Why Nex-Tech Stands Shoulder to Shoulder with Western Kansas

Written by: Friday Otuya

July 1, 2024

Have you ever driven around Northwest Kansas?

If your answer is no, then you need to join me on one of my frequent tours. Trust me, it’s a pleasant ride across the wide-open plains and prairies, dotted with farms, ranches, tight-knit communities, and cool people who would wave at you to express their goodwill. 😊 One of the things I do while driving around is to reflect on innovative ways to uplift the region. This could be through loans, grants, training and educational initiatives, sponsorships, donations, partnerships, coalition building, or holding overall community engagement meetings. Also, from a Nex-Tech perspective, we continue to deploy technology, broadband, and innovation, while serving as a frontline stakeholder committed to the future aspirations of the people of the region.

However, to supplement Nex-Tech’s efforts and to inspire comprehensive rural improvement, a coalition of stakeholders is necessary. This is where the Western Kansas Rural Economic Development Alliance (WKREDA) plays a crucial role. WKREDA is a coalition of people in the 55 western Kansas counties who’ve decided to pool their resources, both human and financial, to work together for the common good of western Kansas. WKREDA’s members maintain a collaborative affiliation with each other to achieve both individual and collective rural development goals. For many years, Nex-Tech has been an ardent supporter of WKREDA. We do this knowing that western Kansas is an interdependent ecosystem where one aspect of its society depends on and supports the other. Quality education facilitates skills development which promotes entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship fosters job creation, which leads to investment that adds revenue to the local tax base. Revenue generated locally helps the authorities to sustain vital public services. Vital services attract new families to move to towns and so on. It is a cycle that uplifts everyone and every sector in western Kansas. This vision of interdependent community networks underpins Nex-Tech’s commitment to WKREDA.

Furthermore, WKREDA is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors who coordinate the activities of the alliance. The Board organizes the activities for the Business Development, Government Affairs, Education, and Public Relations committees. I was recently nominated to represent Nex-Tech and Northwest Kansas on the WKREDA Board of Directors and will be supplementing their efforts. Engagement with WKREDA will connect Nex-Tech to the efforts of economic development professionals across western Kansas, from Liberal to Goodland, Great Bend to Dodge City, Colby to Ellsworth, Scott City to Garden City, St. Francis to Phillipsburg, and more. It also enables Nex-Tech to work more collaboratively, while escalating our priorities through WKREDA.

Notably, I am excited about WKREDA because of its capacity to bring together changemakers from across the region towards concrete actions on the issues that the farmer, the rancher, the teacher, the plumber, the student, the trader, the nurse, and everyday people care about. This is why Nex-Tech will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with WKREDA.

Friday Otuya

Connect with Friday

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.