Governor’s Summit Speakers

2018 Governor Summit Speakers


Dr. Jason Alexander
Amos Anson
Scott Asmus
Tyler Bertsch
Shawn Brakhage-Carfield
Gregg Christensen
Luke Christiansen
Garry Clark
Tamara Field
Katie Graham
Reid Hagstrom
Allison Hatch
Missy Jabens
Becky Jobman
Lyle Kathol
David Lambe
Cassie Lapaseotes
Evan Luxon
Megan McGown
Jennifer McKeone
Administrator Linda McMahon
Mel McNea
Jamie Mohrman
Roger Nadrchal
Jon Nixon
Valentina Obafunwa
Abe Oommen
Daniel Phillips
Bradley Pierce
Rachel Placzek
Dave Rippe
Chris Roth
Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder
Christina Sirek
Jill Smith
Dr. Michael Teahon
Brandy Thompson
Eric Thompson
Brian Turner
Andrew Uden
Maggie Vaughan
Senator Matt Williams
Erik Wilson
Robert Wilson

Jason Alexander Picture
Dr. Jason Alexander
Superintendent of Beatrice Public Schools
Beatrice Public Schools
jalexander@ordps.org
www.ordps.org
Dr. Alexander is currently the Superintendent of Beatrice Public Schools, and has been in the role since December 2017. He began his teaching career as an Elementary Teacher and Coach in January 1994 at Sargent Public Schools. He earned an MA.Ed.AD, and started his administrative career at Burwell Elementary where he was a Class I Administrator from 2003-2009. Dr. Alexander served as the Elementary Principal at Ord from 2009-2011 which earned a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2012. Upon attaining his ED.Specialist, he served as the the Superintendent at Ord Public Schools starting July 2011. With the help of the entire Ord community, Mr. Alexander lead Ord Public Schools through the reVision Process in 2014, which has resulted in additional CNA, Agricultural, Diesel Mechanics and Science classes for students at Ord Jr. Sr. High.

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Amos Anson Picture
Amos Anson
Owner/President
Empire Development, FAmos Construction Inc.
amosanson@gmail.com
www.empireinspired.com
Amos Anson graduated from Grand Island Senior High in 2001 and entered into the Construction Program at SCC Milford. Upon graduating in 2003 with an associates of applied science in Building Construction, he started his first business FAmos Construction Inc. After several years of constructing single family homes,the opportunity to redevelop buildings in the historic downtown core arose and out of that was born Empire Development. Empire Development focuses on real estate development, with services ranging from consulting all the way to, with the team that come with FAmos Construction, design build. As the founder of both organizations Amos has become the go to when it comes to renovating downtown properties and navigating the politics and financing involved with all aspects of renovations. A small sampling of the projects include ; The Chocolate Bar (restaurant & banquet hall renovation), Prairie Pride Brewing Co. (brewery and taproom renovation),Tower 217 (7 story residential, retail and commercial renovation), Former Nathan Detroit’s apartments (residential).

Amos has also been involved with:
  1. Habitat for Humanity since 2005, acting as the Construction Manager from 2007 to today
  2. A member and past president of the Central Nebraska Home Builders Association.
  3. Past president of the Downtown Business Improvement District
  4. Chair of the current Railside Steering Committee
  5. Member of the Grow Grand Island Implementation Committee
  6. Member of the exec. committee of the Housing Improvement Partnership
  7. Member of the Career Pathways Institute Advisory Board
  8. Carpentry judge for the Skills USA carpentry competition, 7 years
  9. Judge for the $50 entrepreneur project
  10. Amos has also been involved in several visioning processes including: Grow Grand Island, the Vets Home Legacy Project, & the Grand Island Senior High visioning process
The vision that runs Amos' businesses and activities are a desire to open up possibilities to offering quality of life opportunities within a community. Whether they be desirable affordable housing, historic bldg preservation or an ability for more retail stores and restaurants to serve a town's nightlife, essentially taking something no one wants and turning it into something amazing. Lastly, Amos is an entrepreneur to his core and loves mentoring others who want to become entrepreneurs as well. Kathol began his career in higher education at Northeast in 1985 where he served as an automotive technology instructor and the cooperative internship coordinator. He was promoted to the position of Dean of the Transportation and Construction Division (later renamed Dean of the Applied Technology Division), where he supervised thirty-seven full-time instructors and numerous adjunct instructors in fifteen academic and non-credit programs. Kathol held that position for 16-years until he was appointed vice president in 2017. As Dean of Applied Technology, Kathol was instrumental in the development of several technical programs and in working to establish strong ties between Northeast and business and industry. This includes partnerships with the Trane® Corporation and Snap-on® tools as part of the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), a non-profit network of education providers and corporations that supports and advances new and emerging technology skills in the transportation, aviation and energy industry sectors. Most recently, Kathol was instrumental in another NC3 enterprise, the Mopar® CAP (Career Automotive Program) LOCAL program, an initiative to train individuals to earn industry certification to service vehicles in Chrysler auto dealerships.

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Scott Asmus Picture
Scott Asmus
Job Training Program Coordinator-Apprenticeship
Nebraska Department of Labor
scott.asmus@nebraska.gov
dol.nebraska.gov
Scott Asmus was hired by the Nebraska Department of Labor in January of 2016 as a Workforce Coordinator for the NEres Program. In October of 2016, Scott was promoted to a Program Coordinator as part of the ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grant. The purpose of the grant was to assist Nebraska with expanding and integrating Registered Apprenticeship into the workforce system. Scott has extensive knowledge in regards to behavioral modification. Prior to the Nebraska Department of Labor, Scott and his wife Jessica, served kids and families as Family Teachers for ten years at Boys Town. In addition, Scott has experience working with adults with developmental disabilities and youth-based programs.

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Tyler Bertsch Picture
Tyler Bertsch
Corporate Training Manager
Behlen Manufacturing
tyler.bertsch@behlenmfg.com
www.behlenmfg.com/
Tyler Bertsch has worked for Behlen Manufacturing Company for 4 years in Columbus, NE. Tyler’s primary role at Behlen Mfg. is bridging the skills gap by recruiting, retaining, and developing top talent. Tyler has spent the majority of his career in a manufacturing setting. Tyler is a graduate of Wayne State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

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Gregg Christensen Picture
Gregg Christensen
Entrepreneurship and Work-Based Learning Specialist
Nebraska Department of Education
gregg.christensen@nebraska.gov
www.education.ne.gov/entreped/
www.nebraskaworkplaceexperiences.com
Gregg Christensen serves as the Entrepreneurship and Work-Based Learning Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education. Mr. Christensen provides curriculum and professional development assistance to educators in the K-12, two-year and four-year postsecondary systems throughout Nebraska. He also works to connect entrepreneurship and work-based learning with economic development and workforce development initiatives and programs statewide. He has served as facilitator for over 25 Nebraska school districts that have engaged in the reVISION process as well as leading many of the community engagement meetings for those schools. Gregg hosts the Nebraska Entrepreneurship Education listserv and twitter account @NDE_EntreED while maintaining and updating the Nebraska Entrepreneurship Education and Nebraska Workplace Experiences websites.

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Luke Christiansen Picture
Luke Christiansen
VP of Product
Buildertrend
luke.christiansen@buildertrend.com
buildertrend.com
Luke Christiansen is the VP of Product at Buildertrend, a homegrown technology company that provides the leading construction management software to 13,000 residential contractors in the U.S. and abroad. He is responsible for defining product strategy and company structure required for continued rapid growth. With a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Nebraska and an MBA from Creighton University, Luke began his career with Union Pacific in 2005. He held a number of positions in their technology organization, including lead for a business unit aimed at commercialization of in-house technology. In addition to his personal roles, he enjoys volunteering in the community and has served on the following boards: Community Health Charities of Nebraska, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation NE/IA Chapter and Business Ethics Alliance.

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Garry Clark Picture
Garry Clark
Executive Director
Greater Fremont Development Council
garry.clark@fremontecodev.org
www.fremontecodev.org
Garry joined the Greater Fremont Development Council in September 2017. Prior to his GFDC role, Garry worked as the NIFA Opportunity Fund Manager out of the Omaha and Lincoln, NE offices and before that served as Cuming County Economic Development Director for 5 years in Northeast Nebraska. Garry serves as a board member on the National Rural Economic Developers Association, and has served as a board member for Center for Rural Affairs and has served as Northeast Development Network Chair. Garry received his BA in Sociology from Dana College, Blair, N.E. and his Master of Science in Urban Studies/Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Although his Alma mater (Dana College) is no more, Garry was inducted into the Dana College Hall of Fame for Track and Field in 2010. He holds 11 records (most ever in the school’s history) and was the first male National Champion for Dana College. Prior to his work in Nebraska, Clark started out as a City Planner-Main Street Manager and Economic Development Specialist in Florida and in Washington, D.C.

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Tamara Field Picture
Tamara J. Field, BSN, RN, DMA
Vice President of Patient Care Services
CHI Health Midlands Hospital
Tamara.Field@alegent.org
www.chihealth.com/chi-health-midlands
Tami Field is currently the Vice President of Patient Care Services at Midlands’s hospital. Tami is well-known to CHI Health and has been with the health care system since 1985.

A registered nurse by trade, Tami’s experience has mostly been in ICU, Emergency Departments and Nursing Management here in Nebraska and in Colorado. Tami’s other career is singing/voice in which she holds Doctorate degree in. When not at a hospital she spends the greater part of her free time singing with the ArrhythMix. She has 2 boys in college and enjoys cooking, hiking, yoga, friends, and family.

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Katie Graham Picture
Katie Graham
Vice President of Patient Care Services
CHI Health Midlands Hospital
Katie.Graham@nebraska.gov
www.education.ne.gov/nce/
Katie Graham currently serves as the Deputy State Director for Career Education at the Nebraska Department of Education. In this role she administers the Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education Act by providing state-level leadership in career education, continuous school improvement, curriculum, instruction, and data utilization for Nebraska’s schools and community colleges. Katie is extensively involved in the coordination of activities between education, workforce, and economic development initiatives in the state.

She currently serves on the Nebraska Partner Council, a collaboration between representatives of federal programs from the Departments of Education, Labor, Economic Development, and Health and Human Service, which works to create partnerships and streamline efforts between programs to provide the most effective and efficient services to Nebraskans. Katie is frequently asked to present and share her expertise at state and national meetings on utilizing workforce data and labor market information for program improvement, cross-agency partnerships, developing and implementing college and career readiness standards, leveraging CTE as a workforce development strategy, high-quality instructional materials, and integrating core academic strategy instruction into CTE.

Prior to joining NDE, Katie served as a Senior Academic Program Specialist for Florida State University’s Center for Professional Development. There, she oversaw the development and administration of credit, non-credit, and continuing education programs for campus-based and online part-time degree and/or certificate programs.

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Reid Hagstrom Picture
Reid Hagstrom
Grain Originator
Green Plains Ethanol
rhagstrom@ordps.org
www.gpreinc.com
Reid Hagstrom is a Corn Originator for Green Plains Ethanol. He serves as Board President for the Valley County Health System Foundation and is also the Board Treasurer for Ord Public Schools Board of Education. Mr. Hagstrom received his Bachelors in Agribusiness from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Allison Hatch Picture
Allison Hatch
Associate Director of Employer Relations – Career Services
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
ahatch@unl.edu
www.unl.edu/careers
Allison Hatch is the Associate Director for Employer Relations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Career Services, providing strategic leadership for all aspects of employer and alumni relations. Hatch helps facilitate student career development success through the management of employer partners’ recruiting strategies, program and initiative development, and implementation of the new online career platform, Handshake.

Previously Hatch held several roles with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). Most recently, as the Talent Attraction Coordinator, she oversaw a state strategy for attracting qualified talent for growing job opportunities. In this role she served as a catalyst for advancing ideas, partnerships and actions to create greater pathways to career opportunities for Nebraska’s current and future workforce. Hatch coordinated an extensive communications and outreach effort, the Good Life Ambassadors initiative, that promotes Nebraska as welcoming and leads to the attraction of a diverse group of talented individuals to the state to live and work.

Additionally, Hatch served as DED InternNE Program Coordinator and Human Resources Coordinator, and Research Analyst with the Nebraska Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Market Information. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biopsychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.

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Missy Jabens
Career & Academy Administrator
Papillion La Vista Community Schools
mjabens@paplv.org
www.plcschools.org/domain/705
Missy Jabens currently serves as the Career & Academy Administrator for Papillion La Vista Community Schools (PLCS). Missy started her career as a special education teacher in 1999. In 2009, she became part of the career education team where she helped develop career education programs, academies, internship and dual enrolment opportunities for students. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband, watching her sons play sports, reading and baking.

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Becky Jobman Picture
Becky Jobman
Director of Planning & Development
Gothenburg Health
BJobman@gothenburghealth.org
www.gothenburghealth.org
Becky Jobman is the Director of Planning and Development at Gothenburg Health, a Critical Access Hospital serving Gothenburg and surrounding communities. Becky is part of the hospital’s Senior Leadership team and splits her time between two roles to manage the hospital’s marketing and serve as Executive Director of the Gothenburg Health Foundation, the 501c3 non-profit group that raised the necessary 5 million-dollars for the Gothenburg YMCA. Becky serves on both the Gothenburg Board of Education and the YMCA Advisory Board.

Becky received her Bachelors in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She transitioned from a career in Iowa with John Deere and Co. to marry Gothenburg native and fifth-generation farmer, Andy. Her ag background and problem-solving skill set have proven advantages as she strategically engaged local members of the ag and business communities to invest in the YMCA project.

Becky grew up in Deshler, NE and has been married to Andy for five years. In her free time, she enjoys running with their two dogs, skiing, biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

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Lyle Kathol Picture
Lyle Kathol
Vice President of Educational Services
Northeast Community College
lyle@northeast.edu
northeast.edu
Lyle Kathol, Vice President of Educational Services, oversees five academic divisions at Northeast Community College – Agriculture, Math and Science, Applied Technology, Business and Technology, Health and Wellness, and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Technical Education and a Master of Science in Education from Wayne State College, as well as additional administrative coursework through the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Kathol began his career in higher education at Northeast in 1985 where he served as an automotive technology instructor and the cooperative internship coordinator. He was promoted to the position of Dean of the Transportation and Construction Division (later renamed Dean of the Applied Technology Division), where he supervised thirty-seven full-time instructors and numerous adjunct instructors in fifteen academic and non-credit programs. Kathol held that position for 16-years until he was appointed vice president in 2017.

As Dean of Applied Technology, Kathol was instrumental in the development of several technical programs and in working to establish strong ties between Northeast and business and industry. This includes partnerships with the Trane® Corporation and Snap-on® tools as part of the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), a non-profit network of education providers and corporations that supports and advances new and emerging technology skills in the transportation, aviation and energy industry sectors. Most recently, Kathol was instrumental in another NC3 enterprise, the Mopar® CAP (Career Automotive Program) LOCAL program, an initiative to train individuals to earn industry certification to service vehicles in Chrysler auto dealerships.

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David Lambe Picture
David Lambe
Chief Learning Officer
Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
dlambe1@unl.edu
engler.unl.edu
Dave is an instructor that considers himself a coach of student entrepreneurs at the University of Nebraska in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He works with a team of people in the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. He has owned businesses and is currently involved in real estate investment. Dave’s passion is to help students be successful in their purpose as it relates to entrepreneurship.

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Cassie Lapaseotes Picture
Cassie Lapaseotes
Owner
Lapaseotes Ltd.
cassie@lapaseotes.com
Cassie Lapaseotes is a fourth generation member of her families farming and cattle operation in Bridgeport Nebraska. Upon graduation from Colorado State University with a degree in agricultural business she returned home to become full time in the business. Currently she sits on the Paul Engler Entrepreneur Program board, Teammates mentoring program board and UNL Panhandle Research & Extension advisory committee. Aside from working with the family she is the owner of RCLoft and stays heavily involved in her community.

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Evan Luxon Picture
Evan Luxon
Co-Founder and CEO
Centese, Inc.
eluxon@centese.com
www.centese.com
Evan Luxon is Co-Founder and CEO of Centese, a medical device company developing technology to improve outcomes and reduce costs in cardiothoracic surgery. Prior to starting Centese, he held a variety of technical and management roles in early-stage medtech companies. Evan holds engineering degrees from the University of Nebraska (BS), Johns Hopkins (MS), and Stanford (MS).

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Megan McGown Picture
Megan McGown
Vice President of Economic Development & Marketing
North Platte Area Chamber & Development Corporation
megan@nparea.com
www.nparea.com
Megan has been in the field of economic and community development for more than 10 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Organization Management emphasizing economic development and entrepreneurship. Megan oversees the Chamber and Development Corporation’s talent attraction initiatives and also serves on the Nebraska Talent Team.

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Jennifer McKeone Picture
Jennifer McKeone
Executive Director
Cozad Development Corporation
jen.cdc@cozadtel.net
cozadnebraska.net/economic-development
Jennifer McKeone has been involved in Economic Development for twenty years serving multiple counties and cities, and is currently the Executive Director of the Cozad Development Corporation. Jen is a past president of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association Board, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Nebraska Enterprise Fund. She received the Nebraska Economic Development Professional of the Year in 2012. She graduated from UNK with a Business degree and completed her masters in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship from Peru State College in 2010. She has a passion for downtown revitalization and creative placemaking. Currently she lives south of Cozad and enjoys spending time on the lake with her family.

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Administrator Linda McMahon
U.S. Small Business Administration
Linda McMahon serves as the 25th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). As a member of President Trump’s cabinet, she advocates on behalf of the 30 million small businesses in America. She leads a team of professionals dedicated to ensuring entrepreneurs have the support and tools they need to start, grow and succeed in business, specifically through access to capital and federal contracting opportunities; counseling and mentorship; and financial assistance following declared disasters.

An entrepreneur and business executive herself, McMahon is the co-founder and former chief executive officer of WWE, based in Stamford, Connecticut. She helped grow WWE from a 13-person regional operation to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees in offices worldwide. McMahon has been a longtime advocate for women in leadership and business and has been widely recognized as one of the country’s top female executives. She stepped down as CEO of WWE in 2009 to run for the U.S. Senate and was the Republican nominee to represent the people of Connecticut in 2010 and 2012. McMahon is a graduate of East Carolina University. She and her husband, Vince, have two adult children and six grandchildren.

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Mel McNea Picture
Mel McNea, MHA
Chief Executive Officer
Great Plains Health
mcneam@gphealth.org
www.gphealth.org
Mel McNea is leading the health system through an unprecedented period of growth, quality improvement and expansion. His genuine leadership and passion for healthcare excellence has brought many successful strategic initiatives to fruition, including the addition of a heart and vascular program, a new patient tower, the development of the Great Plains Physician Network, a spine surgery center, a wound healing center and the first mobile CT program in western Nebraska. Throughout his 30-plus years with the organization, McNea has implemented countless programs and processes that have improved patient, physician and employee engagement at Great Plains Health and increased overall satisfaction scores.

McNea joined Great Plains Health in 1987 as the director of diagnostic imaging, leading that department through tremendous growth in volume and changes in technology and process improvement. He was selected for the prestigious Caring Kind award from the Nebraska Hospital Association in 1998. In 2004, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations and served as Interim CEO for the first time in 2008.

Prior to his tenure at Great Plains Health, McNea was the director of radiology at St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neil, Nebraska, and at St. Andrew's Hospital in Bottineau, North Dakota. McNea is active on the boards of the Nebraska Hospital Association, North Platte Area Chamber & Development and Educational Service Unit 16.

McNea holds a master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor's in biology and secondary education from Valley City State College in Valley City, North Dakota.

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Jamie Mohrman Picture
Jamie Mohrman
HR Manager
Kidwell
jmohrman@kidwellinc.com
www.kidwellinc.com
Jamie Mohrman is the HR Manager at Kidwell, Inc. Jamie attended Wayne State College where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication & Organizational Leadership. Jamie has always had a passion for making a positive impact on the well-being of others. Before coming to Kidwell, Jamie’s career path included serving as the Life Enrichment Director at a retirement community in Bellevue, Nebraska, Job Coach and Youth Programs for North Platte Public Schools, and HR Coordinator at ASInc. in Lincoln, NE. Jamie has been involved with several community efforts to plan and support safe and drug-free activities for local high school teens, as well as efforts to increase student interest to careers in a professional trade. Jamie serves as President-Elect for the Lincoln Human Resource Management Association board, and as a board member for the Lincoln Children’s Museum. Jamie lives in Lincoln, NE and enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Kade, and daughter, Olivia.

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Roger Nadrchal
Chief Executive Officer
NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska
rogern@nwnen.org
www.nwnen.org
Roger is the founding Chief Executive Officer of NeighborWorks® Northeast Nebraska based in Norfolk, Nebraska. NeighborWorks® Northeast Nebraska originated in 1994 and currently serves seven counties providing Purchase/ Rehabilitation/ Resell, New Construction, Community Revitalization and Homebuyer Education programs. Under Roger’s direction, the NeighborWorks® Northeast Nebraska has developed 750 single-family homes valuing in excess of 65 million dollars in northeast Nebraska. NeighborWorks® Northeast Nebraska maintains an “Exemplary” status within the NeighborWorks® America network. Roger commits many hours of his personal and professional time to his community and furthering the mission of affordable housing. Roger is involved in the following organizations: Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Norfolk Noon Kiwanis, Nebraska Housing Developers Association-Past Board and President, Nebraska Commission of Housing & Homelessness, NeighborWorks® America-Rural Advisory Council and Norfolk Arts Center.

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Jon Nixon
Process Engineering Supervisor
BD Life Sciences
Jon.Nixon@bd.com
www.bd.com
Jon Nixon has worked with BD Life Sciences in Broken Bow for 4 years, relocating his family from Commerce, Texas. Providing Engineering Leadership, with an emphasis on Project Management, Jon’s professional experience has been in the Medical Device Manufacturing sector. Jon is a graduate of Texas A&M University – Commerce, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. Additionally, Jon maintains certification as a Project Management Professional.

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Valentina Obafunwa Picture
Valentina Obafunwa
Economic Development Consultant / Industry Partner Coordinator
Nebraska Department of Economic Development
valentina.obafunwa@nebraska.gov
opportunity.nebraska.gov
Valentina Obafunwa is an Economic Development Consultant for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (NDED). In her current role she coordinates Next Generation Industry Partnerships that bring together businesses in the same industry and region to collaborate with education, economic developers and other community organizations to tackle shared challenges and opportunities throughout the state of Nebraska.

Prior to working for NDED, Valentina taught entrepreneurship courses in Nicaragua through the Peace Corps, and worked for eight years in the training and development industry in Texas and California. She has extensive experience designing and facilitating technical and management development courses and has a great passion for empowering others. She received a Master in Business Administration from the University of California-Irvine, her Bachelors in Business Administration and Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and holds a Nebraska K-6th grade teaching certification.

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Abe Oommen
President
MatMaCorp
aoommen@matmacorp.com
www.matmacorp.com
Abe Oommen is currently the President and CEO of Materials and Machines Corporation of America (MatMaCorp). MatMaCorp is a materials engineering and biotechnology company that leverages proprietary technologies towards developing small, easy to use, affordable scientific and diagnostic instrumentation. Prior to MatMaCorp, Abe worked as the General Manager of GeneSeek, a division of Neogen Corporation (NEOG, NASDAQ) of Lansing, Michigan. Abe along with Daniel Pomp, a Professor from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; started GeneSeek in 1998. Abe was the President and CEO of GeneSeek until its acquisition in 2010 by Neogen. From its humble beginning in 1998, GeneSeek has grown to be the largest genomics services provider in the world for the agricultural and companion animal market. Before starting GeneSeek, Abe worked as a Senior Applications Scientist at LI-COR Inc., a Lincoln, NE based manufacturer of scientific instrumentation. Abe has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics/Biochemistry from the University of Kansas. He did post-doctoral work at the Noble Foundation before coming to Lincoln in 1993 to work at LI-COR.

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Daniel Phillips Picture
Daniel Phillips
Director, Career Pathways Institute
Career Pathways Institute-Grand Island Public Schools
dphillips@gips.org
www.careerpathwaysinstitute.org/
Daniel Phillips is the Director of the Career Pathways Institute for Grand Island Public Schools, overseeing all career and technical education programs within the district. He is responsible for all curriculum implementation as well as managing partnerships for all CTE programs. Prior to his role with Grand Island Public Schools, Daniel taught Drafting and Architecture for 10 years in Wichita, Kansas.

In addition to his responsibilities within GIPS, Daniel is active on several local and state boards. He is the president-elect for the Association for Career and Technical Education of Nebraska. He also serves on the Nebraska Career Academy Advisory committee to help establish and monitor Career Academy standards statewide. Daniel has presented at numerous state and regional conferences about the formation and successes of the Career Pathways Institute.

Daniel and his family work and live in Grand Island. His wife is a surgical nurse for CHI St. Francis, specializing in neurosurgery. Daniel’s has three children, all in Grand Island Public schools. Jane will be a senior and will be pursuing Nursing as a career, Charlie will be an eighth grader and Jack will be a second grader. When and if there is free time, you can find Daniel and the boys on the golf course, or enjoying quiet time at home.

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Bradley Pierce
Business Development and Recruitment
Nebraska Department of Economic Development
Bradley.pierce@nebraska.gov
opportunity.nebraska.gov
Brad Pierce is a Business Recruiter with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. He also works with the Nebraska Manufacturing Advisory Council (NeMAC) and assists the DED team with various Talent Development programs, including the Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI). Prior to working in Economic Development, he worked as a Business Services Consultant for the Nebraska Department of Labor.

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Rachel Placzek
Director of Talent Strategy
Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development
rplaczek@selectlincoln.org
www.selectlincoln.org
Rachel Placzek is the Director of Talent Strategy at the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. A lifelong Nebraskan and University of Nebraska graduate, Rachel is proud to be leading initiatives that help grow and retain talent in the state. She lives in Lincoln with her husband and her dog.

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Dave Rippe
Director
Nebraska Department of Economic Development
dave.rippe@nebraska.gov
opportunity.nebraska.gov
Dave Rippe was appointed by Governor Pete Ricketts to lead the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and began his work for the agency in December of 2017. He previously worked as the Executive Director for the Hastings Economic Development Corporation for eight years, advocating for community and business growth. In that role, he worked to advance downtown revitalization efforts in Hastings, as well as numerous corporate expansions and small business startups.

Before taking the job in Hastings, Rippe was an economic development consultant in business recruitment for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and a fiscal analyst in the Legislative Fiscal Office.

Rippe has a master of business administration degree in strategic management and finance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a bachelor of science degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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Chris Roth Picture
Chris Roth
President
Reinke Manufacturing Company
chrisroth@reinke.com
www.reinke.com
Mr. Chris Roth, CPA has been the President at Reinke Manufacturing Company, Inc. since 2007. Mr. Roth started as an Accounting Manager at Reinke Manufacturing. He worked at KPMG LLP through early 1997. Mr. Roth serves as Board Chair for the Thayer County Hospital Board of Trustees and is immediate past Board Chair of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He serves on the Board of the National Association of Manufacturing. Mr. Roth has been a Director of Irrigation Association since November 2013. He serves as a Director of Invest Nebraska Corporation. Mr. Roth is a Certified Public Accountant. He earned his B.S. in Business Management with an emphasis in Accounting from University of Nebraska – Lincoln in May 1992.

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Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder Picture
Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder
haymakerfarm@hotmail.com
Dr. Ben grew up in rural Coleridge, Nebraska the eldest of 5 children. Growing up with a father who was a veterinarian influenced Ben’s choice to pursue the same career and after graduation from Kansas State University, Ben worked with his father, Dr. John Schroeder, prior to assuming ownership of Cedar County Veterinary Services. He and his wife, Dr. Erin Schroeder, have two sons, Charles and Chase, an ornery housecat, “Migos”, and their little dog, “Drake”. His hobbies include renovating (demolition and deconstruction are his favorites!) watching movies, and being a sports fan (especially for his own boys). He is involved in the Veterinary Associations of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota, and is a Certified Beef Quality Assurance Trainer. In his spare time, both he and Erin coach basketball and are always on the hunt for their next renovation project!

Dr. Erin grew up in Westport, New York, a small town located on Lake Champlain. She always knew that she wanted to be a veterinarian and grew up with dogs, cats, and horses. She graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Syracuse University where she also played basketball for the Orangewomen. In 2001, while getting her DVM at Kansas State, she met her husband, Dr. Ben Schroeder. They have two boys, Charlie and Chase, who currently want to be professional basketball players! Dr. Erin loves interior design and repurposing buildings as well as complete renovation projects. She also enjoys reading, coaching and relaxing with the boys and Ben.

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Christina Sirek
Chief Operations Officer
News Channel Nebraska/Flood Communications
christina@newschannelnebraska.com
newschannelnebraska.com/contact-us92
Christina grew up in Pierce, Nebraska, after graduating in 2001, she headed to Lincoln to major in Broadcast Journalism and Business Marketing. In 2006, she moved to Denver, Colorado where she worked in the Commercial Furniture industry for five years, only to find her heart calling her back home to Nebraska where she started as an Account Executive for 94 Rock, one of Mike Flood’s first two radio stations in 2012, she then became Sales Manager after one year and was promoted to Chief Operations Officer of Flood Digital Networks in 2016. Flood Communications and News Channel Nebraska is owned and operated by Mike Flood. In total, there are now seven TV stations and 8 radio stations, including the Telemundo Nebraska affiliate. Flood Communications provides hyper local news, sports and weather on a multimedia platform (TV, Radio and Digital) to the citizens of Nebraska. As the COO, Christina manages and oversees the Major Projects Team from major client pitches to corporate relations, policies and procedures, contracts, the TV production team, human resources and sales.

She is also involved with the Norfolk Area Chamber-Chamber of Commerce as a Red Coat Ambassador, part of the Faith Regional Health Services Gala Committee, the Laugh & A Half Marathon Committee and Zion Lutheran Church. She is married to Josh Sirek who owns Town & Country Wealth Management. They have two beautiful and healthy daughters. River is 3 and Willow will be 2 at the end of August. She loves to travel, Denver is home but so is being on the water, so anything skiing, water or snow with friends and family is fun!

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Jill Smith Picture
Jill Smith
Human Resources Manager
BD Life Sciences
Jill_M_Smith@bd.com
www.bd.com
Jill Smith has been with BD Life Sciences in Broken Bow for over 14 years. As a Vice-Chair of the Greater Nebraska Workforce Development Board, a member of the Custer Economic Development Corporation Recruitment and Retention sub-committee, and having over 22 years of Human Resources experience in manufacturing, Jill has worked closely with workforce issues from multiple perspectives. A graduate of Hastings College, Jill holds Bachelor Degrees in Human Resources Management and Sociology, a Masters in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix, and is a certified Professional in Human Resources.

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Dr. Michael Teahon
Superintendent of Schools at Gothenburg Public Schools
Gothenburg Public Schools
michael.teahon@goswedes.org
www.gothenburgswedes.org/
Dr. Michael Teahon is Superintendent of Schools at Gothenburg Public Schools and was selected 2018-19 Superintendent of the Year by the Nebraska Association of School Administrators (NASA). He is on the Board of Directors for the Gothenburg Improvement Corporation for Economic Development, the Nebraska Council of School Administrators and the Gothenburg YMCA Advisory Board.

Dr. Teahon has extensive experience as a teacher, administrator and superintendent. He holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters in Educational Administration, an Educational Specialist from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and a Bachelors in Secondary Education.

He is a native of Custer County and has been married to his wife Kelli for 34 years. Dr. Teahon has four children, two grandchildren, and he enjoys anything Huskers.

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Brandy Thompson
Sutton Public Schools Secondary Principal
Sutton Public Schools
bthompson@spsne.org
www.suttonpublicschool.org
After 5 years of organizing and piloting, the Career Pathways Program at Sutton High School officially implemented its entire program, including work based learning opportunities within the community of Sutton, during the 2017-2018 school year. As a result of Mrs. Thompson’s diligence and desire to build a CTE program that is invested in meeting the needs of her students, she was able to identify and grow the program with the addition of a Technology Coordinator to the district. This additional staff member will not only meet the multiple needs of the district K-12, but also grows the number of programs of study offered to Sutton Students from 18 to 25.

In addition to her work with the Career Pathways Program, she has also focused on enhancing career guidance. She has presented at numerous conference as well as volunteering to serve on committees focused on enhancing Career Education on a statewide basis. She is a tireless advocate for quality career and technical education for ALL students, not just in Sutton but across the state of Nebraska.

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Eric Thompson Picture
Eric Thompson
K.H. Nelson Associate Professor of Economics & Associate Professor of Economics
UNL College of Business
ethompson2@unl.edu
cba.unl.edu
Dr. Eric C. Thompson is the Karl H. Nelson Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Thompson’s research on the Nebraska and national economy examines competitive factors affecting state and local economic growth, the impact of infrastructure on the economy, and economic development. Thompson holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

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Brian Turner
Vice President & General Manager
Behlen Technology & Manufacturing
bturner@behlentech.com
www.behlentech.com/

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Andrew Uden
Co-Founder and Product/Business Development
Quantified Ag
andrew@quantifiedag.com
quantifiedag.com
Andrew Uden is a Co-Founder and works in product and customer development at Quantified Ag. He grew up on a cattle feeding and cow/calf operation started by his father in central Nebraska. Andrew attended the University of Nebraska where he took advantage of travel through mission, study, work opportunities in Africa, Scotland, and Australia respectively. Andrew received his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska in 2012, where he made an effort to work in nearly every segment of the beef value chain before graduating. Upon graduation he worked in the beef chain in Russia and then did a stint with National Student Leadership in Washington DC before returning to UNL to pursue a Masters’ degree in Applied Science.

Apart from his work at Quantified Ag Andrew maintains a role in his family cattle operation as well as being a cofounder of AgVision International, an agricultural value chain development company with customers in Uganda and Rwanda. Andrew lives in Lincoln, with his wife Nicolette and two young children.

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Maggie Vaughan
Interim Director
Hastings Economic Development Corporation
mvaughan@hastingsedc.com
www.hastingsedc.com
Maggie Vaughan is currently Interim Director of the Hastings Economic Development Corporation (HEDC). She was introduced to economic development through an internship program while attending Hastings College where she also had the opportunity to take advantage of InternNE. Her experience with HEDC translated into a full-time position with the corporation.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Hastings College in 2016 and has been with HEDC since, originally as Director of Talent Solutions and now in the Interim Director role. Her passions lie with talent retention, development, and attraction, entrepreneurship, and marketing the Hastings community. She is Vice President of Hastings Young Professionals, a board member of MentoringWorks, serves on the Manufacturing Pathways Advisory Team, she is a graduate of Leadership Hastings, and is active on many other committees.

Hastings has always been home to Maggie and she is glad to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on her hometown.

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Senator Matt Williams
District 36 – Gothenburg
Nebraska State Senator
mwilliams@leg.ne.gov
nebraskalegislature.gov
Senator Williams was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014. He is the Vice Chair of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and sits on the Health and Human Services Committee and the special Legislature’s Planning Committee.

He graduated from Gothenburg High School in 1967; University of Nebraska-Lincoln (business administration) in 1971; and University of Nebraska College of Law (J.D.) in 1974. His occupation is a banker. He is a member of the Nebraska Bankers Association (chair, 2003-04); American Bankers Association (chair, 2012-13); board, Innovation Campus; trustee, University of Nebraska Foundation; Ag Builders of Nebraska; board member, Gothenburg Redevelopment Authority (chair, 1993 to present); Nebraska Diplomats; Nebraska Bar Association; First Presbyterian Church (lay leader, elder).

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Erik Wilson Picture
Erik Wilson
Assistant Principal at Norfolk High School
Norfolk Senior High
erikwilson@npsne.org
www.norfolkpublicschools.org/schools/norfolk-high-school
Erik Wilson is an Assistant Principal at Norfolk High School and also a 1996 graduate of Norfolk High. After graduation he served 9 years in the Nebraska Army National Guard and honorably discharged in 2005. He earned his teaching degree from Wayne State College, a Masters from Doane College in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Masters from Wayne State in Education Administration. He has worked for Norfolk Public for 18 years, 14 years as a Science and Ag teacher, and 4 years as assistant principal. He started on the reVision grant process as a teacher and then finished it as an administrator. Additionally, he currently helps oversee the Norfolk Career Academies.

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Robert Wilson Picture
Robert Wilson
Industrial Management Consultant
Hastings Economic Development Board

www.hastingsedc.com
Robert retired from Flowserve in Hastings where he worked from 1987 to 2017, the last 21 years as the Director/General Manager. Throughout his career he worked in Construction (commercial, industrial, and residential), was self-employed in a wholesale/retail business, worked in manufacturing, and made investments in real estate. Areas of Expertise and Experience: Manufacturing Management, Environmental Management, Safety/OSHA, Financial Planning, Real Estate management, Housing construction, Commercial construction. He serves on the Hastings Economic Development Board and is currently assisting the organization with real estate development. Robert is a University of Nebraska, Lincoln alumni with a BS in Construction Management 1979 and BS Mechanical Engineering 1987. Other affiliations include the Harvard Rural Fire Board, Executive Leadership Team of Central Community College Foundation.

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