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Saving the world starts For an education in Nebraska. that will take you everywhere
The world may know UNMC for our expertise in dealing with the Ebola virus. But from Falls City to Scottsbluff, the people of Nebraska know us as the
champion of a healthy state. From addressing the state’s nursing shortage to training nearly half of Nebraska’s health professionals to – along with our At Creighton, you’ll discover more in our top-ranked education. Schedule a visitNebraska today Medicine – pumping clinical partner, billions of liberal dollarsarts into the In a values-based education, we prepare students admissions.creighton.edu for a life well lived and full of opportunities. They learn to make state’s economy each year, UNMC never stops working to make our great 402.280.2703 meaningful contributions locally and around the world through ® state even stronger. UNMC. Breakthroughs for life. leadership and service to others.
We blend this culture of compassion and purpose with a tradition of academic excellence. With faculty by their sides, students develop the essential skills to become the trailblazers, forward thinkers and strong believers they always envisioned.
WHERE YOU BELONG PenFed Credit Union is dedicated to providing best-in-class rates and innovative products to help our 1.4 million members realize their money’s potential. We’ve been a part of the Omaha community since 1992, and we’re proud to offer: • Award-winning credit cards • Great rates on mortgages and home equity loans • Great rates on new and used auto loans, including refinancing current loans • Robust online and mobile services • Access America Checking, a high yield premium checking account • Superior member service
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North DowNtowN omaha ONELAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY
WE WELCOME â&#x20AC;¢ 7
BaSe & StartING BlocK It was an incredibly exciting confluence of events. For four days in June, we were simultaneously home base and starting block for two of the biggest happenings in sports: the NCAA Men’s College World Series championship games (an Omaha-based tradition since 1950) and the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials (our third turn as host). We took tremendous pride in welcoming the tens of thousands of spectators who joined us for these overlapping marquee events – and in showing them what “We Don’t Coast” means to us. More than a comment on our geography, it’s a synopsis of our attitude. Like the athletes who excelled in our world-class venues, we don’t take shortcuts. Whether we’re staging national events, growing our businesses or making our region a premier place to live, work and play, you can bet we’re going to get up early, stay up late, break a sweat and get the job done. The 2016 edition of Omaha: We Don’t Coast celebrates the impact of our inherent “can do” spirit, showcasing businesses, institutions and neighbors that make our community champion-caliber. We hope you find inspiration in their stories, promise in our quality of life and opportunities in our region that you hadn’t considered before now. If you are thinking about expanding your business, moving your family or coming on your own, we look forward to welcoming you to the roster – and helping you achieve greatness. No coasting allowed. David G. Brown
President & CEO Greater Omaha Chamber
Chairman, Greater Omaha Chamber Board of Directors
GeorGe lIttle (left) aND DavID G. BrowN
CEO and Chairman, HDR Inc. BILL SITZMANN
8 • WE DON’T COAST
We Don’t Coast. We Grow Together. We started here in Omaha in 1917. Since then, we’ve expanded to the far corners of the world, strengthening communities with engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services. As we design our new global headquarters at 1917 building in Aksarben Village, we’re proud to begin the next 100 years in the city we call home.
Follow our progress @newHDRhq
“Omaha: We Don’t Coast,” 2016 edition, is a Greater Omaha Chamber publication created and produced by the Omaha World-Herald to showcase the 30+ communities that make Omaha – Greater Omaha.
No coaStING allowed
President and CEO, David G. Brown 1301 Harney St., Omaha, NE 68102 402-346-5000 OmahaChamber.org SelectGreaterOmaha.com WeDontCoast.com Greater Omaha ChamBer PrOjeCt team Project Director: Alissa Nehe Creative Director: Kim Sellmeyer Project Coordinator: Jessica Perreault Project Contributor: Anne Branigan WOrLD-heraLD PrOjeCt team Editor: Chris Christen Assistant Editor: Stacie Hamel Designer: Quentin Lueninghoener Writer: Dan McCann Contibutors: Kurt A. Keeler, Howard K. Marcus, Dan Sullivan, Kiley Cruse Imaging Specialist: Patricia “Murphy” Benoit Advertising Sales Manager: Debbie Cavalier
we entertain | 16 REBECCA S. GRATZ
On the COver A boy has a blast at a Benson First Friday, exploring art and getting a parkour run in. Photographed by Bill SItzmann. View this publication digitally at Omaha.com/WeDontCoast Copyright 2016 Omaha World-Herald, 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha NE 68102 | 402-444-1094
we toast | 38
we win | 50
we explore | 58
we live | 70
we inspire | 80
we care | 100
we launch | 118
we build | 134
Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information in this publication. The Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha World-Herald assume no responsibility for misinformation. No part of this publication may be reproduced without joint permission of the Greater Omaha Chamber and The World-Herald. Printed by Firespring, Lincoln, Nebraska
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We love our “OMA-goodness” moments – those shared experiences that get the masses talking and amping up Twitter. We had our share over the last year – whether we were welcoming the leader of the free world or the man who helped colonize Mars (on the big screen). O in the Big O President Barack Obama making Omaha his first stop (2) after his final State of the Union address? That certainly grabbed our attention. Speaking to more than 10,000 people, he gave a shout to our new Baxter Arena (“It’s still got that new arena smell”) but more importantly, he highlighted our strong economy. “We’re in the midst of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history – 14 million new jobs, around 40,000 right here in Omaha and the surrounding areas. Our national unemployment rate has been cut in half; it’s down to 5 percent ... So our starting point has to be things are not terrible if your unemployment rate is at 5, and here in Omaha, it’s below 3.” The President also applauded our medical minds in combating the 2015 Ebola crisis. “We couldn’t be prouder of the doctors and nurses, including (those) here at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, who heroically treated and cared for patients. They saved lives not just here, but their courage saved lives around the world because they showed that, you know what, we can deal with this.”
Other OMA-gOOdness MOMents • Oscar-winners Alexander Payne (1), an Omaha native, and Matt Damon, a Hollywood superstar, filming parts of Payne’s latest movie, “Downsizing,” around Omaha, setting off a Twitter frenzy. Locations included a neighborhood near 46th and Douglas Streets, Creighton Prep High School (Payne’s alma mater), La Casa Pizzeria and Borsheim’s in Regency Court. • Continuing to follow the rise of Omaha’s Terence “Bud” Crawford (29-0) and the fall of his opponents. Crawford (3) defended
his junior welterweight title at Madison Square Garden in February – and then in July beat back a challenge from previously undefeated Viktor Postol (28-1) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas – a highly-anticipated super-lightweight unification fight. • Celebrating the burgeoning success of Omaha-born and Tony-nominated Andrew Rannells on stage (“The Book of Mormon,” “Jersey Boys”), screen (“The Intern,” “Why Him?”) and television (“Girls”) – and Adam Devine, a Millard South grad best known for his roles in TV’s “Modern Family” and “Workaholics” as well as his work in the “Pitch Perfect” movies and the more recent “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” • Hitting the campaign trail with Omaha native and Creighton University graduate Symone Sanders, who served as press secretary for Bernie Sanders during his run for the White House. She was one of the top African-American and female staffers on his campaign. “What is so great about presidential campaigns is you get to see the depth and breadth of America,” she says. “The travel is absolutely crazy, but the crowds! I think the best thing about this is the crowds.” • Christians, Jews and Muslims, coming together on one campus in a Tri-Faith Initiative that celebrates our differences and promotes understanding. The initiative, involving Temple Israel (4), Countryside Community Church and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture is believed to be the first and only project of its kind in the world. Conceived more than 10 years ago, its partners are building new houses of worship in West Omaha.
WE WELCOME • 13
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quality of life
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DeS moINeS omaha
hoUStoN omaha IS the ‘Sweet Spot’ Out of 100 major metropolitan areas, only a small number hit the “sweet spot” – scoring well on three critical metrics: quality of life, affordability and economic strength (according to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis). From our cost of living to our median income, we know we’ve got a sweet thing going – and we’re proud of how we stack up.
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First Nebraska Credit Union was recently recognized as one of the Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions in America! We are the only Nebraska Credit Union that made the list! We continue to be a strong and secure financial choice for our members.
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we we entertain entertain
Y L N O E R ’ E W G N I R O B AS E R A U O Y AS 16 16••WE WEDON’T DON’TCOAST COAST
tHe tHe DUrHaM DUrHaM MUSeUM MUSeUM BBRREENNDDAANN SSUULLLLI IVVAANN
WE WEENTERTAIN ENTERTAIN••17 17
masterworks on display We are a cultural hub, feeding all avenues of expression. Creativity is not confined here – and the sheer quality of our artistic continuum enhances the quality of our lives. 18 • WE DON’T COAST
Joslyn Art Museum (1) – Nebraska’s largest art museum, honored with a 2016 Governor’s Arts Award for its role in shaping “our state’s artistic landscape.” Over the last 85 years, the Joslyn’s collection has grown to include more than 11,000 works – all of which can be seen free of charge. Our area galleries include: • 402 Arts Collective • Artists’ Cooperative Fine Art Gallery • Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts / Carver Bank • Gallery 92 West / Fremont Area Art Association
• Gallery 1516 • Hot Shops Art Center • Harvester Artspace • KANEKO • Union for Contemporary Art • Modern Arts Midtown BRAD j. WILLIAMS
INDULGE YOUR TASTE BUDS HAVE FUN MAKE MEMORIES REMEMBER FALLEN HEROES 31ST AVE. & FARNAM STREET | WWW.MIDTOWNCROSSING.COM
see it. hear it.
feel it. Ballet Nebraska (4) – At the heart of the region’s only professional dance company, a dedicated group of performers lives out a classic childhood dream with grace and athleticism. Omaha Symphony – Our connection to the power and beauty of live orchestral music through performance and education for more than 90 years now, currently under the direction of Thomas Wilkins. How cool is this? A unique partnership with the Omaha Conservatory of Music – String Sprouts (3) & the Symphony – offers hundreds of young violin and cello players (just 3 and 4 years old) the thrill of performing in concert with their adult Symphony counterparts. The children, many from our underserved areas, receive free beginner lessons and instruments courtesy of OCM’s String Sprouts program. Opera Omaha (1) – The only professional opera company in Nebraska, celebrating 60 years in 2018 with the addition of an annual spring festival. Year one will feature two fully-staged productions, including a world-premiere opera, “Proving Up.” River City Mixed Chorus (2) – More than three decades after its founding, the LGBT River City Mixed Chorus continues to entertain, engage and enrich with dynamic, innovative performances.
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4 jIM WILLIAMS
WE ENTERTAIN â&#x20AC;¢ 21
The Orpheum Theater – recently renovated and Pollstar-ranked among the top 100 venues for worldwide ticket sales along with the acoustically engineered Holland Performing Arts Center. Omaha Performing Arts manages both venues and enlivens them with the finest in local and national performing arts. Omaha Community Playhouse – Renowned for its two state-of-the-art theaters and continuous encore of first-rate, volunteerpowered productions. More than 90 years old – but ever youthful – the Playhouse will stage Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017. Also center stage: • Chanticleer Community Theater • Lofte Community Theater • The Rose Theater • Bellevue Little Theatre • Blue Barn Theatre
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DECEMBER 10 - 18 DECEMBER 10 - 18
Ordering Orderingfor foryour yourcompany companyor orlarge largefamily? family? SAVE SAVE20% 20%on onyour yourGroup GroupOrder! Order! Contact Contactour ourSales SalesManager Manageratat402.661.8578 402.661.8578for fororders ordersofof10 10orormore! more! For Forsmaller smallerorders orderscall call402.345.0606 402.345.0606
Get Getthe theBest BestSeats SeatsNOW NOWbefore beforesingle singleconcert concert
diversions Eat, experience, admire and enjoy. Our “must do’s” will keep your calendar stacked – and you’ll find the latest list at WeDontCoast.com/ events. Remember, we’re only as boring as you are. 1
FeStivalS anD FairS – witH Flair • County fairs (regional) (4) • Dundee Days • Florence Days (1) • Gateway to the West Days • Gretna Days • Holiday Lights Festival • John C. Fremont Days (2) • Kidchella: A Music and Arts Festival for Kids • Nebraska Balloon and Wine Festival (3) • Omaha Farmers Market • Omaha Summer Arts Festival • Omaha Zinefest • Sand in the City • Vinton Street Creativity Festival KENT SIEVERS
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Don’t let the show start without you! More than 40 events now on sale
Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company The Legacy Project: A Dance of Hope January 19, 2017 | 7:30 PM Orpheum Theater | Slosburg Hall
February 14, 2017 | 7:30 PM Orpheum Theater | Slosburg Hall
June 3-4, 2017 Orpheum Theater | Slosburg Hall
Terry and Jill Petersen Robert H. Storz Foundation
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated television special adapted from a story by Robert L. May and the song by Johnny Marks, music and lyrics by Johnny Marks. All elements © and ™ under license to Character Arts, LLC.
Photo by Frank Stewart
Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly & George
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Special Guest Catherine Russell
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL
featuring Adam Birnbaum & Cécile McLorin Salvant
December 2, 2016 | 8:00 PM Holland Center | Kiewit Hall
December 10, 2016 | 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM Orpheum Theater | Slosburg Hall
March 5, 2017 | 7:00 PM Holland Center | Kiewit Hall
Big Band Holidays
Order now! TicketOmaha.com | 402.345.0606 All productions, performers, prices, dates and times are subject to change.
a convergence of
cultures • Cinco de Mayo • Czech-Slovak Festival • El Grito Festival • Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow (1) • Greek Festival • Heartland Pride Festival • Juneteenth • Nebraska Hispanic Festival • Santa Lucia Italian Festival • Scandinavian Midsummer Festival • St. Stanislaus Polish Festival
26 • WE DON’T COAST
JOSLYN ART MUSEUM in Omaha has served as a premier center for visual art since opening in 1931. Joslyn’s collection features work from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on nineteenth- and twentiethcentury European and American art.
FREE GENERAL ADMISSION
Some exhibitions have a ticket fee ($10 for general public adults). Joslyn Members receive FREE, unlimited admission to all ticketed exhibitions. For a full list of member benefits, visit www.joslyn.org and join today!
Open Tuesday through Sunday.
Just west of downtown Omaha. Café, Museum shop, and free parking. OCTOBER 8, 2016–JANUARY 8, 2017 HAYV KAHRAMAN Hayv Kahraman draws on sources including Renaissance painting, Japanese woodblock prints, and Persian miniatures to create work that considers the repercussions of being displaced from one’s home. A Riley CAP Gallery exhibition.
OCTOBER 9, 2016–JANUARY 8, 2017 DIRT MERIDIAN: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREW MOORE During the past decade, Andrew Moore made over a dozen trips to photograph along the 100th meridian, from North Dakota to the Texas panhandle. His images record vistas that can be both elegant and severe, as well as the lives of the people that have made their home in this challenging landscape.
FEBRUARY 11–MAY 7, 2017 VIRGINIA BEAHAN In late 2002, Virginia Beahan and her husband moved her ailing 88-year-old mother into their home. Turning to her camera to help navigate this challenging situation, Beahan’s photographs of her family are a compassionate document of an alternately joyous, demanding, and painful story. A Riley CAP Gallery exhibition.
FEBRUARY 12–MAY 7, 2017 WILD SPACES, OPEN SEASONS: HUNTING AND FISHING IN AMERICAN ART Wild Spaces, Open Seasons is the first major exhibition to explore American artists’ fascination with hunters, fishermen, and the sporting life in paintings and sculptures from the 1820s through the 1940s. Illuminating changing ideas about place, national identity, community, wildlife, and the environment, the exhibition offers compelling new insights into these meaningful pastimes.
JUNE 4–SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 BIJOUX PARISIENS: FRENCH JEWELRY FROM THE PETIT PALAIS Bijoux Parisiens explores the intersection of French fashion, art, and history. Rubies, sapphires, and diamonds sparkle in brooches, necklaces, and earrings, yet these elegant objects also reflect the same aesthetic, social, and political concerns that drove the major painters, sculptors, and architects of their times. See nearly seventy works of jewelry and over 100 original design paintings, fashion prints, and photographs.
2200 Dodge St. | Omaha, NE | (402) 342-3300 | www.joslyn.org
• Aksarben Bike Night • Owl Ride • Taco Ride • Yoga Rocks the Park
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Visit Omahaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s HOME to HISTORY Fascinating Exhibits One-Of-A-Kind Events Cherished Traditions
402-444-5071 801 S. 10TH ST. DURHAMMUSEUM.ORG
at tHe MOvieS
laY OUt a BlanKet anD eSCaPe • Monday Night at the Movies, Midtown Crossing (1) • Music and Movies in the Park, Bayliss Park • Starlight Movie Series, SumTur Amphitheater
SCOre One FOr nOStalgia For the first time in a decade, the drive-in is back. Our one and only is located in 26-acre Sokol Park, south of Bellevue. In addition to this step back in time, Sokol Park hosts concerts and offers the very modern diversion known as glamour camping or “glamping.”
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May 26â&#x20AC;&#x201C;June 25, 2017
OMAHAPLAYHOUSE.COM 6915 CASS STREET | (402) 553-0800
WE ENTERTAIN â&#x20AC;¢ 31
lOCal MUSiC venUeS • CenturyLink Center Omaha • Mid-America Center • Reverb Lounge • Slowdown • Sokol Hall • Stir Cove • SumTur Amphitheater (1) • The Waiting Room • Westfair Amphitheater
National headliners • Jason Aldean • Black Sabbath • Luke Bryan • Gavin DeGraw • Andy Grammer • Heart and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts • Journey & The Doobie Brothers • Miranda Lambert • Mumford & Sons • Taylor Swift • Elton John • Zac Brown Band
MUSiC FeStivalS / SUMMer COnCertS
“I can sing Johnny Cash and everyone is going to enjoy it, then switch to Pearl Jam and folks will be into it, then break out an Outkast song, and get just as strong a reaction.” – Ken Sitler, local musician 32 • WE DON’T COAST
• Bank of the West Celebrates America • Concert Series in the Park, Fremont • Jazz on the Green • Loessfest • Maha Music Festival • Music and Movies in the Park • Omaha Reggae and World Festival • Omaha Under the Radar • Opera Outdoors • Playing With Fire • River Riot • Saturdays @ Stinson Concert Series • Slattery Vintage Estates Concert Series • Sunday Concerts at Soaring Wings • The Vibes at Village Pointe U.S. AIR FORCE, jOSH pLUEGER
We get it – sometimes you just want to fire up Netflix, pop the lid on a pint of eCreamery and chill at home. But when you’re ready to elevate your experience – see it, hear it, feel it live – our talent is primed and our stages are set.
COMeDY ClUBS • Funny Bone • The Backline National headliners • Louis C.K. • Jeff Dunham • Jim Gaffigan • Amy Schumer • Ron White
Strong arts are good for business. A vibrant cultural scene is key to Omaha’s reputation among cosmopolitan, tech-savvy professionals. As the region’s only professional dance company, we’re proud to lend a hand.
balletnebraska.org WE ENTERTAIN • 33
Union Pacific isn’t the only local laying down tracks. A growing mix of local recording studios are contributing to the national sound; destinations-of-choice acoustics for megastars, indie idols and up-andcomers alike. Make Believe Studios (1) Artists include: • Sam Ayer • BOTH • Cochance • Third Eye Merchants Owner and audio engineer Rick Carson, 27, came here from his hometown of Detroit nearly a decade ago with a goal to make awesome records and, in turn, make Omaha into a music city. “I want to get known for making the best records in the world,” Carson says. “I’m really proud I could get that done in Omaha.”
MaStering a growing mix
Rainbow Music Omaha Notable acts include: • 311 • American Idol winner Jordin Sparks • Boyz II Men ARC (Another Recording Company) Clients include: • Atlantic (label) • Bright Eyes • Conor Oberst • Jason Mraz • Saddle Creek (label) Ware House Productions Hosted artists include: • Lady Gaga • Larry the Cable Guy • Los Lobos • Snoop Dog
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SOMetiMeS tHe BeSt StUDiO iSn’t a StUDiO at all. #
Best Cities for Singer-Songwriters – Livability, April 2016
“We have sung and recorded all over the world, but we chose St. Cecilia Cathedral because of its extraordinary acoustics and because we have great affection for the city of Omaha,” Craig Phillips of New York Polyphony, the two-time Grammy nominated classical vocal quartet, told the Omaha World-Herald. The ensemble recorded at St. Cecilia’s in August 2015 – a week of nighttime sessions to ensure optimal quiet. Omaha musician Marty Wheeler Burnett originally brought the group to Omaha in 2009, a visit that included a St. Cecilia tour. They’ve been back several times, but up until now, only for concerts. The CD that New York Polyphony recorded at the Cathedral, Roma Aeterna, was released in August 2016. CHRIS CHRISTEN
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Scottish Rite • 202 South 20th Street • Omaha, Nebraska • 402.342.1300 • www.ScottishRiteOmaha.org WE ENTERTAIN • 35
Specialty shopping • McLovin – A Store for Men • Denim Saloon • Artifact Bag Co. • Elisa Illana • Fabulous Fashions • Apricot Lane Boutique Luxury brands • Michael Kors • Kate Spade • Brooks Brothers • Coach • Christel’s • Nan C • She.la • Parsow’s • Borsheims
From pop-up shops to one-of-a-kind boutiques to high-end retail and myriad options in between, our shopping landscape is as expansive as it is diverse. Pace yourself. 1
Homegrown • Handmade Omaha – A growing collective of artists who hand-make and sell arts, crafts and artisan goods. • Junkstock (1) – “Three days of peace, love and junk” held three times a year. June’s gathering featured more than 175 vendors and an eclectic mix of wares, including antiques and vintage goods, plus music from 13 live bands. Organizers are moving October’s Junkstock to a new, bigger venue. • True Blue Goods and Gifts – A locally owned and operated gift and art boutique curated by three friends who have an affinity for the local maker. • hutchFEST – A daylong market in Turner Park at Midtown Crossing featuring more than 100 regional vendors of handmade objects, rustic junk, vintage finds. Beers, chews and live music, too. The first-time event in August was such a success, organizers say a 2017 market looks likely. ALEx & MIRANDA pHOTOGRApHY
36 • WE DON’T COAST
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38 • WE DON’T COAST
DUNDee NeIGHBoRHooD ERIC FRANCIS
WE TOAST â&#x20AC;¢ 39
food rave keNt SieveRS
The same old night out? That’s just not our taste. From international fare to down-home cooking, we are a foodie’s delight. Without reservation, our dynamic restaurant scene covers the gastronomic gamut. elevatING eatING to tHe “excURsIoN level”
Tasting your way through our neighborhoods has never been easier. Omaha Culinary Tours has shared our history and food scene with thousands of guests – either on foot or by bus – since 2013. Current tours highlight designated “tasting spots” in the Old Market, Midtown Crossing and the Orpheum Theater District with more neighborhoods coming soon. The Food Network recently released its own “eating tour of Omaha” – eight essential spots (beyond steakhouses): • Kitchen Table (1) • The Grey Plume • Block 16 • España • Twisted Cork Bistro • Modern Love (2) • Pitch • Dario’s Brasserie
40 • WE DON’T COAST
Want to chart your own course of courses? See page 42 for a few more options to help you on your way.
Celebrating 150 years
Â&#x2020; Â Â&#x2C6; Â&#x2021; Â&#x2018;Â&#x2019; Â&#x201C; Â&#x2020; Â&#x201D;
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ReBeCCA S. GRAtZ
BeNsoN (1) Burrito Envy and Tequila Bar – Go global, burrito-style, with selections ranging from Mediterranean (chicken with Kalamata olives, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce) to Caribbean (jerk chicken with cotija cheese, cranberries and mango salsa). Their take on PB&J? A pork, bacon and jalapeno burrito, of course.
mIDtowN omaHa (4)
BlackstoNe NeIGHBoRHooD (2)
Fat BBQ Shack – A food truck that has been turned into a brick-and-mortar BBQ joint. Home of the Shack Attack, a foundation of hand-cut fries supporting meat, barbecue sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, ranch, jalapeños and chives.
Noli’s – Operated by Omaha locals so dedicated to serving an authentic New York slice that they bring in New York water to use in their crust. MeGAN FARMeR
ceNtRal omaHa (3) Blue & Fly Asian Kitchen – Diverse menu features a mix of familiar and unfamiliar Chinese dishes.
42 • WE DON’T COAST
LeadBelly – Casual-comfortable and contemporary, specializing in madefrom-scratch, high-quality pub food with a large selection of handcrafted beer, whiskey and wine.
olD maRket (5) Nicola’s Italian Wine & Fare – Irresistible lasagna for dinner, Italian lemon cream cake for dessert.
Donut Stop – Renowned among late-night concertgoers, cramming college students and early-morning risers as a place for cheap hot coffee and fresh doughnuts. Weekday hours are 5 to 10:30 a.m. – and 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Avoli Osteria – Sourcing the finest ingredients to create authentic, northern Italian cuisine; the second Dundee concept launched by Chef Dario Schicke of Dario’s Brasserie.
El Dorado – Known for its seafood, including some truly impressive platters, served with margaritas and live mariachi music.
Salt 88 – Features a New American-Italian menu with a touch of Asian influence – and to satisfy the kid at heart, cotton candy served at the end of every meal.
kitchens on wheels Culinary talent cranking out tasty food fast – from the confines of a kitchen on wheels. Line up, place your order at the window and enjoy the echo of fellow al fresco diners proclaiming, “Damn, that’s good.” Feeding the public. expanding the niche.
• 402BBQ • Anthony Piccolo’s • The Gyro Shack • Hawk’s Pizza • Johnny Ricco’s Brooklyn Pizza • KGB Gourmet • La Casa Pizzeria • LeBlanc’s BBQ, Cajun and More • Localmotive (1) • Maria Bonita • Mosaic Pickle • Ox ‘n’ Bull BBQ • Peanut Butter Johnny’s (2) • Scotty’s Go-Go Grill • Smokin Barrel BBQ • Voodoo Taco • Food Truck Brunch – What better way to spend a Sunday morning in April than with friends, family and fare from a blend of local food trucks in the Blackstone District? • Cabela’s Food Truck Rally – The inaugural event in May was such a smash, Cabela’s did it again in July and August, inviting more than a dozen food trucks to set up in the store’s parking lot in La Vista. • Food Truck Row – A “food truck rally” at our Gene Leahy Mall held every Thursday – July through September; organized by the Omaha Food Truck Association. • Omaha Food Truck Rodeo – An October gathering of 15-20 food trucks along with a beer garden and outdoor seating in downtown Benson. Presented by Food & Spirits Magazine and Reverb Lounge.
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wet your whistle We don’t just go out for drinks. We go out for experiences. kURt A. keeleR
LOCAL Beer, Patio and Kitchen – Focused almost exclusively on Nebraska beers with bartenders who are also adept at conjuring quality cocktails. Nite Owl – Adventurous-sounding cocktails, including the Snake Charmer, Voodoo Clown and Enigma, are center stage, but you’ll also want to try the tot-chos (tator tot nachos). The Grey Plume – Bar menu offers a top-shelf mix of classic cocktails and the Plume bartender’s own creations. 1912 – Drink in the view from the rooftop patio as you choose from 25 beers on tap, innovative cocktails and handcrafted margaritas. The Wicked Rabbit (2) – A true Prohibition-era craft cocktail bar tucked away – like a speakeasy of old – inside Hotel Deco. Report In Pub (3) – Neighborhood tavern with friendly service, choice burgers and some truly massive Bloody Marys.
Get yoUR Game (aND DRINk) oN. Spielbound – Unique “board game cafe” that delights with hundreds of games on the shelves, a specialty coffee bar and a selection of craft beer on tap. Sparta Games Omaha – A new spot for table games, food, brew and wine.
moRe lIke a pUB… coast… Forget crawling, the annual Omaha Brew Tour encourages beer fans to saddle up and DOUG MeiGS
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cycle their way from brewery to local brewery. This year’s route included: • Benson Brewery • Brickway Brewery & Distillery • Farnam House Brewing Company • Homy Inn • Scriptown Brewing Company • Upstream Brewing Company Another option? Tour our downtown by pedal power on an Omaha Patio Ride “party bike” for up to 16 passengers.
Not Up FoR BIke RIDING – BUt stIll love BeeR? Book a seat on Omaha Brew Bus, Omaha’s first craft brewery guided tour company. Brothers Dave and Kyle Vannier have the shuttle gassed up and they’re ready to share their love of local craft beers.
UNcoRk a Bottle aND expaND yoUR HoRIzoNs. Our local winemakers are gaining renown – and an increasingly robust list of accolades. • Bella Terre • Soaring Wings Vineyard (1) • Slattery Vintage Estates Vineyard & Tasting Room • The Western Iowa Wine Trail, featuring: Bodega Victoriana Winery, Glenwood Breezy Hills Vineyard, Minden Loess Hills Vineyard and Winery, Crescent Prairie Crossing Vineyard & Winery, Treynor Sugar Clay Winery & Vineyards, Thurman Vine Street Cellars, Glenwood
“One morning I was eating some Shin Ramyun Black (one of my favorite packaged ramens), and I saw a piece on CBS Sunday Morning about a Grilled Cheese Festival in Los Angeles. I figured I could do something similar with a ramen noodle festival.”
dream it. organize it. eat it.
– Javid Dabestani, founder, Omaha Ramen Fest 1
drink it. Fueled by passion (tacos, ramen, bacon and beer), enthusiasts delight in hosting an array of annual festivals that enhance our “foodie experience” – and bring community together. • Omaha Beer & Bacon Festival (1) • Brew at the Zoo • Omaha Beer Fest • Omaha Ramen Fest • Midtown Crossing Taco Trot • Taste of Omaha • Toast Nebraska Wine Festival Beer Corner USA, a collection of four neighborhood bars in midtown Omaha, is serious about celebrating the brew, hosting an 8-pack of festivals throughout the year, including: • Oktoberfest • Extreme Beerfest (Ralston Arena) • Pumpkin Harvest Festival • Omaha Brewers BBQ • Holiday Beer Fest ReBeCCA S. GRAtZ
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When the sun goes down, the party heats up at our array of vibrant nightspots – an eclectic, energetic collection that includes: House of Loom (1) – A welcoming space where expression, craft cocktails and dance events, including Salsa Sundays and Music Open Mic Mondays, reign supreme. The biggest dance party of the year may be New Year’s Eve, when the club’s current owners shout “last call” one final time before moving on to a new venture. The Max – A 12,000-square-foot, multiplex gay bar and club that integrates a main disco dance floor, a stage and show floor, a glass-encased upper-level lounge and an expansive courtyard. Defy Grav – The force behind some of Omaha’s largest and wildest show experiences, including the annual Poolooza Music Festival at FunPlex: bands on four stages, fireworks and live art. Taking over a waterpark only amplifies the fun factor. Entrap Games – Have you experienced the escape room gaming trend yet? First you’ll be locked in a room with a small group of acquaintances – and then you’ll be hooked.
PARTY tIme 1
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WE THINK SMART BANKING STARTS WITH SMART LISTENING. Understanding your business goals gives us the insight we need to suggest the right financial solutions to help you reach them. We’ll discuss your cash flow cycle with you and recommend the right financing, checking and business service solutions for your business. You may be surprised at how much more efficient your financial operations could be.
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UlTimaTe Fan eXperience
We welcome sports fans from around the world and impress them season after season. (Practice does, after all, make perfect.) TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, CenturyLink Center Omaha, Werner Park – testaments to our dedication to the ultimate fan experience. With action at all levels – including captivating national and international events – our high-powered sports scene is known for driving home the win. Brendan sUlliVan
NCAA Men’s College World Series (1) – An Omaha tradition since 1950. (Yeah, we’re pretty proud of that.) Hundreds of thousands of fans come from far and near every year to take in the “Greatest Show on Dirt.” U.S. Olympic Swim Trials – Michael Phelps made history in our CenturyLink Center Omaha, becoming the first American male swimmer to make five Olympic teams. He was one of 1,700 athletes cutting through a combined 800,000 gallons of water in our two temporary 50-meter, 10-lane pools. We also hosted the trials in 2008 and 2012. • Not all of the action was in the lanes. The Aqua Zone offered 100,000 square feet of ultimate fan experience, including surf riding, virtual reality, swimming treadmills – and a Sharknado photo booth. • To celebrate the trials, Midtown Crossing encouraged visitors to jump in “The Pool,” a world-renowned, fully-interactive light and color experience. U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling – We’re going to show the 2018 Winter Olympics some love late next year when Baxter Arena hosts the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling. The winning team from the women’s competition will advance to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The winning men’s team will move on to another qualifying round. 2017 World Cup Jumping and Dressage Finals (2) – Sorry, Hong Kong and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, this premier, international equestrian event is happening here in 2017. Brendan sUlliVan
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where champiOnS play
USA Triathlon’s 2016 Age Group National Championships (1) – Top triathletes from all 50 states converged here in August to swim, cycle and run. The lead finishers qualified for the International Triathlon Union’s 2017 Age-Group Triathlon World Championships in the Netherlands.
The amaTeUr SpOrTS TOwn… On the ice, the court and the diamond, our college teams bring the noise. Bellevue University Bruins – Sports include basketball, soccer and golf. Creighton University Bluejays – Sports include basketball, baseball and softball, soccer, volleyball, tennis and golf. Iowa Western Community College – Sports include baseball, basketball, football, softball and track and field. Midland University Warriors – Sports include football, baseball, hockey, wrestling, volleyball and eSports. University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks – Sports include hockey (2), baseball, basketball, soccer, track, swimming and diving, and volleyball.
…wiTh a prOFeSSiOnal mindSeT. Nebraska native, former Husker and current Kansas City Royal Alex Gordon (3) electrified our Werner Park in June, suiting up with the Omaha Storm Chasers for a couple of games to complete a rehab assignment. He went 3-7 with 3 RBIs.
GeT in The Game! While opportunities to spectate abound, we aren’t hurting for avenues of activity either. Our full roster of sports and recreation programs includes Elkhorn Elite Girls Basketball, the largest girls-only program of its kind in the State of Nebraska, and Omaha Lacrosse Club, which encourages boys and girls to pick up their sticks and be part of a growing sports trend in the metro. reBecca s. gratz
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We don’t coast. We generate opportunities. OPPD’s economic development team works to OPPD’s economic development team works to create jobs and energize our local economy. create jobs and energize our local economy. Businesses in OPPD’s service territory have Businesses in OPPD’s service territory have a powerful advantage. To learn more, a powerful advantage. To learn more, visit oppd.com/econdev. visit oppd.com/econdev.
SpOrTinG raceS We don’t coast. We accelerate. If you need proof, join us in the stands. I-29 Dragway – One-eighth mile National Hot Rod Association race track hosting its “HammerDown Street Drags” April to October. Eagle Raceway – Often referred to as the “World’s Fastest Third Mile” with Saturday night sprint and modified stock car races from April to September and a Mini E Raceway for Friday night go-kart races. Horsemen’s Park (1) – Where we go to get our horse-racing fix. Regarded as one of the top simulcast facilities in the country, Horsemen’s Park also hosts live racing several times a year.
mUTUally BeneFicial BreaKOUT! Passing the torch – in the water. That’s what Mutual of Omaha’s BREAKout! Swim Clinics are all about: champions of tomorrow receiving guidance and inspiration from those who swam before them, including Olympians Jason Lezak, Ian Crocker, Kristy Kowal and Josh Davis. A two-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist, Davis founded the program and partnered with Mutual in 2007 to bring it to young athletes around the country. Conducting more than 700 clinics since then, Davis and his Gold Medal Teammate Clinicians – some of the biggest stars in swimming – have inspired kids to dream big, never give up and commit to excellence. During the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in June, Davis, Lezak, Crocker and Kowal held a BREAKout! Trials Training Camp in Omaha so the thousands of dedicated young swimmers here to watch the competition wouldn’t have to miss practices during the middle of their seasons. Mutual of Omaha has been a major sponsor of USA Swimming since 2001. 56 • WE DON’T COAST
esports TeSTS meTTle OF diFFerenT SOrT College scholarships? For playing video games? “Don’t toy with me,” say excited parents everywhere. We’re not. Just this school year, Midland University added a varsity-level eSports team – complete with a coach and scholarships. “We wanted to create one more opportunity for students to pursue their passion at the college level,” said Nate Neufind, spokesman for Fremont’s private liberal arts school with about 1,400 students. Video game competitions have jumped in popularity at campuses nationwide. Midland’s
eSports team competes in the Collegiate Star League, which has 450 college teams from across the United States and Canada. “While eSports might look different from some of the more traditional sports,” Neufind says, the contests “require the same spirit and commitment.” He says the university hopes to tap into a new group of students by offering a varsity eSports team – and send a signal that Midland is a tech-savvy campus and a place to study information technology.
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Daycation stagnation? That’s just not a problem here. Our many world-class attractions, including the Omaha Children’s Museum (3) and Lauritzen Gardens (4), are ever-changing, continually upping the experiences to keep the masses engaged, entertained and coming back for more. Our landscape inspires and broadens horizons, too – from lofty Hummel Park (1) to sprawling Lake Zorinsky (2), and countless points in between. 3
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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (2) (3) — Ranked one of the best zoos in the world by TripAdvisor, it thrives in unleashing the new. This exciting evolution includes the May opening of the new African Grasslands exhibit, a 28-acre expanse featuring lions, giraffes and six elephants rescued from drought-stricken Swaziland. The zoo also unveiled a spectacular Alaskan Adventure splashground, an interactive symphony of sights and spray that includes more than 75 bronze sculptures created by Omaha’s own Matthew Placzek. The centerpiece of the work – designed to be immersed in – is a breeching, 18-foot-high humpback whale with water trailing from its extended fins. Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari (1) — Open since June 1998, Henry Doorly Zoo’s park showcases North American species, including bison, black bears, eagles, wolves, elk, deer and sandhill cranes. Something else to keep an eye out for? Big change. The zoo’s CEO and his staff are working on a master plan to reconfigure the 440-acre attraction near Ashland. KILey cRUSe
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Fontenelle Forest (1) — One of the largest natural deciduous forests in Nebraska, constantly growing and changing – in nature’s way. Fresh additions include a $2 million-plus Raptor Woodland Refuge and an enthusiastic new executive director, Merica Whitehall: “I’ve seen the profound impact that reconnecting with the natural environment has on people’s lives. I’m here to rally the troops and help us march together in one accord into our vision of the future.” Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum (3) — Home to a powerful collection of military aircraft and artifacts and one of our tried-and-true attractions – celebrated its past and its future with a name change this year. The museum now salutes its ties to the former Strategic Air Command. The dedication ceremony on Armed Forces Day included the debut of two state-of-the-art, full-motion simulators, offering hi-def flight, space travel and roller-coaster experiences. In August, a children’s science and technology learning center debuted with interactive stations for experiments and other hands-on learning.
More options for dAy escApes • The Durham Museum •The Loess Hills Scenic Byway •El Museo Latino
•Historic Florence • Fort Atkinson (2) • Union Pacific Museum MAtt MILLeR
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Yes, we have water – and plenty of it! Botna Bend Park – A favorite of campers and anglers along southwest Iowa’s peaceful Nishnabotna River; a popular spot for tanking, tubing and kayaking. The Platte and Elkhorn rivers – For scenic floats. If you don’t have your own equipment, aquatic entrepreneurs, including Platte River Rentals and Tubing & Adventures, can set you up. Natural Resource District lakes and recreation areas – For sailing, swimming (3), boating, and even your own spirited version of water polo (1). Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area – Visited by almost one million people each year, this is one of eastern Nebraska’s hottest spots for camping, picnicking and water sports: boating, fishing and jet skiing. Lake Manawa State Park (2) – Especially popular for jet and water skiing. The 660acre park also is popular for camping, hiking, cycling and picnicking. Levi Carter Lake – The Omaha Riverfront Trail runs along this horseshoe-shaped lake near Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. Fishing, jet skiing and water skiing are popular here.
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More fun on (And in) the wAter • Take a paddleboat excursion, courtesy of Driftwood Paddleboard Adventures on an area lake or reservoir. • Navigate the Missouri River on the River City Star, a 1940s paddlewheel-style riverboat. • Scuba dive with DiVentures – from openwater certification to professional-level courses. KeNt SeIVeRS
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“People have always flocked to the Old Market because of its energy.” – Seth McMillan, owner, McLovin – A Store for Men, Old Market resident
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STRUCTURES STRUCTURES | | IRRIGATION IRRIGATION | | COATINGS COATINGS | | TUBING TUBING | | ENERGY ENERGY&&MINING MINING
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I love the small town feel of Blair. It provides comforts and safety for my family. There are diverse businesses, and it is rich in history and wonderful people. – Jordan A. Rishel, Washington County resident
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It It was was supposed supposed to to be be aa “one-time “one-time gig.” gig.” More More than than four four years years and and aa lot lot of of “first “first Fridays” Fridays” later, later, Benson Benson First First Friday Friday continues continues to to be be aa beautiful beautiful addition addition to to our our event event calendar, calendar, aa chance chance for for emerging emerging artists, artists, art art enthusiasts enthusiasts and and the the general general public public to to come come together together in in the the Benson Benson neighborhood neighborhood to to celebrate celebrate the the power power of of creativity creativity and and pull pull of of community. community. Held Held the the first first Friday Friday of of every every month, month, year-round. year-round.
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“I really love where we live because of the true feeling of community. Our neighbors all share house keys, and we look out for each other – the way it should be. Being able to walk to restaurants, taverns, grocery stores, art galleries and retail stores - it’s really the best!” – Heather Kita, midtown Omaha
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“I love the great neighbors, and the beautiful homes, mature trees, lake and walking paths. It is also a great location, very close to shopping, medical services, recreation, work and church – and yet it feels like it is secluded from all of that, particularly with our direct path connection to Lake Zorinsky for walking, running and biking.” – Greg Scaglione, West Omaha
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luxury lake living
“It’s like a mini oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and during the summer, it feels like a mini-vacation every weekend.” – Jenni Serkiz, lake dweller
• Ritz Lake – Spring-fed, sandbottom lake development on the edge of Fremont, featuring 80 large lake lots and a short commute to west Omaha. • Bluewater – A former sand-and-gravel operation transformed into a “graceful lakefront residential community” boasting nearly 250 acres of water for boating and fishing and more than seven miles of pure sand beaches. “It’s a once-ina-lifetime chance to have a lake like that to develop,” said Jason Lanoha of Lanoha Development. Bluewater was the site for the 2016 Street of Dreams, an annual showcase of luxury living and the latest design trends presented by the Metropolitan Omaha Builders Association.
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do space megan farmer
WE INSPIRE â&#x20AC;¢ 81
big Here, innovation and experience work in collaboration, improving education for students of all ages. To them we say: Study hard, engage your brain, dream big and go for it – no coasting allowed. Our award-winning system of public and private schools spans nine counties and encompasses more than 300 facilities, including a diverse population of magnet schools that focuses on targeted subjects (e.g. engineering, math, or music and media technology). Through innovative curricula and community partnerships, our schools thrive on equipping our youth with the skills they need to fill a soaring demand for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) professionals and educators. And for the youngest learners among us? Robert Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard University and adviser to American presidents, this year described Omaha as the epicenter for reform in early childhood education, a key rallying point for our 82 • WE DON’T COAST
philanthropic community. Situated between high school and a fulfilling career, tomorrow’s workforce will find here a higher education landscape that includes some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities and two internationally recognized medical schools – the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Creighton University Medical Center. • Bellevue University • Clarkson College • College of Saint Mary • The Creative Center • Creighton University • Creighton University Medical Center • Grace University • Iowa Western Community College • Kaplan University – Omaha/Bluffs Campus • Metropolitan Community College • Midland University • Nebraska Christian College • Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health • University of Nebraska at Omaha • University of Nebraska Medical Center • Vatterot College
5 # 2 #
Best Metro Area (Omaha-Council Bluffs) for STEM Professionals – Wallethub.com, January 2015 “The 15 Best U.S. Cities for Millennial College Students” – OnlineColleges.com, March 2015
31.3 degree or higher compared to 28.9
percent of adults here hold a bachelor’s
90.6 older are high school graduates
percent of Omahans ages 25 and
compared to the national average of 88 percent.
(Sources: Statebook International, U.S. Census Bureau)
Developing Mind, Soul and Body One of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading college prep educations for young men
A LOOK AT 2016
Class size: 56 Average ACT Score: 28.5 | Average SAT Score: 1262 (1600 based) $6.65 million was offered in scholarships, averaging nearly $120,000 per graduate 18 students received 4-year full tuition scholarships to college Accepted for admission to 69 colleges in 28 states Six state championships between athletic and academic competitions
firstname.lastname@example.org 22520 Mount Michael Road | Elkhorn, NE 68022 402.238.1457
Within the walls of our schools – and beyond them – we are finding innovative ways to generate excitement for science, technology, engineering, arts and math and cultivate a new generation of STEAM talent.
CodeCrush (3) – IT immersion at its best. Spearheaded by the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Information Science and Technology, CodeCrush is a three-day, four-night on-campus “immersion” – a comprehensive learning experience for eighth- and ninth-grade girls designed to stoke an infatuation with IT and bridge that pervasive gender gap. It has quickly become the largest IT immersion experience for girls in the region. “My goal is to introduce them to IT and show them that they have role models in IT that they can aspire to,” says CodeCrush coordinator Amanda Rucker. “Ultimately, it’s about teaching them that they can do whatever they want.” A grant from Google helped launch the program, which is free of charge, three years ago. Do Space (2) – A technology library. A high-tech workshop. An innovation “playground” that’s free for the community. “Do Space is at the heart of a community tech movement in which we declare our commitment to helping each other create, innovate and improve our lives with tech,” says Rebecca Stavick, executive director. Do Space memberships are free, offering the public unfettered access to:
• Robust hardware and advanced software, all powered by an ultrafast gigabit of bandwidth. • An innovative 3-D Lab with advanced 3-D modeling and 3-D printing capabilities. • Unique tech learning opportunities, including Hello Code, a monthlong coding program for beginners, no experience required. STEAM Lab at Roncalli Catholic High School (1) – “Something outside the traditional ‘stand-and-deliver’ classroom.” Seeing the potential in an old school library. Maximizing the power of a grant from the Archdiocese of Omaha. Creating a leadingedge, $216,000 STEAM lab at Roncalli Catholic High School. “When you put science and engineering in front of kids, it gets them thinking,” says Principal Paul Hans. “They get to find their passion.” The school’s year-old STEAM lab hosts a STEAM Discovery and 21st Century Skills class and boasts equipment for app-making, 3-D printing and designing, photo and video editing, claymation and animation, robotics, architecture and engineering. “We are preparing students to be successful in the next step of their lives,” says Roncalli President Ann O’Connor.
“We’re building the future right here in the heartland.” – Rebecca Stavick, executive director, Do Space BriDGET mcQUiLLan
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in a class of Their own Our schools are outstanding because of the quality of our teachers. Fifteen of Omaha’s best are honored annually with the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award. Each winner receives $10,000 – and plenty of praise from grateful students, parents and colleagues. Meet five from the Class of 2016. Barbara Boltinghouse, Social Studies, Burke High School. “Mrs. Boltinghouse is the most engaging teacher I have ever had … She gives interactive lessons that the whole class loves and she genuinely cares about each student.” – Student nominator Amanda Gutierrez, English, North High School. “She has the ability to reach students from so many different backgrounds ... She
is the type of teacher many teachers want to be like and many students want to have.” – Colleague nominator Daniel Lopez, English as a Second Language, Marrs Magnet Center. “I believe my success as a student and an athlete is in part due to his sincere support and mentorship. He always believed in me and never gave up on me.” – Student nominator
Krystal Kolb, Family and Consumer Science, Bryan High School. “She is the hardest-working teacher with whom I have ever worked. She arrives early, teaches with all her heart and is often the last one to leave the building. She has a passion for teaching and the kids can feel that.” – Colleague nominator John Huber, Science, McMillan Magnet Center. “All parents want their child to have a teacher who is going to stretch their thinking, challenge them to be involved in something, and believe in them. Mr. Huber is the definition of that exact kind of teacher.” – Colleague nominator
SERVING THE UNIQUE NEEDS OF ALL LEARNERS www.westside66.org
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UNRIVALED REHAB EXPERTISE. RELENTLESSLY INSPIRED. Right here in Omaha.
Susie McGuire believes she can make a difference in the world – and she is. In a remote village in southern Madagascar, 10,000 miles from Omaha, children no longer have to walk 15 miles to school. They now have a Dream School because of McGuire’s Conservation Fusion, a collaborative educational effort allied with Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. “This is, in some way, bringing the world into what has been complete seclusion,” McGurie says. “In many ways, they love their way of life. We don’t want to change that. We’re trying to provide the tools . . . so they can change how they want to change.” A former zoo employee, McGuire launched Conservation Fusion in 2010 to help people 88 • WE DON’T COAST
in areas where the zoo is working to save endangered species. Time and again, while speaking to Lavavolo residents about their needs, the answer came back: We want our children to be educated. We want a school of our own. McGuire rallied stakeholders in Lavavolo and contributors back home, including Omaha-area schools. In the fall of 2015, children as young as 4 and as old as 17 divided into the Dream School’s two classrooms and began learning. Since then, enrollment has grown to 119 students and Conservation Fusion has added a lunch program, library, hygiene education and the “Girls With No Shoes Club,” advocating for young women and girls in the village.
cOurTesY Of susie mcguire
"I was thinking, ‘It’s so hot; they don’t have shoes; they are walking on this hot sand.’ And then I started thinking, ‘If it’s the last thing we do, we have to build them this school.’ ” - Susie McGuire, founder, Conservation Fusion
Millard Public Schools
An Award-Winning District of Choice
• College Board’s 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll • Washington Post’s list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” for PROGRAMS all three high schools • Accredited Montessori Program, pre K-8 • Named one of the “Best 100 • Core Knowledge Foundation School of Communities for Music Education Distinction, K-5 in America” by the American • Authorized International Baccalaureate Music Conference Program, K-12 To enroll in your • Air Force Junior ROTC home school, • Twenty-Seven Advanced Placement Courses, you may call the most available for dual credit school directly. To option enroll into • Career Academies in Education, Entrepreneurship, the district, call Health Science and Business & Logistics Management, graduate with 24-36 college credits 402-715-8300 • Early College offering the opportunity to graduate from high school with an Associate of Arts degree • Elementary Band and Strings Program
Millard Public Schools • 5606 S. 147th St. • Omaha, NE 68137 mpsomaha.org | Twitter: @MillardPS | Facebook: MillardPublicSchools PAID FOR BY OUR FANTASTIC COMMUNITY SPONSORS OF THE MILLARD ACTIVITIES EXPRESS NEWSPAPER.
room To crescendo
The Omaha Conservatory of Music is on a mission to build musical community through education and performance. Now, it has the room to crescendo. Earlier this year, the nonprofit conservatory, founded in 2001, moved into its “forever location,” an extensively remodeled, 40,000-square-foot former synagogue. “We couldn’t have imagined anything that would suit our needs better,” says Ruth Meints, a violin educator who has served as executive director since 2005. The move means no more violin lessons overflowing into hallways, the transformation of a former sanctuary into a 500-seat concert hall, and the creation of an informal performing arts district in the area. The
conservatory is now adjacent to the Omaha Community Playhouse. “With an arts center right here in the middle of our community, we can really impact a lot of families,” Meints says. OCM’s nearly 40 instructors offer vocal and instrumental lessons and music theory classes for 3-year-olds and older. The conservatory also takes its passion for music instruction beyond campus and into the community with String Sprouts, its innovative free strings program for kids. “As we invest in the arts and music for youths in our community, the limits of our imagination really can be challenged,” says Paul Smith, conservatory board member.
First in Educating Women
No other college preparatory school our size has the blend of academics, diversity, athletics, activities and spiritual tradition in a welcoming environment where students excel every day.
mercyhigh.org 90 • WE DON’T COAST
! R OA
S E W
SkyHawks are brothers and sisters on the same flight path. Learn more about Skutt Catholic’s faith-based, college prep curriculum and our over 50 award winning activity and athletic programs. Contact Tim Bloomingdale, Director of Admissions at 402.333.0818 ext. 5133, to schedule a tour. Ask about our financial assistance program. skuttcatholic.com « 3131 S 156 Street « Omaha, NE 68130
“The best thing about technology is it pairs well with just about anything. I use my passion for design and entrepreneurship in almost every project.” – Kat Slump, IT innovation major, UNO
Techie, sTarTup junkie
Kat Slump has a star by her name. Someone we’re reading about today – and are destined to be reading about tomorrow, as well. A senior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, she just wrapped up a summer interning at Apple Inc. as a software engineer, what she called a “dream come true.” It is the latest addition to a highpowered resume that includes: • Software engineering intern at Flywheel. • Social engagement strategist at Interface Web School. • President, UNO Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
Every Student. #OPSProud Every Day. Prepared for Success Did You Know? ≈17,500 OPS secondary students participate in career education courses
We Don’t Coast CONNECT WITH US:
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“It’s such an awesome time to be in the IT field, especially if you want to make an impact,” she says. “I think there need to be more women inspiring others by telling them about their experiences and explaining the variety of opportunities there are out there.” As she steams toward graduation, her own future is a throng of possibility. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can right now, wherever that leads me. I want to come back and be a leader and inspiration to girls and women who are interested in the IT field.”
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pumped To change lives
Emily Mwaja knows all about the drive to achieve. Not only is she a world-champion weightlifter, she’s also director of programs at Girls Inc. of Omaha. “Whatever dream they want, we will do what we can to make it happen,” Mwaja says. That includes a major renovation and expansion project at the north Omaha campus; a $15 million upgrade that enhances the organization’s ability to inspire “all girls to be strong, smart and bold.” Renamed in memory of Katherine Fletcher, an Omaha Public Schools educator, the center now offers a full-sized gymnasium; teen, media and fitness centers; and an on-site health clinic. “Every girl will be able to spark a new
interest or add to her current interest,” says Desyree McGhee, a high school freshman who’s been a member for 10 years. Earlier this year, Girls Inc. of Omaha was among six of 82 affiliates in the U.S. and Canada to be recognized for performance. Among the benchmarks, the Omaha affiliate saw an 11 percent increase in girls served. Judy Vredenburgh, president and chief executive officer of Girls Inc. in the U.S. and Canada, described the Omaha affiliate as a standard bearer for the organization. “(Omaha) dramatically changes lives,” she says. “This is an organization that does brilliant work — for girls who have the greatest need and who are at greatest risk of not having a chance.”
from Temporary residenT To omaha leader
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She was slated to stay here for three years as part of a general contracting team assigned to a federal courthouse construction project. When the time came to pack up, Maggie Wood decided to plant roots instead. Almost two decades later, her most impressive project is a work-in-progress: an extensive resume of community impact. “Omaha really is a place full of opportunities,” Wood says – and she has explored a string of them during her time here. After transitioning out of general contracting and other corporate endeavors, she chose to work only for organizations that she felt “a connection to and true conviction for their missions.” That led her to Opera Omaha, Film Streams and Planned Parenthood. Wood currently
serves as executive director for Inclusive Communities, an organization dedicated to reducing prejudice, bigotry and racism in our community. “All of the individuals who love and serve the mission are what feed this organization,” she says. Nineteen years into her three-year stay, Wood’s resumé isn’t the only thing that evolved. She has also seen Omaha “come into its own.” “When I first moved here, people seemed apologetic about Omaha. Now, I see friends working in social justice, the arts, philanthropy and other areas, communicating and collaborating to make Omaha better. There’s a momentum that wasn’t here before — and no one is apologizing!”
Where do you find a taking on the most serious challenges in education?
Here in Omaha. With the best school districts and community organizations in the country, change happens here. In North and South Omaha, and our eleven school districts, a systematic approach is paying off. Bold new programs prove their value every day. Your Learning Community is here for all the right reasons. Families want something better for their children and that’s better for all of us.
See the results at LearningCommunityDS.org
There's no better time to be a
MAVERICK WELCOME TO OUR CAMPUS
When you become a part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), you make known the deliberate choice to be a(otherwise Maverick and to embraceas all Omaha) the possibilities the name implies. We invite you to get to know the O at our signature open house event! Omaha is our campus and classroom. No fences or barriers
students from DAY the unique hands-on opportunities, JOIN US FORseparate OUR BE A MAV | SEPTEMBER 16, 17,internships, or 24, 2016 service learning, applied research, and other collaborative activities that
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WE INSPIRE • 95
S P O N S O R E D F E AT U R E
“I travel a lot for work and knew Bellevue University would provide me with the flexibility I needed to earn my master’s degree. My confidence level has definitely increased ... and i recently experienced great success as a result!” – Emma Cartright, business manager, Union Pacific
“I’ve been to some of the top colleges in the world and this learning program is unparalleled in its ability to help you succeed.” – Jack Wixted, head of mortgage risk, SunTrust Bank
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Fifty years ago, a group of greater Omaha business leaders met to address the need for a university that supported adult learners who wanted to advance their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees. They envisioned a college education with four critical components: • Deep knowledge that relates to current and future in-demand careers. • Powerful professional skills to give graduates the ability to make good decisions, communicate effectively, and contribute meaningfully to their jobs, their communities, and their country. • Effective, engaging learning models that respect students’ experiences and expect purposeful contributions from them. • Access that makes all of this possible for busy, working adults, as well as those just starting out in their careers. From these ideals, Bellevue University emerged. Over the past five decades, the University has been an innovator of programs, learning models, and support services for motivated students intent on bettering themselves in a variety of careers. Today, more than 50,000 graduates have benefited
from the University’s commitment and innovation. Many of these graduates are now in leadership positions in the greater Omaha community, as well as throughout the United States. A variety of Bellevue University’s innovations have been adopted by colleges and universities nationwide. The University is a nationally recognized leader in aligning learning to career success and making it accessible to motivated adult learners. Perhaps the business leaders who founded Bellevue University would be surprised at the success the University has achieved in preparing the next generation of productive high performers and informed citizens. They certainly would be gratified. Excitement is ramping up for the next 50 years as the University continues to build on a solid foundation of innovative and effective learning. Bellevue University is committed to tackling the biggest challenges in education, including expanding college education to more learners around the world, and making it possible for all motivated learners to pursue their dreams of fulfilling careers.
50 Years. 50,000 Leaders. In 1966, Bellevue University became the first to make career-focused college education possible for busy, working adults. As we celebrate 50 years and 50,000 graduates, we look ahead to a bright future. A future dedicated to continued innovation to help our students achieve their dreams while delivering the agile and productive workforce employers need.
bellevue.edu | #BU50years FLEXIBLE. AFFORDABLE. ACCREDITED. NONPROFIT.
A nonprofit university, Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission through the U.S. Department of Education (www.hlcommission.org) â&#x20AC;˘ 800-621-7440 â&#x20AC;˘ Bellevue University does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability in the educational programs and activities it operates. Bellevue University, 1000 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, Nebraska 68005. 10494-0716
we don’t coast we innovate
Growing to meet our community’s needs We are one year away from Metropolitan Community College opening its doors to three new academic buildings on the Fort Omaha Campus. This $90 million investment will catapult students into tomorrow’s jobs as well as train them for today’s in-demand fields. The expansion project due to open in fall 2017 is where innovation and community connects. It’s where students will obtain the knowledge necessary for a lifetime of success.
Watch our progress at mccneb.edu/tour.
WE’RE ALL IN FOR: • Community with small class sizes and personalized attention. • Educational Excellence where intellectual curiosity is cool. • Pushing Boundaries to build resilience, character, and creative problem-solving.
ALL IN FOR BT From preschool to grade 12, we prepare students to learn passionately, think critically, act responsibly, and lead with integrity.
Visit brownell.edu/GoBT to schedule a campus tour today.
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Old Market fire respOnse REBECCA S. GRATZ
WE CARE â&#x20AC;¢ 101
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memberofofthe theforce forcewho whoexemplified exemplified member courage, strength and a sense dutytotothe the courage, strength and a sense ofofduty HorsesofofHonor HonorOmaha, Omaha,a astunning stunning Horses profession,”says saysOmaha OmahaPolice PoliceChief ChiefTodd Todd profession,” public art tribute in Turner Park, memorializes public art tribute in Turner Park, memorializes Schmaderer. Schmaderer. sevenfallen fallenOmaha Omahapolice policeofficers. officers.Their Their seven eighthhorse horseononthe theTrail TrailofofHeroes Heroes AnAneighth spiritsare arereflected reflectedininseven sevenstatues statuesofof spirits stands in tribute to all of Omaha’s fallen stands in tribute to all of Omaha’s fallen mountedpatrol patrolunit unithorses, horses,each eachdesigned designed mounted officers.The Theyearlong yearlonginstallation, installation,which which officers. by an Omaha-area artist. The life-size works by an Omaha-area artist. The life-size works mirrorsthe theoriginal originalHorses HorsesofofHonor Honorprogram program mirrors wereunveiled unveiledMay May20, 20,2016, 2016,the theone-year one-year were in Chicago, culminates with a statue auction anniversaryofofOfficer OfficerKerrie KerrieOrozco’s Orozco’sdeath deathinin in Chicago, culminates with a statue auction anniversary in spring 2017 to benefit the Omaha Police in spring 2017 to benefit the Omaha Police theline lineofofduty. duty. the Foundation. Foundation. “Each of the officers was a well-respected “Each of the officers was a well-respected
sOMe wear suits and ties. Humble, good humored – and heroic. Bill Cutler, co-owner of Heafey Hoffmann Dworak & Cutler, did it out of respect – rushing to the scene in the middle of the night as fire destroyed the landmark funeral home. His focus? Getting inside the building as soon as possible to remove the remains of those awaiting burial. Accompanied by a firefighter – but foiled by a falling ceiling and subsequent gash to the forehead – the 68-year-old says he took the risk “because it’s important to families ... We always treat everybody as if they were our own mother or father.” The remains of the nine departed were retrieved the following afternoon. In the wake of the January fire, Cutler and partner Tom Heafey immediately said they planned to rebuild. “I grew up in a family that’s been doing this for 116 years,” Cutler says. “It’s just kind of in our DNA.”
business as usual hEAfEy hoffmAnn DwoRAK & CUTLER
WE CARE • 103
meaningful gifts Bill Scott was Warren Buffett’s first hire when the future billionaire’s investment partnership grew complicated enough to need an extra person. That partnership eventually morphed into Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Along the way, Scott, who retired in the early 1990s, accumulated enough stock to be independently wealthy. Much to the benefit of our community, he and his wife, Ruth, are enthusiastic about spreading that wealth. There’s no official count of how much the Ashland natives have donated, but the list is long and especially devoted to the University of Nebraska. On it: two research professor chairs, UNMC’s Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education, Center for Nursing
Science, Harold M. and Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health, and the newly opened Center for Drug Discovery and Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education, among others; and at UNO, the Biomechanics Research Building, Community Engagement Center and the Roskens Hall renovation. Last year, the Scotts signed the Giving Pledge originated by Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to encourage wealthy people to donate at least half of their money to charities. In a letter to Buffett about their pledge decision, the Scotts wrote, “Enriching the lives of others has been not only rewarding, but just plain fun! And the more we give, the more fun we have.”
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Mind, bOdy and spirit
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Providing a healthy meal to someone in need. It’s one of the most basic ways we can reach out. Add a dash of innovative thinking – and two of our local nonprofits are showing how they can make a significant impact. Beth Ostdiek Smith’s Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue partners with more than two dozen restaurants and grocery stores to “rescue” leftover food and channel it to almost 20 nonprofit agencies. They, in turn, use it to feed their clients. Since its founding in 2013, the organization has redirected more than 388 tons of food valued at more than $1.3 million. One of Saving Grace’s food recipient partners is Table Grace Café, a downtown eatery that serves meals “in a graceful manner” to anyone who walks through the
door. No bill at the end of the meal – just a free-will donation if one is so inclined. CEO Matt Weber, who attended New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute, opened the establishment in 2011. Situated at the intersection of two of his passions – food and local mission work – Table Grace Café serves about 350 patrons a week and offers on- and off-site catering services. Its menu includes scratch-made pizzas, salads and soups. “Seeing people being nourished in body, mind, and spirit; seeing socioeconomic barriers being broken; watching people in difficult life transitions use Table Grace Café as a stepping stone to improve their life situations – those are the great rewards of what we do,” Weber says.
Expertise. Innovation. Compassion. After 125 years of caring for the Omaha area, these are the symbols of care at Methodist and why generations of families put their trust in us. It’s a tradition that’s made an impact on the health of Omaha today, and what drives us to advance our care and create a healthier tomorrow. bestcare.org/beyond ©2016 Methodist Health System
giving back in vibrant prOgraMMing It is a melting pot of benefit; an organization that celebrates our diversity, values our elderly and underscores the difference one committed person can make. Carolina Padilla founded the Intercultural Senior Center in 2009 to create a community for and serve the needs of our seniors, bringing together Latinos, Asian and African refugees, and native English speakers. Programming at the south Omaha center includes daily exercise classes and field trips, social services, and English, computer literacy and citizenship classes. It also offers transportation, meals and a monthly food pantry. “As the aging community grows, our goal is to become a one-stop shop for highquality services. We welcome every senior
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who needs any type of support to increase wellness and decrease isolation,” says Padilla, a native of Guatemala who started the organization as a way of paying it forward. Just 6 years old when her mother died, she was raised by her aunts. “I left without giving back for what they did for me,” she says. “I felt like I owed something to someone else. For some reason, I just feel an attachment to older people.” With its vibrant mix of programming, attendance at the center has been growing steadily. At first, only a few people showed up each day. Between 60 and 90 now come regularly. “Making a change in a senior’s life is not a job, it is a blessing,” Padilla says. “We’re a big family.”
Health Care That Revolves Around You Health care is changing, and CHI Health promises to stay ahead of the curve. We’re building a network where doctors, clinics and hospitals work together to keep pace with your needs. CHI Health is also moving forward with value-based care – a belief that promoting a healthier lifestyle is better than prescribing a lot of pills. When specialized care is needed, you’ll find CHI Health’s expert care close to home. Our services are strengthened by an entire system that stretches throughout Nebraska and into Iowa. We’re doing what’s right for your health: evolving our care, revolving around you.
CHIhealth.com Creighton University Medical Center – Bergan Mercy | Good Samaritan | Immanuel Lakeside | St. Elizabeth | Nebraska Heart St. Francis | Mercy Council Bluffs | Midlands Missouri Valley | Mercy Corning | Plainview Schuyler | CHI Health Clinic | St. Mary’s Creighton University Medical Center Lasting Hope Recovery Center Richard Young Behavioral Health
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Dedicated to providing workforce and Dedicated to providing workforce personal development to youth agingand out personal development to youth out of foster care, the relatively new aging nonprofit of foster care, relatively new nonprofit Bike Union is the impacting lives with a threeBike Union is impacting lives with a threespoke approach. The social enterprise spoke approach. The social enterprise encompasses: •encompasses: A traditional bike shop offering sales and • service A traditional bikepercent shop offering with 100 of the sales profitsand service withits100 percent of the programs. profits supporting youth mentoring supporting youth mentoring programs. •A full-menu its coffeehouse generating • additional A full-menu coffeehouse generating program-supporting revenue. additional program-supporting revenue. • Community programming, including a paid • Community programming, including a paid apprenticeship program offering on-the-job apprenticeship offering on-the-job training to youthprogram aging out of foster care. training to youth aging out of foster care. Another initiative, BUMP, partners Another initiative, BUMP, partners
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with Child Saving Institute and Girls Inc. with Child Saving Institute Girls Inc. throughout the summer to and introduce kids to throughout summer to introduce kids to the benefits the of cycling. the“There benefits areof socycling. many rewarding aspects to are do,” so many aspects the“There work we says rewarding Miah Sommer, the to the work we do,” says Miah Sommer, nonprofit’s executive director. “I believethe that nonprofit’s executive “I believe that being able to be a bigdirector. part in the professional being able to development be a big part in professional and personal of the these young and personal adults at suchdevelopment a critical pointofinthese their young lives is adults at such a critical point in their lives is very important.” very Theimportant.” impacts thus far have been “huge,” The impacts thusinclude far have been “huge,” Sommer says, and improved school Sommer says,the and includeofimproved school performance, making healthier lifestyle performance, the making of healthier choices, and students working towardlifestyle their choices, and students working toward their GEDs or entering college. GEDs or entering college.
mEGAn SmiTh mEGAn SmiTh
“We can use “We can use the bicycle to the bicycle to solve a lot of solve a lot of issues.” –issues.” Miah Sommer, – Miah Sommer, executive director, executive Bike Uniondirector, Bike Union
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Father Flanagan’s life-changing brainchild is all grown up – and as impactful as ever. World-famous Boys Town will mark one century of hope and healing next year; 100 years of supporting, caring for and enhancing young, at-risk lives. Some children stay at Boys Town for years; others stay only a few months. They live in family-style arrangements with married couples and where the ages of the children are usually staggered, the way they would be in a typical family. And then, there is the unique story of Jordan Burton, Kaileigh O’Donnell, Tessa Miller, Makayla Boswell and Adjanate Taliaferro. The five – all of whom graduated from high school last May – spent a remarkably unbroken two years together under the loving guidance of house parents
Jackie and Andrew Taylor. No other family home, among the 60 at Boys Town, had as many graduates. In addition to their diplomas, the “sisters” received something they hadn’t believed existed – a stable and happy home. “It’s a family I never had,” says Burton, whose next home is the campus of Iowa Western Community College. She wants to be an occupational therapist. “I get to have a future,” says Boswell, who also is planning to attend Iowa Western. While graduation marks a difficult transition, Jackie Taylor says these “daughters” are ready. They have spent the past two years developing skills, strengthening relationships and becoming strong young women. “These girls,” she says, “are going to do well.”
et home faster. To learn more about our post-acute rehabilitation services, call (402) 895-2266.
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omaha gives! Once again, Omaha gave. In a big way during a 24-hour, online fundraising frenzy for local nonprofits. Launched by the Omaha Community Foundation four years ago, the communitywide campaign has raised escalating amounts of money ($3 million in 2013; $8.8 million in 2015). Highestgrossing recipients in 2016 included Marian High School, Bellevue University, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha and Creighton Prep. The next Omaha Gives! is May 24, 2017.
soaring after climb mEGAn fARmER
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“I just felt a calling to provide some assistance knowing that in the future it would be paid forward,” says Sharon Ishii-Jordan, a professor at Creighton University. That calling, inspired by multiple trips to India, propelled Ishii-Jordan and husband Bill Jordan to offer a disadvantaged Indian teenager a hand up. Celine Tharuba, in addition to a right leg damaged by polio, faced the obstacles of gender and racial discrimination. The Jordans brought Tharuba, now 19, to Omaha in 2013. They welcomed her into their home and paid for her to attend Mercy High School. Over the next three years, the once-shy young woman blossomed. She won the friendship and admiration of her
classmates, who elected her their Nocturne Queen, the Mercy equivalent of homecoming queen. She got involved in choir, learned to play guitar and dazzled classmates with her fabric-weaving skill. Through the experience, Tharuba, who received pro bono physical therapy at Creighton University, has built a much more hopeful future for herself. On May 23, she graduated with her Mercy classmates. A week later, she returned to India where she intends to enroll in college in Kolkata and study English or economics. She is all smiles about her Mercy experience. “Every single moment I love it,” Tharuba says. “Maybe I don’t talk very much, but I love every single moment.”
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Don’t tell Josh Jackson to coast. At only 18, the New Mexico-based sprint car driver slows down for nothing. He’s a relentless talent as determined as ever to make it to the national scene of stock car racing. In August 2015, a future at full throttle collided with a moment of terror – a violent, high-speed crash mid-race that nearly took Jackson’s life, fracturing his skull, causing a traumatic brain injury that impaired his vision, speech, and cognitive and physical abilities. Jackson arrived at QLI in early 2016, where rehabilitation helped him regain the skills necessary to not only accomplish everyday tasks but return to his life-defining passion. After months of intensive therapy, QLI got Jackson back on the track – this time, in a race to rebuild his life. Partnering with local Joe’s Karting, QLI’s expert clinical team transformed Jackson’s zeal for racing into a platform for recovery. QLI customized racetracks for him, creating exciting new ways to target his most critical therapy goals. Each lap around the course motivated this drive to recover. Each lap signaled his astounding potential to rise above hardship. Racing helped him set the pace for a life beyond injury. Jackson, who has since returned to New Mexico to manage his own race team, says, “The best therapy is the kind that gets you back to what you love.”
back in tHe driver’s seat CoURTESy of QLi
We don’t coast, we’re Community Strong! United Way of the Midlands focuses the efforts of many to help our neighbors stand strong – by addressing basic needs like food, stable housing, safety and medical care. We foster their success in the classroom and the workplace, too – all in the effort to reduce poverty. If there’s any community that can make it happen, it’s ours.
Heartland Family Service
Thanks to donors, volunteers, companies and community partners, we are Community Strong.
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Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc.
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OMaha enTRePReneuRS ERIC FRANCIS
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The goal: Radically improve the odds of The startup success, in improve turn developing goal: Radically the odds a more entrepreneurial workforce and of startup success, in turn developing high workforce growth startups amore moresustainable, entrepreneurial and Thesustainable, enterprise: Startup more high growth startups Collaborative at Startup the Exchange, The enterprise: a comprehensive for Collaborative at program the Exchange, operated by for the Greater aentrepreneurs comprehensive program Omaha Chamber entrepreneurs operated by the Greater “Our mission is to help improve the Omaha Chamber odds our economy’s high“Ourformission is to helphigh-risk, improve the potential techeconomy’s startups,” high-risk, says Ericahighodds for our Wassinger, co-founder potential tech startups,”with saysNathan Erica Preheim. co-founder with Nathan Wassinger, Startup Collaborative is a hybrid Preheim. between incubators and Startuptraditional Collaborative is a hybrid accelerators – providing an immersive, between traditional incubators and founder-focused curriculum that accelerators – providing an immersive, combines education with outcomefounder-focused curriculum that based grants for growth. combines education with outcome“Ourgrants work helps to put Greater based for growth. Omaha on the maptoasput a community “Our work helps Greater that supports innovation,” Omaha on thestartups map as and a community sayssupports Preheim.startups and innovation,” that Last spring, Omaha hosted its first says Preheim. Omaha StartupOmaha Week. hosted Crushing Last spring, its initial first attendance expectations, more than Omaha Startup Week. Crushing initial 3,000 people participatedmore in more than attendance expectations, than 60 events, all participated of them designed to than build 3,000 people in more momentum opportunity around 60 events, alland of them designed to build entrepreneurship. momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship.
we connect. we deliver. West has been a part of Omaha for three decades. We are proud to have helped build this cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation as a community of innovators, self-starters and people who can get the job done. At West, we are dedicated to delivering technology that connects people, businesses and ideas in innovative and meaningful ways. The solutions we provide change how companies interact with consumers, how patients communicate with their doctors and how first responders coordinate support. We design and deliver the technology that makes us more productive, connects us to each other and improves the way we live.
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An old fraternity house at 3100 Chicago St. has been transformed into Startup Mansion, a hotbed of Omaha-area entrepreneurship. Founder Sabastian Hunt says the mansion is the flagship property of Year of the Startup, a concept that puts entrepreneurs together in a residential setting. They rent a bedroom for a minimum of six months to work on their businesses. At any point, Year of the Startup has the option to return all rent paid in exchange for equity in the company. Not everyone in the house has been an entrepreneur. “We had a resident lawyer, because our best startup last year got sued,” he says. Recent residents also included computer science students from around the country.
And for an additional revenue stream, some rooms are kept open for AirBnB users. “It just makes things easier when you have a couple of high-paying guests,” Hunt says. Year of the Startup’s property partners purchased the mansion and nearby carriage house, then expanded its total bedroom capacity from 12 to 18. The home fit easily into Startup Mansion’s lineup of four other houses. “Who do you rent a frat house to? Families don’t want frat houses.” Adding the mansion to the lineup nearly quadrupled the program’s size. Nearly 25 companies now are part of Year of the Startup — from those still in the idea stage to Expert Seats — a reseller that did $1.4 million in revenue in a recent month.
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frank fu “We Don’t Coast” is an attitude. A nod to the fact that we’re all given 24 hours each day – and we choose to make the most of them. “My philosophy is – if I find that I like it, I will always find time for it,” says Frank Fu. Fu is an artist, freelance graphic designer, jewelry-making entrepreneur, and instructor at Do Space, our innovation playground. He is also an architecture aficionado and a budding fashion designer who made his debut at Omaha Fashion Week in August. “I’ve been thinking about trying this new type of expression,” he says. “Working with the body is completely different. It’s more organic and free-flowing whereas with a building you’re set within a boundary of rules.” Spoken like a true… 16-year-old.
In addition to everything else, Fu is an architectural design technology student at Metropolitan Community College and a senior at Brownell-Talbot College Preparatory School – a teenager operating on a whole other level. His experience with fashion vaulted forward when he began going to Do Space to complete school projects. Fu’s affiliation with Do Space – and its laser cutter – have also given rise to an acrylic jewelry design and engraving business and a foray into teaching. A teen of many talents, his ultimate dream is launching his own architectural firm. “I think everyone has their own thing. My thing is I really love learning about things that I love.” bIll SItzmANN
Rail is just one of the services we provide. Union Pacific also supports communities where we live and work, including Omaha, our hometown. We fuel the local economy with a payroll of more than 4,300 employees and charitable giving of more than $4.1 million.
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eS&S a naTiOn’S fuTuRe dePendS On iT
It was nearly 40 years ago that Bob Urosevich approached then-Douglas County Election Commissioner Mike Boyle about the need to automate the ballot-counting process. Election Systems & Software emerged. A decade later, a young Omaha investor named Mike McCarthy saw the potential to improve the ballot tabulation products on the market and invested capitol and operational discipline that evolved ES&S into the thriving business it is today. About nine months ago, ES&S President and CEO Tom Burt began searching for a symbol that would represent ES&S’ ideals and dedication to democracy as well as salute the company’s home base during an election year. He found it in a grand American flag that now flies high above the ES&S headquarters, where it’s seen by some
269,000 passing motorists daily. The flag is foremost a celebration of the freedoms Americans enjoy and a tribute to the U.S. Armed Service members who defend and protect those freedoms around the world. The flag also represents ES&S and the role its employees play in preserving democracy. ES&S, which operates in 43 states, represents the backbone of America and its citizens’ fundamental right to vote. During the November 2016 General Election, this quiet company in the middle of America will count almost 53 percent of votes cast nationwide.
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for a greater good TAGG, they’re it! Two Omaha entrepreneurs are revolutionizing the face of fundraising with TAGG (Together A Greater Good), a mobile app that brings causes, businesses and people together for mutual benefit. After downloading the free app, people “TAGG” (track) their purchases at participating local businesses by simply snapping a picture of the receipt. The business then donates 5-percent to the customer’s cause of choice. “TAGG understands the next generation’s method of giving is different from the previous generation’s. Our platform allows for organizations to engage younger generations from a technological standpoint. With the click of a button, supporting Omaha businesses and donating to community-based organizations becomes easier than ever,” says Holly Baker, who founded the company with Leslie Fischer. “We decided we would keep pursuing the idea until a door closed that we couldn’t open,” Fischer says. “Doors kept opening, so we kept walking through them.”
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Using next-generation technology to train next-generation medical professionals. Welcome to pushing the bounds of what’s possible. The University of Nebraska Medical Center is pioneering a “future is now” approach to medical education that will include virtual-reality depictions of the human body; digital learning walls; holographs; patient simulators; virtual surgery units; and space for larger-scale team simulations. UNMC is calling the initiative iEXCEL – or the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning. “This clearly is the cutting edge,” says Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and chief executive of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “We have a growing urgency around training medical professionals. This project has every
indication of being done in the right way and could become a national model.” Dr. Norman Kahn, executive vice president and chief executive of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, says, “This is the future. … Simulation is really the future of medical education, including continuing education.” In addition to far-ranging opportunities for improved medical training, the UNMC proposal has considerable telehealth and economic development potential, anticipating the development of new technologies over time. UNMC’s $102 million Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning, a proposed three-story, 125,000-squarefoot facility, will house the iEXCEL program. Construction is expected to begin in January 2017.
Ambitious goals have been driving the founders of BuilderTREND since day one. Dan Houghton, Jeff Dugger and Steve Dugger shoot for 50 percent revenue growth every year – a goal they’ve hit the last four years in a row. “And we’re profitable,” Houghton says. “That’s pretty unique in the SaaS world to have that much growth and be profitable.” Founded in 2006, BuilderTREND Solutions Inc. has become one of our leading highgrowth, bootstrapping SaaS (software as a service) companies. Its project management platform serves more than 6,500 customers in more than 40 countries around the world. In 2015, $40 billion worth of residential construction projects flowed through the BuilderTREND system. Beyond project management software, the company of 150 employees is expanding its offerings into payment processing between contractors, subcontractors and customers. The goal is to make BuilderTREND the industry standard. “Ten years ago, our building would’ve been a dream come true, and now we could outgrow this building in two years – 200 employees, 500 employees. That’s the vision,” Houghton says.
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acceleRaTing innOvaTiOn It’s hard to not be inspired by Luis Lopez, founder of Crumb, a data science company working to radically change how health information is accessed and analyzed. “We wanted to solve a huge problem in a hard-to-solve industry,” he says. “My Dad said, ‘A land without giants is not worth conquering,’ and I truly believe that.” Born in Guatemala, Lopez and his family went from riches-to-rags after his father answered a call to missionary work in Belize. A move to Omaha came in 2000. Lopez learned English and eight years later, as a college freshman, co-founded tech startup Contemporary Analysis. During a semester abroad in Madrid, he happened upon a Tweet from Bill Gates – and the idea for Crumb bIll SItzmANN
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began to germinate. “It stated the two areas where innovation occurs the least is healthcare and education. As we began to look into things, we realized how far behind healthcare was.” Lopez and his brother fleshed out the idea for Crumb (then CardioSys) and later developed it in conjunction with Straight Shot, Omaha’s innovation accelerator. Today, Crumb is quietly solidifying new hospital relationships, signing on additional partners and solving the big, hard-to-solve problems at the Startup Collaborative. “My guarantee is that no one will work harder than us. I love that attitude about the Midwest. We’re very heads down, and we’re building great companies without the ego.”
A POWERFUL FORCE IN ENERGY In 1987, 1987, we we started started out out to to build build a a power power plant. plant. Today, Today, Tenaska Tenaska is is one one of of In the largest largest and and most most successful successful independent independent energy energy companies companies in in the the United United the States. Forbes Forbes magazine magazine ranks ranks Tenaska Tenaska among among the the largest largest privately privately held held U.S. U.S. States. companies, with with 700 700 employees employees and and gross gross operating operating revenues revenues of of $8 $8 billion. billion. companies, Headquartered in in Omaha, Omaha, with with regional regional offices offices in in Dallas, Dallas, Denver, Denver, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Headquartered Philadelphia, Boston, Boston, and and Calgary Calgary and and Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada, Canada, Tenaska Tenaska is is highly highly Philadelphia, respected for for its its expertise, expertise, pursuit pursuit of of opportunities opportunities and and uncompromising uncompromising values. values. respected
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terrorism We play a powerful role in defending our nation, proudly supporting Offutt Air Force Base, home to the 55th Wing and headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command and the approximately 10,000 military and civilian personnel who work there. That, however, is not the only way our dedicated men and women are contributing to the security of those at home and abroad. Researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha have assumed a frontline role in the fight against ISIS, the terrorist scourge that has emerged as a major threat. Through UNO’s Center for Collaboration Science, faculty and students have teamed with the departments of Homeland Security and Defense, the FBI and others to study how the terrorist group uses propaganda, engages with members on social media, manages their organizational structure, and much more. “UNO’s work on violent extremism has gained national attention, given that our research is interdisciplinary,” said Gina Ligon, Ph.D. “There’s just no other group working these issues that draws from the collective expertise of information technology and innovation, organizational psychology, strategic management and criminology like our team in The Center for Collaboration Science does.” Since 2014, the Center has also led the Strategic Leadership Fellows Program. The program connects civilian leaders working at Strategic Command with University of Nebraska faculty and industry experts to provide training in areas including team building, collaboration management, data-driven decision making and project management. 130 • WE DON’T COAST
Shonna Dorsey is committed to increasing the number of tech workers in the Omaha area. She’s found the perfect outlet – and national recognition – as co-founder and managing director of Interface Web School. “Interface has been the ultimate expression of my desire to have a job that I absolutely love and give back to the community,” she says. “We’ve had people go from being welders and baristas to being web developers, project managers and account executives for tech consulting companies. For someone to tell me, ‘Shonna, due to the training, I’ve quadrupled my income,’ it’s incredible.” Launched in 2014, Interface offers everything from one-to-two-day workshops to more intensive 11-to-15-week web development courses. To date, Interface has
trained 120 people in web development. “The thing I love most about Interface is we’re helping people go from a blank canvas – a blank screen – to creating functional applications.” Just last May, InformationWeek honored Dorsey for her impact thus far, naming her the 2016 Women in Technology category winner at the organization’s Elite 100 conference in Las Vegas. Her advice to other women interested in the male-dominated tech profession? “Find and surround yourself with mentors. There are a lot of groups in town, like Omaha Coding Women, Omaha Girls Who Code and Lincoln Coding Women, that are trying to work together to be available as mentors for women who are interested in tech.”
I R R I G AT I O N . T E C H N O L O G Y. T R A N S P O R TAT I O N .
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Green Plains Inc. is all about growth. Since its launch in 2004, the Omaha-based company has grown into the second largest owner of ethanol production facilities in the world.
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Sales have shot up to more than $3 billion per year, putting Green Plains on a trajectory to become Omaha’s next entry on the Fortune 500. And as the company continues to hire, “you can grow your own career,” says, Mark Hudak, executive vice president of human resources. While few established companies let employees forge their own paths, Green Plains retains the entrepreneurial spirit that fueled its ascent in agribusiness. “You have a management team that is very experienced but still creates an environment of innovation,” says Hudak. The company uses a flat structure, an open floor plan, and an open door policy to encourage the ideas and innovation that drive its success. Open doors are multiplying, too, as Green Plains settles into its new headquarters at Aksarben Village. Some 180 employees are will make the move at the end of 2016, with room to grow as expansion continues to support ethanol production facilities and other ventures needing people skilled in finance, economics, accounting, business, law, and other fields. The company is vertically-integrated, meaning Omaha team members trade to obtain commodities used in ethanol, livestock feed, corn oil production, and other commodities. They manage the logistics of delivering those goods to customers. They oversee mergers and acquisitions, such as the purchase of an additional three ethanol plants in September 2016. They help form
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partnerships that increase diversification, including their company BioProcess Algae LLC employing advanced techniques to grow and harvest algae. Green Plains employees in Omaha enjoy the same atmosphere and opportunities as traders and commodities specialists in Chicago and New York. “The real draw is that if you have laid down roots here, you will become part of a company that is every bit as committed to Nebraska and your career goals as you are,” Hudak says.
“You can grow your own career.” – Mark Hudak, executive vice president of human resources, speaking on career opportunities with Green Plains Inc.
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downtown omaha ONELAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY
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It’s the definition of community. We laugh together and when hardship strikes, we pull together.
our spirit tyler meyer
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We witnessed that spirit in January when a three-alarm fire destroyed the historic Mercer Building, home to M’s Pub and other businesses and residents, and dealt a blow to our Old Market district. Fire apparatus engineer Frank Corcoran says Old Market businesses were “amazing” in the support and aid they showed first responders, opening doors so firefighters could rest and recover from frigid temperatures. For the workers who lost their jobs, there were fundraisers, job fairs and job offers. More than a month after the fire, as a crucial Old Market intersection re-opened, the Greater Omaha Chamber, First National Bank, Omaha Downtown Improvement District and the Old Market Business Association rallied to get people back to the historic district, the “heart and heartbeat of our city.” As part of a corporate challenge, about 300 First National employees hit the cobblestone streets that day to have lunch, stroll, shop – and let all of Omaha know the Old Market was open for business. We witnessed that spirit months earlier after ConAgra announced its headquarters move. Determined to keep displaced talent here where it belongs, the
Chamber and a coalition of local companies launched the #WeKeepTalent initiative and found a broader business community more than willing to engage. “It was really about being a good steward, a good community member and a good neighbor first and foremost,” says Todd Johnson, Gallup’s talent resources manager in Omaha. Gallup worked quickly to educate displaced ConAgra workers about open positions – and connect them to the application process. Mutual of Omaha, as a result of its #WeKeepTalent involvement, hired 28 employees in several areas, including I/S, marketing, finance and administrative support. “We wanted to help keep talent in Omaha, capitalize on skill sets and grow Mutual’s talent base,” says Amber Svajgl, Mutual’s manager of strategic staffing. A prevailing sentiment among #WeKeepTalent participants? Joining up was the right thing to do. “We have an amazing business community that rallies around each other – particularly when needs arise. In this situation, while we’re all seeking talented individuals from the same labor pool, this wasn’t a competition but rather a cooperation where we could all help out and each hire the talent we’re looking for,” says Ken Bunnell, First National Bank’s senior vice president of human resources.
This is where we plug in. Our OuTleT fOr celebraTing life, shOpping lOcal and pressing play. This funky desTinaTiOn. This Old MarkeT. a cOnfluence Of characTer and cObblesTOne sTreeTs, pulsing wiTh perpeTual energy, eMpOwering us TO be us. always has. always will.
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Working Together Together Working to Make Make aa Big Big Difference Difference to We were founded here in 1919 and over the years we’ve learned We werethat founded heresome in 1919 and over the others years we’ve learned although things change, stay the same. that although some things change, others stay the same. Home of ConAgra Foods’ largest workforce, we are committed to Home of ConAgra workforce, we areemployees committedand to supporting Omaha.Foods’ We’relargest investing in our talented supporting Omaha. We’re investing in our talented employees and creating new opportunities. And we’ll continue to invest in creating new opportunities. Andapproach we’ll continue invest in the community through a year-round to foodtodonations, the community through a year-round approach to food donations, employee volunteer efforts and charitable giving. employee volunteer efforts and charitable giving. For more information and a full list of our brands, please visit us at For more information and a full list of our brands, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com. www.conagrafoods.com.
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Urban living is back in vogue – and our developers are investing millions throughout the community to reboot aging properties and give the people what they want. 10th Street (4)
With its phenomenal rate of development, 10th Street is becoming Omaha’s hot new address. The site of P.J. Morgan Real Estate’s $7 million Avanti residential community sits across from a future public market, the new Blue Barn Theatre and BoxCar 10 Apartments. To the north is the former Burlington Station-turned-KETV studios and the historic Rail and Commerce Building. The old mail terminal is being renovated to house a “Commerce Village” for up to 90 businesses. All told, an estimated $100 million is currently being committed to capital improvements in the area.
13th Street Corridor Walkability, proximity to the Old Market and architectural charm favor a lasting resurgence along the 13th Street corridor. Developers say the area – dubbed “Little Bohemia” – is ripe for retail and services, from clothing boutiques and offices to restaurants and nightclubs. “It has all the right bones,” says Jed Moulton, the City of Omaha’s urban design manager. “There’s a lot of potential, and physical characteristics that make it a great pedestrian, neighborhoodcentered district.”
leavenworth, 10th -15th Street Bluestone Development is all about satisfying an expanded desire for urban dwelling – by building “geeky cool” places to live. Two of its many projects – The Rows at SoMa and The Lofts at SoMa – have brought that Bluestone brand of “geeky cool” to
the south edge of the Old Market near 12th and Leavenworth Streets (an area dubbed SoMa).
benSon (3) With its main street feel and positive synergy, Benson has evolved into an arts, live music and dining destination, led by establishments such as the Waiting Room Lounge, Reverb Lounge, Krug Park and 10-year-old Jake’s Cigars and Spirits, a tri-part business that includes a retail store, a main bar, and an intimate lounge and cigar room. “We’re in Benson because we wanted to be a part of something greater than a commercial development; we wanted to be part of a neighborhood’” says John Larkin, owner of Jake’s.
CounCil bluffS’ bayliSS Park
BRAD J. wILLIAmS
blaCkStone diStriCt (1) The momentum in the Blackstone District is “undeniable,” says Omaha City Councilman Chris Jerram. And, GreenSlate Development and Clarity Development Co. continue to build on that momentum, investing a combined $39 million into the neighborhood over the last few years, transforming aging properties into new housing and commercial retail space.
CounCil bluffS 100 bloCk (2) J. Development is bringing the new to Council Bluffs’ historic 100 Block. The outfit recently completed the $7 million Sawyer Building, which includes 26 apartments, 10 townhomes and almost 9,000 square feet of commercial space. It’s planning another $6 million mixed-use building on adjacent property. Together with the recently renovated Hughes Irons Building, a total investment of $20 million has been made in the 100 Block in recent years. “To have an active historic district and downtown, you need people living here,” says Julie Stavneak of J. Development Co. “Bring in new projects, and it will help the city grow.”
“we got into this because we love the old buildings, the character and history.” – Ryan Ellis, president, P.J. Morgan Real Estate WE BUILD • 141
Throughout our region, a steady stream of recent development projects is helping to propel us forward and enhance our quality of life. douglaS County • Eckoh – The global provider of secure payment products and customer contact solutions based in Hertfordshire, England, chooses Omaha for its U.S. headquarters. • NuStyle Development – Embarks on a major renovation project, converting the Creighton University Medical Center into a mammoth apartment building with up to 700 units, open-air atriums, a rooftop pool and an enclosed retail corridor that looks out to a man-made lake. • HDR – Announces plans for a 10-story corporate headquarters in Aksarben Village; 245,000 square feet with space for up for 1,150 employees. • Duluth Trading Company – Celebrates first store opening in early adopter Omaha.
momentum iS a mighty forCe. we don’t build it by holding baCk or waiting for otherS to aCt. we build it by moving forward; by working together to make a dramatiC imPaCt.
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JAmES R. BURNEtt
• Offutt Air Force Base (1) – A $55 million investment in runway repairs will help ensure safety and stability for decades to come. • Oxbow – Building a new pet food distribution center on 73-acre parcel. Will add production facility, warehousing, office space and storage. • Light Edge Solutions – The premier cloud computing, co-location and data center company brings a 200,000-square-foot regional data center to Sarpy County. Phase 1 of the facility is projected to open in late summer 2017.
• Structural Component Systems (2) – Multimillion-dollar expansion will meet increased demand and create more jobs. • Southwark Metals – Expanding with a 50,000-square-foot addition. • Heartland Parts & Accessories – Its 10 full-time employees are retained with help from LB 840, which authorizes use of local tax dollars for economic development. • Fairfield Inn & Suites – Community lodging addition brings 12 full-time employees and $8 million in capital investment.
• Martin Marietta (3) – Plans to transition the Fort Calhoun Quarry from an open-pit mining process to an underground mining process over the next 5 years. Adding 20 new jobs and bringing new investment to the region.
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CaSS County • Louisville Commercial Park (3) – Adds nearly $2 million in additional valuation for the city and new quality of life amenities for the community. New tenants include NAPA Auto Parts and a large animal veterinarian.
Pottawattamie County • Fieldhouse USA – This new indoor sports complex and 130-room hotel spans nearly 100,000 square feet. The sports complex includes eight basketball courts and 12 volleyball courts. Opening in 2016. • Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park – $65 million private riverfront investment includes 144 • WE DON’T COAST
a 65,000-square-foot office building, parking garage, 243 residential units and first level commercial space. Future phases include a second office building, condos and more commercial space. Upon completion, it will represent a total private investment of up to $145 million. • BLink (1) – Bluffs Community Wi-Fi network launched last fall. The Council Bluffs Area Wi-Fi Consortium – a cooperative between the City of Council Bluffs and the Council Bluffs Community Schools District – wants to bring as much free community wireless Internet to Council Bluffs as possible.
millS County • Project Art Church (2) – a 140-year-old Presbyterian church renovated into an art gallery that hosts seasonal art shows and concerts.
harriSon County • Woodbine – Invests more than $6.5 million into its downtown. Main street projects include historically rebuilt, energy-efficient storefronts and more extensive rehabs along with the conversion of a former bank building into housing, commercial and retail space, and an artist-in-residence loft and gallery.
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