Steve Radley, Chief Executive Officer
Steve Radley is Chief Executive Officer of NetWork Kansas. A resident of Wichita, Steve began his career in the private sector as the 28th employee of a business startup technology company, Brite Voice Systems in Wichita. The company grew from $6 million to more than $175 million during the nine years Steve worked for Kansas entrepreneur Stan Brannan. Since then, Steve has co-owned two businesses including a manufactured housing dealership that was sold to the largest manufacturer in the country, Champion Enterprises. Steve’s work experience centers on business development and taking products and businesses from startup to maturity. Steve has an MBA from the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, an MA in Christian Ministry from Friends University, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.
Erik Pedersen, President and Chief Operating Officer
Erik is the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas. Erik’s initial task was the development and growth of the NetWork Kansas referral center. Erik’s responsibilities have grown to oversee the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community partnership. This partnership, which has grown to 69 E-Communities, includes an injection of capital raised locally through the NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit Program to help start and grow businesses in rural Kansas communities. Erik graduated from Friends University in 1988 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Erik began his career in 1990 when he went to work for a Wichita-based technology startup company, Brite Voice Systems, owned by Stan Brannan. At Brite Voice, Erik worked in marketing and business development. In 1997, Erik left Brite Voice to start a manufactured housing dealership with Steve Radley, President of the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship. The business was later sold to the largest manufacturer in the country, Champion Enterprises, and Erik remained with Champion as General Manager until May 2005. Erik’s work experience centers on the overall operation and management of fast growing businesses and organizations.
Don Macke, Senior Vice President, e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Don Macke leads e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (formerly the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship), a new initiative with NetWork Kansas to build sustainable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems across North America. Don has over 40 years of community economic development and policy experience. He was most recently the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the national Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Through this work, Don helps communities and regions throughout North America grow entrepreneur-focused economic development strategies and ecosystems. Don calls Nebraska home and he is a proud resident of America’s Great Plains Region.
Trish Brasted, Senior Vice President, Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV)
Trish Brasted leads Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV) for NetWork Kansas. EGV’s mission involves building and enhancing the network of resources to increase the capacity and support for innovative, high growth entrepreneurs in Kansas. EGV collaborates across the state with community leaders, economic development organizations, universities, government entities and other entrepreneur support organizations to provide the entrepreneurs of Kansas valuable access to education, mentorship and capital. These high-growth companies aspire to transform markets with radically innovative products and services to grow jobs, wealth and prosperity across the state.
Imagene Harris, Vice President of Impact Investment Services
Imagene serves as the Vice President of Impact Investment Services and oversees NetWork Kansas’s statewide funding programs. Imagene joined NetWork Kansas in December 2013 after working in compliance for the Kansas Department of Healthy and Environment (KDHE). She is a lifelong Kansan, hailing from Ottawa and now calling Lawrence home, where she also earned a BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas. Most recently she completed her Masters of Business Administration from Fort Hays State University. Imagene especially appreciates the opportunity to work for an organization whose resources not only help Kansas businesses and entrepreneurs but also improve the quality of life in Kansas.
Kristi Pedersen, Vice President of Finance
As Financial Specialist for NetWork Kansas, Kristi is responsible for all aspects of the accounting process. Her career began in 1990 working in the accounting department for Brite Voice Systems in Wichita, KS. After 7 years experience with Brite Voice, Kristi became a stay-at-home mom. During that time, Kristi continued to work part-time in accounting for a couple of small business ventures. In 2009, she was hired to oversee NetWork Kansas’ accounting. Kristi graduated with a BA in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Bethany College in 1989.
Tara Risewick, Director, e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Tara (Vance) Risewick is the Director of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, working alongside Don Macke to build sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems across North America. Tara comes to this role after ten years as the Executive Director at the Norton County Community Foundation (NCCF) on the plains in northwest Kansas. Community development was an accidental career choice for Tara, who comes from a long line of entrepreneurs in rural Kansas. Tara grew the NCCF both in size and impact, proudly being a pioneer of impact investing within community foundations. Tara’s role at Network Kansas will include transitioning to the day-to-day operations of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems as well as working with the Impact Center on Impact Investing projects. Fostering relationships, networking and connecting the innovative work in Kansas with the rest of North America drives Tara’s work with Network Kansas.
Tara is a lifelong Kansan; she and her husband own five rural grocery stores in western Kansas where they’ve raised their three kids.
Tiffany Nixon, Director, Impact Investment Center
While attending Wichita State University, Tiffany took part in the Cooperative Education program and obtained a job with NetWork Kansas as a part-time referral coordinator. When she graduated from Wichita State University in December of 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Management she was hired on Full-time with NetWork Kansas as a Product Manager. As a Product Manager, Tiffany works with entrepreneurs in providing resources and capturing key metrics on various state-wide programs. She has now been with NetWork Kansas for about five years and loves being able to work one-on-one with entrepreneurs, business owners, and resource partners. Her passion was always to be able to help others in any way.
Amara Kniep, Director, E-Community Partnership
Amara Kniep grew up in Wichita, KS and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, with a minor in Management, from Wichita State University. Her professional experience includes both Workforce Development, while working at the Kansas Department of Commerce, and Economic Development, having worked at NetWork Kansas for a total of seven years. In her current role, Amara oversees statewide programming, including the growth of the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series and the development of VentureDash.
Sarah LaRosh, Director of Entrepreneurship Engagement
Sarah eagerly joined NetWork Kansas in 2017 as a Product Manager of Rural Entrepreneurship, Western Region. She comes to NetWork Kansas with a degree from Tabor College in Business Administration and a concentration in Accounting and Finance. Her top strengths are Achiever, Positivity, Responsibility, Learner and Belief. Sarah is based out of rural Osborne County where the LaRosh family homesteaded in 1871 and is still deeply entrenched in agriculture. She currently serves as the board chair of the Osborne County Community Foundation and has a tremendous passion for rural Kansas, is “Rural by Choice” and a Kansas Explorer. With three young children Sarah has devoted countless time, talent and treasure to ensuring the betterment of Kansas.
Thomas Papadatos, Venture Investment Manager, Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV)
Despite his roots on the East Coast and abroad, Thomas is a Wichita native. With degrees in Finance and Management Information Systems from Wichita State University, Thomas finds himself in the nonprofit sector as a connector, collaborator, and process manager. After his hands-on experience developing the NetWork Kansas loan programs, Thomas now takes on capacity in the world of venture capital with Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV). Thomas enjoys listening to and playing music, reading, and having quality espresso.
Bailee Henry, Senior Product Manager, E-Community Programs
Bailee Henry joins NetWork Kansas with work experience at the Wabaunsee County Economic Development Office as well as the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from Kansas State University with an emphasis in Public Health. Bailee grew up in Alma, Kansas but currently resides in Manhattan. In Bailee’s free time she enjoys spending time with her family and pets, as well as serving as a volunteer coach on a youth softball team. Her passions include helping people and building relationships. Bailee has helped judge KEC as well as KYVEC and looks forward to her role in growing the YEC Series!
Ciara Miller, Manager, Entrepreneurship, South Central Region
For over three years, Ciara was a staff member in the NetWork Kansas referral center. At the end of 2015, she was hired to be the primary point person for the central region E-Communities. Ciara graduated from Wichita State University with a BS in Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in Entrepreneurship. She grew up outside of Towanda, KS but now resides in Wichita. Because she grew up in a rural community and has family members throughout the state in other rural communities, Ciara loves fostering relationships and working with her E-Communities to cultivate an entrepreneurial culture.
Christy Preston, Manager, Entrepreneurship, Western Region
Christy joined NetWork Kansas in 2019 as a Product Manager, Rural Entrepreneurship, Western Region. Christy grew up on a small family farm in the corner of Northwest Kansas. She comes to NetWork Kansas with more than 15 years of real estate sales experience and nearly four years of economic development experience. Christy worked as the Director of the Thomas County Economic Development Alliance in Colby, Kansas. For Christy, it is about building relationships and helping people. She is passionate about promoting rural entrepreneurs and assisting them in finding solutions and opportunities to enhance their success. Christy is an outdoor enthusiast, loves traveling and most of all spoiling her grandchildren! Christy and her husband live in Selden, Kansas.
Phone: (785) 269-7625
Jenn Laird, Manager, Entrepreneurship, Eastern Region
Jenn Laird, a Kansas native and rural by choice advocate, is dedicated to discovering, empowering, and inspiring the unique authenticity of individuals, organizations, and communities. Whether in her award-winning role as editor of the local newspaper, serving as the first Chase County economic development director or in her own entrepreneurial ventures, Jenn’s passion and dedication to identifying, cultivating, and showcasing small business and community strengths is unwavering.
Jenn, who now resides in the beautiful Flint Hills community of Cottonwood Falls, is committed to a “grow your own’ mentality and has fought for quality-of-life improvements in her community and across Kansas with measurable success. Dedicating more than half a dozen years ensuring Chase County was not lost in the digital divide, Jenn helped to coordinate and secure 100 percent funding for a countywide 1GB broadband infrastructure buildout, which was completed in late 2020. As a certified facilitator of the Ice House and Destination Boot Camp-Destination Creation educational programs, she has introduced students of all ages to vital concepts needed to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and essential marketing and branding practices that uniquely increase traffic and generate revenue.
Through her role as Region Manager for NetWork Kansas, she will continue to celebrate, support, and advocate for the growth of sustainable, equitable, and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in both rural and underserved urban communities.
Phone: (623) 695-6058
Lea Ann Seiler, Manager, Entrepreneurship, Southwest Region
Lea Ann Seiler joins NetWork Kansas as the Manager, Entrepreneurship, Southwest Region. Previous to her role with NetWork Kansas, Lea Ann served as the Hodgeman County Economic Development Director for the past 15 years. Lea Ann is very passionate about the work she does and is an influential and respected leader not only in Hodgeman County but in southwest Kansas.
Her vast experience includes being an Ice House facilitator, Certified Destination Creation Facilitator, Hodgeman County Maker Space Creator, Growing Rural Business Completer, Hodgeman County Maker Camp, YEC, and Acton Children’s Business Fair Director, and CDBG Grant Administrator.
Phone: (620) 357-5561
Janet Miller, Manager, Rural Entrepreneurship, Southeast Region
Janet came to NetWork Kansas following 8 years as the Director of the Cherokee County Economic Development Corporation in Columbus, KS. Prior to that role, she headed an Economic Development Center in Laredo, TX for 3 years and served as a business coach for five counties in Northeast Kansas for 7 years. She is a graduate of Kansas State University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness and Pennsylvania State University where she earned a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics. She is a Southeast Kansas native having grown up in Howard, KS and currently resides in Columbus, KS with her husband, Tim.
Phone: (620) 762-1593
Kristan Davis, Marketing Associate, Impact Investment Center
Kristan is pursuing a Human Resource Management degree from Wichita State University and will be graduating in the spring of 2018. She has obtained an Associate’s degree from Cowley Community College under a music scholarship. She has been surrounded by an entrepreneurial family in both Kansas and Oklahoma and enjoys helping people be successful in operating businesses in Kansas. In her spare time she enjoys taking pictures of friends and family, singing and reading.
Juan Cancino, Referral Coordinator, Resource Network
Juan will graduate from Wichita State University at the end of the fall 2021 semester with a Bachelor’s in Economics, in addition to the Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and History already under his belt. He has joined our team as a part-time referral coordinator. His curiosity in knowing more about the inner workings of the economy that drew him to pursue Economics is also what drew him to Network Kansas and learning about the entrepreneurs’ needs. In his free time, Juan enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Tabitha Grey, Accounting Clerk
Tabitha began her career in 1995 doing Subsidiary Bookkeeping at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, FL in 1995. She moved to Wichita, KS with her husband in 2000 and worked as a Tax Analyst at CCH, Inc.. Tabitha put her career on hold to raise her 4 sons while continuing to prepare taxes as well as lease their previous home in FL from Wichita and run their vacation rental on Table Rock Lake in MO. In her free time, she enjoys running half marathons, and will run her 10th at the Prairie Fire Marathon series on 10/10/21 and completed one full marathon, Chicago 2011. She is excited to assist Kristi in accounting duties in Andover. Tabitha graduated from the University of South Florida in 1999 with her B.A. in Accounting and from Friends University in 2004 with her Masters in Management Information Systems.
NetWork Kansas Board of Directors
Mr. Anthony Dellasega, President, Community National Bank
Mr. David O’Dell CPA, CGMA, Professor of Accounting, Department of Business, Chair, McPherson College
Ms. Suzan Barnes
Owner, Grand Central Hotel
Mr. Wally Kearns, Founding Partner
Former State Director, Small Business Development Centers
Mr. Corey Mohn, Executive Director of the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS)
Ms. Clare Gustin, VP of Member Services & External Affairs,
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation
Dr. Robert Weems, Jr.
The Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History, Wichita State University
Mr. Greg Jordan, State Director, Kansas Small Business Development Center
Ms. Michele Weigand,CEO, Focused Perspective