Rural & Remote Summit Planning Started For Fall 2021 Summit


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Hays, Kansas: Rural & Remote Director, Kade Wilcox, announced today that planning is underway for a Rural & Remote Summit: The Future of Work. This free event is open to anyone interested in how remote working is impacting rural communities in the northwest region of Kansas. The summit will be in Hays, Kansas on September 23, 2021.

“This is an opportunity to find out more about our program, to interact with our team and other local supporters of remote work, and to hear success stories from the people that have personally benefited from landing their dream remote job.” says Gretchin Staples, Regional Program Coordinator.

Rural & Remote is an initiative of the NWK Economic Innovation Center, INC and was started in the spring of 2019. For over 2 years, Rural & Remote has helped train and connect northwest Kansas residents to remote job opportunities with customized skills training and job placement support.

Toni Standley, Osborne KS, like so many professionals in rural communities, felt professional opportunities meant enduring less-than desirable commutes. Sometimes, you come to a point in your professional life where you truly think, “I just can’t do this anymore.”

It was then she decided to check into, went through the application process, and completed the Remote Work Certification course. Now, having secured a position with professional growth and the chance at advancement, Standley offers a strong endorsement for Rural & Remote:

“Without that, I would have been completely overwhelmed with what I am doing,” she said. “But when you go through the Rural & Remote program, their Zoom workshops, and classwork, it truly prepares you for working remotely and being successful with it. Gretchin also helped me build up my confidence and gave me insight on how to present myself in virtual interviews. It made all the difference.” You can read more of Toni’s story at

Register here for the Rural & Remote Summit: The Future of Work on Thursday, September 23, 2021.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
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.

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