Jun 14, 2024

Hays resident named Kansas Commerce Employee of Year

Posted Jun 14, 2024 9:30 AM

Kansas Department of Commerce

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland today announced Celia Vega and Sara Bloom have been named the Kansas Department of Commerce’s 2023 Employees of the Year.

Sara Bloom
Sara Bloom

“Kansas is on a dominant trajectory of growth, but the progress our state has seen over the last few years wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering dedication and hard work of Commerce staff,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Celia and Sara consistently go above and beyond their job descriptions, and both play key roles in elevating our state through outstanding workforce services and steadfast support for developing quality places across Kansas. I congratulate both Celia Vega and Sara Bloom on being named the 2023 Employees of the Year, and I thank them for their commitment to Commerce and Kansans.”

Workforce Services Administrative Officer Celia Vega has worked for Commerce for 20 years — all of which have been dedicated to the Workforce Division. Celia supports Assistant Secretary Mike Beene, other team members and workforce center colleagues across the state. She regularly can be found reviewing contracts and overseeing two employees on her team. Those who work with Celia say she exemplifies pride in work and always brings a personable and bubbly energy to Commerce and the team — making the work environment more inviting and enjoyable.

“My job brings me so much fulfillment. Getting to help people achieve a project or simply providing information to them makes my job not feel like work, but more like I am helping out a family member,” Celia Vega said. “I would like to thank everyone for this recognition. I am very humbled that my co-workers and leadership would think this highly of what I do here. I’m excited to keep doing what I can for Kansas and Commerce to keep us all moving forward.”

Community Development Specialist and CSP Tax Credit Program Coordinator Sara Bloom joined the Commerce team two years ago and has made great strides since. Prior to Commerce, she was a director for a non-profit organization assisting the Hays community with the application processes for Commerce grants to elevate her town. With Commerce, Sara engages with communities across the state to address opportunities for childcare, youth development and community development by connecting them with financial and technical resources. In Sara’s role as CSP Tax Credit Program Coordinator, she updates guidelines, oversees tax credit issuance, and provides regular reporting and evaluations of the program. Sara has been recognized by her team for always going above and beyond to ensure she is doing everything to make Commerce and Kansas the best place to work and live.

“It really has been a full circle moment being at Commerce — going from doing all of the groundwork of community development and being in charge of the projects, to now getting to be the one awarding the funds to communities. It’s rewarding,” Sara Bloom said. “It is truly an honor to be nominated by Commerce staff and leadership. I enjoy and love so much of what I get to do for the communities of this state. I am looking forward to many more years with this amazing Commerce team.”

About the Kansas Department of Commerce:

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation and world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021, 2022 and 2023, and was awarded the 2021 and 2022 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine.