North Central Regional Planning Commission Names New Executive Director

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BELOIT, KS, March 13, 2020 — The North Central Regional Planning Commission Executive Board has named Emily Benedick as the organization’s new Executive Director.

She will succeed Doug McKinney, who last year announced plans to step down from his position this spring. McKinney began with the North Central Regional Planning Commission in 1986 and has been Executive Director since 2008. McKinney and Benedick will collaborate to lead the organization until McKinney’s last day on May 1.

The North Central Regional Planning Commission, based in Beloit, is a comprehensive planning and development organization serving a 12-county region in North Central Kansas. Several of its programs and services also extend into much of Kansas.

Benedick has been with North Central Regional Planning Commission since 2015 and was named Assistant Director in 2018. A native of the Saint Louis, Missouri, area, Emily graduated with a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University.

“I am excited and honored to be named the next North Central Regional Planning Commission Executive Director,” Benedick said. “As an organization, we have been advancing rural Kansas since 1972 thanks to the passion and hard work of the executive directors before me. I am eager to explore what new opportunities we can bring to North Central Kansas, as well as continue to ensure our current program offerings thrive.”

Benedick will be just the fifth executive director in the nearly 50 years since the organization was formed.

“We are looking forward to the strategic growth of the North Central Regional Planning Commission under the leadership of Mrs. Benedick,” Hannah Stambaugh, North Central Regional Planning Commission Board search committee chair, said. “She brings innovative ideas and passion for the organization and the region as a whole that made her an excellent choice to lead the North Central Regional Planning Commission after the retirement of Mr. Doug McKinney.”

McKinney leaves behind a legacy of 34 years of service that touched the lives of many Kansas residents.

“Doug will certainly be missed,” Stambaugh said. “His contributions to the entire region and state are appreciated. He will always be the biggest advocate for successful communities and economic growth.”

For more information about the North Central Regional Planning Commission, visit

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.