Release: Governor-elect Laura Kelly names choice for KDOT, Commerce secretaries

Citing her 25 years of experience building and leading high-performance teams, Governor-elect Laura Kelly named Julie Lorenz as her interim choice to lead the Kansas Department of Transportation. Kelly also named David Toland as the permanent Secretary of Commerce, highlighting his decade of work on economic development issues in communities across Kansas.

“Julie Lorenz and David Toland are an impressive addition to our dynamic team,” said Kelly. “They both represent what this administration will be about: experience, energy and new ideas.”

Kelly named David Toland, Iola, as the new Secretary of Commerce. Toland is currently the President and CEO of Thrive Allen County, an award-winning economic development non-profit organization. Through his work with Thrive, he has impacted numerous communities all across the state of Kansas.

“David Toland has grown a nonprofit from the ground up – winning awards for his innovation and forward looking economic development strategies,” said Kelly. “Not only that, he was key to developing my Rural Prosperity Plan last summer and putting a new focus on growing the unique economies in all Kansas communities.”

Toland, a seventh-generation Allen Countian, returned to Kansas in 2008 to lead Thrive. Prior to that he worked in the Mayor’s Office in Washington, DC. There, he held variety of positions, including Deputy Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Toland was later appointed as Chief of Staff in the Office of Planning. Prior to going to Washington, Toland worked for the city managers of Reno, Nevada and Bonner Springs, Kansas.

“I’m honored to work alongside Governor-elect Kelly and the Legislature to capitalize on the many strengths in the Kansas economy while also addressing serious challenges on the horizon,” said Toland. “We will focus at Commerce on getting deals done in communities large and small, urban, suburban and rural. This will require the rebuilding of a once-model agency that has been decimated bin recent years. I look forward to working alongside the remaining Commerce staff and the Legislature, business community and local economic developers to strengthen and grow the Kansas economy.”

Lorenz, Lenexa, will begin as interim Secretary of Transportation.

“Julie has been leading transportation teams and directly supporting state transportation executives for nearly two decades,” said Kelly. “She is the best person to lead this critical agency.”

Lorenz is a principle at Burns & McDonnell in Kansas, MO, where she specializes in strategic business consulting, planning and policy development. Previously, Lorenz was the Director of Public Affairs and Special Assistant to KDOT Secretary Deb Miller. While at KDOT, she led the development of several strategic planning, operational, and communication efforts, including the development and support of the eventual legislative passage of the $8.2 billion 10-year T-WORKS funding program in Spring 2010.

“Julie Lorenz is an expert in the area of transportation and understands how critical it is to the future of our state,” said Kelly. “Julie literally wrote the book on how to create and sustain a culture of innovation in state departments of transportation. She is exactly what we need to take Kansas forward and ensure our transportation systems continue to be an asset.”

This year Lorenz served as facilitator for the 2018 Legislative Task Force on Transportation. She has led or supported the development of long-range transportation visions and plans for several other state’s departments of transportation, including Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Arizona and Arkansas.

“Transportation is the lifeblood of our state’s economy,” said Lorenz. “I’m thrilled to join Governor-elect Kelly’s team and return to KDOT where we’ll focus on strengthening transportation. A strong transportation system improves Kansans lives by connecting communities, increasing safety, and expanding economic development opportunities across the State.”

Lorenz is recognized as a national leader in strategic transportation planning, communication, and collaboration. She regularly speaks on future trends in transportation at national conferences, facilitates customer engagement efforts across the country, and supports Department of Transportation executive planning sessions.