About the Center for Rural Affairs News

Staff spotlight: Laurie has big goals and high hopes for new position

Since 1990, the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP), has provided services to micro businesses throughout Nebraska. Because of financial assistance, and/or training provided through REAP, countless small businesses have grown and thrived, and just as many eager entrepreneurs have seen their dreams come true by opening their own businesses.

To lead a program which offers that much opportunity and gives so many people hope is a giant undertaking, but it’s one that Laurie Donnell is excited to begin.

Staff spotlight: Center welcomes chief administrative officer

Newly hired as chief administrative officer for the Center for Rural Affairs, Linda Butkus is no stranger to rural life.

Though she grew up in the city, she’s spent many years taking hunting trips to Knox County, Nebraska, where her family owned a one-room schoolhouse. Her family also goes on camping trips in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and South Dakota. Linda says the rural lifestyle has always held a special place in her heart.

Staff spotlight: Carlos helps bring communities together

After migrating from Mexico to the United States in 1994, Carlos Barcenas discovered that, though the landscape may change, rural living still encompasses the same ideals.

“Rural brings a sense of agriculture, families, connection, and opportunity no matter where you’re at,” said Barcenas. “Rural America is important to me, because, throughout U.S. history, it has played a significant role in all areas of the country, and is the backbone of what the country stands for today.”

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