Staff spotlight: New development director will use superpowers in rural America

Small Towns

Nick Bergin is a big believer in superheroes.

As a child, he lost himself in the fantasies written of those possessing powers beyond this world. Today, he searches for new kinds of superpowers—those found within the hardworking people who live in rural America.

Newly hired as development director for the Center for Rural Affairs, Nick is looking forward to meeting more superheroes and helping them discover and lever their own powers. He says this role hits close to home.

“There are lots of different kinds of heroes out there,” he said. “They can be anything from business owners who take risks to create jobs, to farmers and workers, like my grandpa, who produce nutritious food. Or, accountants, like my dad, who make numbers sing, and nurses, like my mom, who tend to sick children.”

Nick’s duties as development director include leading the Center’s individual donor fundraising activities and coordinating institutional funding strategies across the organization, among others.

He joins the Center team well-prepared for the job.

“I spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter, then worked for 18 months as a marketing director,” said Nick. “The passion for storytelling and community that drew me to those roles will be an asset for communicating a consistent and positive message in outreach, grant writing, and donor cultivation as development director for the Center.”

Nick believes in a team-oriented approach to developing promotional strategies and achieving data-driven goals, and says the skills he learned as a reporter will help him in his new position, too.

“I’ve come to realize I have my own superpowers, though they’re less dramatic than shooting lasers from my eyes,” he said. “I have grit. I have work ethic. And, I’m not afraid to ask tough questions.”

He’s enthusiastic about using those superpowers to help better rural America.

“Rural communities are diverse places full of diverse people,” he said. “Those people have their own unique voices, dreams, and challenges. I’m proud to be a part of the Center’s ongoing work to create strong and sustainable communities.”

Nick and his wife live in the small community of Bronson, Iowa, where they’re raising their two daughters. When he has spare time, Nick enjoys watermelon seed spitting contests, gardening, and reading horror novels.

He can be reached at his office in Lyons at or 402.687.2100 ext. 1035.