President: Merrill Johnson
President Elect: Janet Scott
Past-President: Brian Williams
Secrty/Treasurer: Dave Carpenter
Editor, Econ and Business
Journal: John Tiner
Executive Board Members:
Wayne State College
University of NE-Omaha
Erwin Erhardt III
University of Cincinnati
Nebraska Wesleyan Univ., Ret.
Pittsburg State University
USDA Rural Dev Bus Prog
University of NE - Kearney
University of NE-Kearney
Hastings College, Ret.
Wichita State Univ.
Nebr. Public Power District
University of NE-Lincoln
University of NE-Omaha
South Dakota State
Southeast Community Coll
Peru State College, Ret.
University of NE-Omaha, Ret.
University of NE-Lincoln
John W Tiner
NPPD, Columbus NE
2022 Great Plains Economics and Business Conference|
Theme: The Intersection of Economic and Business Leadership in the Great Plains
Deb Allison - Nationwide Insurance Deb Allison (she/her) is an accomplished operations leader with experience in leadership, vendor relationships, contact center, underwriting, and shared business services. She is well-versed in building and leading highly effective, virtual and remote teams. She is committed to the development of next-generation leaders via direct work experience, involvement in associate resource groups, and volunteerism. Deb is currently a Director of Process Management within the Commercial Lines and Agribusiness Service Solutions team at Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines, IA. Deb is a graduate of Southeast Community College and Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Quentin Brown - Educare Lincoln
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Public
Administration degree, Quentin spent a major part of his career, over 15 years, building deep
relationships, connecting people to desired services, creating opportunities, and building
organizations in ways that allow them to do more, and grow resources.
Since arriving in Lincoln in 2019, Quentin and his wife, Karla, have embedded themselves into the
Lincoln community. Quentin was appointed to the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Taskforce, and
was later appointed to the Community Health Endowment Board of Trustees. Quentin also serves
on the board of the White Cane Foundation and NeAEYC, in addition to service on various other
committees, primarily focused on human services and early childhood education.
When not volunteering, Quentin spends his time leading Educare Lincoln, one of the nation’s
leading early care and education schools. Within two years he stabilized operations, helped raise
capital to renovate an outdoor learning space, opened two new classrooms, added leadership staff to
support infrastructure, and has positioned Educare Lincoln to be a broader resource for the Lincoln
Quentin and Karla enjoy working in the yard at their home in Lincoln, and are excited about the
service they will bring to their community.
Macala Carter - Center for People in Need
Macala Carter is a Nebraska native and has held positions of leadership within the financial services
industry for the past 22 years. Her effecting role in banking was as Director of Diversity, Equity and
Inclusion for Great Western Bank – where she advanced strategic and organizational measures for 1500
employees, spanning nine Midwest states.
In July 2022, Carter made the transition from banking to nonprofit when she assumed the role of
Executive Director for the Center for People in Need. The genesis of Carter’s work, to help low-income
families with basic needs and educational opportunities, is personally rooted and a part of her identity
story. Today, Carter looks to support the efficacy of the 1,700+ families receiving assistance each week
by removing barriers and securing advancement opportunities.
Carter’s commitment to community remains with her board work. She serves as board president for
Family Service of Lincoln; board vice president for Quality of Life Foundation; and board treasurer for
Leadership Lincoln. She’s supported in life by her partner, Rick, and her two children, Gavin and Ensley.
In all, Carter believes we each hold responsibility to add value to the space we occupy, that we need to
champion when something isn’t quite right, that we need to uplift so others can rise with courage…and
to leave an imprint, even on just one person, is the truest honor.
Maribel Cruz - Talent Plus
Maribel Cruz, Ph.D. is employed by Talent Plus as a Director of Leadership Consulting; she works with several Fortune 500 companies advising them in succession planning and leadership development. Maribel has lent her expertise and passion to the city of Lincoln via her role as an advisor to the Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent's Advisory Committee, in addition to co-chairing the 2020 bond special election to raise and secure funds for two new high schools. She serves on the Lincoln Lancaster County Planning Commission, where she strives to support the city's efforts to be an inclusive and sustainable community. Additionally, Maribel is the Board President of a local non-profit arts organization, The Angels Theatre Company. A former dancer, she co-founded the Lincoln Contemporary Dance Project and participated in the Mayor's Economic Recovery Task Force to address COVID's impact on the hospitality and entertainment industry in Lincoln, Nebraska. Maribel and her husband David enjoy spending time in the outdoors with their Keeshonden dogs and extended family. Attending arts performances and traveling abroad are among their favorite activities.