Items for It’s Your Business can be submitted by email to or by mail to The Topeka Capital-Journal, 100 S.E. 9th, Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612. Items and photographs will run in print as space permits.



FHLBank Topeka has announced the following new employees.

Emma Cheng joined FHLBank as a quantitative analyst intern. Cheng is a doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of Kansas.

Marcus Contee joined FHLBank as the new IT operations specialist I on the HelpDesk. Contee was previously an IT and security administrator at Asset LifeCycle in Topeka.

Sathya Gaddam joined FHLBank as a test automation engineer III. Gaddam previously served as the lead QA engineer contractor for Google.

Taylor Hartner joined FHLBank as a Housing and Community Development analyst. Hartner previously worked at Envista Credit Union.

Samer Ibrahim joined FHLBank as a quantitative analyst intern. Ibrahim recently graduated with his master of finance degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Scott Noll joined FHLBank as an auditor III. Noll previously served as an audit supervisor at Wendling, Noe, Nelson & Johnson CPAs.

Kathyleen Wilson joined FHLBank as a Housing and Community Development analyst. Wilson previously served as an accounting representative at Newcomer Funeral Service Group in Topeka.



The Kansas Department of Labor announced the winner of its June Employee Recognition and Award Program, Audri Smith, graphic designer/social media manager, communications, who was honored for innovation and meritorious service. Smith's nomination submission stated, “Audri has consistently worked to improve our website, social media, newsletter, etc. At a recent Kansas Association of Public Information Officers conference we learned about best practices for video, livestreaming and social media, especially with Facebook. Less than a week afterward, Audri had our FB and Instagram pages “Verified,” which indicates to users that we are the REAL KDOL and allows us access to additional tools and opportunities on the various platforms. She also created a schedule to livestream and promo the swearing in ceremony for the Secretary and implemented it flawlessly."

H. Hurst Coffman and S. Lucky DeFries from the Topeka law firm of Coffman, DeFries and Nothern P.A. have been recognized in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America 2020 Edition. Coffman was honored for “Trusts and Estates Law”; Lucky DeFries for both “Litigation and Controversy-Tax” and “Tax Law.”

Five attorneys from the Wichita, Topeka and Lawrence offices of Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC have been honored by the highly regarded Best Lawyers in America — 2020 Edition, with two of them receiving “Lawyer of the Year” honors in their respective markets.

Ross A. Hollander was named Wichita Lawyer of the Year in the Employment Law Management Section. He was further recognized for his expertise in Employment Law — Management, Labor Law — Management, and Litigation — Labor and Employment.

Jess W. Hoeme was honored by Best Lawyers in the area of Criminal Defense: General Practice and DUI/DWI Defense. His practice is focused in criminal litigation across the state of Kansas, and he has represented clients in 80% of Kansas counties. Hoeme represents Kansas Law Enforcement Officers and Agencies in matters of professional affairs and investigations.

Kristine Lawless was honored in the sector of Criminal Defense: General Practice and Criminal Defense: White-Collar. Lawless has extensive experience in complex federal and state criminal cases, including appeals. Her primary practice now focuses on family law, and the Kansas Supreme Court has certified her as a mediator in domestic cases.

Christopher M. Joseph was named Topeka Lawyer of the Year for Criminal Defense: General Practice. He was also honored in the Criminal Defense: General Practice. He represents individuals and businesses during the investigation and prosecution of criminal charges in federal and state courts. He also represents businesses and individuals in complex civil litigation, primarily in federal court. Joseph leads the firm’s criminal and civil asset forfeiture practice groups.

Casey Y. Meek earned recognition by Best Lawyers in the area of Criminal Defense: General Practice. Meek represents individuals during the investigation and prosecution of felony and misdemeanor charges, including: drug & alcohol offenses; DUI & other traffic offenses; property crimes; person crimes; and probation violations. Meek also assists clients with expungements of criminal investigations and convictions.

John R. Hamilton of Hamilton, Laughlin, Barker, Johnson and Jones was selected by his peers for recognition in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He was honored in the Section on Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Union University and a Juris Doctorate degree in 1965 and an Honorary Doctorate degree in 2016 from Washburn University School of Law. Hamilton is a member of the Topeka and American Bar Associations and Owner’s Counsel of America. He is also on the Washburn Law School Foundation Board.