Melissa Garcia

Community Innovation Fellow | Community Affairs Manager | Black Hills Energy

Broken Bow, Nebraska



Throughout the past fifteen years Melissa has played various roles in community development across western and central Nebraska. Her deep belief in using collective impact to intentionally seek a better future has given her the privilege of taking part in more than $300 million in development in her hometown of Broken Bow during the past five years. Her greatest professional accomplishments come in rural program development. She has had the pleasure of speaking at various conferences and events from National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship conferences to the stage of TEDx Lincoln. Melissa has been married to her husband Chad for 13 years. They and their two daughters live in Broken Bow where their children are the sixth generation of Melissa’s family to do so.

Leadership Roles

  • Creator of Leadership Custer County
  • Youth Leadership Custer County
  • Custer CAPABLE (Custer Alliance for Preparing Business Leadership and Education)
  • Former Connecting Young Nebraskans steering committee member



  • Marketing
  • Speech Communications
  • Economic Development



TEDxLincoln 2015: Rooted, but Not Standing Still


  • Nebraska Enterprise Fund Board
  • University of Nebraska President Advisory Committee
  • Leadership Nebraska graduate
  • Sherwood Foundation Community Catalyst
  • Former Member of Nebraska Entrepreneurship Task Force, created a joint community college curriculum for entrepreneurship



  • USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants
  • USDA Rural Energy for America Programs
  • Robert B. Daughtery Foundation