August 7, 2023
President's office announces K-State 105 hires
Two lifelong Kansans have been selected for Kansas State University's K-State 105 director and communications director positions.
Jessica Gnad, a small business owner and entrepreneurial-minded program manager, will serve as K-State 105 director. Jennifer Tidball, public information officer for K-State's Division of Communications and Marketing, will serve as K-State 105 communications director. Both appointments begin Aug. 21.
"Jessica and Jennifer have the leadership skills, professionalism and passion to advance the K-State 105 initiative statewide," said Marshall Stewart, executive vice president and chief of staff. "Their work on this initiative is crucial for economic growth across all 105 Kansas counties and can become a road map for other land-grant universities to follow."
Gnad previously served as director of marketing and government affairs at PrairieFood and has additional experience as a co-owner of a Kansas crop consulting business. She has also operated her own marketing, events and digital media consulting venture. A K-State graduate, Gnad is passionate about being active in her community through service and volunteer work. Earlier this year, Gnad was named a NexStar Media Remarkable Women award winner.
As director, Gnad will lead engagement with communities, economic groups, industry, government and educational institutions across Kansas to connect stakeholders with resources to stimulate and drive economic growth across the state. She will also evaluate and monitor the program's effectiveness, communicate outcomes to stakeholders and adjust tactics to meet program goals. Gnad will be based on the Manhattan campus and report to the senior vice president and chief of staff.
Tidball joined K-State in 2010 as a news and features writer. Her responsibilities expanded to encompass all aspects of communications, including editing, strategic planning, public and media relations, project management and marketing. She has served as editor-in-chief of Seek magazine, the university's award-winning research magazine, for five years. Since 2018, Tidball has worked in and with the K-State Research and Extension-Sedgwick County office to enhance K-State's local presence through new outreach and public relations partnerships. She is also part of the core planning team for the presidential regional community visit initiative.
Working with the K-State 105 director, Tidball will develop and lead the communications strategy and execution to ensure appropriate positioning for optimal public perception of the initiative. She will also evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of communications strategies, implementing adjustments to meet program goals. This role reports to the Division of Communications and Marketing's executive director of news and communications services.