Strategic Discussions for Nebraska hosted a community conversation in each of five Nebraska communities, as well as a focus group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The conversations took place in January and February of 2009,. Participants were asked questions about their views on the economy of the state and of the nation.
Each community was selected based on diversity of size, location and population. Recommendations were also considered regarding community reputation.
- Ord, an agricultural Valley County community of 2,200 located in the Sandhills, was selected because of its economic development work in the last five years.
- North Platte, a Lincoln County community of 23,000 located on Interstate 80, was selected because of its identity as a railroad community and its location halfway between Lincoln and Denver.
- Kearney, a Buffalo County community of 25,000 in central Nebraska, was selected because it is a university community, because of its legendary leadership and because it is known as a Nebraska convention center.
- Beatrice, a Gage County community of 12,500 just 40 miles south of Lincoln, was selected because it is a mid-size community and because of the unique dynamics of its proximity to the state's capital city.
- Columbus, a Platte County community of 21,000 just 75 miles northwest of Lincoln, was selected because of its diversified employment, its location and its community leadership.
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Students