Friday, November 2, 2012
Dave Lopez Will Step Down But Continue Work as Secretary of Commerce on Fallin’s Cabinet
OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Mary Fallin today announced the appointment of Jonna Kirschner as the director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC). Kirschner, who served as deputy director of the agency, will replace Dave Lopez, who is resigning as ODOC director but will remain secretary of commerce in the governor’s cabinet.
“I want to thank Dave Lopez for his creativity, dedication and leadership as director of the Department of Commerce,” Fallin said. “He has served as an enthusiastic and effective advocate for the state of Oklahoma as we work to grow our economy and build a more prosperous state. He will be missed in the day-to-day operation of the Commerce Department, but we will continue to rely on his expertise as secretary of commerce in my cabinet.”
Lopez said that narrowing his work to the cabinet position only would give him more time to develop and promote policies that promote economic development, while Kirschner will now assume the day-to-day responsibilities of running a large agency. Lopez’s resignation is effective Dec. 1 at which time Kirschner will assume the role of ODOC director.
“It’s been a valuable and rewarding experience to serve as commerce secretary and to also be the executive director of ODOC,” Lopez said. “However, the opportunities presented by Oklahoma’s strong economy now are better served by having a person for each position. This change will allow us to fully capitalize on the potential of the state’s robust economy and to effectively implement Governor Fallin’s exciting vision for Oklahoma’s continued economic growth.”
Kirschner previously served as the deputy director and general counsel at ODOC, a position she has held since 2003. She managed the legal division, including the Quality Jobs Program and directed the operations of the Business Customer Services Division, the Public Information Office, the Regional Development Specialists and the Oklahoma Main Street Program.
Prior to her work at ODOC, she was the managing director and vice president at The Kirschner Law Firm. Kirschner has over 25 years of multinational experience working in different aspects of international corporate law, corporate structure, and overall business management. Leading ODOC’s business, retention and expansion and legal efforts enhances Kirschner’s past experience in defining and evaluating strategies for transnational corporations and government agencies in areas such as business and tax incentives, financing and mergers and acquisitions.
Kirschner has worked at several other law firms in both Oklahoma and the United Kingdom, where she lived from 1987-1994. As a member of the Law Society, Kirschner is licensed to practice as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. She is also licensed in Oklahoma, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. She is a founding member of the American Women Lawyers in London and was an active member of the Society of English and American Lawyers during her time there.
Fallin said that Kirschner will make an excellent replacement for Lopez.
“Jonna has been an effective leader at the Department of Commerce for the better part of the last decade,” Fallin said. “Throughout her career, she has proven herself a skilled and talented leader and developed a wide range of expertise in the private sector. I know she’ll do a great job as Commerce Department director and will continue our focus on creating a more prosperous Oklahoma. “
Kirschner is on the board of directors at Red Earth, an American Indian art and cultural museum, and served as president from 2008 to 2010. She has served as a member of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the Women Presidents' Organization from 2002-2005 and is a current member of the Oklahoma Art League and the Junior League of Oklahoma City. In 2003 she was named to the Journal Record’s “50 Women Making a Difference.”
“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce,” Kirschner said. “Secretary Lopez has been an extraordinary leader and advocate for Oklahoma, and my challenge will be to pick up where he left off and continue to build the state’s forward momentum. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him and with Governor Fallin to grow our economy and to both retain and create new jobs in Oklahoma.”
Kirschner received a bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and a law degree from Boston College School of Law in Massachusetts. Kirschner is a fifth generation Oklahoman who lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and two children.