Rehm Reflects on Decades of Economic Development Work
22 Feb 2023
For more than 20 years Tim Rehm has been part of the PCDC team swinging for economic development home runs.
“I think what makes economic development unique is it always has an end, either you get a project or you don’t,” Rehm said. “You complete a project and then move to another. Even though to those who aren’t on the board it seems to move slowly, from our vantage point you keep stepping up to the plate and taking swings, and if you swing the “economic development bat” enough times, at some point you will hit a home run!”
Rehm, owner of The Cutting Room, began serving on the PCDC board in the early 2000s. He is stepping down from the board to give others a chance to serve.
“With my work on the board development committee, I have been exposed to many young, talented, and forward-thinking individuals in our community who I think have a lot to offer to the future of Phelps County,” Rehm said. “For them to have the opportunity to serve, some of us need to get out of the way.”
PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said Rehm has been a valued voice on the board and in committees.
“He's always brought a valuable perspective that deepens the conversation and encourages others to add their opinions,” Tillery said. “I'm personally grateful for his commitment to PCDC and the welcoming atmosphere he created when I came on board. Though he won't continue as an official member of the board, Tim will remain a trusted colleague that I will turn to for advice.”
Rehm said he has enjoyed watching the organization grow from its infancy as HERO to what it is today with a full-time executive director and staff. He served under all three full-time directors, Linda Black, Monica Boyken, and now Ron Tillery.
“They have all contributed to PCDC’s success in their own ways,” Rehm said.
“Linda came on in the first few years after the passage of the first LB840 and brought the organization from a volunteer or part-time director-led organization to a full-fledged economic development organization,” Rehm said.
He was first elected to the board at that time. He remembers PCDC working with the chamber and housing entities to secure a grant for the Lincoln Place Housing project under Linda’s tenure.
Rehm served as PCDC president when Monica Boyken was hired.
“This was the first time we ever looked beyond Nebraska to seek an executive director,” Rehm said. “She brought institutional changes to our by-laws and financial controls to help keep our ‘house’ in order. During her tenure, we purchased the property for Iron Horse, which has helped put Phelps County on the map as industry parks with rail service are in high demand across the nation.”
Rehm said Tillery has brought promotion, salesmanship and networking to PCDC as he is well respected and connected throughout the state and nation.
“There is hardly a month when PCDC doesn't have a new RFP (request for proposal),” Rehm said. “This was a rarity before Ron’s arrival. I think thanks to all three of these directors, PCDC is now one of the leading and most respected economic development organizations in the state.”
Rehm said he is thankful to many of the other board members he has worked with through the years.
“They have taught me not only about economic development but mentored me to be a better board member, PCDC president, community leader and business person,” Rehm said. “Names that come to mind are Del Pearson, Joyce Hein, Roger Allmand and Tim Anderson. I hope that I may, too, have been that person to some who serve our organization.”
One of the projects Rehm is proud of bringing to PCDC is the Phelps County Business Journal, a quarterly printed newsletter featuring PCDC and local business news. It was started with the help of a former board member (Phil Soreide) as an instrument to inform stakeholders, state and local government leaders and economic development partners about PCDC activities. When Tillery came on board, distribution of the newsletter was expanded to every mailbox in Phelps County.
“There is hardly a week that goes by that one of my customers doesn’t ask me about something that they have read in the PCDC journal,” Rehm said. “It has given the citizens of our county ownership in PCDC.”
Rehm is also proud of his work on the board development committee, which he has chaired since its inception.
“There was a time in the early days of our organization that you could lose your entire board in one year as the board terms were one year and up for election yearly,” Rehm said.
Bylaws were changed to create four-year board terms with elections every two years so that only half of the board was up for election at one time.
“This allowed the committee to be intentional and look at board positions beyond the next election,” Rehm said. “We have been able to vet and identify potential board members well ahead of when we might present them for election to our board.”
Rehm said he never figured he would be on the board for more than 20 years.
“Nor did I think those years would pass so quickly,” he said. “I have enjoyed every minute of my time with PCDC and will always have many fond memories of those individuals that I have worked with on this board, its committees, and throughout the community and county to help Grow 37!”
He said the future looks bright for PCDC and is he hopeful that home runs are coming soon.
“I want to see us hit the ‘home run’ and place our first company in Iron Horse, and I know we are just on the cusp!” Rehm said.