New and familiar faces at the NRD

New and familiar faces at the NRD

Welcome to new and returning employees!

new staffValerie Paul is the district’s new water conservationist. In this role, she will be responsible for groundwater management area educational programing, presenting district information on water use efficiency topics to various audiences, and working one-on-one with producers to protect groundwater quality and quantity. Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Wildlife Management from Missouri Western State University. Her previous employment has been in environmental health and safety in manufacturing settings. In those roles, she served as a member of the Nebraska Safety and Health Council, and the local emergency planning commission. In her spare time, Paul enjoys running and serves on her church’s council board as well as teaches Sunday school.

Drew ten Bensel recently returned to the NRD in a new capacity. Previously, he served as a water resources technician for nearly five years. He left to pursue graduate school in 2022 and has returned to the Upper Big Blue NRD as an engineering technician. In this role he will be inspecting dams and other NRD projects, creating maps and collecting drone imagery, and assisting with planning, design, layout, cost estimation, and construction management for new projects. 

Ten Bensel holds a bachelor's degree in geography from Concordia University and a master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Cartography from University of Wisconsin-Madison. His previous work experience includes GIS positions with a private company in Omaha as well as with the Lower Platte North NRD. In his off hours, Ten Bensel enjoys biking, camping, and fishing.

Levi Johansen joined the maintenance department in April, just in time for tree planting season. His role includes a variety of maintenance activities for the NRD office grounds as well as the five recreation areas the NRD operates. He is also instrumental in the success of the NRD’s conservation tree program, as he sorts and bundles handplant tree orders and assists in district plantings. 

The NRD is fortunate to have two interns this summer, Trenton Naber and Tanner Hawkins. They will be doing double duty, working for the NRD’s water department as well as Four Corners Health Department on water quality sampling. Trenton is a student at Northeast Community College, studying natural resources and agronomy. Tanner is a student at York University and is studying plant biology. 


Update, July 7, 2024

Aiden BishopAiden Bishop has joined the water department as a water resources technician. Originally from Lincoln, Bishop is a recent graduate of Morningside University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology. His previous experience includes working in a laboratory on projects involving food for human consumption. In his free time, Bishop enjoys golf and fitness activities.