Northeast Education Important To Non-Traditional Student

Published on: August 27, 2019

OSMOND, NE – The scope of educational opportunities at Northeast Community College is designed to fit all shapes and sizes of students.

So it was for Steve Manzer of Osmond.

“I was a non-traditional student when I went to Northeast,” Manzer said.

 Manzer recalled his first year of college at a four-year institution.

“I was not prepared for college and not mature enough to accept the challenges,” Manzer said. “I returned home and started working for my dad in the family business.”

Manzer’s dad Chris was the manager for Manzer Equipment in Osmond and Manzer began filling the position of parts man and doing the bookkeeping and payroll – positions he still holds today. Early on it was not always Steve’s goal to run the family business, but as he grew and the business grew, he found his niche.

Eventually Manzer decided he would take a night course at Northeast in the business department. That soon turned into another course, or two or three and by 1991, he had an associate’s degree in business administration.

Manzer said it was challenging as he balanced nighttime classes, working for his dad and taking care of a young family. He said it was especially taxing during planting season in the spring and at harvest time in the fall. He also noticed some of the teachers were non-traditional like he was – worked a regular day job like his business law teacher who was a lawyer during the day. They understood his challenges.

“The classes at Northeast answered a lot of questions I had in the day-to-day business and reinforced what I was already doing,” Manzer said.

The tuition was very affordable and Manzer did not have parents to rely on as he was on his own.

“I will say going as a non-traditional student, I feel I got twice as much out of my classes at Northeast and earned 4.0 in every class I took,” Manzer added.

He still recalls his teachers and is very appreciative of their interest in his success as a student. He had a great speech teacher who helped him develop good techniques to deal with customers every day and participate on company panels.

Of Steve’s four children, one daughter and son-in-law already work in the family business and another son will be returning after college. Continuing the family business is vital to the Manzer family as is serving his farming customers and their challenges.

“Ag is always challenging and farmers are faced daily with many things they cannot control like commodity prices and weather,” Manzer said. “We have to be able to react to the conditions they are facing and add value to whatever environment they are in.”

Funding for the$23 million project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue.

For more information, contact Northeast Community College Associate Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, tracyk@northeast.edu, 402-844-7056. Online donations can be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks can be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

Photo Cutline – Manzer

Northeast Community College alum Steve Manzer, owner of Manzer Equipment in Osmond (Courtesy Northeast Community College)