Gage County’s economic development group, NGage, announced on Tuesday that the group has hired a new director.
Trevor Lee, the current executive director of Valley County Economic Development in Ord, recently accepted the position as executive director of NGage and will be relocating to Gage County in the coming months.
“I’m really excited to get there and hit the ground running,” Lee said. “NGage has been very flexible with the transition. My wife, Amy, and I spent time in Beatrice and were impressed with the quality of people and amenities there. It made sense to make the change while our kids are still young.”
Lee has three children, ages 3, 6 and 8.
He’s been with Valley County Economic Development since 2013 and has been involved in several projects, including working to renew the county’s LB840 economic development fund, implement a workforce housing development and building and managing a business loan pool.
One more recent highlight Lee takes pride in was a quick turnaround when it was announced in late 2018 that the Shopko in Ord was closing.
Within 40 days of closure, a manufacturing company with 55 employees was recruited to make use of the building.
Prior to working in Valley County, Lee spent two years with the Ravenna Economic Development Corporation. He and his wife are both natives of Cambridge, Neb.
The announcement off Lee's hiring was made during NGage’s annual meeting and banquet Tuesday night, which Lee was unable to attend. NGage Board president Andrea Schafer said the group received around 10 applications for the job, four of which were from out of state applicants and none had Lee’s experience.
“He is the only one who had experience directly with economic development in the state of Nebraska and we thought that was really important,” she said. “He’s already doing the job, he’s already familiar with the programs that we have in place.
“Gage County is a lot bigger than Valley County, but he has definitely dealt with the same types of hurdles we have as we move through the process to promote Gage County and try to find new businesses. He’s familiar with that. He’s done a good job of making success happen in Valley County.”
Lee fills the position previously held by Walker Zulkoski, who left NGage last December to take a role with Lincoln for PMA Financial, a financial services provider.
Lee said Zulkoski, as well as NGage board member Matt Morrissey, encouraged him to pursue the Gage County position.
“We certainly weren’t looking because we were really invested on Ord,” Lee said. “Walker as well as Matt Morrissey reached out to me and started diving into it. It was attractive to me how focused NGage is on recruitment. Beatrice and Gage County are well positioned to recruit, with their infrastructure, low cost of power, proximity to Lincoln and Omaha.”