LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts is back to searching for another economic development director after Director Dave Rippe announced plans to step down Aug. 9.

Rippe, who has led the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for 18 months, will return to his hometown of Hastings, where he plans to work in real estate and talent development.

In making the announcement on Monday, Ricketts praised the work Rippe has done, saying he helped the state grow and contributed to winning national economic development awards, including the Governor’s Cup for the most economic development projects per capita of any state for a third straight time.

“Under his leadership, we have attracted investments from companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon,” the governor said. “He is incredibly talented, and I expect him to be a huge asset to growing our state in his future endeavors.”

The announcement comes a few days after the annual Governor’s Economic Development Summit in Lincoln.

Rippe was the third economic development director for the Ricketts administration. He succeeded Courtney Dentlinger, who started working for the state in January 2016. She left nearly two years later to take a job lobbying for the Nebraska Public Power District.

Dentlinger replaced Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, who was dismissed in October 2015. Hicks-Sorensen had been hired from Wisconsin with the help of a national recruitment firm.

Ricketts announced Monday that he will name an interim director when Rippe leaves.

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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