Nebraska’s economic development director has been on the road the past few weeks, visiting community and business leaders in cities all across the state.
Brenda Hicks-Sorenson says her tour of Nebraska has taken her to small towns and big metro areas.
“I’ve been focusing on listening and talking to as many partners as well as internally to understand what we’ve been doing,” Hicks-Sorenson says. “I’m in that process right now of planning to plan. We’re going to be doing some economic development strategic planning and some things moving forward, so it’s really just been getting to know people and really listening.”
Hicks-Sorenson says she hopes the tour of Nebraska will encourage community members to become active in plans to help move the state forward.
“Any business owner, any economic development organization has potential,” she says. “They’re all stakeholders. We’re really looking at how we can manage that process with getting as many stakeholders as possible. I believe we’re going to have a core group of eight to ten individuals and a lot of working groups based on different issues like workforce and housing.”
After visiting 17 communities just last week, she says there are clear patterns emerging in some of the primary challenges before Nebraska.
“We have a lot of good problems because there’s a lot of growth, there’s a lot of folks adding jobs,” Hicks-Sorenson says. “The challenges tend to be workforce and housing across the state. That’s been a common theme.”
Hicks-Sorenson has been on the job for about month after being appointed by Governor Pete Ricketts.
By Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, Beatrice