Gibbon Announced as Nebraska’s 28th Leadership Certified Community

Increased economic investments and a commitment to county-wide housing partnerships have earned Gibbon, Neb. (pop. 1,886) statewide recognition from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) as this week, DED announced Gibbon’s designation in the State’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) Program. DED Business Development Consultant and LCC Program Coordinator Kelly Gewecke honored local officials during a special presentation at Gibbon’s City Council meeting on Monday, June 15.

Gibbon is one of 28 Nebraska communities to qualify for the LCC program, which was created in 2011 to help municipalities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Certified communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic planning and display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Qualifying LCCs earn status in the program for five years, and are required to maintain community websites to market local development, which may include information on available sites and buildings and regional employment opportunities.

The City’s adoption of Gibbon’s most recent housing study has established leaders’ commitment to ongoing collaboration with the Economic Development Council of Buffalo County (EDCBC). Over the past year, strategic planning sessions have encouraged community-wide engagement to identify local housing needs, such as a demand for workforce housing. Doing so has incentivized the City to apply for regional and state funding assistance, including through the DED-administered Rural Workforce Housing Fund. The community is actively working with EDCBC to support up to five new housing developments per year; to develop downtown properties for upper-story living; and to promote multi-family residential developments.

“The City of Gibbon is extremely proud to join the select number of communities to be designated as a Leadership Certified Community by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development,” said Gibbon Mayor Deb VanMatre. “This has been a personal goal of mine since elected, but has taken some time, as many of our planning tools needed to be updated, such as zoning regulations and our comprehensive plan. I want to recognize the collaboration between the City of Gibbon and the Economic Development Council of Buffalo County in achieving this designation.”

Gibbon’s successful recruitment of two new businesses has resulted in considerable new investments into the community. For example, following a tri-city search in 2019, Iowa-based Rasmussen Mechanical selected Gibbon for the company’s newest expansion project. The $1.5 million investment resulted in a 21,000 square foot facility, including a 7,000 square foot expansion project following the company’s initial investment. In addition, a Nebraska glass glazing business headquartered in Lincoln, Glass Edge, established a new facility in Gibbon in 2019, and is currently researching opportunities for an another local expansion project.

In 2018, Cargill invested $18 million in the company’s grain facility in Gibbon, which was completed in early 2019. EDCBC Economic Development Specialist Kelsey Knehans commended the community’s ongoing commitment to growth both prior to and after historic flooding in 2019.

“The Leadership Certified Community program is a great program for communities to utilize and identify capacity, stimulate focused planning and utilize technology to build a strong foundation and meet the challenges of the future,” Knehans said. “In the past year alone, the City of Gibbon has shown an ability to adapt to change, and continues to capitalize on economic development opportunities.”

“I am so proud of the Gibbon community’s cohesive efforts to grow,” Gewecke said. “While leaders there have faced a number of challenges, including back-to-back flooding in 2019, they have been resilient enough to complete the necessary hard work to become a Leadership Certified Community.”

Mayor VanMatre said strong, county-wide leadership paved the way for the City’s new membership in the LCC program.

“I want to specifically commend the work of our city administrator, Chris Rector, and EDCBC’s Kelsey Knehans,” VanMatre said. “This designation has set a foundation to meet future challenges as we strive to make the City of Gibbon the best it can be for our current and future citizens.”

For additional information about the LCC Program, contact Kelly Gewecke at or 308-627-3151; or visit