LINCOLN—Twenty-nine individuals were honored last month at the State Chamber’s “Leadership Nebraska” commencement ceremony in Lincoln. Among those program graduates was Mitch Hunt of Huntrex LLC (design and digital solutions marketing firm) in Broken Bow.
This year marked the tenth graduating class of Leadership Nebraska since the first class in 2007. According to a press release, the program focuses on enhancing leadership skills and expanding knowledge of both challenges and opportunities our state faces.
The program includes the opportunity to travel across Nebraska over the course of several months with six two-day sessions. Topics include economic development, health care, agriculture, education, and government & policy.
In an interview with Mitch Hunt, he said the sessions ranged from Scottsbluff to Nebraska City, and also included Grand Island, Kearney, Norfolk, Omaha, and Lincoln.
Each session embraced the local environment giving participants the opportunity to meet with city officials, entrepreneurs, and senators, and also tour college campuses, the Capital, the Nebraska Supreme Court, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Buffett Cancer Center, and various businesses such as Cargrill, Nucor, and a Norfolk feedlot.
“One of my favorite components I would say of the entire Leadership Nebraska was the Nucor Steel plant in Norfolk. Nucor is an amazing steel producer and its located here in Nebraska,” Hunt said.
Hunt said he was able to meet the president of the Arbor Day Foundation, founder of the Godfather’s Pizza Chain, and also Senator Jim Scheer-Speaker of the Legislature. The program also featured an eye-opening poverty simulation.
“That’s one of the cool parts of Leadership Nebraska is being able to see large businesses and other things about Nebraska that you didn’t know about before and this was a great avenue to learn more about our state,” Hunt said.
Many of the Leadership Nebraska participants were from urban areas according to Hunt, which he felt made the trips out west a unique experience for them. Hunt, on the other hand, was fascinated by the urban centers of our state.
The program emphasizes an overall understanding of economic development at the state and community level.
“It has given me a broader view of what Nebraska does have to offer. And to me, it gives me an idea that we can accomplish more than we first think we can by hearing all of these stories and seeing all of these businesses and organizations and causes people have built throughout our state. As well as meeting all of the other classmates and seeing what they’re doing. It gives me a better perspective on things and gives me an idea that yeah, a lot more can be accomplished,” Hunt said.
Hunt hopes to incorporate some of what he learned back into Custer County, including his business at Huntrex and involvement in the Rotary Club. The governor was one of many to attend the commencement ceremony and Hunt said the strong relationships he made with other participants will last a lifetime.
Hunt also participated in Leadership Custer County a few years ago.
The Leadership Nebraska Class X members who graduated:
Paula Alder, Daycos, Norfolk;
Jason Bennett, Black Hills Energy, Lincoln;
Jeremiah Blake, Charter Communications, Lincoln;
John Dale, Ash Grove Cement Company, Louisville;
Lucas Dart, University of Nebraska Foundation, Kearney;
Jim Ediger, Hamilton Telecommunications, Aurora;
Jared Gerdes, Ariens Company, Auburn;
Jason Gustafson, Wells Fargo Bank, Omaha;
Megan Hanefeldt, Knox County Development Agency, Center;
Randy Hawthorne, NonProfit Hub, Lincoln;
Kare Heilbrun, State Farm Kare Heilbrun Agency, Gering;
Alyssia Hernandez, State Farm Insurance, Lincoln;
Mitch Hunt, Huntrex LLC, Broken Bow;
Theresa Klein, Rural Futures Institute, Wahoo;
Michael Krings, Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, Hastings;
Wyatt Leehy, Great Plains Communications, Blair;
John McHargue, Pinnacle Bank, Grand Island;
Jared Meays, The Harry A. Koch Co., Omaha;
Chad Podolak, Nebraska Public Power District, Columbus;
Terry Rasmussen, NUCOR Steel Nebraska, Norfolk;
Elizabeth Roetman, Economic Development Council of Buffalo County, Kearney;
Jodi Rowlett, State Farm Insurance, Lincoln;
Kim Semler, Ayars & Ayars, Inc, Lincoln;
Nicole Sedlacek, Nebraska Public Power District, O’Neill;
Quinn Texmo, JEO Consulting Group, Inc., Omaha;
Kiel VanderVeen, VanderVeen Financial Planning, Nebraska City;
Ben Watson, Chadron State College Foundation, Chadron;
Jon Watts, University of Nebraska-Kearney, Kearney;
Kim Weiss, First National Bank, Omaha.
Applications for Leadership Nebraska’s next class may be submitted until April 13, 2018. For more information, please contact Roberta Pinkerton at (402) 474-4422 or visit www.leadershipnebraska.com.