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OMAHA: WE DON'T COAST

THE BEST PLACE FOR KIDS.

Levi & Dylan, age 4 Pulmonary Atresia

2017

Visit ChildrensOmaha.org for more information on how we can help your child. For a pediatrician, family physician or pediatric specialist, call 1.800.833.3100.


 





   



  





 

 

  

 



   

       

  



 







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Are you confused by most financial advice? We make the complex simple: Effective Game Plan Advice in Common Language Straightforward Fees

CO NTACT US for a F R E E listening session.

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Did You Know... The reliability of our natural gas and water is what makes us a step above the rest.

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ONELAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY

We welcome


Here in the heartland, we are more than a cozy place to live. We are a great place to be alive. Maybe not for everyone. Just anyone who wants to be someone.

No standstill. No off switch. This is Omaha. We don’t coast.


WE’RE GOING TO LET YOU IN ON A LITTLE SECRET.

BILL SITZMANN

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n the surface, it might seem like this publication is all about “us” – our engaged workforce, our cultural amenities, our thriving companies… But it’s really all about you – your career, your quality of life, the growth of your business… As you read on, we hope you find inspiration in these words and pages, and see the possibilities our community has to offer you and your family. Take our low cost of living. Sure, we’re proud of the fact that it’s more than 8 percent below the national median – and we’ll brag about that all day long – but more important is what it means for you – more money to do the things you love, save for your kids’ educations or fund your retirement. When we spotlight a few of our successful entrepreneurs, we’re giving them the kudos they deserve, but we’re also giving you permission to dream, to see your potential for success reflected in theirs. Have a winning business idea? Let these startup stories be testimonials to what we can accomplish together. Right here. Ours is a community that cares and we take special pride in sharing our stories of selflessness. If you find fulfillment in “bigger than yourself” endeavors, welcome home and prepare to be even more inspired. Compassion, as we like to say, is embedded

in our Midwestern DNA – and we can always use more hands on deck. Across all aspects of life, we have a good thing going here, whether we’re talking first-rate schools or world-class restaurants. But we also want more. That’s what “We Don’t Coast” is all about – a community continually pushing to be greater, backed by passionate public/private leadership and a dedicated Chamber that has been fueling our momentum for 125 years now. No standstill. No off switch. Does that sound like an attitude you embrace? As you flip through these pages, remember – this isn’t an exercise in “Look at how great we are.” It’s an invitation to see how great you can be right here with

us. There is room – and the right conditions – for everyone to succeed. If you are thinking about expanding your business, moving your family or coming here on your own, we welcome you, we look forward to working with you, and we’re going to work hard to impress and support you. That is a promise from “us” to you. No coasting allowed. David G. Brown President and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber Leslie Andersen Chairman, Greater Omaha Chamber Board President and CEO, Bank of Bennington


One hundred and HDR. A century of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. A legacy of bringing innovative solutions to every project—no matter the challenge. A future of collaborating and creating the only way we know how. Together.

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Celebrating 100 years of engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services in the community we call home.


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“Omaha: We Don’t Coast,” 2017 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.

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President and CEO, David G. Brown 1301 Harney St., Omaha, NE 68102 402-346-5000 info@OmahaChamber.org OmahaChamber.org SelectGreaterOmaha.com WeDontCoast.com

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GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER PROJECT TEAM Project Director: Alissa Bonwell Creative Director: Kim Sellmeyer Project Coordinator: Jessica Perreault Project Contributor: Anne Branigan OMAHA WORLD-HERALD PROJECT TEAM Project Editor: Chris Christen Designer: Quentin Lueninghoener Writer: Dan McCann Contributors: Cindy Murphy McMahon, Kurt A. Keeler, Marjie Ducey, Kiley Cruse Imaging Specialist: Patricia “Murphy” Benoit Advertising Sales Manager: Debbie McChesney

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ON THE COVER Rooftop, The Breakers on Omaha’s Riverfront Photographed by Eric Francis

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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.

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WE DON’T COAST.

WE CONNECT.

Koley Jessen is an aggressively growing law ďŹ rm serving the needs of business owners, executives and professionals around the country. We stay connected, engaged and attuned to our clients' industries and operations to help them make key decisions.

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WE LIVE AMONG GIANTS

WARREN BUFFETT AND BILL GATES

#ChooseCreighton

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Our Fortune 500 & 1000 companies

Start Here, Succeed Anywhere Our vast global network starts right here in Omaha. With a shared focus on growth and innovation, being located in this city has proven to be one of our greatest assets, and we are proud to call this thriving business community home.

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Your Life. Your Bank. Our Community. Providing convenient banking products and services is what we do. Supporting the communities we serve is who we are. To us, there is no better investment than contributing to local nonprofit organizations and people in need. Making life better is not only the right thing to do, it’s at the very core of our beliefs and a responsibility we take great pride in fulfilling.

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CHRIS MACHIAN

CHANCE THE RAPPER, CENTURYLINK CENTER

We entertain Sit back. Enjoy yourselves. We’ll take care of the rest.

16 • WE DON’T COAST


Soak up the sights, sounds and creativity that typify our region and elevate our quality of life.

WE ENTERTAIN • 17


Frank O’Neal SPOTLIGHT

Poet, retired telecommunications specialist

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is words have the power to enlighten or excite, to start a conversation or spark a debate. One thing is for sure – they are going to make you think. “You read one of my pieces and I’ve got you,” Frank O’Neal says. Turning 69 this fall, O’Neal began writing poetry as a form of expression that, for him, is gritty and unflinching, backed by a lifetime of rich experiences: growing up in north Omaha, enrolling as one of only seven “young men of color” at Omaha Creighton Prep in the early 1960s, traveling the world with the U.S Coast Guard, and later as a telecommunications installation specialist, marrying, divorcing, failing, succeeding. Clad in his trademark cowboy hat and boots, he is as energized as ever about speaking – and writing – what’s on his mind. In addition to his books, Frank does commentary (via poetry) on public access television. He recently launched a series of one-man stage shows. “My empire begins with literature,” he says. “If a thought comes that drives me to pick up my pen, then I know this voice is ready.” He continues, “I come to you presenting a query, a question, and I ask based upon what is reasonable, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Within two-minutes-and-45-seconds, I cause you to make a consideration.” In 2013 – just three years after the release of his first book – Frank became one of the first men of color to become poet laureate of Nebraska. Now, as he prepares to release his fifth book, his veteran mind, so full of thoughts and words, is also packed with bold ambition. “Please don’t think me conceited, but my goal is to become the first to win a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize in the same year. … Who was the first guy who won the Nobel Prize in literature? A French poet. Tell me I don’t have ADMIRAL DISTRICT a shot.” 18 • WE DON’T COAST


Experience wide-eyed excitement. Experience balancing on the edge of your seat. Experience laughing so hard you cry. Experience pure inspiration.

EXPERIENCE EXTRAORDINARY

Our venues, the Orpheum Theater and Holland Performing Arts Center, are Nebraska’s destinations for extraordinary experiences that engage, inspire and connect. We bring the best of: • Broadway

• Popular entertainment

• Jazz

• Family events

• Dance

• And more!

Extraordinary is waiting for you.

OmahaPerformingArts.org | 1200 Douglas Street | 402.345.0202


JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER

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Eat. Experience. Admire. Our “must-dos” will keep your calendar stacked. Get the full picture at wedontcoast.com/events.

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SARPY COUNTY FAIR

SUMMER ARTS FESTIVAL

FORT OMAHA

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INTERTRIBAL POWWOW

MORMON TRAIL CENTER

HOLIDAY LIGHTS FESTIVAL

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COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

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A diverse neighborhood where restaurants and retail, community events & individual experiences come to life.

16 acres of life’s little extras: activity, serenity, community.

In the heart of midtown Omaha! 31st Ave & Farnam Street | (402) 934-9275 | www.MidtownCrossing.com


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MASTERWORKS

RNG GALLERY

SUNDERLAND GALLERY

EL MUSEO LATINO

K U R T A . K E E L E R

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The brain conjures it. Eyes, hands and soul work in tandem to create it. Here’s to the artist, the art and the collage of galleries throughout our region that curate, showcase and celebrate the incredible gift of creativity.


omahalibrary.org

WE READ!

Find it here. Books. Music. Movies. And more!


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BEMIS CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART

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KANEKO


UNION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART

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FROM AEROSPACE TO ARTIFACTS — WE PRESERVE AND PRESENT

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GENERAL DODGE HOUSE

Every child should be able to gaze at a Monet or a Pollock. Here, every child can. History and culture are accessible – free or affordable – and we always leave our collection of world-class museums a little richer than when we arrived.

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THE DURHAM MUSEUM

UNION PACIFIC MUSEUM

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STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND & AEROSPACE MUSEUM

WE ENTERTAIN • 29


SPOTLI G H T

Celeste Butler Self-taught fiber artist

“You have a story inside of you, and you can tell your story creatively through the arts.”

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or as far back as she can remember, Celeste Butler has been drawn to needle, thread and color, to designing and creating. “I communicate what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, what I’m trying to say through the art that I create – and quilting just happens to be one of the tools,” Celeste says. “I’ve never been able to sketch. I see what I see in my head, and I can transfer that into a finished product.” A 2017 fellow with the Union for Contemporary Art, Celeste’s storytelling and portrait quilts can be found, among other places, in the private collection of world-renowned author and inspirational spiritual speaker Iyanla Vanzant and in schools throughout the area, including Nelson Mandela Elementary School where she was an artistin-residence. “Just like my mom planted that seed in me, that’s the opportunity I have when I work with the youth,” she says. “They poured their hearts into their little quilt blocks and used the mantra that they use every day at Nelson Mandela, which talks about unity and hope, peace, love and service.”

A quilter-preneur’s patchwork of wisdom: “The need to create has followed me throughout life. Oftentimes, I would run from it or hide from it or didn’t understand that it was not only a seed that was planted inside of me, but that it was also a gift to be able to make a living, to be able to come out of struggle and poverty, a gift to be able to share with others along the way.” “People run from their failures, but I have learned to count failures as successes and roadmaps along the way. … Failure just means you get back up and go the other way next time – and you keep moving forward.”

ADMIRAL DISTRICT

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SEE IT. HEAR IT. FEEL IT.

CHANTICLEER COMMUNITY THEATER

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We are home to a vibrant mix SUMTUR AMPHITHEATER of artful entertainment and entertaining arts – worldrenowned for our indie music, a favorite stop for big-name entertainers, fertile ground for local artists. We don’t go to Broadway HOLLAND PERFORMING S R ARTS CENTER E – Broadway comes V E I S T N to us. E K

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ORPHEUM THEATER

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fashion meets flavor Stores featuring the latest trends and wardrobe essentials. Restaurants that VHUYH FXOLQDU\ ƓUVWV DQG FRPIRUWLQJ IDYRULWHV <RXōOO ƓQG HYHU\WKLQJ \RX QHHG to shop, dine and indulge at Village Pointe – expect an experience. 168th & W Dodge Rd | 402.505.9773 VillagePointeShopping.com


OMAHA COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE

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OMAHA PERFORMING ARTS BROADWAY SERIES

BELLEVUE LITTLE THEATER R O B E R T S O N P H O T O G R

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A P H Y


Sep 21 – Oct 15

EVERY BRILLIANT THING by

Duncan MacMillan with Jonny Donahoe

Nov 24 – Dec 17

THE 39 STEPS

adapted by Patrick Barlow from a novel by John Buchanan

Feb 1 – 25

VENUS IN FUR by

David Ives

Mar 22 – Apr 15

NUREYEV’S EYES by

David Rush

May 17 – Jun 17

THE CITY IN THE CITY IN THE CITY by

Matthew Capodicasa

2043918-01

WEDDINGS | PARTIES | CORPORATE EVENTS

Weddings and Events Call today for your personal tour!

SIMPLY PERFECT FOR PARTIES OF 4-400

SIMPLY ‘RITE

Scottish Rite • 202 South 20th Street • Omaha, Nebraska • 402.342.1300 • www.ScottishRiteOmaha.org WE ENTERTAIN • 35


ALEXANDER PAYNE AT THE HOLLAND CENTER

THE ROSE THEATER

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WEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;VE GOT A BLOCKBUSTER SEASON! Choose from Choose frrom oover ffro ver 50 50 dazzling dazzling performances perrfformaances nces

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See the full Season lineup at 2039870-01

2017-18 SEASON

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OMAHA DESIGN CENTER

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An evening at The Rose inspires your imagination. Something magical happens as you shrink down to get a bug’s eye view, gallop off to the Old West or fly away to a planet in another dimension. As you laugh, sigh, sing and dance together, you bond with your child in a unique way and make memories that last a lifetime. Set the stage for an experience your whole family will enjoy -- at The Rose!

2017-18 SEASON: Babe the Sheep Pig • Madagascar: A Musical Adventure • Point A to Point B • Van Gogh & Me • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever • The Meaning of Maggie • Wynken, Blynken & Nod • Seedfolks • Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure • Curious George & the Golden Meatball • Disney’s Newsies

TICKETS: (402) 345-4849 or www.rosetheater.org


SPOTLI G H T

Gordon Cantiello Founder, Performing Artists Repertory Theatre

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ordon Cantiello is passionate about performance – always has been – and he’s doing his PART to spread that love, inspire creativity and elevate our cultural quality of life. “You just tell the story, and if you tell it well, people will come,” he says. Gordon’s Performing Artists Repertory Theatre (PART) stages plays and musical theater at an intimate, cabaret-style venue tucked in the Crossroads Mall. Lauded productions over the years have included “The Last Five Years,” “Lady Day,” “Beehive” and most recently, “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.” A native of Amsterdam, New York, Gordon studied directing at Schiller International University in Berlin, Germany, and acting at Uta Hagen-Herbert Berghof Studios in New York. Those insights helped him land one of his most cherished roles – teacher. After arriving in Omaha in 1972, Gordon spent 14 years teaching at several schools, including Omaha Duchesne Academy and Bellevue University. Drawn to San Diego in 1986, Omaha drew him back almost three decades later. In his 70s now, the producer/director/ educator/creative entrepreneur says he’s where he wants to be, doing what he wants to do – forgoing retirement to focus on repertory theater. “I love it here,” he said. “I love the people. There’s always a sense of competition, but theater builds theater. There can never be enough.”

ADMIRAL DISTRICT

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Eminent Domain

Parade

Mamma Mia!

Roald Dahl’s James And

Aug. 25 – Sept. 17, 2017 Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, 2017

Feb. 9 – March 11, 2018

The Giant Peach

Stupid F@#%ing Bird

March 2 – 25, 2018

A Christmas Carol

April 13 – May 6, 2018

Oct. 13 – Nov. 12, 2017

Nov. 17 – Dec. 23, 2017

Yesterday And Today Nov. 24 – Dec. 31, 2017

Ripcord

Shakespeare In Love The Mountaintop May 4 – 27, 2018

Singin’ In The Rain June 1 – 24, 2018

Jan. 19 – Feb. 11, 2018

6915 Cass St. | (402) 553-0800 | OmahaPlayhouse.com

2034784-01

We don’t coast. We kick it! A vibrant cultural scene adds the aura of excitement that cosmopolitan, tech-savvy professionals demand. As the region’s only professional dance company, we’re proud to help give the metro a leg up.

balletnebraska.org 2038969-01

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NO SECOND TAKES

OMAHA CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

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BECK, STIR COVE

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There’s just something exhilarating about live entertainment – and our stages feature a year-round calendar of the highest caliber. Take your seat, silence your cell phone and let our talented performers (or those passing through) treat you to an experience that Netflix and Hulu just can’t compete with.

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JAZZ ON THE GREEN AT TURNER PARK


OPERA OMAHA

C O U R T E S Y O P E R A O M A H A B R E N D A N S U L L IV A N

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SLOWDOWN

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Aly Peeler SPO TLI G HT

Have ukulele, will travel (and inspire)

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maha native Aly Peeler has an energy about her. She channels it into a strum and vocals that are making our vibrant music scene that much brighter. A regular at the Side Door Lounge and other local venues, Aly started playing the ukulele in 2008 – a way to de-stress during her senior year at Iowa State University. After graduation, she and her four-stringed companion spent some time exploring the world, eventually wending their way back home. Hear Nebraska, a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating local music and arts, selected Aly as one of its featured artists. With songs inspired by the beauty of nature and her children, politics and activism, she is living her musical dream while promoting collaboration, acceptance and love. “I want people to feel activated by the music, to be inspired to enact real change within our communities. Right now is not the time to feel defeated. We can create the world our children deserve,” she says.

ADMIRAL DISTRICT

WE ENTERTAIN • 45


HOOK & LIME

SARAH HOFFMAN

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We toast We don’t believe in the same old night out.

If you want an evening that’s homegrown and all our own, allow us to play tour guide and direct you to some of our local treasures. WE TOAST • 47


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From international fare to down-home cooking, we are a foodie’s delight. Without reservation, our dynamic restaurant scene covers the gastronomic gamut.

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No one has ever said OUR VANILLA is plain!

Joseph Pittack Jeannie Ohira

Ice cream is the perfect treat for those hot summer days or after-game snacks, and Ted & Wally’s isn’t an ice cream parlor, it’s an Omaha tradition. Since its inception in 1984, Ted & Wally’s has maintained its stellar reputation by producing endless barrels of high-quality homemade ice cream made from scratch with fresh ingredients, most of which are locally sourced. The company takes pride in their super-premium, 18 percent butterfat product. Their base is made from scratch, using a family recipe with all-natural ingredients.

The creaminess comes from real butterfat and eggs. Not feeling vanilla? Customers can add some spice to their lives by trying one of Ted & Wally’s house-made specialty flavors, which could be anything from chai tea to jalapeño raspberry. Don’t want something so creative? Don’t worry, no one has ever complained their vanilla was plain! If real ice cream isn’t a customer’s dish, there are other options, from vegan sorbets to frozen yogurt. Come taste a non-traditional tradition.

1120 Jackson Street • TedandWallys.com • 6023 Maple Street


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A CENTURY OF STEAK

From small-scale butcher shop to world-class purveyor of gourmet foods. Omaha Steaks now celebrates 100 years of delivering exceptional experiences and unforgettable meals to families around the globe. 96th & “J” St. North of “L” St. 402-593-4223

Lakeside Plaza 17390 W. Center 402-330-2260

Eppley Airfield Kiosks 402-346-9151

Tower Plaza 78th & Dodge 402-392-1290

1-800-228-9055 | www.OmahaSteaks.com ©2017 2017 OCG OS Sal SalesCo esCo,, Inc. esCo Inc. 17PR 17PR0857 0857 2038948-01 20389482038 948-01 94801

Companies looking for personalized, focused and local service in the area of labor and employment law, combined with broad regional and national support and experience, routinely turn to Jackson Lewis’ 21-attorney Omaha office for counsel in a wide range of workplace law matters. With 800 attorneys in major locations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Jackson Lewis provides the resources to address every aspect of the employer-employee relationship.

Jackson Lewis • Omaha, 10050 • Regency Circle • Suite 400 Omaha NE 68114 • (402) 391-1991 • jacksonlewis.com ATTORNEY ADVERTISING | © 2017 JACKSON LEWIS P.C. 2042871-01

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WE TOAST • 51


Fair Deal Cafe FOODIE SPOTLIGHT

ERIC FRANCIS

It’s “quite humbling” to carry on an Omaha tradition and help to revitalize one of Omaha’s historic districts. Jon Nielle Allen, owner, Fair Deal Cafe ERIC FRANCIS

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r 2017 Winne Real Estate Company

Omaha.com

RYAN SODERLIN

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here is something very comforting about the Fair Deal Cafe. It’s the bright welcome as you walk in from 24th Street, the jazz floating in the air and, of course, the symphony of soul food on the plate. Six days a week, you’ll find owner Jon Nielle Allen and her team serving up their scratch-made specialties: headliners, including smothered pork chops, fried chicken and oxtails; side acts such as sweet potatoes, red beans and rice; cornbread; and the closer, that warm peach cobbler. “We decided to stick with the soul food menu that was here before,” Jon Nielle says. Therein lies another key to Fair Deal’s sense of comfort – familiarity. In today’s parlance, you could say it’s a reboot, a modern version of the Fair Deal Cafe that Charles “Charlie” Hall began running in 1953. “In its day, it was known as ‘Black City Hall.’ A lot of public figures would come down, have lunch, sit and socialize about the community. Still to this day, (City Councilmember) Ben Gray comes in. We’ve had (mayoral candidate) Heath Mello, (U.S. Congressman) Don Bacon and (U.S. Senator) Deb Fischer.” The original Fair Deal closed in 2003. Omaha Economic Development Corporation bought the property three years later, eventually demolished the building and then built it back up. The rebooted cafe is now the centerpiece of a new Fair Deal Village Marketplace, which includes a grocery and eight retail micro-businesses housed in funky, repurposed shipping containers. Jon Nielle says it’s “quite humbling” to know she is carrying on an Omaha tradition and helping to revitalize one of our historic districts. The community has responded with support and glowing reviews. To Jon Nielle, that’s especially comforting. “We’ve been blessed,” she says. “We have Mr. Charlie Hall’s family come in all the time. They feel at home and say we are doing the Fair Deal name justice.”

15950 W Dodge Rd, Ste 200, Omaha, NE • 402-934-1590 774 Olson Dr, Ste 105, Papillion, NE • 402-292-2200

www.cbshome.com

2049191-01

Bank

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Being there for each other.

pinnbank.com

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WE TOAST • 53


Stirnella FOODIE SPOTLIGHT

ERIC FRANCIS

T BRANDON SULLIVAN

“We’re trying to create a dining experience in Omaha and the Blackstone District that is unique in itself.” Matt Carper, co-owner, Stirnella 54 • WE DON’T COAST

wo restaurant industry veterans. A joint venture in the burgeoning Blackstone District. It’s a recipe for success for Stirnella Bar & Kitchen, a “refined gastropub” that takes locally sourced ingredients on a world tour. The dinner menu hopscotches from France (chicken liver pâté) to Germany (spätzle) to the southeastern United States (shrimp and grits). The Wagyu beef burgers and the ribeye are unmistakably Nebraska. “We source as much as we can locally and handcraft it. The same goes for our bar program,” says general manager Matt Carper, who owns the concept with Chef Matt Moser. Even the restaurant’s name was locally sourced – a play on “sturnella,” the genus of Nebraska’s state bird, the meadowlark. Before checking out Stirnella’s menu, be sure to check out its décor. That’s local, too. Artist Andrea Stein created the attention-grabbing, animal-inspired oil paintings. “Kids love looking at them. Adults take pictures of them all the time,” Carper says. The Matts have known each other for years – ever since they worked together at Baby Blue and Plank Seafood Provisions. With Stirnella gaining altitude (it opened in February), they’re preparing to launch a second joint venture – a vintage cocktail bar in the lower level of the Colonial Hotel, which opens in the Blackstone District this fall.


we deliver what matters most. Omaha - La Vista/Hotel & Conference Center

402-331-7400 | 12520 Westport Parkway | La Vista, NE 68128 | www.embassysuitesomahalavista.com


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From secret hole-in-the-wall treasures to trips inside the velvet rope, you’re in for an adventure that’s eminently Instagrammable.

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LAKA LONO RUM CLUB E R IC F R A N C IS

FARNAM HOUSE BREWING COMPANY

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TERENCE “BUD” CRAWFORD

We play The ultimate fan experience.

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Thrilling competition. Big-time attractions. Outdoor recreation. An energy that flows easily between stimulation and relaxation. This place is yours to discover, a region that excels at exceeding expectations.

SARAH HOFFMAN

WE PLAY â&#x20AC;¢ 59


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A Champion’s Playground

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We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t coast. We generate opportunities. Innovation. Affordability. Environmentally sensitive solutions. Just three reasons why leaders like Facebook are attracted to our area. OPPDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economic development team works to attract and expand businesses that grow our economy. To learn more, visit oppd.com/econdev.

oppd.com/econdev


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PENFED At PenFed Credit Union, we believe in the spirit of Main Street. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re proud to be a part of the Omaha community. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been here since 1992 and today, we have more than 10,000 members locally â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and 1.6 million across the country. We work to put our earnings back into lower rates on auto loans, mortgages, credit cards and more â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for everyone.

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CREIGHTON BASKETBALL

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When we’re not hosting marquee national events, we’re cheering an array of local talent, from the Omaha Storm Chasers on the diamond, to the Omaha Lancers on the ice — and college teams that bring the noise.

BELLEVUE SOCCER J O E Y W A L L E

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MIDLAND VOLLEYBALL


Providing shade to Omaha’s most memorable buildings since 1934

From CURB APPEAL to creating your PRIVATE OASIS 6009 Center Street / 402.553.3055 www.atlasawning.com

Clover takes care of the business side of your business.

Get paid, sell more and run your business better with Clover in your corner. To learn more visit www.clover.com or call 855-502-2194. ©2017 Clover Network, Inc. All rights reserved. The Clover® name and logo are trademarks owned by Clover Network, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of First Data Corporation, and registered or used in the U.S. and many foreign countries.2045409-01

Trusted Service. Sound Advice.

That’s Why Omaha Business Banks On Us. When you need solutions to the challenges you face, turn to Great Western Bank because we take the time to get to know you and your business. From simple business checking accounts to flexible lines of credit, cash management services, and security and convenience-enhancing technologies, you can always count on the people of Great Western Bank. Come in and visit with your business banker. After all, we enjoy Making Life Great for businesses, too.

402.952.6000

For more information, visit www.GreatWesternBank.com

©2015, Great Western Bank


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Service is not available everywhere. Restrictions and limitations apply. © 2017 CenturyLink. All Rights Reserved. EV17QWROP8371 2040600-01

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WE EXCEL AT EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS. Our many world-class attractions are ever-changing, continually upping the experience to keep the masses engaged, entertained and coming back for more.

M E G A N F A R M E R

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– Michelle Bazis, freelance writer and photographer, former competitive and professional dancer

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or my husband and me, loving where we live starts with loving how we live. Actively. Enthusiastically. On any given day, you can find us riding mountain or dirt bikes with our friends on local tracks and trails, including those at Tranquility Park in Omaha. Our daily adventures aren’t exclusive to land. Omaha is also loaded with options for watersports like wakeboarding, wake surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding. I’ll admit, after living in Florida for a few years, I had mixed feelings about moving back to the Midwest. The beach, palm trees and year-round warmth had me a bit jaded. Fortunately, my return home also came with a new perspective. In Florida, Ben had introduced me to wakeboarding and surfing, mountain biking and motocross – and exposed me to a whole new way of living. With an appetite for those new experiences, moving back revealed how little I really knew about my hometown. In the short time I was away, it felt like Omaha had transformed as TRANQUILITY PARK much as I had – not as buttoneddown as I remembered but a place fully capable of pumping the adrenaline and being as exciting as we want it to be.

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S P O T L I G H T: D AY E S C A P E S

Ditmars Orchard and Vineyard

PHOTOS BY ERIC FRANCIS

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All of our great escapes are an easy drive from home – a “daycation” just waiting to unfold. 74 • WE DON’T COAST

t Ditmars Orchard and Vineyard, wonderful memories blossom from simple moments. It’s families setting out, bags in hand, on sun-drenched scavenger hunts for their choice of natural treasures. Apricots, cherries and strawberries come first in the annual picking rotation followed by apples, peaches and pumpkins in the patch. It’s kids (and parents) unplugged, navigating the 10-acre corn maze together, climbing a tire mountain or enjoying the jostle of a tractorpulled ride through the grounds. When it’s time to head inside, the café menu promises one sweet moment after another, whether it’s apple cider doughnuts rolled in cinnamon and sugar, a contender for the best caramel apple “you’ll find anywhere,” or a “slab” of apple pie made right there on-site. Adults can also enjoy the bounty – in wine form. Since 2011, Ditmars has been pulling from its orchard and very own vineyard to produce both apple-based and grape-based blends. The wines’ names have a flavor all their own: Sweet No No, Tomorrow’s Promise, Cranny Appleton… For even more special moments – and adjacent memories – Ditmars hosts live music, a fall pumpkin festival and weddings.


The natural choice for in Omaha’s backyard.

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2043299-01

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Whether your plans are big or small, immediate or down the road, we have the financing solutions and expertise to help you move them forward. To learn more, visit us at bankofthewest.com.

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Member FDIC. © 2017 Bank of the West. 2044793-01

WE PLAY • 75


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– Dan McCann, writer and 28-year resident of Omaha

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o put it in the parlance of the animal kingdom, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is a diurnal creature – active, for the most part, during the day. But on a steamy Friday in late July, my wife, Kelly, and I, along with our daughter, Lizzie, and her best bud, Avery, (both 10) got to experience the zoo’s nocturnal side. Throughout the year, our world-renowned attraction hosts a series of after-hours “Sleeping Bag Safaris,” overnight experiences that let guests bunk in some of the zoo’s marquee exhibits: the African Lodge, Desert Dome or Lied Jungle. We signed up for the “Penguins & Pajamas” program, which meant the Suzanne and Walter Scott Aquarium would serve as our quarters for the night. For 14 hours, we – and about 55 other guests – essentially had the zoo to ourselves (permanent residents aside). The full itinerary included guided night tours of the Desert Dome’s Kingdom of the Night and the Lied Jungle and early morning tours of the Owen Orangutan House and Cat Complex. In between, we were able to enjoy some uninterrupted togetherness and our ultimate style of “camping”: indoors with air conditioning – yet still surrounded by animals. “It felt like our own one-on-one with the zoo,” Kelly says. “It’s a great way to have an experience with the kids and make memories.” I knew the night had resonated with Lizzie and Avery when they scurried off by themselves for a visit with the aquarium’s tufted puffins, one of which they named Garfield. For my part, I was struck by the fact that, even after almost 30 years of visiting our zoo, I could still be engaged, enlightened and wonder-filled. As we headed for home at 9 a.m. on Saturday, I realized I hadn’t checked my phone for an astonishing 14 hours.

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We live A great place to be alive.

78 • WE DON’T COAST


Whether you want to live in the core, on the outskirts or somewhere in between, your “this is the one” is waiting – from newer multi-levels in the suburbs to historic homes in the heart of the city, from midtown condos with concierge service to acreages with room for horses.

BUCK CHRISTENSEN

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S P O T L I G H T: LAKE LIVING

Press pause and dive in

Hearing the kids’ laughter as they’re towed in the tube, tying up our boat with the neighbors’ “fleet,” just relaxing with a cold drink in hand and feeling the gentle rock of the waves … We love living on a lake. It’s an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, and during the summer, it feels like a minivacation every weekend. In the words of the great Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Time on the lake is like our pause button, a chance to feel the sun and the breeze, breathe in and be in the moment. One of our lake neighbors even has his own tropical mascot, a macaw named Diamond. As a kid, I loved going to the lake during the summer, and now I get to enjoy this laid-back atmosphere all the time with my family. After a long day at work, there is nothing better than treading in the water or going for a nice, quiet ride at sunset. “Remember that Friday night,” the memory goes, “when we gathered all of our friends and their families, tied up and just floated in the water, watching the kids jump off the boats?” I do. Add it all to the list of things I love about living in the Midwest. Even though we’re situated in the middle of the country, we still have ample access to big bodies of water – and we know how to use them.

– Jenni Serkiz, executive director, Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council

80 • WE DON’T COAST


The World-Herald delivers results.

Our readers have made us the No. 1 source of news in Omaha for a reason. Our unmatched reach provides you the opportunity to put your business in front of a large, desirable audience. Advertising in The World-Herald and our growing suite of digital products delivers results. That’s why many of Omaha’s most successful businesses have been longtime advertisers with us. They earn a return on their investment, and they see value in working with a reputable media company that shares a proud tradition of supporting the Omaha community.

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REAL. FAIR. ACCURATE. PR29708

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very year, the City of Ralston does the Fourth of July in a big way – from the Independence Day Parade (billed as the largest in Nebraska) to the dazzling Fireworks Spectacular at night. My husband, Chris, and I didn’t realize it when we bought our house, but our front yard offers prime viewing, which means an annual party is an Independence Day imperative. What started as an intimate family gathering has grown over the past 17 years to include 60-plus people: aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends, parents of friends, co-workers, former coworkers… It’s a surprise each year to see how many more people will show up. Chris spends the day before preparing and smoking some 60 pounds of pork. Our daughters are in charge of the decorations. 82 • WE DON’T COAST

S P O T L I G H T: T H E F O U R T H O F J U LY

Celebration central ERIC FRANCIS

On the Fourth of July, we enjoy the parade at 1 p.m. and launch our front-yard festivities about five hours later. Some of our guests stay all evening, enjoying the camaraderie and the food, including that fantastic roasted jalapeño cream cheese dip. Others arrive after dark as we warm up the skies with our own fireworks and then turn it over to the professionals for the incredible grand finale. Five generations of Kudlaczes usually attend the party. One of the most heartwarming sights of the night? Seeing

grandma and grandpa sitting on the couch, resting together and watching the fireworks out the window, just enjoying the evening and their family. I’m not going to lie. We’re exhausted the next day as we clean up the mess, but our hearts are warm, grateful that we’re able to provide a venue for family and friends to enjoy each other and celebrate together. It is – in a word – a blast.

– Ann Marie Kudlacz, Ralston resident


2039905-01


ERIC FRANCIS

S P O T L I G H T: URBAN LIVING

That rooftop, quite the playgound 84 • WE DON’T COAST

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uring the height of summer, the rooftop calls. All of us who live in the Old Market Lofts have access to this great rooftop pool and hot tub – a private escape for tenants and their kids, including my four. The younger set loves to play hard in the pool, but for me, there’s just something about sitting in the hot tub on the north side of the roof, relaxing and watching the night come alive in the Old Market. As an art director, I tend to be attracted to powerful visual experiences. That’s one of the reasons I love where I live so much. Whether we’re swimming, soaking or just hanging out with the camera, the kids and I get to experience a different view of Omaha. The rooftop vantage point has allowed us to come

up on Saturday mornings and watch the farmers market. We saw the terrible tragedy at M’s Pub (an Omaha dining staple that was destroyed by fire in January 2016), and I even got a few shots of a tornado that touched down southeast of us last year. Recently, I’ve been able to see the Capitol District develop. Fireworks? Eclipses? It’s been breathtaking at times. The really cool perk of a pool, hot tub and grill ups the volume on those experiences even more. – Bruce Hartford, father of four and senior art director at Bozell, an ad agency located (conveniently enough) inside the Old Market Lofts building: “There are days,” says Bruce, “when it is unnecessary for me to even step outside.”


Over 1.2 billion people still don’t have access to electric power. Valmont is working to change that. Leading this kind of global change takes the kind of vision, can-do spirit and unwavering commitment that are the cornerstones of our community. It’s why Valmont is proud to be headquartered in Omaha. Our strong roots are what give us the power to change the world.

When developing countries want to cast their future in a different light,

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CAV 011 817 © 2017 Valmont Industries, Inc.


Upbeat digs S P O T L I G H T: R O O F T O P L I F E

PHOTOS BY ERIC FRANCIS

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Omaha has a way of bringing people in and – no matter where they’re from making them feel at home.

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love a great party and will find any excuse to host one. In early August, my roommate and I invited about 20 friends to The Breakers complex, where we had a new apartment to “warm.” We created a few summery cocktails, including a mint mojito, and margaritas. We also had an assortment of beers (courtesy of Omaha’s Beertopia), so there was something for everyone. My roommate and I tend to befriend people from all over the world. That evening, we had people from Nebraska, Colorado and California, Mexico, Brazil and Germany. The music was equally varied – from upbeat pop hits to Latin music with live accompaniment from our Spanish-fluent guests. Our friends spent the evening sharing stories over cocktails and no-fuss snacks, meandering the deck that rings the building, snapping pictures and enjoying different views of the city. Then, there was dancing… a lot of dancing. As a young professional, I wanted to experience downtown living. and that drew me to The Breakers. Filling the space with people I enjoy makes it feel like home. – Rachel Cain, a marketing and event coordinator at TS Bank, moved to Omaha in 2011 to attend Creighton University. During any given sunset, you may find her watching from The Breakers’ rooftop: “An absolute dream,” she says.


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A PLACE TO SUIT YOUR TASTE

DOWNTOWN OMAHA

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Reconciling how and where you want to live has never been easier – all without sacrificing the region-wide amenities we love, including highquality schools and a cost of living well below the national average.

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Enhance Your

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• Screening Rooms • Smart Homes • Conference Room & Office Technology

Call For Design Consultation 402-502-4502 | crescendohometheater.com


We inspire Dream big and go for it.

RYAN SODERLIN

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EDUCARE MUSIC CLASS

A world of opportunity awaits. We are home to award-winning schools and nationally recognized universities. Innovation and experience work in collaboration, improving education for students of all ages. To them we say: Study hard and make it happen â&#x20AC;&#x201C; no coasting allowed. WE INSPIRE â&#x20AC;˘ 91


PUSHING STUDENTS TO EXCEL

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To ensure a skilled and ready workforce, our award-winning network of public and private schools, colleges and universities excels at pushing our students to greater achievement, both inside the classroom and beyond. STUDY HARD. Our K-12 landscape spans five counties and encompasses more than 300 public, private and faith-based educational institutions, including a diverse population of magnet schools that focuses on targeted subjects such as engineering, math, music and media technology.

OMAHA VIRTUAL SCHOOL

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DREAM BIG. Our higher education community boasts some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities and two internationally recognized medical schools – the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine.

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ENGAGE YOUR BRAIN. We consistently rank among the leading states in the nation for percentage of high school graduates, which means employers here have the benefit of drawing from a very well-educated workforce.


Brownell Talbot School

creates

opportunities

to develop the whole student. to give back. to thrive. to excel.

From preschool to grade 12, we prepare students to learn passionately, think critically, act responsibly, and lead with integrity.

What will you create at BT? Visit brownell.edu/GoBT

400 N. Happy Hollow Blvd. â&#x20AC;˘ 402.556.3772


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When it comes to educating tomorrow’s workforce, this is what we know – quality, choice and innovation are paramount. Through innovative curricula and community partnerships, our schools thrive on equipping our youth and people of all ages with the skills they need to become wellrounded and successful and to fill a soaring demand for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) professionals and educators. Here are just a few of the ways we strive for “extra credit” when it comes to a unique educational experience. THE STEM EDGE Daniel Gross Catholic High School is giving students a STEM- and career-edge by partnering with Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an initiative that takes a hands-on and project-based approach to engineering education. Gross is one of very few private schools offering PLTW, a “model for 21st century career and technical education,” according to the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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DISTRICT 66 SCHOOLS


HONORS

PROGRAMS

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 all three high schools • Named one of the “Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America” by the American Music Conference

• Accredited Montessori Program, pre K-8 • Core Knowledge Foundation School of Distinction, K-5 • Authorized International Baccalaureate Program, K-12 • Air Force Junior ROTC • Twenty-Seven Advanced Placement Courses, most available for dual credit • Career Academies in Education, Entrepreneurship, Health Science and Business & Logistics Management, graduate with 24-36 college credits • Early College offering the opportunity to graduate from high school with an Associate of Arts degree • Elementary Band and Strings Program

To enroll in your home school, you may call the school directly. To option enroll into the district, call

402-715-8300

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.


CIRCLE OF FRIENDS It’s not just educators and businesses working to help the next generation succeed. At Otte Blair Middle School, peers are raising up peers through the Circle of Friends program. Students undergo training to support fellow classmates on the autism spectrum. Last April the groups raised $300 for autism awareness.

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SENSORY COURTYARD One educator’s vision is igniting all of the senses in the Fremont Public Schools District. Mary Robinson, a teacher of the blind and visually impaired, devised the idea for the district’s sensory courtyard, a 30-by-80-foot haven that encourages everyone, including children with special needs, to activate their senses. Whether students are examining fossils, gazing at reflective lights or listening to a water feature, the sensory impact promotes positive attitudes and creates more SENSORY COURTYARD productive learners. C

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CAREER ACADEMIES Our high schools offer a wide range of career academies – “schools within schools” that combine academic and job-related classes to give our students a head start on their chosen careers. • Omaha Public Schools – Academies include urban agriculture and natural resources, construction and design, information technology, and law, public safety and security. • Millard Public Schools – Academies include distribution and logistics, health sciences, education, and business and entrepreneurship. • Papillion-La Vista Community Schools – Academies include athletic training, education, health systems, STEM and zoo. • Council Bluffs Community School District – Academies include computer graphics and media production, hospitality and culinary arts, automotive technology and health science.

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SOARING for Years

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Making a Difference Since 1993 For 25 years, Skutt Catholic has fulfilled its mission to form and educate young men and women to become Christian leaders who empower others, promote justice and initiate change. Contact Tim Bloomingdale at 402.934.9085 to schedule a visit or to learn about enrollment and financial aid opportunities. Visit SkuttCatholic.com to learn how we prepare our students to soar. skuttcatholic.com ÂŤ 3131 S 156 Street ÂŤ Omaha, NE 68130

SOAR WITH US...

 @SkuttCatholic

 Skutt Catholic High School

 @SkuttCatholic


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OMAHA VIRTUAL SCHOOL Omaha Public Schools introduced something new during the 2016-2017 school year – Omaha Virtual School (OVS), the first K-8 public virtual school in Nebraska, which expanded to include ninth grade this fall. OVS embraces a blended-learning model; kids learn at home, via their parents and online lessons, and receive in-person instruction from OPS teachers once a week. During the first year, 160 students enrolled, all of them home-schooled. The goal is to open virtual classes to a range of students looking for a nontraditional school setting and to include additional high school grades in the coming years. “As I say to a lot of my parents, ‘We’ve just scratched the surface on the potential of our school,’” says OVS director Dr. Wendy Loewenstein who, earlier this year, was named a “20 to Watch” Education Technology Leader by the National School Boards Association. The program offers core classes in language arts, math, science and social studies as well as electives, including virtual design and innovation, physical education, art and introduction to computer programming. K

CAREEROCKIT Our community’s inaugural CAREEROCKIT rocked it. The weeklong, Chamberdriven initiative offered 11,815 career experiences to area students with the goal of educating, exciting and inspiring tomorrow’s workforce. Ninetyfour area businesses joined in by hosting tours, workshops, hands-on activities and more. “The way our partners, students and teachers rallied around this brand-new initiative was absolutely incredible,” says David G. Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber. Wilson Middle School in Council Bluffs hosted more than 25 presenters and 40 presentations CAREEROCKIT during its three-day CAREEROCKIT event. “We want to expose kids at a young age so they can think about their futures,” says Rachel Bruce, Wilson’s assistant principal. “We want them thinking about their success and being on the right career path for whatever career they decide, whether it’s college or in the technical field.” CAREEROCKIT by the Numbers: • 12,606 interested students • 62 area schools across 8 counties • 94 host businesses • 11,815 career experiences

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Right here.

Where do you ou find a ng a better tt creating OPPORTUNITY to learn?

Learning doesn’t start with a test score. That’s why your Learning Community is focused on closing the opportunity gap. In school districts and community organizations across the Omaha metro, we share the same goals and best practices have no borders. Why? Because when children and families have opportunities to learn, they do. It’s that simple.

Sharing What Works LearningCommunityDS.org

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Faith in her future. Founded by women for women, Mercy High School offers a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum that empowers students to lead, to learn and to support each other in making a difference in this world.

Learn more at mercyhigh.org

Located in Historic Morton Meadows | 48th & Woolworth 2045414-01

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S P O T L I G H T: G I R L S R O C K

Inspiring girls to rock – in every sense of the word.

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elcome to Omaha Girls Rock (OGR), a summer camp and after-school program that is empowering young women through music and creative expression. “It’s not just art for art’s sake. It’s about community connectiveness; it’s about developing and improving self-confidence,” says Melissa Wurth, a music lover and former classroom teacher who became OGR’s executive director in 2014. OGR’s summer camp – two separate, weeklong sessions – played out in July at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Dozens of girls, with varying levels of musical experience, were matched with instruments, instructed by expert volunteers and grouped into bands (with cool names, including Blue Nebula, Conspiracy Theory and Dollface). “It’s really awesome to see the girls form new friendships and develop relationships with the mentors,” Melissa says. After a week filled with rehearsals, inspirational speakers and performances by female-fronted bands, the 2017 sessions culminated in showcases at local music venues Slowdown and The Waiting Room. “Some of these girls had never been on stage or touched an instrument before coming to camp,” Melissa says. “For them to get up in front of 300 people and power through, that brings a real sense of accomplishment.” As it builds self-esteem, OGR, along with partners BFF Femme Fest, Hear Nebraska and Girls Inc., is also building our community of female performers. “We’re at the stage now where we have girls graduating out. We have 17- and 18-year-olds who are performing in the area in different capacities.”


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Checking • Savings • Loans • Credit Cards • Mortgages • Online Banking • Business Services • Wealth Management •

Membership is FREE and open to the communities we serve. Apply Today!

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402.292.8000 | www.sacfcu.com

Better Products. Better Banking. WE INSPIRE • 101


SERVING THE UNIQUE NEEDS OF ALL LEARNERS www.westside66.org

NOW ENROLLING Children 6 weeks through 8th grade. Call today to arrange a tour!

Education for LIFE 2111 S 67th Street Suite 300 | 402.393.1311 | Omahamontessori.com 102 • WE DON’T COAST

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The mission of Omaha Christian Academy is to equip student leaders to act justly by demonstrating:

HONESTY • RESPECT • RESPONSIBILITY DISCIPLINE Learning to apply knowledge in order to perform successfully as:

STUDENTS • CITIZENS • WORKERS To love mercy by demonstrating Christian compassion to all, especially in sharing the gospel;

To walk humbly with God by being a STUDENT OF THE WORD DEFENDER OF TRUTH WILLING SERVANT

Schedule a tour to find out more about the benefits of an OCA education.

402.399.9565

Omaha Christian Academy 10244 Wiesman Dr. Omaha NE 68134 402.399.9565 @OCAcademy1 omahachristianacademy.org

PRESCHOOL - 12TH GRADE CAMPUS • SMALL CLASS SIZE • BIBLE BASED EDUCATION BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL CARE PROGRAM


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We’re a hub for higher education that includes some of the nation’s leading colleges, universities and trade schools, highly-qualified faculty and an incredible range of majors – from business and medicine to information technology and the liberal arts. Whether students are attending Creighton University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Metropolitan Community College or Midland University, the goal is the same: well-rounded, career-ready graduates capable of flourishing right here – a “Top 10 City for New College Grads” (SmartAsset 2015).

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We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t coast, we e power. Metropolitan Community College is growing and expanding its capacity with three new academic centers on the Fort Omaha Campus in North Omaha. The $90 million expansion is an investment into the community, helping Omaha grow and giving students opportunities here at home.

Take a look at mccneb.edu/tour. Metropolitan Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, age, disability or sexual orientation in admission or access to its programs and activities or in its treatment or hiring of employees.


MIDLAND UNIVERSITY

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METRO COMMUNITY COLLEGE

COLLEGE OF SAINT MARY

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WELCOME TO OUR CAMPUS (otherwise known as Omaha)

Omaha is our campus and classroom. No fences or barriers separate students from the unique hands-on opportunities, internships, service learning, applied research, and other collaborative activities that the greater Omaha area provides. This is the “O” we want you to know.

To learn more about the UNO advantage, visit know.unomaha.edu The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment. 0889ADUC0817

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Ours is a community that works and celebrates together, and when hardship happens, we pull together. Generosity isn’t an extraordinary act here. It’s a way of life – and the lifeblood of so many organizations and individuals striving to make a difference in our region.

We care

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MEGAN FARMER

WE CARE â&#x20AC;¢ 109


BILL SITZMANN

S P O T L I G H T: L I T T L E F R E E PA N T R Y

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he way Vicki Holcomb sees it, “It’s just people helping people.” When she and husband Steve needed a new project, they opted for outreach, co-founding Little Free Pantry of Omaha. The concept is simple. A wooden box with shelves (which Steve assembles himself) is placed in a yard or neighborhood and filled with jars of peanut butter, cans of tuna, boxes of cereal and cans of fruits and vegetables. A sign encourages visitors to “Take what you need. Leave what you can.” “This idea certainly isn’t about replacing any sort of food programs in the city,” Steve says. “But this is a way

to eliminate any limitations someone might have to getting to those.” Vicki first heard of Little Free Pantries when boxes started popping up in Arkansas more than a year ago. After placing their first pantry in April, the Holcombs, both real estate agents with CBSHome, say they were flooded with phone calls and emails from people who wanted a pantry in their yard or neighborhood. With five Little Free Pantries in operation as of September, Vicki says she isn’t surprised Omaha has embraced the idea: “The support has been overwhelming, but I’m not shocked. People here are very giving.”


Thanks to Methodist, my family is living healthier. We share a special history with generations of families in this area, helping them through life-changing events and sharing those moments of joy as they overcome challenges and become healthier. And that history lives on with a new generation of patients as we continue to make the future stronger for our community. bestcare.org

Š2017 Methodist Health System


S P O T L I G H T: I O W A L E A G U E O F H E R O E S

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Super powers united! MEGAN SMITH

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he cowl. The scowl. It’s all there. But this Dark Knight isn’t foiling the Joker or going one-on-one with Two Face. This Dark Knight travels the region bringing the light, rallying the entire Iowa League of Heroes to elevate the lives of children and families facing the most daunting foes: sickness, family trauma, bullying… “The biggest celebrities are those junior heroes who are fighting the difficult battles,” says The Dark Knight, aka Matt Morgan, league co-founder and sanctioned character actor. Just last May, he and the league’s recently acquired Batcar rolled up at Harlan Community Intermediate School to surprise student Jaxson Rold. Now a fourth grader, Jaxson’s arch-enemy is brain cancer. “I think the coolest thing is the car and everything else he had,” Jaxson says. “He’s pretty amazing.”

Schools, children’s hospitals, special needs causes … send up the signal and Iowa League of Heroes members, including Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Captain America and Super Girl, are there. Each has invested hundreds or thousands of dollars to ensure an authentic look. “We want to make sure children don’t see a person in a costume, but a hero in a suit,” Morgan says. Balancing hero duties with hardworking alter egos, each member lives the oath that Jaxson and his class recited with TDK: “With great power comes great responsibility.” “It’s extremely difficult to put into words,” Morgan says, “but when a child looks up at you with amazement and wants something as simple as a hug from their favorite hero, the toughest of us can get overwhelmed.”


NOW YOU CAN Rehabilitation success is measured in breakthroughsâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;taking a step after a severe brain trauma, the feeling of reassurance after a spinal cord injury, words after a stroke. Our team of clinical experts, world-class research and state-of-the-art equipment gives us the ability to respond to the need in Omaha. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re changing the conversation to NOW YOU CAN.

madonna.org | 800.676.5448


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SPONSORED FEATURE

RTG MEDICAL PROGRAM OFFERS WAYS FOR STAFF TO ‘GIVE BACK’

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Whether it’s analyzing competitive data or planning the future direction of the company, RTG Medical has always made decisions strategically. So when business leaders were deciding the best ways to positively impact and give back to the community in 2016, they were equally strategic. Enter RTG Medical’s Community Partnership Program. “Company leaders conducted an internal survey asking staff what’s really important to them. This way, leadership could learn where staff members wanted company donations to go and help them learn about opportunities to volunteer in the community,” said Veronica Barrientos, marketing and brand ambassador for RTG Medical, a medical staffing agency focused on contracting travel and permanent health care professionals in nursing, radiology, therapy and laboratory in all 50 states. “They learned that staff have certain areas they are interested in and passionate about, so we established the Community Partnership Program to give staff members opportunities to give back in a variety of personal ways.” The 2015 survey revealed that employees wanted to support organizations that serve youth, pets and veterans – the latter a group especially meaningful to company president/CEO Charlie Janssen, a U.S. Navy and First Gulf War veteran. Among those three categories, several organizations were chosen to be part of RTG’s Community Partnership

Program. Special Olympics Nebraska and Fremont teams; Fremont Family YMCA; Nebraska Humane Society and Dodge County Humane Society; and Wreaths Across America were identified as causes employees had a strong interest in supporting – financially and as volunteers. “Many of our employees sit on nonprofit boards and volunteer, so the desire to give back is strong at RTG Medical,” Barrientos said. “It was really just a matter of thinking strategically about how to do something as a group to help several organizations. “In being more mindful and organized, RTG Medical staff members have made great contributions in Fremont – where its headquarters are located – and Metro Omaha, in excess of $30,000 in the last year alone,” she said. In addition to gifts of money and volunteer hours, staff also took great pride in providing sponsored, matching jerseys for Special Olympics athletes in Fremont to wear during competitions. The gesture was so successful and well-received that RTG Medical employees learned athletes wore their new jerseys for several days following a basketball tournament earlier this year. “It’s when you hear stories like that – or interact and engage with the people or animals being impacted – that you truly begin to realize how much giving back helps,” Barrientos said. To learn more about, and better understand, the impact of their gifts on these organizations, RTG Medical revamped a tradition last November by hosting the RTG Annual Day of Thanks at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in La Vista. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, representatives from nonprofits were invited to enjoy a full-course holiday meal with staff members and explain opportunities to give or volunteer with their organizations. RTG staff members were able to learn how their gifts could help the organizations in the coming year. Barrientos said an added bonus to the Community Partnership Program has materialized that few in the company saw coming. Despite the company’s continued growth, the program has unified employees in a way that other company events and gatherings haven’t. “Working together to help others has brought our staff together and created strong bonds as they’ve learned more about one another,” Barrientos said. “Over half of them volunteered to help organizations over the past year, and that has definitely made us a stronger, more unified team and company.” WE CARE • 115


S P O T L I G H T: B L O O M W O R K S F L O R A L

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very September, to celebrate national Good Neighbor Day, Alisa Roth and her team at Bloom Works Floral in Council Bluffs give away 10,000 roses – one dozen to each person who walks through the door. Here’s the twist: They ask that each person give away 11 of those roses to 11 people to create many, many random acts of kindness. Bloom Works has been doing this for 13 years now. “It’s by far our favorite day of the year,” Alisa says. “We see lots of our loyal customers, but

we also see a lot of new faces who just want to join in the giving . . . Flowers make people happy, and it’s awesome to see the great response the community gives to us and each other in return.” Alisa won the 2017 Deb Dalziel Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award presented by America’s Small Business Development Centers Iowa. She was praised in her nomination for “putting her heart and soul into making Council Bluffs the best place it can be.”

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healthy community is a growing community – and ours welcomed a record-breaking rush of new residents last spring. Methodist Women’s Hospital helped deliver 29 babies May 4, breaking its previous record of 28 set Aug. 4, 2015. Here’s the kicker – a week later, the hospital tied its own record: another 29 babies in 24 hours.

KENT SIEVERS

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May 4

May 10

• First delivery: 12:15 a.m. • Last delivery: 11:56 p.m. • 15 boys • 14 girls • One set of twins

• First delivery: 12:01 a.m. • Last delivery: 10:15 p.m. • 19 boys • 10 girls • One set of twins

On average, the hospital sees between 12 and 14 babies born each day. Nurse Alexa Lewis says they’ve been speculating but haven’t landed on an explanation for the spring baby boom: “It wasn’t quite football season, so we can’t attribute it to a Husker win or loss.”

Oh, baby! S P O T L I G H T: METHODIST WOMEN’S H O S P I TA L


A lot of good happens in this building. Years

127 Downtown

550+ Omaha Employees

Volunteer Hours in 2016

And we don’t stop there. We’ve grown our Midwest roots into a national organization, but we’ve called Omaha home since the beginning. Our $10.85 billion* life insurance company gives back to local communities nationwide, plus we’re a great place to work. Find out more at WoodmenLife.org.

*As of Dec. 31, 2016; liabilities of $9.58 billion. D1452 7/17 Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society: Omaha, NE

Life Insurance | Retirement | Financial Security | Community

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S P O T L I G H T: W O M E N ’ S M A R C H

Activism into action

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omen empowered. Throughout our community, organizations and individuals are rallying to raise up women of all ages and help enact positive change in their lives. The Women’s Fund of Omaha, for one, is dedicated to identifying critical women’s issues and funding innovative solutions. Since its inception in 1990, it has granted nearly $11 million to local agencies working to address issues such as domestic violence, economic self-sufficiency and leadership. Proprietary programs include Women’s Fund Circles, a group that promotes leadership, networking and philanthropy. Another nonprofit, the Women’s Center for Advancement, is a leader in working with domestic violence and sexual assault victims and for more than a century has been helping women in need stay safe. All told, the WCA provided services to 118 • WE DON’T COAST

more than 4,270 clients in 2016 and received more than 8,500 hotline calls. In support of women, thousands put activism into action and took to the streets in January. The Women’s March on Omaha attracted as many as 14,000 women, men and children. Organizers expected 2,000 to 4,000. “This was beyond our wildest dreams,” says organizer Alex Garrison. At times, the crowd stretched for 14 blocks, from CenturyLink Center Omaha to the Old Market. It was also loud, with participants chanting and spontaneously erupting in cheers. “I’ve been in traffic seven years and this is easily – without a doubt – the biggest rally we’ve ever worked,” Sgt. Jerry Martinez of the Omaha Police Department told the news media. “It was peaceful. No problem.”

SARAH HOFFMAN

“Every time a woman has the opportunity to become a leader, to earn enough money to support her family or to escape a violent relationship, our community becomes a little stronger and more vibrant.” —Michelle Zych, executive director, Women’s Fund of Omaha


A final tribute

S P O T L I G H T: DEPUTY’S FUNERAL

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t is the definition of community – we celebrate together in good times and pull together in bad. That was the case in May after the line of duty death of Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Burbridge. His funeral at the Mid-America Center brought together about 1,500 civilians, many wearing “Support Blue’’ T-shirts and blue ribbons, and more than 1,000 law enforcement officers from Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and beyond. The fallen deputy’s son, daughter and step-daughter shared personal stories and stirring tributes. “A lot of people tell me how much of a hero he was because of what he did for the community,” daughter Karley told the crowd. “And I agree. He was a hero. My

hero. But not because he risked his life for the safety of others, but because he protected me – from the monsters under the bed to the ones that walk the streets.” After the service, hundreds lined the streets as nearly 1,000 squad cars, fire engines and SUVs processed to the funeral home. Burbridge served as a law enforcement officer for 17 years – 12 with the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office and, prior to that, with the Missouri Valley and Denison police departments. “We all know that (law enforcement) does an amazing job; they put their lives on the line every day,” says Denise Smith Kain of Council Bluffs. “But it amazes me to see the kind of support here. This community has come together.”

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We launch We don’t need a valley. We have a Silicon Prairie all our own.

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We are the frontier. The cutting-edge. Home to inventors, investigators and innovators. We have a long history of looking forward; understanding the past to better guide the future. The next big thing happens here, in a Midwestern mecca of technology. Here, at the conflux of opportunity and creativity, we make a mark instead of just making do.

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S P O T L I G H T: A Q U A - A F R I C A

Water. So basic. So necessary. A

model of an African village sits on the wooden office floor: huts, trees, cattle. In the middle, a towering water tank system. Written on a nearby dry-erase board: The mission: Provide access to clean water The vision: Develop South Sudan 50,000: Fifty thousand – that’s how many people Aqua-Africa plans to serve in South Sudan in the next five to six years. “We concentrate on development, but it all starts with access to clean water,” explains Executive Director Buey Ray Tut. So basic. So profoundly important. Without water, nothing can grow. “Communities that don’t have access to clean water, we build water systems for them (which can serve 5,500 people) or hand pump water wells (which can serve 500),” Buey says.

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For him, the connection to South Sudan is deeply personal. Buey arrived in Omaha in 1998 with his parents and four brothers – refugees from the civil-war-torn country. He attended elementary school through college here, graduating from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a political science degree. Compelled to uplift his homeland, Buey launched Aqua-Africa five years ago with fellow refugees Buay Wiyual and Jacob Khol. “We don’t want South Sudan to be a nation of aid. We want it to be a nation of development,” says Buey, who spends about half the year in East Africa. So far, Aqua-Africa has installed about 60 handpump wells. It is in the process of constructing its second water tank

system. But it goes beyond hydration. The nonprofit has established a micro-democracy program to elect well administrators, a conflict-resolution program and a prideinstilling Dignity Project. Funding comes from foundations, individual donors and the villages themselves. Omaha design firm Lamp Rynearson donates architectural and engineering work. “Omaha has been very sympathetic to South Sudan’s cause because of the major population of South Sudanese here,” Buey says. The young endeavor, which also partners with Sudanese schools and hospitals, is eyeing bold, long-term impact. “The next five years are going to show how we’ve affected education and economic activities. Those are the measurements we want to collect.”

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S P O T L I G H T: YOLANDA DIAZ

Omaha an ideal fit MEGAN FARMER

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hildren’s clothing and a name for herself. Yolanda Diaz is making both right here in our community. Her unique small business, Little Miss Fashion, is our city’s only independent manufacturer of children’s clothing. Every few weeks, she and her team produce more than 1,500 pieces – fun, comfortable and fashionforward – for online retailers such as Zulily and Sofia Style. “I’m putting in my heart, all my knowledge, all my passion into it, just trying to give my best on every piece that I make.” Earlier this year, Yolanda produced more than half of the clothes featured in Omaha Fashion Week’s Kids Rule runway show. Brook Hudson, Fashion Week producer and co-designer of the Kids Rule line, says she chose Yolanda because she’s fast, experienced and trustworthy.

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“She’s such a great success story for Omaha’s designers,” Brook says. “I don’t know that designers understand the production quantity she’s doing.” The Small Business Administration named Yolanda its 2016 Nebraska Small Business Person of the Year, and Mayor Jean Stothert proclaimed May 3, 2016, as “Yolanda Diaz Day.” The exposure has helped her grow her business, which she launched in Omaha as La Princesita in 2003. “I was in Mexico for 15 years doing the same thing. I never got any support from anybody there,” she says. “Here, it’s totally

the opposite.” Yolanda moved to Omaha from Monterrey, Mexico, more than 20 years ago and obtained her U.S. citizenship in 2007. “The organizations who help small businesses in Nebraska, they have been the best things that have happened to me,” she says. Now, she’s offering a helping hand of her own. Yolanda has joined the board of directors for the Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation, and hopes to inspire and assist others in chasing their dreams.


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 ďŹ rst 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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SPONSORED FEATURE

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GREEN PLAINS MOVING SWIFTLY TOWARD FORTUNE 500 STATUS As the second-largest consolidated owner of ethanol production facilities in the world – producing nearly 1.5 billion gallons while processing 14 million tons of corn at full capacity to generate $3 billion annually – Omahabased Green Plains Inc. has a lot going on. A publicly traded, diversified commodity-processing business, the company employs 1,440, operates in 23 states and serves both domestic and international markets. Experiencing unprecedented growth over the past couple of years, Green Plains recently joined the ranks of the Fortune 1000 and continues to trend upward. Just outside Fortune’s top 650 companies (currently No. 662), the company is gearing up and preparing for continued growth – expecting to break into the top 500 in the next four years. Nonetheless, of Omaha’s nine Fortune 1000 companies, Green Plains ranks fifth – with still much to do and gain as it evolves and grows organically through strategic acquisitions. Green Plains continually leverages its expertise to identify projects that would maximize operations. The company seeks organic growth projects in adjacent businesses and services that take advantage of existing assets’ locations. It also seeks acquisitions that leverage its core competencies in adjacent markets that are natural line extensions for its platform. Any expansion that Green

Plains seeks is strategic and follows a disciplined evaluation process. The company’s various businesses are aligned in four segments: ethanol production; agriculture and energy services; food and food ingredients; and transportation and distribution services. Its distillers’ grains (the co-product of the ethanol production process) are sold to livestock feeders locally and in foreign markets, and its corn oil (another coproduct) is sold as a livestock feed additive. Another domestic market Green Plains has a large stake in is cattle feedlot operations. Green Plains Cattle Company is the fourth-largest cattle-feeding operation in the United States, with total capacity of more than 255,000 head at facilities in Colorado, Kansas and Texas. The company specializes in feeding and selling cattle while maintaining the highest standards in animal care, environmental sustainability and workplace safety. It extends its reach in the domestic marketplace through Fleischmann’s Vinegar Company – the world’s largest manufacturer and marketer of food-grade industrial vinegar. Ethanol, just like any other commodity, is volatile, but it’s managed through the company’s ability to be forwardfocused and disciplined in risk management and to have effective management of operating the supply chain. Green Plains’ vertically integrated platform reduces commodity and operational risk by locking in favorable margins when possible. Additionally, the company has the ability to acquire assets that create synergies to the businesses and enhance the ability to mitigate risks. Leadership expects a lot of its employees, but since communication is very transparent, employees know that going above and beyond is a requirement. There is a first in, last out “go for it every day” mentality. Green Plains’ corporate office has an open floor plan that fosters communication and collaboration. There also is consistent communication among all of the locations. For example, traders from across the company communicate via video conferencing every morning to discuss industry market information essential to tackle their daily responsibilities. Company leaders see a bright future for Green Plains for a variety of reasons, most notably because the company is young, and they believe that ethanol has a permanent place in the U.S. and worldwide fuel supply. This also allows for expansion opportunities for ethanol’s co-products. Green Plains has a continued trajectory of growth, and its success has put the company in the position to further improve operations and grow value to business. WE LAUNCH • 127


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orth End Teleservices is a growing business with an inspiring three-part focus; a company equally committed to helping its clients, its employees and its community succeed. “We do great work taking and making calls, but we’re doing something here that is much bigger. We are changing lives. We are helping people have hope, learn a marketable skill and for some, get that first ‘win’ in their column,” says Doug Hibbeler, the company’s head of business development. Founded in partnership with the Omaha Economic Development Corporation, North End Teleservices is a state-ofthe-art call center that embraces a broader goal of hiring and developing underutilized talent in our community, offering a good wage and comprehensive benefits. “It’s a family,” says president and CEO Carmen Tapio. “We care about each other. We take care of each other, and we help each other to grow and improve. On top of that, we provide exceptional service to our clients.” Since opening in August 2015, North End Teleservices has created more than 100 jobs. That number – and the company’s reach – is poised to expand. “We see North End Teleservices growing, and we see South End Teleservices in our future,” Carmen says. “Our goal is to employ up to 200 people.”

BILL SITZMANN

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A POWERFUL FORCE IN ENERGY In 1987, we started out to build a power plant. Today, Tenaska is one of the largest and most successful independent energy companies in the United States. Forbes magazine ranks Tenaska among the largest privately held U.S. companies, with 650 employees and gross operating revenues of $8.4 billion. Headquartered in Omaha, with regional offices in Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and Calgary and Vancouver, Canada, Tenaska is highly respected for its expertise, pursuit of opportunities and uncompromising values.

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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 $4.8 million.

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Rollin’ in style F

S P O T L I G H T: HELLO RUBY

ueled by a bit of fearlessness and a lot of hard work, Jill Dudzinski has arrived at the highly sought-after intersection of profession and passion. “I’m doing what I want to do – and moving forward.” Moving for sure. Jill is the driving force behind Hello Ruby, our first mobile fashion boutique – a store-onwheels stocked with contemporary women’s apparel and accessories, including local, handmade jewelry. “My demographic is really where I’m parked for that day,” she says. Destinations range from events

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like Junkstock and the NCAA Men’s College World Series to private gatherings such as birthday and bachelorette parties. In business since April 2017, Jill got the idea for Hello Ruby (named after her cherished mini labradoodle) during a family trip to Lake Okoboji. After visiting an old RV-turned-boutique, “I said, ‘I’m doing that.’” Just three weeks later, Jill and husband Austin bought a used delivery truck and enlisted friends and family to help convert it. Jill’s mother, the late Omaha artist Sue Kocsis,

BILL SITZMANN

played her own important part in the genesis. Proceeds from posthumous painting sales funded the Okoboji trip that led to her daughter’s “aha moment.” “My mom used to say, ‘You only have one life, go out and play.’ So on the back of my truck, I have ‘Go Play, Gorgeous.’” Down the road, Jill sees the possibility of some brick and mortar pop-ups. But for now, she’s just rolling with it. “If I could sum up the truck in a few words, they would be, ‘Do what you want to do, have fun doing it and feel your best doing it.’”


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Gritty to her core

S P O T L I G H T: S T E FA N I E M O N G E

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tefanie Monge isn’t one of those people who talks about the possibility of doing something bold someday. Instead, she ignites her dreams, fueled by passion and perseverance. Exhibit A: That time she sold just about everything she owned, bought a plane ticket to Australia and stopped being a wannabe world traveler. “I felt undecided about what I was going to do next, so I gave myself time to explore and made my way to Asia. I did yoga training in India and became a certified yoga teacher, and then moved to England,” she says. Stefanie boomeranged back to Omaha toward the end of 2012. Recognizing the local rise of corporate wellness programs, she channeled her yoga training into her own business, Welcor Enterprise Yoga. “I teach on-site yoga and mindfulness in a way that is accessible and practical and helps people be more productive,” Stefanie says. Amplifying the output of others is a key driver for the serial entrepreneur and past president of FemCity Omaha, an entrepreneurial women’s group. Stefanie founded the Think Start Do Women’s Summit in 2016 and years before that, launched Stefanie Monge Consulting to mentor and help fellow entrepreneurs succeed. Says she, “Besides raising funds, the thing you have to have is grit – and the ability to keep going.” BILL SITZMANN

“I think as an entrepreneur there’s so much learning as you go. If you wait until you think you have all the answers, you will literally never get started.” – Stefanie Monge, serial entrepreneur; founder and executive producer, Think Start Do Women’s Summit 132 • WE DON’T COAST


BILL SITZMANN

S P O T L I G H T: S O L D I E R VA L L E Y SPIRITS

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BILL SITZMANN

A toast to our vets

rom the unique, canteeninspired bottles to the brand name – Soldier Valley Spirits – they all serve as a toast to our nation’s veterans. “One of the big things we’re about is giving back by teaming up with veterans groups. It’s just the right thing to do,” says Jeff Hadden, founder of four-year-old Patriarch Distillers. From its headquarters in Papillion, Patriarch produces award-winning Soldier Valley Whiskey, Soldier Valley Vodka and Solider Valley True American Bourbon. The canteen-style bottles are a throwback to Jeff’s four years in the Army Reserve. “Every bottle is different. That’s by design,” he says. “When I was in the Army, I always had a canteen with a dent in it.” Supporting fellow veterans has been a company cornerstone from the beginning. Patriarch currently donates a portion of its profits to Airborne Demonstration Team and Soundz of Freedom. It also enlists men and women currently in uniform – and those who’ve served – to volunteer on the bottling line. “We’ve had command sergeant majors and general officers out here, touching these bottles and doing the work,” says Rich Hagedorn, a retired U.S. Army veteran (24 years of service) and Patriarch’s marketing director. Working together to fill and cap bottles, apply labels and box finished product, volunteers typically complete 400 to 600 bottles per two- to threehour “bottling party.” “The volunteers feel like they’ve helped us and helped the veterans – and they have a great time,” Hagedorn says. WE LAUNCH • 133


We build The envy of the nation.

BRENDAN SULLIVAN

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Companies, tiny to titan, flourish here – from the neighborhood mom & pop to the Fortune 500s known around the world. We work hard to keep the business climate friendly and taxes moderate. Our cost of living is low, our quality of life is high – and our steady economic growth is the envy of the nation.

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HEALING. CONNECTING. FUELING GROWTH.

Over the past year, we’ve celebrated the opening or attraction of a rush of highprofile companies and institutions – top-quality enterprises that are impacting lives on a local, national and global scale.

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SARPY COUNTY LANDS ANOTHER GIANT Social media colossus Facebook announced plans to build a data center campus here on the Silicon Prairie. The project will include two buildings and an administration area, for a total footprint of 970,000 square feet. Facebook expects the data center – powered by 100 percent clean and renewable wind energy – to come online in 2020. It typically invests hundreds of millions of dollars in each of its data center projects, which in turn supports thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of long-term operational jobs. Facebook joins a high-powered Sarpy County data center community that includes Yahoo!, Fidelity, Cabela’s and Travelers Cos. insurance group. FREMONT IS COSTCO’S PICK FOR NEW PLANT Retail giant Costco endorsed our region in historic fashion in June, breaking ground on the company’s first poultry processing plant, hatchery and feed mill facility. Projected to open in Fremont in April 2019, the $300-million project is expected to generate an overall economic impact of $1.2 billion annually, create approximately 800 new jobs and connect Costco to a dedicated network of producers in eastern Nebraska. The plant will utilize the latest technology to process an estimated 2 million chickens a week for sale in Costco stores. BUFFETT CANCER CENTER EPIC FOR UNMC Open to patients since early June, the $323 million Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is the largest project ever for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine. Fully integrated, the 10-story facility is designed to bring patients, clinicians and researchers together at nearly every turn, spark new ideas for care and treatment and quickly move those ideas from laboratory bench to bedside.

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MADONNA’S OMAHA CAMPUS FILLS PRIME NEED World-class expertise and dynamic innovation are the hallmarks of nationally recognized Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals, which opened a $93 million Omaha campus in October 2016. The campus includes a 110-bed hospital with three major areas – an acute rehabilitation hospital, a rehabilitation specialty hospital and a children’s rehabilitation unit – as well as the Madonna Institute of Rehabilitation Science and Engineering. BIO-TECH HUB IS EXPANDING International bio-tech is increasingly gravitating to our region and for good reason. We have the amenities needed to thrive: centralized infrastructure, a skilled local labor pool and a longterm supply of ag-related renewables, corn among them. Companies making blockbuster announcements this year include: Novozymes, a Danish bio-tech company is investing $36 million into its locally established manufacturing facility, which produces enzymes for renewable fuels. Continued on Page 138 WE BUILD • 137


Evonik (Germany) and Royal DSM (the Netherlands) are teaming locally on a $200 million manufacturing venture – called Veramaris – that will produce an innovative, new omega-3 fatty acid. Switzerland-based Evolva, which chose our region for a state-of-the-art bioprocessing facility, will manufacture high-value specialty ingredients such as nootkatone and resveratrol, starting as early as 2019. COMMUNITY SOLAR FARM Fremont is pushing forward with the construction and the 2018 launch of a nearly 5,000-panel community solar farm. Customers with the Fremont Department of Utilities will be able to access the renewable and alternative energy by purchasing panels and-or solar energy shares. STATE PARK UPGRADES With exciting upgrades happening at four Nebraska state parks, getting outside is even more enticing. Crawdad Creek at Platte River State Park is the first phase in the Game and Parks Commission’s Outdoor Venture Parks plan. Here you can sink your hands into five shallow ponds and interact with aquatic invertebrates, reptiles and fish. Additional components at Platte River include a multitiered splash pad and cabins for glamping. HDR

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USDA Top Prime ribeye, NY strip and filet steaks, cut fresh, sealed in our unique TenderAge packaging and shipped within minutes of your order. It’s the freshest, most tender steak you’ll ever taste.

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LA VISTA CITY CENTRE

EXPANSION, AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE

COURTESY RENDERING

Ours is a community that continues to grow and evolve with exciting new developments perpetually enhancing our quality of life. Some of the multifaceted, multimillion-dollar projects popping up from west to east: • AVENUE ONE — A $1.2 billion, 180-plusacre “gateway to western Omaha,” including offices, stores, apartments and green space. The project, once fully approved, is expected to take 15 years to complete. • West Farm – A sprawling 500-acre, 15year project that brings it all together: retail and office space, housing and a hotel, plus public trails and parks, an amphitheater, lake and village square. The wow factor is there, says Todd Pfitzer, city engineer. • Lumberyard District – A brand-new community, spanning six walkable

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blocks, made up of commercial tenants, including restaurants, apartments and Omaha’s newest police precinct. Dave Rathbun, president of the Old Millard East Neighborhood Association, says the Lumberyard District is “a new lease on the area,” which had a 125-year history as a yard for lumber and supplies. • 84th Street Corridor/La Vista City Centre – Retail vacancy is being replaced with vitality as City Ventures makes progress on La Vista City Centre, a $200 million mixed-use development designed to revitalize 34 acres along the 84th Street Corridor with apartments, retail, office, dining and entertainment space. • Blackstone District – “Nothing has matured or gained as much traction as Blackstone in such a short time. It sits in a perfect spot and has just sprung back

to life,” says real estate attorney Jerry Slusky. GreenSlate Development started to modernize a cluster of four commercial bays in the district in 2013. The momentum hasn’t eased since. • Midtown Vision 2050 – A collaborative effort to accelerate and guide midtown Omaha’s progression into a dynamic, transit-oriented urban community. With priorities that include a modern streetcar, Midtown Vision 2050 seeks to build on the momentum stoked by the construction of Midtown Crossing, UNMC’s vertical growth and the re-emergence of the Blackstone District. • Highlander Development – A vibrant new community that includes row houses, livework town houses and traditional apartment buildings, all designed to be affordable and Continued on Page 142


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“to bring together people of all economic levels,” says Othello Meadows, executive director of developer 75 North Revitalization Corporation.

HIGHLANDER

• South 24th Street Business District – Named one of 15 Great Places in America by the American Planning Association. Dozens of small businesses line this reborn business district, many of them mom-and-pop shops that sprang from waves of Latin American immigration over the past 30 years.

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• Riverfront Development – “We’ve got real momentum going on in Council Bluffs,” says Pete Tulipana, president and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. Two major riverfront projects help underscore the point: River’s Edge Park Phase Two, which includes a community building/pavilion and a water feature for kids, and the redevelopment of an adjacent 26 acres for a 65,000-square-foot office building, 230 apartment units and 6,300 square feet of retail space. • South Main Street Cultural District – Council Bluffs also is witnessing the resurgence of its South Main Street, a burgeoning cultural district that was recently designated one of Iowa’s “Great Places” by the state’s Department of Cultural Affairs. The district contains two fourstory Harvester buildings: Harvester I, which is now the Harvester Artspace Lofts, a live-work space for artists; and the adjacent Harvester II, which will be renovated to include a 245-seat performance center. Ballet Nebraska (to be renamed American Midwest Ballet), the Chanticleer Theater of Council Bluffs and the Kanesville Symphony plan to occupy space in Harvester II. Renovation is slated to begin next spring, with the facility ready for occupancy in 2019.

BUS RAPID TRANSIT

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• U.S. 75 expansion – To reduce congestion and speed economic development, road crews are upgrading stretches of U.S. Highway 75 (U.S. 75) in Cass County. A $110 million project that stretches from Plattsmouth to Bellevue is expanding U.S. 75 into a four-lane expressway with new interchanges and bridges. It’s now in its final phase and similar upgrades are being proposed for additional stretches of U.S. 75.

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• Bus Rapid Transit – Set to begin in late 2018, the Bus Rapid Transit system is meant to provide a better solution for mass transit in Omaha, with sleek, modern buses, stations that stand out and trips that go quicker than any regular bus or car ride.


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Investing in our Future As Conagra Brands evolves with our iconic food brands, one thing remains the same â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Omaha is home to our largest workforce and we are committed to giving back to the community. For more information and a full list of our brands, please visit ConagraBrands.com. 2043633-01

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OMAHA PROUD.

PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES THAT KEEP AMERICA MOVING

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UNRIVALED REHAB EXPERTISE. RELENTLESSLY INSPIRED. Right here in Omaha.

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OMAHA: WE DON'T COAST

THE BEST PLACE FOR KIDS.

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2017

Visit ChildrensOmaha.org for more information on how we can help your child. For a pediatrician, family physician or pediatric specialist, call 1.800.833.3100.

We Don't Coast 2017  

A Greater Omaha Chamber publication created in collaboration with the Omaha World-Herald to showcase the 30+ communities of Greater Omaha.

We Don't Coast 2017  

A Greater Omaha Chamber publication created in collaboration with the Omaha World-Herald to showcase the 30+ communities of Greater Omaha.