The city of Beatrice and an area company were recognized for their achievements by the Nebraska Diplomats on Thursday, Nov. 2.
The group held its Southeast Regional Economic Development Celebration in Seward on Thursday, where Beatrice was named its community of the year for being a leader in community growth and business partnerships.
Beatrice was selected by the Nebraska Diplomats because the city leads by example, with key projects from businesses including Landmark Snacks, Rare Earth Salts, Duonix Biodiesel, Hybrid Turkeys and Worldlawn Power Equipment, to name a few.
“Beatrice has made deliberate investments in the community, its people and its infrastructure,” Mayor Stan Wirth said in a press release. “These investments have led to business and community growth and this recognition verifies we are on a path to success.”
The Nebraska Diplomats is a group that travels the globe representing Nebraska, its people and businesses, and the group helps foster the growth of Nebraska. It is a non-profit corporation and is the largest economic development organization in the state, with a membership of more than 286 business executives and community leaders.
Walker Zulkoski, director of the NGage economic development group, said the regional awards were presented in four categories, and for Beatrice to claim two of them was a major achievement.
“They’re looking at the entire area of southeast Nebraska, and to get community of the year is a pretty big thing,” he said. “To be recognized from the Diplomats, who are some of the most key people in the state, who pick companies individuals and communities, is great.”
Additional factors leading to the award for Beatrice included the recent addition of new playground equipment, a skate park renovation, trail system improvements, and more than 40 new housing permit applications.
“The focus is on economic development, so jobs and investment,” Zulkoski said. “We truly had a year of being unmatched, even going beyond southeast Nebraska. They consider what we are investing in the community, and housing is a huge issue. A lot of communities are struggling to get any housing built.”
One of the businesses mentioned in support of Beatrice’s award, Rare Earth Salts, received its own honor and was presented with the Innovator of the Year award.
“We are honored to receive this award and are grateful to The Nebraska Diplomats,” Cameron Davies, CEO of Rare Earth Salts, said in a press release. “It is a testament to the passion and commitment that our founder, Dr. Joseph Brewer, and his team has shown in developing and commercializing our disruptive rare earth separation technology.”
Rare Earth Salts is a leading materials technology company and producer of rare earth oxides, according to the press release.
Rare Earth Salts has developed an innovative, high value, low cost and environmentally-friendly way to capture and refine all 16 rare earth elements to high purity.
This year, the company has signed multiple global commercial agreements, started commercial production of its innovative technology, and recently started a project for the United States Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory to recover High Purity Rare Earth Elements (REEs) from coal ash.
Rare Earth Salts has worked with partners to bring the technical expertise and capital necessary to compete in a global market place, according to a press release.