The new leader of a group established to develop bioscience as an economic engine for Kansas is set to speak next month in Ottawa.

Duane Cantrell, Kansas Bioscience Authority president and chief executive officer, has been confirmed as the main speaker for the April 1 First Friday Forum at Neosho County Community College, 900 E. Logan St., Ottawa.

Cantrell joined the bioscience authority in November 2012, having previously served as managing partner of Genus Consulting, a Topeka firm specializing in helping clients find efficiency within their organizations or companies. He also worked at Payless ShoeSource Inc. for more than 25 years, ultimately as serving as president and director, guiding a $185 million regional footwear retailer with 575 stores to an international footwear company with revenues of $3 billion with operations in more than 10 countries.

A graduate of Kansas State University, Cantrell serves as chair of the university’s Foundation Board of Trustees and previously served as board chair of K-State’s College of Business Administration, among other civic and service sector activities.

The monthly First Friday Forum series is presented by Arvest Bank, the City of Ottawa and The Ottawa Herald, with rotating sponsorship by Franklin County, the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, the Franklin County Development Council and the Ottawa Main Street Association.