Pender Economic Development, Inc. was incorporated in March of 1986 at the insistence of Norman and Densil Christiansen. The purpose of the corporation was to promote, foster, encourage, and aid the location and development of business, trades and industry in northeast Nebraska and particularly Pender, Thurston County, Nebraska. The ability to promote and assist the growth and development of small business would be enhanced by coordinating funding efforts with all types of available federal, state, and local programs. 

The eleven incorporating board members included: Gayle McQuistan, Norvin Hansen, Bonnie Janke, Densil Christiansen, Gary Condon, Terry Glissman, Pat Hoyt, Merlin Brondum, Lela Heineman, Larry Wingett and C. Matthew Samuelson. The initial funding source was accomplished by selling memberships:

1) Associate membership $25.00 with no voting rights; 

2) Tiered regular memberships begin at $50.00 with voting rights:

a. $50.00 “Regular Membership”

b. $100-$224 “Sustaining Membership”

c. $225-$499 “Silver Membership”

d. $500 “Gold Membership” 

These membership levels remain intact today and interested people are encouraged to contact a current board member to purchase a membership. 

Today’s Pender Economic Development board includes representation from Manufacturing, Retail, Finance, Healthcare, Village of Pender, and Pender Public Schools District, which provides insight on the economic needs of the area. The current board of directors include: Derwin Roberts, Mark Lorensen, Ray Welsh, Mike Minert, Layton Jensen, Jason Dolliver, Lela Heineman, Arden Shadbolt, Jean Karlen, Jay Hesse and Dennis Munderloh.  

Through the years, many people have served and contributed to the completion of several projects including the Industrial Road Development, Ball Field Development, Golf Course, Dike project, Meierdierk’s addition, Community Surveys, and Community Brochure. The most recent accomplishments include the construction and sale of a new 1,288 square foot home for a low-income to moderate-income family, and the creation of an Economic Development Coordinator position. Diann Ballard was named to the position of Economic Development Coordinator and assists the community in research and grant writing to further promote the economic well being in the area.