HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Debra Teufel will become President/CEO of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce. The announcement was made Thursday by Chamber Board Chair Sarah Liebl.
Teufel has extensive experience in economic development, one of the key skills the Chamber board was looking for. “The board, based on input from members, investors and the community, put that experience at the top of the list of the things it was looking for,” Liebl said. “Debra has been involved in economic development since 1999, including in a number of communities in south-central Kansas. We are excited to welcome her and her family to our community.”
Teufel has been Director of Public/Private Partnerships for the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development since the fall of 2015. Prior to that, she served as Vice President for Business Development for the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition/Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce from 2008-2015.
“I am thrilled to be coming to Hutchinson to lead the Chamber and economic development efforts,” Teufel said. “I know the community well, as a Kansas native, and from my experience in regional economic development activities in the area. Hutchinson and Reno County have a compelling combination of business and industry, attractive development sites, workforce training and educational assets, a strong healthcare cluster, and a spirit of cooperation with community leadership who are dedicated and invested in the economic development efforts for the future. It is a great community with a wealth of opportunity.”
Teufel, 45, and her husband, David, have four children ages 14, 15, 19, and 22. Her husband and daughters will join her in Hutchinson.
Previously she was the Director of the Cowley First Economic Development Partnership from 2006-2008, after having served as Project Manager for the same organization from 1999-2004.
From 2004-2005, she was Director of the Sumner County Economic Development Commission, followed by her first term as a Project Manager for the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition from 2005-2006.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Computer Operations Technology from Southwestern College and received her designation as a Certified Economic Developer from IEDC in 2008.
Teufel will replace Kirk Johnson, who has been interim Chamber President since Jason Ball left in mid-January. “The Chamber staff has done a great job during the interim. Kirk stepped up to help the organization and we appreciate the leadership he provided,” Liebl said.
Allen Fee, CEO of Fee Insurance Group, chaired the 13-member search committee. Working with the executive search firm, Jorgenson Consulting, the search committee interviewed candidates and made a recommendation to the full Chamber Board this week.
“The process was very rewarding for me and the rest of a fantastic committee that the Chamber board appointed for the search,” Fee said. “What was reinforced time and again from all of our candidates was what a great community we have with fantastic assets and very engaging people. It is always rewarding to get reminders of what a great place we have to work and live, and our community really showed that to our candidates.”