Governor Kelly Announces Recovery Team Leadership


As part of her continued commitment to protecting the health and safety of Kansans and the state’s economy, Governor Laura Kelly today announced the appointment of two individuals who will head the team charged with leading Kansas forward in recovery from the far-reaching effects of COVID-19.

Kelly selected Cheryl Harrison-Lee as the Recovery Office’s executive director and Lyle Butler as the chair.

Harrison-Lee has more than 30 years of experience in strategic leadership positions in a variety of corporate, entrepreneurial, private and public environments. Previously, she served in leadership roles for several cities to include Gardner, Kansas and Orlando and Daytona Beach, Florida.

Last year, Governor Kelly appointed Harrison-Lee to serve on the Kansas Board of Regents.

“Cheryl has a robust, national reputation as an extraordinary manager,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “She made an instant positive impact in her new role on the Kansas Board of Regents, and I have every confidence that she will provide big-picture insight during the recovery effort, while also paying necessary attention to detail.”

“I am honored to support Governor Kelly and the citizens of Kansas as we recover from unprecedented challenging times,” Harrison-Lee said. “I look forward to developing a strategy to help us regain and enhance our future and long-term economic sustainability.”

Butler recently retired from his position as the President and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, a position he held since July 2000. He has also served as the Chamber President and CEO in Dodge City, Kansas, and Greeley, Colorado.

“Lyle is a proven coalition builder who will be a strong contributor as we move forward in the recovery from COVID-19,” Kelly said. “He brings years of experience working with the business community and in economic development. We are going to need Lyle’s expertise as we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic.

“In these unprecedented times with numerous challenges facing the citizens of Kansas, I look forward to working with Governor Kelly and her leadership team to provide assistance and guidance to help get Kansas moving forward,” Butler said.

“Both Lyle and Cheryl have a keen understanding of the needs of local communities in Kansas, which will be paramount during the recovery effort and in the statewide distribution of CARES Act funding,” the Governor said.

Kelly will soon announce the remaining members of the recovery team, which will include involvement from members of the Kansas Legislature.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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