North Dakota import takes over FHSU's Kansas Small Business Development Center

HAYS, KS -- Walter J. Kearns, with a 32-year history in business and administration, including nine as state director of North Dakota's Small Business Development Center, took over as the Kansas SBDC on Dec. 7.

Kearns replaced Brenda O'Gorman, who had held the post since August 1999.

Fort Hays State University is the sponsoring agency for the network of 10 regional SBDC offices across the state. The state SBDC office is in Topeka. FHSU Provost Dr. Larry Gould oversees the university's activities with the Kansas SBDC.

Kearns, said Gould, "has many years of leadership in the military and private sector, including an 11-year assignment as state director of the North Dakota Small Business Development network."

"He has worked as a plant manager and assisted faculty in the College of Business and Public Administration at the University of North Dakota," said Gould.

"I look forward to working with Wally," he said.

Kearns, who earned a bachelor of science in business administration from Norwich University in 1968 and a master of business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1977, has served in the U.S. Army, including a posting from 1978 to 1981 as the personnel and operations officer at the Department of the Army's Military Personnel Center in Alexandria, VA.

After that he was a plant manager for Custom Fabricators Inc., Fargo, ND, from 1981-1988, and the director of Small Business Management for Fargo Public Schools from 1988 to 1990. From there he became director of the North Dakota SBDC in 1990.

Kearns was selected for the Kansas SBDC position by a committee chaired by Dr. Mark Bannister, chair of FHSU's Department of Information Networking and Telecommunications.

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