Andrew Ambriz

Custer Economic Development Corporation

Executive Director

Graduate of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

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Focus: Economic and Workforce Development, Community Marketing, Youth Retention/Recruitment

The students will develop a ‘Custer County Intern Experience Program’ to connect all summer interns throughout the businesses in Custer County and provide a platform to interact and heighten chances of attracting them back to the community at the conclusion of their internship/schooling. Students will also focus on marketing the county by creating marketing videos showcasing story highlight reels of people and businesses that make the community great. The ability to work remotely and the applicable skills necessary will be promoted and ways to better leverage the 2020 Nebraska Passport program will be promoted.

Students: Aline AbayoMegan Tofflemire
Innovators: Andrew AmbrizDeb Kennedy

Sponsored By: Custer Economic Development Corporation

Andrew’s Nebraska Story

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, Cali., until I was 10 years old. Our family (my parents) made the decision to relocate for a better upbringing considering the neighborhoods we were growing up in. We moved to northeast Nebraska in 2005 and hated it. But, over time, and with some patience, we acclimated by getting involved in school, our community and I took a special interest in FFA. FFA led me to CASNR at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I’ve been impressed with the students that are trained by the Rural Futures Institute and how they move projects forward in our community. Not only do they “do the work,” they connect with people and gather context and share thoughtfully with those they interact with.

Why do you think it important community leaders have this type of experience in terms of inclusive leadership development?

In my experience thus far, inclusive leadership development has been the most impactful strategy for a “checkpoint.” Am I really acting in the way I believe I am? How am I perceived by others? What am I ignoring when interacting with people? How can I be better? Those questions are what drives us to be better for all, not just for some.

Why is this contribution of students from NU significant to you and your community?

RFI Fellows is the greatest way to create a sound connection with talented students at the University and rural communities in Greater Nebraska. While some students get the classic business internship, these students are immersed in the community dynamics and project work that traverses ALL careers and industries and exposes them to the communities that make up a majority of the land mass of the state of Nebraska.

Why is rural important?

“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” — Williams Jennings Bryan

The foundation of all life is food, agriculture, inputs. Our rural communities across the countries are those that supply the life to those farmers, ranchers, producers that drive the agriculture industry. Our natural resources allow us to be entrenched in an industry like agriculture and so long as they are needed, our rural communities will exist to support them.