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Message from the President

Bruce Nuzum, NREDA President

Planning for NREDA's Future

Recently, the NREDA Board held a Strategic Planning session to focus on the future of your organization. We had great discussion and I want to thank the NREDA Board for the time they devoted to prepare for and take part in the session. But just as important, I also want to thank all of the NREDA members that took time to answer our Membership Survey. We used your input as the basis to guide our discussion, our plans for NREDA's future direction as well as to validate NREDA's Mission and Vision.

Being a volunteer based organization, we approached our planning effort on a three year timeline knowing that the board would meet to discuss priorities again in two years. We feel this approach helps bring continuity to our efforts and recognizes that some of our plans are ambitious for an organization of our size and take time to implement.

Our broad goals for the future include:

  • Increase the awareness of the importance rural economic development and the visibility of USDA.
  • Increase the availability and accessibility of training opportunities for members.
  • Develop tools and resources for members that share best practices and other useful information.
  • Increase partnerships with allied organizations
  • Grow membership to 500 and increase member engagement
  • Determine the feasibility of adding professional economic development staff

To implement those goals, we have some great things planned and others already underway. Our first step of implementation is a professional rebranding campaign to promote rural development and NREDA. That will be the foundation of new marketing materials, a new NREDA website and the other goals listed.

To help with availability and accessibility to training, we've developed and implemented a scholarship program for members and have regional training workshops underway. Likewise, as we announced at last year's conference, to bring us closer together and be a resource, we have begun using the web-based tool of Basecamp for committee and board meeting communication as well as member information. In fact, we see Basecamp as a strategic communications tool for NREDA and great way for members to stay connected. So if you have not already, I would invite and encourage you to sign up for the Basecamp training program happening later this week.

There are more things in the planning stages that we'll be talking about in the months ahead. However I will close this month's column with a request for your engagement. As a volunteer organization, we need your involvement to implement our plans successfully! So if you're not involved on a committee, I would ask you to please sign up for the committee of your choice. All you have to do is send an email to Lynn Harkin at and we will connect you from there. By doing so, you will be ensuring a strong future for NREDA. But I think you'll also find your involvement and the interaction with other NREDA members will be a benefit to you on both a personal and professional level. Isn't that why we all joined NREDA in the first place?

NREDA President's Award

The President's Award recognizes an individual's dedication and leadership to Rural America and the National Rural Economic Developers Association, as evidenced by a commitment of unending time, talent and expertise, and a vision for rural economic growth. This Award is selected by the current NREDA President and can be presented to multiple recipients within a given year.

NREDA Awards history of recipients

Receiving the 2017 President's Award is Trista Fugate, Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Johnson City, TX. Picture with Trista is NREDA President Jim Vermeer.

Also receiving the 2017 President's Award is Mary McLaury, formerly with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, Arlington VA. NREDA President Jim Vermeer made the presentation.

Anschutz Receives 2016 President's Award

2016 President's Award presented to Mendi (Alexander) Anschutz (right) for her
work on NREDA's publication, website and communications efforts by President
Trista Fugate (left). Press Release

Silvius (right) Receives 2015 President's Award from Rand Fisher (left)

2015 President's Award given to Newsletter Editor, Shawnna Silvius, iShine
Productions LLC, Nebraska, NE (right) and Dana Baker, GVNW Consulting Inc.,
Colorado Springs, CO (not pictured).

Gustin Receives 2014 President's Award

John Padalino, (former) Administrator for Rural Utilities
Service, USDA Rural Development and 2014 NREDA
President's Award recipient with President Clare Gustin.
Press Release

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