Midlands Business Journal May 14, 2021 Vol. 47 No. 20 issue

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Midlands Business Journal • MAY 14, 2021 •



Development A section prepared by the staff of the Midlands Business Journal

May 14, 2021

Local job openings abundant, talent remains in demand by Gabby Hellbusch

Local talent across various industries is in high demand recently, causing employers to adjust to the current landscape. Zoe Olson, executive director for the Nebraska Restaurant Association, said the jobs outlook in Nebraska for the hospitality industry is tough right now. “Nebraska is tied for the lowest unemployment percentage in the nation,” Olson said. Olson “We simply do not have the people to fill the needs of employers. “Every restaurant I know is looking for staff and for all positions. Currently, many restaurants are cutting days and hours of operation in order to not overwork staff and to be able to give guests the great experience they expect from our industry. Additionally, many are also reducing capacity by removing and/or distancing tables to ensure a quality experience utilizing their staff to guest ratio for their particular establishment.” She said more third-party delivery companies are looking to take a portion of the low margins restaurants are operating on. Another trend is utilizing the technology developed during the indoor dining shutdown last year, like QR code menus, as well as contactless credit card payment. “Fast casual restaurants are looking more toward automating their stores as the worker shortage in all businesses continues,” Olson said. Andrew Ives, director of culture and talent development at Fusion Medical Staffing, said the past year’s events have impacted the health care industry in ways that no one could have predicted. “With the medical staffing industry constantly evolving, Fusion continues to put travelers, internal employees and culture first,” Ives said. “We have a vast assortment of open internal positions to continue to lead the way within the industry. Fusion’s core values are to positively impact every life we touch and,

in doing so, we have created a lasting impression on the local community, as well as nationwide.” As the need for traveling health care workers continues to expand, he said Fusion has been expanding its sales teams to meet this demand and provide the best possible service to travelers and clients. “This growth has also led us to significant investments in our technology, marketing, Bouchard compliance and several other departments, which has opened even more positions within our internal staff,” Ives said. Chris Bouchard, director of talent acquisition at Lutz, said many companies are looking for candidates. “However, finding quality candidates is very difficult,” Bouchard said. “Candidates are still concerned about how COVID has and will affect business. Whenever we get a new president, people also seem to sit tight in their current roles, waiting to see what may change with the economy. With the labor market so tight, we are having to proactively recruit passive candidates. Even doing this, candidates are very reluctant to make a change, knowing they have a role and hopefully stability.” Currently, he said most industries are struggling to find top talent. Companies are also working to keep culture and communication strong among team members. “Companies are really focused on keeping the ones they have through different means,” Bouchard said. “Work from home is something we now have more of and will continue to see going forward. “Companies are beefing up recruiting departments to keep up with the constant flow of potential candidates,” he said. “Search firms and staffing agencies are also being relied on more than ever to help find top talent. Times are changing and companies will have to continue to adapt to hiring trends if they want to attract and retain top talent today and in the future.”

Andrew Ives, director of culture and talent development at Fusion Medical Staffing.

Career Development — inside MAY 14, 2021




VOL. 47 NO. 20

In 75th year Cobalt Credit Union invests in high-tech and high-touch by Michelle Leach

Focus Business Financing assists clients with financial education, funding. – Page 2

40 er d Un 40 Smits Wilson a force in local advertising industry at Smith Kroeger. – Page 4

ds ren lT a g Le

Pandemic’s effects on economy, workplaces driving need for legal assistance. – Page 5

Investments in the likes of video banking and interactive teller machines predate COVID-19, and have resonated in an environment that demands such technologies; ITM transactions have reportedly surged by 450%, and new video banking users peaked at 13,000 in one month during the pandemic, according to new leadership with Cobalt Credit Union, which is also celebrating 75 years. “In January 2020, we had 160 new people using video banking,” said President and CEO Robin Larsen, when putting the aforementioned new users into perspective. “In 2019, we were one of the first credit unions in the nation to roll out video banking for our members … Video banking has enhanced our ability to provide banking support to our military members stationed overseas. Additionally, it has also provided a new level of service to our members who have disabilities or are unable to drive.” Larsen spoke to the MidContinued on page 8.

New President and CEO Robin Larsen … Certified in-house financial counselors, new Gretna and Lincoln branches among myriad changes on the horizon for credit union. (Photo by MBJ / Becky McCarville)

Offering plant-based choices, Ital Vital Living serves fresh and healthy foods by Gabby Hellbusch

Passionate about veganism and plant-based eating, Imani Murray started a YouTube channel in 2019 with the intent to share recipes and insight with others who were exploring a plant-based lifestyle. From there, the concept grew organically into what is now known as Ital Vital Living, a business providing healthy plant-based options to Omaha consumers. Located inside No More Empty

Pots, the business offers delivery and curbside pick-up for cold press juices, smoothie bowls and vegan dehydrated snacks, all of which can be purchased via the store’s website. Family-operated, Ital Vital Living aims to serve those who are looking for nutritious options that will support a healthy lifestyle. Growing up in the north Omaha community, Murray said it was Continued on page 9. Owner Amelia Rosser … Helping customers find the right plant and materials to be successful is paramount to business model.

Steeped in history, Sheelytown Market brings together houseplants, community by Savannah Behrends

Owner Imani Murray … The plant-based snack and juice business has grown through pop-ups in local businesses.

Under the guise of selling houseplants, Sheelytown Market owner Amelia Rosser is cultivating a community that acknowledges the past while building a more inclusive, collaborative future. “It’s about business, but also it’s about what’s better for all of us,” she said. “I think that’s a big reason for our success — that it’s

not just mine, it’s everyone’s.” The notion for the collective good is infused in every facet of the business, from making plant “parentship” accessible and simple, to showcasing local makers and artisans and providing space for political candidates. A combination of support for local artists and political candidates led to the installation of Continued on page 10.

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