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Debra Franklin
AVP, Strategic Initiatives and Industry Engagement
Debbie coordinates, prioritizes, and pursues resources for the regional advanced manufacturing strategic plan initiatives, collaborates with partner institutions to provide technical assistance to existing businesses and startup firms for technology transfer and transition/migration, and develops university-level proposals for government grants and contracts. She is committed to advancing an innovation ecosystem with industry that promotes technology-based economic development.

Phone: 316-978-5209
Email LinkedIn

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Tracee Friess
Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing
Tracee leads communication and publicity initiatives for WSU Initiatives, and is the Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing for Wichita State University’s Industry and Defense Programs.  Tracee is working with univeristy innovators and engineers to form strategic industry partnerships centered on solving problems and providing applied learning opportunities for Wichita State University students. She has more than fifteen years of experience in communications; specializing in public relations, news and copywriting, event planning, advertising and social media. She is adept at grasping complex technical details and communicating them to a broad audience. Her industry experience and knowledge of university resources allow her to skillfully navigate both arenas.

Phone: (316) 978-5597
Email LinkedIn

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Sherry (Gegen) Whitson
Strategic Initiatives Program Director
Sherry facilitates interactions with external inventors, entrepreneurs and small/medium size businesses to facilitate collaboration with community and industry partners. Her extensive knowledge of state and federal-funded training programs, economic development and workforce development strategies and resources allows her to successfully connect Kansas business with Wichita State University resources, government resources and the local workforce system. 

Phone: (316) 978-6359
Email LinkedIn

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Angie Myrtle
Project Manager
Angie brings over 15 years of experience in administration and education to the department. She strives to embody the WSU principles of being Professional, Responsive, Open, Dependable and Understanding.

Angie supports staff, faculty, students and community partners at Wichita State University, daily. Her role at Strategic Initiatives includes project management primarily focusing on expanding financials, grant funding, procurements, payments, and assets. Angie aids in office administrative duties as well.

Phone: (316) 978-6358
Email LinkedIn

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Tonya Redmond
Partner Relations Coordinator
Tonya Redmond provides hospitality and logistical support to Wichita State University’s industry partners, internal departments and students, while meticulously ensuring requests for event scheduling and facility services are met. Tonya has a Bachelors in Business Administration and a Masters in Leadership. Having 20 years in the aerospace industry, she is a great addition to the Strategic Initiatives Industry and Defense Programs Team.

Phone: (316) 978-5362

Email LinkedIn

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Hannah Domebo
Marketing & Research - Student Assistant
Hannah Domebo is the student assistant at WSU Strategic Initiatives, she handles all kinds of initiatives, such as, working closely with the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative, assisting with grant research, and promoting and planning events hosted by WSU Strategic Initiatives. Hannah is currently studying Forensic Science at Wichita State and wants to be a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI). Hannah will graduate with her BS in Fall 2024. 

Phone: (316) 978-5218

Email LinkedIn

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Dana Schirer
IDP Grant Development Specialist
Dana collaborates with internal and external partners to research, lead, write, and develop competitive grant applications to support the Industry and Defense programs. Her extensive experience in building relationships with industry, education, and community organizations and knowledge of state and federal funding opportunities provides the ability to develop competitive economic and workforce development projects.

Phone: (316) 978-6399

Email LinkedIn

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Diann Gregg
IDP Project Manager
Diann develops project plans, creates schedules, and ensures task deliverables meet expectations by collaborating with project contributors to assess and ensure successful program outcomes. Her extensive experience in workforce funded training, file monitoring, registered apprentice program coordination, and connections to local business and industry are instrumental in managing the details, collaborating with partners, and ensuring successful grant project compliance and completion.  

Phone: (316) 978-6449

Email LinkedIn

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Jeremy Gibbs
IDP Project Manager
Jeremy Gibbs is a seasoned professional with a multifaceted background in government tax and accounting team management, aerospace finance analysis and supply chain project management. With years of experience leading teams in the intricacies of government taxation and accounting, Jeremy seamlessly transitioned into the aerospace sector, where he continued honing his skills as a financial analyst before transitioning roles to become project manager for supply chain operations, where he found his passion for delivering successful products from start to finish. Armed with a bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship from Wichita State and a master's in Project Management, Jeremy embodies a commitment to driving change and achieving results. He prides himself on being a process improver and vision-to-action catalyst, constantly challenging the status quo to realize ambitious goals. Jeremy's unwavering belief in his ability to accomplish anything, given the time and resources, fuels his drive for excellence in every endeavor.

Phone: (316) 978-6406

Email LinkedIn