Return Flow: Scott Snell Comes Home to Water

You might say Scott Snell has meandered. The 55-year-old Hastings resident has been many things in life: Hollywood television staffer, real estate agent and philanthropic fundraiser. As the son of a naval chaplain, he hopped around military bases on Midway Island, Guam, Hawaii, California and Washington.

But water has been a constant. Oceanography fascinated him as a child. Later on, Scott worked for nearly two decades as public relations manager with the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District in York. Seeking a more flexible schedule, Scott waded into residential real estate in the spring of 2019.

“I had some success right out of the gate. I was very fortunate,” he said.

That said, it does help to have a measure of guile in sales, something a forthright person like Scott lacks. So when Nebraska water legend Lee Orton, whom Scott knew from his NRD days, offered a full-time gig to work on special water projects, he couldn’t say yes fast enough. Today, he’s the project and programs coordinator with Orton Management, which oversees the Nebraska Well Drillers Association, Nebraska State Irrigation Association and Nebraska On-site Wastewater Association.

One of his larger projects is the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy. Since 2009, this year-long program has delivered lessons on transformational leadership and water’s vital role in our state to scores of Nebraskans, including Scott, who graduated in its second class. He credits the academy with fundamentally changing his conception of water — from segregating surface water and groundwater toward a more holistic view.

“We’ve got to get our minds and our hearts and our passions together and work as one for the commonality of water — and no labels.” So, what is it about water that continually attracts? “Water,” he reflected “is a destination we like to go to — to recreate and just to rejuvenate.”

Welcome back to the water, Scott! To support the Water Leaders Academy and other educational initiatives through a donation or estate planning, contact Scott at 402-705-6263.

To support the Water Leaders Academy and other educational initiatives through a donation or estate planning, contact Scott at 402-705-6263.