Governor’s Summit Speakers

2019 Speakers


Jim Clifton
Elli Aesoph
AshLea Allberry
Kara Asmus
Scott Asmus
Dena Beck
Tim Burke
Gregg Christensen
Evan Clark
Aaron Delahoyde
Jim Ediger
Jason Feldman
Kristine Gale
Melissa Garcia
Jacqui Garrison
Donald Gross
Lindsy Gumb Roberts
Tanna Hanna
Allison Hatch
Marguerite Himmelberg
Jeff Hoffman
Dan Hohensee
Leon Holloway
Jonathan Jank
W. Todd Johnson
Heidi Kaschke
Derek Kowalski
Greta Leach
Dawn Lindsley
Andy Long
Robert McClenaghan
Kayla Meyer
Darby Paxton
Yesenia Peck
Karina Perez
Dan Phillips
Barb Pierce
Roberta Pinkerton
Rachel Placzek
Brianna Pribbeno
Bryan Seck
Mart Sedky
Nicole Sedlacek
Kim Sellmeyer
Justin Shaddick
Megan Spargo
Gabriel Steinmeyer
Jerick Svec
Jenifer Velazquez-Perfecto
Rhonda Veleba
Scott Volk
Megan Weaver
Ray Welsh

Jim Clifton Picture
Jim Clifton
GALLUP
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Futuristic | Individualization | Competition | Activator | Woo
jim_clifton@gallup.com
gallup.com
JIM CLIFTON HAS SERVED AS CEO OF GALLUP, a global leader in public opinion research and advanced analytics, since 1988. Under his leadership, Gallup has expanded from a predominantly U.S.-based company to a worldwide organization with 30 offices in 20 countries and regions.

Mr. Clifton is the creator of The Gallup Path, a metric-based economic model that establishes the linkages among human nature in the workplace, customer engagement and business outcomes. This model is used in performance management systems in more than 500 companies worldwide. His most recent innovation, the Gallup World Poll, is designed to give the world’s 7 billion citizens a voice on virtually all key global issues.

In June 2015, the Clifton Foundation and Gallup announced a $30 million gift to the University of Nebraska to establish the Don Clifton Strengths Institute. The gift will support the early identification and accelerated development of thousands of gifted entrepreneurs and future business builders.

Mr. Clifton is the bestselling author of The Coming Jobs War and Born to Build, as well as many articles on global leadership. His blog appears regularly in the Influencer section of LinkedIn and on Gallup.com’s Chairman’s Blog. He serves on several boards and is Chairman Emeritus of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. He has received honorary degrees from Medgar Evers, Jackson State and Bellevue Universities. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT JIM CLIFTON, contact Christine Sheehan, Chief of Staff for Jim Clifton: christine_sheehan@gallup.com | +202-715-3164

ABOUT GALLUP 
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.
Gallup works with leaders and organizations to achieve breakthroughs in customer engagement, employee engagement, organizational culture and identity, leadership development, talent-based assessments, entrepreneurship and well-being. Our 2,000 professionals include noted scientists, renowned subject-matter experts and bestselling authors who work in a range of industries, including banking, finance, healthcare, consumer goods, automotive, real estate, hospitality, education, government and business-to-business (B2B).

Jim Clifton PDF Bio

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Elli Aesoph
Habitat for Humanity of Omaha
Chief Retail Officer
eaesoph@habitatomaha.org
Elli Aesoph is the Chief Retail Officer at Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. A University of Nebraska graduate, Elli owned her own business for 15 years before finding her true passion in nonprofit work. While assessing employee engagement, workplace culture and the cycle of poverty in many entry-level positions, she felt strongly that employees needed opportunities and support in taking steps to grow and develop. This year, in conjunction with the United States Department of Labor and Metro Community College, she has started a Project Management Apprenticeship Program at Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. She is hopeful this program will help employees learn, contribute and advance their careers. Currently she lives in Omaha and enjoys spending time on the lake with her family, running, and attending Barre Code classes.

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AshLea Allberry
Nanonation, Inc.
Chief Operating Officer
ashleaallberry@nanonation.net
AshLea Allberry is an information technology leader who has served in many operational and organizational capacities within software product and services firms. AshLea is the Chief Operating Officer at Nanonation, Inc., a Lincoln-based digital marketing firm. In her role, she leads company operations and product development, and is involved in leading the firm’s strategic vision.

Prior to joining Nanonation, AshLea was part of the executive team at Xpanxion, LLC, a UST Global Company. At that time, she focused on development of rural outsourcing centers, marketing, human resources and public relations. As a result of rapid growth of the business model, AshLea was able to co-found a small subsidiary company, which is fully operational today as part of the larger organization.

Outside of her career, AshLea is involved throughout the Lincoln, Nebraska community in a variety of capacities. She is the co-founder of two organizations focused on women in business and community. Further, AshLea is the past President of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Lincoln. Those organizations, among many other community involvement initiatives, are important to AshLea. She and her husband, Tate, have a young daughter, Kate, and son, Burke, and enjoy spending time with them. 

AshLea received her Bachelor of Science in business administration and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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Kara Asmus
Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce
Coordinator, Workforce Development Program
drive45@megavision.com
Kara Asmus is the coordinator of the workforce development program for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Nebraska.

A fifth generation Nebraskan, Kara is passionate about spreading the message of quality of life and robust job growth in Nebraska, thereby strengthening local businesses for success in the future. She is a strategic thinker, problem solver and catalyst for change.

Her primary responsibility is oversight of the community’s Drive for Five program. Established in 2007 to address the issue of a shrinking labor force during a simultaneous time of rapid expansion of global business in the area, the program encourages displaced workers to relocate to Columbus so they can enjoy the excellent job opportunities available. Since its inception, the Drive for Five has evolved into a multifaceted program involving talent attraction, retention of current employees and students, readiness of young people entering the workforce, rebranding the community to be marketed aggressively to other areas, high school job shadowing, reimaging manufacturing careers and a whole lot more. 

Kara was raised in Hastings, and attended college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. Her resume reflects professional experience in advertising and marketing, volunteer coordination, event planning and implementation, human resources, sales and financial development. 

Kara is married, has two adult children and oversees the care of her 101-year-old grandmother, who was living independently until two years ago. Her interests include volunteering for the Columbus Area Future Fund and other community service efforts, gardening, and traveling as often as possible.

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Scott Asmus
Nebraska Department of Labor
Project Manager
scott.asmus@nebraska.gov
Scott Asmus is the Project Manager for Registered Apprenticeship and Economic Transition Dislocated Worker programs with the Nebraska Department of Labor. Scott is responsible for leading a team expanding Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for Nebraska employers and job seekers. Additionally, Scott and his team assist individuals experiencing job dislocation and connect them with workforce services and job opportunities.

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Dena Beck
Nebraska Community Foundation
Affiliated Fund Development Coordinator
dbeck@nebcommfound.org
Dena works from her home office north of Minden, Nebraska, providing technical assistance to the NCF affiliated funds in south central Nebraska.

Prior to joining NCF in 2018, Dena served as Senior Project Leader and Business Specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP program, where she served small businesses in rural communities. She is a “returner,” in that, 10 years after graduating from Minden High School, she moved back to her hometown, where she managed the Minden Chamber of Commerce and helped give life to the Kearney County Economic Development Agency.

Dena graduated with a bachelor’s degree in horticultural therapy from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in organizational management, with minors in entrepreneurship and economic development from Peru State College. Dena also holds a certificate in community development finance from the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy.

She and her husband, David — also a Minden High School graduate and emergency room RN — live on a “ranchette” with their two daughters, Chloe and Sloane, as well as Great Pyrenees dogs, cats, goats, chickens, llamas and 4-H hogs.

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Tim Burke
Omaha Public Power District
President & Chief Executive Officer
lzagurski@oppd.com
Timothy J. Burke joined OPPD in April 1997 as Vice President.

He has served as Vice President of Customer Service & Public Affairs, overseeing customer service operations; customer sales and service; customer strategy; economic development; safety and technical training; corporate marketing and communications; operations analysis; governmental affairs; and environmental and regulatory affairs. In May 2015, he became President and CEO.

His local and industry board affiliations include:

  • American Public Power Association
  • Large Public Power Council
  • Nebraska Power Association
  • Business Ethics Alliance Trustee
  • Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
  • United Way of the Midlands
  • Partnership for Our Kids
  • StratCom Consultation Committee
  • Offutt Air Force Base Advisory Council
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Civic Leader
  • Nebraska Blue Print Steering Committee               

Burke holds a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Buena Vista University. He is married to Terri Burke. They have three sons who are married, as well as four grandchildren.

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Gregg Christensen
Nebraska Department of Education
Entrepreneurship Education; Work-Based Learning
gregg.christensen@nebraska.gov
Gregg Christensen serves as the Entrepreneurship and Workplace Experiences 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.

Gregg has served as facilitator for over 25 Nebraska school districts that have engaged in the reVISION process, while leading many of the community engagement meetings for those schools. reVISION is a strategic approach for Nebraska schools to analyze their current career education system and make adjustments to more effectively prepare students for college and careers. 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. He also represents the Nebraska Department of Education as a Commissioner and Vice-Chairperson for ServeNebraska. The ServeNebraska Commission mobilizes Nebraskans to strengthen their communities through volunteering, collaboration and national service programs.

Gregg earned his bachelor’s degree in distributive (marketing and business) education from Kearney State College (University of Nebraska-Kearney) and his master’s degree in vocational education from the University of Nebraska.

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Evan Clark
Nebraska Department of Economic Development
evan.clark@nebraska.gov
Evan Clark was recently appointed Housing Specialist for the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund (NAHTF) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). Evan joined the Department in November 2017 as the Central Housing Region Program Representative. Prior to working at DED, Evan was employed as a Labor Law Specialist with the Nebraska Department of Labor. Evan received a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice, as well as a master’s in community and regional planning from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Aaron Delahoyde
Bryan Health
Human Resources Partner
Aaron.Delahoyde@bryanhealth.org
Aaron Delahoyde is a Human Resource Partner at Bryan Health. For the past 19 years he has been involved in many projects and initiatives, including recruitment at all levels within the organization, working with managers to build effective teams and involvement with compliance activities. Aaron earned his bachelor’s degree from Concordia College in business administration, and his master’s in management from Doane College. He also earned his Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) credential in 2007.

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Jim Ediger
Hamilton Telecommunications
General Counsel and Information Security Officer
jim.ediger@hamiltontel.com
Jim Ediger is General Counsel and Information Security Officer at Hamilton Telecommunications, headquartered in Aurora, Nebraska. He serves as in-house counsel for the nine diverse business entities that encompass Hamilton Telecommunications. His primary responsibilities include drafting and negotiating contracts, advising senior management and the board of directors on state and federal regulatory issues, compliance requirements and corporate governance matters, and managing outside counsel.

He earned his J.D. in 2013 from the University of Nebraska College of Law and his Bachelor of Science in business administration in 2009 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jim currently serves on the boards of the Edgerton Explorit Center and the Aurora Development Corporation, and is a member of the Aurora Rotary Club.

Jim and his wife, Nicole, were high school sweethearts, born and raised in Aurora. They have been married for five years and have a two-year-old son, Henry. In his free time, Jim enjoys playing golf, reading, spending time with his family and dog and attending Husker sporting events. He is grateful for the opportunity to return to his hometown, and for the opportunities available in rural Nebraska.

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Jason Feldman
Keller Williams
Omaha Chamber Ambassador
jason@live402.com
Jason Feldman was born in Omaha and raised in Indiana, completing his studies in criminology and serving three years in law enforcement. In his pursuit to discover a career that aligned his strengths and passions, he returned home to Omaha in 2011, though only for a brief stay before setting off to travel internationally. It was during his time living in New Zealand that he rediscovered his entrepreneurial passion from childhood, and discovered opportunities that would ultimately lead him home again to Nebraska.

Once back in Omaha he joined leadership of a budding organization whose mission was to attract and retain entrepreneurial talent. This work led Jason to discover his passion for championing Nebraska as a great place to call home and serving his community by implementing grassroots initiatives that help all residents grow roots and invest in Nebraska. Today, Jason aligns his career in real estate with his diverse network to serve as an Ambassador through the Greater Omaha Chamber’s “We Don’t Coast” initiative.

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Kristine Gale
Nebraska Community Foundation
Community Development Coordinator
kgale@nebcommfound.org
Kristine Gale is a community development coordinator for Nebraska Community Foundation. In this role, she works to empower Greater Nebraska hometowns to set ambitious goals and dream big about the future. She helps volunteers across the state build community awareness and hone the skills necessary for successful fundraising, and enhances community impact through grant making and leadership development.

Kristine earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Master of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in public administration. Prior to NCF, Kristine served as Economic Development Director in Bassett, Nebraska; Executive Director of the Fremont Area Community Foundation; and Executive Director of the Nebraska State Fair 1868 Foundation. She and her husband, David, are proud founding members of the Rock County Community Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation. She currently resides in North Platte.

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Melissa Garcia
Black Hills Energy
Program Manager, Community Affairs, Nebraska
melissa.garcia@blackhillscorp.com
Melissa Garcia, Community Affairs Manager for Black Hills Energy, is passionate about the future of Nebraska, serving in several roles to create opportunities to engage the next generation workforce in meaningful ways. As President of Custer Economic Development, Melissa founded Youth Leadership Custer County and the Custer CAPABLE Corporation, which serves as a conduit between schools and industry. Currently she is serving as a member of the Central Nebraska Manufacturing Partnership, focusing on creatively solving issues to the barriers that can hinder companies from growing in rural Nebraska. She also leads the Black Hills Energy Community Ambassador Program.

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Jacqui Garrison
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Career Field Specialist for Communication and Information Systems
jacqui.garrison@nebraska.gov
Jacqui Garrison is the Nebraska Career Field Specialist for Communication and Information Systems. She taught business and technology classes at Brady and Pleasanton from 2007 to 2014 while serving as the Technology Coordinator. After leaving the classroom, Jacqui served as the ESU 10 Helpdesk Specialist for a year, before transitioning to the Nebraska Department of Education. There, Jacqui serves as the Nebraska Future Business Leaders of America Chairman, Career Field Specialist, and Youth Registered Apprenticeship Grant Project Administrator.

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Donald Gross
Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA)
Manager of Community and Economic Development
dgross@mapacog.org
Donald Gross is the Manager of Community and Economic Development with the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA), having joined the agency in January 2017 after 31 years with the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Donald held several positions in the City’s Community Development Department, and served as Director of the department for 26 years. Prior to working for the City of Council Bluffs, Donald was employed by the Southwest Regional Development Commission and the City of Little Falls, Minnesota.

Donald received a bachelor’s degree in geography from Bemidji State University, a master’s degree in community and regional planning from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Donald is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and American Planning Association. He also serves on the boards of NeighborWorks Home Solutions and Omaha Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless.

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Lindsy Gumb Roberts

Entrepreneur
lindsy_gumb@hotmail.com
Lindsy Roberts is an entrepreneur in Burwell, Nebraska. Lindsy attended Chadron State College before transferring to College of Saint Mary, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in photography and marketing. Lindsy has always had a passion for making a positive impact on the well-being of others and her community. After graduating, she moved home to Burwell to open a photography studio, LG Photography LLC, and to join the family business as an Associate Broker at Gumb Auction and Realty, Inc. Most recently she opened an Airbnb with her husband, Brian Roberts, in Burwell.

Lindsy enjoys volunteering in the community and has served on the Calamus Area Community Fund, where she helped develop the Fall Festival - A Time for Giving. In her free time she enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with friends and family. 

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Tanna Hanna
ALLO Communications
Director of Social Media and Marketing
thanna@allophone.net
Tanna Hanna grew up in Grant, NE. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Tanna started her career in Denver, CO in sales recruiting.

After marrying Matt Hanna, the two returned to southwest NE, and have called Imperial their home for almost 12 years. They’ve enjoyed being close to grandparents and great-grandparents while raising their two children, Elizabeth and Ethan.

Tanna works at ALLO Communications as Director of Marketing, and Matt owns and operates a crop insurance company, ACI Agency. Tanna has been on the Imperial Community Foundation board for three years, and enjoys being able to help the community grow and prosper today while also building a fund for residents of Imperial for decades to come.

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Allison Hatch
Nebraska Department of Economic Development
Talent Development Team Leader
allison.hatch@nebraska.gov
Allison Hatch is the Talent Development Team Leader at the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. She leads the Department’s talent attraction, retention and development strategy through policy and program development. She is passionate about helping to create a Nebraska where people want to live and stay.

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Marguerite Himmelberg
Southeast Community College
Senior Director, Workforce Development
mhimmelberg@southeast.edu
Marguerite Himmelberg, Senior Director of Workforce Development at Southeast Community College, promotes accessibility to continuing education and workforce development solutions for the College’s 15-county service area. Marguerite is a member of the U.S. Chamber Foundation Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Academy.

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Jeff Hoffman
Norfolk Public Schools
Norfolk Career Academy Coordinator/ Assistant A.D.
jefferyhoffman@npsne.org
Dr. Jeff Hoffman has served as the Norfolk Career Academy Coordinator for Norfolk Public Schools for the past four years. As an important component of Norfolk Public Schools’ strategic plan, Dr. Hoffman has been integral in organizing the 13 career academies available to students in the coming 2019-20 school year.

Jeff has enjoyed building a solid team of educators and business partners with a common goal of helping students explore their interests and passions and becoming both college- and career-ready.   

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Dan Hohensee
The Career Academy
Director
dan.hohensee@thecareer.academy
Dan has been the Charter Director of The Career Academy (TCA) since it opened in the fall of 2015. Prior to that, he completed 31 years in the classroom as a math and entrepreneurship teacher at LPS. TCA is completing its fourth year, and is making a difference by offering real-world, hands-on experiences to students while they earn both high school and college credit as well as certifications. TCA is proud to announce that it had its 600th graduate this year. As of August 12, TCA will have a record enrollment of approximately 700 students for the coming year.

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Leon Holloway
Duncan Aviation
Enterprise Human Resource Manager
leon.holloway@duncanaviation.com
Leon is entering his eighth year as the Enterprise Human Resource Manager for Duncan Aviation. He is currently serving in his 4th year on the Greater Lincoln Workforce Board, and previously served seven years when the board was known as the Greater Lincoln Investment Board. Leon holds a BA in organizational management and an MBA in human resources. Aside from leading the obvious day-to-day HR functions and focuses for Duncan, Leon invests a great deal of time focusing on:

  • Attracting and retaining top talent and improving employee engagement;
  • Strengthening the current and future leadership bench;
  • Improving the employee experience.

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Jonathan Jank
Seward County Chamber & Economic Development Partnership
President & CEO
Jonathan@CultivateSewardCounty.com
Jonathan Jank is the current President and CEO for the Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership, which serves the economic and community development needs of Seward County, Nebraska. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration from Concordia University, Nebraska. Jonathan received his Executive Development Certificate through the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. He recently completed his training at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Institute for Organization Management. Jonathan has spent his career working with and leading nonprofit organizations in various professional and volunteer positions.

Jonathan lives in Seward with his wife, Rachel, and their two sons, Philip and Theodore. Jonathan and Rachel together own and operate a real estate development business, Jank Enterprises & Investments, LLC.

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W. Todd Johnson
Gallup
Global Channel Leader, Entrepreneurship & Job Creation
todd_johnson@gallup.com
W. Todd Johnson joined Gallup in 1995 and currently serves as the Global Channel Leader, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation. Todd builds partnerships with governments, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector to create jobs by deploying Gallup economic and management science at the macroeconomic level and across economic sectors. Currently, Todd leads the development and deployment of Gallup Builder Profile 10 (BP10), which focuses on identifying and engaging individuals with high-potential entrepreneurial talents and provides the foundation of Gallup’s approach to helping cities and nations grow and prosper.

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Heidi Kaschke
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Director, High School Alliance
hkaschke@unmc.edu
Heidi Kaschke grew up in Humboldt, Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in psychology.

After college, Heidi moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for Congressman Doug Bereuter (retired) and U.S. Senator and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (retired) as an immigration specialist.

Heidi turned her attention to healthcare when she moved to Baltimore, MD, and worked at the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, managing federal contracts related to patient safety, decreasing disparities, and pay for performance initiatives.

Upon returning to Nebraska, Heidi began working at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and in 2012 she became the first full-time director of the UNMC High School Alliance program. During her tenure, the High School Alliance has grown to include participation by every college at UNMC, has doubled its class size and has won diversity in STEM education awards.

Heidi enjoys traveling, the performing arts and cheering for all of her favorite sports teams.

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Derek Kowalski
Nucor Detailing Center
Manager
derek.kowalski@nucor.com
Derek graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil engineering, and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Nebraska.

During his career at Nucor Corporation he has held various technical and leadership positions at multiple facilities. He is currently the manager of the Nucor Detailing Center in Norfolk, Nebraska.

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Greta Leach
Nebraska Community Foundation
Director, Community Development Philanthropy
gleach@nebcommfound.org
Greta Leach, Director of Community Development Philanthropy for Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF), helps Nebraska communities use philanthropy and asset-based approaches as tools for rural community development. Greta directs educational and capacity-building programs for NCF’s network of more than 1,400 volunteer community leaders. She leads NCF staff members and partners in implementing activities to strengthen leadership, grow local assets and enhance community impact. Greta also serves as the primary contact and resource person for a number of NCF affiliated funds.

Greta’s professional experience includes facilitation and group process, diversity and inclusion, organizational development, fundraising, nonprofit management and public accounting. She has assisted a wide variety of persons in identifying and using their existing resources to improve their lives and communities.

Greta is a native of Aurora, NE, and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s in theological studies from the Iliff School of Theology.  

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Dawn Lindsley
Nebraska Department of Education
Assistant State Director, Nebraska Career & Technical Education
dawn.lindsley@nebraska.gov
Dawn Lindsley is the Assistant State Director for Nebraska Career & Technical Education. Her primary responsibilities include providing state-level leadership and management of the Strengthening Career & Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (known as Perkins V) with Nebraska school districts, educational service units and community college personnel, as well as management of the Center for Student Leadership and Expanded Learning, which includes all NDE recognized Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). She is an active education professional at the local, state and national levels. Dawn has served as a CTE teacher and CTSO advisor, administrator and state leader in multiple states across the Midwest for close to 20 years.

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Andy Long
McCook Economic Development Corporation
Executive Director
andy@mccookne.org
Andy Long serves as Executive Director of the McCook Economic Development Corporation. Prior to his current position, he spent a decade in community college administration, worked for the Gallup Polls, and taught high school social studies and coached basketball at South Platte HS and Cozad HS. Andy and his wife, Kerri, have three kids, Quincy, 11, Brooks, 7, and Willow, 2. In his free time, Andy operates the nonprofit Cultivate Rural Leaders, which is dedicated to improving leadership in rural communities.

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Robert McClenaghan
Contitech of Continental AG
Human Resources Manager
robert.mcclenaghan@continental.com
Rob McClenaghan has been a part of Continental for over six years, and has been the HR Manager at the Norfolk Plant since September of 2017. Rob started his career in Continental’s Fairlawn, Ohio office, and has worked in various human relations roles throughout his career. Rob and the Continental team in Norfolk are excited to be the first company in Norfolk to implement a youth apprenticeship program at its facility.

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Kayla Meyer
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
Young Professionals Group Coordinator
kaylameyer@lcoc.com
Kayla Meyer is the Lincoln Young Professionals Group Coordinator at the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. A lifelong Nebraskan, Kayla is proud to be leading the largest Young Professionals group in the state, with over 2,000 members. The Lincoln Young Professionals Group, a division of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated to empowering young professionals with educational, leadership and networking opportunities. Kayla lives in Lincoln with her husband and her two young children.

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Darby Paxton
Holt County Economic Development
Executive Director
darby@growholt.com
Darby Paxton has served as the Executive Director for Holt County Economic Development for the past three years. Darby’s experience in building community comes from being a returner to his own home town of Stuart and serving on various committees and boards for the past 15 years. From his 12-year stint as a stay-at-home dad for five boys, Darby has a unique perspective on creating an environment where people would want to move their families. Growing the population by expanding businesses and building community remains the main focus of HCED.

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Yesenia Peck
Nebraska Public Power District
Diversity Manager
mypeck@nppd.com
Yesenia Peck is originally from Lima, Peru, where she worked as an attorney for the Supreme and Superior Courts. Peck holds a master’s degree in leadership from Bellevue University and has studied workforce diversity management at Cornell University and Bellevue University. Peck is a diversity manager for Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). She is appreciative of NPPD’s concerted efforts in advancing community cohesiveness and for the opportunity she has been given in her chosen field of professional practice.

Peck has volunteered for over 13 years with the Nebraska Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is the current President. She serves as a Commissioner for the Nebraska Latino American Commission, and recently joined the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Community Foundation. Yesenia has been actively promoting inclusiveness in Nebraska communities by creating and developing projects and programs based on common attributes of various diverse groups statewide. She and her husband, Scott Peck, live in Omaha. She feels blessed and proud to serve the community of Nebraska.

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Karina Perez
Centro Hispano
Executive Director
karina@centrohispanos.com
Karina Perez was born in Los Angeles, California, and was raised in Columbus, Nebraska from the age of seven. Karina has a big love for family, being raised by two immigrant parents from El Salvador along with four siblings. She attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha, studying communications and Spanish, and being the first to move away from home. Karina is married to Aaron, and they have two little girls, Zoey Isabella and Jade Sarai. Currently, Karina is the Executive Director for Centro Hispano in Columbus, Nebraska, a position she has held since 2017. The organization’s programming is focused around immigration, education, business and civic engagement.

Karina’s primary focus is on diversity and inclusion for northeast rural Nebraska. She works with community partners across the state to provide resources to communities that are underserved. Karina enjoys writing, painting and time with her family.  

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Dan Phillips
Career Pathways Institute
Director
dphillips@gips.org
Daniel Phillips has recently moved into the position of Director of Innovation for Career & College Readiness for Grand Island Public Schools, overseeing the academy implementation, all career and technical education programs and dual education partnerships 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, and coached boys’ and girls’ golf and girls’ basketball.

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 and registered apprenticeships.

Daniel and his family work and live in Grand Island. His wife is a surgical nurse for CHI St. Francis, specializing in neurosurgery. Daniel has three children, all in Grand Island Public schools. Jane is a recent graduate of Grand Island Senior High, and will be pursuing a sports medicine degree at UNL. Charlie will be a freshman at GISH, and Jack will be a third-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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Barb Pierce
Greater Fremont Development Council
Existing Business Director
barb.pierce@fremontecodev.org
As the Existing Business Director for Greater Fremont Development Council, Barb assists Fremont businesses with expansion projects, conducts annual business visits, collaborates with area nonprofits on quality of life and workforce-related initiatives, and enjoys being a resource connector for Dodge County business and industry. She serves on the board of Omaha Area Dream It Do It, the Metropolitan Community College Diesel Tech Advisory Board and on the board of the Fremont Habitat for Humanity. Barb graduated from Wayne State College and is a member of the 2012 class of Heartland Basic Economic Developers and a 2013 graduate of Leadership Fremont. She is a member of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA) and the Mid-America Economic Developers Council (MAEDC).

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Roberta Pinkerton
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Executive Director Leadership Nebraska
rpinkerton@nechamber.com
Roberta Pinkerton is the Executive Director for the Nebraska Chamber’s Leadership Nebraska. She has been with the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry since January of 2014. Pinkerton has over 25 years of economic development experience, including 15 years with the Omaha Public Power District and 10 years with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. She has been a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) since 2000, and is actively involved with several economic development groups.

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Rachel Placzek
Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development
Director of Talent Strategy
rplaczek@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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Brianna Pribbeno
ALLO Communications
Social Media Director
brianna@agroots.com
Brianna Pribbeno grew up in southern California but fell for a Nebraska boy in college. She and her husband Logan have lived in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, and spent a few years traveling in Central and South America before settling down and calling Imperial home. When not chasing after their two young daughters, Logan manages their family operation, Wine Glass Ranch, and Brianna works in social media for ALLO Communications. Brianna enjoys her involvement with the Imperial Community Foundation Fund because it gives her an opportunity to really connect with their entire community and give back in meaningful ways.

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Bryan Seck
Prosper Lincoln
Employment Skills Developer
bryan.seck@prosperlincoln.org
Connecting people with part-time jobs to full-time careers has become a passion for Bryan Seck. Prior to joining Prosper Lincoln as the Employment Skills Developer, he was the Homeless Outreach Specialist for Lincoln Public Schools, where he helped 500 homeless students each year. Before relocating to Lincoln, Seck was a program evaluator/auditor of federal public health programs as a Senior Associate for ICF International in New York City, and also served in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan. Seck holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Wagner School at New York University.

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Mart Sedky
Omaha Public Power District
Vice President Human Capital & Assistant Secretary
msedky@oppd.com
Martha L. Sedky was promoted to Vice President Human Capital (HC) in December of 2016 after serving the Omaha Public Power District for five years as Division Manager of Human Resources. In her current position, Sedky has overall responsibility for OPPD’s Human Capital functions, including Labor and Compliance, Total Rewards, Organizational Development, Business Partnering, Talent Acquisition, Change Management and Diversity and Inclusion.

Sedky joined OPPD with more than 25 years of experience in the human resources field, including several leadership positions. She held progressively responsible positons with Parker Hannifin Corporation, Evenflo Company and Kansas City Power & Light.

Sedky holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nazareth College, both located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and the Corporate Executive Board CHRO Council. Sedky has previously held board positions with WELLCOM and the Institute for Career Advancement Needs (ICAN), and currently serves on the boards of Grief’s Journey, Urban League of Nebraska and Heartland Workforce Solutions. 

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Nicole Sedlacek
Nebraska Public Power District
Economic Development Consultant
njsedla@nppd.com
Nicole Sedlacek is an Economic Development Consultant for Nebraska Public Power District. As a consultant, she works to help prepare communities and rural areas for economic development opportunities. Nicole joined the economic development team at NPPD in 2016. Prior to NPPD, she served as Executive Director for Holt County Economic Development for nine years.

Nicole is a Certified Economic Developer, recognized by the International Economic Development Council. She currently serves as President of the Northeast Community College Foundation Board of Directors, and is a past President of the Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA). She received her degrees from Northeast Community College and Bellevue University.

Nicole and her husband, Brian, live in O’Neill with their two daughters. 

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Kim Sellmeyer
Greater Omaha Chamber
Creative Director
ksellmeyer@omahachamber.org
Kim Sellmeyer, Creative Director at the Greater Omaha Chamber, leads a dynamic marketing team that is responsible for enhancing the region’s image and promoting the Greater Omaha area as the right choice for business and talent. Kim works on behalf of the Chamber’s 3,000 member companies and the six-county regional economic development partnership. She supports the Chamber’s vision to be a catalyst organization that ensures Greater Omaha is a vibrant place to do business, work and live. She counts among her proudest achievements the pivotal role she played in bringing the creative community together to develop the We Don’t Coast brand for the region.

A graduate of the Colorado Institute of Art and Bellevue University, Kim was named one of Midlands Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” and is a Class 34 graduate of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Leadership Omaha program. For 10 years, she served as the chairman of Methodist Hospital’s Express Yourself Through the Arts program, and is currently the host and organizer of CreativeMornings/Omaha Chapter.

When Kim is not promoting Omaha as a great place to live, she’s out enjoying it, staying active with her husband, Kerry, and their two children, Kaden and Kenna.

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Justin Shaddick
Scottsbluff High School
Assistant Principal
jshaddick@sbps.net
Justin Shaddick currently serves as the Assistant Principal for Career Academies and Specialized Programming at Scottsbluff High School. Justin received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Education through Chadron State College, and last year completed his Educational Specialist from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Prior to entering administration, Justin taught business and marketing courses, and served as the assistant sponsor for the Scottsbluff High School DECA program.

Justin’s current responsibilities consist of oversight on all career and technical education equipment purchasing; grant writing and facilitation of numerous grants; business and community relations; regular collaboration and coordination with the local community college; collaboration with schools and districts throughout the region; and all programming related to Scottsbluff High School’s career academy model. Justin currently serves on the Career Advisory Council for the Nebraska Department of Education, the board of directors for Partnerships for Innovation and the board of directors for the Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber of Commerce.

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Megan Spargo
City of Benkelman
CRA Coordinator
mcspargo@gmail.com
Megan is the Benkelman Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) Coordinator. Since 2016, the Benkelman CEA has been leading community and economic development in Benkelman. In 2016, a community needs assessment was conducted which identified housing, jobs and town aesthetics as the most urgent priorities that needed to be addressed to keep Benkelman alive. Since, Megan has been working diligently with diverse individuals and organizations, both inside and outside of Benkelman, to address these urgent concerns.

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Gabriel Steinmeyer
Norfolk Area Chamber
Director, Workforce Development
gabriel@norfolkareachamber.com
Gabriel Steinmeyer is the Director of Workforce Development for Norfolk, Nebraska. He received his undergrad from Berry College in Rome, GA, and a master’s degree from Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel. Prior to his role in Norfolk, Gabriel served as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Neligh, and was Regional Coordinator for Development with BGA Management America. His extended background involves the implementation of AI systems and advanced technologies for smart cities, precision agriculture, responsive logistics and value-added job creation. When Gabriel is not out saving the world one business at a time, he enjoys playing golf, paintball, studying ancient history and watching Game of Thrones.

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Jerick Svec
The Career Academy (TCA)
Student

I will be a senior this year at Southwest High School. I chose IT-programming because I have had an interest in programming since a young age. I decided to go to TCA because I could get the chance to learn more about programming than is offered at my high school. I started my internship at Assurity on June 3rd. I’ve had a great experience so far, and am looking forward to the rest of it. After high school and TCA, I plan to go to Southeast Community College for my gen. ed. courses before transferring to UNL to finish my degree.

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Jenifer Velazquez-Perfecto
The Career Academy (TCA)
Student

I just graduated from TCA and Lincoln North Star High School. I chose ag bioscience because I’ve always been interested in ag, biotechnolgy and science — so it was just a great fit. TCA gave me the opportunity for more hands-on experiences, and also to be a part of FFA. Through FFA and SkillsUSA, I will have the opportunity to compete at the national SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, KY in late June. This coming fall, I plan to go to college and continue to pursue my interest in biotechnology.

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Rhonda Veleba
Connecting Young Nebraskans
York Chamber of Commerce
Coordinator
rhondav@yorkchamber.org
Rhonda Veleba is the coordinator of Connecting Young Nebraskans, a statewide network designed to connect, empower and retain young Nebraskans. She’s been a member of the network since 2014, and became coordinator recently in May. She played an instrumental role in developing York Young Professionals in York, NE, and currently serves on the committee. Veleba lives in Fairmont with her husband and two children. She is actively involved in York Rotary, Fairmont Community Club, and PEO. She also volunteers for the American Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial and the American Red Cross.

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Scott Volk
MetalQuest
Vice President / COO
scottv@metalquest.net
Scott Volk is the Vice President and COO of MetalQuest Unlimited, Inc., a precision machining and assembly contract manufacturer in Hebron that serves large manufacturing firms throughout the United States. Scott oversees the management and operations of the company, manages customer and supplier relationships, and has a key role in defining business strategy.

With an AAS in manufacturing engineering from Southeast Community College, Scott began his career in 1995 at Wagner Tool and Engineering in Norfolk, working his way up to Manufacturing Manager before starting at MetalQuest Unlimited in 2002. 

Scott serves as an advisor for the advanced manufacturing pathway at NCAPS in Sandy Creek, the Academy of Technical Sciences in Grand Island, the Precision Machining & Automation program at SCC, the Advanced Manufacturing Design Program at CCC, and the Nebraska Manufacturing Advisory Council (NeMAC). He also participates in the York-Thayer-Seward County Manufacturers group and champions the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (RAMP) in southeast Nebraska.

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Megan Weaver
Wayne Community Housing Development Corporation
Executive Director
wchdc@wayneworks.org
Megan Weaver is originally from rural southwest Iowa, where she worked as an administrative manager for a small manufacturing company. Seven years ago, when her husband received a promotion, they and their four young children relocated to Wakefield, NE, where he is currently the Plant Manager of Michael Foods, Inc. It was during this move when Ms. Weaver experienced firsthand the struggles of finding housing, whether to rent or purchase, in rural northeast Nebraska. After failed attempts to purchase two different homes — one due to lack of appraisal and the other a lack of rural fire services — they were finally able to purchase a home in Wakefield. When presented with the opportunity to be a part of the effort to develop housing in the area, Ms. Weaver eagerly took a position working as the Executive Director of NEHI, Inc., in Allen, NE. In addition to NEHI, Inc., Ms. Weaver has been serving as the Executive Director of Wayne Community housing for the past three years. Most recently, she has taken on a new role as Economic Development Director for the City of Wakefield, where she intends to continue to promote housing development and preservation.

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Ray Welsh
Welsh Financial Group

welsh_ray@hotmail.com
Ray Welsh is a community leader in Pender. In his professional life, Ray is an advisor with MassMutual. In his community life, Ray spends his time giving back to his hometown. He has served or is presently serving on the following groups: Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce, Hospital Foundation, House Memorial Library, Pender-Thurston Education and Community Foundation Fund, Summer Recreation, and School Bond Chairperson. He served nine years on the board of directors for the Nebraska Community Foundation, serving as audit chair and a member of various committees.

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