Beck marks 10 years at Center for Rural Affairs

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Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager,, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

Please click here for a photo of the award ceremony.

Lyons, Neb. - Dena Beck was recognized for 10 years of employment at the Center for Rural Affairs’ annual award ceremony in March. Beck is a senior project leader and south central loan specialist with the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP).

An employee since November 2006, Beck provides technical assistance throughout central and southwest Nebraska, working in Sherman, Howard, Merrick, Buffalo, Hall, Hamilton, Phelps, Kearney, Adams, Clay, Harlan, Franklin, Webster and Nuckolls counties.

She has helped many entrepreneurs with business coaching and guided them to training through the Center for Rural Affairs’ Women’s Business Center and Latino Business Center.

“Not everyone is a financial analyst, marketing guru or bookkeeping rock star,” Beck said. “That’s OK. There are folks out there to help with your weaknesses. I know because I have called on such people.”

“Some words to describe Dena: awesome, energetic, enthusiasm and self-starter,” said Jeff Reynolds, REAP director. “She is willing to go the extra mile, whatever it takes. She’s extremely driven. Most importantly, she’s curious.”

In 2008, Beck administered the first ever Small Business Needs Assessment statewide survey and has conducted one every two years since. In the assessment, she studies the needs of business owners and takes a look at REAP’s loan products, training and technical assistance, making sure the organization is providing what business owners need.

Beck also was part of a small team that explored implementing a community development finance institution, or CDFI. The Center for Rural Affairs became a CDFI in 2012.

Additionally, Beck created the Business Plan Basics Boost Loan. Upon completion of a five-week course, entrepreneurs are eligible for the loan.

“When I interviewed in fall 2006 at the Center for Rural Affairs’ home office in Lyons, I thought, ‘This is the perfect job for me.’ I was right,” Beck said. “I get to wake up every morning and have a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Beck and her husband live on a “ranchette” near Minden with their two daughters, Chloe and Sloane, and many animals.


Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project receives funding from the Small Business Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Business and Innovation Act through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, United States Department of Treasury, Peter Kiewit Foundation and other sources. Rural Enterprise Assistance Project Women’s Business Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All Small Business Administration funded programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or persons with limited English proficiency will be made if requested in advance. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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