PCDC Hires Ron Tillery As Executive Director
May 3, 2016
HOLDREGE – A former Buffalo County economic development leader and broadcast media professional is returning to south-central Nebraska to lead development efforts in Phelps County.
Ron Tillery, current executive director of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, has been hired as the executive director of the Phelps County Development Corporation.
“Returning to central Nebraska and my roots in economic development is truly the best of all possible scenarios for me,” Tillery said. “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than to help a community build a prosperous, sustainable future. And to do that near my family in Holdrege and Kearney is icing on the cake.”
Tillery’s son, Sean, owns the Nebraska Skydiving School/Skydive Atlas in Holdrege, and his two daughters, Heather Wolf and Kristen Dawson, and their families live in Kearney.
Tillery, originally from Kansas, moved to Nebraska as a co-owner of NTV in 1986. After selling the station, he remained in Kearney and led The Economic Development Council of Buffalo County for 17 years.
During his time in Kearney, he co-founded the Kearney Area Ag Producer’s Alliance (KAAPA) that later built the KAAPA Ethanol plant, helped establish the Kearney Redevelopment Authority, led recruitment of the $150 million Abengoa Biofuels facility and helped assemble resources to bring the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument to the area. He also served as chairman of the Nebraska Housing Commission.
For the past six years, Tillery has served as the executive director of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, where he encouraged economic development and helped that community renew its LB840 sales tax initiative.
PCDC staff and volunteers recently led a successful effort to renew LB840 sales tax funding for another 15 years, and the organization is actively recruiting businesses to locate in its new 134-acre Iron Horse Business & Industry Park.
“I look forward to leveraging the assets that have been put into place by the PCDC board over the past few years,” Tillery said. “There are opportunities within the existing economic infrastructure as well as growing interest in Nebraska, particularly from value-added agricultural enterprises, that positions Phelps County extremely well to support future growth.”
Doug Stevenson, chairman of PCDC’s executive director search committee, said 21 candidates applied for the position. The committee was seeking a leader with previous economic development experience, abilities in networking, planning and goal setting and strengths in leadership and management.
Stevenson said the committee interviewed three candidates, who all did their research and were excited about working with an organization that has so much momentum.
“They want to be part of what we have here,” Stevenson said of the candidates. “And, they could all see we are ready to make some big strides.”
Stevenson credited the current staff, board and director, Monica Boyken, for putting PCDC in a good position for this next era of growth.
While there were several qualified candidates for the position, Tillery’s experience in economic development and knowledge of the area pushed him to the top.
“I’ve known Ron for 30 years, and I think we’ve hit a homerun here,” PCDC board member Tim Anderson said. “His work history, his experience, his familiarity with Phelps County are all positive things. I think it’s going to be a really nice time for Holdrege and Phelps County.”
Tillery is expected to begin work at PCDC at the end of May. Boyken announced in December her plans to resign to pursue other business interests and will finish her work with PCDC just as Tillery plans to begin.
The Phelps County Development Corporation, known locally as PCDC, is a non-profit organization charged with leading the economic development efforts in Phelps County. PCDC is comprised of a Board of Directors, a small staff and many investors, volunteers and partners.