The NGage economic development group will be without a leader following an announcement that director Walker Zulkoski is resigning.
The announcement was made during NGage’s monthly meeting Thursday afternoon.
“I had an opportunity that I think is a good next step for me,” he said. “It’s a good step for my family and relationship. I love it down here. Everyone has been very supportive and it’s hard to leave, but it’s a good opportunity.”
Zulkoski’s last day with NGage will be Dec. 24. His new position will be in Lincoln for PMA Financial, a financial services provider.
Zulkoski said his favorite part of the job has been building relationships, and he's worked closely with groups like the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Beatrice. He added that whoever his successor may be will likely have a different set of strengths.
“Everyone that does this role is going to approach it differently,” Zulkoski said. “Our staff has really been built on what our strengths are individually. It’s about what their strengths are and how you play on that, not really trying to fit a peg in a square hole.”
Zulkoski was hired by the NGage board of directors in April 2016. Erin Chadwick, marketing coordinator with NGage, will work as the interim director while a search is conducted.
Andrea Schafer, president of the NGage Board of Directors, thanked Zulkoski for his efforts during the meeting.
“On behalf of the board, I’d like to say thank you for all you’ve done for us,” she said. “We really appreciate the time that you’ve put into moving Gage County forward.”
Board member Darin Baehr added that Zulkoski is leaving the area in a strong place.
“Gage County is in a better position today than it was when you got here, which is a great testament to you and Erin,” he said. “The position is much more attractive now because of those efforts.”
Zulkoski discussed some of the projects and growth that have occurred in Gage County, particularly in the industrial park area, during his time with NGage.
“There’s been some really big project growth,” he said. “It’s been fun to help Exmark with their growth, it’s been fun to help Precise Fabrication with its transition, see the industrial park develop when they brought in Hybrid Turkeys, watch Landmark Snacks grow to 100 people.”
Zulkoski has also been a supporter of two area housing studies, which contributed to the demolition of the former Beatrice Community Hospital building to make room for a housing development. The second study is currently in progress.
“It’s sad to leave it in the middle of this refresh to see what we want to do next,” he said. “It’s been fun to take a document and be able to sell that to people and see tangible results, like the hospital.”
The studies include population details, income and economic data, a housing stock analysis, strategies for affordable housing development, a five-year housing action plan for both new and rehabilitated housing and funding options for all Gage County communities.
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