There are lots of great things happening in Red Cloud and I am excited to use this space to let you know a little bit about all we have going on. For now, just let me introduce myself:

My name is Jarrod McCartney and I am the Heritage Tourism and Economic Development Director in Red Cloud. While I officially work for the Willa Cather Foundation and have an office inside WCF’s Red Cloud Opera House, my position is the result of a collaborative partnership between Cather, the Red Cloud Community Foundation Fund (a Fund Affiliated Community of the Nebraska Community Foundation), the Red Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Red Cloud. I am also active in several community groups, including the City’s Economic Development Advisory Board, the United Methodist Church, and the Heritage Tourism Advisory Committee.

I was born and raised in Red Cloud, graduated high school in 1998, received my B.A. from Hastings College in 2003, my M.A. from Kansas State University in 2009, and am a PhD candidate at the University of Oklahoma. Someday, I will finish my dissertation. In between my college experiences I’ve worked a variety of jobs from working with cattle to working for the Corporation for National and Community Service and tutoring athletes at Kansas State.

I somehow convinced my beautiful wife Rachel to move with me to Red Cloud in 2015 when this incredible job opened up. We saw it as a unique opportunity not only for me, but for her to become an entrepreneur. I hope to use this space to chronicle our adventures, post cute pictures of our 4 year old daughter Louise, and tell you all about the great things happening and the incredible opportunities available in Webster County and Red Cloud. In the coming weeks and months, expect to hear a lot about The Valley Child Development Center, the National Willa Cather Center, the Starke Round Barn, Hear Nebraska’s Good Living Tour, Nebraska food and culture, my attempts to raise money for a new hotel in Red Cloud, and much much more. For now, I’d like to leave you with a video that I feel captures a lot about who we are in Red Cloud and what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. We recently launched the public phase of our campaign for the Valley Child Development Center–a non-profit state of the art child development facility that will bring great jobs to Red Cloud and great experiences for Red Cloud children and those from the surrounding communities. We feel that Red Cloud can become a model community for creating quality, affordable, and consistent care for children 12 and younger in rural settings. Community development projects like this one and my desire to make Red Cloud the arts and cultural capital of Greater Nebraska, will be the focus of this blog. I hope you enjoy:

Jarrod McCartney

Born and raised in Red Cloud, NE, I am a graduate of Hastings College (’03), Kansas State University (’09), and will one day wrap up my PhD at the University of Oklahoma. I moved back home to Red Cloud in 2015 to take a job as the Heritage Tourism Development Director. My office is located in the Red Cloud Opera House. My beautiful wife Rachel Olsen, runs Prairie Plum Coffee. Our daughter Louise is 4 and has more energy than both of us combined.


  1. Sally Hansen February 2, 2017 at 11:16 pm -

    Great blog about RedCloud and many great things happening. Among the many hats you wear you neglected to mention you are also on the Board of Directors of The Valley Child Development Center. Kudos to you! And thank-you for all you do!

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