Eric Thompson, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow | Associate Professor, Economics | Director of the Bureau of Business Research College of Business Administration

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


 

Eric’s research on the Midwest and national economy examines competitive factors affecting state and local economic growth, the role of agriculture in the economy, and the economics of infrastructure. Thompson holds a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a former president of the Association for University Business and Economic Research. He directs the widely known Bureau of Business Research (BBR), teaches graduate-level courses and conducts rural economic research. His monthly BBR podcasts and research blogs are keenly watched by rural development practitioners and investors throughout Nebraska.

ethompson2@unl.edu

Credentials

  • Doctorate, Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Publications

Expertise

  • Agricultural Economics
  • Rural Community Development
  • State Economic Development

Robert Stowell, J.D.

Community Innovation Fellow | Lawyer, Business Owner | Stowell & Geweke, P.C., L.L.O.

Ord, Nebraska

 


 

Bob’s passion is around personal, family, workplace and community leadership engagement and development. He is also committed to facilitating entrepreneurship business startups through entity formation, mentoring and sometimes with financial support, as well as free or reduced rate legal assistance. Youth engagement, leadership and activity sponsorship is also very important to him. Bob’s leadership as one of the founding Directors of the Valley County Economic Development and Foundation Boards has paved the way for Ord to become a national success story. His legal expertise drafting one of the state’s first LB 840 Economic Development Sales tax plans has been modeled after across the state.

rstowell@ordlawfirm.com

Credentials

  • Juris doctorate, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Expertise

  • Estate planning
  • Trust administration
  • Real estate
  • Community development

Grants

  • Community development block grants
  • New Neighborhoods grant for $750,000
  • Peter Kiewit grant and local endowment grants

Publications

  • SynoVation Valley leadership curriculum (copyrighted)
  • Annual reports for foundation fund

Awards

  • Distinguished Service Cross (RVN)
  • AV rated lawyer for 36 years
  • Small Business Administration advocate of the year

Leadership Positions

  • Nebraska State Bar Association, House of Delegates
  • Nebraska State Bar Association, Fellow
  • Nebraska Rural Development Commission
  • United Methodist Foundation
  • Nebraska Community Foundation

Jessica Shoemaker, J.D.

Faculty Fellow | Associate Professor | College of Law

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 


 

Jessica graduated first in her class from the University of Wisconsin Law School and then served as a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She was awarded a prestigious Skadden Fellowship and spent two years at a national non-profit law firm devoted to advocacy around systemic legal issues affecting farmers and rural communities. She then spent five years at an international law firm in Denver, working in nearly every phase of dispute resolution in many different courts. She is a law professor with passion for rural issues as noted by recent placement on the Center for Great Plains Fellows Board of Directors.

jshoemaker@unl.edu

Expertise

  • Property law
  • Land use law
  • Federal Indian law
  • Energy law
  • Agricultural law

Credentials

  • Juris Doctorate, University of Wisconsin

Awards

  • Governor and Fellow, Center for Great Plains Studies

Grants

  • Maximizing the Impact of Games as Effective Participative Tools: The Rufopoly Resource Kit, Economic Social Resource Council (United Kingdom), Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Grant No. ES/M006522/1 (2014 – 2016)

Publications

  • Invited Essay: Pipelines, Protest, and Property. JA Shoemaker. Great Plains Research 27 (2), 69-81. (2017).
  • Complexity’s Shadow: American Indian Property, Sovereignty, and the Future, 114 MICH. L. REV. — (2017).
  • Emulsified Property, 43 PEPP. L. REV. 945 (2016).
  • No Sticks in My Bundle: Rethinking the Indian Land Tenure Problem, 63 U. KAN. L. REV. 383 (2015).

Kyle Ryan, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow | Professor of Kinesology | Creator and co-director of the Children’s Health, Activity & Nutrition Community Engagement (CHANCE) Initiative

Peru State College

 


 

A strong advocate and forerunner in the practice of service-learning and public scholarship, Dr. Ryan has been the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Scholarship from Nebraska Campus Compact, the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award from Peru State College, a Year Nine Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute Scholar, the 2013 Outstanding Community and Campus Collaboration Award from Heartland Campus Compact, and the 2012 Professional Health Educator Award from the Nebraska Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Dr. Ryan is also a proud member of the Kimmel Foundation Board of Directors and active in Nebraska City Rotary.

kryan@peru.edu

Research Interests

  • Rural pediatric obesity prevention and intervention
  • Rural community mobilization
  • Implementing high-impact practices into higher education through mentoring

Publications

Grants

  • AmeriCorps Planning Grant ServeNebraska. The Children’s Health, Activity & Nutrition Community Engagement (CHANCE) Initiative
  • Rural Futures Institute Teaching & Engagement Grant. Principles of Community Engagement in Public Health: Service Learning, Community-based Participatory Research, Leadership, and Civic Engagement
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Nebraska Wellness Grants. The Children’s Health, Activity, & Nutrition Community Engagement (CHANCE) Initiative

Awards

  • Excellence in Community-Based Teaching and Scholarship, Nebraska Campus Compact
  • Excellence in Teaching, Peru State College
  • Outstanding Community and Campus Collaboration Award, Nebraska Campus Compact

Reshell Ray

Community Innovation Fellow | Associate Director | Student Involvement

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 


In her current role, Reshell bridges the gap between the academic and co-curricular experiences for University of Nebraska-Lincoln students. Prior to this role, Reshell served as a consulting associate with the Heartland Center for Leadership Development where she worked with grassroots community organizations in the areas of strategic planning, capacity building, leadership and racial reconciliation. Most recently, she collaborated with the Center for Civic Engagement, Engler Entrepreneurial program and Nebraska Human Resources Institute to develop what is now RFI Student Serviceship.

Reshell not only has the academic credentials for community planning, but the respect of the student community on the UNL East Campus. Her interpersonal communication leadership style makes diversity awareness easy on campus where many of NE’s rural youth have little experience. Reshell served as the coordinator of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cultural Center. For more than 10 years she developed educational programs for students of color. In this capacity she developed the curriculum for the Critical Moments program.

As the Management Analyst/City Planner for Pacific, Mo., she worked with the Planning Commission and the Economic Development Commission. She was also responsible for the Risk Management program, interpreted city ordinances governing land use development and managed the Community Development Block Grant Program and served as the liaison between City, Chamber of Commerce and School District.

Reshell has a heart for people, especially those who are considered to be at risk. She works to help individuals develop their full potential building on their God-given strength and talents.

rray1@unl.edu

Credentials

  • Bachelor’s degree, psychology and sociology, Southwest Missouri State
  • Master’s degree, community and regional planning with an emphasis in social planning and community development, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Expertise

  • Community and Regional Planning
  • Sociology
  • Psychology

Grants

  • Rural Futures Institute

Awards

  • UNL Board of Regents Service Award
  • James Griesen Exemplary Service to Students Award
  • NACA Outstanding Programmer Award

Athena Ramos, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow | Community Health Program Manager | College of Public Health

University of Nebraska Medical Center | Center for Reducing Health Disparities

 


 

Athena Ramos serves as principal investigator for a number of community-based health research and education initiatives at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and leads a Latino outreach and engagement team. She continuously strives to bring a sense of hope and vitality to the work that she does. Athena completed a Ph.D. in International Family and Community Studies at Clemson University. She serves on numerous boards including South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, Fontenelle Forest and the Justice for Our Neighbors-Nebraska Advisory Council.

aramos@unmc.edu

Credentials

  • Ph.D. in International Family and Community Studies from Clemson University
  • Master’s degree in business administration
  • Master’s degree in urban studies focused on community development
  • Bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Research Interests

  • Occupational safety, health and wellness among immigrant and migrant farmworkers
  • Immigrant integration
  • Community development
  • Health disparities
  • Healthy public spaces, recreation areas and parks
  • Community engagement

Expertise

  • Community Engagement
  • Community Development
  • Latinos
  • Public Health

Grants

  • NIOSH, U54 OH010162-06 (immigrant farmworker health and safety)
  • NE DHHS-Region VI Behavioral Health Administration, MOTAC (tobacco prevention and control)
  • University of Nebraska, Rural Futures Institute Teaching & Engagement grant (immigrant integration in rural communities)

Publications

  • Ramos, A.K. (2016). Welcoming immigrants: An opportunity to strengthen rural communities. Journal of Extension, 54(3). http://www.joe.org/joe/2016june/comm1.php.
  • Ramos, A.K., Carlo, G., Grant, K.M., Trinidad, N., & Correa, A. (2016). Stress, depression, and occupational injury among migrant farmworkers in Nebraska. Safety, 2(4), 23. DOI:10.3390/safety2040023
  • Ramos, A.K., Fuentes, A., and Trinidad, N. (2016). Perception of occupational risks, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and prevention opportunities among Latino immigrant hog CAFO workers in Missouri. Safety, 2(4), 25. DOI:10.3390/safety2040025

Awards

  • UNMC Gold “U” (2014)
  • Midlands Business Journal: 40 Under 40 Award (2009)
  • Ten Outstanding Young Omahans (TOYO) (2006)

Greg Ptacek

Community Innovation Fellow | President | Johnnie Byrd Brewing Company

Wayne, NE

 


 

Greg Ptacek is the President of Johnnie Byrd Brewing Company. Ptacek’s passion for rural Nebraska led to a very successful career in rural economic development. He served as Director of Economic Development for the City of Neligh for five years, during which Neligh welcomed 27 new businesses (a 17 percent increase in total businesses); transitioned 14 businesses to new ownership (nine percent retention); and Antelope County welcomed more than $600 million in capital investment. Ptacek now promotes community development through founding Nebraska’s first benefit corporation brewery. Ptacek is a graduate of Wayne State College and is six hours short of his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Greg has a beautiful wife, Kelly, and three children under the age of three: Alexis, Crispin and Liesel.

Greg@Johnniebyrd.beer

Awards

  • Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Nebraska Graduate
  • Norfolk Area Person of the Year Finalist – 2015

 

Publications

Participant in RFI

  • RFI Competitive Award, Marketing Hometown America
  • RFI Student Serviceship

 

Expertise

  • Bachelor of Science, history & political science

Donald Macke

Community Innovation Fellow

Senior Vice President of LOCUS Impact Investing

 


 

Don has more than 40 years of community economic development field experience working throughout North America and the Caribbean. Throughout the years Don’s work has varied between public service ranging from Unicameral staff to serving in the Nelson Administration, to both for-profit and non-profit consulting. Don’s four decades of rural community economic development field experience throughout the continent are widely recognized in programs like e2 University & National Conference.

don@e2mail.org

Credentials

  • Master’s degree, regional economics

Research Interests

  • Community Engagement
  • Entrepreneur Focused Development
  • Community Philanthropy Development
  • Impact Investing

Awards

  • Award for Overall Excellence in Economic Development, Arthur D. Little and the International Economic Development Council
  • Group Honor Award for Excellence, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    The Ron Shaffer Award for Collaborative Leadership

Expertise

  • Community philanthropy
  • Entrepreneur focus development
  • Community engagement

Grants

  • Power Grant, Appalachian Regional Commission
  • We typically do not receive grants. Payment for services.

Publications

RFI PROJECT UPDATE: Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

Now that you know more about rural broadband expert Roberto Gallardo (see yesterday’s feature!), here are the details about the 2017 RFI-funded research and engagement project he is leading with Jeremy Harris Lipschultz, professor with the UNO Social Media Lab at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as well as Charlotte Narjes and Connie Hancock with Nebraska Extension.

Through this project, faculty, students and communities are coming together (RFI Nexus!) to research the use of digital platforms for civic engagement in rural communities. The research basis of this project is important in that the models and best practices coming out of this work will be empirically sound when other rural communities look to implement them.

We’ve loved seeing the UNO students immersed in the rural Nebraska communities of Ashland, Nebraska City and Ravenna throughout the last several weeks, and they recently presented their social media plans! Follow the Social Media Lab on Twitter for all of the latest details.

More about RFI-funded research and teaching projects >>>

RFI PROJECT UPDATE: Rural Narratives on Welcoming Communities


We are excited to share the latest about each of our 2017 RFI research and teaching projects throughout the next few weeks. First up, “Rural Narratives on Welcoming Communities,” which is led by RFI Faculty Fellow Athena Ramos of the UNMC College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center – UNMC.

Rural communities are changing demographically, physically and socially. Three major trends driving these new patterns include the in-migration of adults in their prime earning years returning to small towns and rural areas, the growth of the Latino population, which is the most rapidly growing population segment in rural America, and regionalization. Because of these trends, strengthening resiliency, flexibility and positivity in rural communities is essential.

Successful rural community development requires a healthy community ecosystem. In order for rural communities to maintain and build a healthy community ecosystem, it is important to effectively foster human and social capital among all community residents, which is what Ramos is working toward through this project.

UNMC students have been learning about community-based research and Appreciative Inquiry, which is based on principles of positive psychology, social constructionism, and resonance. Now, Ramos and students are co-developing and conducting key informant interviews with local community leaders to spark stories that highlight the best of what is in rural communities and help these community leaders plant seeds about what COULD BE when all residents and newcomers are fully welcomed and integrated into the fabric of their communities.

The insights gathered in this specific project will help Columbus, Neb., and Schuyler, Neb., better understand their assets and what positive messaging is needed to move their community initiatives forward.

Learn more about RFI’s funded research and teaching projects at http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/research.