State Director, Kansas Small Business Development Center Network

Apply for the position, State Director, Kansas Small Business Development Center Network, with Fort Hays State University today or contact Human Resource Office for more information. Posted Mar 13, 2024.

America’s SBDC represents a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).  SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are nearly 1,000 local centers providing no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses across the country. 

Fort Hays State University, the statewide host for the Kansas Small Business Development Centers (Kansas SBDC) network, seeks a State Director to provide innovative leadership, funding advocacy, and operational and administrative oversight of the statewide network of eight regional, three specialty service centers, one marketing/call center, and four outreach centers. Position is located in the State of Kansas with the expectation of significant time spent in Topeka, Kansas and travel to regional centers located throughout the state on a regular basis.

The State Director of the Kansas SBDC network is a full-time position responsible for: establishing strategic priorities; securing annual funding to sustain the program; cultivating relationships with public and private stakeholders and partners; compliance with all federal, state and other grants; maximizing financial resources; setting expectations, policies and systems to achieve performance results; internal and external communications; managing staff; and building a culture of inclusiveness, teamwork, transparency, ethics, accountability, and high performance. The position requires extensive travel both in and out of state, and frequent work outside of standard working hours.

The primary purpose of the network is to provide small business (existing and prospective) entrepreneurs with the information, education, technical support, and counseling to start, sustain and grow their businesses. The SBDC is performance driven and focuses on tangible direct benefits that produce strong economic impact in areas that include capital formation, business creation, revenue growth, job creation and retention, and firm sustainability.

The Kansas SBDC State Director is expected to work closely with public and private sector partners across Kansas and must have the ability to work with diverse groups of people; excellent communication skills; and proficiency in management information systems and common productivity software. The State Director leads a collaborative effort with the Kansas SBDC Network to ensure consistent statewide service delivery, with clear strategic direction, continuous improvement, and statewide evaluation of service delivery.  The State Director is the Principal Investigator overseeing a budget of $3.0 million and a statewide team of 35 full-time and 25 part-time employees/contractors.

Under the general direction of the Fort Hays State University Provost, responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide leadership to the network of Kansas Small Business Development Centers to achieve the program’s strategic objectives.
  • Secure funding and administer contracts from State and Federal funding partners and ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, OMB circulars and Executive Orders, the annual Cooperative Agreement with the SBA, and ASBDC accreditation standards.
  • Develop and execute strategic planning for the network in accordance with ASBDC accreditation standards.
  • Manage the network for accomplishment of mandatory grant deliverables, strategic objectives, client satisfaction, and maintain accreditation, if applicable.  
  • Establish a regular and effective schedule of communication and engagement with major funding and resource partners including college and university presidents and federal and state agency representatives, as well as other important constituencies such as SBA national, regional and district offices, Kansas SBDC Center Directors, private funding representatives, federal and state legislators, and other organizations serving businesses.
  • Develop and maintain support and cooperation from host colleges and universities, including negotiating and executing annual subcontracts with these institutions for the operation of Kansas SBDC Network center programs.
  • Allocate resources necessary to meet the SBDC mission, including developing and managing the Kansas SBDC Network Lead Office annual budget, and approving center annual budgets and work plans.
  • Act as lead spokesperson to promote Kansas SBDC services to business owners and to stakeholders.
  • Work effectively and collaborate with local, state, and federal organizations, agencies and advisory groups focused on economic development, business development and entrepreneurship programs or services.
  • Monitor and evaluate Kansas SBDC performance to understand the nature of the network and to translate performance findings into priorities for improvement and innovation.
  • Provide leadership to support and leverage membership in the national Association of America’s SBDCs, and relationships with SBA national, regional and district offices.
  • Build through respect, trust and collaboration public/private coalitions that strengthen Kansas SBDC services to small businesses.
  • Utilize business and data analytics skills in decision-making.
  • Manage Kansas SBDC Lead Office staff and provide leadership to promote performance excellence within a dispersed team of indirect-report professional staff.  Participate in hiring decisions for Kansas SBDC regional director positions.
  • Manage the Kansas SBDC Advisory Board.
  • Utilize strong team building, negotiation and consensus building skills; strong verbal and written communication skills as the position requires a significant number of public presentations and formal written reports.
  • Interact with leaders of other entrepreneur assistance programs across the country, exchange information and best practices, and learn from others in the field.
  • Represent the Kansas SBDC and Fort Hays State University at local, state, and national meetings.
  • Assume additional responsibilities as assigned by the Fort Hays State University Provost.

Required Qualifications: 
  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, public administration, or other related field, from a regionally accredited institution.
  •  Five years of experience for master’s level candidates and seven years for bachelor’s prepared candidates with progressively responsible leadership experience in business, management, administration, and supervision; greater experience preferred.
  • Five years for master’s level candidates and seven years for bachelor’s prepared candidates of experience managing staff; greater experience preferred.
  • Ability to travel to across Kansas and surrounding states as required by the position.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Master’s degree in business administration, public administration, or other related field, from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Experience with budget and contract development and management/administration, resource development, and working with government agencies. 
  • Experience advocating for an organization or program with multiple constituencies.
  • Five years progressive experience utilizing management information systems for decision making and strategic planning.
  • Experience owning and operating a small business with employees or providing services to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • Experience with higher education administration.
  • Experience in working effectively with board members, business and community representatives, entrepreneurs, resource partners, government agencies, faculty, support staff, legislators, media and other diverse constituencies.
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
  • Experience working in business development, community development, commercial lending, and/or sponsored programming.

Salary Range: In addition to salary, an excellent fringe benefit package is provided

How to apply: To be considered a candidate for this position, please provide:  
A cover letter addressing how you meet the required qualifications, detailed resume, and contact information for three professional references.

Review of applications will commence on April 9, 2024

Application Process:  To apply for this position, please visit  Only electronic applications submitted through the webpage will be accepted.

If you have questions regarding the position, please contact:
Dr. Melissa Hunsicker Walburn
[email protected]

Community of Hays
FHSU is located in Hays, a vibrant college town of approximately 20,000, located halfway between Kansas City and Denver on Interstate 70. Hays is the regional center for education, health care, professional services, shopping, culture, and recreation for the western half of Kansas. The community boasts excellent recreational programs and facilities, including the comprehensive Center for Health Improvement, Hays Aquatic Park, Smoky Hill Country Club, Hays Municipal Golf Course, and extensive walking, running, and biking trails. Hays is within 45 minutes of two large lakes that offer great opportunities for boating, fishing, and camping. The Hays Municipal Airport provides connecting service to Denver with several flights daily. The Hays community is home to excellent Pre-K and K-12, public and private schools. With over 60 restaurants, major retail outlets, a low unemployment rate, and very short commute times, the city provides a safe, welcoming, low-cost, high-quality living environment for the residents who call "Hays, America" home.

Notice of Non-discrimination: Fort Hays State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, national origin, color, age, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability or veteran status.

Background Check: Final candidate will have consented to and successfully completed a criminal background check.

Notice to KPERS retirees applying for a position: Recent legislation changes working-after-retirement rules for both you and your employer if you go back to work for a KPERS employer. Please contact your KPERS representative or for further information on how this might affect you. 
State Director, Kansas Small Business Development Center Network
Full Time
Human Resource Office
Mar 13, 2024
Apr 12, 2024
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