Chuck Schroeder

Charles P. “Chuck” Schroeder is a native of southwestern Nebraska ranch country near the rural community of Palisade. Prior to beginning his new duties on December 1, 2013 as founding executive director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, Schroeder served 12 years as president and executive director of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Prior to that, he held other leadership positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as founding CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, headquartered in Denver, Chicago and Washington, DC. Schroeder also served as executive vice president and director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation and director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Schroeder was involved with his family’s farming, ranching and cattle feeding enterprise, the Schroeder Cattle Company, for about 30 years, until its sale in 2004. Chuck is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Animal Science.

Schroeder has served on many boards of business and civic organizations such as the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Museums West, the Oklahoma State Fair, Sirloin Club of Oklahoma, and advisory boards for the Oklahoma Arts Institute and the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. Previous volunteer leadership roles include terms as chairman of the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching, president of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development, chairman of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council, and founding board member of the Rural Policy Research Institute., as well as Agriculture Future of America. He has also served as a board member for the International Stockmen’s Education Foundation and Payne Education Center. Special recognitions include the Oklahoma Humanities Council Community Leadership Award, the National Cowboy Symposium Western Museum Award, the NU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Alumnus Award, the Ak-Sar-Ben Agricultural Achievement Award, and inclusion in “Who’s Who in the Western Livestock Industry.” He was also selected for participation in the Gallup Premier Leadership Institute and Stanford University’s Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders.

Schroeder is an active team roper, and his interests span American Quarter Horses, art, rodeo, political history and livestock genetics among other facets of the American West. Chuck is married to Kathi, a retired high school special education instructor, and they have one daughter, Dr. Lindsay Hastings, who is a faculty member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and executive director of the Nebraska Human Resources Institute. Chuck and Kathi are also proud grandparents of two wonderful granddaughters.

Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D.

Researcher, entrepreneur and high-touch futurist, Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., CPC, helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. She currently serves as Interim Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, assuming the role in July 2018, to purposefully carrying forward her mission with business, hospital and community leaders around the globe. She joined RFI as Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist in May 2015. She also hosts the Rural Futures podcast.

Dr. Connie is the founder of Wild Innovation, a consulting and coaching firm serving organizations from both the private and public sectors. Clients range from rural hospitals in Nebraska to remote villages in Nigeria and include a small business with a $22 million annual footprint as well as global organizations like Lockheed Martin.

Dr. Connie’s research, experiences and education in both the hard and human sciences allow her to see how our exponentially high-tech world must balance with a high-touch, strengths-based approach to leadership and life—we must explore the intersections of science fiction and what it means to be human.

This realization helped Dr. Connie create and empirically test, A Framework for the Entrepreneurial Learner of the 21st Century, which earned a Best Paper award at the Distance Learning Administration Conference in 2005. The findings of her groundbreaking research revealed that personal fulfillment influenced learners’ motivation to succeed in the online environment. Data from her research also revealed that individuals need to define success for themselves in order to tap into their sense of personal fulfillment.

A unique combination of empirical research and practical experience enabled Dr. Connie to develop keynotes, workshops, publications and coaching resources designed to foster a purpose-driven, strengths-based entrepreneurial spirit in individuals, teams and organizations with an emphasis on future-focused leadership. She has authored or co-authored 55 publications, 10 workbooks, six videos, six coaching tools, three books and one book chapter. In total, her digital publications have been downloaded by 3,300 institutions more than 70,000 times throughout 175 countries. She has also taught more than 25,000 learners from around the world. Her coaching and consulting has helped more than 70 clients grow their businesses and lives with a focus on strengths, futuring, personal fulfillment and fun.

As Dr. Connie continues to study the future, she has become curious about women in midlife. Why? Women in midlife often go unrecognized and unrewarded but may be the leaders and entrepreneurs needed to help solve grand challenges like workforce shortages in rural healthcare. Connie holds a doctorate in human sciences with a focus on leadership studies, a master’s degree in entomology and a bachelor’s degree in natural resources. She also holds a Certificate in Strategic Foresight from the University of Houston, a Certified Professional Coach designation from the International Coach Academy and a Strengths Coaching Certification through Gallup.

Strategic Foresight Dr. Connie’s CV 


Katelyn Ideus


As Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Rural Futures Institute, Katelyn Ideus develops the strategic communications plan for the Institute, producing, stimulating and delivering bold stories about the successes earned, innovations created and solutions found by rural communities around the world. She is also the producer of the Rural Futures podcast.

Katelyn previously supported the University of Nebraska’s online education initiatives for five years, specifically the University of Nebraska High School, which works with schools and students around the world. Prior to that, she worked in internal communications at Nelnet, Inc. She also served as communications specialist for a children’s hospital in downtown St. Louis, working with St. Louis University faculty physicians to support rural community hospitals throughout Missouri and Illinois.

She holds a master’s degree in integrated media communications and bachelor’s in news editorial and broadcast journalism, both from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Katelyn lives with her husband and two children near Adams, Neb., where they are part of the Ideus Family Farms operation. Katelyn’s husband, Tyler, is a specialist in physical medicine practicing in Lincoln, Neb., and traveling the world to teach. Listen to his podcast episode!


BOLD Communications Strategy

Theresa Klein

Theresa Klein’s grassroots leadership experience and perspective add an important perspective to the Rural Futures Institute’s executive team.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a degree in animal science and agricultural economics, Klein traveled the entire state on her first job while handling all public relations and communications for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. She then joined the University of Nebraska Foundation serving as Director of Communications for 11 years with the unique opportunity to work with all of the NU campuses.

To raise their children in the best of places, Theresa and her husband moved to a small farm west of Wahoo, near her family’s dairy farm, so the kids would experience production agriculture and rural life. She began serving as Development Director for Bishop Neumann High School, with a personal goal of getting the facility upgraded by its 50th Anniversary in May 2015. This move allowed Theresa to immerse herself in a wide variety of leadership opportunities ranging from the Wahoo Chamber of Commerce, Teammates Board & Public Library Foundation to helping found the Friends of Saunders County 4-H & Extension Foundation.

After attending the RFI conferences in 2011 and 2013, Theresa became a fan of the RFI approach. She believes in engaging leaders of all ages in applying innovative ideas and community-specific strategies to strengthen individual communities. Currently, she serves on the Saunders County Ag Society and was recently appointed Trustee of the Saunders County Medical Center, continuing a real-world connection with the complex challenge of affecting change in a rural community.

Kim Peterson

Kim Peterson grew up on a family farm in Fillmore County, Neb., and currently resides on the family farm near Grafton. She is a former Nebraska LEAD member. Kim attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) and graduated with a degree in animal science. Upon graduation, Kim served as Communications Director for the Nebraska Stock Growers Association in Alliance. After five years, she returned to the family farm in Fillmore County and stayed at home for a few years to raise her four sons.

In 1992, she accepted the position of Communications Coordinator with the University of Nebraska at the South Central Research and Extension Center. She was employed there until the center closed in 2003. Kim then transferred to UNL where she served as Coordinator and Outreach Program Specialist for the Nebraska Rural Initiative.

With the Rural Futures Institute Kim serves as Director of Competitive Awards and Finance. More recently, Kim has taken classes to complete a graduate degree in Marketing, Communications and Advertising.

Kim is married and she and her husband, Stan, have four sons, all whom live in rural Nebraska. The family has grown with the addition of three daughter-in-laws and eight grandchildren. Kim enjoys crafts, quilting, and most importantly, spending time with family and living the great life in rural Nebraska.

Shawn Kaskie

Shawn Kaskie brings the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) Engagement Nexus to life, directly connecting rural Nebraska leaders to University of Nebraska research faculty and students as well as Nebraska Extension’s Community Vitality Initiative. Convening these partners, Shawn stimulates, facilitates and contributes to research and application projects in critical areas for rural areas of the state.

Currently, he is an integral part of the Nebraska Statewide Barometer team and Nebraska SourceLink effort, both of which have received RFI funding.

Shawn also serves as the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in the College of Business and Technology.

He is a certified Professional Community & Economic Developer, and a former Gallup Entrepreneurship Acceleration System Guide, Business Retention & Expansion consultant, and NxLevel Entrepreneurship Instructor.

Shawn is pursuing a Ph.D. in the UNL Ag Leadership (ALEC) program. He has a master’s degree in regional planning and undergraduate majors in Public Administration, Sociology, and Psychology from Hastings College. He has experience providing in community economic development and market research services to more than 60 communities in over a dozen rural Midwest counties throughout Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin and in Papua New Guinea as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Aliese Hoffman

Aliese Hoffman is from the rural town of Red Cloud, Neb., where she grew up and worked on her family’s cattle ranch. She was an active member of 4H and FFA. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs and has a passion for rural life.

Aliese earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management. After graduation she worked in the hospitality industry where she gained skills in customer service, event planning, and management. She began working in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development at UNK in August of 2015 where she is involved in event coordination, outreach services, market research and supports the Enactus student organization. For the Rural Futures Institute, Aliese supports the RFI Fellows program.

Bradley Lubben, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow | Policy Specialist | Director of the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center

Department of Agricultural Economics | University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Brad Lubben has more than 24 years of experience in teaching, research and extension, focusing on agricultural policy and agricultural economics and working in Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska. Brad grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Burr, southeast of Lincoln. Brad has extensive experience in teaching, research, and outreach through extension with specific expertise in rural ag-policy and in the UNL ag-econ department.


  • Bachelor’s degree, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Master’s degree, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Doctorate degree, Kansas State University



  • Lubben. B.D. 2015-2019. “North Central Risk Management Education Center.” USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. $3,248,008.
  • Walters, C., S. Banerjee, and B. Lubben. 2016-2017. “Northern Plains Regional Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Partnership.” USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. $443,561.
  • Mattos, F., B. Lubben, J. Parsons, and C. Walters. 2016-2018. “The Ag Econ Scholars Mentoring Program.” USDA Economic Research Service. $30,000.



  • Nebraska Association of Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and
    Human Sciences 2010 Communicator of the Year, 2011.
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Senior Faculty
    Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence, 2015.




  • Agricultural Economics
  • Farm policy
  • Agricultural policy development and education

Peter Longo, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow | Natural & Social Sciences

University of Nebraska at Kearney



Dr. Longo has been at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Political Science, since 1988. Previously he was at Benedictine College (Kansas) (1986-88). Longo has published, with Anthony Schutz and the late Robert D. Miewald, the Nebraska State Constitution: A Reference Guide, 2nd edition (University of Nebraska Press) and co-edited (David Yaskowitz) Water in the Great Plains: Issues and Policies (Texas Tech University Press). Longo serves as the editor of Great Plains Research, a journal from the Center for Great Plains Studies (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), exposing him to great faculty research across the midwest and making him a great resource for our new Fellows Team.


  • Bachelor’s degree, history, Creighton University
  • Doctorate, political science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Research Interests

  • How cooperative models can promote the community good



  • Daugherty Water for Food Institute University of Nebraska, Healthy Nebraska and Beyond: Building Health from the Bottom-up along Waterways, ($27,465 with Alan Kolok, Patrick McNamara, Eleanor Rogan—Longo ) 2015
  • Nebraska University Foundation, Empowering Nebraska Youth to empower Nebraska Communities, ($82,500, with John Anderson), 2007 – 2009
  • Campus Kitchen of Washington, D.C. A grant to help students deliver meals to citizens in need. ($10,000), 2006 – 2009.


Leadership Roles

Most Recent Publications

  • Longo, P.J., Cummings R.G. (2013). Dam Water Policy: The Need for Global Governance. Journal of International Energy Policy, 2, 31-38.
  • Edwards, R., Longo P., (2013) Introduction Rural Communities and School Consolidation. Great Plains Research, 91-97.
  • Blauwkamp, J.M., Longo, P.J., and Anderson, J. (2011). School consolidation in Nebraska: Economic efficiency vs. rural community life. Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy, 6, 1, 1-20.
  • Longo, P.J., & Blauwkamp, J.M. (2011). Workplace religious accommodation for Muslims and the promise of state constitutionalism. Great Plains Research, 21, 3 (Spring), 3-15.
  • Longo, P. “Water Quality.” (2011). Governing America: Major Policies and Decisions of Federal, State, and Local Government, eds. Paul Quirk and William Cunion., New York, NY: Facts-on-File
  • Miewald, R., Longo, P., Schutz A. (2010). 433pp., The Nebraska State Constitution: A Reference Guide, 2nd edition 433pp., University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln NE
  • Nebraska’s 150th birthday is today: Through good times and bad, state has persevered By David Hendee



  • University of Nebraska Foundation Noddle Award for Service, 2012
  • Leslie Hewes Award Best Social Science Article, Great Plains Research Journal 2012 (with Joan Blauwkamp)

Catherine Lang, J.D.

Community Innovation Fellow | State Director | Nebraska Business Development Center

University of Nebraska at Omaha



Catherine Lang leads the statewide outreach for the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and works to build new collaborative efforts across the University of Nebraska system to support the Center’s mission.

From 2014 to 2016, Lang was the Vice President of Accelerate Nebraska, a statewide organization connecting improved educational outcomes to local business needs for better careers and stronger communities.

Lang also served the State of Nebraska for almost 33 years. She was the Director of Nebraska Department of Economic Development (December 2011 to June 2014) and the Commissioner of Labor (September 2008 to June 2014). She was the Nebraska Property Tax Administrator from 1996 to 2007, and the Deputy Tax Commissioner from 2007 to 2008. As an involved state and community leader, she is a member of several local and state philanthropic and community organizations.

Research Interests

  • Rural business and community vitality
  • Small business support and sustainability after startup
  • Business transition and succession




  • Juris Doctor



  • SBA Small Business Development Center Grant
  • DLA Procurement Technical Assistance Grant
  • Federal and State Technology Partnership Program
  • Currently leading statewide US EDA University Center grant application to promote Entrepreneurship and Economic Development