Becky Lourey has pursued a varied menu of professional endeavors as an artist, farmer, health care advocate and owner of a data management software business. The variety of her real-world working experiences brings a broad perspective to her continuing public policy activities.
Seeking a life connected to nature, surrounded by animals and open spaces, Gene and Becky Lourey uprooted their lives in Minneapolis and moved north to a farm in Pine County where they lived for more than three decades. While raising their children in rural Kerrick Township, Becky learned first-hand the risks and challenges of running a family farm on 240 acres of land. She raised cattle, goats, sheep and hay, learning the ropes with a helping hand from farmers nearby. As was the experience of so many young family farmers coping with historically low commodity prices during the difficult 1970s and early ’80s, the Loureys endured the heartbreak that goes with selling animals and equipment at auction to help pay their farm debts. Keeping the land, however, was their good fortune. They were able to purchase more land later, eventually allowing them the backing necessary to invest in a promising new business.
Health Care Advocate
In the early 1980s, Becky went to work as Administrative Assistant for the Northern Lakes Health Care Consortium in Duluth. Becky began taking a visible public leadership role; she co-chaired the Minnesota Public Health Association’s Public Affairs Committee and has been a longtime member of the Rural Health Advisory Committee. In 1989, she was appointed to the state's first Health Care Access Commission where the challenge of achieving universal coverage was a principal goal. Using the expertise gained from her work at Northern Lakes and service on these statewide health care panels, Becky helped pass the groundbreaking MinnesotaCare – one of the nation's first state-run health coverage programs.
Gene and Becky Lourey co-founded of Nemadji Research Corporation, a software data management and analysis company specializing in cost recovery for health care services delivered by public hospitals. NRC’s intellectual capital includes leading information technology and software. Based in Bruno, Minn., Nemadji Research employs 50 workers in Minnesota and California. Diversified renewable energy operations in the incubator development stage include value-added lumber vacuum kiln-drying and milling machine processing, as well as aquaculture and greenhouse operations in a closed-loop system. All NRC employees are eligible for full medical, life, dental and disability insurance coverage, and the business houses an on-site child day care and senior nutrition at the Bruno facility.