The Department of Economics Advisory Council was started in 2011. It provides input and counsel to the department from the perspective of alumni, professionals, supporters and friends. The council also provides leadership to our alumni in support of the department’s objectives and serves as a connection with the business community. Current projects include help with long term planning, helping students with the transition to the workplace, and raising funds in support of scholarships.
Paul Attwater III is First Vice President-Wealth Management at Smith Barney and has 27 years of experience in the financial services industry. Paul was honored as a Wichita Business Journal 40 Under 40 Class of 99 recipient. He also was awarded the Wichita Collegiate School Distinguished Alumni Service Award and the Youth Entrepreneurs of Kansas Pillar Award as Outstanding Board Member. He earned his BS degree in economics from K-State in 1983. Paul is married to Kim Dugger Attwater and has four sons. He is a Lifetime Member of the National Eagle Scout Association, and his four sons have all earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He currently serves on the Boy Scout Quivira Council Board and the Youth Entrepreneurs Advisory Board.
Michelle Breashears is Director of Carrier Relations at eRecyclingCorps, the world’s leading provider of carrier-grade wireless device trade-in solutions. Previously she was Business Development Manager for Sprint Nextel. Michelle graduate from K-State with a degree in economics in 1997. She earned her M.B.A. from University of Missouri-Kansas City with an emphasis in entrepreneurship in 2006.
Steve Dobratz is the CFO of Farmers Bank & Trust in Great Bend, Kansas. Steve earned a B.S. in economics in 1975 from K-State and his law degree in 1978 from Kansas University. Steve has always been active in the Great Bend community. He has previously served as President of the Great Bend Jaycees, chaired the Leadership Great Bend training program, and served on his church’s finance committee. He currently chairs the Great Bend Planning Commission and serves on the Golden Belt Community Foundation Investment Committee. Steve is married to Kim Dobratz and has two sons, one of which is a KSU graduate and the other is a current KSU student.
Dennis Duatel is CEO and President of LUSA Holdings, an Austin based holding company with current landscape maintenance operations in Texas, Oklahoma, California, Florida and Colorado. He is also CEO of the marketing firm Ignite 360, a partner in I’m Possible Basketball Training which provides basketball workouts throughout the USA, and CEO-cofounder of faithHighway which equips churches with cost effective communications tools. He is a three time Entrepreneur of the Year finalist for Central Texas and President of Young Entrepreneurs Organization, Austin. Dennis graduated from K-State with a B.S. in economics in 1982.
Alison Felix is assistant vice president and Denver Branch executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She serves as the Bank's regional economist and representative in the states of Colorado, Wyoming and northern New Mexico. Felix is responsible for briefing the Kansas City Fed’s president—a member of the Federal Open Market Committee—on economic and business activity in the Denver region's states. Ms. Felix joined the Federal Reserve in August 2007 after earning her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. She also holds a M.A. in economics from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in mathematics and economics from Kansas State University.
Ron Gaches is President of Gaches, Braden, and Associates, a public affairs and association management firm in Topeka, Kansas. Ron is a veteran lobbyist with more than 25 years of experience in government relations, corporate public affairs and association management. He graduated from K-State in 1975 with degrees in Economics and Political Science and also graduated from Washburn University School of Law.
Alan Grant earned his Ph.D. from Kansas State University in 1996 and is Professor of Economics at Baker University. Grant, A. His book “Economic analysis of social issues: individual actions, collective outcomes” will be published in 2014.
Aaron Handke is an investment professional with Five Elms Capital which provides shareholder liquidity and expansion capital to growing companies in the Central U.S. He is also Managing Partner at Heartland Opportunity Partners and Co-founder of Applied Abstraction Technologies, an information technology and management consulting company. Aaron earned his B.A. in economics from K-State in 2004 and a Masters of International Finance and Economics from Brandies in 2006.
Kathy Hayes serves as Chair of the advisory council. She graduated from Kansas State University in 1975 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. She proceeded to pursue a Ph.D. at Syracuse University which was awarded in 1980. She is currently a Professor of Economics in Dedman College at Southern Methodist University. She has served Dedman College as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Acting Chair, Department of Sociology, Acting Director, Markets and Culture Program, as well Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Economics Department. Kathy has also served as President of the Southern Economic Association.
Jim Haymaker Jim served as chair of the inaugural advisory council. He recently retired from Cargill Incorporated where he spent his last 11 years as Corporate Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. Jim spent the last 15 years of his career sitting in the corporate leadership team meetings to bring a strategic perspective. He was a senior corporate M&A executive working on numerous transactions and led, with corporate management, a major transformation of the firm. Jim graduated from Kansas State University in 1969 and earned an M.B.A. in Finance/International Business from the University of Chicago in 1971.
Nicole Johnson is a Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopersKansas where she specializes in financial institution back-office operations, loan servicing, project management, and product development. Nicole earned her B.A. in economics in 1999 and her M.B.A. in Finance at University of Kansas Graduate School of Business in 2008.
Mark Knackendoffel is CEO of The Trust Company, which he co-founded in 1992. The Trust Company is an independent financial advisor, fiduciary and investment management firm with offices in Manhattan, KS and Columbia, MO. The firm has a professional staff of 22 employees and assets under management exceeding $600 million. Mark received his B.S. with Honors in Public Affairs with a Minor in Economics from Emporia State University in 1979. He received his J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Kansas in 1983, and is a member of the Kansas Bar Association. He holds leadership roles for many professional, business, civic and charitable organizations and initiatives within the Manhattan community and across the State of Kansas. His wife, Ann Knackendoffel, is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at KSU.
Anita K. Krug is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law, where she focuses on securities regulation and corporate governance. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. (in political science) from Harvard University, her J.D. from Harvard Law School, and her B.A. (in economics and political science) from Kansas State University.
Matt Onofrio is President of GT Midwest, a manufacturer and distributor of a wide-range of products and materials for industry and commerce headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. GT Midwest also operates branches in Kansas City, MO, and Omaha, NE. He also serves as Treasurer and on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of the Wichita Diocese. Matt earned his B.S. degree in economics and his B.B.A. degree in accounting in 1993. After 2 years in public accounting and a year working for GT Midwest, Matt went on to earn an M.S. in Distribution Management from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1997.
Donald M. Salyards earned his PH.D. in Economics from Kansas State University in1975 and is Professor of Economics at Winona State University. He founded Comfortex, Inc. in 1983, Winona Pattern & Mold Company in 1992, and is owner of Chicago City Properties, LLC
Lisa Taylor earned her Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and Mathematics from Kansas State University in 2009. After earning her Master of Science degree in Economics in 2011 from Texas A&M University, she joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as a Research Associate. In this position, she supports the economists at the Bank in their economic research and monetary policy work.
Eric Weddle is an Associate with Blue Ridge Partners, a fast growing revenue-focused strategy firm working with private equity and corporate clients. Their industry focus includes industrial products, media, and business services. Eric earned his B.A. in economics in 2006 and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in economics and analytic finance.
Dr. Donald Wissman was a founding member of DPRA, a private research and consulting firm, in 1971, and helped grow the company from approximately 10 employees to its present size of 170. His 30 years of service to DPRA covered numerous consulting assignments associated with the economics of food and agriculture, and the environment. He served a wide variety of public and private clients in over 20 different countries including: The American Oil Company, Council on Environmental Quality, Ralston Purina, The Environmental Protection Agency, USAID, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kuwait Real Estate Bank and the World Bank among others. During his tenure, Dr. Wissman has authored or co-authored over 80 technical research reports. Dr. Wissman earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan State and his Ph.D. from K-State.