Featured Articles

• Book Your Hotel for the NREDA Annual Conference!
• Nominations Sought for Rural Leadership Award
• USDA Seeks Applications for Job Creation
• Alexander New Chair of PWC Committee
• Posting Job Positions
• NREDA Staff
• President's Message
• Social Media Creates Networking
• "Crossing The Finish Line" with Value-Packed Program
• Cooperative Enterprises Build A Better World
• Telephone Co-ops Build Broadband, Create Jobs
• LaDonna Boyd Retires
• 2012 NREDA Trainings/Events
• Remembering David Morgan
• Welcome New Members
• Board Member Spotlight
• Alliance Partner Spotlight

Book Your Hotel for the NREDA Annual Conference


Start planning your visit to Indianapolis, IN, for the Annual NREDA Conference July 18-20, 2012. A discounted hotel room block is available at the Westin Indianapolis for participants of the 2012 NREDA Annual Conference, at the rate of $149/night (+tax). To access the group room block online, click here or copy and paste the following into your browser
. You may also call the hotel directly at (317) 262-8100 to make your reservation. Please be sure to reference the group as the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA). The cutoff date for discounted room reservations is June 25, 2012. Registration materials will be available mid-April.

Nominations Sought for Rural Economic Development Leadership Awards

Do you know someone who should be recognized for his or her outstanding leadership in the field of rural economic development? If so, the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) seeks to honor deserving individuals for that purpose with their Rural Economic Development Leadership Awards program.

At the 2012 NREDA Annual Conference (July 18-20, 2012 at The Westin, Indianapolis, IN) outstanding individuals will become the recipients of the 2012 Rural Economic Development Leadership Awards. If you know an exceptional candidate, please log onto and click on Leadership Awards Nomination Form. Complete the nomination form and return it along with the appropriate support materials to NREDA no later than May 1, 2012. Questions? Contact Dennis Mingyar at (614) 430-7876 or via Email at dmingyar

USDA Seeks Applications for Economic Development Funding to Create Jobs In Rural Areas
Source: Press Release, March 5, 2012 forwarded to NREDA Members.

In a press release published March 5, 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants to help rural businesses create jobs and spur economic development. The funding is being provided under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. "Boosting access to capital sparks job creation and revitalizes the rural economy," said Vilsack. "USDA works in partnership with cooperatives and utilities across America, and we intend to utilize this program to leverage federal and private investments to put rural residents to work."


Alexander New Chair of the PWC Committee

The Public Relations, Website and Communications (PWC) Committee welcomes new chair, Mendi Alexander. Mendi assumes the lead following the reins from Dana Baker who has served in this position for more than three years. Dana will remain as the vice-chair and the committee has grown to include 14 members. Thank you Dana for your dedicated leadership and Welcome Mendi!

Mendi brings new energy, expertise and ideas to the committee and we look forward to seeing expanded networking and information sharing initiatives from the committee including the focus on integration with social media, the website and the Rural Developer eNewsletter. If you have interest in serving on the PWC committee, please contact Mendi at See the Member Spotlight article in this issue to learn more about Mendi and for her complete contact information. Welcome Mendi and we look forward to your leadership.

Posting Job Positions

Have a position to post?

Learn More >>

NREDA Staff:

Executive Director:
Lynn Harkin

Membership Dues, Billing and Registrations:
Kelly Kipping

Rural Developer Newsletter:
Shawnna Silvius

NREDA Conferences:
Kim Johnson

NREDA Website:
Darcy Watson

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Spring Brings Blooming Economy and Opportunities
President Message, By Tom Lambrecht , NREDA President

Tom Lambrecht
Spring has arrived! Of course, to many of you across our beautiful country, the weather in Minnesota may be perceived as a bit cold. Our warm weather sometimes arrives around the middle of June. This year has been quite unique to us in the Northland. This year our snowfall has been very light and our temperatures have been very mild. So what does this mean for all of you? Well, in Minnesota, it means the construction season has continued throughout the year. In addition to the construction industry jobs, the overall numbers of jobs added this spring has been good for our communities. The economy seems to be improving, and based upon my workload, there are a number of projects coming off the shelf and seeking assistance to get in the ground.

As NREDA focuses on general economic development in the rural areas, we continue to see the benefits of having connections between the private sector, educational institutions and the non-profit sectors. New regional efforts across the country are demonstrating the value of continuing to work together. Creative collaboration among all stakeholders is vital to address the opportunities coming out of the weakened economy. In February, I represented NREDA at the National Telecommunication Cooperative Association (NTCA) Annual Meeting. I was able to connect with a few of our members and had an opportunity to hear from the telephone cooperative side of the utility industry. I presented on a panel session speaking about collaboration between rural electric and telephone cooperatives. There are some great examples of partnerships and shared services in the areas of telecommunications, data management, smart electric devices and the transmission grid. These stories and efforts across our country clearly demonstrate value to the end user and the communities that we all serve.

So as you are all enjoying the nice weather, keep in mind that NREDA promotes collaboration and connectivity among all stakeholders. It is one way to ensure that our rural areas are connected to the urban communities. I can see firsthand, how together, we can make a greater impact for the common good. Be sure to join in the conversations on our social media pages; and, I hope to see you all in July at the NREDA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis...I know the conference committee has developed an incredible agenda that will help us all grow together.

Tom Lambrecht

Social Media Creates Engagement Between Members

linked in      facebook      twitter

Special thanks to the partnership with Golden Shovel Agency, our NREDA logo has been adapted for the new social media pages; and, we are pleased to be represented on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. In this issue, we want to encourage you to get connected to LinkedIn. NREDA has a dedicated and active LinkedIn group where NREDA members are becoming actively engaged in conversations pertaining to rural economic development issues. Some of the current conversations include entrepreneurship and innovation incubators, value-added agriculture products, website content, rural connections, observations on manufacturing and more. This is a great place for you to post questions, answer and respond to other questions and inquiries and to learn from each other. Posting to the LinkedIn NREDA Group will help connect you to others in this field across the country while helping you build credibility and gain publicity for your initiatives and efforts. By being engaged in LinkedIn and the other NREDA pages, your opportunity to increase exposure for your organization, projects, efforts, etc. are compounded. It is an excellent way for you to build upon relationships with other NREDA members and professionals. Join in these conversations or just follow along and stay informed Learn more and get "LinkedIn" by clicking the LinkedIn logo. Also, be sure to "Like" and "Follow" us on Facebook and Twitter. Locate their icons on this page and increase your engagement in these platforms too. Connect with others across the country facing similar or unique challenges and sharing innovative and relevant information about happenings and issues in rural areas across the U.S. Contact Aaron Brossoit at for more information about Golden Shovel Agency or with questions about the NREDA LinkedIn group, Twitter feed or Facebook page.

Crossing the Finish Line" with A Value-Packed Program

We hope you've started planning your visit to Indianapolis, IN, for the Annual NREDA Conference July 18-20, 2012! The draft agenda is available and will continue to be updated. Click here to learn more about the overall program. We think you will find an outstanding lineup of nationally-known presenters all focused on the conference theme, "Crossing the Finish Line". It is our objective to use this theme to discuss Rural Economic Development strategies to successfully bring your organization across the finish line.

The speaker line-up will include a wide variety of topics, including: Healthcare, Entrepreneur Development, Disaster Recovery, Appropriate Housing, and Social Media. Ross Bernstein will be the conference keynote speaker with a motivational message titled, "The Champion's Code: Life Lessons of Values & Integrity from the Sports World to the Business World". In addition, we have commitments from Thea Walsh, Deputy Chief in the Ohio Office of Redevelopment, who will be speaking on the topic of Site Certification, and David Rumbarger, President and CEO of Community Development Foundation, will discuss his experience in "Putting Together a Winning Team". We will also be bringing back Matt Chase, Executive Director of NADO, who will present a general session on Leadership, as well as facilitate a breakout session on finance. Our conference kick-off speaker will be Jack Uldrich, a renowned global futurist, independent scholar, sought-after business speaker, and best-selling author. Also sprinkled throughout the presentations will be discussion about keeping our youth in rural communities, status on the farm bill 2012 and beyond. For speaker biographies to learn more about these speakers, click here >>

About Indy: Find interesting information about the Indianapolis area by visiting the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. Located in the Midwest region of the country, summers in Indianapolis are warm, sunny and rather dry, with July temps averaging a high of 89°F and a low of 69° F. Make a vacation of it with friends or family!

Join your fellow rural development professionals and glean the most from your membership! More information about the conference and the agenda will be made available soon. Watch your inbox this month for details.

Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World
Source: International Year of Cooperatives retrieved March 13, 2012 from

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. With the theme of "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World", the Year seeks to encourage the growth and establishment of cooperatives all over the world. It also encourages individuals, communities and governments to recognize the agency of cooperatives in helping to achieve internationally agreed upon development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals. For more information to learn about related topics and educational opportunities, visit Click this link to view a fun and informative video produced by NRECA: The Electric Cooperative Story.

Telephone Co-Ops Build Broadband, Create Rural Jobs
Source: Mayberry, Anne .(January/February 2012 issue). Telephone Co-Ops Build Broadband, Create Rural Jobs. Rural Cooperatives; Utility Co-Op Connection. 36-37. Reproduced with permission.

We have a saying in Montana: "There's a lot of dirt between light bulbs," says Bonnie Lorang, general manager of Montana Independent Telecommunications Systems. What that means, she continues, "is that there are not many people in rural Montana; but through collaboration, we can deliver services that otherwise would not be available." The advantages of combining broadband with the cooperative business model is delivering high-speed Internet service crucial to the advancement of rural areas throughout the state, she says.

Broadband and collaboration have provided residents with tools to establish small businesses and deliver services to Montana's rural communities. For USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager, the ability of broadband projects to deliver economic opportunities to rural communities across the country is why funding rural broadband projects is so important. "Broadband takes local markets and makes them global," Tonsager says. "It has the capacity to open business opportunities in unparalleled ways. With broadband, rural consumers have better access to health care. Increasingly, rural schools for the first time have access to advanced placement and foreign language classes. Broadband expands services and increases business opportunities, which means jobs."

Broadband projects help rural areas overcome the barriers of time and distance. "This is about our overall competitiveness," Tonsager says. "Broadband in rural areas gives businesses the ability to compete globally. For kids, it opens the door to the world. Without broadband, we cannot fully compete in the world's economy." Funding for rural electric and telephone cooperatives nationwide was originally authorized under the U.S. Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to deliver electric and telecommunications services to rural areas. In Montana, these cooperatives collaborate to offer high quality, scalable services that otherwise would not be available to their rural consumers. "Cooperatives' commitment to their communities is among their principles and part of the cooperative business model," Tonsanger noted.

Rural telecommunication cooperatives nationwide work together, and with their investor-owned counterparts, they combine resources and leverage their abilities to deliver a range of services that their communities might otherwise not be able to access. For more information or a copy of this complete Rural Utilities Services article, contact Anne Mayberry at

LaDonna Boyd Retires from Dakota Electric


In February, LaDonna Boyd retired after serving more than 41 years dedicating her time and expertise to Dakota Electric, local businesses and communities in Dakota County. LaDonna is known to have been a tireless volunteer working with organizations such as the Dakota County International Trade Committee, Minnesota Economic Development Foundation, Dakota future, the Dakota County Regional Arts Collaborative, and many boards and committees, including serving as past President and active supporter for many years to NREDA. In honor of her support and leadership, LaDonna has been nominated by the NREDA Board of Directors to receive recognition as an Honorary Member at the upcoming Annual Conference in July.

LaDonna is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma's economic development program and she has an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. She was recognized with a 2010 Dakota County Tribune Exceptional Businesswomen Award and has received the Minnesota Vision Award from the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development. Ladonna resided in Farmington, MN. She intends to spend more time volunteering and spending time with her grandchildren. Her last day with Dakota Electric was February 17th. Thank you for your outstanding leadership, dedication to serving and your commitment to advancing the field of economic development. Your contributions are duly worthy of recognition as an Honorary NREDA Member.


2012 NREDA Trainings/Events

 2012 NREDA Annual Conference
July 18-20, 2012
The Westin Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN


 NCTA's PR & Marketing Conference
May 6-8, 2012
Boston, MA

 NRECA's Connect ‘12
May 15-18, 2012
New Orleans, LA

 CFC Forum
July 8-11, 2012
New York, NY


 Heartland Basic Economic Development Course
April 15-19, 20122
Blue Springs, MO

 Tennessee Basic Economic Development Course
April 30-May 3, 2012
Nashville, TN

Remembering David Morgan

On behalf of NREDA and the Board of Directors, we send our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of David Morgan. David passed away recently and a celebration of his life was held in Stone Mountain, GA on March 4. David retired as the Vice President of Economic Development for Oglethorpe Power Corporation in Georgia. David met in Missouri in 1988 with a handful of rural electric economic development leaders to form NREDA. While David never served as the President of NREDA, he proudly served on NREDA's Board of Directors for the first several years after the association's founding. David leaves a distinguished economic development career in both Georgia and his native state of Florida. He founded the statewide economic development program for the electric cooperatives in Georgia at Oglethorpe Power in 1976. It is the same program that continues to operate today at Georgia EMC. Anyone wishing to send condolences to his family can write to his wife, Linda, at 2946 LaVista Way, Decatur, GA 30033. We are truly grateful for David's vision and determination to make NREDA a reality and to further economic development in rural America. He will be fondly remembered and deeply missed.

Welcome, New Members

Sam Bennett
Santee Cooper
Moncks Corner, SC

Victoria Bokhari
CBO Financial
Columbia, MD

Aaron Brossoit
Golden Shovel Agency
Little Falls, MN

Barry H. Jurs
Santee Cooper
Moncks Corner, SC

Keith Ellis
Nebraska Public Power District
Lincoln, NE

Harold Gutzwiller
Hoosier Energy REC
Bloomington, IN

Marcia Lambeth
Pee Dee EMC
Wadesboro, NC

John Marshall
Golden Shovel Agency
Little Falls, MN

Jeff Quyle
Hoosier Energy REC
Bloomington, IN

Welcome, New Alliance Partner Members

Kristine Jackson-DeJarnette
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Arlington, VA

NREDA Member Spotlight, Mendi Alexander
2012 Chair: Publications, Website & Communications Committee & Member: Nomination Committee, Economic Development Specialist, Nex-Tech/Rural Telephone, Hays, KS, (785) 625.7070, c: 7(85) 639.1003, e:, w:


Mendi Alexander has been a member of NREDA for 3 years and is serving in a variety of leadership capacities including chairing the publications, website and communications committee and serving on the nominating committee. "What I enjoy most about NREDA would be the great professional development opportunities available to me to better myself in my career! The benefits/value I have gained from my involvement are so numerous...but the contacts, the connections to very knowledgeable people who want rural America to grow and succeed are amazing!" She shared that her predecessor, Linda Yohon, was very involved with NREDA and was a board member...she spoke very highly of the group and (strongly) suggested that Mendi join the association.

When asked about the value of her involvement in NREDA, Mendi replied, "I hope that members gain knowledge, strength and commitment to better rural America by participating in NREDA. We are all fighting for the common good and we are stronger in numbers! Also, don’t feel like you have to re-invent the wheel...there is somebody (or two or three some bodies) that have paved the way for just need to know where to look for them - and NREDA is that connection! I have definitely gained more through NREDA by being involved...I have met some great people, found awesome resources and have grown professionally from being a part of this organization! My first token of advice for new members is to attend the Annual NREDA Conference in Indianapolis this summer...come ready to learn new things, meet some new people and share your struggles and are sure to find some great advice and ideas to implement. After you attend the conference, I would then challenge you to find a committee to join and be active! Selfish plug here...but if PR, Communications, Web, Social Media and overall News excites you, I have a great committee that needs your time and talent! E-mail me if you are interested!"

Alliance Partner Spotlight, NTCA
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, 4121 Wilson Boulevard, Ste. 100, Arlington, VA, (703) 351-2000, c: 7(85) 639.1003, w:


The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), "the voice of rural telecommunications," is the premiere non-profit association representing more than 580 small and rural telephone cooperatives and commercial companies. NTCA is a full-service association, offering a wide array of member services, including a highly effective government affairs program; expert legal and industry representation; a broad range of educational services; a comprehensive assortment of regular and special publications and public relations programs; and a well-rounded complement of national and regional meetings. NTCA represents all rural carriers - cooperative, commercial, and competitive companies. They promote rural interests to Congress, the FCC, the states, the public, and the press; provide dynamic forums for resolving issues that affect you and your industry; track information on emerging technologies - landline, wireless, satellite, and Internet; advance rural telco interests in all federal and state legislative and regulatory arenas; offer continuing education for managers, directors, and other key personnel; work with manufacturers, vendors, and consultants to further rural telco interests; and provide economic and community development support. NTCA, an association of small, rural telecommunications providers, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in rural communities through advanced telecommunications by education, advocacy and cooperation. Thank you NTCA for all you do for rural communities and NREDA!




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