Ag Commish Quarles Adds RunSwitch VP as Comms Director

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has named a member of RunSwitch PR as the Communications Director of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Kirk Hilbrecht replaces Sean Southard, who left the Department of Agriculture in late January to become the spokesman for the Republican Party of Kentucky. Southard, and now Hilbrecht both joined the Department of Agriculture under Quarles direct from Run Switch PR.

RunSwitch PR is run by CNN conservative commentator Scott Jennings who stays close to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and was recently working with U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft after time with the Trump Administration.

Quarles is a likely candidate for the GOP nomination to run for governor next year.

At KDA, Hilbrecht will work with Commissioner Quarles and lead the Office of Communications’ five-member team to keep the public informed of issues within the department, the state, and the world as it affects Kentucky’s agriculture community, according to a news release. Hilbrecht assumed his new post on Monday.

We are excited to bring Kirk on board the Kentucky Department of Agriculture team,” Commissioner Quarles said. “His years of experience and work ethic will bring a solid foundation to the communications team. I am confident his background in public relations, crisis communications, and media relations will create a positive outreach for our agriculture sector.” 

Hilbrecht is a former lieutenant colonel in the Kentucky National Guard, he returns to state government after serving as director of public affairs for the Kentucky Guard and the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs. While serving in the Kentucky Guard, Hilbrecht directed the organization’s strategic and tactical communication involving the 13,000 personnel that comprised Kentucky’s Department of Military Affairs, Kentucky Army and Air National Guard, and civilian contracted activities.

Prior to Hilbrecht’s active-duty tour, he was president/co-owner of Videobred, a full-service, video production facility, and senior vice president at Doe-Anderson Advertising in Louisville, where he co-built and managed Doe-Anderson Interactive.