KDOL Executive Leadership

Secretary Ryan Wright KS Dept of Labor 

Ryan Wright
Acting Secretary

brett photo Brett Flachsbarth
Deputy Secretary

Brett joined KDOL in 2005 and was appointed to Deputy Secretary in 2019 by Acting Secretary Garcia. During his time with the agency, he worked in a variety of roles including Director of Unemployment Insurance, Chief of Appeals and Counsel to the Employment Security Board of Review and the Public Employee Relations Board. He is the Vice-Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Information and Technology Support Center (ITSC).

Brady, Peter Peter Brady
Deputy Secretary 
 Peter Brady joined KDOL in 2018 as the Director of Industrial Safety and Health (ISH), in addition to leading the ISH division, Peter previously served as the agency’s Legislative Liaison.  Prior to joining KDOL Peter served in the United States Army.  Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Texas Tech University and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management from the University of Arkansas. He is currently a Master of Business Administration candidate at the University of Kansas.

Berland, Angela Angela Berland
Labor Market Information Services (LMIS) Director

Angela is originally from Damar, Kansas, and graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media in 1998. After working in the Secretary of State’s office throughout college, she joined KDOL’s LMIS division in 1997 as a part-time intern. She worked in several different Research Analyst positions at KDOL, became a Unit Supervisor in 2005 and then Deputy Director in 2009. Angela served on numerous internal committees and on multi-agency initiatives and currently serves on the National Policy Council of the Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program.

 Grasso Jerry Grasso
Communications Director

Jerry Grasso is the Kansas Department of Labor’s communications director. Prior to this position, he was the vice president of marketing and communications at the YMCA of Central Kentucky. Previously, he handled brand and reputation work for Equifax after the company’s cybersecurity incident in 2017, and before that was senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Lexmark International. Grasso has also served as vice president of corporate communications for the Lexington-based printer manufacturer. In that position, he was responsible for public relations, internal communications and corporate creative services. Before Lexmark, Grasso was vice president of corporate communications at EarthLink Inc., one of the country’s largest internet service providers. Prior to EarthLink, he was director of corporate communications for Epoch Internet. Additionally, he has worked at the ARIS Corporation and with Sprint’s business division. Grasso holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Kansas State University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Berland, Angela Jeffrey E. King
Workers Compensation Director

Jeffrey King was born in Topeka, KS and graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) in 1978. He later graduated from Washburn University School of Law in 1980. Jeff has been in private practice in Salina since March 1981, the last 28 years of that with Hampton & Royce, L.C. He has practiced primarily in Workers Compensation and served on the Workers Compensation Advisory Council for 2 - 3 years. He has been a co-editor and chapter author of the last three editions of the Kansas Bar Association (KBA) Workers Compensation Handbook and has been a Fellow of The College of Workers Compensation Lawyers since 2010.

Menghini, Julie 2019 Julie Menghini
Government Affairs Director

Julie is a lifelong Kansan with a dedication to service. She served eight years in the Kansas House of Representatives, including two years as the Minority Whip. She graduated from Pittsburg State University and holds the Senior Certified Professional Certification from the Society of Human Resource Management. Prior to joining KDOL, she worked as the Human Resource Director for Pittsburg Community Schools USD 250.

Dawn Palmberg Dawn Palmberg
Fiscal Director

Dawn was hired as the Chief Fiscal Officer for KDOL in 2013 and continues to serve in this role. She has been in public service accounting for over 17 years. Prior to KDOL, Dawn worked for the Adjutant General's Department, the Kansas Insurance Department and the Kansas Water Office in various accounting roles. She earned her Bachelor of Accountancy from Washburn University in 2003 and is currently working on her Masters of Accountancy from Emporia State.

  Bill Periman
Information Technology Director

Searles, Laurel Klein Laurel Klein Searles
Director of Unemployment Insurance Administration

Laurel Klein Searles is originally from Minneapolis, Kansas. She graduated from Kansas State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Laurel then moved on to the Washburn University School of Law. She graduated with Deans Honors in 2008. Immediately after graduation, she began working as Staff Attorney with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. In 2012, Laurel joined KDOL as an Appeals Referee. She was then promoted to Chief of Appeals in September 2015. In October 2018, Laurel joined the Social Security Administration as an Attorney Advisor. She is pleased to be returning to KDOL to serve as Director of Unemployment Insurance.

Amy Selm  Amy B. Selm 
Director of Unemployment Benefits 

Amy B. Selm joined KDOL in 2020.  She previously was the Assistance Team Manager for Business and Community Development at the Kansas Department of Commerce.  Prior to working for the State, Amy worked for 20+ years at the corporate headquarters for Payless ShoeSource Worldwide in Topeka, KS.  She worked in a wide variety of areas including legal, global customs, logistics, customer wholesale accounts, and merchandise planning and distribution.  Amy also has worked at the Hudson Institute and the International Trademark Association.  Amy has a MA from Indiana University – Bloomington, a BA from Bowling Green State University, and completed coursework at the OU Economic Development Institute.  She has lived and worked in Kansas for over 25 years

  Allen Vinyard
Director of Industrial Safety and Health 

Cahill, John Justin Whitten
Chief Counsel

Justin is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. He completed his undergrad at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he majored in Applied Mathematics. Justin received his law degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, MO. Immediately after graduating, he joined the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), starting as an Honors Attorney before becoming a Trial Attorney. Justin joined KDOL in March 2019 as Chief Counsel. Admitted in Kansas and Missouri.

Brady, Peter Lacie Worcester
Human Resource Director

Lacie joined KDOL in October 2012 as an Auditor in the Audit and Investigations unit. She transitioned to Human Resources in December 2014 and was promoted to Human Resource Director in January 2016. Prior to joining KDOL, Lacie was a Program Administrator with the Department of Commerce.