High sees land, water and business leader support as Phelps County assets

19 Feb 2014

Board Member

Michele High moved to the Bertrand area as a young bride in 1973.

“I loved it out here,” she said. “I fell in love with Bertrand and the people.”

Her new neighbors kindly taught her the basics of farm life and how to garden and can the harvest.

It was a different lifestyle from what she was used to. She was born in Washington, D.C., and began her elementary schooling in Damascus, Syria, where her family was living at the time. She attended an all-girls French school. Her family later moved to Maryland, where she graduated from high school. But, farming was in her blood. Her father grew up in Belgium on a farm that had been in his family for four or five generations.

Now, forty years after moving here, Michele still loves Phelps County and the people here and has served on many volunteer organizations in the county where she works and lives, including nine years on the Phelps County Development Corporation board.

Michele has worked in the banking industry since 1986 and said she feels lucky that all of her employers have been supportive of economic development efforts. She currently works as an ag commercial loan officer at Bruning State Bank.

“I got involved in PCDC because of my work,” she said. “The banks I worked for always promoted community support.”

Now, she has taken the role more personally and sees economic development as vitally important to the future of our county.

“We are losing population,” she said.  “It’s even more critical that we have a good solid long-term plan.”

She is thankful for the community support of PCDC’s recent Prosperity Project that raised money to help with several long-term economic development projects.

She said one thing she has learned about economic development over the years is that it takes a lot of time and patience for plans to come to fruition.