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Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

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Mergers & Acquisitions A section prepared by the staff of the Midlands Business Journal

November 29, 2019

To sell or not to sell? Global volatility, uncertainty may drive heightened M&A business in 2020 by Michelle Leach

A confluence of factors may be pushing owners off the sidelines, potentially toward contributing to merger and acquisition activity. “2019 is certainly a down year for the M&A industry,” said Corporate Finance Associates Worldwide Managing Director Jim Zipursky. “In 2020, what we’re seeing is guarded optimism for several reasons.” Zipursky referenced the stronger log or count of deals to be marketed in the new year. Zipursky “Interest rates remain historically low, which means the borrowing ability is still there and it’s not as expensive for buyers to borrow money for acquisitions,” he said. “We’re still seeing as much equity capital in the marketplace today as we did in the last two years — if not more.” Lenders, he noted, are concerned about how much longer the strong economy can hold. “We’re getting a lot of questions from buyers about, ‘How did you do from 2007 to 2010?’” Zipursky said, referencing the last recession. “Everybody is still expecting a recession to hit …. And we can talk ourselves into a recession.” Tariff threats such as those that rocked the ag and steel industries contribute to the “guarded” outlook, as does uncertainty about Brexit in the U.K. Domestically, there are the headwinds of people saying, Zipursky remarked, “We have now had unprecedented growth in the economy since 2010 … when is the other shoe going to drop?,” further combined with the fact that a major election year is on the horizon. In Goosmann Law Firm Attorney Andrew Simpson’s view, the local market is centered on mid-sized, closely-held companies’ exploration of succession planning for aging majority shareholders and officers. Companies may look to merge with (or sell to) other local or regional businesses, bolstering longevity and strength. “These strategic buyers often can gain the most traction from the deal,” he said. “When exploring outright sale, these businesses are not averse to exploring national or private equity buyers, especially private equity that they have formed a relationship of trust with.” When compared to a year ago, Simpson said the credit market has tightened some. So,

Jennifer L. Cooke-Yin, partner at Stinson. financing can be harder to get for smaller deals, Strategic buyers and investors in the Midespecially newer business owners. west, Simpson noted, have held record levels “A year has also brought a further sense of of cash as they pursue increasingly scarce urgency by these mid-sized, closely-held com- attractive target opportunities, and limited panies,” he said. “Their majority shareholders qualified targets drives competition. and officers are a year older and given some “Many private equity firms have been perceived uncertainty in the national financial more willing to make minority equity investmarkets, these owners have been much more ments, which has been uncommon in the past active in pushing forward.” in middle-market M&A,” he said.

Reaanddit

These businesses may have started many years ago on a small scale, and Simpson said the founders dedicated their lives to the business. “They are just now starting to explore the M&A market as a means to protect their legacy while still reaping the fruits of their labor,” he said. Locally, Simpson referenced a number of trades, medical staffing and practices such as small animal vet, physical therapy and dental — active sectors due to the strength of the conSimpson struction industry, the succession plan-driven nature of small business professional practices, and the recession-proof nature of services like orthodontia and pet care. From an acquirer perspective, Stinson Partner Jennifer L. Cooke-Yin said it’s key to understand the reasons for the acquisition; for example, if the main driver is taking on technology, do thorough diligence to understand what rights the target has with respect to technology and what rights others may have. “Obviously, it is critical to avoid paying for technology only to find out after closing Continued on next page.

Reap!

Mergers & Acquisitions — inside NOVEMBER 29, 2019

THIS WEEK 'S ISSUE:

THE BUSINESS NEWSPAPER OF GREATER OMAHA, LINCOLN AND COUNCIL BLUFFS

$2.00

VOL. 45 NO. 48

Universal Information Services taps AI for competitive advantage by Richard D. Brown

Tavern 180’s chef-driven concept leads to Lincoln, Sioux Falls expansion. – Page 2

40 er d Un 40 Skalberg brings artists, philanthropy together through NoteWorthy. – Page 4

s ing eet M s , w ns tio sho ven Trade n Co &

Local convention market is steadily growing. – Page 22

Omaha-based Universal Information Services is a 111-year-old firm that for decades specialized in largely clipping newspaper articles that mentioned its clients, but since 1991 the firm has identified the latest in technology and invested in writing the software necessary to give the 18-employee firm a competitive advantage in global news monitoring. “Our biggest challenge today is staying competitive and making sure from a technological standpoint that we are investing in the right equipment and people to maintain the right edge in our industry,” said President James L. Murphy, who in 1959 purchased the firm — then called the Universal Press Clipping Bureau — from its founder Katherine Allen. James Murphy’s son Todd Murphy, who joined the business in 1991 and purchased the company and became its CEO in 2015, said his interest in media monitoring can be traced back to his ninth Continued on page 8.

From left, President James Murphy and CEO Todd Murphy … Aiming to stay competitive in media intelligence with use of latest technologies. (Photo by MBJ / Becky McCarville)

Union Omaha kicks off pro soccer club at Werner Park, gains pre-season following by Becky McCarville

Soccer fans have reason to cheer with the addition of Union Omaha, Nebraska’s first professional soccer team, a move intended to bring the community together and make the Omaha metro more attractive for businesses and workers. Thirteen local investors led by Dan Houghton, co-founder of Buildertrend, have pledged their

support for the Alliance Omaha Soccer (USL Omaha) League One team that will share a field and facilities with the Omaha Storm Chasers at Werner Park. Marty Cordero serves as the president of both the Omaha Storm Chasers and Union Omaha, and Laurie Schlender, general manager of the Storm Chasers, is the CFO and director Continued on page 9. From left, Vice President of Operations Brady Marlow and President Rob Wellendorf … Company focuses on client’s ideal scenario to map out business succession or exit plans.

ExecSo focuses on entrepreneurs’ ideal scenario to plot exit strategy by Savannah Behrends

Union Omaha COO Matt Homonoff, left, and investor Dan Houghton and co-founder of Buildertrend … Taking aim to be the flagship League One soccer team within its first year.

Out of all the questions a wealth or business succession planner could ask a business owner, the most important question for ExecSo is “What does your utopia look like,” both for the business owner and their business? “Emotionally what does it look like? Financially what does it look like? Then when you add

in the human element, perhaps there’s children in the business, it becomes a really complex problem and that’s were we thrive,” said ExecSo President and founder Rob Wellendorf. Whether the answer is selling the business, stepping back, or handing it to the next generation, ExecSo works with all the business advisers to put a plan in Continued on page 9.


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

Tavern 180’s chef-driven concept leads to Lincoln, Sioux Falls expansion by Michelle Leach

In Tavern 180’s roughly three and a half year-existence, it has grown from an Omaha location to a bar-restaurant concept with locations in the Des Moines area, Lincoln and most recently, Sioux Falls. It’s a concept described by owner/ Operator VJ Goff as customer-driven; chef-driven (represented by Chef Ro-

Tavern 180 Phone: 402-905-0153 (Omaha); 402-9044185 (Lincoln) Address: 203 N. 180th St., Omaha 68118; 8600 S. 30th St., Lincoln 68516 Services: restaurant, bar, onsite and offsite events Founded: 2016 in Omaha Website: tavern180.com

berto Manriquez, formerly of Mahogany); and technology-driven with tablet menus. “Tavern 180 was conceived over years of dining experiences — across the country — collaborated from our ownership group,” Goff said. “Most of us have Midwestern roots so, of course, good beef is a passion of ours, and it’s why our selection of prime steaks is a staple on our menus across all markets. Brett Clure, the president of our ownership group, coordinated everyone’s ideas to birth the home base in Omaha … His vision is to be the premier relaxed fine dining experience in any market we choose

Owner/Operator VJ Goff … Standing out in challenging restaurant scene pays off with the growth to four locations since June 2016. to explore.” Lincoln location opened in March at 8600 The Omaha restaurant and bar is lo- S. 30th St. cated at 203 North 180th St., while the “Being on the edge of town, there are not a lot of dining options,” Clure said of the capital city space. “We just felt there FINANCIAL & TAX PLANNING SELF IMPROVEMENT IN THE NEW YEAR was a good fit for the area and it’s growing WEDDINGS BUSINESS ANNUAL/PREVIEW with lots of young professionals.” RETIREMENT & SENIOR ISSUES OMAHA Clure also referenced a “comfort REAL ESTATE BUSINESS PLANNING IN 2014 SPORTS & RECREATION AIR HUB OMAHA level” with locating a business in south VALENTINE’S GIFT GUIDE FINANCING Lincoln; he noted that some members of STARTUPS TECHNOLOGY HEALTH INSURANCE PRINTING & GRAPHICS its ownership group own Tanner’s Bar ENGINEERING PROFESSION BUSINESS and Grill. SUCCESSION & TRANSITIONS WOMEN’S “The bay opened up next door and LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE HOME TRENDS INVESTMENTS OFFICE SERVICES we thought, ‘This could be a good spot,’ GUIDE FASHION BANKING IN THE and we always had good luck with MIDLANDS GUIDE TO COMPANY PICNICS COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE WORKSHOP Tanner ’s there,” he said. “In Lincoln AG TRENDS IN THE MIDLANDS SAFETY & especially, we’re hearing over and over HEALTH SUMMIT BUSINESS APPEARANCE: again that this was much-needed and, INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR TECHNOLOGY SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION in Lincoln as a whole, we’ve heard that INVESTING FOR RETIREMENT HOTELS AND the fine dining experience is somewhat TOURISM LEGAL PROFESSION BIG O! lacking.” EXCELLENCE AWARDS COUNCIL BLUFFS GROWTH REPORT CELEBRATE That said, Goff noted the customCONSTRUCTION MARKETING, er experience “meshes with the setADVERTISING & PROMOTIONS ENERGY & UTILITIES SALUTE TO SMALL BUSINESS ting” — catering to the privacy needed COMPANY OUTINGS EDUCATION & for an important business meeting and CAREER DEVELOPMENT SARPY COUNTY the desire for a lively bar atmosphere GROWTH REPORT HEALTH & WELLNESS GOING GREEN CONDO LIVING HUMAN alike. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY “Everyone is greeted with a smile and TRANSPORTATION, DISTRIBUTION & WAREHOUSING ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT a handshake or high-five, depending on the ACCOUNTING PROFESSION COMMERCIAL situation,” he said. OFFICE SPACE DIRECTORY NONPROFITS Clure referred to a broad variety of WORK RELATED INJURIES EVENT PLANNERS/TRADE SHOWS SENIOR ISSUES menu items; for instance, prime steaks are HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTIES GUIDE LINCOLN sourced from Chicago’s Allen Brothers. GROWTH REPORT TECHNOLOGY OFFICE DESIGN TRENDS PROPERTY & CASUALTY “But we start at $12 sandwiches and INSURANCEMidlands CAREER TRANSITIONS & JOB salads, so it’s not just a prime steakhouse,” SEARCH SHOPPING/MALL SPACE he said. “We’ve got a fun and inviting bar DIRECTORY HOME IMPROVEMENT/MAINTENANCE GO area, happy hour, and it’s all chef-driven GREEN: INDUSTRY & THE ENVIRONMENT — not your standard corporate chain of NEBRASKA PRODUCTS SHOW LIFE INSURANCE WEB DEVELOPMENT & high-volume food.” SOCIAL MEDIA HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTIES Patrons in respective markets have reGUIDE BREAST CANCER AWARENESS BIG sponded hungrily; after its local launch in O! SHOW PROGRAM AVIATION IN THE MIDLANDS OMAHA GROWTH REPORT June 2016, Tavern 180 opened its Ankeny, Iowa location last July before its spring

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launch in Lincoln and its South Dakota expansion this month. “Southern Sioux Falls is very similar to south Lincoln,” Clure said. “We’re familiar with Sioux Falls in general. It’s a great town for restaurants, and one of our business partners lives in that area.” Similar to its Lincoln location, Tavern 180 ownership caught wind of new construction in a two-story strip mall and Goosmann Law Firm, which is located next to Tavern 180 in Omaha, put in a good word for the group. Both firms operate in Omaha and Sioux Falls. “[Goosmann] expressed to their landlord that Tavern 180 would be a perfect fit,” Clure said. Goff added: “Each market offers a growing population base on the outskirts of a thriving city.” Furthermore, he indicated, there is a need for unique dining experiences and quality food in the areas that they identify for expansion. “Our short-term plans for Tavern 180 regionally include a clarification of our branding by adding ‘Steaks, Salads, and Cocktails’ to each of our storefront signs,” Goff said. Locally, the Omaha location is also getting a bit of a makeover. Leadership referred to its complete renovation of its dining room in Omaha, slated to be unveiled by the new year. Goff said the renovated dining room will accommodate more private or intimate dining experiences.

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Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

Skalberg brings artists, philanthropy together through NoteWorthy by Dwain Hebda

Throughout his career, Jeff Skalberg has led a dual existence — one that pays the bills and one that feeds his soul. The latter of these, which entails volunteer work with a number of community nonprofit organizations and charities, led him to create NoteWorthy as a way to connect performing arts and philanthropy. “I used to be a touring musician,” he said. “I’ve played in multiple bands. “I moved to Minneapolis after I got my associate’s degree and joined a touring band. I’ve always been super passionate about music and how music inspires and encourages people and what music can do for people. When NoteWorthy was formed, I wanted to find a way I could engage musicians in philanthropy by really focusing on three stakeholder groups and that’s the companies, the musicians and the nonprofits.” To date, the group has helped local organizations raise $20,000 to fund their missions. The concept works like this: Nonprofits reach out to NoteWorthy for comprehensive production services pursuant to putting on a successful concert. “They pay us for our services and we put on engaging concert experiences,” Skalberg

said. “We find musicians who are either touring through a city or local artists and we connect them to a cause. We do all the marketing, all the PR, we would do all the contracts for the artists, the venue, everything. And through the generosity of corporate sponsors, we give 100% of ticket sales from each event back to local charities.” Skalberg said the seeds for what he would ultimately grow up to do through NoteWorthy were planted early in life. “My family, when I was younger, we lived in severe poverty and I had a single parent household for a while,” he said. “ I think just growing up that way is what wakes me up in the morning. That’s what fires me up is knowing I’m helping better our community and its people.” Before he founded his own nonprofit, Skalberg actively sought volunteer positions with worthwhile charities. Since he launched his own organization, those relationships have only deepened with time. “I kind of fell in love with the idea of helping others,” he said. “When I got back to my hometown of Norfolk after touring and working with a band, I moved up to Omaha to pursue school.

2019

Proud Sponsors of the 2019 40 Under 40:

Founder Jeff Skalberg at The Waiting Room Lounge, a venue he partners with ... Connecting musicians with philanthropic missions. “I’ve always wanted to help people and I Skalberg graduated from Northeast Comknew that’s where I wanted to take my career. munity College with an Associate of Arts degree Since getting my MBA I’ve really been focused and followed that with a Bachelor of Science deon corporate giving and social responsibility, on gree from Bellevue University. He also earned how corporations can make a difference. Every a master’s degree in public administration from single board I serve on or everything I do in the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Some of my life usually is tied to some type of giving his hands-on nonprofit experiences have includback. I think that’s just kind of what I found; I ed participation on more than a dozen boards of could take the skillsets I have and really make directors; through his assistance and guidance, a measurable impact in the world someday, to United Way of the Midlands rose to seventh in make a change for people who wanted to have the country in terms of performance. a second chance to better themselves. So, I’ve A musician at heart, Skalberg still plays taken my skills and used it to bring good to our guitar on occasion as well as writing instrucommunity.” mental music.


Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

5

Mergers & Acquisitions A section prepared by the staff of the Midlands Business Journal

November 29, 2019

To sell or not to sell? Global volatility, uncertainty may drive heightened M&A business in 2020 by Michelle Leach

A confluence of factors may be pushing owners off the sidelines, potentially toward contributing to merger and acquisition activity. “2019 is certainly a down year for the M&A industry,” said Corporate Finance Associates Worldwide Managing Director Jim Zipursky. “In 2020, what we’re seeing is guarded optimism for several reasons.” Zipursky referenced the stronger log or count of deals to be marketed in the new year. Zipursky “Interest rates remain historically low, which means the borrowing ability is still there and it’s not as expensive for buyers to borrow money for acquisitions,” he said. “We’re still seeing as much equity capital in the marketplace today as we did in the last two years — if not more.” Lenders, he noted, are concerned about how much longer the strong economy can hold. “We’re getting a lot of questions from buyers about, ‘How did you do from 2007 to 2010?’” Zipursky said, referencing the last recession. “Everybody is still expecting a recession to hit …. And we can talk ourselves into a recession.” Tariff threats such as those that rocked the ag and steel industries contribute to the “guarded” outlook, as does uncertainty about Brexit in the U.K. Domestically, there are the headwinds of people saying, Zipursky remarked, “We have now had unprecedented growth in the economy since 2010 … when is the other shoe going to drop?,” further combined with the fact that a major election year is on the horizon. In Goosmann Law Firm Attorney Andrew Simpson’s view, the local market is centered on mid-sized, closely-held companies’ exploration of succession planning for aging majority shareholders and officers. Companies may look to merge with (or sell to) other local or regional businesses, bolstering longevity and strength. “These strategic buyers often can gain the most traction from the deal,” he said. “When exploring outright sale, these businesses are not averse to exploring national or private equity buyers, especially private equity that they have formed a relationship of trust with.” When compared to a year ago, Simpson said the credit market has tightened some. So,

Jennifer L. Cooke-Yin, partner at Stinson. financing can be harder to get for smaller deals, Strategic buyers and investors in the Midespecially newer business owners. west, Simpson noted, have held record levels “A year has also brought a further sense of of cash as they pursue increasingly scarce urgency by these mid-sized, closely-held com- attractive target opportunities, and limited panies,” he said. “Their majority shareholders qualified targets drives competition. and officers are a year older and given some “Many private equity firms have been perceived uncertainty in the national financial more willing to make minority equity investmarkets, these owners have been much more ments, which has been uncommon in the past active in pushing forward.” in middle-market M&A,” he said.

These businesses may have started many years ago on a small scale, and Simpson said the founders dedicated their lives to the business. “They are just now starting to explore the M&A market as a means to protect their legacy while still reaping the fruits of their labor,” he said. Locally, Simpson referenced a number of trades, medical staffing and practices such as small animal vet, physical therapy and dental — active sectors due to the strength of the conSimpson struction industry, the succession plan-driven nature of small business professional practices, and the recession-proof nature of services like orthodontia and pet care. From an acquirer perspective, Stinson Partner Jennifer L. Cooke-Yin said it’s key to understand the reasons for the acquisition; for example, if the main driver is taking on technology, do thorough diligence to understand what rights the target has with respect to technology and what rights others may have. “Obviously, it is critical to avoid paying for technology only to find out after closing Continued on next page.


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal • Mergers and Acquisitions

M&A business in 2020 Continued from prededing page. the target’s interests in the technology are not what was expected; for example, the target granted a license to exclusive rights in the technology or a former employee claims to have rights to the technology because he or she did not sign a proper inventions assignment,” she said. Understand the likes of change of control and similar provisions, which give the customer the right to terminate the agreement if the target’s ownership changes, Cooke-Yin said, and avoid learning about unexpected potential liabilities or public relations issues after the closing with thorough diligence. “It may be possible to achieve the objective of an acquisition and avoid some of these issues; for example, through an asset acquisition rather than a stock purchase or merger transaction,” Cooke-Yin said. “For both sellers and acquirers, communicating with all owners early on may be helpful and potentially could help avoid transaction costs. If there is a small holdout stockholder who does not want to sell, for example, it may be possible to structure the transaction to effectively force the sale … Structuring to address these issues from the beginning may avoid revising long documents right before closing because of a holdout owner.” That said, there may also be reasons to limit the persons with whom the sale is discussed until further communication is necessary, she said, such as a target CEO may not wish to discuss a potential acquisition with lower-level employee owners in order to avoid workforce disruption during negotiations. “We at CFA never trade in fear, and we believe the best time for the business owner to sell their business is whenever they’re ready; however, the guidance we’ve been giving to our prospective clients is, if you’re thinking about selling, do not wait,” Zipursky said. Often, Simpson noted, value is left on the table when there aren’t strong managers to take over the business if a buyer wants the business to run itself. “Another common pitfall I see is moving too quickly and doing so without engaging your ‘team’ from the outset,” he said. “Communication with the team is vital to a successful transaction.”

Strong team of business partners leads to successful M&A by Gabby Christensen

The ins and outs of mergers and acquisitions can be complicated, which is why experts say it’s important for businesses to enlist professionals to guide the process. Gary M. Gotsdiner, attorney at McGill Gotsdiner Workman Lepp, said it’s necessary to assemble an experienced team, which includes a lawyer, accountant and financial adviser. “As acquisitions become more sizable, they become quite complicated,” he said. “An experienced team is necessary to avoid unexpected consequences, such as liabilities, reguGotsdiner latory problems or other legal issues that might come up. Each person plays a specific role and as the process moves forward, each professional will assume the lead at different times.” According to Gotsdiner, much of the structure of acquisitions and mergers is driven by tax considerations, which is why it’s critical that a professional is on top of matters from the very beginning. He said it’s also important that buyers do not forget about the overall economic picture. “Throughout the process, a buyer needs

to make sure the overall economics of the transaction still makes sense and that it will still come out as expected,” Gotsdiner said. “It’s equally as important that the culture between buyer and the company being acquired is appropriate.” Eric Oxley, co-chair of the M&A practice at Koley Jessen, said a strong M&A-focused

Oxley Rodawig legal team and CPA are an essential part of the team. Depending on the nature of the transaction, Oxley said other experts may be needed, as well, including investment bankers, insurance and benefits consultants and environmental consultants. “Attempting to buy or sell a business without the assistance of a team that has a high degree of expertise advising on deals will likely have a significant impact on the likelihood of achieving a successful closing,”

he said. “If a closing does happen, the underrepresented party will most likely agree to terms that are not fair or market, without even knowing, and that can drastically change the risk exposure to that party or financial profile of the deal.” Alex Rodawig, managing director and head of Carson Wealth, said the number of advisers transitioning in the financial services industry as the baby boomer generation continues to retire is on the rise. “In watching this trend closely, there are several items we consider for successful opportunities in M&A,” he said. In addition to arranging a team of experts, Rodawig said business leaders need to identify a proven process to evaluate the economics of a practice in order to form a compelling valuation of the business. Even after these steps are taken, he said there’s still more to do. “An effective game plan includes what we at Carson like to call the next, next,” Rodawig said. “You need a game plan for how to get back on track in terms of revenue and business growth after the M&A is complete. We see the biggest challenge as the next, next. Many people only worry about getting the deal done, but they don’t have an effective plan in place to continue to grow and evolve the business and may experience a less than desirable outcome down the road.”

Effective negotiation can be a study in give and take by Dwain Hebda

Business and communications experts say the key to effective negotiations is less like the movies and more like a chess match; you should expect to lose some pieces en route to winning the game. “What I tell people is negotiation is problem solving,” said Dr. Kathy Gonzalez, assistant professor of negotiation and conflict resolution at Creighton University. “What makes a good negotiator is preparation and understanding the things you’re required to think about deeply before you enter into a negotiation, such as understanding the needs and interests of all parties.” Gonzalez said the skilled negotiator thinks

much like a skilled salesperson, anticipating ton, attorney with McGrath North. the other side’s objections in advance to “I think the most common mistake made better prepare for them with a value-based during negotiations is defaulting to the way argument. that things have always been done in the past “What they teach salespeople is negoti- without taking into consideration the unique ation,” she said. “They come prepared. You aspects of the particular transaction at hand,” walk into the showroom and they he said. “There is certainly value have already anticipated what your to using a consistent approach, but objections might be and what your each transaction and each party initial offer is. They are trained brings unique circumstances and to identify what your resistance perspectives.” points are and how to overcome Worthington said having too them.” rigid a negotiating formula can Dr. Chris Diller with the Unicause knowledge gaps that unnecversity of Nebraska at Omaha essarily become major stumbling College of Business said disblocks. tributive negotiation — the kind “Making a compelling arguwhere there’s a fixed sum game of ment requires you to know and unWorthington winners and losers — is gradually derstand what you are asking for, giving way to integrative negotiation as a bet- why it’s important to you and what issues your ter approach, both now and in future working ask creates for the other party,” he said. “You relationships. are well-served to appreciate how a single “Integrative negotiation thinks more issue might interact with other issues, related broadly,” he said. “If I screw you on one deal, and unrelated, within an overall transaction.” I may not be able to leverage the benefits you David Nelson, attorney with Abrahams offer me over the long term. The integrative Kaslow & Cassman, was even more succinct approach is about growing the size of the in his advice for the inexperienced negotiapot so there’s more long-term benefit for all tor. First, do your homework, especially in parties.” a merger. Transitioning to the integrative approach “A buyer should investigate and fully unis difficult for many people because it involves derstand the nature of what they’re buying,” sharing of information, something decades of he said. “The seller needs to understand that distributive negotiation avoided at all costs. they’re selling assets and to minimize liabil“I need to be willing to share enough ities post-closing.” information for us to start finding mutually Second, Nelson said to keep a handle on beneficial options,” Diller said. “Without that reality even as you’re defending your position. trust and openness, you’re not going to find “Anticipate the arguments the other side those things that will grow the pie. You’re is going to make so you’re prepared to answer going to end up getting locked into a single those and come up with counter arguments,” transaction and that distributive approach.” he said. “Think about where you’re going to Other common missteps at the bargaining be and where you can find a middle ground. table includes approaching each deal with a It’s very rare that you get everything you cookie-cutter mentality, said Tom Worthing- ask for.”


Mergers and Acquisitions •

Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

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After the merger or acquisition — how the business should move forward by David Kubicek

Mergers and acquisitions happen for many reasons, and every transaction is different, but in all cases some restructuring is inevitable. There’s no such thing as a merger of equals — one of the two firms is always in control post close, said Jim Zipursky, chairman and CEO of CFA Worldwide.  “It does happen where the acquiring company guts the acquired company and moves the operation back to [their main location], but often there are minimal changes,” he said. Cortney Sells, president of The Firm, said there are three buyer types: 1) a private equity group that buys a company to improve its profitability and sells it at a profit, 2) a strategic buyer such as a roofing company that buys a window company so the firms can share client base and staff, and 3) the owner/ operator who buys the business to run it. “Make sure you have documents that lay out what happens and when,” Sells said. “If something breaks and there’s a warranty on it, is the buyer or seller responsible? If an invoice comes in because the vendor forgot to do the billing for the last two months, who is supposed to pay it? Will the seller continue working full time or part time? How long will the seller stay to transition his people?” In addition to a CPA and attorney, it’s important to have a mediator to help both the buyer and seller gain an outside perspective.

“No detail is too small to discuss [in the transition plan],” Zipursky said. “How will you answer the phone the next day? What name do you use going forward? What story will your employees tell vendors and customers who ask why the business sold. You need to provide a unified message going forward.” Other things that should be discussed include how much vacation time employees will get, how long customers should be given to pay their bills, which company’s benefits plan will be kept and which company’s computer system will be used. Sells Skyline Advisors President John Gustafson said a detailed list of risks and considerations combined with a carefully thought-out plan to address each consideration greatly improves the probability of a successful M&A transaction. The combined company should consider factors like corporate culture, unifying accounting and financial practices, streamlining customer and vendor relationships, combining management information systems and differences in the core operations. “Often theoretical synergies fail to be

realized because either they were not thoroughly evaluated during due diligence or proper integration planning did not occur,” Gustafson said. “The potential benefits could be elimination of redundant costs, integration of systems to improve efficiency, offering new products or services to exist-

Gustafson

Sherrets

ing customers, expanding the client base for existing products or services and other economies of scale.” The direction the new company takes will depend on the reason for the merger or acquisition, according to Lutz Financial Analyst Dani Sherrets.  For example, in a business turnaround acquisition, buyers will be focusing on identifying the reasons that the company is in distress and will make appropriate changes and investments to successfully rehabilitate it. 

“Typically, a turnaround is focused on improving the numbers, production efficiencies, margins [and other factors],” Sherrets said. “On the flip side, when acquiring a healthy company, buyers are looking at implementing growth strategies like new market penetration, product development and market expansion. With proper preparation, unexpected circumstances during the transition phase can be eliminated.” Gustafson said sellers should start planning for a transaction before they are even approached so they can be well-prepared when they receive unsolicited inquiries or have an unexpected life event that changes their plans. Buyers will want to conduct thorough due diligence and begin planning the integration, messaging and other logistics before the deal closes.


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

Universal Information Services taps AI for competitive advantage Continued from page 1. grade year at Westside’s Valley View Junior High when he would do television monitoring from his parent’s family room and give reports to his dad via landline. In 1991, with one foot into the media intelligence industry as a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he, with the help of a friend, developed the first software

Universal Information Services Phone: 402-342-3178 Address: 1700 Farnam St., Suite 1260, Omaha 68102 Services: global provider of monitored news media and measurement services Founded: 1908 by Katherine Allen Employees: 18 One-year goal: Increase awareness of the technology being used to get superior results for clients that have been getting less from larger media monitoring competitors but without specialty tools and services developed in Omaha. Industry outlook: Use of digital technology in media intelligence enables firms that make the investment to morph into consultancy services. Website: www.universal-info.com

to monitor closed-caption newscasts on four local stations and write it to a database. Today the younger Murphy continues to embrace technology, which while costly and encompasses much of Universal Information Services’ 4,800-square-feet on the 12th floor of Woodmen Life Tower, enables

his business to garner information from TV, radio, web, social media, print and do measurement analysis of metrics for over 620,000 media outlets dating back to 2001. The younger Murphy said the Omaha-developed metrics average a 95% confidence level while the industry average for automated analysis is just over 50%. “We’re competing with billion dollar-plus companies and some with sales staffs of up to 700, and us with revenues of over one million and a staff of 12 here in Omaha are competing well,” he said. “We achieve that by making our content so much more meaningful. “We are a bottom-up organization and it is the content of our data set that makes us produce better results.” The younger Murphy cites a large national insurance company that left Universal Information Services for one of the larger competitors but found that only about half of its media coverage was being found by its new firm. Another Universal client — a post-secondary education institution — has cancelled three times but returned to the Universal fold each time. “What we’ve found is that the more we can innovate, the better the chance we have of expanding our business,” Jim Murphy said. “Blogs and the internet are tools that are being picked up today and the result is that we’re getting increased sales.” Todd Murphy said one of the newest products is Alpha Clips, a news monitoring platform that tracks the article origin of shared news stories. Applied data science

Arlo Grafton works on digital preservation. allows the technology to identify and “By understanding and training our news summarize news that would commonly be monitoring programs to follow the convenshared across social networks and online. tions of journalism and writing, we are able By the use of artificial intelligence, the to generate a level of media monitoring finding, formatting, clustering, and de- never before possible,” Todd Murphy said. livery of important news coverage aimed Media monitoring projects are responsiat public relations and other communica- ble for generating about 70% of Universal tion professionals can be achieved more Information Services’ revenues, followed by efficiently. media measurement and insight. The latter What’s provided is faster access to involves analysis of what data collected breaking news across email, desktop, and means. mobile app environments. For example, “We can analyze a month of data and streamlined reading can reduce article length show the client ‘here are the message points Continued on page 11. by up to 75%.


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Union Omaha kicks off pro soccer club at Werner Park, gains pre-season following Continued from page 1. of merchandise for Union Omaha. Gary Green is Alliance Omaha Soccer’s CEO and managing partner. The team’s coach is Jay Mims. “This is more for the community than anything else,” Houghton said. “It’s a business but we really are looking at this to make Omaha and the community around it stronger.” The No. 1 conversation among Omaha’s business leaders is how to attract and retain workers. “I’m on all these committees and [we’re] constantly talking about, how do we make Omaha a more attractive city — one, so we can keep people here but also that we can attract people — and we think soccer is one way to do that.” Professional soccer’s popularity is on the rise nationally. League One, a professional soccer league recognized by the United States Soccer Federation, is sanctioned as a third division league, just under Championship and Major League Soccer, according to Union Omaha’s website. USL League One is the newest league and is currently in its inaugural season. “I think we’re seeing a movement — people are really into soccer,” he said. “Professional soccer’s on fire in the United States; major league soccer has come leaps and bounds in the last 10, 15 years.” Houghton recently attended a USL game in Phoenix that boasted about 9,000 people in attendance. “The league’s strong,” he said. “We think our community’s going to support it.” Matt Homonoff, who joined Union Omaha as COO in May, said that the ownership group had the opportunity to affiliate with a major league soccer team, serving as a reserve team, but the group wanted an independent team that’s invested in the community. “We wanted to put a competitive team on the field; we want to put a team on the field that our fans truly believe and know has the ability to win from day one,” he said. “We have high expectations off the field. We have high expectations on the field. So, the ability for us as an organization to put a team that our community to rally around and truly be proud of from the very beginning is very important to everyone with the club.” Research into the name and crest design, the great horned owl, was an “exhaustive process” that involved the community’s input. “We spoke to thousands of people during the approximately five month process leading up to the brand creation and went through multiple designs and designers for that matter, until we ultimately settled on Matthew Wolff who until recently was with Nike, although was working for us in an independent capacity, and he absolutely did a phenomenal job,” he said. “It’s been well received not just in our community but nationwide.” The name Union Omaha signifies uniting the different areas and people in and around the Omaha metro. “It portrays the union between Douglas and Sarpy County, between Omaha and Lincoln, between all the disparate soccer

groups,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the Omaha metro’s incredibly passionate about the game. What’s been lacking quite frankly, is one single brand to rally behind. You can get 10 soccer parents in a room and they’re all likely to be rivals because their kids play in rival clubs. Now they all have one team to cheer for.” Homonoff said that the target demographics for people interested in attending games are “millennials, Hispanics, and of course, soccer playing families.” He referenced the young, vibrant culture of Buildertrend as well as statistics that in our community, one in four people under the age of 25 speak Spanish in their homes. “We know this is the sport that their heritage is ingrained in and we’re building our staff as a result of those facts,” he said. “Being bilingual is a massive plus for us at this point, so at least one of our initial hires needed to be bilingual to help us serve the community from both the ticket sales as well as a community relations perspective.” To allow the Storm Chasers and Union Omaha to share a field, a hydraulic system has been installed at the pitcher’s mound — the fifth USL team to have a hydraulic mound that flips the field from baseball to soccer. For soccer games, the mound sinks underground, gets filled in, and the mound area and the infield dirt are covered with

the same Kentucky bluegrass sod as the rest of the field. Right field is under construction to create more space for corner kicks. “Combine those two elements with the new administrative building, new home locker room and new equipment storage and that’s what you have as the overall construction project at Werner Park,” Homonoff said. Sarpy County is helping to facilitate the remodel, the hydraulic mound and the extension of right field. “Werner Park is the reason we can do this right now and so it’s really exciting for us,” Houghton said. “It’s a world-class facility and they’ve done some really cool things with the suites and the corporate sponsorships there. It’s an exciting place to play.” The inaugural season officially kicks off in March 2020, and the first home game is set for Saturday, April 25, 2020 with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Union Omaha will host a team from Mexico for an exhibition game at Werner Park on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Women’s professional soccer is not to be overlooked, especially following the USA team winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup and its standout stars giving a boost to its fan base. “Through the Nebraska women’s soccer coalition (Nebraska Women in Soccer),

we are actively looking for ways to support the women’s game specifically in terms of not just the youth soccer landscape, which is obviously incredibly popular here in our metro, but heading into the high school and increasingly the college landscape,” Homonoff said. “We have a WPSL team run by the Elite Girls Academy (EGA) that plays its games at Caniglia [Field] that we plan on helping to promote and partner with as we look forward to building out our full support of the game across all demographics. “[Exhibition games] are certainly a conversation. I don’t know if it’s something that we could take on in year one, but as we look towards year two or three, women’s soccer is absolutely part of the conversation.” Houghton said that when he initially brought the group of local investors together, betting on a professional soccer team wasn’t a tough sell. “I think everybody that’s involved, their vision is aligned,” Houghton said. “It’s not about making a ton of money, it’s about making our community stronger, making our city stronger. I think the effects of having a professional team is a win for every business in Omaha, it’s a win for the colleges here, it’s a win for everybody. As I looked at the investor group, it was people that are really long and bullish on Omaha.”

ExecSo focuses on entrepreneurs’ ideal scenario to plot exit strategy Continued from page 1. business owner’s advisers, as well as staff place to achieve that utopia. This includes and family. working in collaboration with attorneys, “Oftentimes it’s making the unspoken CPAs, bankers, investment advisers, com- spoken,” Wellendorf said. “They might mercial insurance have a key employee brokers, employee ExecSo they think is going to benefits providers, Phone: 402-991-1700 take over the compaand financial plan- Address: 9802 Nicholas Street, #375, ny but it’s never been ners and retirement Omaha 68114 talked about.” Service: Advising a limited amount of plan administrators. It can also be W e l l e n d o r f business owners on how to achieve their dealing with divorcf o u n d e d E x e c S o ultimate goals in regards to their business es, substance abuse nearly 19 years ago and its succession. and violence in a but has been working Employees: 3 family. Creating a in this field for the Outlook: As baby boomers who own confidential space last 30 years. He is businesses begin looking towards retireto talk about these joined by Vice Pres- ment they will need help determining how issues is paramount ident of Operations to achieve their ideal future. to the success of a Brady Marlow, who Website: https://execso.com case. Part of creating has over 15 years of that space includes experience as a comprehensive financial the absence of products for sale, ensuradvisor, and Executive Administrative ing a more tailored approach followAssistant Beverly Baker, who spent just ing the philosophy that every situation over 42 years at Prudential Insurance as is unique. an operations and controls specialist. ToMost of these owners have built comgether these three teammates work on a handful of cases. Because every business has its own unique challenges caseloads and timeframes vary. “It’s more like a living, breathing framework for making decisions,” Marlow said. As an example, between 12-24 months the team might be working on between five to seven cases in the heavy lifting stage. “We list outcomes and that’s what we’re trying to get to,” he said. “It’s not like when your times up, that’s it. We’re working on the case until the goals are accomplished.” That “heavy lifting” stage involves gathering information from all of the

panies in a variety of industries with a net worth of $10 million to $15 million. Owners are typically in their 50s to 60s and are just starting to think about retirement or the next stage. “It’s like the business owner is throwing puzzle pieces on the table and then they walk away and Brady and I are trying to find the square pieces that fit together,” Wellendorf said. When looking at his own company, Wellendorf admits that it has a capacity issue, the result of being an intentionally nimble consultation company. The threeteam members handle very specific pieces of the puzzle, making the question of Marlow taking over eventually tricky. The duo echoed each other, stating that they couldn’t run the operation without the other and Baker. “We’re trying to figure out if we can expand capacity without compromising our value proposition, and if we don’t believe we can do that than that’s okay too,” Wellendorf said.


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

SARPY COUNTY

GROWTH REPORT A section prepared by the staff of the Midlands Business Journal

Topics may include the following: This focus section will be published in the December 6th issue of MBJ with the advertising deadline set for November 28th.

• Economic Development Update • Impact of data centers/tech • Sarpy County Chamber working as a hub for cities in the community • Collaborative efforts between communities and businesses in the county • Job Market Overview • Real estate projects bringing an impact to the community • Educational institutions share the latest programs and facility upgrades

Issue Date: December 6 • Ad Deadline: November 28

Technology Topics may include the following: Training & Career Development overview • Leadership training Retaining good employees • Soft skills • Skilled labor • Certificate programs

Issue Date: December 13 Ad Deadline: December 6

A section prepared by the staff of the Midlands Business Journal

Topics may include:

Technology trends overview • Commercializing tech • Hyperautomation Mobile tech trends • IT troubleshooting tips • Tech careers A section prepared by the staff of the Midlands Business Journal

Issue Date: December 20 • Ad Deadline: December 13

To advertise your company’s products or services in one of our upcoming sections, contact one of our MBJ advertising representatives at (402) 330-1760 or at the email addresses below. Julie Whitehead - Julie@mbj.com • Karla Steele - karla@mbj.com • Joe Misiunas - joe@mbj.com


Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

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Is it a pine tree? Or a cellphone tower? ‘Stealth’ structures multiply as wireless technology grows by Andrew Boryga

Tiffany Crump sat outside of a pizza place near the Deerfield Beach city hall recently and thumbed her cellphone. Across the street, a large clock tower loomed over her shoulder. Crump eats lunch at the pizza place every week and has often felt Technology that the yellow tower looks out of place. She figured it was historical — a designated landmark to hint at what the neighborhood looked like decades ago. She was shocked to learn its true purpose: to inconspicuously provide a signal to the cellphone cradled in her palm. SUPER CROSSWORD

Answers on page 12.

“That’s a cellphone tower?” she said. “Shut up. Oh my God.” For over two decades, bulky steel cellphone towers and antennas have been camouflaged in plain sight across the U.S. According to industry professionals the practice, known as stealthing or concealment, is likely to continue as our demands for cellphone service and data continues to grow. In South Florida, hundreds of these stealth towers and antennas take the form of pine trees, flagpoles, light poles, traffic lights, stadium lights and clock towers. There is even one disguised as a large cross in the WOMEN WITH A CONNECTION

parking lot of a West Palm Beach Baptist church. Matt Alvarez, the general manager of a tower assembly company in Pompano Beach, put it together in 2010. He said his company has assembled dozens of these stealth structures in the years since. Alvarez, like other industry professionals, said the demand for new cellphone towers and antennas increased tremendously in the early 2000s, when everyone began to walk around with a phone in their pocket. Before that, tall steel cellphone towers were mostly placed in industrial and rural areas, hidden from residents who found them a sore sight. But a combination of factors including more cellphones, more demand for data and more development has resulted in a need to find creative ways of building new towers and antennas over the last decade or so. Often, those new towers must encroach upon once-sacred residential A tree disguised cell phone tower next to the Parkland Public and retail areas in South Works complex in Parkland. Florida. Without stealth towers and antennas, Verizon or AT&T look to expand their covmeeting those demands would transform erage area or fill in identified gaps, most our streets into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. municipal codes call for carriers to try to “You would just have all these big galva- place their equipment in existing cellphone nized steel structures everywhere,” Alvarez towers, which can often hold equipment for up to four or five carriers at once. After that, said. “Nobody wants to see that.” the code pushes carriers to identify rooftops Local influence Across South Florida, municipal codes or other existing buildings in which they can for local cities tend to encourage the use of add smaller, hidden antennas. If a new tower must be built, cities push stealth towers and antennas — if a tower must for carriers and the tower companies — be built at all. When large cellular carriers like Sprint, which generally purchase or lease the land and fund construction of the tower — to in industrial areas. If they must build Universal Information Services build in a residential area, a stealth tower is often explicitly preferred. Continued from page 8. In Boca Raton, for example, stealth you should focus on when working with towers are the next best choice after using your client,’” he added. An emerging revenue source — about existing structures. In Parkland, the munici10%, at present — involves the use of pal code specifies that if a new tower must be Alpha Clips by architects, engineers and built in a residential area, it must be a stealth tower. In Fort Lauderdale, stealth towers are contractors. “We’re digging deeper for data quality close behind small cell tower designs, which and for reliable insights,” Murphy said. can either attach to existing light poles and “We’re asking ourselves how we can take traffic lights or call for the addition of new more data from information, extract it and light poles. Anthony Fajardo, director of the Departexplain how it can be made more valuable ment of Sustainable Development for Fort for our customers.” The father-son duo are longtime veter- Lauderdale, said a new stealth tower hasn’t ans of the Omaha Press Club and they were been built in the city for close to five years. recently given Face on the Barroom Floor He said the city prefers using light poles and honors. They are concerned about the eco- traffic lights, which require more structures nomic struggles of local print news outlets that are closer together, but are more conacross the nation, and the void that would spicuous than trees or flagpoles that can scale upwards of 60 feet into the sky. be left if the publications fail. “Generally speaking, people care about “The first amendment will suffer,” Jim Murphy said. Continued on page 12.


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

Is it a pine tree? Or a cellphone tower? ‘Stealth’ structures multiply as wireless technology grows

Continued from preceding page. the height of these things,” Fajardo said. The first disguised tower Andrew Messing, president of Larson Valmont, one of the largest producers of stealth towers and antennas, said his Arizona-based company completed the very first disguised tower in 1992 in Denver. At the time, the company was known as Larson and had made a name for itself creating fake trees, rocks, canyons and other artificial environments for theme parks, casinos, resorts and museums. Messing said Sprint was trying to get a cellphone tower approved in the early 1990s in Denver, but the local jurisdiction didn’t want an ugly tower to ruin its vistas. Sprint approached Larson and suggested they help the carrier make the tower look like a pine tree. After that first project, Messing said the company inadvertently helped create a whole new industry. By 2005, the company began to focus exclusively on designing stealth towers

and antennas. Their designs expanded to variations of trees like elm trees, cypress trees and palm trees. In Northern California, they created faux wood water tanks. A popular model in desert climates is a cactus with 10,000 hand-painted needles. In South Florida, Messing said palm trees don’t work because the trees are shorter and our state is too flat to provide the right height they need to be effective. He said flagpoles are a popular model, as well as pine trees. The company has also created faux roof attachments, like the chimneys attached to the rooftop of the Breakers Hotel and Resorts in Palm Beach. “Our motto is, you dream it and we’ll build it,” Messing said. Messing said most designs start as 3D models. Artisans then work to create faux materials such as bark. Painting stealth structures is an art in itself, he said, and sometimes gray paint is used to give structures like trees a weathered look. “You don’t want a tree to

look like it was just born yesterday,” he said. With each design, he said, the goal to make the tower as invisible as possible. Although the industry is growing today — Larson was recently acquired by one of the larger infrastructure companies in the country and is now known as Larson Valmont — Messing said that in the beginning stealth towers and antennas were often a last resort. According to him it is about 30% cheaper to build a traditional steel cellphone tower and many cellphone tower companies and carriers would go the stealth route only if a local jurisdiction required them to do so. Today, however, he said many carriers and tower companies automatically look for stealth options particularly in residential areas because they know it will speed up the approvals process. “Carriers and the local jurisdictions realize that in order to satisfy people’s demands for greater connectivity, it is necessary to have many more towers out there,” said Messing. “Disguising them is a way to alleviate the

Kroger to try a new approach: Growing produce inside the grocery store by Keerthi Vedantam

Shoppers at Quality Food Centers soon will be able to pick up their bunches of kale and parsley just inches away from where they grow. The Seattle grocery chain’s parent company, Kroger, has partnered with German vertical-farming startup Infarm to hydroponically grow cilantro, kale and crystal lettuce right near the produce aisles of two Quality Food Centers in Kirkland and Trends Bellevue, Wash. The first harvest of greens at those stores is due next week, and the company plans to expand to 15 QFCs in Washington and Oregon by April. The two local stores are the first in the country to experiment with Infarm. Cincinnati-based Kroger, which operates nearly 2,500 grocery stores in 31 states under some two dozen brands, is testing the idea in the Pacific Northwest because “the market itself is fun and innovative,” said Kelli McGannon, Kroger’s QFC representative. “It’s also a place where residents want access to fresh, affordable produce and they’re concerned about the environment.” Ever since Kroger rebranded in early November, changing its slogan to “Fresh for everyone,” the supermarket conglomerate has been making incremental changes to its local stores. “How do we break out of that sea of sameness?” McGannon said. “We’re always trying to find ways to stay relevant.” This is Infarm’s first partnership in the U.S., but it has hundreds of vertical, stackable farm units sprouting fresh greens in supermarkets and restaurants all over the world. The company uses a cloud-based platform to control lighting and temperature remotely, which it says enables the same type of produce to grow optimally no matter where it is. Vertical-farming startups have struggled to grow while navigating a relatively new industry. San Francisco-based Plenty was expected to open a 100,000-square-foot vertical farm in Kent, but after two years of planning it announced last week the farm was too tall for the facility it leased in 2017. Some others, including Canada’s Local Garden Vancouver and Illinois-based FarmedHere, folded within a few years of breaking ground.

“There’s a lot more to growing vegetables than putting seeds in a pot,” said Persis Acworth, who manages the University of Washington’s 1.5-acre campus farm and other agriculture projects. “The biological activity of the Earth outside is difficult to replicate indoors.” Infarm, like many vertical-farming companies, emphasizes the savings in money and energy that can be realized on transportation, water and chemical pesticides, while promising fresh and accessible food. Infarm says food plucked thousands of miles away loses nutrients and flavor in transportation. Kroger said it expects to shave operation costs by using Infarm, and its produce only needs tending once or twice a week. “I think if Kroger wants to do this, that’s great,” Acworth said. “(But) there’s a lot to be solved there, too.” Vertical farming is still a high-maintenance venture. It’s best suited for low-maintenance and lightweight crops — “How would you vertically grow a pumpkin?” Acworth asked. Lack of crop diversity makes the plants more susceptible to pests, even in controlled indoor environments. Vertical farming also requires metropolitan real estate and specific energy and environmental conditions to operate efficiently, while outdoor farms can benefit from natural sunlight unhindered by tall buildings. “Cost of real estate unifies the two of them,” Acworth said. Spaces for indoor farms and outdoor farms “are becoming prohibitively expensive.” Infarm sells nearly 30 types of herbs and greens, but not a single piece of fruit. Meanwhile, Washington boasts a patchwork of 15 million acres of farmland across a variety of microclimates that have made it the No. 1 producer of hops, apples and asparagus. “Vertical is much more interested in volume,” said Colleen Donovan, executive director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association. “The farmers we work with are generally operating on a much smaller scale.” Small farmers, she said, “are very much committed to the local farmland, to enriching the natural resources, to working in sync with their own ecological areas.” Kroger still sells its branded organic farm

produce, since the Infarm-grown produce is technically not organic. The United States Department of Agriculture doesn’t have a process to certify plants grown using hydroponics, a practice that uses a nutrient solution mixed with water instead of soil. McGannon said she expects the storegrown option to be popular with consumers. “They want a one-stop shop for their fresh produce,” she said. “It really is the closest access to fresh-grown produce as you can get.” ©2019 The Seattle Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

potential for visual pollution.” The future of stealth Alvarez, who has been assembling and maintaining stealth towers across South Florida for 15 years, estimates that there are hundreds of stealth towers and antennas in the region. He, as well as other industry professionals, expects that number to dramatically increase with the transition to 5G wireless technology. Alvarez said that although 5G will bring faster speeds, it requires more towers and antennas than previous iterations of wireless technology because the signal’s frequency does not travel as far. Instead of miles apart, sites will need to be hundreds of feet apart. According to CTIA, a trade organization representing the U.S. wireless communications industry, there were just over 300,000 large and small scale cellphone towers and antennas in operation by the end of 2018 in the country. Crown Castle, one of the larger tower building companies in the country, said it operates over 2,000 large towers and over 6,000 small cell sites in Florida alone. The company expects that number to grow, as does everyone else in the industry as a result of increased wireless demand. A spokeswoman for Verizon said the company expects wireless data use to grow five times greater by 2021 than what is used today. “To meet — and stay ahead of — rising demand for mobile data, we are using small cells to deliver the coverage, capacity and network reliability to users where they need it most,” the spokeswoman said. ©2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SUPER CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS

Puzzle on page 11.


Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

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Go big or get out? Some in farming say the opposite is the future by Adam Belz

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue appeared to be delivering hard truth to the heartland last month when he said he wasn’t sure family dairies would survive. Consolidation has been the driving force in agriculture for Agriculture decades, and Perdue’s comments reflect that reality. “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” Perdue said at a dairy exposition in Wisconsin. But not everyone agrees the trend will continue unabated. Conventional agriculture that emphasizes economies of scale faces its own fundamental weaknesses, and several forces are reshaping the future of farming in ways that may favor the small. “There is a very strong future for family farms,” said Russell Diez-Canseco, CEO of Vital Farms, an umbrella company for independent egg farmers in nine states. Small farmers and people like Diez-Canseco who work with them describe an industry that’s evolving and in which they are well-positioned to meet demand for new types of food and other crops. Younger farmers are less interested in fence row-tofence row crop production. Consumers want a more direct relationship with their food. Alternative crops, such as hemp, that can be grown on small acreages at a profit, are gaining ground in the marketplace. Large-scale corn and soybean farmers are more productive than ever, but their livelihood depends on the government. Corn prices are propped up by ethanol mandates,

for instance. Soybean growers are worried they will never fully recover a Chinese market that has been decimated by the trade war and a disease that wiped out many pigs in that country. More than a third of U.S. farm income in 2019 is expected to come from the government. Meanwhile, the inputs for corn and soybean production are depleting and becoming more expensive. Farmers must contend with weeds and insects increasingly resistant to herbicides and pesticides, for instance. And the government system designed to support those crops has encouraged farmers to grow too much of them. “A huge amount of public policies are supporting keeping the current system going, and what that’s leading to is overproduction, which is one of our problems,” said Fred Kirschenmann, a fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University who manages an organic farm in North Dakota. On top of all that, the men and women who run conventional farms are aging out of the business, and the younger people interested in farming are eager to try something different, if they are able to buy or rent land. To Kirschenmann, it all means that an era in which farmers relied on nonrenewable inputs like oil and rock phosphate to wrest the maximum number of calories from the ground is coming to a close. “There are examples of farmers already beginning to transition to a different kind of future that can be successful,” Kirschenmann said. “In my conversations with the young farmers, who are age 30 and 40,

they don’t want to do the input-intensive commodity agriculture.” Helping those young farmers figure out a business model that works will take effort and investment, Kirschenmann said, but even redirecting a small percentage of the subsidies for conventional corn and soybeans to that project could help. The transition Kirschenmann hopes for would be a seismic shift. Most small farmers were squeezed out of hog, poultry and cattle production by the late 1990s. Conventional corn and soybean farming falls to fewer farmers each year as growers retire and their land is snapped up by larger farms nearby. Dairy had been until recently the consolidation holdout, with thousands of smaller farms across Minnesota and Wisconsin, but massive dairies even in Minnesota are now taking a larger share of the milk market and family dairies face existential crises. That hasn’t stopped some in farming from being bullish about a future where crops aimed at consumer niches can succeed. Diez-Canseco leads a business that was created as an alternative to large-scale farming. Demand for pasture-raised eggs is growing faster than demand for eggs from chickens kept in huge confinement buildings, he said. “The key for a small family farm with limited access to capital is to farm in a way that doesn’t compete directly with those parts of our food system which are driven by scale economies,” Diez-Canseco said. Vital Farms accepts that reality itself —

pany ran an ad showing a young woman sitting pensively on a front porch. “Your grandfather did better than his father,” it read. “Your father did better than his father. Are you prepared to carry on the tradition?” Note the use of the respectable word “tradition” on what’s really a call for intergenerational competition. It suggests that failure to amass more wealth than one’s parents is a threat to the family’s honor. So what if the next generation isn’t so rich as the previous one? The way most of our younger people live would be the envy of 95 percent of the Earth’s inhabitants. Such thinking would have been wholly foreign to the Pilgrims celebrating the “first Thanksgiving.” The Pilgrims traded all the comforts of England to worship as they chose. Their ship, the Mayflower, landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Dec. 16, 1620. They held the “first Thanksgiving” the following autumn. Mid-December is an awful time to set up shop in the New England wilderness. Disease immediately carried off more than half of the 102 colonists. They are buried on Coles Hill, right across the street from Plymouth Rock. Without the help of the Wampanoag Indians, the colony would have vanished altogether. Things got better by 1625, prompting the colony’s governor, William Bradford, to write that the Pilgrims “never felt the sweetness of the country till this year.” But that hadn’t stopped them from giving thanks four years earlier. The purpose was not to celebrate the good life but to celebrate their staying alive. The natives shared in the feast. By the 1830s, America was already a

bustling land of fortune building and material lust. Intellectuals of the day looked back nostalgically at the Puritan concern with unworldly matters. Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke of the Pilgrims’ religious orientation as “an antidote to the spirit of commerce and of economy.” Thanksgiving is a throwback to that misty past. It requires a Zen-like acceptance of the present and what is. Gratitude is the order of the day. This is a full-glass holiday. To be healthy, educated and living in America is to have one’s cup running over. For that, let us give thanks. Copyright 2019 Creators.com

The Zen of Thanksgiving by Froma Harrop

Thanksgiving is the most American of holidays. But there is something almost un-American about it. It is a day opposed to striving, to getting more. We stop adding up the numbers on the scorecard of life. We freeze in place and Economy give thanks for whatever is there. The Wall Street Journal once featured sob stories about failed dot-com entrepreneurs. People still in their 20s and 30s spoke painfully of their disappointments. They had planned to make many millions on internet startups, but the dot-com market crashed before they could pile up the first seven figures. One 29-year-old had joined a new company that paid “only” $38,000 a year. His business school classmates were averaging $120,000 at traditional firms. Others talked of working outrageously long hours. When their dot-com closed its doors, they had little personal life to fall back on. Our culture does not encourage contentment with what we have. This is the land of the upgrade. One can always do better, be it with house or spouse. When money is the measurement, the competitive struggle can never end without acknowledging some kind of defeat. Everyone other than Bill Gates has someone who is ahead. Messages in the media continually tweak Americans’ innate sense of inadequacy. Our folk hero is the college dropout who sells his tech company for $2 billion by the age of 26. How is a middle-aged guy making $58,000 a year supposed to feel about that? Some years back, an investment com-

for instance, by packing all its farmers’ eggs at a central packing facility. The company also recognizes how difficult it is for smaller farmers to navigate government programs and subsidies. “We coordinate and manage all the complex paperwork and inspections that are required to sell eggs in this country. Most small farms wouldn’t have the expertise,” Diez-Canseco said. “A major role that the secretary of agriculture has is ensuring a safe and abundant food system for the United States and our citizens, but all that I would ask for is a level playing field for our farmers regardless of size.” Sustainable food and direct-to-consumer farming aren’t the only options for farmers interested in staying small. One crop that’s growing quickly in Minnesota is hemp. The number of licensed hemp growers in the state grew from 51 to 540 in 2019, most of them growing the crop for production of cannabidiol (CBD), the nonpsychoactive cousin of marijuana’s high-inducing component. CBD is a trendy wellness product, and 5-gram bottles of the stuff can retail for as much as $390. Steven Brown, CEO of Nothing But Hemp, one of a handful of hemp-oil retailers that has popped up in the Twin Cities in recent years, said hemp farming is a profitable option for small farmers. Craft hemp producers typically cultivate between 10 and 40 acres, he said, and can generate $15,000 to $30,000 in revenue per acre if they are growing the crop for CBD oil, grow the right strains and find the right processor. “If they’re growing for craft CBD, I think it’s a really good opportunity for smaller farmers,” Brown said. “These small craft farmers will be able to be agile enough to provide the right strains for retailers like me.” For Kirschenmann, hemp farming is one example of the type of alternative crop that could be the “beginnings of a transition” away from corn and soybeans. “It became so popular for farmers to simplify their operations. But now we’ve come to the point where that’s not going to work anymore,” he said. ©2019 Star Tribune (Minneapolis) Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com Distributed by  Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

LEGAL NOTICES MBJ legal notice instructions The following are some guidelines to consider when posting legal notices with the Midlands Business Journal: 1. Submit a written notice in either Microsoft Word or as a PDF document to Beth Grube at legals@mbj.com, fax to 402-758-9315 or mail: 1324 S. 119th St. Omaha, NE 68144. For trade names, submit a copy of approved (bar code in upper right hand corner) Application For Registration of Trade Name from the Secretary of State to the same email address. Please include your billing address and the desired duration you’d like your notice to run (trade names run for only one week). 2. You will receive a confirmation and price quote. Legal notices, except for trade names, are charged per line. The flat fee for a trade name is $50. Payment options are cash or check. 3. Deadline is 5 p.m. Tuesday for a notice to start publishing that Friday. 4. All costs include fees to file the notice with the Secretary of State and/or any appropriate courts. 5. You will receive a paid invoice copy and a courtesy proof of the notice the first week it runs and a copy of the affidavit filed with the courts the last week.

KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF WAITT PLYMOUTH, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Waitt Plymouth, LLC has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the limited liability company is 1125 S 103rd Street, Suite 425, Omaha, Nebraska 68124. The registered agent and office of the limited liability company is Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O, 1125 S 103rd Street, Suite 800, Omaha, Nebraska 68124. The Certificate of Organization was filed with the Nebraska Secretary of State on November 7, 2019. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 WHITMORE LAW OFFICE LLC 7602 Pacific Street, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that Interiors by MW, L.L.C. (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the Company is 8210 Decatur Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The registered agent of the Company is Meghan Wetterstrom, 8210 Decatur Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The Company was formed on November 6, 2019. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 ROBERT J. KMIECIK, Attorney STINSON LLP 1299 Farnam Street, Suite 1500 Omaha, Nebraska 68102-1818 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF Milan Laser Detroit Novi, LLC Notice is hereby given that a Nebraska limited liability company named Milan Laser Detroit Novi, LLC (the “Company”) was formed under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The street and mailing address of the initial designated office of the Company is 17645 Wright Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68130 and the Company’s initial agent for service of process at such address is Abe Schumacher. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 ROBERT J. KMIECIK, Attorney STINSON LLP 1299 Farnam Street, Suite 1500 Omaha, Nebraska 68102-1818 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF Milan Laser Detroit Sterling Heights, LLC Notice is hereby given that a Nebraska limited liability company named Milan Laser Detroit Sterling Heights, LLC (the “Company”) was formed under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The street and mailing address of the initial designated office of the Company is 17645 Wright Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68130 and the Company’s initial agent for service of process at such address is Abe Schumacher. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF AMENDMENT NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Certificate of Organization of NW Omaha Kiddie Academy, LLC has been amended to change the name of the limited liability company to NW Omaha KA, LLC. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF GCP II 900 C75, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that GCP II 900 C75, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office address of the Company is 10340 North 84th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68122. The name and address of the registered agent of the Company is Zachary A. Wiegert, 10340 North 84th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68122. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019

DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF GCP II 1100 C75, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that GCP II 1100 C75, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office address of the Company is 10340 North 84th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68122. The name and address of the registered agent of the Company is Zachary A. Wiegert, 10340 North 84th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68122. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 ANGELA MADATHIL, Attorney Goosmann Law Firm 17838 Burke St., Suite 250 Omaha, Nebraska 68118 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION The name of the limited liability company is JCE Apparel LLC. The initial designated and registered office is 6541 Russell Emmett Ct., Papillion, NE 68133. The registered agent is Angela Madathil, c/o Goosmann Law Firm, PLC, 17838 Burke St., Suite 250, Omaha, NE, 68118. The general nature of the business to be transacted is any and all lawful business for which a limited liability company may be organized under the Nebraska Uniform Limited Liability Company Act including owning property, and owning/operating day care centers. The Company commenced on November 7, 2019, and its duration is perpetual. The affairs of the Company will be conducted by its Officers. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 RUSSELL J. KREIKEMEIER, Attorney KREIKEMEIER LAW OFFICES 126 East Grove Street West Point, Nebraska 68788 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given of the organization of Stavas Medical Imaging, LLC, with its registered office address at 126 East Grove, West Point, Nebraska 68788 and its principal office location in Omaha, Nebraska. The purpose or purposes for which this Company is formed is to specialize in diagnosing injuries and diseases using medical imaging procedures such as X-Ray, Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and ultrasound; from body imaging to diagnostic radiology, mammography, to molecular medicine/imaging, interventional radiology procedures and medical consulting. The Company will conduct any other matter(s) including the transaction of all or any lawful business or engagement in any commercial venture permitted by the Nebraska Limited Liability Company Act, as amended, and all other applicable law. The initial capital of the Company has been contributed and evidence of membership in the Company will be issued by the Management Board. The Company commenced doing business on November 6, 2019, and shall have perpetual existence. The affairs of the Company shall be conducted by a Management Board and such other Officers and Managers as may be provided for in the Operating Agreement of the Company. DATED the 11th day of November, 2019 First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 BENJAMIN J. PICK, Attorney PANSING HOGAN ERNST & BACHMAN LLP 10250 Regency Circle, Suite 300 Omaha, Nebraska 68114-3728 NOTICE OF AMENDMENT TO THE CERTIFICATE OF ORGANIZATION OF TRAN TEC, LLC Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Nebraska Limited Liability Company Act, the Certificate of Organization of Tran Tec, LLC, a Nebraska limited liability company (the “Company”) has been amended to change the name of the Company to Tran-Tec, LLC. The Amended Certificate of Organization was filed with the Secretary of State of the State of Nebraska on November 8, 2019. In all other respects, the Certificate of Organization remains unchanged. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 NOTICE OF PUBLICATION TO: RODNEY WILSON Jr You are hereby notified that on 06/13/19, the Plaintiff Credit Management Services, Inc., filed a Complaint in the COUNTY Court of DOUGLAS County, Nebraska, against you shown as Case Number CI19 13104 . The object and prayer of which is a judgment in the amount of 500.00, plus court costs, pre-judgment interest and attorney fees, if applicable. The Complaint prays that judgment be entered against you. You are hereby notified that you must answer the Complaint on or before 01/05/20 at the COUNTY court of DOUGLAS County, OMAHA Nebraska. Edwina Heise #25377 P.O. Box 1512, Grand Island, NE 68802, (308)398-3801 Attorney for Plaintiff First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 ERICKSON l SEDERSTROM, P.C., Attorneys 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF TWIN ADVISERS, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Twin Advisers, LLC, a Nebraska limited liability company (the “Company”), has been duly organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska, with its designated office at 331 Village Point Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68118 and designating its registered agent as Erickson & Sederstrom, P.C. a limited liability organization with its registered office at 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019

DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF GCP II 1000 C75, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that GCP II 1000 C75, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office address of the Company is 10340 North 84th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68122. The name and address of the registered agent of the Company is Zachary A. Wiegert, 10340 North 84th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68122. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 RICHARD A. DEWITT, Attorney C R O K E R , H U C K , K A S H E R , D E W I T T, A N D E R S O N & GONDERINGER, L.L.C. 2120 S. 72ND STREET, SUITE 1200 OMAHA, NEBRASKA 68124 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF ROLLING PRAIRIE SOLAR, LLC The name of the limited liability company is Rolling Prairie Solar, LLC. The address of the initial designated office is 1209 Harney Street #400, Omaha, NE 68102. The name and address of the initial agent for service of process is Richard A. DeWitt, 2120 South 72nd Street, Suite 1200, Omaha, NE 68124. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 RICHARD A. DEWITT, Attorney C R O K E R , H U C K , K A S H E R , D E W I T T, A N D E R S O N & GONDERINGER, L.L.C. 2120 S. 72ND STREET, SUITE 1200 OMAHA, NEBRASKA 68124 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF BURT COUNTY SOLAR, LLC The name of the limited liability company is Burt County Solar, LLC. The address of the initial designated office is 1209 Harney Street #400, Omaha, NE 68102. The name and address of the initial agent for service of process is Richard A. DeWitt, 2120 South 72nd Street, Suite 1200, Omaha, NE 68124. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 KELLOGG & PALZER, P.C. 10828 Old Mill Road, Suite 6 Omaha, Nebraska 68154-2647 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION 1. The name of the Company is STARDUST INDUSTRIES, LLC. 2. The street address of the initial designated office is 18605 Cornish Road, Springfield, NE 68059. 3. The registered agent is Rachel E. Breitkreutz and the Register Agent's address is 18605 Cornish Road, Springfield, NE 68059. 4. The general nature of the Company is the practice of limited medical practice. 5. The Company commenced on November 8, 2019, and shall have perpetual existence. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF ACKERMAN HOLDINGS, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Ackerman Holdings, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska on November 13, 2019. The Designated Office Address of the Company is 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The Registered Agent of the Company is DDLG Business Services, Inc., 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 ABRAHAMS KASLOW & CASSMAN LLP, Attorneys 8712 West Dodge Road, Suite 300 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Hidden Roots Healing LLC has been organized as a limited liability company under the Nebraska Uniform Limited Liability Company Act. The street and mailing address of the initial designated office of the company is 8712 West Dodge Road, Suite 300, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The name and street and mailing address of the initial registered agent of the company for service of process are Randall C. Hanson, Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman LLP, 8712 West Dodge Road, Suite 300, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The company is organized to render the professional service of mental health therapy as a mental health practitioner requiring licensure under the laws of the state of Nebraska, and to render other related services as may be ancillary thereto. First publication November 8, 2019, final November 29, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF AUTHENTIC IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHY, L.L.C. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that AUTHENTIC IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHY, L.L.C., is organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska, with a designated and regis¬tered office at 5910 North 167th Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68116. The affairs of the company are to be conducted by the manager and registered officer, STACY D. THORNE. The Limited Liability Company is organized to transact any and all business, and perform services of every kind and nature whatsoever, which are not inconsistent with law. The Limited Liability Company commenced on October 23, 2019, and shall have perpetual existence. STACY D. THORNE, Organizational Member, 5910 North 167th Plaza, Omaha, NE 68116 First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019


Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • LEGAL NOTICES DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF MAG MANAGEMENT, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that MAG Management, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The Designated Office Address of the Company is 222 S. 15th Street, Suite 1404S, Omaha, Nebraska 68102. The Registered Agent of the Company is DDLG Business Services, Inc., 9500 W. Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 IN THE DISTRICT COURT FOR DOUGLAS COUNTY NEBRASKA NOTICE TO DEFENDANTS TO: All Persons Having or Claiming Any Interest in the Following Described Property: All of Lots 1 and 2, Block 9, except the North 47.0 feet of said Lot 1 and the East 12-5/8’ of the North 47.0 feet of said Lot 2, lying in Improvement Association Addition, as surveyed, platted and recorded in Douglas County, Nebraska, Real Names Unknown. You are hereby notified that on the 7th day of November, 2019, Plaintiff, Vincentini Plumbing, Inc., f/d/b/a V & V Construction, Inc., a Nebraska corporation, filed a Complaint in the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska against you and each of you in Case No. CI19-8726, the object and prayer of said Complaint being to obtain a decree of the Court quieting the title of said Plaintiff in and to: All of Lots 1 and 2, Block 9, except the North 47.0 feet of said Lot 1 and the East 12-5/8’ of the North 47.0 feet of said Lot 2, lying in Improvement Association Addition, as surveyed, platted and recorded in Douglas County, Nebraska. The Complaint further prays that you and each of you be forever barred from having or claiming any right, title, interest or ownership in and to said real estate or any part thereof, and for such other and further relief as equity requires. You and each of you are hereby notified that you are required to answer said Complaint on or before the 29th day of December, 2019. VINCENTINI PLUMBING, INC., f/d/b/a V & V CONSTRUCTION, INC., A Nebraska Corp., By: Mark S. Dickhute #17586, 955 No. Adams St., Suite 1, Papillion, Nebraska 68046 Email:dickhutelaw@gmail.com Tel: 402-614-4060 First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 AMANDA M. BARRON, Attorney P.O. Box 597 Fremont, Nebraska 68026 LEGAL NOTICE TO THE DEFENDANT(s), BRANDON M THOMAS You are hereby notified that Credit Bureau Services, Inc., a corporation, filed its complaint in the County Court of DOUGLAS County, Nebraska on 08/08/2019 on Case Number CI19-17832, the object and prayer of which is to recover the sum of $469.00, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs. You are required to answer the complaint of the Plaintiff on or before 12/29/2019 or the allegations in said complaint will be taken as true and judgment entered accordingly. CREDIT BUREAU SERVICES, INC., A CORPORATION First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION of a Limited Liability Company Notice is hereby given the registration with the Nebraska Secretary of state’s office of LFM Construction, LLC under the laws of the State of Nebraska as follows: The name of the company is LFM Construction, LLC. Registered agent and office of LFM Construction, LLC at 4161 S 60th Street, Omaha, NE 68117. Initial members: Luis Fernando Mendez Alvarez. General nature of the business is to transact any and all lawful business for which limited liability companies are allowed by statute. The LLC was organized on November 2019 for the perpetual duration and is managed by its members. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 Public Notice of Registered Assumed Name Nebraska, Douglas County Please be advised that Rivers, Marcus Alexander, living at 5202 Kansas Avenue, [68104], is the Executor/Beneficiary/Name holder of the business now being carried on at 5202 Kansas Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska 68104, in the following assumed name, to wit; MARCUS RIVERS; and the nature of the said business is commerce. This statement is to be filed with the clerk of Superior Court of this county, this 31st day of October, 2019. Omaha, Nebraska, Douglas County. File Number: 1114414400029 File Date: 10/29/2019 Status: Active/Good Standing First publication November 22, 2019, final November 29, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF TRUCKY’S CREATIONS LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Trucky’s Creations LLC, a Nebraska limited liability company, has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska, with its registered office at 4811 North 139th Street, Omaha, NE 68164 and its Registered Agent being Donald Truckenbrod. The company was organized and commenced on October 22, 2019, and its duration is perpetual. The affairs of the company shall be conducted by its sole Member, Donald Truckenbrod. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019

WHITMORE LAW OFFICE LLC 7602 Pacific Street, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that Four Seasons Lawn & Lighting, L.L.C. (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the Company is 4415 Decatur Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68111. The registered agent of the Company is Thomas E. Whitmore, 7602 Pacific Street, Ste. 200, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The Company was formed on November 12, 2019. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 WHITMORE LAW OFFICE LLC 7602 Pacific Street, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that All Clean, L.L.C. (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the Company is 4648 Douglas Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68132. The registered agent of the Company is Thomas E. Whitmore, 7602 Pacific Street, Ste. 200, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The Company was formed on November 12, 2019. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 WHITMORE LAW OFFICE LLC 7602 Pacific Street, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that Everest Food Service & Catering, L.L.C. (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the Company is 17207 Shirley Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68130. The registered agent of the Company is Sarita Rai, 17207 Shirley Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68130. The Company was formed on November 15, 2019. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 BROWN & WOLFF, P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1925 North 120th Street, One Bennington Place Omaha, Nebraska 68154 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF 186 BASKETBALL FACILITY, LLC NOTICE is hereby given that 186 Basketball Facility, LLC is organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The address of its registered office is 1925 North 120th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68154. The purpose of the Company shall be to have such purposes and to engage in such activities with the exception of banking and insurance as may be mutually agreed upon by the Members from time to time, and which are not prohibited by the Nebraska Uniform Limited Liability Company Act. The Company commenced on the 24th day of October, 2019, and shall have perpetual existence. The affairs of the Company are to be conducted by its Members and/or Managers as set forth in the terms of the company’s Operating Agreement from time to time. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 MARY E. VANDENACK, Attorney VANDENACK WEAVER LLC 17007 Marcy Street, Suite 3 Omaha, Nebraska 68118 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF JSPRH ENTERPRISES LLC Notice is hereby given that JSPRH ENTERPRISES LLC has been organized as a limited liability company under the Nebraska Uniform Limited Liability Company Act. The address of the initial designated office of the company is 1439 S 87th St., Omaha, NE 68124. The agent for service of process for the Company is VW Agents LLC located at 17007 Marcy Street, Suite 3, Omaha, NE 68118-3121. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION of a Limited Liability Company Notice is hereby given the registration with the Nebraska Secretary of state’s office of Cisneros Tree Service, LLC under the laws of the State of Nebraska as follows: The name of the company is Cisneros Tree Service, LLC. Registered agent and office of Cisneros Tree Service, LLC at 1010 S 25th Street, Omaha, NE 68105. Initial members: Luis Alberto CisnerosReyes. General nature of the business is to transact any and all lawful business for which limited liability companies are allowed by statute. The LLC was organized on November 2019 for the perpetual duration and is managed by its members. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 DENNIS P. LEE, Attorney LEE LAW OFFICE 2433 South 130th Circle, Suite 300 P.O. Box 45947 Omaha, Nebraska 68145 NOTICE OF SUIT TO: LONNIE D. STUBBLEFIELD, 3512 4th Ave,, Council Bluffs IA 51501, you are hereby notified that on October 1, 2019, American Family Mutual Ins. Co., filed a suit against you in the Douglas County Court at docket CI19-21585, the object in prayer of which was to secure a judgment against you in the amount of $18,158.56, together with court costs, interest and attorney's fees as allowed by law. Unless you file your Answer with the Douglas County Court on or before the 13th day of January, 2019, the Petition against you will be considered as true and judgment will be entered against you accordingly. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 13, 2019

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NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that STL Enterprises, LLC has been organized as a limited liability company under Nebraska laws, with it's designated office at 19807 Buffalo Road Gretna, NE 68028. It is organized to transact any lawful business for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized under Nebraska laws and it's duration is perpetual commencing from October 1, 2019. It's affairs are to be conducted by the manager Kara Torczon. It's registered agent is Kara Torczon and her office is located at 19807 Buffalo Road, Gretna, NE 68028. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that CBT Custom Dream Homes, LLC has been organized as a limited liability company under Nebraska laws, with it's designated office at 19807 Buffalo Road, Gretna, NE 68028. It is organized to transact any lawful business for which a Limited Liability Company may be organized under Nebraska laws and it's duration is perpetual commencing from October 1, 2019. It's affairs are to be conducted by the manager Chris Torczon. It's registered agent is Chris Torczon and his office is located at 19807 Buffalo Road, Gretna, NE 68028. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF MCR, LLC Company Name and address: MCR, LLC located at 12105 West O Street, Lincoln NE 68528. Nature of the business: Real estate investments, and engage in any lawful act concerning any and all lawful business for which a limited liability company may be organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. Duration: Perpetual Commencement: November 5, 2019 Management: Member managed First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF GEM HOLDINGS, LLC The name of the Company is GEM Holdings, LLC. The Designated Office of the Company is: 144 Ginger Cove, Valley, Nebraska 68064. The Registered Agent and Office of the Company is: Dick R. Pierson, 144 Ginger Cove, Valley, Nebraska 68064. This limited liability company commenced business on November 19, 2019. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP, Attorneys 13330 California Street, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68154 NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN of the voluntary dissolution of NORTHWOODS ESTATES, INC., as of November 22, 2019. Any person having a claim, whether known or unknown, against the Company is requested to present such claim in writing to the Company at the following address: c/o Curt Hofer, 16820 Frances Street, Suite 206, Omaha, NE 68130. The claim must be in writing, must be sent by mail to the address set forth above, and must set forth the name, address and telephone number of the claimant, a detailed description and amount of the claim, the date of occurrence of the claim and any tangible evidence to support the claim that is available to the claimant. Unless sooner barred by any other statute limiting actions, any claim against the Company is barred if an action to enforce the claim is not commenced within five years after the publication date of the third required notice. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that MPB Real Estate Solutions, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The address of the Company’s designated office is 16090 Girard Circle, Bennington, NE 68007, and the name of the registered agent at such address is Melissa Haugen. The general nature of the business is any legal and lawful activity allowed pursuant to the Nebraska Limited Liability Company Act and the laws of the State of Nebraska and elsewhere. The Company commenced business on 9/30/2019 and shall have perpetual existence. The affairs of the Company are to be managed by its members. Patrick Bauer, Member First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 CUTCHALL MANAGEMENT CO. 13305 Birch Drive Suite 201 Omaha, NE 68164-5443 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that CPM BIRCH, LLC, a Nebraska Limited Liability Company, has been organized under the laws of the state of Nebraska, with its initial designated office at 13305 Birch Dr Ste 201, Omaha, NE 68164. The initial agent for service of process of the Company is Greg Cutchall, 13305 Birch Dr Ste 201, Omaha, NE 68164 First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 CUTCHALL MANAGEMENT CO. 13305 Birch Drive Suite 201 Omaha, NE 68164-5443 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that OMV-2, LLC, a Nebraska Limited Liability Company, has been organized under the laws of the state of Nebraska, with its initial designated office at 13305 Birch Dr Ste 201, Omaha, NE 68164. The initial agent for service of process of the Company is Greg Cutchall, 13305 Birch Dr Ste 201, Omaha, NE 68164 First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

LEGAL NOTICES KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Greenarrow GP, LLC, a Nebraska limited liability company, filed its Statement of Dissolution with the Nebraska Secretary of State on November 14, 2019, and the company is in the process of voluntary dissolution. The terms and conditions of such dissolution are, in general, that all debts and obligations of the company are to be fully paid and satisfied or adequate provision is to be made therefore, and that the balance of any remaining assets are to be distributed to its Members. If you have a claim against Greenarrow GP, LLC, please provide the following information with respect to your claim: (1) your name or the name of your entity; (2) the nature of your claim; (3) the amount of your claim; and (4) the date your claim arose. All claims shall be mailed to 1806 N 169th Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68118. A claim against Greenarrow GP, LLC is barred unless an action to enforce the claim is commenced within five (5) years after the publication date of the third required notice. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 WHITMORE LAW OFFICE LLC 7602 Pacific Street, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that Chokkaras Properties, L.L.C. (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the Company is 19020 Nicholas Circle, Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022. The registered agent of the Company is Geeta V. Chokkara, 19020 Nicholas Circle, Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022. The Company was formed on November 22, 2019. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF ACKERMAN FAMILY, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Ackerman Family, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska on November 14, 2019. The Designated Office Address of the Company is 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The Registered Agent of the Company is DDLG Business Services, Inc., 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 C R O K E R , H U C K , K A S H E R , D e W I T T, A N D E R S O N & GONDERINGER, L.L.C. 2120 South 72nd Street, Suite 1200 Omaha, Nebraska 68124 APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF TRADE NAME Trade Name to be registered is: BRAZEN HEAD IRISH PUB Name of Applicant: T.J. O'Shea's Celtic Crossing, Inc. Address: 319 N. 78th Street Omaha NE 68114 Applicant is a Corporation If other than an Individual, state under whose laws entity was formed: Nebraska Date of first use of name in Nebraska: July 1, 1998 General nature of business: Restaurant JENNIFER A. SIMMONS Signature of Applicant or Legal Representative November 29, 2019

THOMAS H. PENKE, Attorney 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68154 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that Indian Creek Nursery, LLC, has organized pursuant to R.R.S. Section 21-101 et seq. The registered office is 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 200, Omaha, Nebraska 68154 and the registered agent is Thomas H. Penke. The nature of the business to be transacted is any lawful business. The business will commence on January 1, 2020, and is perpetual. The affairs of the company are to be conducted by the President, Secretary and Treasurer. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 THOMAS H. PENKE, Attorney 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68154 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that Indian WAIIC Properties, LLC, has organized pursuant to R.R.S. Section 21-101 et seq. The registered office is 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 200, Omaha, Nebraska 68154 and the registered agent is Thomas H. Penke. The nature of the business to be transacted is any lawful business. The business will commence on December 1, 2019, and is perpetual. The affairs of the company are to be conducted by the President, Secretary and Treasurer. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 THOMAS H. PENKE, Attorney 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68154 NOTICE OF TRUSTEE'S SALE The following described property will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder for cash at the Roskens Room, on the Farnam Street level of the Douglas County City County Building, 1819 Farnam Street, Omaha, Nebraska on the 7th day of January, 2020, at 9:00 o'clock a.m.: The South 34 11/16 Feet of the West 170 Feet of Lot 14 and the North 13 15/16 Feet of the West 170 Feet of Lot 14½, Millard and Caldwell’s Addition to the City of Omaha, as surveyed, platted and recorded in Douglas County, Nebraska. The highest bidder will deposit with the Trustee on the date of sale the sum of $5,000.00 with the remainder to be received by 5:00 o'clock p.m. on the sale date, at the office of the trustee, 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 200, Omaha, Nebraska, except that this requirement waived for the beneficiary. Thomas H. Penke, Trustee 12020 Shamrock Plaza, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68154 402.330.6860 First publication November 29, 2019, final December 27, 2019 JOSEPH J. SKUDLAREK, Attorney 1055 North 115th Street, Suite 301 Omaha, Nebraska 68154 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF LLC The Nebraska limited liability company’s name is Willa J Collection, LLC. Its designated office is 15606 William Plaza #106, Omaha, NE 68130. Its purpose is any lawful business. It commenced on October 29, 2019. Its affairs shall be managed by a Member/Manager. Jennifer J Seay, Organizer First publication November 29, 2019, final December 27, 2019 WHITMORE LAW OFFICE LLC 7602 Pacific Street, Suite 200 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Notice is hereby given that KWill, L.L.C. (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the Company is 3721 N. 75th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68134. The registered agent of the Company is Kevin A. Williams, 3721 N. 75th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68134. The Company was formed on November 22, 2019. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019

JUDITH A. WELLS, Attorney 1603 Farnam Street Omaha, Nebraska 68102 LEGAL NOTICE In the County Court of Douglas County, Nebraska. PR19-1471 Estate of STEPHEN POPE, Deceased Notice is hereby given that on October 23, 2019, in the County Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, Fredrick Popew, Sr., 5315 Larimore Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska 68104, was appointed by the court as Personal Representative of the estate. Creditors of this estate must file their claims with this Court, located at Courtroom No. 30, Third Floor, Probate Division, Douglas County Hall of Justice, 17th & Farnam Streets, Omaha, NE 68183, on or before January 29, 2020 or be forever barred. KELLY J. GOLDEN Clerk of the County Court First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019

ABRAHAMS KASLOW & CASSMAN LLP, Attorneys 8712 West Dodge Road, Suite 300 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION Slattery Luck, LLC has been organized as a limited liability company under the Nebraska Uniform Limited Liability Company Act. The street and mailing address of the initial designated office of the company is 8712 West Dodge Road, Suite 300, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. The name and street and mailing address of the initial registered agent of the company for service of process are Thomas J. Malicki, Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman LLP, 8712 West Dodge Road, Suite 300, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019

DVORAK LAW GROUP LLC 9500 West Dodge Road, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF TRADE NAME Trade Name to be registered is: Ideal Solutions Name of Applicant: Ideal Solutions, Inc. Address: 20459 E. St., Elkhorn, NE 68022 Applicant is a Corporation If other than an Individual, state under whose laws entity was formed: Nebraska Date of first use of name in Nebraska: March 11, 2016 General nature of business: Information technology and cloud-based server provider MICHAEL HARTUNG Signature of Applicant or Legal Representative November 29, 2019

KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION OF AMERICAN RISK CONSULTANTS, INC. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that American Risk Consultants, Inc., a Nebraska corporation (“Corporation”), has filed Articles of Dissolution with the Nebraska Secretary of State on November 20, 2019, and effective November 20, 2019 and the Corporation is in the process of voluntary dissolution. The terms and conditions of such dissolution are, in general, that all debts and obligations of the Corporation are to be fully paid and satisfied or adequate provision is to be made therefore. John H. Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, will wind up and liquidate the Corporation’s business and affairs. The Corporation has no assets or liabilities as of the date hereof. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019

KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION OF AMERICAN RISK, INC. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that American Risk, Inc., a Nebraska corporation (“Corporation”), has filed Articles of Dissolution with the Nebraska Secretary of State on November 20, 2019, and effective November 20, 2019 and the Corporation is in the process of voluntary dissolution. The terms and conditions of such dissolution are, in general, that all debts and obligations of the Corporation are to be fully paid and satisfied or adequate provision is to be made therefore. John H. Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation, will wind up and liquidate the Corporation’s business and affairs. The Corporation has no assets or liabilities as of the date hereof. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF CONVERSION OF SILVERSTONE GROUP, INCORPORATED AND ORGANIZATION OF SILVERSTONE GROUP, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that SilverStone Group, Incorporated has been converted into SilverStone Group, LLC under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The Designated Office of the company is 11516 Miracle Hills Drives, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68154. The Registered Office of the company is 1125 S 103rd Street Suite 800, Omaha, Nebraska 68124 and the Registered Agent at such address is Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. The conversion of the corporation into the limited liability company was accomplished by the filing of Articles of Conversion and Certificate of Organization with the Nebraska Secretary of State on November 25, 2019 and effective November 25, 2019. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF CLF ENTERPRISES LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that CLF Enterprises LLC has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the limited liability company is 19202 Binney Street, Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022. The registered agent and office of the limited liability company is Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O., 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, Omaha, Nebraska 68124. The limited liability company commenced business on November 20, 2019. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF WILLIAM 12, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that William 12, LLC has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The designated office of the limited liability company is 3814 Farnam Street, Suite 201, Omaha, Nebraska 68131. The registered agent and office of the limited liability company is Thomas H. McLeay, 3814 Farnam Street, Suite 201, Omaha, Nebraska 68131. The limited liability company commenced business on November 21, 2019. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF ACCURATE CALIBRATION AND SCANNING, LLC The name of the Company is Accurate Calibration and Scanning, LLC. The Designated Office of the Company is: 14540 Grover Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68144. The Registered Agent and Office of the Company is: Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O., 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, Omaha, Nebraska 68124. This limited liability company commenced business on November 21, 2019. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 ERICKSON l SEDERSTROM, P.C., Attorneys 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF THE (402) GIRL, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that The (402) Girl, LLC, a Nebraska limited liability company (the “Company”), has been duly organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska, with its designated office located at 4128 Terrace Drive, Omaha, Nebraska 68134 and designating its registered agent as Erickson & Sederstrom P.C. a limited liability organization with its registered office at 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100, Omaha, Nebraska 68114. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 KOLEY JESSEN P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, One Pacific Place Omaha, Nebraska 68124-1079 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF THOMPSON SILVER SPUR LODGE, LLC The name of the Company is Thompson Silver Spur Lodge, LLC. The Designated Office of the Company is: 9102 North 225th Street, Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022. The Registered Agent and Office of the Company is: Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O., 1125 South 103rd Street, Suite 800, Omaha, Nebraska 68124. This limited liability company commenced business on November 5, 2019. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019


Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • LEGAL NOTICES AMANDA M. BARRON, Attorney P.O. Box 597 Fremont, Nebraska 68026 LEGAL NOTICE TO THE DEFENDANT(s), LATRISHLA S HOLLINGSWORTH & THOMAS HOLLINGSWORTH You are hereby notified that Credit Bureau Services, Inc., a corporation, filed its complaint in the County Court of DOUGLAS County, Nebraska on 08/21/2019 on Case Number CI19-19179, the object and prayer of which is to recover the sum of $285.35, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs. You are required to answer the complaint of the Plaintiff on or before 01/06/2020 or the allegations in said complaint will be taken as true and judgment entered accordingly. CREDIT BUREAU SERVICES, INC., A CORPORATION First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019 MYRON J. KAPLAN, Attorney McGILL, GOTSDINER, WORKMAN & LEPP, P.C., L.L.O., Attorneys 11404 West Dodge Road, Suite 500, First National Plaza Omaha, Nebraska 68154-2584 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF RLB HOLDINGS, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that RLB Holdings, LLC, a Nebraska limited liability company, is organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska, with a registered office at 11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500, Omaha, Nebraska 68154. The general nature of the business is to engage in any lawful business for which a limited liability company may be organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The limited liability company was formed on November 22, 2019, and its duration is perpetual. Management of the Company shall be vested in its Managers. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 RADLEY E. CLEMENS, Attorney 5717 North 127th Street Omaha, Nebraska 68164 LEGAL NOTICE In the County Court of Douglas County, Nebraska. PR19-1350 Estate of Joseph J. Welter, III, Deceased Notice is hereby given that on October 4, 2019, in the County Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, William D. Welter 1st, whose address is 22935 N. 68th St., Scottsdale, Arizona, 85251, was informally appointed by the Registrar asPersonal Representative of the estate. Creditors of this estate must file their claims with this Court, located at Courtroom No. 30, Third Floor, Probate Division, Douglas County Hall of Justice, 17th & Farnam Streets, Omaha, NE 68183, on or before January 29, 2020 or be forever barred. KELLY J. GOLDEN Clerk of the County Court First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 DENNIS P. LEE, Attorney LEE LAW OFFICE 2433 South 130th Circle, Suite 300 P.O. Box 45947 Omaha, Nebraska 68145 LEGAL NOTICE In the County Court of Douglas County, Nebraska. PR19-1812 Estate of Annechien Wilhelmina Jones, Date of Death: August 20, 2019 Decedent. Notice is hereby given that on the 25th day of November, 2019, in the County Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, the Registrar issued a written statement of Testacy of the Estate of Annechien Wilhelmina Jones and that that the following sole surviving daughter was appointed Personal Representative of this estate: Ramona Poelmans-Powers 7419 N. 155th Terrace Bennington, NE 68007 Creditors of this estate must file their claims with this Court, located at Courtroom No. 30, Third Floor, Probate Division, Douglas County Hall of Justice, 17th & Farnam Streets, Omaha, NE 68183, on or before January 29, 2020 or be forever barred. CARROL L. MILLS Registrar First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 NOTICE OF ORGANIZATION OF JC LAWN AND LANDSCAPING, LLC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that JC Lawn and Landscaping, LLC (the “Company”) has been organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The Designated Office Address of the Company is 10313 Fowler Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska 68134. The Registered Agent of the Company is Jamie Florian, 10313 Fowler Ave, Omaha, Nebraska 68134. First publication November 15, 2019, final November 29, 2019 APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF TRADE NAME Trade Name to be registered is: INFO & IMPACT Name of Applicant: 402 How LLC Address: 14625 Grand Ave, Omaha, Nebraska, 68116 Applicant is a Limited Liability Company If other than an Individual, state under whose laws entity was formed: Nebraska Date of first use of name in Nebraska: November 18, 2019 General nature of business: Business consulting DIPING HUANG Signature of Applicant or Legal Representative November 29, 2019

NOTICE OF AMENDMENT TO ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION FOR THE MIDWEST PLAINS CHAPTER OF CERTIFIED HAZARDOUS MATERIALS MANAGERS (A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION) NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the MIDWEST PLAINS CHAPTER OF THE ACADEMY OF CERTIFIED HAZARDOUS MATERIALS MANAGERS is amending its Articles of Incorporation. The purpose of the amendments is to change the Chapter name to MIDWEST PLAINS CHAPTER OF CERTIFIED HAZARDOUS MATERIALS MANAGERS. The amendments also update the name of the national organization, whose name has changed since the initial incorporation of this Chapter in 1999. References to the national chapter have been changed to the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals, AHMP, or Alliance. The current registered agent is Brian Gorman and the organization address is P.O. Box 541202, Omaha, NE 68154. First publication November 29, 2019, final December 13, 2019 DENNIS P. LEE, Attorney LEE LAW OFFICE 2433 South 130th Circle, Suite 300 P.O. Box 45947 Omaha, Nebraska 68145 NOTICE OF SUIT TO: FRANCISCO E. HUPP, SR., 1404 Savannah Dr, Papillion NE 68133, you are hereby notified that on September 20, 2019, CREDIT ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION filed a suit against you in the Douglas County Court at docket CI19-20885, the object in prayer of which was to secure a judgment against you in the amount of $10,556.80, together with court costs, interest and attorney's fees as allowed by law. Unless you file your Answer with the Douglas County Court on or before the 13th day of January, 2019, the Petition against you will be considered as true and judgment will be entered against you accordingly. First publication November 22, 2019, final December 13, 2019 ERICKSON l SEDERSTROM, P.C., Attorneys 10330 Regency Parkway Drive, Suite 100 Omaha, Nebraska 68114 NOTICE OF INCORPORATION Corporate Name: Tree of Life Church Type of Corporation: Nonprofit Religious corporation Registered Agent: Tower Kountze Registered Office: 209 South 19th Street, Suite 150, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska 68102 Members: Corporation will have Members Incorporator: Tower Kountze, 209 South 19th Street, Suite 150, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska 68102 First publication November 22, 2019, final December 6, 2019

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Retailers have been competing over fast, convenient delivery for years. Next up? Returns by Lauren Zumbach

Buying something online takes a single click. Returning it? That’s not so seamless. A growing number of online retailers, from e-commerce giant Amazon to small apparel and footwear brands, are teaming up with bricks-and-mortar chains to try to make returns less of a hassle — or at least no worse than a return to a traditional store. “If people can’t see it or touch it (when they first buy it), they want the option to return it,” said Scott Rankin, principal at KPMG Strategy in the retail sector, of onRetail line purchases. “Sometimes, they want to do it in a physical store because it’s just easier.” With the holidays fast approaching, in-store returns programs are about to undergo a major test. U.S. consumers are expected to spend nearly $144 billion online this holiday season, up 14.1% from last year, according to Adobe Analytics. But after a flood of packages lands at shoppers’ doorsteps, millions of unwanted items get sent right back. Delivery company UPS said it expects to handle a record-breaking number of returns this holiday season, with more than 1 million return packages expected to be shipped each day in December, peaking at an estimated 1.9 million packages on Jan. 2. Customers can return many items bought on Amazon at any Kohl’s store after the retailers expanded a test of the returns service, initially offered at 100 Kohl’s stores, earlier this year. Delivery companies UPS and FedEx are partnering with chains like CVS and Walgreens to give shoppers more places to pick up and drop off packages. Even some smaller online brands now offer in-store returns through Happy Returns, a California-based company that lets shoppers return items from more than 300 online brands at more than 700 locations nationwide, mostly in malls and national chains like Paper Source and CostPlus World Market. Companies like women’s apparel brand Revolve and footwear brand Rothy’s tout easy returns on their websites. In-person returns with Happy Returns, Revolve’s website says, require “No receipt, return label or shipping box necessary! You just provide your email address or order number and your refund will be initiated immediately.” For stores accepting other brands’ returns, it can be a way to get new customers in the door. Online retailers, meanwhile, know hassle-free returns can make customers more confident about clicking “buy.” Companies like Amazon already have been giving customers options when it comes to sending back unwanted items, ranging from a traditional visit to the post office to dropping off a boxed-up return at one of its delivery and pickup lockers. But the most seamless options, which let shoppers skip steps like printing labels or packing up boxes, weren’t as widely available prior to partnerships with national retail chains. In-person returns generally mean quicker refunds, which seems to be the biggest attraction for shoppers, said Happy Returns co-founder and CEO David Sobie. But they also like being able to skip the “arts and crafts project” of prepping items for shipment, he said. Happy Returns gives customers refunds on the spot — no box required. “For a number of years it was all about delivery and getting things fast and free, and now that focus has shifted to returns,” he said. Consumers can still be reluctant to buy items sight unseen, especially goods like apparel and footwear, where fit is key. More than half of consumers have opted not to purchase an item because the return policy wasn’t flexible enough, according to a survey by Optoro, a company that works with retailers to process returns. Dealing with returns isn’t cheap for online brands, so they don’t want to encourage customers to purchase items they’re unlikely to keep. But most companies understand some customers just won’t buy unless they know sending an item back will be simple, Rankin said. Stores choosing to accept other brands’ returns see it Continued on next page.


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

’Tis the season for elaborate scams to trick and defraud shoppers by Susan Tompor

Scammers love impersonating the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Social Security. Why not add Black Friday shoppers to the list, too? Oddly enough, retailers are being warned that sophisticated scamSecurity mers could target online Black Friday deals in highly automated schemes that use fraudulent accounts created with stolen data and fictitious identities. The goal would be to scoop up door-buster deals or special coupons and deplete the inventories of hot merchandise for the holidays, according to Shannon Wu-Lebron, senior director of retail for TransUnion’s diversified markets group. And then once the fraudsters use fake credit cards or hijacked accounts to order the stuff at bargain prices, they’re going to turn around to sell the popular toys, TVs or other deals on online marketplaces and elsewhere at inflated prices to consumers. ’Tis the holiday shopping season, which is now a peak time for fraud. “Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year for retailers,” Wu-Lebron said. But she said it’s also a challenging time from a fraud perspective, given the high volume of online transactions and promotions. “Fraudsters can dilute the value of deals and promotions for consumers while causing financial harm to retailers,” she said. About 75% of shoppers plan to do half or more of their holiday shopping online, according to TransUnion’s 2019 Holiday Retail Fraud Survey, released on Nov. 19. Of that group, 46% worry about becoming a victim of fraud. The survey of 2,593 American adults took place in October. We’re looking at a holiday shopping season that’s six days shorter than last year. Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 28 this year, so we’ve got 27 days from Thanksgiving through Dec. 24 to shop. (Thanksgiving was on Nov. 22 in 2018.) Of course, such timelines only matter if you don’t buy your first gift until you finish that second slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Many Black Friday deals will roll out even before Thanksgiving. If you’re worried about fraud, as many consumers are, here are tips to stay safe:

-Beware of pitches for hot toys you can’t find The Better Business Bureau warns that scammers may send you a text message out of the blue promoting very low prices on hard-to-find gifts. But there can be hidden charges or monthly fees or even outright fraud where someone is phishing for your personal information or credit card number. Cyber criminals like to use big events, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, to send emails containing malicious links or attachments, according to holiday shopping alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. -React fast if your password doesn’t work It’s more common than you might think for fraudsters to attempt to take over your existing credit card account in order to steal loyalty points or rewards built up on the card or make unauthorized purchases. The fraudsters would use stolen information, perhaps from a data breach, that’s now available on the Dark Web. If you’ve been a victim, you might spot a sign of trouble if your regular password won’t work and you’ve not changed the password. Or you might spot charges on monthly statements you didn’t authorize. Experts say you do not want to use the same password over and over again on every site. -Take the extra steps for ID verification Increasingly, it’s important for retailers and e-commerce sites to identify new fraud patterns as they emerge. Retailers and others now need to determine if fraudsters are using a smartphone or laptop that doesn’t match the device used in the past by a legitimate consumer, according Geoff Miller, head of global fraud and identity solutions at TransUnion. “Moving to a digital word has allowed fraudsters to be more advanced and technically savvy,” Miller said. About 57% of consumers surveyed said they were likely to go through the extra steps of verification to complete a purchase even if a company suspended their order due to concerns of possible fraud, according to TransUnion’s 2019 Holiday Retail Fraud Survey. -Examine that gift card before you buy it Con artists are making millions of dollars going to major retailers to engage in a variety of gift card scams. So shoppers need to take extra precautions when buying gift cards.

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“Look for gift cards that are either near, at or behind the register, or those that need to be loaded with funds before they’re usable,” according to Brian Krebs, who writes a blog called “Krebs On Security” and author of a bestseller called “Spam Nation.” He noted that most retailers and restaurants that sell gift cards also allow you to order those cards via their websites — which might be a smarter option to avoid some types of fraud. Con artists have engineered a way to steal information and tamper with gift cards inside the store before you buy the gift card. As a result, you must take time to examine the decal covering a PIN to make sure the PIN isn’t visible. Remember when it comes to decals, though, “thieves can easily scratch those off and then replace the material with identical or similar decals that are sold very cheaply by the roll online,” according to KrebsOnSecurity.com. It’s part of an elaborate scheme where crooks can gather enough information off a gift card on the rack, go online to monitor the gift card account’s activity at the retailer’s online portal and then strike once the cards are paid for and activated at the checkout register. “Once a card is activated, thieves can encode that card’s data onto any card with

a magnetic stripe and use that counterfeit to purchase merchandise at the retailer. The stolen goods typically are then sold online or on the street,” according to KrebsOnSecurity. -Don’t fall for a text from the bank The holiday rush puts everyone on edge about their money — and scammers know it. Now, the con artists are texting consumers pretending to be their bank regarding a need to reset your password because of a fraudulent charge of some sort. Don’t do it. The scammers want to download malicious software onto your device to retrieve information. Or they want you to call someone and give them bank account information. “You may think, how do they know which bank I use?” said Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. “Hackers can easily view past web traffic and easily identify which bank you use.” After all, it’s as simple as someone hacking into your computer and looking at browser information. Scammers also now hack smartphones as well and can potentially view your apps. If you’re worried that there may be an issue with your account, call your bank directly using a number found on your stateContinued on next page.

Retailers have been competing over fast, convenient delivery for years. Next up? Returns Continued from preceding page. as a way to get more customers in the door. Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said during a call with investors on Tuesday that the Amazon partnership seemed to be attracting new, younger shoppers. At Paper Source, most of the people returning online purchases through Happy Returns are first-time customers, said Jenica Myszkowski, the company’s chief operating officer. Even consumers who already shopped at a retailer might make an extra visit for a return, like Kimberly Hewlett, 29, who made a three-mile trip to a Chicago Kohl’s to return an air filter she bought on Amazon. “It’s just easier, and you get a coupon,” she said. That doesn’t mean everything always goes smoothly. Lance Shart, 48, of Libertyville, Ill., said he usually takes Amazon returns to Kohl’s and was caught by surprise when told one purchase wasn’t eligible to be returned at the store. He wound up making an extra trip to UPS. Returns can also pose extra challenges for stores that have volunteered to accept items on behalf of other brands. Neighborly, a home goods and gifts shop in Chicago’s East Ukrainian Village neighborhood, has been a Happy Return dropoff location since 2017 and has seen returns bring new shoppers into the store. But as more online retailers began using Happy Returns’ service, the volume of returns has gotten tougher to keep up with, especially during transitions between seasons when people tend to update their wardrobe, said manager Audrey Plank. Sobie said Happy Returns has been processing about 10 times the number of returns this year as it did in 2018. “But they’re adding locations, so as more open in the city, it will alleviate the pressure

on us,” she said. Paper Source’s Myszkowski said Happy Returns works with them to schedule more frequent pickups at stores that get lots of returns — as often as two or three times a day at some locations during the holidays, she said. Paper Source and Happy Returns are also testing self-service kiosks at two stores in Los Angeles that could lighten demands on store employees. In addition to making sure customers find the kiosks easy to use, Happy Returns will be testing shoppers’ honesty, and whether extra checks are needed to ensure customers actually leave their returns with the kiosks, Sobie said. Delivery companies like UPS and FedEx are also trying to make dealing with packages easier by letting customers pick up and drop off orders and returns at retailers like Michaels, CVS and Walgreens in addition to their own locations, though customers still need to box up items themselves. FedEx does let customers returning items to certain retailers print shipping labels at some Walgreens stores, so the customer doesn’t need to do it at home. The service will be available at most stores by Thanksgiving, and the rest in the following weeks. When the retail partnerships are fully rolled out, both UPS and FedEx said 90% of the U.S. population will live within five miles of a location where they can pick up or drop off a package. Most of the packages people drop off are returns, and they generally choose the location that’s closest or has the most convenient hours, said Scott Harkins, FedEx’s senior vice president of customer experience marketing. “Really, it just comes down to convenience,” Harkins said. ©2019 Chicago Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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Experts speculate on Amazon’s approach to future grocery stores by Benjamin Romano

As Amazon readies its grocery chain, analysts and competitors are trying to predict how the commerce giant will make what many expect to be a major move into the biggest category of retail spending. Picture a grocery store Trends with a miniature version of a highly automated fulfillment center on an upper floor. Robots whiz between tall, narrow shelves, plucking canned goods and boxes of cereal ordered by customers shopping online or in the wide aisles of the fresh market on the floor below. Outside, delivery drivers wait to ferry grocery orders to nearby homes, while other customers drive up to collect their shopping. That’s one industry specialist’s vision for Amazon’s possible approach. It’s an idea already under development by Boston-based Alert Innovation — which has a crucial piece of it, the robots, in use at a Walmart store. Or perhaps Amazon’s new grocery chain will look more like that of German discount grocer Lidl, which takes a nofrills approach, providing low prices and rotating a selection of discounted general merchandise that gives customers a reason to come back regularly in search of deals. The company on Monday confirmed its first standalone grocery store will open next year in suburban Los Angeles. Earlier reports suggest the company has signed leases for more than a dozen other stores, and many industry watchers expect the company to open perhaps a thousand stores across the country in the coming decade. Amazon’s own job listings seek people to lead large-scale programs to support stores offering a “unique customer experience.” But just what that experience will be, Amazon isn’t saying. A company spokesperson said the new grocery store will have a conventional checkout experience, and is neither a version of the natural and

Trick and defraud shoppers Continued from preceding page. ment. Ignore any prompts to text “stop” or “no” as well, because that’s a common ploy for scammers who want to confirm that they have an active number. Watch out for fake shipping invoices from Amazon or DHL where scammers take advantage of the rushed nature of the shopping season to get you to click on a link. -Be aware of e-skimming Scammers are able to gain access to e-commerce sites in order to steal your credit card number as you make purchases online. The Federal Bureau of Investigation warns: “E-skimming occurs when an attacker injects malicious code onto a website to capture credit or debit card data or personally identifiable information.” Small and medium-sized businesses, as well as government agencies, that take credit card payments online may be vulnerable. Be wary of attachments in any email that you receive. Don’t click on pop up ads. Use a credit card instead of a debit card online, for more consumer protection. ©2019 Detroit Free Press Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

organic Whole Foods chain nor an Amazon Go, the convenience stores that use sensor technology to track customer purchases so they don’t have to wait in line to pay. John Lert, co-founder and CEO of Alert Innovation, said his company’s “Novastore” concept, which it’s developing independent of the robotics work with Walmart, would revolutionize the grocery business, letting customers peruse the fresh foods and produce, while automated systems quickly gather together the packaged foods on their grocery list and fulfill online orders. A crucial piece of the system is the company’s Alphabot, a small robot that would move among the shelves in the store’s micro fulfillment center. Walmart began using these robots earlier this year in its own micro fulfillment center for online orders added to the side of a store in Salem, N.H. The big box retail giant is using other robotic systems for cleaning floors and unloading merchandise at other stores, including in Washington. Walmart and Amazon and other competitors in mass-market grocery are putting together other pieces of a multi-channel grocery strategy using existing stores where employees or gig-economy workers go through picking up orders for online customers. The automation piece is the hardest part, Lert said. The systems have to be cheap and compact enough to install in hundreds or thousands of stores, but also fast and reliable enough to gather items before customers finish selecting their fresh foods in the market below. “There’s never been an automation application that can touch this in terms of complexity and challenge,” said Lert, who began working on grocery store automation in 1994. He said his company could have a working prototype of the Novastore concept in two to four years. If anyone else is poised to do it, it’s Amazon, he said, pointing to its network of increasingly automated large-scale fulfillment centers that use robotics technology first developed by Kiva Systems, which Amazon acquired in 2012. “How far they’ve gotten with solving the automation problem, I don’t know,” Lert said, adding, “when they figure it out, they’re going to build a lot of stores.” Amazon’s existing logistics prowess coupled with the opportunity to build grocery stores in this way from the ground up could give it a huge potential advantage as it vies for a bigger share of the trillion-dollar-plus grocery category. This kind of store-level automation would also extend the company’s fresh foods supply chain much closer to the end customer, facilitating faster grocery delivery. Lert said he expects the total cost of developing and operating an automated, multi-channel grocery store to be lower than that of today’s traditional stores, because they would require less land, parking and human labor, meaning they could sell groceries for lower prices. But no one expects Amazon to limit itself to grocery sales. Mike Trafton, a retired grocery executive from Boise, Idaho, sees another model for Amazon in German discount chain Lidl. He’s been living in Europe for a year, stay-

ing at Airbnbs and shopping exclusively at Lidl stores. “Lidl and Aldi” — another discount European grocery chain — “sell huge amounts of general merchandise, appliances, clothing, tools, just stuff that they buy on deals. The customers flock to their stores daily because if you don’t buy it, it’s gone,” Trafton said via e-mail. Amazon, he said, could do something similar. Moreover, the company’s world-leading inventory management systems could help manage out-of-stock items and shrinkage (shoplifting and employee theft), which are “a huge problem in the grocery business,” he said. Amazon’s long-rumored grocery store plans were confirmed in job postings for a single Woodland Hills, Calif., store.

In recent months, the company has also posted several other positions related to its launch of “a new Amazon grocery store.” Language in the job listings point to Amazon’s ambition to create a large-scale chain of grocery stores with a “unique customer experience.” The company is seeking managers who “will develop the sourcing and procurement function within central store operations … (and) ensure both efficient store launches and smooth operations.” Other roles include a labor planning expert and several positions to design largescale digital and physical training programs for grocery store employees. ©2019 The Seattle Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Local stores share Black Friday deals

by Gabby Christensen allowing Amazon customers to conveniently Black Friday sales are upon us and the pick up their Amazon orders. deals will continue through the holiday Julie Lattimer, marketing director at shopping season. SouthPointe Pavilions Shopping Center in Andy Shefsky, community and public Lincoln, said several stores, including Bath relations manager at Nebraska & Body Works and Victoria’s Furniture Mart, said the store is Secret, opened late afternoon on offering deals in all electronics Thanksgiving Day while others categories. began opening as early as 5 a.m. “There will be fantastic pricon Black Friday. es on televisions, such as a 55” “With Husker football kicking UHDTV from for only $199.99,” off at 2:30 p.m., we look forShefsky said. “Additionally, ward to welcoming out-of-town soundbars are starting at $59.99, visitors throughout the weekend true wireless headphones at $9.99, and, while supplies last, will be and laptop computers starting handing out SouthPointe Pavilions $199.99. We will also have hot gift cards randomly prior to the Skold deals on the Sony Playstation football game,” Lattimer said. while supplies last and a limited Presented by First National Bank, Lattimquantity doorcrasher pricing of Apple Air- er said SouthPointe Pavilions’ Santa Station Pods.” is another festive component for families to Right now, Shefsky said true wireless enjoy. headphones are trending, with some of the “Families may enjoy a Santa chat and best sellers including Apple Airpods, Beats take their own photos or purchase photos PowerBeats Pro, Skullcandy Indy True Wire- by Vantage Imaging,” Lattimer said. “Santa less and Jaybird Vista True Wireless. hosted more than 6,000 family members last In an ode to the local stars who make up year so Black Friday offers a great opportunithe neighborhood, Molly Skold, vice pres- ty to beat the crowds. Santa makes his grand ident of marketing and communications at entrance on Saturday, Nov. 30 beginning at 6 Midtown Crossing, said the shopping area p.m. with refreshments, activities, giveaways, will be hosting a neighborhood-wide Small and fireworks in the Center Courtyard.” Business Saturday Open House, with various Andrea Carson, marketing director at activities and specials inside participating Rockbrook Village, said many of the shopretailers. ping center’s shops and boutiques offer deals For those looking for a traditional gift, on Black Friday. Skold said Wohlner’s steaks are a home run. “Our biggest upcoming event is our anFor those looking for something more nual Santa in the Village and Holiday Pop-Up experiential, Skold said some might opt to Shops on Small Business Saturday,” Carson host a gathering for employees or clients at said. “That day visitors can enjoy free horse the Empire Room, which is newly opened drawn carriage rides and find Santa and his and overlooks Turner Park. As a bonus, the reindeer in the Center Plaza area. The Grinch Turner Park trees are lit each evening at dusk will also be making an appearance and many through the holiday season — all part of the of our businesses will be hosting Pop-Up Season of Lights. Shops featuring local makers, artists and Blakeley Graham, brand publicity man- small batch food and drink purveyors.” ager at Gordmans, said the store is a one-stop Additionally, Carson said many of the holiday headquarters. shops will be offering great deals and pro“Gordmans is now an ‘off-price’ retailer, motions on Small Business Saturday. which means we have everything you need “This is a great way for people to show for the holidays, from this year’s hottest toys their support for our local economy as all to beautiful holiday décor to wrapping paper of our shops and restaurants are owned and and ribbon, all at prices so good it will leave operated by local business owners,” Carson you with something extra to put in your hol- said. “It’s important that Rockbrook Village iday stocking,” Graham said. hosts events like this because we like to show Graham said Gordmans also recently our appreciation for the community that launched Amazon Counter in its locations supports us with fun, free, family-friendly just in time for the holiday shopping season, events.”


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

UPCOMING

SECTIONS

IN THE MIDLANDS BUSINESS JOURNAL

DECEMBER 6

EXECUTIVE GIFT GUIDE

SARPY COUNTY GROWTH REPORT DECEMBER 13

Lorem ipsum

TRAINING & CAREER DEVELOPMENT

DECEMBER 20

TECHNOLOGY

To advertise your company’s products or services in one of our upcoming sections, contact one of our MBJ advertising representatives at (402) 330-1760 or at the email addresses below. Julie Whitehead - Julie@mbj.com • Karla Steele - karla@mbj.com Space and materials deadline is the Friday prior to the publication date. You may email us your insertion orders directly, or fax them to us at (402) 758-9315. We will acknowledge receiving your instructions.

REGIONAL LANDSCAPES

Briefs…

The Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership announced that the Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corporation is joining the coalition. This addition expands the successful economic development program into a seven-county alliance. NCAEDC works to enhance the quality of life in Nebraska City and Otoe County through industrial recruitment and retention, business development, entrepreneurship, leadership development and downtown redevelopment. Werner Enterprises, a transportation and logistics provider, was designated as a 2020 Military Friendly Spouse Employer by VIQTORY Media for the fifth consecutive year. This year’s annual list recognizes 106 employers that provide veterans and their spouses with employment opportunities and promote workforce development policies that acknowledge the unique challenges of military life and skills learned through those challenges. As a military-friendly employer, 20% of Werner’s workforce is military veterans and veteran spouses. The Urban Libraries Council announced Do Space as one of the 10 Top Innovators during the 2019 Innovations Celebration. The annual innovations award program recognizes leading practices from ULC’s member library systems across the U.S. and Canada. A panel of expert judges selected Do Space and its Women Innovators Fellowship program from 260 submissions in 10 categories that showcase out-of-the-box thinking and creative applications of library resources. Do Space won in the category of Race and Social Equity. Award winners were recognized for their level of creativity, the ability for other libraries to adapt their work and the outcomes achieved.

Health care notes…

Independent energy company Tenaska closed $158 million in commercial financing for the Nobles 2 wind project, which is under construction in Nobles County in southwest Minnesota. Tenaska has successfully developed approximately 10,500 megawatts of natural gas-fueled and renewable power projects. Including the Nobles 2 transaction, Tenaska has raised approximately $17.2 billion in capital through bank facilities, capital market transactions, corporate facilities and equity. The Nobles 2 wind farm is owned by Nobles 2 Power Partners, LLC, which is comprised of affiliates of Tenaska and ALLETE, Inc. ALLETE is an energy company based in Duluth, Minnesota. A University of Nebraska Medical Center neurologist, Matt Rizzo, M.D., has been appointed chair of the American Brain Coalition. Rizzo is the Frances & Edgar Reynolds Chair of the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences. He also serves as director of Neuroscience Clinical Programs, co-director of the Nebraska Regent’s Center for Integrative and Translational Neuroscience, and director of the National Institutes of Health’s Great Plains IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Network. The American Brain Coalition is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that seeks to advance the understanding of the functions of the brain

and to reduce the burden of brain disorders through public education and advocacy. ComfortCare Homes has changed its name to Legato Living. It has two locations in Omaha at 2315 S. 168th St. and 4503 Eastridge Drive. The new name is part of a rebranding effort that includes a new logo. Legato is a musical term meaning ‘a smooth and flowing transition throughout the composition.’ Legato is locally owned and operated by a mother/daughter team that has worked their entire careers in health care — owners Erin Render, MHA, and Jill McMahon, RN, offer an alternative to institutional care. They offer dementia care, cognitive care, physical, personal, respite and adult day care. Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition and Fair Food Network have been selected by U.S. Department of Agriculture to lead a four-year effort to provide evaluation, training and technical assistance nationwide for nutrition incentive programs that support families in bringing home more nutritious fruits and vegetables. GSCN will serve as the lead evaluator overseeing reporting and measurement, while Fair Food Network will lead training and technical assistance providing tools, program innovations and connections among practitioners. This $31 million grant is part of the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program.

Education notes…

Sonic Drive-In concluded its annual Limeades for Learning Fall Voting campaign in support of public school teachers last month, and Omaha teachers received funding to support their innovative and creative learning projects. In partnership with nonprofit DonorsChoose.org and with the help of Sonic fans, two teachers in Omaha received a combined $4,401 for necessary supplies to inspire learning in their classrooms. The University of Nebraska Foundation’s board of directors announced the election of Bill Jackman of Dallas as board chair for a two-year leadership position. JoAnn Martin of Lincoln, CEO of Ameritas, concluded her term as board chair and continues her service as a member of the board of directors. The foundation’s trustees have elected Anne Hubbard, M.D., and Thomas H. Warren Sr., both of Omaha, to serve as board directors for a three-year term. Mark Chronister of Minneapolis and John Gottschalk of Omaha completed their service on the foundation’s board of directors this year. The UNMC College of Allied Health Professions has hired Shaun Grammer as director of the Division of Physician Assistant Education. Grammer has served as associate professor in physician assistant education since July 2018. He came to UNMC from the College of Saint Mary, where he worked from 2013-18 and was founding program director. He also brings key experience in the roles of admissions coordinator and academic coordinator of physician assistant studies at CSM and Indiana State University, where he served from 2010-2013.

Activities of nonprofits…

The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., announced the ninth consecutive year of partnership with TeamMates, serving local Continued on next page.


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REGIONAL LANDSCAPES Continued from preceding page. middle and high school students in Crete. The company’s $50,000 contribution for the 2019-2020 school year will help students achieve high school graduation by providing weekly mentoring sessions that focus on activities including assisting students with homework, sharing special interests or hobbies, or helping students identify their gifts and talents. First National Bank of Omaha was nationally recognized by the American Bankers Association Foundation for its Habitat for Humanity for Omaha Loan Fund with a 2019 ABA Foundation Community Commitment Award. The award was given to First National Bank of Omaha for its efforts in the Affordable Housing category. First National Bank of Omaha created the Habitat for Humanity of Omaha Loan Fund in 2018 to increase Habitat Omaha’s ability to build or rehabilitate more houses for low income families. The

2018 pilot year resulted in 32 loans to 32 low-income families totaling $3.6 million. Currently, the fund consists of 13 partner banks, as well as Omaha 100. The Iowa West Foundation approved $4.7 million in grants and initiatives funding to 18 nonprofit organizations and government entities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska including: Avoca Volunteer Fire Department, Blair Family YMCA, Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, City of Coon Rapids. City of Council Bluffs, River’s Edge, Convention and Tourism Bureau, Council Bluffs Community School District, BLink VI, Council Bluffs Goodfellows, Crescent Volunteer Fire Department, Heartland Family Service, Lewis Central Children’s Mental Health Program 2019 – 2020, Historic General Dodge House, Inc., Iowa West Foundation Initiative for three different projects, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Iowa, Inc., NeighborWorks

MEETINGS AND SEMINARS Wednesday, Dec. 4 Join Lutz for a seminar led by Joe Donovan, Steve Nebbia, and Justin Korth that will cover current tax law updates as well as general year-end planning ideas. The seminar will be held at the Omaha office at 13616 California Street, Suite 300. There will also be a webinar. Thursday, Dec. 5 Join Arbor University and Goosmann Law Firm for the latest EmpowHER series event on Tax Tips/Toy Drive from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Nuri Event Studio. Guest speakers will be Danie Senske and Nikki Snow, both from Bland & Associates P.C. Happy Hour will feature tax tips, networking and a toy drive for the Child Saving Institute. Registration is online. The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands is hosting its annual Holiday Party from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Hot Shops Art Center. There will be networking, drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The event is free but registration is requested for catering. Join the Greater Omaha Chamber at its annual Member Appreciation Holiday Open House where more than 500 Chamber members gather to celebrate the year’s accomplishments, network and surround themselves with drinks, food and that holiday mood provided and served by Chamber member sponsors. The event is free but registration is required. The event is from 4:40 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Chamber’s office at 808 Conagra Drive. Friday, Dec. 6 Effective management of human resources is essential for creating successful organizational results. As a part of doing business, nonprofit organizations must be aware of and adhere to all legal employment requirements, exercise fair and equitable HR practices that attract and retain qualified individuals, and provide a safe work environment. The Squeaky Clean HR Series will help nonprofit leaders and HR staff to provide a safe, welcoming, and productive work environment while protecting their employees and their organization from harmful and illegal practices. Registration is online and

the session is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands. Tuesday, Dec. 10 Today, 57 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly and this relatively new medium as emerged as a huge opportunity for brands. Whether you’re new to podcasts or want to hone your skills, join the American Marketing Association, Omaha Chapter for a presentation from Jim Collison, director of talent acquisition and Clifton Strengths community manager at Gallup. Collison hosts and produces two successful podcasts: Called to Coach podcast at Gallup and Ask the Podcast Coach. Registration is online.

Home Solutions, New Visions Homeless Services, Nishna Valley Family YMCA, Omaha Conservatory of Music, Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, The 712 Initiative, and the YMCA of Greater Omaha.

Arts and events…

Five Lessons Learned from a Career in Health Care: A Conversation with Kim Russel is taking place at Community Health Endowment on Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m. When Russel retires as president and CEO of Bryan Health in January 2020, she will have led Lincoln’s largest health system for nearly 12 years. During that time, Russel and the Bryan Health team navigated the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and a new electronic health record system and oversaw expansion projects on both Bryan Health campuses, all while providing care to thousands. Russel has served on the CHE Board of Trustees since 2008 and as chair from 2013 – 2015. Green Omaha Coalition is bringing one of North America’s largest environmental film festivals to Omaha on Dec. 4 for the first time. Explore issues affecting water and land use here in Nebraska and find out how flooding, drought, agriculture and environmental health are intricately tied. Then discover the various ways activists from diverse communities across America are working to preserve, restore and improve our natural environment. Tickets are $16. A musical preview of the ONE Festival operas St. John the Baptist and The Capulets and The Montagues is taking place on Dec. 5 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Holland Community Opera Fellows and members of the Trinity Cathedral Schola will perform baroque works of Stradella, and various musical interpretations of the Romeo &

Juliet fable. Following the performance, a reception will be hosted by David and Linda Gardels. Registration is online. The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum is celebrating Space Day, featuring Santa Claus, the Star Wars Stormtroopers from the 501st Central Garrison Legion, and interactive family fun activities during its Santa Goes to Space event on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests will enjoy droids, makeand-takes from community partners, free cookie decorating to the first 500 youth, and an interactive storyteller. The museum is offering free photography of guests with Santa, retrieved from the museum’s Facebook page. The event is part of general admission for the day. Santa and two of his reindeer will take test runs in Omaha. The reindeer will be in The Bel Air Plaza parking lot, 12100 West Center Road, on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Children will be able to see the reindeer up close in the heated tent and parents are encouraged to take photos to capture the holiday memory. Santa and his elves will be on hand providing hot cocoa and cookies. The Sarpy County Museum on Dec. 8 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the annual Christmas Open House. Over 25 nativity sets from around the world and a dozen Christmas trees will be on display. During the open house, there will be door prizes and the highly anticipated drawing for the winner of the 2019 Raffle Quilt. Tickets will be available up until the drawing for all raffle prizes. The museum invites the public to view Christmas trees sponsored by local organizations, eat holiday treats while enjoying the music of the Handbell Ministry, “Truth be Tolled.”


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

Conventions, Meetings & Trade Shows A section prepared by the staff of the Midlands Business Journal

Local convention market is steadily growing by Gabby Christensen

Moving into 2020, experts agree that the local convention, tourism and exposition market will continue to remain robust. Bob Mancuso Jr., CFO, Mid-America Expositions, said the Omaha area is very attractive for events, festivals, trade shows, as well as entertainment and nightlife. The Omaha Health Wellness & Fitness Expo brings exhibitors into Omaha from all over the world. Recently, Mancuso said the Omaha Fire Fest also brought guests from all over the Midwest. One current trend he has noted is sponsorship package customization. Compton “Every sponsor has different goals, different budgets, and a unique brand that they bring to the table,” Mancuso said. “Based on the company’s goals, we try to find the right fit and plan for that company.” He said the future looks bright for Omaha to continue to grow in tourism — and also to continue to have strong trade shows, events and festivals. “The new developments on the riverfront

Cathy Keller, VP of sales and services at Visit Omaha. and downtown Omaha will help keep events ha citizens and allow people to have a strong in downtown Omaha also,” Mancuso said. quality of life.” “These factors improve the activities for OmaMike Compton, executive vice president

November 29, 2019

at Renze, said a recent trend in the industry is focusing on the attendee experience, rather than just bombarding them with branding. “The goal is to get an attendee to have an emotional response, to feel something, rather than just to remember the marketing messages in the booth,” he said. “One of the ways to do this is to make the booth space more inviting — open space, comfortable seating, charging stations, snacks, relaxed staffers and great lighting.” Compton said graphics are getting bigger and bolder, with an emphasis on backlit graphics as well as fabric materials. As far as technology goes, he said more companies are using virtual and augmented reality to help engage attendees. “While technology and trends are importMancuso ant to successful exhibit design, we feel it is most important to have a compelling exhibit with a headline or graphics that reaches out to your specific target market; and then to have friendly, knowledgeable booth staffers that represent your company in a professional light,” Compton said. Although Omaha is still a young Midwest convention destination, Cathy , vice president of sales and services at Visit Omaha, said it continues to build awareness on a national level. Within the local market, she said it will remain highly competitive as new supply enters the scene, including new boutique hotel brands. Additionally, in January, she said the American Bus Association Marketplace will bring in 3,500 attendees, including buyers that could potentially bring future motor coach business to the city. In addition to using technology to interact with attendees, Keller said one noticeable trend is the focus on creating a local experience at meetings. Food plays a significant role in setting the local tone, as well. “A lot of hotels are bringing in local flavors the city is known for during the meeting,” Keller said. “They want guests to experience the local cuisine, which then prompts them to go out and experience the rest of the destination.” Looking ahead, she said Visit Omaha is excited about the riverfront revitalization. “As my team works to attract conventions for the future, it’s vital that the city continues to develop,” Keller said. “And this project certainly brings recognition to Omaha as a meeting destination.”


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal • Conventions, Meetings & Trade Shows

Tech integration, exhibitor strategies bring opportunities for trade show engagement by Michelle Leach

From “old-school” Lite-Brite to “next-generation” holograms, creatively-designed spaces that facilitate “Main Street” style communication to interactive kiosks, there is a place for the vintage and high-tech alike to drive the value organizations get in conferences, meetings, trade shows, and like events. “Probably the biggest trend we have seen here at Revolution Wraps has been the switch to fabrics as well as making a bold statement,” said Sales Director Joel Cornman. “The fabrics have a ‘softer’ look and feel, making them warm and inviting. Utilizing a design that makes an impact and a bold statement in combination with the fabrics is how exhibitors are having success.” He indicated the company is using a lot of technology to support clients’ events; for instance, displays equipped with monitors that allow them to show videos of products and services. “Anything from looped 15- to 30-second clips to five to 10-minute presentations or a combination,” Cornman said. “Interactive kiosks are also popular as they allow your guests to be involved and not presented to.” SCORR Marketing Trade Show Director Dee Fuehrer underscored integrated marketing efforts to draw visitors to booths. “For example, to highlight a client’s focus on surmounting its customers’ challenges, we hired professional cup stackers to challenge booth visitors,” she said. “Not only did we drive attendees to the booth and create a buzz in the convention hall, we effectively highlighted this client’s new technology, which featured the word ‘stack’ in its name.”

Challengers submitted their times via client technology, and the fastest cup-stackers were displayed live on a leaderboard — prompting competitors to regularly return to the booth to check their times and compete

Fuehrer Wurtz again. “We deployed both animated and micro-videos taken onsite to promote the event on social media, while a variety of related tactics supported the ‘challenge accepted’ theme, from pre-show emails to post-show follow-up tactics — an integrated approach that took this client’s trade show marketing to the next level,” Fuehrer said. Another client created a coffeeshop-themed booth complete with handheld tarts and comfortable stools for networking. “The scent of baked goods permeated the exhibit hall, luring attendees to the booth,” she said. “Following conversations, the visitors were guided to a wall where each could write his or her name on a wedge of white acrylic in a pie tin; each wedge represented 30 meals the company would donate to a nonprofit. The ‘easy as pie’ theme was used

for pre-promotion, at-show booth activities, and post-show follow-up.” The next phase in “holograms,” Fuehrer indicated, will be a full-sized spokesperson presenting one’s story while customers explore hands-on holograms of products. “Part product demo station, part magic trick,” she said. “Virtual reality headsets remain popular. Royal Caribbean created a cruise-like experience that never left dry land through the use of VR.” Kuester For its event, she said the company rented a large building where attendees donned headsets and experienced previews of shore excursions, boarding, dining and state rooms. “In-booth activities that are nostalgic are trending; for example, an exhibitor set up a display that resembled Lite-Brite, where visitors could place colored pegs into the plug-by-color template,” Fuehrer recalled. “Another company orchestrated a pinball tournament using three arcade machines in the booth. The nostalgic elements of these activities prompted a lot of conversations.” Firespring Trade Show Product Specialist Janet Wurtz spotlighted creative meeting areas within the booth space, which allow for one-on-one conversations with new and potential clients. “The technology upgrades in large convention centers across the U.S.” also represent additional opportunities, she indicated.

“These upgrades improve the speed of internet services to the exhibitors, better options for scanning leads, [and] faster checking for exhibitors and attendees,” she said. Upgrades facilitate the likes of quicker devices and allow them to meet with more potential clients. As an example, Firespring attended a show in Dallas, Texas in October. “We were able to use free Wi-Fi to run demos and all internet-related needs,” Wurtz said. “We did not have to order wired internet services and we saved more than $1,200.” In the age of livestreaming and e-learning, where the smartphone is the way receive information, Sonburst Communications VP of Technology Nathan Kuester said any experience that can be replicated there, will be. “So, event planners and content creators must think ‘outside the box’ of our phones and laptop screens,” he said. “We must create content and experiences that surpass what livestreams can offer.” Kuester said Sonburst has implemented “larger than life projection-mapped stages and structures,” theatrical opening sessions with music, sound and light, interactive group activities (via mobile apps), arena style Q&As, and mics that can be taken into the audience to get everyone talking. “These are the things that, if viewed by livestream, would make you wish you were there,” he said. Kuester underscored how event planners and content creators must develop attendee experiences that engage audiences far beyond what a screen on a desk or phone in hand can provide; for instance, winners of Continued on next page.


Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

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Data, connectivity, high-tech innovation influencing building construction by Jasmine Heimgartner signals that are then analyzed and pushed Efficiency and sustainability are more to the cloud.” than buzzwords when it comes to the Whether a new or old building, busidesign and construction of a building. As nesses have options to begin the process internet of things — connected of using technology to enhance devices that can collect data, operations. and software able to upload “A first step could be impledata to the cloud or connected menting a system that monitors devices — continue to emerge, a the temperature at different thoughtful approach to building points throughout the building,” can provide instant analytics Guericke said. “That data could that turn those buzzwords into then be correlated with local the norm. weather, previous history and “Currently, most new concurrent building activity. With struction incorporates some sort enough data, the system could of IoT system,” said Mike Guerpredict when shades needed Duren icke, prototype design instructor to be lowered or opened, the at Metropolitan Community College. HVAC system turned on, what rooms “Those systems range from shades that need to turn on/off the lights and more. are controlled via electronic panels to the The ultimate goal being that the system HVAC systems that are controlled remotely to security systems that are controlled from the cloud.” Before data collection can begin, busiby Gabby Christensen nesses need to determine what it is they Choosing the right franchise can be want to achieve with their building. “The definition of a ‘smart building,’ a daunting task for entrepreneurs, which and the value that this label can deliver, is why professionals say it’s important varies greatly from client to client,” said to be particular when it comes to setting Doug Duren, vice president/client solu- requirements. Ryan Zink, CEO of Franchise Fast tions director at JE Dunn Construction. “The key to maximizing efficiency and Lane, said the first thing entrepreneurs sustainability is to design with the end in need to realize is that there are many franmind. The world of sensors, data streams, chises to choose from, which is why it’s all and analytics is still in its infancy, but the more important to have strict standards. Zink said an individual should begin an innovative client who agrees to work collaboratively during the early design by determining their investment level, phases can reap great rewards by having and then set criteria for what they want in the networks, sensors and analytics de- a franchise. “You should definitely consider your signed from early onset to work together to deliver targeted visibility and metrics.” lifestyle and what will work best for you,” Although building management sys- he said. “Think about how much time you tems have been used for years, new inno- want to put into the business. Or, think vations are taking what is possible to the about who you are going to trust to put in that time as a manager or partner.” next level. He also highly encourages anyone who “In order to help contribute to a more efficient building, I believe the answer lies is considering a franchise to find a reputain data,” Guericke said. “The more data ble and experienced franchise consultant you can get about the usage of your space, that can lead them through the process. Additionally, he said it’s critical to meet the easier it becomes to make intelligent decisions. That being said, the answer to with existing franchisees to ask questions. “Maybe one of the most powerful quesgenerating that necessary data, which in turn creates more efficient spaces, is the tions to ask is whether or not they would use of sensors. You can imbed sensors do it all over again,” Zink said. Blake Martin, CFE/franchise specialist all over the space, which detect physical phenomena and translate that to digital at FranNet, said individuals looking to purchase a franchise should plan on performing extensive research and spending several months speaking with key decisionmakers. Continued from preceding page. “Proper due diligence goes well bea “daily hunt” to answer questions receive a prize and get engaged via a convention app. yond finding an affordable opportunity Otherwise: “ … watching a livestream on that offers a product or service that you your phone can deliver the same informative personally like,” he said. “Moreover, it experience as physically attending a confer- involves serious contemplation about your own goals and priorities.” ence or meeting.” Martin said it’s critical to be very transTrade shows present a huge opportunity parent when in a due diligence discussion to build brand awareness, cultivate relationwith franchise companies. ships with current and prospective clients, “The key to making the right decision and demo new products and services, Fuehrer emphasized. She recommends training the is both parties learning enough about each in-booth team well, so they know how to use other in order to understand whether the franchisor/franchisee relationship will the new technology. “Before you leave for the show, do some be a good match,” he said. “When the role playing with your team, and consider due diligence process is done properly, it distributing talking points and FAQs,” she should feel like a mutual interview — both said. “Schedule an in-booth orientation be- parties looking for a match, not selling fore the show begins to review messages and themselves.” Before going down the franchise route, familiarize the team with the technology.”

could react proactively with the needs of the occupants while keeping energy usage as low as possible.” Along with the benefits technology provides for the actual building structure, it can also greatly benefit employees. “We are seeing an uptick in WELL Building certification, which focuses on metrics and building attributes that contribute to employees’ overall health, well-being and ultimately the hope that their overall satisfaction leads them to stay and feel fulfilled at their careers,” Duren said. “We have seen interior designers, space planners and architects design with the ‘whole person’ in mind. That means focusing on factors ranging from natural daylight and filtered water stations to green roof and open-air patio public spaces. We have even put in treadmill desks in our

offices so people can get their steps in while on a video conference.” Emerging and available technologies are making it possible to achieve both a successful analytical approach while incorporating soft metrics like health and wellness. The ways technology impacts how people are working is also making its way into the design of buildings and workspaces. “As people are telecommuting more, we are also seeing shared workspaces — where two or more employees might share one office or workstation based on their telecommuting hours — and ‘hoteling’ spaces at offices where employees can borrow a temporary space perhaps because they are traveling in from out of town or just in the office temporarily between work-from-home days,” Duren said.

Experts weigh in on choosing the right franchise

Tech integration

Aretha Boex, associate state director at Nebraska Business Development Center, said entrepreneurs should consider their ownership options, business goals, skills and professional experience.

Zink Boex Boex said the main benefits of buying a franchise are name recognition and well-established business processes. “There are franchises for virtually every industry, although they may not all be available in a particular geographic area,” she said. “Beyond finding the right fit, it is important to evaluate the franchise’s historical performance, fee structure, culture, as well as training and support systems.” According to Boex, there are several free or low-cost opportunities for entrepreneurs to receive support. “The Nebraska Business Development Center provides confidential one-on-one

consulting at no cost,” she said. “Our services are geared toward both new and existing small businesses.” Cortney Sells, owner of The Firm, recommends franchising to those without prior business ownership experience. “One of the perks of owning a franchise is that most franchises already have a marketing plan,” she said. “So, the owner just has to put the right people in place and manage them.” Prior to selecting a franchise, Sells said one should find out how many of the franchisees sold their business, how many closed their business and how many new franchises were opened in the previous year. “You want to ensure that the franchise doesn’t have a high turnover,” she said. “It’s also important to know how sellable the franchise is, as everyone has to sell their business at some point.” Sells said it’s also wise to choose a franchise in which each unit isn’t an exorbitant price, especially if one is hoping to add more locations. “Some might also consider purchasing an existing franchise, as employees are already in place and revenue is coming in,” she said. “But, no matter what, always make sure you invest in a franchise that represents something you are passionate about.”


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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

Friends at work. Are they better than perks and benefits? by Brittany Meiling

With the rise of workplace perks like unlimited paid vacation and flexible workfrom-home policies, it would be fair to assume freedom and autonomy are of utmost importance to today’s workers. But in a survey of San Diego’s top workplaces, happy employees were more likely to report that people — colleagues, mentors, bosses or workplace friends — were the reason they loved their work. Workplace Relationships with colleagues have always played a role in workplace satisfaction, but experts say it’s possible these office relationships are more critical today than they once were. Thanks to the technology-fueled modern lifestyle, people are experiencing more social isolation than years past. With younger generations, church has fallen out of style, dinner parties have died, and neighbors are just strangers who live next door. Human interaction is even being removed from daily life tasks like ordering lunch and shopping for groceries. A new feature of the Uber app even lets riders request that their drivers not speak to them at all. “We’ve lost many forums, churches, and places where we had more time to discover meaningful relationships,” said Dan Negroni, a talent development consultant in San Diego. “Gone are the days of apprenticeship and mentorship for learning. Now we’re self-learning through platforms like YouTube.” For many adults, that leaves one daily institution for them to form social bonds: the workplace. And employers should take note, because these social connections could be a meaningful contributor to worker performance, satisfaction and retention. What happens when you have friends at work? There’s an extensive body of research dating back to the 1980s that shows workplace friendships reduce turnover and absenteeism, as well as boosting feelings of job security, comfort and job satisfaction. Employees with friends at work also tend to engage in altruistic behaviors by providing co-workers with help, guidance, advice, or feedback with various work-related matters.

Peer-reviewed research published in the journal American Psychologist also suggests that companies can benefit from such friendships, as these workers help each other and communicate well. Both of these behaviors can increase effort and production. Negroni said startups and other modern companies aren’t off-base by offering free lunches, kombucha on-tap, and video games in the breakroom. It’s not about the perks, it’s about the social gatherings that they inspire. “The frat environment might actually work,” Negroni said. “A Cornell study showed that workplaces are more productive if people eat together. Employers don’t do this because millennials are entitled and want the perk. They’re doing this because we connect by sharing meals.” At Shield AI, a robotics startup in San Diego, CEO Ryan Tseng said the company was very deliberate in creating their culture. Their company values, which include being kind and trustworthy, are regularly discussed at meetings. In the Union-Tribune’s workplace survey, administered in conjunction with Philadelphia-based Energage to determine San Diego County’s top workplaces, most of Shield AI’s employees mentioned their colleagues as the reason they loved their jobs. (Full results of the Top Workplace survey will publish online Sunday morning.) “It comes down to the people — all the people I work with are amazing!” one anonymous employee wrote. “Truly a teamwork-oriented culture where everyone goes out of their way to help each other succeed.” Tseng said Shield AI makes an effort to know their employees as people, making sure they’re taking care of themselves and that they’re taking time for their family, friends, and “the things that energize them.” “Co-workers have a huge influence on the way you feel at work and how you feel when you go home,” Tseng said. Millennials and Gen Z: do they need more help? Negroni, who specializes in helping bridge generational gaps between baby boomers and younger workers like millennials or Gen Z, said he believes social connection is especially important for younger staff. They often haven’t

built social skills by the time they reach the office and find themselves isolated and unsure how to establish meaningful relationships. “They’re not learning these things in school, and then they get to the workplace and we expect them to know it,” Negroni said. “It’s a shockingly systematic problem.” Miriam Kirmayer, a therapist and friendship researcher at McGill University, said it’s not just younger workers who need and value human connection in the workplace. “Blurring the boundaries between your personal life and your work life might be more comfortable for younger generations, but the need for social connection is universal,” Kirmayer said. She noted that older generations may actually feel the change of modern living — and the ensuing isolation — more acutely because they’ve benefited from social groups in the past. And they know what they’re missing. Striking a balance by creating boundaries While social bonds at work can be a boon for retention and employee satisfaction, some employers still feel a need to establish boundaries among workers. A 2007 study reported that friendships at work can lead to difficulties for management and negative emotions if friendships turn bitter. Kirmayer, who works with corporations as a consultant, said issues can come up if friendships are threatened by changing hierarchies. “An opportunity for promotions can create issues within friendships who were formerly at a similar level,” Kirmayer said. “We feel at risk of losing the friendship, or the boundaries can be blurred.” Tseng said he believes leaders can be both kind and supportive of friendships, while also strict when necessary to cultivate the right balance within an organization. “If someone is doing poorly — taking on challenging commitments and not delivering — then you need to tell them where they need to be, but also be kind about it,” Tseng said. “If you’re being so kind that you can’t give tough feedback, then you’ve got a problem.” ©2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In the Spotlight Paid Content BRANDING & MARKETING Hired

Mike Losee Director of Client Development UNANIMOUS

UNANIMOUS is excited to announce the hiring of Mike Losee as the agency’s director of client development. Mike brings more than 30 years of marketing experience to UNANIMOUS. Mike has served as account director and director of account development at several local agencies. He is active in the public health community, having served as a Past President of the Nebraska Healthcare Marketers Association and currently serving as the Secretary of the APRN licensure Board for Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services. At UNANIMOUS, Mike will lead the company’s new business development initiatives. He has experience developing large scale marketing strategies and has decades of experience in healthcare marketing. Mike earned his master of arts in mass communications and bachelor of journalism in advertising both from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Trent Wilcox, President of UNANIMOUS, said, “Mike's wealth of experience in marketing and his ability to provide clients with outstanding results is in perfect alignment with the UNANIMOUS team. He has an excellent reputation and has been very active in the healthcare industry. We look forward to leveraging his expertise to our partners’ advantage in this area and beyond!” UNANIMOUS is a Lincoln, Nebraska based agency that assists clients with branding, marketing, and web design. With over 350 active clients across 15 states, the agency is known for its collaborative style and prides itself on rhyme, reason, and results.” MARKETING & BRANDING Hired

Kelly Lytle Copywriter KidGlov

Lytle brings 20+ years of experience in copywriting, advertising and marketing management to the agency. With a diverse background working domestically and internationally in a wide variety of industries, her strategic insights and understanding of organizational goals, markets and audiences helps client content resonate. She holds bachelor’s and master's degrees (ABT) from the University of South Florida.


Midlands Business Journal • NOVEMBER 29, 2019 •

In the Spotlight Paid Content

ACCOUNTING

SENIOR SERVICES

Joined

Named

Tim Curran

Stephanie Grade

Associate Wealth Management Advisor

General Manager

Northwestern Mutual

Tim Curran has been awarded the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designation. An Omaha native, Tim has been working in the financial industry for 29 years. Tim has a BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis, and for the past 12 years he has served his clients as a Financial Advisor. Tim works directly with the Randels’ Team at the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company.

LEGAL SERVICES Added

Katie Denson Attorney Crosby Guenzel

Crosby Guenzel LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Jay Linton as an Attorney of the Firm. Linton joined the Firm as a law clerk in 2018 and received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Linton’s practice will focus on commercial law, civil litigation, entity formation and governance, cooperative law, creditor’s rights, and wills and probate. Linton is a native of Dalton, Nebraska and resides in Lincoln with his wife, Nicole. Crosby Guenzel LLP is celebrating over 70 years of providing legal services to its clients. The Firm offers a full range of legal services to businesses and individuals with an emphasis on agricultural, cooperative, corporate formation and governance, nonprofit, employment law, commercial litigation, and probate and estate planning matters. To learn more, visit www.crosbylawfirm.com

Ovation Heartwood Preserve

Stephanie Grade has been named General Manager of Ovation Heartwood Preserve, a new active adult lifestyle campus currently under construction in West Omaha. The campus will include a total of 300 residences including independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Stephanie is a born and raised Nebraskan. Growing up in Crete, just about an hour outside Omaha, Stephanie looked at life through a different lens. Her passion for exceptional service drew her to the hotel and services industry, allowing her to travel the U.S., open hotels, and serve on the Board of Directors for the Omaha Restaurant Association and Metropolitan Hospitality Association. After 20 years of hospitality experience and award-winning program development, Stephanie has brought her expertise to Ovation Heartwood Preserve. “Ovation is such a reinvigorating and wonderful new development,” Stephanie said when asked why she chose to join and lead the Ovation team. “I look forward to sharing my background in hospitality with my fellow team members.” Ovation Heartwood Preserve offers exceptional, residential living and experiences, as well as innovative technology options that allow guests to communicate with family and the world around them. The campus includes multiple restaurants including the Peony Park Bistro, Millers@Omaha, and 1863 fine dining. Stephanie has a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Iowa State University. She’s also a proud mother, wife, and owner of an English Bulldog named Lola – who gets all of the family’s attention. When she’s not earning an ovation for her hard work, she enjoys attending concerts, theatre performances, traveling, supporting the Joslyn Art Museum, and exploring Fontenelle Forest just outside Bellevue. Those interested in learning more about Ovation or meeting Stephanie can visit Ovation’s Reservation Showroom at Pepperwood Village, 573 North 155th Plaza, Suite 573. You can also call 402-999-7900 or visit www. OvationHeartwoodPreserve.com.

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• NOVEMBER 29, 2019 • Midlands Business Journal

Profile for Midlands Business Journal

Midlands Business Journal November 29, 2019 Vol. 45 No. 48 issue  

The Midlands Business Journal is a weekly news publication based in Omaha, Nebraska featuring in-depth business coverage of the Greater Omah...

Midlands Business Journal November 29, 2019 Vol. 45 No. 48 issue  

The Midlands Business Journal is a weekly news publication based in Omaha, Nebraska featuring in-depth business coverage of the Greater Omah...

Profile for mbj1