LINCOLN — The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which organizes Leadership Nebraska, announced the participants for 2019-20 this week, and five of the 30 are from Kearney: Dustin Favinger, Justin Gould, Derek Rusher, Melissa Scott-Pandorf and Marsha Wilkerson.

Leadership Nebraska was founded in 2006 to identify leaders throughout the state, enhance their leadership skills and deepen their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing Nebraska.

Participants will begin their leadership experience during the June 19-21 orientation. The six sessions in which participants will learn about Nebraska, its economy and people, will include a bus tour of western Nebraska and sessions in Omaha, Kearney-Grand Island, Norfolk and Lincoln.

Kearney selections for Leadership Nebraska possess long résumés:

Dustin Favinger

- Director, College of Business & Technology Career Center at the University of Nebraska at Kearney

- Master’s degree in business administration from UNK and masters degree in sports administration from UNK

- Certified Dave Ramsey financial coach, master training and Gallup entrepreneurial talent coach

- UNK Staff Senate; East Brooke Home Owners Association Board

- Kearney High School Small Learning Community CORE Assessment Team

- Leadership UNK

- Kearney Little League Board

- Leadership Kearney Class 22

Justin Gould

- Senior operations manager, Black Hills Energy central region of Nebraska

- Team leader of 88 staff members in 13 field offices serving customers in 122 central Nebraska communities

- Twelve years in the natural gas business, with career stops in Frederick, Colo., Albion and Kearney.

- General studies degree from Front Range Community College in Longmont, Colo.

- Peregrine Leadership Institute and Leadership Resources Course 2018

- Volunteer for United Way, Junior Achievement and the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska’s mobile produce pantry

Derek Rusher

- President/CEO, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce

- President of nonprofit business, Impact Art

- Fifteen years as teacher and many more as collegiate athlete, coach

- Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Hastings College

- Pursuing master’s degree in education administration from UNK and management certification from Institute of Organizational Management Active in Forge, a men’s group at his church

- Board member of Junior Achievement, Buffalo County Community Partners, Economic Development, Kearney Works, Nebraska Veterans First, and Center for Rural Research & Development

Melissa Scott-Pandorf

- Research scientist under health and human performance contract at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

- Researching how to maintain crew health during long duration space flight. Worked full time 2008-11 at Johnson Space Center

- 2010 BRAVO Award as liaison between laboratory scientists and engineers with International Space Station.

- University of Houston doctorate in biomechanics. Dissertation related to space suit design and locomotion funded by NASA grant.

- Offered full-time position at Johnson Space Center on the bioastronautics contract. Returned to Nebraska in 2011, and telecommutes through her company KBRwyle.

- University of Nebraska at Omaha bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise science with emphasis in biomechanics, adjunct faculty in Biomechanics Department

- Kearney Area Children’s Museum Board, founder of 100 Women Who Care Kearney

Marsha Wilkerson

- Director of marketing and community outreach for BD Construction

- Former regional director of marketing and communications for CHI Nebraska

- Worked as communications consultant for companies in the U.S. and Canada

- Former executive director of United Way of the Kearney Area.

- Assists husband with marketing for Big Prairie Homes modular home dealership

- Kearney State College Bachelor of Science degree in public relations and advertising

- Holy Cross Lutheran Church stewardship campaign chair

- Board member of Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and CHI Health Good Samaritan Foundation.

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