Technical Advisors 2015-07-02T14:56:44+00:00

Technical Advisors

Jerry Deichert is the Director of the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and is currently a member of the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board and Manager of the Nebraska State Data Center. The Center for Public Affairs Research is the lead agency for the Nebraska State Data Center, which provides access to the information available from the U. S. Census Bureau. As a result of his work, he has become an expert on small-area data for the state. Jerry has published numerous articles, which analyze data for the state, including economic projections for the state and population projections for the state, counties, and other sub-areas. He also is interested in making demographic and economic information more useful for decision-making.  Jerry received his Masters in Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Dr. Carol Ebdon is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where her research and teaching emphasis is in the area of local government budgeting and financial management. During a hiatus from the University, she served as the City of Omaha Finance Director from 2004-2009. Dr. Ebdon received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany.

Don Leuenberger is Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Don has held leadership positions in state government in several capacities during the past 30 years, beginning with the administration of Governor Norbert Tiemann.  He was State Budget Director under Governors J. James Exon and Charles Thone, under whom he also was State Tax Commissioner.  As Tax Commissioner for Governor Kay Orr, Don assisted with the development and passage of an overhaul of the state income tax system and the creation of a state tax incentive package for business recruiting and expansion.  In 1995, Governor Ben Nelson asked Don to lead the restructuring of the State’s five health and human services agencies, now known as the Nebraska Health and Human Services System.  After the restructuring, Don became the Policy Secretary for the newly formed Nebraska Health and Human Services System. Don has served as a member and Chair of the Nebraska School Finance Commission, the Nebraska Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and was Chairman of the Governor’s Committee on Local Expenditure Control in 1979.  Don received his BA from Indiana State University and his MA degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Dr. Doug Christensen is professor of Educational Leadership at Doane College. Before joining the faculty at Doane College, Dr. Christensen was the Commissioner of Education from 1994 to 2008. Dr. Christensen received his undergrad degree from Midland Lutheran College and went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Dr. Craig Maher is a professor in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. His research interests are in public finance with an emphasis in fiscal federalism, fiscal condition and K-12 education. Dr. Maher earned a bachelor’s in political science, a master’s in international relations and a Ph.D. in state and local politics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dr. Dallas Watkins is currently serving as a Vice President of Public Finance for Ameritas Investment Corporation (AIC). Before joining Ameritas, Dr. Watkins was the superintendent at Dundy County Stratton Public Schools from 1990 to 2012. He earned his doctorate of education at the University of Wyoming.