Leadership Paving the Way for Gage County Growth

BEATRICE – As Nebraska faces a shortage of workers in some sectors of the economy, the director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development says Nebraskans can help out, by convincing someone who left the state, to return for those opportunities.

Courtney Dentlinger was named Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development by Governor Pete Ricketts.  Dentlinger, herself an example of someone who returned to Nebraska from the east coast, spoke at last night’s annual NGage dinner.

:17                  “the good life”

Dentlinger says it’s fun to watch local communities experience growth.

:17                  “the most fulfilling”

This past year, the Gage Area Growth Enterprise Board, with additional budget support from the city and county, expanded the NGage effort by hiring new Executive Director Walker Zulkoski, who along with Glennis McClure have been able to boost business recruitment efforts and small business creation and retention.   Zulkoski says a key to the local economic development effort is the presence of a good community leadership structure.

:14                  “this way”

The past year, the area has seen some significant developments.  One example is landing the Hendrix Genetics Hybrid Turkeys Hatchery, under construction in the Gage County Industrial Park.  Zulkoski says it’s an example of attracting a national and international company that was highly sought after, by many communities.

:26                  “it’s crazy”

China-based Worldlawn Power Equipment this past year acquired the former Husqvarna Manufacturing building as it looks to expand its U.S. headquarters.  Exmark Manufacturing received a Business of the Year honor from the Nebraska Diplomats organization.  Landmark Snacks, started in the spring of 2016, received an Excellence in Economic Development Award.  The Duonix Beatrice Biodiesel Plant began operations, investing over $100 million to retrofit an idle plant, and employing more than 50 people.  Downtown Beatrice was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

NGage also undertook a housing study, which has helped attract developer interest in more residential construction.

NGage has also attracted public and private members to help back the economic development effort.

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