St. Louis Community College has named new leaders for government relations and workforce development and training.
Ryan McKenna will serve as government and community relations liaison.
Hart Nelson will serve as associate vice chancellor, Workforce Solutions Group.
McKenna has 27 years of career experience in political and public affairs and government relations. He will work with the state legislature and local elected officials to maintain awareness of the College, provide leadership for government affairs, be responsible for keeping STLCC administrators informed of legislation and policy initiatives that affect higher education, as well as develop strategies to advocate for the College at the state and federal level.
Previously, McKenna served as the designated principal assistant at the Missouri Division of Workforce Development. He is a former state director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. He served two terms in the state Senate, and three terms in the state House of Representatives. He was named Outstanding Legislator by St. Louis Business Journal in 2002, 2007 and 2008, and recognized as the Missouri Community College Association Legislator of the Year in 2000.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Missouri State University.
McKenna joined STLCC on April 16. He is serving a role previously held by Ann Brand, a 44-year employee.
“I attended a community college, and my father is a former president of Jefferson College, so I have a strong affinity to community colleges,” said McKenna. “I feel extremely blessed to begin a new chapter of my life at St. Louis Community College. I hope to bring my experience of serving 13 years in the Missouri House of Representatives and the state Senate, and three years as a department director, to St. Louis Community College. I am honored to advocate in Jefferson City and in the St. Louis region for an outstanding institution of higher learning.
“I also want to thank Ann Brand for her many years of service to St. Louis Community College. Having worked with her when I was a legislator, she always represented STLCC with knowledge, grace and kindness. I wish her the best in retirement.”
Nelson has 23 years of career experience in public policy, government relations, intelligence and information technology. He will serve as the lead for economic and workforce development, be responsible for managing corporate and community workforce development, continuing professional development and personal enrichment education, as well as manage entrepreneurial initiatives that reflect the needs of local, regional and national employers.
Most recently, Nelson was vice president of public policy for the St. Louis Regional Chamber. He has been a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, an intelligence officer with the United States Navy Reserve and an information technology architect with IBM. As a volunteer, he is board treasurer of Citizens for Modern Transit and vice chair of the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission.
He has a Bachelor of Arts in political science and mass communication from University of California-Berkeley, and master’s degrees in business administration and information management from Washington University in St. Louis.
Nelson will begin working for STLCC on May 1 to fill a role previously held by Steve Long, a 29-year employee.
“In my conversations with employers across St. Louis, one thing is always raised – the importance of having an educated, skilled workforce. I look forward to joining a great STLCC team and helping lead our efforts to connect the right people with the right skills at the right time,” said Nelson.
“Ryan McKenna and Hart Nelson both have extensive knowledge and expertise that will benefit the College and the people and communities we serve. We look forward to the positive impact their respective roles will have for our students and our community,” said Chancellor Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D.