Kim Beger

Auburn Development Council
Vice President
Auburn, Neb.

2020 Experience

Focus: Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, Workforce Training

The primary project will involve creating a great marketing and research effort with a strong community campaign to secure passage of LB840, the local option municipal economic development act that authorizes incorporated cities to collect and appropriate local tax dollars for economic development purposes. Additional projects will include entrepreneurship, coding camp and mobile STEM lab promotion, business recruitment and workforce training.

Students: Brittney EmersonEmma Hoffschneider
Peer: Julia Oestmann

Sponsored By: Auburn Development Council, Nemaha County Development Foundation Fund, Nemaha County Hospital

Kim’s Nebraska Story

I was born and raised in Auburn, Nebraska and moved away when I was 18 years old. I lived in Georgia, South Korea, Oklahoma, Hawaii and Denver before returning home six years later.

What do you hope to gain?

I hope to gain the perspective and insight of college students coming into a community they do not know. When you live the day to day, you loose perspective of the good things and how to promote your community. You also start to overlook the things that need improved upon. ADC wants to know what we need to do to keep our youth in Auburn and how to attract those who have already left to come back home.

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

I think it is important for our community leaders to receive feedback from young people not familiar with our community. When you are in a small community you get used to the way things are. I think this is a great opportunity for Auburn leaders to interact with students as peers and not just as students. Bringing in a new and fresh way of thinking and asking questions will be very helpful in getting our leadership to open up to new ideas and approaches.

Why is this contribution of students from University of Nebraska significant to you and/or your community?

As with most small rural communities the resources are not available to have full time staff or multiple staff persons. ADC’s leadership is looking forward to working with the students. ADC is a volunteer board and the time available to them is limited to spend on big projects. We see this as an opportunity to make substantial progress on the ideas and plans we have to move our community forward.

Why is rural important?

Rural is important because there is a lot of talent and passion in our communities. There are many opportunities to be created in rural communities and when creating these opportunities it makes a significant difference to those who live in those communities. Rural is safe for your children to run care-free, neighbors look out for each other, education is high quality with more support for the students, it is a great place to raise a family and you get more personalized care at your medical facilities. In rural communities you get to be engaged and create the place you want to live. You can choose to be part of the solution and work together with your community leaders or be a community leader.

Why does now provide tremendous opportunity to move rural communities forward?

For years there has been an exodus from rural to urban. In our community we have been fortunate to see younger and middle aged people move back. There has been a well-kept secret about the valued lifestyle one can have in a rural community. I believe there is a transition happening where people are getting tired of the rat race and value family time more. With technology many people can work from home, if you have broadband, which gives families the best of family time and a job they love. Arts and tourism is one way to promote your community and bring in opportunities for new businesses and increased sales tax. Providing technology and work force training. Having a skilled population is paramount for attracting companies to employ people. Providing broadband so people have the opportunity to work from home and choose where they would like to live. You also have to have nice affordable housing or have housing incentives to rehabilitate the older homes. HGTV has spawned a lot of home renovations and creativity. Small communities have an opportunity to create or update their housing stock, which in return will create more tax revenue. I would also focus on entrepreneurship. Moving people from a hobby to a business would help create jobs and fill and empty building in the rural communities. Incentives could be explored to help with initial start up costs.