Paul Eisenstein named Department’s Senior Director of Operations, Kayla Kueckelhan to serve as Director of Strategy and Performance

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) announced today that Paul Eisenstein has been appointed DED’s Senior Director of Operations. Eisenstein’s prior role as Director of the Division of Strategy and Performance will be filled by Kayla Kueckelhan, who has been promoted from her previous position as the division’s Deputy Director.

“Paul and Kayla are valued leaders who contribute so much to DED and our state,” said Michelle Hataway, Acting Director of the Department of Economic Development. “In these new roles, their wealth of knowledge, strategic thinking, and passion for service will serve our team well as we help Missourians prosper. I’m grateful for everything Paul and Kayla have accomplished and look forward to continuing to serve alongside them.”

As Senior Director of Operations, Eisenstein will support the Director while overseeing DED’s strategy, financial operations, and human resources functions. 

“It’s an honor to step into this position and help lead a department that is so dedicated to serving Missourians,” said Paul Eisenstein, Senior Director of Operations for the Department of Economic Development. “My time with Strategy and Performance brought countless examples of this team’s rock-solid commitment, whether through rising customer satisfaction or the launch of life-changing programs. I have no doubt the division is in great hands with Kayla as I begin this new chapter of my career with DED.”

Eisenstein most recently served as Director of the Strategy and Performance Division. In 2020 and 2021, he leveraged data analytics to help DED distribute $73.4 million in CARES Act funding to Missouri small businesses, family-owned farms, nonprofits, and other organizations affected by the pandemic. Eisenstein also helped manage DED’s Best in Midwest effort in 2018, which resulted in one of the largest restructurings of a Missouri executive department in recent years. 

Before joining DED in 2017, Eisenstein worked for a private-sector startup and multiple nonprofits. Eisenstein holds a bachelor’s degree from Saint Louis University and an Executive MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. He also earned a graduate certificate in public policy from the University of Missouri. He is also an AmeriCorps alum and current member of the Missouri Chamber’s Leadership Missouri program.

Kueckelhan, as Director of the Strategy and Performance Division, will lead DED’s strategy and policy development as well as the operational excellence and analytics functions to ensure efficiency, increased impact, and better customer service. 

“I’m excited to continue leading our excellent team in this new capacity,” said Kayla Kueckelhan, Director of the Division of Strategy and Performance. “Our division performs functions that support our entire department, and I’m excited to continue that great work alongside talented colleagues. I look forward to using my experience in operational excellence and customer service to keep ensuring DED serves Missourians as efficiently as possible.”

Previously, Kueckelhan served as Deputy Director of the Strategy and Performance Division. In this role, she worked with division leaders to coordinate operational excellence efforts by streamlining processes and empowering team members to improve performance. Kueckelhan has served with the State of Missouri since 2012 and has held leadership roles within the Department of Revenue.

Kueckelhan is certified in Lean Six Sigma, a process improvement method that uses collaboration to improve performance by removing waste and reducing variation. She is also a graduate of the Missouri Leadership Academy and two-time recipient of the Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity. Kueckelhan holds a degree in business administration from the University of Central Missouri.

About the Division of Strategy and Performance

The Strategy and Performance Division helps inform DED’s strategic planning, program development, and performance management. It also houses DED’s legislative, communications, and marketing services, the Office of Missouri Military Advocate, and the Missouri Women’s Council while providing subject matter expertise in specialized areas.

About the Missouri Department of Economic Development

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) works to create an environment that encourages economic growth by supporting Missouri’s businesses and diverse industries, strengthening our communities, developing a talented and skilled workforce, and maintaining a high quality of life. Through its various initiatives, DED is helping create greater opportunities for Missourians to prosper.

For the latest updates on DED’s current or future programs and initiatives, visit DED’s website.