Workforce Development Advisory Board

The Workforce Development Advisory Board critiques and informs campus administration on academic programs and services the campus offers or should offer to the employers of the region.  This board is an important element in helping to build a well-qualified workforce in Greater Kansas City.


  Adam Allmon, SPHR

Adam is Director of Human Resources at Catalent Pharma Solutions.


Dr Robert Casillas

Dr. Casillas is currently the Director, Nonclinical Consulting at Latham BioPharm Group. He previously was at MRIGlobal and served as Vice President, Strategic Global Health Security, with responsibility for growing programs for chemical and biological medical countermeasures and animal health in support of government, industry, and academia. Prior to MRIGlobal, he held several positions of progressive responsibility at Battelle, including VP, CBRN Business Integration; VP, Biomedical Science & Technology; and Associate Director, Biomedical Research Center. Prior to Battelle, he served as an active duty Army Biochemist and assigned in various positions to research chemical and biological medical countermeasures and non-medical defense technologies. Dr. Casillas continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve, as a Colonel, and provides subject matter expertise on CBRN medical defense to senior leaders. Dr. Casillas has 26 years of professional biochemical toxicology research experience, with 20 of those years managing laboratories and staff to conduct hundreds of medical defense projects aimed at combatting the harmful or deadly effects of chemical and biological agents.

Dr. Casillas serves on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Biotechnology Association, the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, and the Society of Toxicology Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Rutgers University, and a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences.

Dr. Casillas has a Ph.D. in Microbial Biochemistry from Georgia State University, and completed a Post-Doc at Vanderbilt University, in the Department of Biochemistry, Center in Molecular Toxicology.

Chris Engel

Chris Engel was appointed to the position of city administrator for the City of Merriam in September 2016. He is responsible for implementing the policies of the city council, submitting an annual budget to the city council, and directing and coordinating the city’s departments. Before then he held the position of assistant city administrator with Merriam and served in similar capacities with the City of Prairie Village and the City of Mission Hills. Chris is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp and has a chelor’s degree in public administration and history and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. He and his wife, Joy, live in Shawnee with their two children.

Kelly Eschweiler

Kelly Eschweiler currently serves as SVP and Director of Talent Development for UMB Financial Corporation, a full service financial provider for commercial, institutional and personal clients across the United States.

In this role, Kelly has been asked to lead the delivery of enterprise solutions through strategic and targeted execution of talent management, learning and development solutions. Along with her team, she designs, develop and delivers talent management tools and processes in the areas of talent planning, selection, engagement, performance management, succession planning, leadership assessment, leadership development, and talent-related research/analytics.

From a very early age, Kelly developed a passion for helping others achieve their goals. That interest has stayed with her and fuels her passion for what she does. She feels fortunate to be in a role where she can truly help the company, leaders and associates achieve their desired outcomes and set themselves up for success. Kelly has been with UMB since 2007 in an variety of roles throughout the Human Resources department. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in Organizational Development from Avila University. She is originally from Gower, Missouri and will always be a farm girl at heart. When not working, you can probably find her at a football game (Mizzou or Iowa Hawkeyes), buying another pair of shoes she says she “doesn’t need” or spending time with her husband, Seth, and their dogs, Jax and Lola.

Laura Evans is a business and education advisor-in-residence in Education for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she works on initiatives in both the K-12 and postsecondary areas.

Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Evans was a senior director in talent development at Cerner Corporation, where she was responsible for leading corporate learning and development, strategic workforce development initiatives, and community relations. Earlier, Evans was a senior director in workforce strategy at Cerner, where she defined and developed workforce development and pipeline strategies to address current and future talent needs. She served as a founder and board chair of Northland CAPS and was an advisory board member of Blue Valley CAPS. She is the current chair of the KC Rising Human Capital Committee.

Evans has a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Trinity University.

Heather is the Director of Human Resources and Talent Acquisition at Saint Luke's Health System.
She is an experienced Senior Human Resources Business Partner with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in HR Policies, Management, Applicant Tracking Systems, U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Healthcare. 

Heather has both her BA in Mass Communications and Masters of Liberal Studies, Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University.

Renee Gartelos

With more than 20 years of experience, Renee Gartelos serves as vice president and Human Resources director for Burns & McDonnell. She champions efforts in recruitment and talent acquisition, retention, performance management, compensation, benefits and training for the firm.

Renee joined the engineering, architecture, construction and consulting firm in 1998, taking on increasing responsibilities until serving in her current role. She has been instrumental in cultivating and implementing impactful programs that bolster the firm’s employee ownership culture — one that’s rated among the country’s best by more than 20 publications, including Fortune Magazine. Under her leadership, her team has helped grow Burns & McDonnell from 1,500 to more than 6,000 diverse professionals.

Renee serves on the KU Edwards Campus Workforce Development Advisory Board and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management Human Resources Advisory Board. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Iowa.

Renee and her husband, Chris, have three children and live in Lenexa, Kansas.

David Gaston is the Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Executive Director of the University Career Center at the University of Kansas.

In his work, he may need to be a psychologist, a labor economist, a retailer, a salesperson, a management consultant, a politician, an academic, a marketer, a futurist, an entrepreneur as well as many other things. His primary job is to create a paradigm that allows me to communicate as a leader who we are, what we need to do, and how we are going to make it happen.

My mission is to assist college students in their efforts to lead more meaningful, purposeful lives.

David has a B.S. in History, Education, University of Central Arkansas, an M.A. in Leadership, Higher Education, University of Mississippi and an Ed.D, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Higher Education from the University of Kansas.

Sheri Gonzales

Sheri Gonzales joined the Civic Council in January 2019 as VP and Director of KC Rising, to achieve a shared vision of regional prosperity for all. Sheri works with businesses, organizations and leaders to promote system alignment, identify gaps, and monitor the region’s outcomes in key economic indicators. Her career has focused on economic and community development in local, state, and international contexts. Prior to the position at the Civic Council, she served as Community, Economic and Workforce Development Director at the Mid-America Regional Council.

Sheri holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.

Valerie Hoover 

Valerie is Senior Talent Acquisition at SMG, Service Management Group. 

Kim Huyett

Kim Huyett is the Senior Director, Community Relations & Strategic Partnerships for the University of Kansas Medical Center. In this role, she works to strengthen community relationships and manage strategic partnerships. Kim is the programmatic lead for Public Private Partnership development and execution. Her work includes creating, enhancing and sustaining relationships between KUMC and external constituencies. Previously, Kim served as the Director of Alumni & Community Relations for the University of Kansas Medical Center. She has been involved in higher education, specifically, in the Kansas City metropolitan area, for most of her career. Kim has also worked with the University of Missouri - Kansas City and the Kansas City Art Institute. Currently, Kim serves as the Immediate Past Chairman of the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce and as a Trustee for the Jay Doc Free Clinic in Kansas City, Kansas. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri - Columbia. Kim and her husband, David, live in Leawood, Kansas and have two children.

Beth Johnson is the Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Overland Park Chamber Economic Development Council. In this role, she oversees all aspects of business creation, retention, expansion and attraction. These responsibilities include helping Overland Park accomplish economic development initiatives, support of workforce development programs and monitoring economic trends and conditions. Johnson has been involved in economic development efforts in Kansas for over 17 years and has a diverse background with a broad range of economic development experience. Johnson currently serves as Past President of the Kansas Economic Development Alliance, Southern Economic Development Council, United Community Services Healthy Communities Taskforce, and Blue Valley CAPS Advisory Board. She has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Kansas State University and a Master of Public Administration from Wichita State University. She joined the Overland Park Chamber in 2012.

Angela Orr_Color_web

As director of the Kansas City Area Development Council's talent recruitment initiative, TeamKC: Life+Talent, Angela drives the creation and expansion of its ever-growing suite of resources to help candidates fall in love with the Kansas City region alongside a job opportunity.

Angela works directly with the top 300 employers in the KC area to showcase "Why KC?" to talented individuals from around the world. She oversees an exclusive leadership group of global HR and recruiting executives and a network of more than 1,100 recruiters in the KC community. In addition to leading all aspects of TeamKC, Anglea is the Editor-in-Chief of KC Options magazine.

Angela plays a key role in managing KCADC investor recruitment and retention, connecting member companies with opportunities across the organization. KCADC is the regional authority in attracting corporate investment, jobs and talented people to the region.

A non-native Kansas Citian, Angela moved to KC in 2013 and has enjoyed every adventure.

Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight

Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight is a resourceful, innovative leader who currently serves The DeBruce Foundation in Kansas City as Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. The Foundation’s mission is to expand pathways to economic growth and opportunity. It seeks to help people discover what they want to do and what they’re good at doing, to open more career possibilities. Leigh Anne is driven to lead the leveraging of resources across sectors for innovative learning, rigorous research, and community collaboration in order to improve economic development and the quality of life. A teacher at heart, Leigh Anne has also served as a K-12 assistant superintendent, advised learning institutions across the nation, and led a bi-state consortium providing powerful tools for data-driven educational research to inform practice and policy. After graduating from University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Secondary Education, Leigh Anne earned her Education Specialist’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her doctorate from the University of Kansas in Education Policy and Leadership.

Martha is the Executive Director of the KC STEM Alliance.  She has a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Community Collaboration, Program Development, Grant Writing, Youth Development, Program Evaluation, Case Management, and Volunteer Management.

She has both an M.S. in Education and a B. S. Education focused in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from University of Kansas.

Dr. L. Michael McCloud (Mickey)

Dr. L. Michael McCloud (Mickey) originally hails from Saginaw, MI, where he grew up the son of a single mother. His successes as a multi-sport athlete and top student led him to a National African American Achievement Scholarship and subsequently a George Washington Carver Memorial Scholarship at Iowa State University, where he completed an undergraduate degree in English with an emphasis in Education, winning the State of Iowa Promising Teacher award in 1997. The years following saw McCloud work at North Kansas City High School and Park Hill High School, where he became a successful teacher and coach of both football and track, aiding hundreds of students to find success both in- and outside of the classroom. His greatest coaching accomplishment came in 2003-04 when he helped guide Park Hill to its first ever 5A state championship in football, which team still holds the record for rushing yards in a title game. In 2004 Mickey moved to the college ranks, becoming a tenure-track professor at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley, where his skills in the classroom served him in teaching composition, British Literature, Mythology, Women’s Literature and African American Literature. In the summer of 2010, Mickey was elevated to the role of Associate Dean of Instruction at Penn Valley, where he oversaw the Office of Career and Technical Education, becoming well versed in workforce initiatives and issues. His career took him to eastern Jackson County Missouri to become the Dean of Instruction at MCC’s Blue River campus in May of 2014, and since the summer of 2016 he has served as the Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Johnson County Community College.

Along with his BA in English from Iowa State, Mickey holds Master’s Degrees in English Literature, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, all from Baker University in Kansas, and an interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, with specialty fields in Middle English Literature and Medieval European History.

Laurie Minard

Laurie Minard earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas and has more than 25 years of experience in Human Resources. She began her career at Garmin in 1996, when she was hired to cultivate the Human Resources department at its inception. She is currently the Vice President, Human Resources and is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for Garmin’s HR policies and programs.

Since 1999, Laurie has served on the Executive Board for the Employment Practices Network of Kansas City. In 2015, she joined the KANSASWORKS State Board, as well as the KANSASWORKS State Board Workforce Alignment Committee.

Laurie is currently serving the community in a variety of board roles including the Olathe Health System Board of Trustees, Boys & Girls Club of Olathe Advisory Board, Olathe Salvation Army Advisory Council, and the Braden’s Hope Advisory Board. She collaborates with Johnson County Community College, the University of Kansas and Kansas State through her work on the KU Edwards Campus Board of Advisors and the Workforce Development Advisory Board, the KSU Olathe Advisory Board and is a JCCC Foundation Board Ambassador.

Laurie was honored to be recognized by the Olathe Chamber of Commerce as Volunteer of the Year in 2007 and as Citizen of the Year in 2012. She an alumnus of the Kansas City Business Journal’s, Class of 2008, Women Who Mean Business and the 2010 Leadership Olathe program. In 2017 she was recognized as an, Established Leader, by Techweek Kansas City.

Corey Mohn

Corey is the Executive Director of the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS), a program that empowers high school students to fast-forward into their future through hands-on work, real-world business projects, and the development of professional skills. Prior to CAPS, Corey served as the Director of Statewide Programs for the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship (DBA NetWork Kansas).

In July 2015, CAPS launched the CAPS Network, a consortium of school programs across the United States committed to this model of profession-based education. In less than two years, the network has grown to include more than 80 school districts across 12 states.

Corey holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters in Business Administration from Baker University.

Courtney is Director of Staff & Strategic Operations at CBIZ MHM, LLC.

She has her Bachelor's degree in Speech, Language & Hearing from the University of Kansas.

Dr. Tim Murrell

Dr. Tim Murrell is the principal of the new Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers, in the Topeka Public Schools. He is the former District Diploma+ Coordinator, responsible for Career and Technical Education Programs, for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. A former campus police chief and Military Police Company Commander, he has served in teaching and administrative positions in both secondary and postsecondary settings. A native of Central Illinois, he holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis, MO, a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University, and a Master's degree in the Administration of Justice and Human Relations from Webster University, St. Louis. 

Alejandra (Alex) Pérez

Alex brings a wealth of college advising experience , mostly recently at Metropolitan Community College. AS a first generation college graduate, she has a deep understanding of the barriers many of our students and families face in their academic journeys and more importantly, how to overcome these challenges.

Alex holds her bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a master's degree in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Sheri is Director of Talent Acquisition at T-Mobile and has a degree from Baker University.

Magen Reynolds, MBA

Magen is a Manager, Lead Recruiting Partner at Cerner, who actively recruits for early career and internship positions, including Software Engineer, System Engineer, Consulting, Business, and Software Support.

Magen has her undergraduate degree in Communications from Truman State University and an MBA from Rockhurst University.

Clint is an Associate Vice President and serves as the Director of State & Local Government Affairs for Black & Veatch Corporation.

He has worked for Black & Veatch Corporation since 1984 and is a Professional Engineer registered in Kansas and Missouri. He is also fluent in Spanish.

Clint works proactively on State and Local Government issues that impact engineering, business, and the community. In order to stay out in front of these issues he actively engages with the US Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, and the chambers of commerce. In addition Clint has always been an active member in his professional communities with ACEC, NSPE, ASCE, WEF, and AWWA. He is a resource to those organizations on matters related to water, energy, telecommunications, infrastructure sustainability, and the value of the engineering profession.

In addition Clint has been very active in civic activities that focus on education, health, and welfare. He was elected to be on the Blue Valley School District Board of Education where he served as President. He was a member of the Saint Luke’s South Hospital Board of Directors as the Secretary/Treasurer. He received the Distinguished Leadership Award from Leadership Kansas in recognition of his interest and dedication to the improvement of the State of Kansas. Clint remains proactive working with students, educators, health professionals, and elected officials on the value of critical human infrastructure.

Clint’s professional engineering history includes over 25 years of project related work in the water/wastewater engineering field. Five of those years were spent managing a successful operation in our office in Miami, FL for water related services in South Florida, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Clint has managed work in all but a few of the Latin American and Caribbean countries in his 10 years of working there.

Clint has both his BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas.

John is an Assistant Director of Environmental Services at Terracon Consultants, Inc.

John has a B.S. Environmental Geology from Southern Methodist University and an M.S. Geological Sciences from Michigan State University.


Keely J. Schneider

Keely J. Schneider is the Executive Director for Workforce Partnership, the local workforce development board for Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties in Kansas. She directs federal and state funds for workforce development programs for adults and youth including classroom training, on the job training and other work-based learning experiences. In addition, she assists the Workforce Partnership Board in its strategic and fiscal oversight of the comprehensive workforce system under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which, in addition to the adult and youth programs, includes programs for adult basic education/ESL, employment services under Wagner-Peyser Act and vocational rehabilitation services. Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director in October 2016, Ms. Schneider was Associate Director for the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, a member organization comprised of CEOs of the largest companies and partnerships in the greater Kansas City region. There she directed all human capital development initiatives, including both higher education and workforce, as well as directed the Civic Council’s “Kansas City Tomorrow” leadership program. Ms. Schneider began her second career in non-profit over 9 years ago as the development director for a charter school serving at-risk youth in Kansas City, MO. Before making the leap to the non-profit arena, Ms. Schneider practiced law in the areas of transactional and regulatory healthcare and commercial real estate.

Margery is a Sr. Technology Manager - Talent Management at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City.

Margery is an accomplished leader talented at driving organizational change, developing talent engagement and retention strategies, delivering high performing teams, and strengthening the talent bench. People-champion that values relationships, trust, collaboration and enables a culture of continuous learning, inclusion, and innovation. I/O Psychologist focused on leveraging Organizational Psychology to achieve sustainable people strategies and evidence-based business outcomes. Advocate for creating environments that promote the inclusion, participation, and retention of ALL in STEM.   

Margery has an M.A. Communications from the University of Georgia, a Master's Certificate, Business Intelligence from Villanova and a Ph.D, Industrial & Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University.


Profile photo of Maury Thompson

Maury Thompson became the deputy county manager on Aug. 26, 2018, after previously serving as the assistant county manager since January 7, 2013. He previously served as executive director of Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS) for five years.

Thompson began his career at JCDS in January 1986, serving as community living coordinator from 1993-97, and residential supports coordinator from 1997-2001 when he left to become executive director of Tri-Valley Developmental Services in Chanute, Kan. He also served as mayor of Chanute from 2006-07; was a member of the Chanute City Commission (2005-06); and served as president of the Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce and Office of Tourism in 2004.

He returned to Johnson County as executive director of JCDS on April 1, 2007.

Thompson received his bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice with a minor in business administration in 1984 from Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a master’s degree in public administration from Park College Graduate School of Public Affairs, Kansas City, Mo., in 1998.

He, and his wife, Angie, have two daughters, Taylor and Morgan.


Scott Zerger

Scott is the Senior Director, Corporate & Foundation Development at KU Endowment.

Sarah is a Senior Director Human Resources at Honeywell. She has a degree from Avila University.

*Indicates executive board member.