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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
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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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

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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