Executive Director Interviews

Following a national search, the University of Nebraska identified three finalists for the position of founding executive director of the Rural Futures Institute, a university-wide research, education, policy and engagement institute focused on rural growth and development in Nebraska and beyond.

The finalists visited Nebraska for interviews and meetings with university and community stakeholders. Each finalist gave a public presentation during which interested individuals learned about the candidate’s vision for the institute. The public presentations took place at the Ockinga Auditorium at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and were be live streamed for those unable to attend in person. Information about the finalists is available below.


Meet the Candidates

SchroederCharles Schroeder  |  curriculum vitae
President and Executive Director of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Schroeder has served at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum since 2002. Prior to that, he was chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, where, among other achievements, he managed the merger of the two major beef industry organizations to create the largest, most comprehensive agricultural trade association in the United States. Schroeder formerly served as executive vice president and director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation and director of agriculture at the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science and business and production options from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Schroeder’s public presentation was held on August 7 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm CST.



IvanDavid Ivan  |  curriculum vitae
Interim Director of the Greening Michigan Institute at Michigan State University

Ivan has served at the Greening Michigan Institute – a division of Michigan State Extension focused on enhancing prosperity in Michigan – since 2012 and has served in various positions in MSU Extension since 2003. His teaching and research interests include entrepreneurship and business development, community vitality and sustainability, land policy implementation strategy, and rural assistive technology. Ivan earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture and natural resources communications from Michigan State, his M.B.A. from Penn State University, and is pursuing a doctorate in community, agriculture, recreation and resource studies from Michigan State. He is a founding member of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals.

Ivan’s public presentation was held on September 3 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm CST.



MatlockMarty Matlock  |  curriculum vitae
Executive Director of the Office for Sustainability, Director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability, and Professor at the University of Arkansas 

Matlock is responsible for leading the implementation of sustainability initiatives across the University of Arkansas and assessing and developing sustainable practices in agricultural production to improve the prosperity of rural communities. He has served in faculty positions at Arkansas since 2001. Matlock is a board-certified environmental engineer, is widely published in peer-reviewed journals and holds a number of patents. Matlock earned his bachelor’s degree in soil chemistry, his master’s degree in plant physiology, and his Ph.D. in biosystems engineering, all from Oklahoma State University. He is owner and founder of BlueInGreen LLC, a company that provides efficient, affordable solutions for water quality.

Dr. Ronnie Green, NU Vice President and IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor recently received word that Marty Matlock, the final candidate who was to interview for the executive director position has withdrawn his candidacy. Matlock has been named as the Dean of Sustainability for the University of Arkansas. We wish him the best in his expanded role in Arkansas.