SCOTTSBLUFF — Whether it’s through board positions for Leadership Scotts Bluff and the United Way, helping a hot air balloon team get up in the air and back to the ground, or helping with parking at the Sugar Valley Rally, Doug Mader enjoys meeting new people through his volunteer work.

You wouldn’t know it from the Wyoming Cowboys pennants hanging in his office at the Harms Center at Western Nebraska Community College, but Mader was actually born in Scottsbluff. His parents, Mark and Joan, are from Crawford and Chadron, respectively. Mark Mader bought an accounting practice in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1979, and the family relocated. Mark and Joan are still in Laramie, but Doug returned to Scottsbluff in 2009.

“We’ve always had a connection here to the Panhandle,” he said. “It’s an area that I like. This is kind of where the Mader story started. My great-great-grandfather homesteaded north of Harrison, so there’s actually some little reservoirs up there that are called Mader Reservoir.”

After obtaining a business administration degree from the University of Wyoming and his master's in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Mader’s route circled back to Scottsbluff as workforce development director at WNCC.

He thought he would stay for two years. Ten years later, he’s still in Scottsbluff, and excited to be involved. Mader takes advantage of opportunities as they come up. His parents always did a lot in their community, so seeing their participation taught him to give back.

“The best thing I did to get involved here was Leadership Scotts Bluff (LSB),” Mader said. “I got to meet a bunch of new people, learned more about the community and found ways that I could give my time.”

After completing his LSB course, Mader served a six-year term on the board of directors.

“I loved that,” he said. “I still try to help them if they need anything. That’s just a great program to help people grow roots. And you get to meet 20 new people. Being on the board, that was the best part — you get to meet 20 new people every year.”

Mader is currently on the Panhandle Partnership board, is the President of the United Way board and is passionate about the programs they support.

“Those agencies we support and what Steph Black (United Way director) does is amazing work,” he said. “The stories from CASA and CAPstone and Doves are heart-wrenching things, but those are the people on the ground helping. All those agencies are amazing. The work they do, I couldn’t do. So I just try to help raise money as best I can.”

Serving as the parking chair for the Sugar Valley Rally was “a ton of fun” for Mader, and he’s looking forward to doing it again next year. Other events Mader has helped with include the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships as part of the Old West Balloon Fest and the Roubidoux Quick and Dirty bike race as well as some local events for University of Wyoming Alumni. Mader said many out of town participants tell him about how friendly the people in the community are — thanking them in the grocery store just for being here. He says, “yep, that’s the Panhandle.”

For anybody looking for a way to get involved, Mader suggests calling the Chamber of Commerce and simply watching for upcoming events.

“If there’s an event coming up, call and find out if you can do something,” he said. “Every time there’s something going on, they need volunteers, and this is a community full of volunteers.”

Mader likes a phrase the United Way board uses — “If everybody does a little, nobody has to do a lot.”

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Mark McCarthy is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9049 or via email at

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