Five prominent KC leaders join advisory board at Olathe campus

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020

OLATHE — Five new members are joining the advisory board for Kansas State University's Olathe campus.

The newest members to join the campus' 22-member advisory board are John Bucksath, CEO of KCAS Bioanalytical and Biomarker Services; John El-Attrache, global director of science and investigation at Ceva Santé Animale; Katherine Kelly, executive director of Cultivate KC; Roy Loepp, vice president of plant operations and quality at Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group; and Shannon Kellner, associate vice president of livestock at Merck Animal Health.

The advisory board is a group comprised of business, industry, government, public education and community leaders. Board members provide feedback and guidance on educational, research and outreach programs, improvement of facilities, expanding the base of support and working toward the goals of the K-State 2025 strategic plan. They also serve as advocates in the community. Board members actively participate in the continual assessment of the campus progress and the development of university-industry partnerships.

"We are delighted to see our advisory board continue to add new members who are committed to the vitality of the Olathe campus," said Debbie Kirchhoff, executive director of strategic initiatives at the Olathe campus. "Our board members have a tremendous wealth of knowledge, ideas and connections that help guide our campus so we can better serve the needs of Greater Kansas City and Kansas State University."

The five new advisory board members serve in leadership roles at their organizations.

As CEO and a board member of KCAS Bioanalytical and Biomarker Services, Bucksath is responsible for the overall strategic direction and future success of the organization.

El-Attrache works strategically with the business franchises in coordination and prioritization of projects and actively facilitates the introduction and development of innovative R&D and business projects. He provides oversight to multiple global diagnostic laboratories, extensive laboratory network and scientific investigation studies for both poultry and swine vaccines by Ceva Santé Animale.

As executive director of Cultivate KC, Kelly works with the organization's board and committees and develops strategic planning and programming to help the nonprofit's work in growing food, farms and the community.

Loepp has experience managing plants, capital projects, information technology projects, senior leadership and critical roles in privatization of state enterprises at Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group. He developed and introduced a group strategy for plant operations management systems. This included a data warehouse for management reporting, quality and manufacturing audits and data integration.

Kellner is responsible for the overall profitability of the U.S. ruminant, swine, poultry and aquaculture businesses for Merck Animal Health.

The Olathe campus thanks outgoing board members whose terms have ended. Outgoing members are Steve Curran of General Mills; Bernd Eichenmueller of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health; Ernst Heinen of Aratana Therapeutics (Elanco); John Lagemann of John Deere; Jeff Placek of McCownGordon Construction; Bob Regnier of the Bank of Blue Valley; and Craig Wallace of Ceva Santé Animale.

Read more about advisory board members at