It is with a heavy heart that I write to share the news that Jeff Reynolds passed away unexpectedly on April 20, 2017. Jeff directed the Center's small business development program, the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project, or REAP, as it is widely known in Nebraska. He was a veteran staff member, having worked for the Center since 1994.
We will miss his dedication, his good spirit, his can-do attitude, and his uplifting presence.
Jeff was always willing to step up to a new challenge, and I turned to him for wisdom and advice many times during my time at the Center. Nearly all who worked for Jeff over the years praise him for being a coach, a mentor, a friend and someone who always believed in them. He was all of those things. He was also a proud father, devoted husband, and dedicated leader in his local community.
Jeff was committed to rural small business development and to each and every small business owner we ever worked with. Since becoming program director in 2000, Jeff led a dramatic expansion of the Center's small business lending, training, and technical assistance work. The future of the Center for Rural Affairs has been indelibly shaped by Jeff’s vision and hard work.
Jeff fundamentally believed in small business development as a strategy. He helped design, campaign for and win both state and federal programs that now provide resources to other small business development organizations. His impact, therefore, extends far beyond the Center and far beyond Nebraska.
I imagine many of you have your own memories of working with Jeff. If you send your memories or condolences along to our office, we will share your words with his family.
Please keep Jeff’s family and friends in mind in the days, weeks and months ahead. Jeff, we miss you and are proud to have worked alongside you.
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