Owen Palm Elected to Chair Platte Institute Board, Jim Jenkins Appointed to Board

Owen Palm Elected to Chair Platte Institute Board, Jim Jenkins Appointed to Board

NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute

Download file Owen Palm
Download file Jim Jenkins

Contact: Adam Weinberg
(402) 500-0209
Owen Palm Elected Chair of Platte Institute Board
Palm & New Board Member Jim Jenkins Bring Rural Business Perspectives

OMAHA, NE — Owen Palm, an agricultural equipment businessman from Gering, has succeeded Gail Werner-Robertson as chair of the Platte Institute Board of Directors.

The nonprofit board, which is responsible for overseeing the Platte Institute’s mission, has ten members representing different areas of Nebraska. Members serve for three-year terms that may be renewed. The complete board may be viewed here.

Palm, the President and CEO of 21st Century Equipment, has served with Werner-Robertson on the Platte Institute board since 2014. He is also the co-chair of Blueprint Nebraska. Werner-Robertson will continue serving on the board as a director.

“Gail has presided over a time of major growth and accomplishment at the Platte Institute. Under her leadership, we’ve helped policymakers in every party and from every part of the state remove barriers to growth and opportunity for Nebraskans,” said Jim Vokal, Chief Executive Officer of the Platte Institute

“Owen has worked tirelessly alongside Gail to transform our organization and will be a tremendous successor. As a small business owner in an agriculture-based community, Owen has a strong personal connection to our mission,” said Vokal.

In addition to his roles at the Platte Institute and Blueprint Nebraska, Palm has held board and leadership positions with the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Nebraska chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Twin Cities Economic Development Corporation, Chadron State College Foundation, and the Scotts Bluff Area Family YMCA.

“My involvement in civic life in Nebraska is focused on bridging the gaps between Scottsbluff and Omaha, and making our state a more welcoming, and great place to do business,” said Owen Palm.

“I believe our team at the Platte Institute has a mission and message that is needed now more than ever. Nebraskans and businesses of all kinds are going to need the chance to reignite as COVID-19 impacts the way we all live and work,” said Palm.

In one of his first acts as board chair, Palm nominated Callaway ag producer and restaurateur Jim Jenkins to join the board. Jenkins accepted and the board has approved his appointment. 

Jenkins has 35 years of experience in agriculture and the food industry. He is the operating partner for his family’s diversified farming, ranching, and cattle feeding operation, as well as the founder of Skeeter Barnes restaurant in Kearney. Jenkins was also the founder of the Whiskey Creek steakhouse chain.

“Having worked with Jim Jenkins through Blueprint Nebraska over the last three years, I think he brings a valuable perspective and experience to our board,” said Palm.

Jenkins currently serves as chair of the Blueprint Nebraska Entrepreneurship Council, on the Agriculture Builders of Nebraska board of directors, and is a board member of the Callaway Hospital.

In addition, he is a past chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board; a past board member of the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition; former executive director of the Nebraska Corn-Fed Beef program; served for nine years on the Custer County Planning Commission; is a past president of the Nebraska Restaurant Association, and is a past member of the President’s Advisory Council at the University of Nebraska.

In 2000, Jenkins was presented with the Champion of Small Business Award from the University of Nebraska Business Development Center.

“None of my friends would ever refer to me as a conservative, but all of them know I am an enthusiastic supporter of the free enterprise system,” said Jim Jenkins.

“I’m joining the Platte Institute because of its thoughtful, nonpartisan approach to efforts for property tax reform and taking down barriers for entrepreneurs. I’ve started a few businesses that have not worked out, and especially in light of the current recession, we can’t afford to take entrepreneurship for granted or see entrepreneurship through a lens of excessive partisanship,” said Jenkins.

Owen Palm and Jim Jenkins’ complete bios may be viewed here. Photos are attached.

To schedule an interview on this announcement, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 500-0209 or aweinberg@platteinstitute.org

The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. More media resources are available at PlatteInstitute.org/Media.

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