- Associated Press - Saturday, December 12, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has announced three candidates to replace the state economic development director he fired in October - including one person who worked on his failed 2006 U.S. Senate campaign.

Ricketts’ office announced Friday that Courtney Dentlinger of Norfolk, Mary Lynn Fernau of Pearland, Texas, and Nathan Mick of Lexington, Kentucky, are the finalists picked with the help of a national search firm.

Mick worked as deputy campaign manager for Ricketts’ 2006 bid, which he lost to then-Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1SU6slX ). Before that, Mick worked as deputy chief of staff for then-Sen. Chuck Hagel for almost six years.

Dentlinger is executive director of the Norfolk Economic Development Council.

Fernau, a Grand Island native and graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is director of marketing and advancement for the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at Rice University.



Ricketts fired Brenda Hicks-Sorensen in October, less than nine months after hiring her. The decision followed complaints from Nebraska’s business community that Hicks-Sorensen was too focused on administration and didn’t do enough to market the state.

Hicks-Sorensen was selected using the same search firm Ricketts used to locate the new candidates.

Jorgenson Consulting Inc. was paid for the earlier search using private donations through the Omaha Chamber Foundation. Helping find a replacement is part of Jorgenson’s contract in the event that one of its hires doesn’t work out.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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