Jack’s Insights: LEAD Fellows learn from Panhandle leaders

Jack’s Insights: LEAD Fellows learn from Panhandle leaders

Good ones just keep coming. That was my analysis of this week’s visit to the Panhandle by the Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Class 36. We had the privilege of interacting closely with this group of young professionals as they learned more about western Nebraska and agriculture in this part of the state.

Looking back on past Jack’s Insights articles, I noted that in April 2015 Nebraska LEAD was also my topic. However, due to the quality of this program, I decided it was worth writing again to spotlight the impact of Nebraska LEAD on developing leaders, and what the recent visit by Nebraska LEAD to the Panhandle included.

Nebraska LEAD involves a group of 30 dynamic young Nebraska leaders from across the state, ranging in age from 25 to 55. Nebraska LEAD Fellows, as they are known, are selected to participate in a two-year leadership development program that includes 12 three-day seminars, a national and an international study experience.

The mission statement of Nebraska LEAD is “To prepare and motivate men and women in agriculture for more effective leadership”.

The LEAD purpose is:

“The dynamic industry of agriculture plays a profound and over-riding role in every phase of Nebraska life. The LEAD Program recognizes that the development of human resources for agriculture and Nebraska should not be left to chance. The LEAD Program strives to address the needs of community members involved in the business of agriculture by presenting opportunities to broaden one’s knowledge and strengthen leadership and decision-making abilities.”

To understand what the Nebraska LEAD 36 Fellows experienced while in the Scottsbluff area this past week, here’s an overview of their three-day agenda. This also illustrates the commitment and dedication of the people and businesses in this area who support Nebraska LEAD with their time and money.

· Sunday afternoon they visited Legacy of the Plains museum, where Kevin Sandberg, Jessica Groskopf and Nancy Haney gave an overview of the history of agriculture and the ethnic diversity in the Panhandle. This included a stop at the Scotts Bluff National Monument and Museum.

· Next they were hosted by Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) by Jason Stratman, who updated them on the new Agricultural Technology training program that WNCC recently implemented.

· Sunday evening concluded with dinner at El Charrito restaurant sponsored by 21st Century Equipment and hosted by Owen and Karen Palm.

· Monday began with an overview of health care in the Panhandle at Regional West Health Services by Tadd Greenfield.

· Next, while driving on a bus provided by WNCC, the Nebraska LEAD Fellows were given an overview of water issues by John Berge and management of irrigation in the North Platte Valley by Dennis Strauch.

· The UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center was their next stop, for Courtney Schuler to tell about the dry edible bean industry in the Panhandle. This stop was followed by a driving tour of the Panhandle Research Feedlot and discussion by Matt Luebbe.

· A drive to the Wildcat Hills Nature Center where Gary Shoemaker greeted them with a lunch sponsored by the Nebraska Sugar Beet Growers Association and comments by Kendall Bush and Mark Spencer about growing sugar beets. Paul Burgener gave an overview on the Panhandle economy; Brenda Leisy provided details of tourism in the Panhandle, including plans for the total eclipse in this area in August.

· Back on the bus, Gary Stone continued the discussion of deficit irrigation in the Panhandle and some of the research done by the Panhandle Research and Extension Center addressing this topic.

· Next, the group was hosted at Darnall Feedlot, where Lane Darnall and Jake Dean described how the feedlot and cow-calf industries interact with the economy and the cropping and range segments in the Panhandle. Leon Kriesel also gave a great overview of dryland cropping systems, certified seed and how these play into Panhandle agriculture.

· The group then visited 21st Century Water Technologies, where Owen Palm, Chad Schneider and Jeremy Becker discussed how technologies developed for improved water efficiency are changing the way that irrigation is done.

· Monday concluded with a dinner at the Steel Grill hosted by area LEAD alumni Laif and Sondra Anderson and First National Bank.

· Tuesday morning the Lead fellows were back at the Panhandle Center, where Michael Ann Relka discussed sugar beet production and the Western Sugar Cooperative. This was followed by an overview of Extension in the Panhandle by Jim Schild and a panel of Extension professionals made up of Rob Eirich, Cody Creech, Kelley Rice and Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel.

· Nebraska LEAD fellows ended their seminar with a lunch at the Scotts Bluff Country Club hosted by Western Sugar Cooperative and Jerry Darnell.

So, I think you can see that the three-day visit to the Panhandle for Nebraska LEAD fellows from Class 36 was packed full of great information. Also impressive to me is the support and dedication given by local businesses and people to encourage the development of leaders in agriculture for Nebraska. Looking over the long list of Nebraska LEAD alumni from the past 35 years of the program assures me that many participants in Nebraska LEAD from the Panhandle are now active leaders at local, state and even national levels. As I said at the beginning of this article – the good ones just keep coming.

Nebraska LEAD is recruiting fellows for Class 37. Anyone interested in either nominating someone, or applying yourself, can find more details at http://lead.unl.edu/nominateorrequestapp or by emailing email Kimberly Braaten at [email protected] You may also call Kimberly at 402-472-6810.

Hugo Barra Is Leaving Xiaomi to Join Facebook’s Oculus Team ‘To Lead All VR Efforts’

Hugo Barra Is Leaving Xiaomi to Join Facebook's Oculus Team 'To Lead All VR Efforts'


  • Mark Zuckerberg announced the move via Facebook
  • Barra announced his departure from Xiaomi earlier this week
  • Zuck says VR and AR ‘will be the next major computing platform’

Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s Global Vice President who said earlier this week he is leaving the Chinese company to head back to the Silicon Valley, is joining Facebook to lead the Oculus team and all of the social networking company’s virtual reality efforts, Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday.

“I’m excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team,” Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post.

“Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I’m looking forward to having him on our team,” he added.

Sharing the Facebook co-founder’s post, Hugo Barra wrote, “I’m excited to share my next adventure as I return to Silicon Valley—in a couple of months I’ll be joining Facebook as VP of virtual reality (VPVR!) and lead the Oculus team.” He added that “Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun always says that the highest calling of an engineer is to make technology breakthroughs quickly and readily available to the widest possible spectrum of humanity. That will be my mission at Facebook and I look forward to building the future of immersive technology with Mark Zuckerberg, Brendan Trexler Iribe, Mike Schroepfer, and the visionaries in the Oculus team.”

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer and Vice President of Global Communications Caryn Marooney commented on Hugo Barra’s post, welcoming him to the company.

Hugo Barra, who’s been the face of Xiaomi ever since he joined the company after leaving Google around three and a half years ago, announced his departure via Facebook earlier this week citing health and other personal reasons.

“What I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health.” Hugo Barra had written in the Facebook post announcing his departure from Xiaomi, “My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.”

Before joining Xiaomi, Hugo Barra was the Vice President of Product Development for Android at Google.

Tags: Hugo Barra, Xiaomi, Facebook, Mark Zuckerbeg, VR, Oculus, Virtual Reality

Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge Help Samsung Extend Lead Over Apple: IDC, Strategy Analytics

Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge Help Samsung Extend Lead Over Apple: IDC, Strategy Analytics


  • Samsung got a lift from the March launch of its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
  • 77 million Samsung smartphones were sold in the quarter: IDC
  • According to Strategy Analytics, Samsung had 22.8 percent marketshare

Samsung extended its lead in the global smartphone market over Apple in the second quarter, gaining from the launch of its updated flagship handsets, surveys showed Thursday.

The South Korean giant delivered 77 million smartphones in the quarter, up 5.5 percent from a year ago, for a market share of 22.4 percent, research firm IDC said.

That compared with a 15 percent drop in sales for Apple’s iPhones, which accounted for 11.8 percent, IDC said.

Samsung got a lift from the March launch of its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge flagship models, with an upgraded processor, waterproofing and other features, IDC noted.

Apple, despite the launch of its more affordable iPhone SE, failed to keep pace and reported weaker sales compared to a year ago.

A separate survey by Strategy Analytics had a similar estimate, with Samsung at 22.8 percent to 11.9 percent for Apple.

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said he sees Samsung making further gains this year.

“With a new Galaxy Note 7 flagship model rumored to be on the way, Samsung will be able to strengthen its smartphone leadership into the second half of the year,” Mawston said.

“Apple continues to face iPhone fatigue among consumers and the new iPhone SE model has not been able to stem that trend.”

IDC’s Ryan Reith said the saturation of many markets has forced makers to rethink their strategy. “Apple is beginning to put more emphasis on ‘device as a service’ to try to prevent lengthening replacement cycles,” he said.

“This is a growing theme we have heard more about from PCs to smartphones. Additionally, the overall China market slowdown continues to ramp up competition in other high growth markets like India, Indonesia, and Middle East.”

Both surveys showed China’s Huawei the number three vendor with a 9.4 percent market share.

Other Chinese vendors were in the top five.

According to IDC, Oppo and Vivo were fourth and fifth with 6.6 and 4.8 percent respectively.

The Strategy Analytics report showed Oppo with 5.3 percent and Xiaomi fifth with 4.3 percent.

IDC said overall smartphone sales rose 0.3 percent to 343.3 million units, while the second survey showed a one percent rise to 340 million.

Tags: Android, Apple, IDC, iOS, iPhones, Mobiles, Samsung, Samsung Galaxy, Tablets

India Continues to Lead in Global Confidence Index: Nielsen

New Delhi: For the sixth quarter in a row, India continued to lead the global confidence index in anticipation of improvement in the economy through reforms and stimulus announced by the central government, says a report.

According to global information and insights provider Nielsen, in the first quarter of 2015, India’s consumer confidence score rose to 130 followed by Indonesia (123) and Philippines (115).

While, the consumer confidence in urban India has increased by 9 points from first quarter in 2014 (121), 44 per cent of respondents polled feel that India is still in “economic recession”.

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index said that over four in five (83 per cent) urban Indian respondents indicated the highest level of optimism globally on job prospects in the next 12 months compared with 74 per cent in first quarter in 2014.

“The urban Indian has seen ups and downs in consumer sentiment over the last few years, in this round it is a positive sentiment in anticipation of improvement through reforms and stimulus announced by the new government.

These initial signs of optimism reflect anticipation of economic recovery that are yet to manifest when you look at fast-moving consumer goods and auto sectors in particular over the last few quarters,” Nielsen India Region President Piyush Mathur said in a statement.

As per the survey, “Over three in five (65 per cent) online respondents polled indicated this is a good time to buy things they want and need, 11 per cent rise from corresponding quarter last quarter (53 per cent in fourth quarter of 2014).

“When it comes to investing spare cash, 64 per cent indicated it is a good time to put spare cash into savings, while 49 per cent of respondents polled purchasing new technology products.”

It said 79 per cent respondents have changed their spending habits to save on expenses.

“The top three avenues this quarter are saving on gas and electricity (49 per cent), spending less on new clothes (45 per cent), and cutting down on holidays and short breaks (35 per cent),” it added.

Eighty per cent urban Indian respondents indicated that the state of personal finances was good or excellent in the first quarter of 2015, four percentage points up from the same time last year (76 per cent in first quarter 2015).

However, top concerns remain job security (22 per cent), sustaining a work-life balance (11 per cent), followed by state of the economy (9 per cent).

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions among more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries.

Story first published on: May 21, 2015 16:25 (IST)

Tags: Global Confidence Index, Nielsen India Region, Nielsen, India, Indonesia