OLATHE, Kan., Nov. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kansas Bioscience Authority unanimously approved the naming of Duane Cantrell to serve as its president and CEO, KBA Board Chairman Dan Watkins announced today. Cantrell is currently managing partner of Genus Consulting, LLC, a retail consulting firm. Prior to that, he worked at Payless ShoeSource, Inc., for 26 years, serving as the company's president from 2001-04. "Duane brings a wealth of executive experience to KBA's efforts to grow the Kansas bioscience economy. He knows how to grow companies in tough competitive environments and has the skills and values which will serve our mission well," said Watkins. "I am excited about the opportunity with the Kansas Bioscience Authority to contribute to the economic development of the state of Kansas, helping create and attract high growth bioscience companies and jobs. Especially in a difficult economic climate, the KBA can play a key role building on a quality workforce, our educational institutions and our unique human and animal health corridors which make Kansas an obvious choice," said Cantrell. Cantrell is chairman of the Kansas State University Foundation Board of Trustees. He also serves as chairman of the board of directors for Hiper Technology, a carbon fiber plastics manufacturer, and as chairman of the board for GTM Sportswear. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from Kansas State University, and in 1997 graduated from the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business' executive program. He and his wife, Leslee, live in Topeka. David Vranicar, who has been serving as president and CEO of the KBA since April 2011 will remain with the KBA in a key role continuing to advance its mission. "David has provided great leadership to the KBA during a challenging period for our organization," said Watkins. The Kansas Bioscience Authority was created by the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to advance the state's leadership in bioscience. It focuses the development of opportunities in agriculture and bio-based products, animal health, bio energy and human health.