Board Member Spotlight: Michael B. Yanney

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Board Member Spotlight: Michael B. Yanney

Rural Media Group would like to congratulate its board member, Michael B. Yanney, on his recent recognition as King of AKSARBEN. Mr. Yanney has been a member of the RMG Board since 2011 and has brought a heightened level of business discipline to the Board and management team. His contacts both domestically and internationally have helped RMG create new relationships and opportunities. Mr. Yanney has also been influential in helping guide changes to our capital structure as well as our acquisition strategy. In addition to being a tremendous asset to the RMG Board of Directors, Mr. Yanney has also become a very personal family friend to the Gottsch family.

Michael B. Yanney grew up the youngest of nine children in Depression-era Kearney. His father died when he was 11, leaving Yanney’s mother to watch over the herd. They didn’t have much money, but Yanney’s family was rich in principles. She emphasized the importance of pursuing an education for one’s self and showing compassion for others.

“Being a giver was right on the top of the list,” the 80-year-old Yanney says. “She always used to say to me, you’re not going to have a problem making money. I want you to focus on what you’re going to do to make a difference.”

Yanney took that message and made it into a life motto, one shared by his equally charitable wife, Dr. Gail Walling Yanney. The latest illustration of his devotion to community service came this past fall when Mike was crowned 118th King of AKSARBEN during the Coronation Ball in Omaha, Nebraska.

The philanthropic purpose of the coronation ball, which raises scholarship money for students in need, is one near and dear to the Yanneys. Their philanthropy and community service has covered a variety of areas and sectors over the years – health care, the environment, education, the arts, business development – but Mike’s dedication to serving disadvantaged young people stands above them all.

Founded in the spring of 1895 by a group of prominent Omaha businessmen dedicated to keeping the Nebraska State Fair in Omaha in order to lift the confidence of a region suffering from severe economic depression and drought, The Knights of AKSARBEN became one of the first non-profit entities to be incorporated in the Heartland. Efforts have contributed over $55M in direct community grants and scholarships.

Michael B. Yanney is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of The Burlington Capital Group LLC, formerly America First Companies, which has managed public investment funds. From 1977 until the organization of the first such fund in 1984, Mr. Yanney was principally engaged in the ownership and management of commercial banks. Mr. Yanney served as a director and member of the Executive Committee of FirsTier Financial, Inc., the largest bank holding company in NE, from 1985 until his resignation in 1991. He has done business in the former Soviet Union and 14 other countries since 1976. He also served on the East West Institute joint U.S. and Russia delegation in 2007 whose specific objective was to keep the two countries from going into cold war.

He is a member of the board of directors for The Burlington Capital Group LLC, America First Tax Exempt Fund, Tetrad, Core Bank Holding Co., and was formerly a director of Level 3 Communications, Inc., Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Freddie Mac Advisory Board, Durham Resources, Inc., Freedom Communications, Inc., Forest Oil Corporation, MFS Communications, Inc., PKS Information Services, Inc., Omaha Steaks, MFA, Chairman; Streck Inc.

Honoring AKSARBAN’s 118th King & Queen,
Mike Yanney and Morgan Kristensen
Date: August 16th, 2015
Time: 8:00 PM CT
Location: Kearney, NE at Yanney Heritage Park
Free concert and fireworks featuring Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives

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