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Faces of Nelnet: Darin Katzberg, Senior Policy Analyst

January 13, 2011

Darin Katzberg, Senior Policy Analyst

Dawn Knight: What are the goals of your department?

Darin Katzberg: To empower Nelnet associates to provide superior service in a way that complies with the rules and regulations of the federal student loan programs by providing accurate and timely resources and information on the legal requirements of the programs.

Dawn: Please describe a typical day for you.

Darin: The only part of my day that is typical and consistent is scanning the Federal Register in the morning for any items which pertain to education loans, whether issued by the Education Department or some other banking regulatory agency.  After that it is a free for all of activities needed to support the activities of Nelnet.  It could be answering questions, mostly through e-mail, participating in meetings or conference calls, internal or with industry colleagues, or reading regulatory material and developing policy communications to be distributed within Nelnet.

Dawn: What has been your biggest challenge work-wise over the past 12 months?

Darin: Developing the regulatory information necessary to get Nelnet up and running on the Direct Loan Program by helping to develop and provide a side-by-side analysis of the program compared to the Federal Family Education Loan Program.  For two programs which are supposed to be essentially the same, you’d be surprised by the number of differences!

Dawn: If a school asks you what you do for Nelnet that impacts them, what would you say?

Darin: We provide information to areas of Nelnet that interact with borrowers to make sure that we are both providing the required information and program benefits to which they are entitled in a way which meets the regulatory requirements and is most convenient for them.  Disclosure has certainly been a hot topic as of late and to the extent that we can do it in the most effective and compliant ways we contribute to the borrower’s satisfaction which in turn contributes to the borrower’s overall impression of their college experience.

Dawn: What are doing for New Years Eve this year?

Darin: I’m going to a college hockey game early in the evening and then no firm plans after that.  It may well be a pretty quiet night after the hockey.

Dawn: What is one piece of clothing you just can’t live without?

Darin: Anything with the wonderful Nebraska logo on it!

Dawn: What was your very first job?

Darin: Other than growing up on a farm and being put to work, sometimes for pay and sometimes not, my first job was working for a football helmet reconditioning shop in Nebraska.  After the season wrapped up in the fall the helmets would be collected in burlap bags and brought to a large shed and piled up in a very disorganized fashion.  Over the years we tried to do it in a more organized way, but it usually ended up being a very tangled mess because every year the client base, and thus the volume of the pile, got larger.  Our job each year was to make sure the pile was gone by the end of the summer when practice started regardless of how big it was.  It was always a fun day when a larger school called and asked for a rush on their order and we realized they were one of the first ones in.  We definitely preferred managing inventory on a LIFO (Last In First Out) basis. We cleaned, polished and painted the helmets as necessary and replaced any worn out interior parts and face masks.

For many years I couldn’t watch a football game without annoying my friends by pointing out the various styles of helmets and face masks the players were wearing.  We mostly did the high schools and small colleges in Nebraska and northern Kansas, but eventually got to do the Cornhuskers’ helmets.  That was both an honor and a pain because the helmets were white, not painted, and by far the most heavily scratched and dirty.  They also had to be spotless going out to meet both our personal satisfaction and pass the boss’s inspection.

Dawn Knight, Rocky Mountain & Western Regional Director (AZ, CO, ID, NV, ND, OR, WA, WY), Nelnet Partner Solutions

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