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Debra Franklin
AVP, Strategic Initiatives
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
Director of Communication
Tracee leads communication and publicity initiatives for WSU Initiatives, and is the Director of Communication and Special Programs for Wichita State University’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer and National Institute for Aviation Research. She has more than ten 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
Executive Administrative Specialist

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 senior staff, faculty, students and community partners at Wichita State University, daily. Her role at Strategic Initiatives includes project management and taking on various financial administration duties, such as, processing payments, updating reports, and managing grant funding. Angie aids in office administrative duties as well, such as, ordering supplies and assisting with hiring processes and timesheets.

Phone: (316) 978-6358
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 Spring 2024. 

Phone: (316) 978-5218

Email  LinkedIn

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Macy Carney
Partner Relations Coordinator

Macy provides quality hospitality and logistical support to WSU's Industry Partners, Internal Departments, and individual students, connecting them with resources and providing direction on available facility services, ensuring building standards and procedures are being met in the process. She handles event and program scheduling requests, updates management systems, and organizes, reviews, and evaluates inventory and program schedules to ensure efficient and effective use of resources. She also utilizes her customer service skills when providing technical support with AV equipment, aiding in grant application screenings, and circulating media and other marketing tools to meet customer expectations.

Phone: (316) 978-5362

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