Kansas in 2001 with Cargill, Inc. Aaron has an extensive background in agriculture/agribusiness: production, operations, marketing, logistics, and merchandising. Aaron was also a licensed commodities trader and Adjunct Instructor with Salina Area Technical College.

Aaron has worked in economic development since 2008, and has been Executive Director of the Ellis County Coalition since late 2011. His focus includes business recruitment, assisting current businesses with expansion, retail recruitment, workforce development, small business start-ups, and much. The Coalition is also focusing on housing issues, promoting entrepreneurship in Ellis County, and operation of a co-working space.