Rick Nelsen, Nebraska Public Power District Senior Economic Development Consultant, was presented with the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) President’s Award for his contributions to the organization and rural economic development.
He was presented the award during the NREDA annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky in November.
Garry Clark, formerly of Nebraska, and now the CEO of the Economic Alliance in Snohomish County, Washington and NREDA president, selected Nelsen earlier this fall.
“I was very surprised to be recognized with this award. It is given at the discretion of the NREDA president each year for contributions to the organization and rural economic development. I was privileged to also be recognized in this way in 2012,” Nelsen said.
NPPD Economic Development Manager Nicole Sedlacek, however, was not surprised. “Rick’s leadership and mentoring to new and even seasoned economic development professionals in the field makes him worthy of this national honor. He’s patient, caring, and always willing to lend a hand or be a supportive ear to bounce ideas off of,” she said.
Clark presented Nelsen with the plaque. During the ceremony, he praised Nelsen for his many amazing qualities and extraordinary efforts.
“True leadership has never been about accolades or spotlights. It’s the roughage, the tough talks, the awareness, and the ability to see leadership and talent in others. To know your place and take comfort in who you are. It is also to build, to make ripples, to inspire. I’m describing someone in this room. They get it. They got it. They lead no matter the role,” Clark said. He continued, “I want to tell you, thank you, for sharing your rural leadership with NREDA and countless others who you have supported, promoted and nurtured in a sometimes brotherly, cousinly, siblingly, neighborly, heavenly, fatherly and mentoring way. Rick, it is with a tremendous honor that I announce you as the recipient of this leadership award.”
As predicted, Nelsen responded with self-effacement and grace.
“I am very humbled, as I know the contributions of many of the past recipients,” he said. “I believe the award is also a reflection on NPPD’s commitment to rural economic development.”