KDC Executive Leadership

Gov. Sam BrownbackGovernor 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.

Nick JordanInterim Secretary Nick Jordan

Former state Sen. Nick Jordan has extensive experience in public service, executive management, and the private sector, in organizations ranging from small to large. Nick represented the people of the 10th District in the Kansas Senate for 13 years.  Along with his wife and daughter, he also has launched a number of successful businesses, including Walls of Clay paint-on-pottery studios and the Australian Trading Company. Nick has worked as a consultant to numerous communities in strategic planning for economic development and tourism.

Nick was the founding president of the Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau. During his tenure, travel and tourism grew into a multi-million dollar industry in Overland Park, and Nick was invited regularly to speak about the city’s success around the nation. He spent 30 years in hotel and tourism management.

While in the Senate, Nick served as co-chairman of the Commerce Committee and as a member of the Assessment and Taxation; Public Health and Welfare; Ways and Means; and Health Care Strategies Committees. He was chairman of the Joint Economic Development Committee; vice-chair of the Legislative Post Audit Committee; Joint Committee on Kansas Security; Confirmation Oversight, and the Special Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance.

Before becoming the CEO of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, Nick was appointed by Governor Brownback as Secretary of Revenue where he served for six years.

Members of the media considered Nick as a “go-to-guy” for economic development in the legislature. 

With former state Rep. Kenny Wilk and others, he co-authored the Kansas Economic Growth Act, a bioscience and entrepreneurship initiative heralded as a cornerstone of the 21st century Kansas economy. 

In addition to creating the Kansas Bioscience Authority, the act produced the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship, now known as Network Kansas, to boost small businesses and start-ups in the state, providing special assistance to rural and distressed areas. Throughout his Senate tenure, Nick played a significant role in writing and implementing economic growth policies designed to unleash the great potential of Kansas entrepreneurs.

Highlights

  • The Kansas Economic Growth Act has been recognized nationally as innovative and exemplary by groups such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and BIO, and its results speak volumes. Bioscience jobs and investments in Kansas have increased in the State. Kansas was chosen as the site of NBAF, a federal lab for animal health research, Kansas University’s Cancer Research Center received a National Cancer Institute designation. A site selection magazine ranked Kansas 5th in the nation for biotechnology strength after the Growth Act was passed. 
  • Nick received the Governor’s Tourism Award presented by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. He was a two-term president of the Travel Association of Kansas, chairman of the Kansas Council on Travel and Tourism.
  • Nick served as vice chairman of the National Conference of State Legislature’s economic development committee.
  • As a member of the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, Nick participated in the development of an executive certification program through the University of Calgary, and he chaired the association’s Continuing Education Committee.
  • Nick has served on the boards of directors of the Kansas Downtown Development Association; Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation. He currently serves on the  Johnson County Community College Foundation Board of Directors and the Board of Directors for Shawnee Community Services.
  • Nick is a proud recipient of the Guardian of Small Business Award presented by the National Federation of Independent Business.
  • Nick chaired the Senate President’s Special Task Force for K-12 Education and the Joint Committee on Math and Science Education. He authored legislation creating the Kansas Academy for Mathematics and Science at Fort Hays State University.
  • Nick is known for his consensus-building and interpersonal skills, and he has a passion for promoting economic growth in urban, suburban, and rural Kansas.