The University of Nebraska Board of Regents took the first steps Friday in putting a face on the leadership of Innovation Campus.
Regents approved appointments to the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation Board of Directors, which will oversee the research and development campus taking shape at the former state fairgrounds.
"I feel very good about the makeup of the board," said Regent Jim McClurg of Lincoln. "This is a large and complex project, and it's going to stretch over many years, and there's a lot of good experience on that board."
Approved board members include five from the private sector and four from the university.
Private sector members are Tom Henning, CEO of Assurity Life Insurance Co. of Lincoln; Dana Bradford of the McCarthy Group of Omaha; Matt Williams, CEO of Gothenburg State Bank in Gothenburg; Tonn Ostergard, CEO of Crete Carriers of Lincoln; and JoAnn Martin, CEO of Ameritas Life Insurance in Lincoln.
University board members are University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Prem Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNL; John Owens, vice chancellor in the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and NU President J.B. Milliken.
Perlman and Milliken recommended the board members.
Regents on Friday also approved articles of incorporation and bylaws for the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corp.
Before they did so, Regent Tim Clare of Lincoln successfully added an amendment requiring the corporation to establish one or more advisory committees that will include university faculty members.
"I am concerned about the governance structure in that I think it's imperative that faculty be involved," Clare said.
Perlman opposed Clare's amendment, saying the regents should trust Innovation Campus leaders to decide whether they need advisory committees and determine the make-up of such committees.
The board will serve as a nonprofit entity and will help regents make decisions regarding Innovation Campus.
NU officials say Innovation Campus could help the university capitalize on its record-breaking research programs, create high-paying jobs, lure top faculty and students to campus and keep bright young people in the area.
Consultants estimate it will require an investment of more than $801 million.
"We could not be more pleased with the commitment of the business community to the success of the Innovation Campus," Milliken said. "We are looking forward to working with them on this important development."
Reach Kevin Abourezk at 402-473-7225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.