GROW Nebraska is awarded the 2018 Excellence in Economic Development Awards from Congressman Adrian Smith


GROW Nebraska is awarded the 2018 Excellence in Economic Development Awards from Congressman Adrian Smith

WASHINGTON — Kearney’s BluePrint Engines, Ravenna’s Urwiller Melon Patch, Cozad’s Larry Paulsen and Oxford’s Grow Nebraska are among recipients of 2018 Excellence in Economic Development Awards from 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb.

The awards honor 11 individuals and businesses that are helping to strengthen Nebraska communities through innovation, hard work, entrepreneurship and historic preservation, according to Smith’s press release.

Smith said the recipients have “done so much to expand opportunity in Nebraska.”

Here’s a look at recipients from Hub Territory:

– Grow Nebraska of Oxford: Founded in 1998, Grow is a membership-based, nonprofit entrepreneurial, service and educational organization charged with helping small businesses build and expand economic activity. This organization’s mission is to provide education and training to individuals and small business owners across Nebraska with an emphasis on economically depressed areas and to create sustainable economic development and marketing opportunities. Their goal is to connect Nebraska to the global marketplace through mentorship, classroom education and technical assistance for businesses in e-commerce, wholesale and export guidance, and marketing.

– BluePrint Engines: Founded by Norris Marshall in the early 1980s, the company recently moved into a 150,000-square-foot production and testing facility in east Kearney, and employees more than 100 people in the Kearney area. Smith said Marshall has turned his passion for rebuilding high performance car engines into one of the largest crate engine manufacturers in the world, serving customers ranging in size from individual car collectors to NASCAR.

Marshall recently embarked on a new journey, training the next generation of engineers and craftsmen who will carry on his passion for the next several decades through his award winning collaboration with Kearney Public Schools.

– Urwiller Family: Matriarch Bea Urwiller and her late husband Richard started Urwiller’s Melon Patch in 1963 near Ravenna to share their abundant melon harvest with area residents and travelers on Nebraska’s Highway 2. Their son Robert, his wife Christie, their children Kody, Michaela, Kent and his wife Sara now have taken the lead of the Urwiller Melon Patch. Kent and his wife Sara opened Prairie Hills Wireless in 2013.

– Larry Paulsen of Cozad: The founder of Paulsen Inc., Paulsen has worked to create opportunities for others to be successful. These successes can be seen in his construction/redi-mix company. Paulsen often purchases and renovates buildings in downtown Cozad to allow small businesses an opportunity to grow.

Others that Smith recognized can be found on, The Grand Island Independent blog.


GROW Nebraska is a nonprofit membership organization, serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses. The organization provides marketing opportunities, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs and scholarship opportunities are funded in part by federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors. For more information, please visit



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