New RC&D Executive Director has big goals for organization

HARTINGTON —  Phyllis Friederich, LeMars, Iowa, has been hired to guide the Northeast Nebraska RC&D Council.

Friederich currently lives in LeMars, Iowa, but plans to relocate to Nebraska once her son graduates from high school. He is currently a senior at LeMars High School.

The RC&D has undergone quite a few changes in the past year. The group, which  serves Cedar, Dixon, Knox, Pierce, Antelope and Wayne counties, is tasked with working to meet critical needs in communities by helping with things such as access to clean water, recycling, grant writing and administration.

Ever since the inception of the Northeast Nebraska RC&D, the main office had been located in Plainview, however, the office moved to Ponca earlier this year. The RC&D is now sharing office space at the Ponca City Office. 

Friederich, who began her duties as the Northeast Nebraska RC&D
Executive Director Sept. 23, said this position is a perfect fit for her.

“I love a challenge. This job will be a challenge. It allows me to take my skills in a different direction to challenge me,” the 1989 Texas A&M graduate said.

She has experience with non-profits on many levels and has worked to start her own business. She has also worked in education as a state championship speech coach, and has authored a book advising high school students how to successfully go after more grants and scholarships.

RC&D Vice Chairman Gary Howey said Friederich has impressed his group ever since they first met her.

“We expect she can help the RC&D in several areas, including improving our ability to get more grants and to take on more projects,” Howey said.

Friederich said she has set a very high bar for herself.

“The goal is to not just improve their numbers, but we want to be one of the leading and most innovative RC&Ds in the nation,” she said. “My personal goal is to have us be recognized as one of the best in the nation.”

She plans on re-evaluating the group’s vision and mission statement. She will also have the group design an aggressive five-year plan that can take them to the next level in grants, and community involvement. 

“The RC&D is going to undergo a new start and a new future. We need to re-evaluate our goals, mission statement and purpose,” she said. “I don’t feel the current mission statement serves us anymore. A lot has changed in the world and in Northeast Nebraska since that mission statement was first adopted.”

She wants to make sure the group looks at the past, the present and the future in order to set its goals.

Her past work experiences dovetail well into what she is doing here

Friederich’s favorite suceess story is when she was a Girl Scout Leader in Texas. She taught her troupe members to sell cases of cookies, rather than boxes of cookies.

“People would say, “oh I’m on a diet, or I just don’t eat sweets, so we’d ask them if they would prefer to buy a case of cookies to be shipped over to our soldiers in the Middle East. They just couldn’t refuse that,” she said.

Friederich said even though she is not originally from this area, she feels right at home here.

“I’ve lived in the big city, I have a big city brain, but I love it here. I have a small town heart,” said Friederich.


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