Published On: Thu, Nov 14th, 2013

New Community Development Director is on the job here

Gary VanMeter042 copy

RANDOLPH — Gary Van Meter will be at his desk as Randolph’s new Community Developer before the end of November.

Van Meter was a good match for the position. He  has five years experience in economic development along with more than 30 years experience in both corporate and small business settings.

“Community development is everyone’s business,” he said. “When all local entities are pulling together, there is more potential in keeping what you already have and growing it for the future.”

Van Meter is looking forward to working in Randolph and getting acquainted with the residents.

“I will be out and about. I will be talking to virtually everyone in the community and getting their comments,” Van Meter said. “Communication is very important.”

Van Meter, a native of Red Cloud, graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a degree in business and received an MBA from Wayne State College. He has taught business, human rights and American studies overseas in Eastern Europe for more than three years.

While working as an Economic Developer in central Nebraska, Van Meter worked with community-school efforts to dovetail programs offering students local career opportunities.

Transitioning present day students into future owners of successful local business has proven to be among the more successful ways of repopulating rural Nebraska communities according to Van Meter.

“Providing students with more of the practical work ethic experience before entry-level employment begins has been a successful venture when implemented in community schools,” Van Meter said. “Teachers are among the more influential people in a student’s life and are well-positioned to touch the hearts and minds of future business leaders. Partnering with them makes good business sense and provides an important tool in procuring a secure future for our children and the community.”

Identifying entrepreneurial traits in students while they are in their formative years will give the school and the community the opportunity to work together to strengthen the future growth of Randolph.

Gary and his wife, Jen, are currently living south of Laurel but will move to Randolph sometime within the next six months.

“We will make be making Randolph our home,” Van Meter said.

The Van Meters have two children and one grandchild. One child lives in California and one in Texas.

Van Meter’s office will be located in the Randolph City Hall.

“My door will always be open for input and new ideas,” Van Meter said.

Van Meter can also be reached by dialing his cell phone number: 402-369-4310.

Randolph City Council took steps to appoint Van Meter as the Community Developer at the City Council meeting on Nov 6.

City Councilman Tim Lemmons said he was impressed with Van Meter’s background in business.

“His resume covered almost all of the credentials that we were looking for,” Lemmons said.

The City is offering a Christmas gift in the form of a lighting discount to people in Randolph.

Sign up by Dec. 10 to receive the first 50 kilowatts free, said City Administrator Cinda Jones.

“They can come to the city office to sign up,” Jones said. “It amounts to $14.91 cents.”

Lemmons would like to see more people take advantage of the discount.

“We have only had about 50 percent participation in the past. I would like to have that be improved,” Lemmons said. “Any discount is a discount. It is good to have the discount around the holidays.”

The city has been offering the Christmas lighting discount since 1985.

In other action board members took steps to approve the appointment of Gene L. Pfanstiel, Jr. to the Randolph Fire Dept.