Rural Renaissance group highlights southeast Nebraska

Submitted to the Daily Sun – Sep 5, 2016

The Nebraska Rural Renaissance, an organization focused on catalyzing community and business growth in rural Nebraska, visited southeast Nebraska last week, hosting its Business Leaders’ Summit.

In 2015, Rural Renaissance sponsored its inaugural summit in Valentine, inviting area community leaders to meet with corporate representatives, giving the communities an opportunity to “show their stuff” to those with interests or potential interests in rural Nebraska.

The 2016 Summit was held at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center from August 24th through 26th. Participating Southeast Nebraska communities included Beatrice, Pawnee City, Falls City, Tecumseh, Auburn, Nebraska City and Syracuse. Walker Zulkoski, with NGage, was able to make a “why locate here” presentation to the Summit participants and representatives of several companies.

Renaissance principal sponsors and leaders include Bruce Lauritzen, First National Bank; Dennis Wiederholt, DLR Group; Tim Kenny, Nebraska Investment Finance Authority; Mick Jensen, Great Plains Communications, Patti Peterson, Kutak Rock LLP; Tim O’Brien, OPPD; Rick Nelsen, NPPD and Janet Palmtag, Palmtag Realty.

Guests and companies included Dan Ariens, CEO Ariens Company; David Ickert, VP Finance, Air Tractor; David Gau, Principal, Pritzker Group; Rob Hanson, Monolith; Randy Ives, CEO, Pellet Technologies; Scott Honan and Jim Sims, NioCorp, Mike Gilson, Honeywell and Paul Eurek, Xpanion. Nebraska State Senator Watermeier, Nebraska City Mayor Bryn Bequette, Auburn Mayor Scott Kudrna, Former Nebraska State Senator Mike Flood, Department of Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger as well as several area elected officials attended.

Bruce Lauritzen spoke about opportunities he sees in doing business in rural Nebraska from a banker’s perspective. Mike Flood, Flood Communications, spoke about his experiences in growing his businesses in rural Nebraska. Dr. Illich, Southeast Community College and Dr. Hanson, Peru State College also made presentations to the group.

The messages imparted to those attending or presenting at the Summit were “embrace and promote the rural lifestyle, grow new and existing businesses and create and enhance living wage jobs.”