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News: Program - Deal Maker's Marketplace

NIFA Recognizes Nebraska's Outstanding Affordable Housing Professionals


At NIFA’s 2006 Affordable Housing Deal Maker’s Marketplace, held January 24-25, 2006, individuals, companies and organizations were recognized for their outstanding work in the Nebraska affordable housing industry.

Housing Champion

The 2006 Housing Champion Award was given to Al Goodwin. Born and reared in Omaha. Alvin M. Goodwin is a lifelong resident of Northeast Omaha and the former President of the Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC). He has been a key architect in creating and channeling opportunities for investments to promote economic growth and community revitalization in Omaha.

Nebraska Housing Hall of Fame

NIFA’s Housing Hall of Fame Award was given to Cliff and Kathy Mesner of Mesner Development Company and Roger Nadrchal of Elkhorn Valley Community Development Corporation.

Cliff and Kathy Mesner are both attorneys practicing in Central City as partners of the Mesner Law Firm and owners of Mesner Development. Cliff and Kathy have a clear understanding of the importance of providing affordable housing options as part of a comprehensive economic development package. The Mesners concentrate their housing efforts in smaller communities across the region having a large impact on small towns.

Roger Nadrchal is the founding Executive Director of Elkhorn Valley Community Development based in Norfolk. The Elkhorn Valley CDC originated in 1995 and currently serves communities within a 40-mile radius of Norfolk providing Purchase/ Rehabilitation/ Resell, New Construction, and Homebuyer Education programs. Under Roger’s direction, the Elkhorn Valley CDC has developed 275 single-family homes valuing in excess of $23 million and 84 multi-family units with a value of $5 million. Elkhorn Valley CDC has also recently become the second Nebraska organization to be a chartered member of NeighborWorks® America.

Outstanding Lender (Most NIFA Mortgages)

NIFA’s single family homeownership program has been providing financing for first time buyers since 1980. The success of financing over 62,000 homes under the program has been accomplished by the strong support and commitment from lending institutions who deliver the program to citizens across the state.

The 2006 NIFA Outstanding Lender was given to CharterWest National Bank, with the production of 120 loans in 2005. Major Mortgage’s Nebraska offices were purchased by CharterWest National Bank in May 2005. Together they secured all government (FHA, VA, RD) loan approvals and investor relationships and now have 10 locations across Nebraska. Gary Walters, Vice President of CharterWest said, “Nine years ago I made the decision to network into rural locations and the NIFA program was a logical choice to open doors. Our reputation expanded from that approach. We hope to continue to grow with our reputation of providing affordable housing.”

Over the past nine years, CharterWest (Major Mortgage) has originated over 1,490 loans in the NIFA program. This is the third year (out of three years) they have received NIFA’s Outstanding Lender award.

Outstanding Real Estate Professional

Each year NIFA solicits nominations for Outstanding Real Estate Professionals from its 85 participating lenders and 400 branch locations. NIFA asks them to “Describe a Real Estate Professional who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to first-time homebuyers and affordable housing.” This year NIFA recognized Dan McKenzie with McKenzie and Associates in Lincoln and Donald Dreesen with Home Real Estate in Columbus.

Originally from Cincinnati, Dan McKenzie moved to Nebraska and began a career in real estate. Dan said, “The birth of NIFA during this period, provided hope to first time home buyers otherwise shut out of the market.” His nominator Susan Grieger of US Bank Home Mortgage said, “Dan was probably the first Realtor in Lincoln to help the Hispanic community attain the American Dream while using the Spanish language. This is a wonderful testament to the fair and excellent service he has provided over the years.” Dan is currently the owner-broker of McKenzie Associates in Lincoln, a real estate sales and appraisals business.

Don Dressen, NIFA’s other Outstanding Real Estate Professional, taught high school, as well as served in Army, before beginning his real estate career in 1976. Don’s nominator Hollie Olk with First National Bank and Trust Company in Columbus said, “We finance in many communities, some where sellers are discouraged to accept government loans. As an advocate for NIFA and other government loans, Don loves to utilize down payment assistance, grants and NIFA's products. He contacts the bank and informs us that his client needs these products and then takes the time to come in with the first time buyer. Don looks at rehabilitation as a method to not only improve the house but to make it a 'home'. He often has $8,000 to $15,000 or more in repairs that he oversees. He has their best interest at heart.” Donald Dreesen is currently a real estate professional with Home Real Estate in Columbus.

Making a Difference Award

NIFA presented the 2006 Making a Difference Award to USDA Rural Development, Farmers and Merchants Bank in Milford and Prairie Gold Homes by Bar-None Housing.
This award spotlights a loan that demonstrates the importance and value of partnerships and how that can make a difference in providing affordable housing.

For one local business owner in Hallam, the collaboration of multiple organizations made a big difference in the financing equation. After losing their home to the tornado, this low income family purchased a Prairie Gold Home by Bar None Housing utilizing NIFA’s 2.99% First Home Super Mortgage and received an Rural Development Guarantee. Farmers and Merchants Bank in Milford worked with the partners to put it all together. The purchase price on the home was $61,400.

For more information on NIFA’s awards or programs, please call (402) 434-3900 or see

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