CES Engages with Norton County Leaders

April 29, 2024

Nex-Tech is headquartered in the City of Lenora, Kansas. The City of Lenora is located along Kansas Highway 9 (K-9), the second-longest highway in the state. I consider Lenora to be approximately (debatable) at the center of Northwest Kansas (Nex-Tech’s core footprint), with Nex-Tech’s services being offered to dozens of towns and cities within a 360° radius. Furthermore, the City of Lenora is under the jurisdiction of Norton County. This means that in many ways, the status of Lenora’s healthcare system, educational system, economic system, governmental system, etc., are highly influenced or even determined by the authorities and the institutions in Norton County. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that the policies set out at the county seat in Norton affect day-to-day life in Lenora.

As the world, and indeed the country, re-thinks the role of rural places in line with new technological and digital opportunities driven by high-speed broadband, Nex-Tech has also continued to brainstorm and explore innovative ways of supporting the economic development of Lenora and the wider Norton County.

Recently, I was in Norton for a local leadership forum called “Network of Norton Leaders”. The Network of Norton Leaders is a strategic group founded by Norton City Council member Dale Jacobson. The group consists of the leaders of major public institutions in the Norton area. They meet periodically to hear updates, discuss challenges, and share ideas, on ways to improve the communities they serve. From the local hospital and school district leaders to the chamber of commerce and economic development leaders; they all gather to engage with each other. I heard about some real challenges but also saw various niches of opportunities. I believe effective community development begins with getting the stakeholders in a community to be on the same page. As everyone present agreed, our collective optimism and hope need to be aligned, as we tackle the challenges we face.

I want to thank some of the leaders present, and many others who continue to work for a brighter future for Norton County and the Lenora area. 

Corey Roy – Superintendent of Norton Schools
Jerry Jones – Mayor of the City of Norton
Garrett Beydler- Norton County Commissioner
Dona Lowery – Executive Director, Norton Chamber of Commerce 
Lindsey Peterson- Director of Development and Operations, Norton Community Foundation
Dale Jacobson – Norton City Council Member
Dallas Gosselin – Executive Director, Norton Economic Development

Friday Otuya

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Friday Otuya
Community Engagement Specialist

Friday Otuya /əoTU:ya:/ drives our multifaceted community economic development efforts and is the Nex-Tech contact for all our loan and grant programs. His vision is to position Nex-Tech as the community economic development partner of choice in Kansas for federal, state, and local stakeholders.  He lives with his wife and son in Hays, KS.

Weekdays: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.