NEBRASKA CITY --  David Brown, CEO of the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership, announced Tuesday the addition of Otoe County to the organization’s service area.

Brown said  there were two counties in the partnership when he came to Omaha 16 years ago, but there are now seven counties and 32 communities.

The partnership has had a role in $10 billion in projects over the last 15 years, that have meant 40,000 jobs in nearly 900 projects. Half of the projects have been outside of Omaha, including the recent Costco Lincoln Premium complex at Fremont.

That project not only brings  jobs to the complex, but gives farmers a new stream of income as they provide 100,000 chickens per day.

Brown: “We realized that we can actually have a great set of sites and buildings and still provide a really great service for companies that are looking at doing work there, and, so, the geographic barrier that we might have thought was there, wasn’t there any longer. Cass County was already a partner, so it made perfect sense for us to start thinking, is there anybody else in this region, where we have some similar partnerships – like with OPPD – that we can pull into the partnership. So, the time was right.”

Dan Mauk, director of Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corporation, called Tuesday’s announcement a significant milestone.

Mauk: “Small communities have limited resources, particularly funding, so we can’t afford dedicated marketing people and we can’t afford to have the people that do the technical research. We deal with all kinds of businesses, all different kinds of industries and it’s just not possible for me to have expertise in all those industries to know how to respond to opportunities. Now we are able, using this partnership, to access the staff of 35 that the Omaha Partnership has to better respond to these opportunities and capitalize on the marketing they are doing for the whole region to see opportunities we have never seen before.”

Jason Esser, board chairman of the Nebraska City Area EDC, said he expects tremendous growth from Blair to Peru in the coming years.

Esser: “I always felt that Nebraska  City and Otoe County would be a great fit for the partnership when the time was right and the time is right.”

The Nebraska City Area EDC has most recently been involved in housing development and adding capacity to early childhood education.