Welcome by Governor Jim Pillen
Jim Pillen was sworn in as Nebraska’s 41st Governor on Jan. 5, 2023.
He enters office with the goal of protecting, training and keeping our kids in Nebraska, cutting taxes, growing agriculture, and defending our commonsense, conservative values.
Governor Pillen grew up on a farm in Platte County, Nebraska and raised pigs with his father, Dale. He graduated from Lakeview High School.
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from UNL, and married Suzanne Shreve. Governor Pillen then earned a doctor of veterinary medicine from Kansas State. In 1983, he returned to Nebraska and opened a small animal practice and swine consulting practice.
Governor Pillen and his father, Dale, partnered together, raising 60 sows and 1,200 market hogs on a dirt lot on their home farm. In 1993, Jim started Pillen Family Farms. In 2003, he added DNA Genetics. In 2010, his two oldest children, Sarah and Brock, joined the business.
Pillen Family Farms and DNA Genetics are now a multigenerational family-run business, composed of over 1,100 team members. The family business operates by some basic core beliefs—do what is right, do the best you can, and treat others the way you want to be treated.
Jim and wife, Suzanne, have four children, Sarah, Brock, Polly, and Izic, and seven grandchildren, William, Halle, Eloise, Henry, Harrison, Ava, and Thomas.
Morning Keynote Speaker by Dr. Rebecca Lake
Rebecca S. Lake, Ed.D. is retired and has now started her own company, Rebecca Lake Consulting. She is an ApprenticeshipUSA Leader and an invited speaker at workforce and apprenticeship conferences across the county. Rebecca is particularly well-known for starting the 2015 national movement for community colleges to be a Registered Apprenticeship sponsor while at Harper College. She has hosted apprentice conferences and published articles on various facets surrounding apprenticeships. Throughout her career, she has successfully written and managed many large community college grants. Previously, Rebecca designed, created and taught in the Community College Leadership doctoral program at National Louis University serving as program director for 10 years. She spent the first half of her professional life involved in health planning, hospital and health care administration and nursing while the second half in community college education and administration. Rebecca has held community college positions of faculty, assistant dean, career and technology dean, and academic vice-president. In 2023, Rebecca Lake Consulting LLC was appointed by the U.S. Department of Labor to a two-year term as Apprenticeship Ambassador.
Luncheon Presentation by Special Guest Tony Trapp
After 15 years as an educator in the HVAC program, Tony Trapp was named the Work-Based Learning/Apprenticeship
Coordinator for Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua, OH, a position he has held for the past 11 years. As a result
of his dynamic leadership, the program has grown exponentially and now serves nearly 200 students each year.
Tony has built strong partnerships with business and industry. He hosts an outstanding and active advisory committee,
composed of employers from a six-county area. As Work-Based Learning/Apprenticeship coordinator, Tony works with
these and other employers to hire students who have met stringent criteria during their junior year in a career and
technical program. He oversees the students in their school-to-work placements, allowing them to “earn while they
learn”. In addition, he works continually with the industry mentors, lab instructors, legislators, parents and
students to ensure student-employer opportunities and success.
Tony’s efforts to establish and increase state recognized pre-apprenticeship programs has led to opportunities to
present at numerous national, state, and regional meetings. He is in demand for his knowledge and expertise. In
2017, he was one of eight national programs selected by the USDOE Office of Career Technical Education to highlight
best practices in connecting CTE and apprenticeship opportunities.
Tony was awarded the 2022 Association for Career Technical Education Seamless Work-Based Learning
Professional of the Year.