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 is a senior advisor and contributor to e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, an initiative with NetWork Kansas to build sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems across North America. Don has nearly 50 years of community economic development and policy experience specializing in rural community economic development.
He was the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the national Center for Rural Entrepreneurship that is now e2. Through this work, Don helps communities and regions throughout North America grow entrepreneur-focused economic development strategies and ecosystems.
Don calls Lincoln, Nebraska home and he is a proud resident of America’s Great Plains Region. He is married to Jennifer Lynn Carver and has two adult sons Sam and Eric Macke.
Trish Brasted, President, Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV)
Trish Brasted, entrepreneur, and ecosystem builder serves as the leader of Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV), a newly created business unit of NetWork Kansas. EGV was created with the acquisition of Wichita Technology Corporation, and Wichita Technology Ventures, (WTV), where Trish served as CEO for the past 25 years. 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. The EGV team is also responsible for managing the $27M dollar GROWKS Equity Programs. Trish has a long history in finance and entrepreneurship and understands the risks entrepreneurs face, the courage it takes to start a new venture and the process of growing a successful organization. Under her leadership, her team has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs, and invested seed capital dollars in over 100 technology companies in Kansas. Trish is a CPA, earned her bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University, and her master’s from Baker University. She is a frequent speaker on accessing venture capital and angel investing and serves on the boards of several private technology companies.
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, pursuing her degree in Business Administration in Management, Tiffany took part in the Cooperative Education program and obtained a job with NetWork Kansas as a part-time referral coordinator. Which turned out to be one of her best decisions. She has now been with NetWork Kansas for 9 years. From connecting entrepreneurs to resources, being a part of the Kansas Healthy Food Initiative Program, to Managing the Referral Center, her role has evolved to be part of a bigger strategic plan for the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship as the Director of Impact Investment Services. Her passion has always been helping others, so getting to work one-on-one with entrepreneurs and resource partners to create an impact in communities is right up her alley. When not in the office you can find her hanging with her fur babies, exploring with friends, yoga, and running.
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.
Tina Woods, Senior Finance Manager
Tina Woods is the Senior Finance Manager for NetWork Kansas. She brings 15 plus years of accounting experience in for-profit and non-profit sectors holding various positions including accounting clerk, finance director, grant writer, grant manager, HR and benefits administrator and accounting consultant. Tina believes she is blessed with a love for learning and a strong work ethic both of which she attributes to her advancements in positions she’s held throughout her career. She received a degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from Wichita State University. Tina married her college sweetheart and they have three daughters. She begins each day with a grateful heart and hopes that she is a blessing to all those God sends her way.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (316) 425-0310
Thomas Papadatos, Venture Investment Manager, Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV)
Thomas is a Venture Investment Manager for Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV), a business unit of NetWork Kansas that supports innovative high-growth entrepreneurs. EGV works with other entrepreneurial support partners to provide connections and access to business building resources and capital. EGV manages the GROWKS Equity programs which is deploying $27M through three capital programs working with angel investors and venture capital groups to fund scalable, high-growth companies in Kansas. Thomas’s responsibilities include portfolio management, due diligence, and collaboration efforts across the state to build upon the growing ecosystem to help drive success for Kansas companies. Thomas graduated from Wichita State University with a BA in Finance and Management Information Systems.
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, Senior Product Manager, Rural 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.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (785) 269-7625
Jenn Laird, Manager, Urban Engagement
Jenn Laird, is dedicated to discovering, empowering, and inspiring the unique authenticity of individuals, organizations, and communities. Through her role as the Urban Engagement Manager for NetWork Kansas, she strives to celebrate, support, and advocate for the growth of sustainable, equitable, and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in both rural and underserved urban communities. Jenn is passionate about cultivating collaborative and strategic partnerships across the region, taking a holistic approach to create meaningful and impactful change.
Email: [email protected]
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.
Email: [email protected]
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.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (620) 762-1593
Kristan Davis, Marketing Associate, Impact Investment Center
Kristan started with NetWork Kansas in May of 2016 as a part-time referral coordinator within the Referral Center. After transitioning to a full-time role in May of 2019, she moved to a product manager role taking in entrepreneurship related inquiries, updating the statewide resource network, statewide events calendar, and assisting with other special projects. Today, her role consists of creating social media content for NetWork Kansas, The E-Community Partnership and VentureDash. Aside from social media, she also creates marketing material for the NetWork Kansas team as well as assist in special projects for the Impact Investment Center (IIC). When she’s not at work, she can usually be found with an iced coffee in hand creating mediocre watercolor paintings. Her family is small but mighty, consisting of her husband and mini schnauzer.
Juan Cancino, Product Manager, Resource Network
Juan graduated from Wichita State University in December 2021 with a Bachelor’s in Economics. He initially joined our team as a part-time referral coordinator then transitioned to full-time product manager. 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 its mission to further entrepreneurship. In his free time, Juan enjoys spending time with friends and family, watch soccer and explore the gems of cinema.
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.
Karishma Bhakta, Product Manager, Impact Investment Center
Karishma Bhakta is the Product Manager of the Impact Investment Center. Karishma is a December 2022 graduate of Wichita State with a degree in Computer Science. Karishma brings in experience in the customer support field as well as the hospitality industry. Karishma is originally from California and moved to Kansas back in 2014. In her free time, Karishma enjoys spending time with her dog, trying out new coffee shops and spending time with friends and family.
Email: [email protected]
Jamison Niewoehner, Venture Investment Manager, Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures, NetWork Kansas
Jamison’s current position is Venture Investment Manager for Entrepreneurial Growth Ventures (EGV). One of the roles of the EGV team is the management of the Kansas Capital Multiplier Venture Program and the newly-launched GROWKS Equity investment programs. Jamison is responsible for evaluating and preparing the due diligence for prospective investments, supporting the investment closing process, and providing ongoing portfolio management and progress reporting. EGV works with other entrepreneurial support partners to provide connections and access to business building resources and capital for entrepreneurs as well as ecosystem building to help drive success for Kansas companies. Jamison previously worked for BCBS of Kansas’s corporate venture capital fund. Prior to that, he spent 10 years working as a pharmacist that included positions in retail, specialty compounding, and hospice pharmacy. He holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy Practice (PharmD) degree from South Dakota State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Kansas.
Email: [email protected]
Julia Look, Manager Impact Investments
Julia Look is the Manager of Impact Investments. Julia graduated from Fort Hays State University with a degree in Business Administration in Management. Julia has been working in banking/economic development since 2016. Julia is a Northwest Kansas native living in Stockton for most of her life. In her free time, she stays busy with her two boys, two dogs and little hobby farm.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (785) 476-5372
Robert Wilson, Product Manager, Rural Entrepreneurship, Northeast Region
Prior to joining Network Kansas, Robert Wilson worked for K-State Research and Extension for 18 years, providing outreach education, technical assistance, and project management services in support of multiple local leadership teams charged with allocating cost-share funding to implement agricultural best management practices to protect the state’s natural resources. Robert is a passionate lifelong learner and an advocate for community leadership development. While at K-State, Robert contributed to a host of leadership and professional development programs for faculty and staff, as well as community leaders and local agency staff. He earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and did graduate work in Regional and Community Planning at K-State. Robert has lived in Manhattan since 1998.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (785) 341-0875
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
Ms. Sara Arnberger, President, Great Bend Economic Development, Inc.