APRIL · MAY | U.S. $3.25
PASSION PLAY JOSH TODD LEADS THE OMAHA SPORTS COMMISSION
REACHING THE NEXT LEVEL
COLLABORATION IS OMAHA’S SECRET SAUCE
SARPY COUNTY’S RESURGENCE
TRANSFORMING THE REGION INTO NEBRASKA’S NEWEST HOTSPOT
02 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
Flat Roof Specialists
Reroofs • Repair • Metal • Skylight 33 Years of Quality, Integrity and Service
C O R P
EXECUTIVE publisher Todd Lemke
CREATIVE creative director Matt Wieczorek
vice president Greg Bruns
senior graphic designer Derek Joy
associate publisher Bill Sitzmann
graphic designer II Mady Besch
EDITORIAL managing editor Daisy Hutzell-Rodman
photographers Katie Anderson Keith Binder Scott Drickey Ariel Fried Sarah Lemke Jeremy Allen Wieczorek
senior editor Tara Spencer associate editor Linda Persigehl
Largest Durolast Contractor in Nebraska
editorial intern Erin Walter contributors J.D. Avant Keith Backsen Kamrin Baker Ryan Borchers Greg Jerrett Beverly Kracher Sean Robinson Kara Schweiss Scott Stewart Liz Stevens Mike Watkins INFORMATION advertising information 402.884.2000 subscribe online omahamagazine.com/ subscribe B2B Magazine is published six times annually by Omaha Magazine, LTD, P.O. Box 461208, Omaha NE 68046-1208. Telephone: 402.884.2000; fax 402.884.2001. Subscription rates: $12.95 for 4 issues (one year), $19.95 for 8 issues (two years). Multiple subscriptions at different rates are available. No whole or part of the contents herein may be reproduced without prior written permission of B2B Omaha Magazine, excepting individually copyrighted articles and photographs. Unsolicited manuscripts are accepted, however no responsibility will be assumed for such solicitations.
Visit us online Ciaccioroofing.com or call 402.293.8707 for a FREE estimate! 4420 Izard St • Omaha, NE
SALES executive vice president sales & marketing Gil Cohen senior branding specialist Mary Hiatt senior sales executive Gwen Lemke branding specialists Dawn Dennis George Idelman digital sales manager Jillian Dunn assistant to the publisher Sandy Matson senior sales coordinator Alicia Hollins OPERATIONS operations officer & Local Stubs ticketing representative Joshua Peterson ad traffic manager David Trouba accounting associate Kendra Hill distribution manager Mike Brewer
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 03
TABLE OF CONTENTS MAIN FEATURE
REACHING THE NEXT LEVEL COLLABORATION IS OMAHA’S SECRET SAUCE FEATURES
ROAST BEEF WITH A SIDE OF HUMOR
OPC’S FACE ON THE BARROOM FLOOR
SARPY COUNTY’S RESURGENCE
TRANSFORMING THE REGION INTO NEBRASKA’S NEWEST HOTSPOT
40 AFTER HOURS
44 IN THE OFFICE
42 HOW I ROLL
50 ON THE RISE
BARB HOFFMAN’S MUSTANGS
CARLSON & BURNETT’S HIDDEN BAR
SPECIAL SECTIONS APRIL · MAY |
09 FROM THE EDITOR
09 BEST OF B2B
64 OMAHA CVB
34 BEST OF B2B
FAMILIAR FACES ARE THE BEST
WINNING CONVENTION BUSINESS
RIPLEY & RUE
ABOUT THE COVER
PASSION PLAY JOSH TODD LEADS THE OMAHA SPORTS COMMISSION
REACHING THE NEXT LEVEL
THE TMB APPROACH
65 THE FIRM
COLLABORATION BETWEEN CHAMBER, PLANNING DEPARTMENT
SARPY COUNTY’S RESURGENCE
TRANSFORMING THE REGION INTO NEBRASKA’S NEWEST HOTSPOT
One of the most prominent events of the summer is the Olympic Swim Trials, and Omaha Sports Commission executive director Josh Todd is ready to swim with the big fish in his role of bringing new sports events to town. Story page 46.
APRIL · MAY
06 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
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Firespring A full-service marketing communications company with purpose. Have a marketing puzzle you can’t quite crack? Want a beautiful, effective website to help build your brand? Need to design and print a direct mail piece or some posters or, heck, a giant sticker of the Kool-Aid man? Want a strong strategy to marry all those things together? Firespring has your back. With offices in Omaha, Council Bluffs and Lincoln, Firespring has nearly 30 years of experience in the print, marketing and web spaces. No matter what you need from Firespring, our job is to help you accomplish your goals—and make sure you’re lookin’ good along the way. Basically, Firespring has four key parts: • A versatile in-house print shop. • A bold full-service marketing agency. • An expert web development and support team. • An unwavering commitment to do good. Printing We first opened our doors in 1992 and cut our teeth in the printing business—before the web side of Firespring was even a twinkle in our eye. Printing has been a proud mainstay of our company ever since. Anything you dream up to print, we
can likely make it happen. Whether you need a perfectly printed annual report, personalized direct mailers, trade show materials, a full suite of business package elements or interior signage the size of a wall, our print team can bring your ideas to life. And we can print on a wide variety of materials, from paper to metal. Marketing Strategy and Execution Every marketing asset we create for our clients—from smart blog posts to comprehensive campaigns and everything in between—starts with a carefully crafted strategy based on your goals. Once we have a roadmap, our award-winning creatives build the elements you need to succeed. We don’t just want our work to look pretty, we want it to accomplish exactly what you set out to do. Websites and Powerful Online Tools With award-winning designers and cuttingedge developers, Firespring works with you to define your website goals and help you achieve them. Modern website development is about more than pretty pictures and clever copy. It’s a strategic endeavor to implement highly targeted marketing, communication and commerce engines to drive the success of your organization based on your objectives. From WordPress to Firespring’s proprietary CMS, from email marketing to SEO services, we’ve got the arsenal of tools to help you make your website work hard for you.
Community Impact The driving force behind all of Firespring’s endeavors is a pursuit of purpose. Firespring is Nebraska’s first Certified B Corporation®—a designation earned by for-profit businesses that reach the highest standard of social and environmental performance. Firespring was also the first Nebraska company to implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System®/ Traction framework—a comprehensive business system with a complete set of simple business tools and proven business processes to align and synchronize all aspects of a company and its leaders. Firespring now helps other companies establish a vibrant company culture, create positive community impact and elevate on its path to purpose. Lincoln
1 201 Infinity Court, Lincoln, NE 68512 402.437.0000
Omaha 1515 South 75th Street, Omaha, NE 68124 402.930.0000
Council Bluffs 95 West Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503 2 712.322.2679
THANK YOU! For giving us the opportunity to serve your Search, Staffing, and Consulting needs. Omaha’s business leaders chose Hemphill as Omaha’s Best Employment firm in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020!
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The Right Match - the First Time! Helping our clients get from GOOD to GREAT, one hire at a time!
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OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 09
FROM THE EDITOR
FAMILIAR FACES ARE THE BEST B
2B is a work of pleasure for me. I enjoy getting to know business and community leaders through each issue. One feature article in this edition holds special meaning for me. The Face on the Barroom Floor is a celebration of Omahans, held quarterly at the Omaha Press Club. I attended many of these dinners, and enjoyed them all. This event is going through changes. Longtime committee chair Tom O’Connor has retired from his job in public relations at the UNMC and the Face on the Barroom Floor committee, turning the reins over to Roger Humphries.
AND THE WINNERS ARE… This special edition of B2B showcases the best companies for business owners to work with, as chosen by the business community. The categories are tailored for businesses. In the Building Services category, readers can learn where other business owners go for electrical services, snow removal services, and more. The Business Services category features necessities such as Best Office Supply Company and Best IT Services Company. Financial Services lets readers know who other business owners like to use for payroll and investments. When a business needs to hire a social media consultant or a public relations firm, owners can turn to the Professional Services category to see who other business owners voted as the best choices in Omaha. This might be a contest involving all work, but the Food Services category lets B2B owners know the best places to go for happy hour, while Travel & Event Planning reveals the best audio-visual companies. The winners are all revealed within the next 32 pages.
At the same time, the Faces will now be drawn by Wayne Sealy. The Faces were drawn by my friend Jim Horan, and he created special works of art for each person honored. He and his wife—my friend Judy—often spent time talking to these Faces on the Barroom Floor about what they enjoyed, what makes them happy as well as what makes them successful. Here at Omaha Publications, one Face on the Barroom Floor holds special meaning for us. In September 2013, the OPC roasted our own Todd Lemke. I was working for the Omaha World-Herald at the time, but I was on the greeting committee that year, and as vice president, I gave a welcome speech to the large crowd in attendance. The guests included many business leaders and friends as well as most of the Omaha Magazine staff. Todd has a great attitude about this city, he truly believes in community and he believes that where we live is the “best.” That’s why he started the Best of Omaha brand that has evolved to include the Best of B2B showcased in the first 30 pages of this issue. I hope you all enjoy this edition of B2B. B2B
B2B Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of Omaha Publications. She can be reached at email@example.com
10 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
BUILDING SERVICES AIR COMPRESSORS Ingersoll Rand Omaha Pneumatic
CARPET & RUG CLEANING Stanley Steemer COIT
COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGN Office Interiors & Design Commercial Interior Solutions
DOOR COMPANY Norm's Door Omaha Door
FENCE COMPANY S&W Fence American Fence
THANK YOU FOR VOTING US OMAHA’S BEST
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 11
“Delivering Comfort Everywhere!” Employee owned | 24 Hour Emergency Service
4972 F Street • 402-593-7500 • a1united.net
12 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
• 24 Hour Emergency Service • No Commisions Earned by Our Techs= Fair Treatment to Our Customers • 3rd Generation Family-Owned Business • Residential and Commercial Contractor
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
NOW CELEBRATING OUR 7 0TH YEAR IN BUSINESS
To celebrate our 70th year get
A NEW FURNACE AND AC FOR $70 PER MONTH (based on qualifying system and approved financing through Synchrony Bank)
402.391.2336 | soshvac.com
8314 Maple St. Omaha, NE 68134
THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST OF B2B FOR GARBAGE COLLECTION
You focus on growing your business. We’ll handle the trash. • Commercial Dumpsters • Roll Off Containers • Compactors QUALITY SERVICE - DEPENDABILITY - SAFETY
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 13
Quality, Dependable Trash & Recycling Service
SALES • SERVICE • RENTALS For Over 60 Years
General Fire and Safety Associated Fire Protection 402-733-2800 associatedfire.net
• Waste Disposal • Rear Load Containers • Front Load Containers • Recycling
Abe’s Trash Service 402-571-4926 abestrash.com
• Dependable Weekly Trash Service • Trash Carts & Recycling Bins • Weekly Recycling • Weekly Yard Waste
• Stationary Compactors • Self-Contained Compactors • Cardboard Compactors • Recycling • Compactor Maintenance Performed
CONSTRUCTION & CLEAN-UP
• Roll-Off Containers • C&D Landfill • C&D Recycling • Green Build Services ial Trash Se ent rv ice sid Re
Locally Owned and Operated 8123 Christensen Lane | 402-571-4926 | abestrash.com
GENERAL CONTRACTOR Lueder Construction The Weitz Company 402-592-7000 weitz.com
HEATING & A/C SERVICE SOS Heating & Cooling
A-1 United Heating, Air & Electrical 402-593-7500 A1united.net
JANITORIAL SERVICE Jani-King Sparkling Klean Services
BUILDING A BETTER WAY SINCE 1855 www.weitz.com
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VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
Oma ha ’s
14 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
LANDSCAPE/LAWN CONTRACTOR Sun Valley Landscaping Mulhall's 2019 WINNERS ‘BEST ‘BEST OF RUNNING! 2020 WINNERS OFB2B’! B2B’ FOUR ! FIVEYEARS YEARS RUNNING!
OFFICE MOVING - DATA CENTERS - COMPUTER/SERVER MOVING - HEALTH CARE FACILITIES LIBRARY MOVING - PACKING SERVICES - RECYCLE/DISPOSAL - SPACE DECOMMISSION LONG DISTANCE LTL & TRUCK LOAD - FINAL MILE DELIVERY - LOGISTICS & WAREHOUSING 8006 J Street, Omaha, NE, 68127 selectvan.com - 402.935.3700
LOCKSMITH Carl Jarl Locksmiths Able Locksmith
OFFICE FURNITURE All Makes 402-341-2413 allmakes.com
Bold Office Solutions
MOVING COMPANY Select Van & Storage 402-935-3700 selectvan.com
Office Furniture Installation
PAINTING CONTRACTOR Traco Inc. M.S. Services CONVENIENCE + PEACE OF MIND + PROTECTION
PARKING LOT MAINTENANCE Parking Area Maintenance Miktom
THANKS FOR VOTING US YOUR #1 LOCKSMITH! TO SEE WHAT ELSE WE ARE UP TO, CHECK US OUT AT: CARLJARL.COM
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 15
PEST CONTROL COMPANY
ABC Termite & Pest Control
ontrol Serv ice st C Pe
10-YEAR RATE LOCK
Lewis Art Gallery PROFESSIONAL CONTROL OF:
Malibu Custom Framing
PLUMBING COMPANY Backlund Plumbing
SPIDERS . TERMITES . CRICKETS . SILVERFISH . ANTS BED BUGS . BEES . FLEAS . WASPS . RODENTS . ROACHES POWER SPRAYS . YARD SPRAYS . RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL RODENT CONTROL . MOSQUITOES AND MORE...
A Family Operated Business Since 1991 - Serving a 40 mile radius of Lincoln and Omaha!
11075 S. 204th St. Gretna, NE 68028 | ABCTermite - Pest.com | Lincoln 402.434.3290
Eyman Plumbing 402-731-2727 trusteyman.com
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Cushman & Wakefield / The Lund Company 402-393-8811 lundco.com
DP Management, LLC
Proud to be the best
REAL ESTATE - COMMERCIAL
5 years in a row
NAI NP Dodge
2020 12915 W Dodge Road Omaha, NE 68154 +1 402 255 6060 nainpdodge.com
ROOFING COMPANY Ciaccio Roofing 402-293-8707 ciaccioroofing.com
RESIDEN TIAL PAINTIN G
C O M M ERCIA L PAINTIN G
DRY WALL & WALL COVERINGS
FREE ESTIM ATES
Thank you for voting us BEST PAINTING CONTRACTOR Family-owned & operated since 1972
402-331-1294 | WWW.MSSERVICES-INC.COM
16 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
Thank you for voting us number one in Ofﬁce Furniture for 15 consecutive years!
2558 Farnam Street | Omaha, NE 68131 | 402-341-2413 www.allmakes.com
COMMERCIAL PAINTING CONTRACTOR Painting • Wall Coverings • High Performance Coatings
CONSTRUCTION SERVICES DIVISION Remodeling • Additions • Renovation • Restoration
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 17
SECURITY EQUIPMENT SYSTEMS SEi
THANK YOU FOR VOTING FOR US!
Licensed, Bonded, Insured & Locally Owned in Papillion, NE Insurance Claims Welcome • New Roof & Reroofs Roof Maintenance & Repair
SIGN COMPANY Renze Display Best Buy Signs
SNOW REMOVAL SERVICE A&P Construction
Call us today! 402-740-0800 | apconstructomaha.com
Jensen Brothers Mowing
TOWING COMPANY Neff Towing 402-733-5500 nefftowing.com
Serving the Great Customers of Omaha for 75 Years!
for Voting Us #1 for 9 Years! Nefftowing.com | 402.733.5500 | 4315 South 50th Street
18 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
BUSINESS SERVICES Voted Best in Background and Drug Screening for the 16
ADVERTISING SPECIALTIES Ideal Images Bergman Incentives
AUTO GLASS onesourcebackground.com | 402.933.9999 ext. 5600
Omaha Glass Pro Auto Glasss Now
AUTO LEASING Baxter Omaha Audi Omaha M E RGE R S & AC QU ISI T IONS
O MA H A ’
OneSource The Background Check Company 402-933-9999
Selling Omaha Businesses using Ethics, Integrity and Confidentiality
BACKGROUND & DRUG SCREENING SERVICES onesourcebackground.com
402-913-9080 | Resultsba.com 12020 Shamrock Plz. Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68154
BUSINESS BROKER The Firm Business Brokerage Results Business Advisors
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 19
Your Midwest Commercial Real Estate Experts
402.493.2800 | dp-mgmt.com firstname.lastname@example.org RETAIL | MULTI-FAMILY | OFFICE | DEVELOPMENT
BUSINESS FORMS & SYSTEMS Donis Corp Performance Group
BUSINESS TELEPHONE SERVICES inTouch Communications Nebraska Technology and Telecommunications
BUSINESS REBRANDING DAAKE Turnpost
COMPUTER IT SERVICES InfiNet 402-895-5777 omahait.com
COMPUTER REPAIR InfiNet 402-895-5777 omahait.com
ROC Business Tech
COPIER SERVICE Bishop Business JQ Office
20 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
THANK YOU FOR VOTING
B EST DELIVERY SERVICE! 2020 Winner
402.592.9062 C A P I TA L E X P R E S S . B I Z
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 21
CORPORATE GIFTS Borsheims The Omaha Gift Co.
Secure Data Destruction Collection Events Clean Out Services Pick Up Services
CORPORATE JET SERVICES JetLinx 402-422-0393 JetLinxOmaha.com
Capital Express 402-592-9062 capitalexpress.biz
DELIVERY VEHICLE DEALER Mercedes-Benz of Omaha Woodhouse Ford
THANK YOU OMAHA FOR VOTING ELEVATED BEST WEB DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY FOR 6 YEARS IN A ROW! WE LOOK FORWARD TO HELPING YOU GROW YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE IN 2020!
Cross Electronic Recycling 402-590-2100 crossrecycling.com
Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction 402-805-0065 sadoffelectronicsrecycling.com
FLEET REPAIR Truck Center Companies Hatcher Mobile Services
GLASS COMPANY City Glass Keystone Glass
Thanks for voting us #1!
22 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
INTERNET PROVIDER Cox Business CenturyLink
MAILING LISTS CAS, Inc. | nSightful National List Service
MAILING SERVICE DBS Burke Omaha Mail
MOBILE AUTO DETAILING Crystal Blue Sunshine Auto Detailing
NETWORKING EVENT Greater Omaha Chamber Business Ethics Alliance 402-280-2235 businessethicsalliance.org
NETWORKING GROUP Heartland Women's Networking CBMC
OFFICE SUPPLIES Pay-Less Office Depot
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 23
Sales Should Be Fun, Not Frustrating! “Since we started with Sandler in 2016, we have tripled our sales closure rate to an average of 60% of our quotes. In March 2019, our win percentage was 85%! The Sandler method has educated our sales team and given them techniques to keep laser focused on qualified, budget ready prospects. We no longer waste time and expense chasing low grade leads.”
Karl Schaphorst Owner
PRINTER Elman Print Firespring
• • • •
Sales Training Sales Management Training Coaching Assessments
JOIN US for an executive briefing to learn more about how Sandler Training can grow your business. Register at www.karlschaphorst.sandler.com Or call us at 402.403-4334.
Sandler Training Mark Hunter Third Party Logistic
WAREHOUSE Gratton Warehouse
T: 402.403.4334 10711 O Street • Omaha, NE 68127 email@example.com
WATER - BOTTLED Ideal Pure Water Crystal Clear
WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTION Midstates Construction Omaha Distribution Company
WEBSITE DEVELOPER Elevated SEO Little Guy Design
WEBSITE HOSTING Websnoogie, LLC 402-813-4034 websnoogie.com
24 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
Joe Carmichael, Owner Benson Brewery & 1912
Helping Local Business
If you’ve got ambition, we’ve got resources. We’re the bank that’s here to help you reach your goals — for your business and your life. Thank you Omaha for voting us ‘Best Bank’ for the 7th year in a row! ACCESSbank.com
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 25
FINANCIAL SERVICES BANK First National Bank ACCESS Bank
CREDIT CARD MERCHANT PROCESSING Heartland, A Global Payments Company American Payment Systems
INVESTMENT COMPANY Weitz Investment Management Foster Group 402-401-4697 fostergrp.com
CREDIT UNION Centris Federal Credit Union Veridian Credit Union
PAYROLL SERVICE ADP Profit Advantage
• •Guaranteed GuaranteedLower LowerFees Fees • Guaranteed Lower Fees • •Low-cost Low-costTerminals Terminals&& • Guaranteed Lower Fees • Guaranteed Lower •Fees Low-cost Terminals & Point PointofofSale SaleSystems Systems • Low-cost Terminals & • Low-cost Terminals & Point ofSale SaleSystems Systems Point of • •Top-rated Top-ratedCustomer CustomerService Service ••Guaranteed LowerFees Fees • Guaranteed Lower Fees Guaranteed Lower Point of Sale Systems • Top-rated Customer Service • •Gift Gift&&Loyalty LoyaltyCard CardPrograms Programs ••Low-cost Terminals Low-cost Terminals && • Low-cost Terminals & • Top-rated Customer Service • Top-rated Customer Service Point of of Point Sale Systems Systems Point of Sale Systems (Including (Includingthe thePinPoint PinPointCard CardProgram) Program) • Gift & Loyalty Card Programs
• Guar • LowPoin • TopGift & Loyalty Card Programs • Gift & Loyalty Card• Programs Top-rated Customer Service ••Top-rated Customer Service Service • Gift & • Top-rated Customer (Including the PinPoint Card Program)
For Formore moreinformation informationcall call402.502.9985 402.502.9985 or or the PinPoint Card (Including Program) Gift& & Loyalty Card Programs 2020 Winner (Including the PinPoint Card Program) ••Gift Card Programs • Loyalty Gift & Loyalty Card Programs (Inclu (Including the PinPoint Card Program) visit visitAmericanPaymentSystems.com AmericanPaymentSystems.com For more information call 402.502.9985 or (Including the PinPoint Card Program) (Including the PinPoint Card Program)call For more information call 402.502.9985 or For more information visit AmericanPaymentSystems.com Forcall more information call 402.502.9985 or For more information 402.502.9985 or a a Local Local & & Family Family Owned Owned Business Business For visit more information call 402.502.9985 or visit AmericanPaymentSystems.com AmericanPaymen ForAmericanPaymentSystems.com more information callvisit 402.502.9985 or a Local & Family Owned Business visit AmericanPaymentSystems.com AmericanPaymentSystems.com visit visit AmericanPaymentSystems.com a Local & Family Owned Business a Local a Local & Family Owned Business
a Locala&Local Family Owned Owned BusinessBusiness & Family
a Local & Family Owned Business
26 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
"Thank you for selecting us the Best Caterer in Omaha for the past 14 years!" - Joe Thallas Owner/General Manager
MEMORABLE ASK FOR BRANDEIS CATERING AT MANY FINE VENUES THROUGHOUT
THE OMAHA METRO. OUR EXCLUSIVE VENUE LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE BALLROOM
(402) 334-5446 • www.brandeiscatering.com
PURPOSE. At Foster Group, we’d like to thank the readers of B2B Magazine for honoring us with a Best of B2B award. As part of saying thanks, we’re making a donation to the Methodist Hospital Foundation. It’s all part of our vision to encourage those we serve to pursue meaningful living and generous giving. Best of B2B results were tabulated from ballots sent in from the December 2019/January 2020 issue of B2B. Foster Group has not paid fees to B2B or B2B Omaha to receive or promote this rating. Third-party ratings from publications do not guarantee future investment success. PLEASE SEE IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION at https://www.fostergrp.com/advertising-disclosure/. 5147-1-FG B2B Winner Ad FINAL.indd 1
2/19/20 4:16 PM
FOR LOCAL EVENTS.
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 27
FOOD SERVICES BANQUET FACILITY Thompson Alumni Center Arbor Hall
CATERER Brandeis Catering Garden Cafe
COFFEE PROVIDER La Rue Host
RESTAURANT BUSINESS BREAKFAST First Watch Wheatfield's
RESTAURANT - BUSINESS LUNCH Stirnella Charleston's
RESTAURANT BUSINESS HAPPY HOUR Sullivan's Stokes
RESTAURANT - BUSINESS DINNER 801 Chophouse 402-341-1222 801restaurantgroup.com
Mahogany Prime Steakhouse
28 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 29
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES ACCOUNTING OFFICE Lutz
Full range of legal services
Bland & Associates
Sleight Advertising 402-334-3530 sleightadvertising.com
BluePrint Advertising Agency
ARCHITECTURAL FIRM Leo A Daly RDG
BUSINESS INSURANCE Lockton 402-970-6100 lockton.com
Since 1950, United Rent-All has been Omaha’s trusted partner for events, conventions, receptions and more! Please visit our new location: 4990 G Street | Omaha, NE
COLLECTION SERVICES BQ & Associates Merchant Credit
EMPLOYEE BENEFIT COMPANY The Olson Group
WEB & GRAPHIC DESIGN VIDEO EDITING • LOGOS FLYERS & MORE!
ALWAYS PUTTING OUR CUSTOMERS FIRST!
No two clients are the same, so why should our advice be? Reach out to see what we can do for you!
USI Insurance Services
402-915-2932 | SPBWEB.COM
30 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
Feltz WealthPLAN is a proud partner of WealthPLAN Partners, ranked one of 2019’s Top Wealth Managers by Forbes and RIA Channel. We are honored and happy to have served the Omaha community for over 30 years!
101 South 108th Avenue, Second Floor • Omaha, NE 68154 www.FeltzWealthPLAN.com • 1.800.366.5448 • 402.691.0200 Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. | All rights reserved. © 2020 Feltz WealthPLAN Feltz WealthPLAN and Securities America are not affiliated. The Forbes ranking of Best In State, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on an algorithm of qualitative and quantitative data, rating thousands of wealth advisors with a minimum of seven years of experience and weighing factors like revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience and best practices learned through telephone and in-person interviews. Data is provided by the advisor and is not verified by the Securities America. Portfolio performance is not a criteria due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Requirements to qualify include: seven years as an advisor; minimum of one year at current firm, with exceptions (acquisitions, etc); advisor must be recommended, and nominated, by their firm; completion of an online survey; over 50% of revenue/production must be with individuals; and an acceptable compliance record. Quantitative factors that are reviewed include: revenue/production, with weightings assigned for each; assets under management (and the quality of those assets) both custodied and a scrutinized look at assets held away; client-related data, such as retention; portfolio performance is not a factor as audited returns among advisors are rare and differing client objectives provide varying returns. Qualitative factors that are reviewed are telephone and in-person meetings with advisors; compliance records and U-4s; advisors providing a full client experience that includes their service model, investing process, fee structure, and breadth of services; credentials; use of team and team dynamics; community involvement; and discussions with management, peers and competing peers.
What do you want from your agent?
Honesty? Integrity? At Chastain Otis we believe these traits are a given. Our philosophy is that an agent should have superior knowledge of their products, should inform their clients of their risks to financial loss, and should actively search the markets for the best options at the best price… and not just when they first sign you up.
What is your agent doing for you? • • • •
“Trusted Choice Agency of the Year” Three “ Young Agent of the Year” award winner “Committee Chairman of the Year” winner Two “Outstanding Customer Service Representative of the Year” winners (and one was a National finalist) • Two “ Distinguished Service” Awards
9 Years in a Row
10822 Old Mill Road., Ste #2 Omaha, NE 68154 • 402-397-2500 • ChastainOtis.com
You don’t need a Business Coach, You need 402.659.3321
Call Rick Faber today to learn more.
Dry Cleaning and Laundry
Pick-up & Delivery
to Your Office
Will make your life easier! Find out more. Call 402.342.3491 FashionCleaners.com
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 31
WE MANAGE RISK WITH YOU. You have a vision for the future and we’re here to help you succeed. We are part of your team; we pay
EMPLOYMENT AGENCY C&A Industries Hemphill Search Group
Best Insurance Agency
9 years in a row!
INSURANCE AGENCY The Harry A. Koch Co.
Learn more about us at hakco.com/what-we-do
LAW FIRM McGrath North Abrahams Kaslow
PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRM Zaiss & Co. 402-954-9293 zaissco.com
RETIREMENT PLANNING Feltz WealthPLAN Renaissance Financial
We GROW Companies with SMART Marketing Our incredible team comes from all areas of expertise. We maximize brands by knowing our clients, knowing our audiences, and building engagement across all platforms.
We provide you with strategic solutions – and make you look good doing it. Customer-Based Planning and Communications
SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT MediaSpark Creative Factory 402-964-9293 11626 Nicholas Street zaissco.com
Best PR Agency 12 Years Running!
32 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
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OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 33
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34 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
GRATTON WAREHOUSE MICHAEL WOHLGEMUTH Gratton Warehouse has been the leading edge 3pl storage solution for the industry for over 126 years.
SPONSORED PROFILES PHOTOS BY KATIE ANDERSON & PROVIDED STORIES BY SARAH LOCKE, KARA SCHWEISS & PROVIDED Business involves many moving parts, as all owners and managers know. One day’s work may involve finding the best wealth management company to set up employees 401Ks, the next day might involve figuring out where to recycle the computers that suddenly went kaput for the last time.
V.P. of Sales and Operations Michael Wohlgemuth credits the passion of the Gratton team for 5 generations of success. “We constantly evaluate industry standards and find ways to exceed them—whether that means improving efficiency, finding innovative storage and organization options, or creating cutting-edge supply chain protocol to meet clients’ needs,” Wohlgemuth said. 11005 E CIRCLE OMAHA, NE 68137 402.339.9993 GRATTONWAREHOUSE.COM
The following pages feature native content from Best of B2B winners, and because they won this contest, readers can be assured that they offer quality products and services. B2B
APRIL · MAY
WEITZ INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
BRAD HINTON & WALLY WEITZ
Because of the industrial nature of Ingersoll Rand Compression Technologies and Services, the global company’s primary clientele is other businesses. Nevertheless, the company always strives to make connections in, and serve, the people of the communities where it operates, including Omaha. Local employees are active in volunteer activities and provide leadership to a variety of organizations, and the local team sponsors various programs from youth sports to the arts. “We are involved and show that we do care about the communities we work in and raise our families in,” said Jon Sprunk, the area services leader for a region that includes Nebraska and several neighboring states. “We want to be a company that gives back as our customers give to us.” Sprunk said that community involvement is a big part of Ingersoll Rand’s success. Employee commitment is another. The company hires talented people with a passion for customer service, he explained, and supports them through detailed training and by upholding the highest safety standards. The company is also proud to offer career development opportunities for both men and women. Ingersoll Rand has endured for more than 125 years and dominates its industry sector. The name carries a positive reputation, Sprunk said, because customers know they can always count on receiving the best in sales and service. “There are a variety of companies that do compressed air. There’s a lot of competition in our markets,” he said. “Our people truly care about the customer, and that’s what makes us stand out from the competition.” 13205 CENTENNIAL ROAD OMAHA, NE 68138 402.200.4711 INGERSOLLRANDPRODUCTS.COM
As an employee-owned investment management firm, the team at Weitz Investment Management believes in putting their money where their mouth is. “All of our investment team members invest in the strategies we manage, so our own capital and our clients' capital experience the same risks and returns,” says Wally Weitz, founder and co-chief investment officer. “We believe aligning our financial futures is a powerful expression of our commitment to shared success.” Weitz Investment Management offers high-conviction, actively managed portfolios. “We view the emotional highs and lows of the market as opportunities, and as value investors, we’re not afraid to go against the crowd,” says Weitz. “Staying true to our guiding principles does not mean that we rigidly follow a formula. Based on decades of experience, our process is time-tested and flexible, allowing us to capitalize on different opportunities as they present themselves, treating every opportunity as unique.” “Our investment philosophy does not change with market cycles,” says Brad Hinton, co-chief investment officer. “It is grounded in the intrinsic notion that human behavior and stock prices will always be more volatile than actual changes in fundamental business values. Emotions tend to determine stock prices in the short run, and our job is to take advantage of the irrational price changes that occur.” “Flexibility, common sense, conviction and independent thinking are the core attributes we rely on to help us be successful investors,” says Hinton. These values, coupled with employees’ dedication, help ensure the company’s success. 1125 S. 103RD ST., SUITE 200 OMAHA, NE 68124 402.391.1980 WEITZINVESTMENTS.COM
36 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
BLUEPRINT ADVERTISING AGENCY
Results and customer satisfaction have been BluePrint Advertising Agency’s best referral source. The fast-growing, full-service advertising agency experienced another banner year in 2019, and they show no signs of slowing down in 2020. A vast majority of their new customers are referral-based. Ryan Pankoke, owner of BluePrint Advertising Agency, said, “Once the customer can see first hand that you are making them money and your customer service is excellent, then you have a customer for life.” Different Ways to Track Your Results “There is no one-size-fits-all tracking method for customers,” Pankoke explains. “Every business has a different business model and is trying to attract different customers. When advertising, it is key to track your results. It could be the difference between a business succeeding or going under.”
When working with businesses that rely on phone calls to initiate business (such as health care or contracting), BluePrint likes to set up a phone tracking system for different media. Every radio or TV advertisement, mailer, online ad, and other media gets its own dedicated number. At the end of the month, BluePrint Ad Agency breaks down which media source is producing the best ROI. BluePrint likes to focus on monthly web numbers with businesses who try and drive traffic to their website for e-commerce. They look at unique impressions, total impressions, and even conversion ratios. BluePrint takes it one step further and measures how the website’s total SEO ranks from month to month. Businesses that try to drive traffic to their store (such as retail businesses and restaurants) can best benefit from an examination of monthly sales, not only month over month, but also year over year. BluePrint finds the trends of when customers come in and matches that to the best times of the year for those businesses to advertise in order to drive the most possible traffic during the busiest times of their year.
“At the end of the day, the customer is advertising for one reason only, ROI,” said Pankoke. “You can be the nicest person with the most bells and whistles, but if you don’t produce results, then you won’t last long.” The Importance of Tracking “Above all else, sales are the ultimate ROI tracking method,” Pankoke said. “You want to try and pay attention to all the different tracking methods, but sales is all that really matters. Don’t let anyone tell you different. When we take on a new customer, BluePrint insists on tracking the advertising campaign in some way, shape, or form. We want to have the ability to show the client how the advertising is working and we like to prove our worth. Once we test the market and find the best ROI advertising investments, we cut the things that don’t work and run more efficiently. After time, we get things running like a well-oiled machine. Above all else, get the best ROI.” 5701 S. 108TH ST., SUITE 10 OMAHA, NE 68137 402.671.5000 BLUEPRINTADAGENCY.COM
APRIL · MAY
CROSS ELECTRONIC RECYCLING BRENDA BANKS From leaking lead and chemicals to the permanent glass, plastic, and metal waste left behind, electronics may have a life span of 3-5 years, but their environmental impact lives on for centuries. That’s what drives Brenda Banks’ passion for her company’s work. As Executive Director of the nonprofit Cross Training Center, Brenda and her team operate Cross Electronic Recycling. Through this innovative work training program, they work to ensure that not only do Omahans know where to take their E-waste, but that a whole generation knows how to fix, restore, and recycle these discarded electronics. “We accept all items with a cord, battery, or motor. As big as a car and as small as a cellphone, and everything in between, working or not. We take it all and then bring it to our students.” Cross Electronics has created an apprenticeship program for underserved members of the community, offering them hands-on real-world training.
“There is a cycle that comes with incarceration, poverty, homelessness, and a lack of education. No matter what caused it, getting out of the cycle requires a marketable skill set and work experience. When a person has a gap in their employment history, or is missing the crucial soft-skills that employment requires, they aren’t going to be able to break the cycle. Nobody hires you until you have work experience. Nobody gives you that work experience without training. We offer that training, teaching leadership skills, co-working, tool application, safety, quality control, and organization in a way that will translate to their next work experience.” And while these students are learning, they’re improving the health of the world they’re finally getting their footing in. The latest statistics show that E-waste comprises 70% of our overall toxic waste, and only 12.5% ever makes its way to recycling centers. The rest, 40 million tons per year, is sent either to landfills, or to incinerators where they release toxic gases. According to the EPA, recycling 1 million cell phones would reduce the amount of copper waste by 35,000 pounds. It would also result in the potential recovery of an additional 772 pound of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium.
Cross Training Center is a Microsoft authorized refurbisher and boasts a full automotive repair center. This allows Cross to offer deeply reduced priced items like cars and laptops to those who couldn’t otherwise be able to afford them, offering people the proverbial bootstraps they’ve been told to pull themselves up by. “Being able to create affordable, reliable resources for people and give them an opportunity to rebuild a life and a career for themselves and their families drives us all. It’s been one step at a time, figuring out the right way to do it. But as long as people are willing to try, things can improve. Things can always improve.” The work Brenda and the students at Cross Training Center do will reverberate for generations, both in terms of community equity and environmental healing. 5030 N 72ND ST. OMAHA, NE 68134 402.590.2100 CROSSRECYCLING.COM
38 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
THE HARRY A. KOCH CO. The Harry A. Koch Co. provides creative risk management and financial security solutions, a responsibility its employees take very seriously, along with the company’s guiding principles that emphasize trust, integrity, and communication. These fundamentals, established by the namesake founder in 1916, have held up for decades and sustained the success of the Omaha-based company that’s still growing and evolving today. “We’re very proud of our heritage,” said President Scott Hill. “We’ve been in Omaha for more than 100 years, and at a time when some of our peers are selling to venture capital and private equity firms, we are more committed to remaining locally owned than ever before. We are unique in that we are headquartered right here in Nebraska while most of our large competitors have their headquarters elsewhere in the country. We are now the largest locally owned agency in Nebraska and we intend to build on that.” The company provides services in four areas: commercial insurance, employee benefits, surety bonds and personal insurance. Koch Co.’s diverse clients connect to team members with a high degree
of expertise—60% of the company’s employees have acquired advanced credentialing in insurance—and specialization in their respective areas, First Vice President Kevin Turner said. “You can come to the Koch Co. and get it all in one spot, and not have to worry about that one person doing it all because we have people who are knowledgeable in each area. We also have specialization by business type,” Turner explained, adding that the company’s customer service standards support reviewing details and nuances for each client, customizing recommendations, and being transparent in every process. “It’s really important to understand our clients’ businesses and how they operate, and to understand their risks properly, to give them the right coverages and the right consultation on what they need to protect themselves.” Client experience is paramount, First Vice President Danielle Pohlmeier said. The company has made investments in new technologies to make information easier to manage, for instance. And teams are extraordinarily responsive, even at the executive level. “Our clients and our employees all have access to our leadership,” she said.
“We have a team of several people on every account. We would expect everyone on the team to have input and be heard from,” Hill added. Engaged employees know they are valued, said Vice President of Human Resources Megan Thom. In the four years the company has implemented the Best Places to Work survey, which emphasizes positive work culture, Thom said she was pleased to see that 99% of Koch Co.’s employees feel their work is challenging and rewarding. Employees also indicated they want more career development opportunities, so the company worked with the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Nebraska Business Development Center to create a leadership development program. Investing in personnel also benefits clients, Hill said. “We are excited to continue to create more opportunities for our current and prospective employees while maintaining our best-in-class service and culture for our clients.” 14010 FNB PARKWAY, SUITE 300 OMAHA, NE 68154 402.861.7000 HAKCO.COM
APRIL · MAY
ZAISS & COMPANY TRACY ZAISS & WENDY WISEMAN A legacy of making it happen. It is not every day that Tracy Zaiss, founder and chief strategist of Zaiss & Company, and Wendy Wiseman, president and chief creative officer, tell clients they are sisters. It is not that they’re hiding the fact. It is that, in the world of business, they prefer to define themselves as professional marketers, each with a wealth of experience that, when combined, has contributed to the success of Zaiss & Company through the years. “We come by our passion for effective marketing honestly,” said Wiseman. “We’re third-generation marketers. Our grandfather and dad were acknowledged visionaries in this field. They weren’t afraid to push for results and they embraced change for the opportunities it brought.” “More than thirty years ago, Zaiss & Company was the first agency in the region to adopt the strategic planning model of doing business differently,” added Zaiss. “We’re driven to help our clients grow their businesses. We do that by unearthing breakthrough strategies and threading them through the creative for results. It’s not easy—and not everyone can do it—but it’s the secret sauce born of a legacy to make things happen, and it works.”
“We partner with our clients for the long term,” added Wiseman. “Our clients will tell you that this partnership is the key. We make it our business to know their business – very well. And, we take their business and marketing goals seriously. That’s how we deliver, and why with us, they gain lasting results.” Zaiss & Company wins national awards for their campaigns that move business, including recent accolades for Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Anthem spots, Beardmore Chevrolet and Subaru and Bellevue University’s social media engagement initiatives in addition to strategic pay-per-click and website builds for myriad other clients. “Awards are always nice to relay to our clients, but the real reward is the success of our efforts moving our clients’ businesses forward,” said Wiseman. “Our clients are really great, and they say nice things about us, too.” “Wendy and the team at Zaiss & Company understand that with me, ‘there is no finish line.’ That means I’m always looking to exceed the goal, I want the next big idea, and marketing strategies that get us to the next level. They have the energy and drive to keep up with us, and that’s just the kind of partner I value.” Bob McDaid CEO, iPlay America and Renaissance Properties
“What impressed me the most working with Wendy is her ability to take action, and quickly! She thinks big, dreams big and does BIG which makes for a great environment for millennials and those with a creative mindset! She encourages others to be their best and to be THE at what they do!” Ryan Avery The Keynote Speaker, Millennial Motivation Expert “What I appreciate most about working with Zaiss & Company is the strategy they brought to our marketing that was smart and effective, their big ideas and how they made things happen, and the results! With Zaiss & Company we enjoyed record new student enrollment, exceeded our enrollment goal overall, increased retention, and met our fundraising goal.” Dianne Desler Former Head of School, Brownell-Talbot 11626 NICHOLAS ST. OMAHA, NE 68154 402.964.9293 ZAISSCO.COM
SINCE FIRST SEEING JAMIE LEE CURTIS’ HALLOWEEN HOME ON NEW YEAR’S DAY IN 2002, PATTERSON'S VISITED SITES OF ALMOST 300 MOVIES, TELEVISION SHOWS, AND MUSIC VIDEOS—STOPPING AT MORE THAN 15 SEPARATE FILMING LOCATIONS FOR SOME.
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 41
AFTER HOURS | STORY BY SEAN ROBINSON | PHOTO BY BILL SITZMANN
LIVING THE SET-JETTER LIFE
ROBERT PATTERSON’S HUNT FOR THE HOMES OF HORROR
obert Patterson is eating a stack of buttery, fluffy pancakes in Kingsland, Texas. He cuts into the plate-sized heaping portion, thinking of the teenagers who were cut by a chainsaw-wielding Leatherface in the same spot he’s now sitting.
Whether Patterson is balancing his time between staff and board meetings, or racing from the site of Michael Myers’ latest killing to the block Freddy Krueger once terrorized, every minute counts. Every moment matters.
After so much time in Los Angeles, he can identify where in the city something is filmed by the look of the houses on screen or based off where downtown is in the background. If he’s lucky, home addresses sneak into shots. If he’s unlucky, he has to use things such as street signage or obscure landmarks for help.
And he does get things done. Nothing says breakfast like bloodshed. Bon appetit. He’s one of many diners at the Grand Central Cafe—a Queen Anne-style farmhouse that acted as the set for 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This isn’t the first Hollywood house of horrors—or cafe of horrors—he’s visited. Patterson is a pro when it comes to finding filming locations, visiting up to 200 sites per year. “When you first see these places, you have a surreal moment,” Patterson said. “It gets very quiet in your mind. It’s like you’re in some other dimension stepping into the movie.” His time spent hunting horror holy ground is the night to his day job at Kids Can! Community Center, an Omaha child care provider that educates, engages, and inspires youth through out-of-school experiences. He’s been with the organization 21 years and served as its CEO since 2010.
EVEN HOLLYWOOD TOOK NOTICE. PRODUCERS BEGAN CONTACTING HIM TO CREATE VIDEOS OF HIS TRAVELS TO INCLUDE AS AN EXTRA ON DVD RELEASES OF FILMS SUCH AS SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT AND THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN.
Since first seeing Jamie Lee Curtis’ Halloween home on New Year’s Day in 2002, Patterson's passion has been visiting filming locations. Because some locations have been used more than once, he's visited sites of almost 300 movies, television shows, and music videos—stopping at more than 15 separate filming locations for some. From Sixth Sense to Sixteen Candles (yes, he ventures beyond horror), he’s conquered it all. So how does he get it all done? Twelve-hour days motoring around Los Angeles are the norm. Miami, New York, Toronto, and Chicago have all played host to Patterson’s hunt. If someone happens to actually name a movie he hasn’t tracked, chances are he’ll take it as a challenge and add it to his list. “He’s very passionate about the things he loves,” said Sean Clark, a friend of Patterson who started visiting sets himself in 1994. “He’s very passionate about films, horror, and Madonna. Lots of Madonna.” Finding where movie—or Madonna music video— magic is made is half the fun. Big blockbusters have been located, but he can’t rely on Google for smaller productions.
“I have to go down the internet rabbit hole of sleuthing a lot,” Patterson said. His travels are all documented on his new website. Previously, he had a blog (Movie Locations and More) that attracted more than 1 million views. Even Hollywood took notice. Producers began contacting him to create videos of his travels to include as an extra on DVD releases of films such as Silent Night, Deadly Night and The Incredible Shrinking Woman. “I don’t do it to make a career out of it. I’ve got a good one already,” Patterson said. “The older I get, the more I realize we are put on Earth to make others and yourself happy. This is a way for me and fans to relive the excitement of a movie.” Visit set-jetter.com to view Patterson’s travels. B2B
42 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
HOW I ROLL | STORY BY RYAN BORCHERS | PHOTOS BY BILL SITZMANN
A SPECIAL KIND OF CAR
BARB HOFFMAN’S LOVE OF MUSTANGS
arb Hoffman loves Ford Mustangs. “I don’t feel like I’m driving a car like everybody else drives,” she said.
When her son was growing up, Hoffman drove a traditional SUV, specifically a Ford Explorer. After he graduated from high school, Hoffman decided she wanted a sports car, so her husband, Keith, suggested they look at a Mustang. She wasn’t sure at first she wanted a car that fancy, but once she test-drove a 1999 Ford Mustang Rio Red Cobra convertible, she realized what it means to “start your engine.” “The sound was what really attracted me, that rumble,” she said. In the mid-2000s, she took her Cobra to the Last Fling Until Spring car show in West Point, Nebraska. It was the first auto show she had participated in, but she earned a second-place trophy. “And then I realized,” she said, “Gosh, this is a very special car.”
She’s even taken the EcoBoost drag-racing at the Sturgis Mustang Rally in Sturgis, S.D. The car has a combination of turbocharging and direct fuel injection that improves fuel economy without sacrificing engine power. “It’s just an adrenaline thing for me, I think,” she said. Winning isn’t what’s important. A former runner of half-marathons, she likes to compete against herself, trying to improve her time. “I just push it to the floor and go, and I love that." She loves it so much, she uses the metallic gray, sporty EcoBoost as her daily driver, again making her feel as though she’s behind the wheel of a oneof-a kind car. “My EcoBoost now, there’s not another car exactly like it out there,” she said. “When you look in a parking lot, it’s gray, white, black. A lot of the cars to me look a lot alike. But I think the Mustang stands out from the other cars.” Hoffman has been involved with the Mustang Car Club of Omaha since 2011. It’s a way for her to connect with other Mustang owners, but more importantly, it’s been a way for her and her husband to make friends. She helps plan activities for the group and Keith serves as president. Among other events, the group holds cruises in which the drivers caravan to an agreed-upon location, and it sponsors a car show in September.
What Hoffman did not realize is that the 1999 Cobra SVT was only produced until August of that year. It was the first Mustang to have independent rear suspension, and it had a 320-horsepower version of the four-cam, alloy-block, 4.6-liter V-8 engine. The rear bumper reads “Mustang,” whereas the next versions made read “Cobra.” Ford produced 8,095 Mustangs that year before stopping production; only 1,251 of those were Rio Red convertibles.
They also support charitable events, including one that holds meaning for Hoffman and her husband.
She likes to go fast. Hoffman, who works as the manager of Service Specialists for SilverStone Group, now owns the Cobra and a 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost. She and Keith switched out the seats on the EcoBoost, and later Keith and some friends added a stripe package.
“They support Project Pink’d because my husband and I brought it to the group as a potential charity,” Hoffman said. “I was in the club when I got diagnosed [with breast cancer], but at that time we were new members. As we made friends and got more involved, I couldn’t believe the support
they gave me. They are always willing to help volunteer and in turn Pink’d has helped at our annual car show.” The Mustang Club of Omaha is involved with the Wounded Warrior Project and they fund a scholarship for a Metropolitan Community College student. Melody Hutsell serves as the activities coordinator. She’s been a fan of Mustangs for 45 years. “If I had all the money in the world, I would buy all the Mustangs I could,” Hutsell said. “I would have a Jay Leno collection.” The club members have become an important part of Hoffman’s life. “The people I’ve met from being a member of the club…they feel like family,” Hoffman said. One dedicated group of female members, which includes Hoffman, have what Hutsell described as their own “sub-club.” Hoffman said there’s a spirit of camaraderie among the women and that they’ll spend time together outside of the club, getting together for events like wine nights. “There’s friendships because we have the car[s], but I’m friends with them on another level, too,” Hoffman said. Visit the Mustang Car Club of Omaha’s website at omahamustangs.org for more information about the group and events. B2B
“MY ECOBOOST NOW, THERE’S NOT ANOTHER CAR EXACTLY LIKE IT OUT THERE. WHEN YOU LOOK IN A PARKING LOT, IT’S GRAY, WHITE, BLACK. A LOT OF THE CARS TO ME LOOK A LOT ALIKE. BUT I THINK THE MUSTANG STANDS OUT FROM THE OTHER CARS.” -BARB HOFFMAN
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 45
IN THE OFFICE | STORY BY LIZ STEVENS | PHOTOS BY BILL SITZMANN
BEHIND THE BOOKCASE
CARLSON & BURNETT’S HIDDEN BAR
rohibition agent Eliot Ness would turn in his grave to see what's behind the ordinary-looking gray bookcase filled with office knick-knacks in the middle of a downtown law office. In 2018, Carlson & Burnett reconstructed an old parking garage on the building’s first floor and opened its second office located at 2002 Douglas St. The office currently resides in the former Omaha Club, which featured a foyer with a coat closet and large staircase leading up to a bar and racquetball courts. When the club closed in the late 1990s, the building’s top floor was reestablished as a condominium and the lower level was turned into parking. After managing partner Darren Carlson sketched out his ideal office layout on the back of a cocktail napkin, he passed the drawing off to a friend who happened to be a retired architect to develop the blueprints.
IT WAS A SMALL ROOM WITH PLUSH LEATHER COUCHES AND QUOTES ON THE WALL FROM FAMOUS COCKTAIL AFICIONADOS SAMMY DAVIS JR. AND FRANK SINATRA.
Walking into the office, there is an eye-catching gong mounted to the wall that reads “Gong for Service.” Behind the cool-tone gray paint, the remaining office walls are mounted with unique art, one of which features a paintbrush coming out of the canvas and humorous plaques. The aesthetic is a constant echo of light-colored gray textiles with pops of red in furniture and other accents. The modern, eye-catching design is shown through glass the glass doors and walls. “A little bit outside the box. It’s generally light, trendy and modern,” said Carlson, noting that the company has created the same atmosphere in their West Omaha office. The atmosphere is important because lawyers often discuss heavy topics with their clients. “But it doesn’t mean you [clients] should walk in and feel like it’s doom and gloom,” Carlson said. “Our byline is ‘friends of the family,’” associate David Thompson said. “We really aim to be a place that is comfortable for families.” Off to the side of the space is a kitchen and lunch table equipped with comfortable seating and a popcorn machine. What looked like an average dining space was the front for the most popular conference room in the office.
“I love construction,” Carlson said. “We built a building out west and I did most of the layout and design for that. All I need is a bar napkin. If I've got a bar napkin, I can draw anything. That is always my inspiration.”
The gray bookcase next to the staff refrigerator swings open to reveal a small room with black leather couches with gray and silver pillows on either side. The modern design carries over to the private bar.
The building construction and design was completed, and the office was open for business by April 2019. Along with his duties as managing partner, Carlson acted as the general contractor for the renovation process.
Along with sleek cocktail art featuring a classic gin martini and red wine, the space features quotes on the wall from two famous Rat-Packers and cocktail aficionados.
“I LOVE CONSTRUCTION. WE BUILT A BUILDING OUT WEST AND I DID MOST OF THE LAYOUT AND DESIGN FOR THAT. ALL I NEED IS A BAR NAPKIN. IF I'VE GOT A BAR NAPKIN, I CAN DRAW ANYTHING. THAT IS ALWAYS MY INSPIRATION.” -DARREN CARLSON In bold letters the wall reads “Alcohol give you infinite patience for stupidity,” from Sammy Davis Jr., and “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says 'love your enemy,'” from Frank Sinatra. Carlson originally chose these quotes to give the space a fun atmosphere. Carlson said the speak-easy is used for small-group or late-day client meetings, and people can have a glass of wine while chatting. Occasionally, if the group meetings are large enough, they'll utilize the kitchen and dining area. “We’re pretty casual and fun,” Carlson said. “We’re definitely known as a group that is not stuffy. Our goal in doing that is that people walk in the door and feel comfortable.” Visit carlsonburnett.com for more information. B2B
46 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
LEADERS | STORY BY MIKE WATKINS | PHOTOS BY BILL SITZMANN
JOSH TODD LEADS THE OMAHA SPORTS COMMISSION WITH STRATEGIC PASSION
osh Todd, executive director of the Omaha Sports Commission, believes that sometimes you lead, and sometimes you follow; and a good leader knows when it’s time to do each. For him, it’s about continuing to seek out his own best leader by challenging himself every day in some capacity. “We lead families, we lead co-workers, we lead friends, we lead organizations, churches, businesses, etc.,” he said. “Leadership potentially shows up in every person, every day.” Todd’s roots in leadership appropriately began in sports. Self-described as a shy kid growing up in Tempe, Ariz., with speech impediments and not much confidence, he developed his innate athletic ability in high school to blossom into a leader on the field. He said he lacked natural leadership skills initially, but with hard work and dedication to his sport, he ended up a team captain in high school and college football. Todd transferred that on-the-field leadership to his professional life, eventually serving as the director of sports for Visit Mesa in Mesa, Ariz., for six years. He then moved to Connect Sports, which helps connect events with communities, and Huddle Up, a consulting firm that works with cities and sports commissions. He joined the OSC in March 2018 and has been leading in Omaha ever since. His motto is leadership breeds confidence and confidence breeds leadership. “I feel like my leadership has changed with every role I’ve ever had, as it should with any leader,” Todd said.
“You are a product of the situation and who/what you are leading. The best way I ‘hone my skills’ is by paying attention to what works and knowing that leading is all about adapting to the situation at the time you are called to lead, and adapting with versatility to who you are expected to lead.” This constant evolution hasn’t gone unnoticed. Todd’s dedication to strengthening the Omaha sports brand, bidding on and creating more local community events while honoring the past, present, and future of sport in Omaha have proven that the OSC board that hired him made the right decision. “In his role, Josh is responsible for building and nurturing relationships with key stakeholders ranging from business and community leaders to NGBs (national governing bodies) and other nonprofits,” said Donna Kush, chair of the Omaha Sports Commission Executive Committee that was responsible for recruiting/hiring Todd. She continued, “While he is competitive with other communities in recruiting sporting events to Omaha, Josh is a collaborative leader for our community who works to have the right community partners involved and working together to develop strategically aligned and economically beneficial sporting events.” OSC has helped Omaha grow into a sports capital by landing events such as the U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming (being held for the fourth consecutive time this summer) and curling, coming for the second consecutive time next year. The OSC's strategy moving forward is to diversify their revenue stream and opportunities so that they aren't as heavily reliant on one or two events. The economic development chances are huge with Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, College World Series, and Olympic Swim Trials all happening within the same three-week period this summer.
“2020 will be an epic year for sports in Omaha, and is a year to grow upon for the future,” Todd said. The OSC also has plans to increase community engagement opportunities in tandem with putting on first-class events. For example, the OSC provided curling kits to schools during the Curling Trials and is now working on an initiative to coincide with the Swim Trials to provide free swimming lessons to children who might not otherwise have access to a pool or lessons. Todd said his goal is to align and partner with sports groups in town, co-exist and not compete. “We are all 'Team Omaha,’ and we all have our own strengths and add major impact to the Omaha metro,” Todd said. “Collaboration is huge for me, and it is how I choose to lead. You don't get that if you're not a willing partner.” “Obviously we will continue doing what we have always done, and that is book and produce awesome sporting events, but we do not want to be known as a ‘one-trick pony’ that may be in the spotlight once a year,” he said. “I love the power of sport. I love impacting communities and economies because I ‘get’ to do both. “If you can exude your passion and love for something to others and make them believe in what you believe in (like that Omaha can be the best youth and amateur sports city in America) then that is leadership. That is what we, as a staff and board, believe in at the Omaha Sports Commission, and we hope the community follows our lead.” Visit omahasports.org for more information. B2B
“WHILE HE IS COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER COMMUNITIES IN RECRUITING SPORTING EVENTS TO OMAHA, JOSH IS A COLLABORATIVE LEADER FOR OUR COMMUNITY WHO WORKS TO HAVE THE RIGHT COMMUNITY PARTNERS INVOLVED AND WORKING TOGETHER TO DEVELOP STRATEGICALLY ALIGNED AND ECONOMICALLY BENEFICIAL SPORTING EVENTS.” -DONNA KUSH
From left: Caley Maszk, Rue, Jeannie North, and accessory sew artist Taryn Reichart
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 49
omAHA! | STORY BY KAMRIN BAKER | PHOTOS BY BILL SITZMANN
RIPLEY & RUE REDEFINES “RE-TAIL”
A DOG GOODS RETAILER IN OMAHA MADE A GLOBAL PAW PRINT
he modern entrepreneur is sure to carry a few must-have accessories—perhaps a state-of-the-art laptop or a sleek water bottle—in the Silicon Prairie. Jeannie North, a local business owner, has two: an Aussiedoodle (Australian shepherd-poodle mix) named Ripley, and a mini goldendoodle named Rue. Her dogs have their own accessories. North is the owner and founder of Ripley & Rue, a high-end retailer of dog goods based in Omaha. The company has a global wingspan, thanks to the World Wide Web’s obsession with adorable dogs. Ripley & Rue specializes in brightly colored bandanas, playful puppy toys (including “Barkie” and “Clueless” sets), and human goods such as apparel, stickers, buttons, and mugs. North is a freelance web and graphic designer by trade, but when she began dressing up her doodles, she never turned back. “I happened to pick up sewing, which I think is a lost art, and the easiest thing I could make at the time was dog bandanas,” North said. “Luckily, they turned out pretty cute.” North’s entrepreneurial mindset took off from there, and the business will celebrate its four-year anniversary in August 2020. Most of Ripley & Rue’s growth is thanks to Instagram, where North said she gets most of her leads. Then, she typically converts those leads into email subscribers and customers. She has about 20,000 shoppers on her email list, and her wholesale platform, Faire, brings in stores and clientele from across the country.
While North said the majority of her buyers live on the coasts, she has a deep appreciation for their Omaha roots. “I feel like we’re in the hub of where everything is going to take off,” North said. “The cost is also low in this part of the country, and people are definitely wanting to help and see Omaha grow. There’s definitely a lot of backing and positivity to help you grow your business here.” Ripley & Rue moved its operations from North’s at-home studio to a suite in the Mastercraft building in north downtown Omaha in fall 2019, where North now employs three other people (their four-legged friends are, of course, welcome in the office) to help with production. Expanding the reach of Ripley & Rue products is a global undertaking, as North and her team are the masterminds behind International Doodle Dog Day, a global initiative to simply love doodle dogs of all kinds. Last year, there were official meetups in 75 cities from Omaha to New York to Melbourne, Australia, and the day's hashtag, #internationaldoodledogday, was used over 12,000 times. “It’s one day where everyone gets together and meets up with other doodle owners,” North said. “This is a huge event that people love to partake in. We make all kinds of special gear.” For local dog lovers wanting to get their fix, Ripley & Rue products are carried at Made in Omaha and The Green Spot.
The team is also working on corporate dog bandanas for organizations such as Flywheel, where North’s husband works (and Rue won Office Dog of the Year) and Google, where pups are affectionately named “Dooglers.” North hopes projects of this size will attract the eyes of pet subscription boxes and national retailers. Caley Maszk has been working with North since October 2019, shouldering lead production on bandanas to personalize and package each canine neck scarf. “Jeannie is the best boss anybody could ask for,” Maszk said. “She worked alone for three years, but she welcomes ideas and makes us all feel a part of the business. I see my ideas come into play, and I feel like a part of the company. Like, what can you love more? It’s being creative for dogs. It’s a dream.” Visit ripleyandrue.com for more information. B2B
50 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
ON THE RISE | STORY BY GREG JERRETT | PHOTO BY BILL SITZMANN
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR “I ALWAYS SAY THAT I HAVE THE GREAT FORTUNE THAT THE LUNG ASSOCIATION FOUND ME AT A TIME IN MY LIFE AND MY CAREER WHERE I WAS HUNGRY TO EVOLVE AND TO MAKE A CAREER, NOT JUST TO HAVE A JOB” -JULIA McCARVILLE
ulia McCarville, 33, is executive director of The American Lung Association in Nebraska. Born and raised in Omaha, she attended Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart and Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, majoring in mass communications. She is active on the Duchesne Alumnae board and has served as a charity representative on the board of Community Health Charities (now CHAD) and as a member of the O-Pa Young Professionals Group. Prior to working for the American Lung Association, she worked for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She started in public relations as an intern at the YWCA in Chicago, working on the P.R. and special events teams. McCarville credits much of her dedication to the formative years she spent at Duchesne Academy. “Two of the schools’ foundational building blocks include the concept of the building of a community and social awareness, which impels to action,” said McCarville, who continued that her passion for engaging in the community matured and deepened during her time as a student and drove her desire for a career that could make a difference in the world. “The concept of volunteerism or giving back to the community in which we live was an intrinsic part of my upbringing. In our family, volunteering, giving back, was just the way we did things.” The search for a career about which she could be passionate drove McCarville to explore the nonprofit sector, where she has worked since, from her first internship to her current position at the American Lung Association–an organization that she said she has been grateful to have worked with since 2011.
“I always say that I have the great fortune that the Lung Association found me at a time in my life and my career where I was hungry to evolve and to make a career, not just to have a job,” McCarville said. “The work we are doing is incredibly important. I have so much hope for the world and the impact that our organization is working to create.” The American Lung Association’s work focuses on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer, to improve the air we breathe, to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals as well as their families, and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. It is a mission of great public, as well as personal, importance to McCarville. “My grandma was a lifelong smoker, I have siblings with asthma, and my dad died of pancreatic cancer that metastasized to his lungs. Watching him struggle to breathe near the end of his life is something that has stuck with me,” she said. “In my time at the Lung Association, I have met countless patients and survivors who have left imprints on my heart. I am so motivated and impassioned by the mission of the American Lung Association and the volunteers that I get to work with. I feel like I’m home, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” Visit lung.org to find out more about the American Lung Association in Nebraska. B2B
“I AM SO MOTIVATED AND IMPASSIONED BY THE MISSION OF THE AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION AND THE VOLUNTEERS THAT I GET TO WORK WITH. I FEEL LIKE I’M HOME, AND I CAN’T IMAGINE BEING ANYWHERE ELSE.” -JULIA McCARVILLE
“A GOOD RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CITY GOVERNMENT, CITY LEADERSHIP AND CHAMBER LEADERSHIP IS JUST PART OF WHAT MAKES OMAHA SUCCESSFUL.” -DAVID FANSLAU
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 53
FEATURE | STORY BY SCOTT STEWART | PHOTO BY BILL SITZMANN
REACHING THE NEXT LEVEL
COLLABORATION BETWEEN CHAMBER, PLANNING DEPARTMENT PART OF OMAHA’S SECRET SAUCE
he walk from dinner at Inner Rail food hall to a hockey game at Baxter Arena might not have been possible without planning and patience on behalf of civic leaders. Aksarben Village is one example of the importance of a master plan in shaping how Omaha has developed over the past few decades. The old Aksbaren Race Track and Coliseum site “could easily have been just a big box retailer,” said David Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber. “That’s a monumental task to be able to get everyone’s idea wrapped around what this thing could be, and then to see this thing over 15 years actually happen,” Brown said. “Absent really some creative thought about how to do that, how to pay for it, how to plan for it, how to design it, how to keep the growth happening—that would never have happened.” The Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha Planning Department work hand in glove to provide developers with the information they need to plan projects and request approval. Planning Department Director David Fanslau said a few hundred cases go before the Planning Board in any given year. The department issued more than 20,000 building permits last year, worth in excess of $1 billion for the city. Since Jean Stothert became mayor in 2013, over $6 billion worth of building permits—in excess of 120,000 permits—have been issued, Fanslau said.
“There are a lot of cities in this country who would love those stats in their own community,” Fanslau said. Omaha’s development process is more efficient than many places, Fanslau said, in part because of the strong relationship between city and chamber employees. Many small businesses will go directly to the city, but the chamber helps those exploring the entire region as well as national site searches by larger corporations. “Our Planning Department is typically the very first spot that a developer will go when they have an idea that they’re trying to wrap around a specific piece of property or a specific building,” Brown said. “If there are decisions that have to be made at the Planning Board or eventually at City Council, having a robust relationship with the Planning Department is crucial for those developers to make things happen.” In addition to the partnership with the chamber, Fanslau said the Omaha Planning Department uses its network of professional connections to help prospective businesses explore their options. “We have a very good working relationship with a lot of development attorneys and engineering companies here in town,” Fanslau said. Most communities have a natural working relationship between their chambers and planning departments, Brown said. But Omaha goes further by bringing the chamber into the creation of community development strategies.
The Greater Omaha Chamber has worked on North Omaha and South Omaha strategies, as well as Destination Midtown. Those strategies inform the city’s master plans, and they create a coalition of many interested partners that can assist the future development in those areas of the city. “We are asked to lead some of the long-term thinking of the big planning efforts,” Brown said. The strategic efforts also include representations from the Mayor’s office, Finance Department, City Council, neighborhood leaders, nonprofit organizations, and the philanthropic community. “We invite them all into the tent to participate in the process,” Brown said. “They are active participants in the discussion and the planning process that we do.” The goal, he said, is to get everyone together early so the community has a higher chance of getting things right the first time. Omaha’s approach to planning can be traced back to the creation of Omaha by Design in the early 2000s, when the city embarked on a new master plan. A big box store along L Street prompted concerns that the city was receiving “a bunch of C and D projects, when what we really want are A and B projects,” Brown said. CONT. PAGE 54
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“THE CHAMBER HAS WORKED ON NORTH OMAHA AND SOUTH OMAHA STRATEGIES, AS WELL AS DESTINATION MIDTOWN. THOSE STRATEGIES INFORM THE CITY’S MASTER PLANS, AND THEY CREATE A COALITION OF MANY INTERESTED PARTNERS THAT CAN ASSIST THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT IN THOSE AREAS OF THE CITY.” -DAVID BROWN FROM PAGE 53 “We thought, as a community, that we had grown to the level that we deserve A and B projects,” Brown said. “It was driven by a combination of business and government leaders trying to get us to the next level.” The city raised its development standards, Brown said, and the city, chamber, MAPA, and others came together to push for higher quality design and better projects. Collaboration has reached the point now that Brown says city planning officials have space in the chamber office to work when they’re visiting. They’re treated as another member of the team, and officials in both organizations remain in regular communication. The Capitol District is a recent example of how planning and economic development officials have collaborated with private enterprise to transform a portion of the city. “You can point to any of the major developments,” Brown said. “Absent the involvement of the Planning Department, it doesn’t work.” Stothert said the city and chamber’s partnership is a significant factor in the current growth, and future projected growth, in the community. “Omaha has recently been described as a boomtown for development,” the mayor said. “The chamber has the expertise and staff to help with business recruitment and retention and job creation. Our strong relationship is vital to the economic development of Omaha.”
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 55
Having that strong relationship doesn’t mean that developers always receive approval from City Hall, nor does it mean that there’s never conflict. Pre-application meetings have helped reduce surprises, Fanslau said, by bringing developers to the table with planning staff before they submit a formal application. The city will issue them a letter evaluating how the proposal would fit into the master plan and zoning ordinance.
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“Most of the time, letters are saying 'here are the steps you have to follow,'” Fanslau said. “The development process in Omaha is pretty tight and it’s very efficient.” For projects where problems are identified, developers aren’t stopped from applying, and they are aware of potential concerns earlier in the process. Fanslau said the investment in the community by philanthropists really underscores the value that is placed in the city’s efforts. The Seventy-Five North project along 30th Street and the forthcoming redevelopment of Southside Terrace are the result of competitive grants and donations that seek to make a difference and create opportunities for Omaha residents. Ultimately, Fanslau said the cornerstone of Omaha’s success is its relationships. “A good relationship between city government, city leadership and chamber leadership is just part of what makes Omaha successful,” Fanslau said.
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56 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
FEATURE | STORY BY KARA SCHWEISS | PHOTOS BY BILL SITZMANN
ROAST BEEF WITH A SIDE OF HUMOR
OPC’S FACE ON THE BARROOM FLOOR HONORS CELEBRITIES LOCAL AND L.A.
ounded in 1955, the Omaha Press Club has made its home since 1971 on the 22nd floor of the First National Center at 16th and Dodge streets. The same year its namesake restaurant and meeting space was created, the organization introduced its first “Face on the Barroom Floor,” an honor that’s now been bestowed to 164 newsmakers. The loosely defined honor has been given to locals such as Rob McCartney or Connie Spellman, and Omahans who are known beyond the community like Johnny Carson, Cathy Hughes, and many others. “Isn’t the name great? ‘Face on the Barroom Floor,’” said Roger Humphries, a longtime Omaha Press Club member and the new chair of the associated committee. “And how many plaques and certificates do you have in your office—but do you have a ‘Face’? Artist Jim Horan crafted a caricature portrait for 160 of the 163 honorees. His last, of CNN reporter Jeff Zeleny, was unveiled in September 2019. In 1971, Horan was an artist for the Omaha World-Herald and known for drawing Harry Husker cartoons that would predict a winning score. Omaha Press Club representatives thought he’d be the perfect choice to create the first Face, Omaha Mayor Gene Leahy. “I had been doing caricatures and illustrations for a long time and I figured it was an 8-by-10 or something like that. But holy moly, it was a big picture!” Horan said. “And I just kept doing them. They’ve always been fun to do.” One early Face may have been less fun than the others, he said wryly.
“The one I was most afraid of was (professional boxer) Ron Stander,” Horan said. Fortunately, upon seeing his caricature, “The Bluffs Butcher” responded with laughter. Collectively, the 163 portraits not only enhance the club’s panoramic view of the city, they tell a story of Omaha over the last 50 years. “It’s like a museum as you walk around here,” Tom O’Connor said. “It’s history.” O’Connor, who retired in January 2020 from a nearly five-decade communications career, has been a member of the Omaha Press Club for 44 years. He oversaw the Face committee for nearly 20 years. He’s seen Face on the Barroom Floor go from a small gathering of family and friends to a major event complete with a roast of the honoree, or honorees in the case of the many pairs and one foursome who’ve shared the spotlight. The dinners frequently sell out the OPC at 250 guests, and in one instance, (the April 2014 roast of Creighton basketball's Doug and Greg McDermott), the event needed to be held off-site. Some of the earlier Faces were honored in absentia, such as former President Gerald Ford (1975), who was in office at the time, or State Senator Ernie Chambers (also 1975), who didn’t show up to his Face unveiling. Television legend Johnny Carson was honored posthumously in 2005 as part of the 50th anniversary of OPC. Roasters will sometimes submit video if they can’t attend in person, but in recent years the committee has strived to create an event with the honoree and roasters in attendance.
Todd Murphy of Universal Information Services has served on past Face committees and was honored with his father Jim Murphy in November 2019. He said OPC’s Face committee keeps a running wish list of obvious and willing Face choices for which the logistics of an event haven’t worked—yet. “(Actor/comedian) Adam Devine and (rock band) 311 are at the top of the list of notable former Omahans we’d like to see as a Face on the Barroom Floor. If it’s someone who’s no longer in the market, it takes more coordination and timing to make it work,” Murphy said. Faces committee members often reach out to potential Faces’ Omaha family members to make connections. Alexander Payne’s parents “were really key to the whole thing,” O’Connor said of Payne’s 2013 roast and induction featuring actor and comedian Will Forte, who starred in Payne’s “Nebraska” and is largely considered by the committee to be the funniest host and roaster in the event’s history. Reaching out to Devine’s parents has been promising, O’Connor said. “Call it ‘Devine’ intervention; it’s meant to be and we’re going to get this guy before we’re done,” O’Connor said. He also knows the father of 311’s Nick Hexum and has opened a door through that link, but finding a time when all five band members can be in town at once has been elusive. The committee has not given up, he said. CONT. PAGE 58
“THIS IS JIM’S MUSEUM, SO TO SPEAK. BUT (SEALY) WILL PUT HIS OWN FLAVOR ON IT.” -TOM O'CONNOR
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FROM PAGE 56 “Probably the biggest one ever done at the Press Club was before I was there. That was Warren Buffett, he was number 30 in May of 1985,” O’Connor said. “That was a nice catch there.”
A LWA Y S
Some of the biggest ‘gets’ during his committee tenure, besides Payne, O’Connor said, were comedian Dan Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy) in 2007; famed athletes Bob Gibson and Gayle Sayers, both in 2004; and former Microsoft president and philanthropist Jeff Raikes in 2012. Joe Ricketts brought in a big group including most of his family for his 2012 Face unveiling, and the McDermotts roast moved to the Omar to accommodate the 600 guests.
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The Face committee tries to recognize a diverse group including members of the media; public officeholders; business, community, and nonprofit leaders; entertainers; sports figures; and other notables. As the new committee chair, Humphries has discovered his name on a list of potential Face candidates. “I’d say there are people more deserving,” he said. But if the time comes, he can think of a few people who’d love to roast him, or “bust my chops,’” as he said. He’s already had a taste of the honor, in a sense; when his children were too young to read, they were convinced the 1989 portrait of Mannheim Steamroller founder Chip Davis was Humphries. Humphries chuckled. “My son learned to read and said ‘Daddy, that’s not you!’ And the jig was up.” Horan’s successor is local artist Wayne Sealy, who drew the cariacature of the Murphys in November. The latest Face was Othello Meadows, president and CEO of Seventy Five North Revitalization Corp. and owner of The Meadows Group, who was honored March 21.
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“This is Jim’s museum, so to speak,” O’Connor said. “But (Sealy) will put his own flavor on it.” As long as the Omaha Press Club endures, so will Face on the Barroom Floor.
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“I hope that this is a tradition that will last forever. It’s a gift to the community,” O'Connor said. “It is a true honor to be a face on the barroom floor, and I think people understand that. It shows that you’ve done something for the community, that you’ve made a difference.”
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OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 59
“MY GOAL IS TO TAKE SARPY TOURISM TO ANOTHER LEVEL, SO PEOPLE DON’T THINK THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER SOMEPLACE ELSE.” -FRED UHE
OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM APRIL · MAY | 61
FEATURE | STORY BY J.D. AVANT | PHOTOS BY BILL SITZMANN
SARPY COUNTY’S RESURGENCE
TRANSFORMING THE REGION INTO NEBRASKA’S NEW HOTSPOT
here’s a renaissance brewing in Sarpy County. The cities within the smallest county in Nebraska, at 248 square miles, have broadened their scope over the last 20 years. Those cities—including Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Gretna, and Springfield—helped the county jump in population by close to 30,000 in eight years, from 159,000 in 2010 to more 184,000 in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is a little under 10% of the population of the state. New businesses, attractions, and entertainment options are popping up around the region, transforming Sarpy from a sleepy Midwestern suburban area into a viable contender for Nebraska’s tourism dollars. Fred Uhe, director of tourism for Sarpy County, is proud to be involved with the area’s rebirth. “I lobbied 10 years for the director position,” Uhe said while driving through the collection of cities making up Sarpy County. His silver SUV emblazoned with Sarpy Tourism slogans like “Go Sarpy!” and “Stay & Play in Sarpy County!” maneuvers seamlessly through the highways and byways of the region he calls home. “I had offers from my original firm to move to Florida before I decided to stay in my hometown,” he said. “I love the people I work with, and I’m blessed to live in this buzzing community.” A graduate of Papillion-La Vista High School and a University of Nebraska at Omaha Distinguished Alumni, Uhe’s job requires familiarity with the entertainment options around his home base. His knowledge came in handy on his self-coined “Day of Infamy.” “In early October 2018, Scott Bovick, deputy county administrator at Sarpy County, came into my office and said we were co-hosting the Nebraska Tourism Conference in two weeks,” Uhe said.
“My main concern was entertaining 250 guests for the Conference Community Night. I called Jan Vala, co-owner of Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, and she helped make transportation arrangements for the guests and came up with a menu on the spot.” As one of Nebraska’s biggest seasonal attractions, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is a 400-acre operation drawing upwards of 200,000 patrons every year. The Conference Community Night was a success, and Uhe’s large group enjoyed the park’s activities, including a catered meal highlighted by Vala’s famous pumpkin pie, funnel cakes, and pumpkin bars. The next day Uhe was commended by Nebraska’s Director of Tourism, John Ricks, at his keynote luncheon where he christened Vala’s Pumpkin Patch as “Nebraska’s Disney World.” Uhe attributes his success during the conference to Sarpy County’s charm during the Halloween season. Early fall is a busy time in the area, with popular autumn allures such as McCormick’s Haunted Hollow, Scary Acres, and The Bellevue Berry Farm ramping up for their busy stretches. Nebraska football is also a big deal during that time, and Uhe works hard to keep Husker opponents and visitors within the region. “We work in concert with Visit Omaha to find lodging and things to do for people visiting during big events like Husker weekends, the College World Series, and Olympic Swim Trials,” Uhe said. “We have 2,300 hotel rooms throughout Sarpy County to fill up, so people can skip the three-night minimums and paid parking in Lincoln. Tourists don’t have to travel far for entertainment because there’s a lot to do in Sarpy.”
In addition to a Midwest Halloween destination, the county presents visitors with a wide range of year-round outdoor activities. Tourists can zip line through Fontenelle Forest or bike across multiuse trails at Schramm Park. Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing in Springfield, Nebraska, offers outside events like hot air balloon launches and music festivals to complement their craft brews and wines. A jaunt down Highway 50 reveals the vast acreage where two of America’s largest tech companies, Facebook and Google, are building massive data centers. Facebook is expected to employ 200 people this year, while Google is building its eighth data center in Sarpy County, which is expected to employ 30. Uhe hopes new housing subdivisions and draws such as Papillion Landing Community Recreation Center and Fieldhouse will entice incoming workers to stay in the area. “Last October we hosted the U.S. Quidditch Regional at the Papillion Landing Fieldhouse and it was so fun to watch,” Uhe said. The mixed-gender contact sport is based on the game made popular by the Harry Potter series. There are clubs in major colleges, including Creighton, Marquette, and Kansas. “It’s like a mix of lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball,” Uhe said. “They even brought live owls and butterbeer.” A few miles north, La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig is confident his county can accommodate workers from Facebook and Google. He’s sure employees will have abundant housing options and activities for the entire family. CONT. PAGE 62
62 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
FROM PAGE 61 “Our hotel conference centers are a major draw, so adding entertaining choices like waterparks and wineries help keep people in Sarpy County,” Kindig said. “We also have a major development happening near 84th and Harrison street(s) that will bring a unique music venue to the area.” Sponsored by local promoter 1% Productions and Omaha’s City Ventures developers, the hybrid indoor club/theater will seat up to 2,500 people, while the outdoor amphitheater will hold 5,000 guests when it opens in 2021. The La Vista Sports Complex is also in the works, but movement has stalled on the project. “They have big plans, but I think they’re trying to do too much at once,” Uhe said. Sarpy County’s evolution is taking it to new heights, with solid infrastructure and smart planning propelling growth. The sewer system beneath Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers Minor League Baseball team, is a great example. Originally built for the ballpark, the sewer now services housing developments surrounding the area. The popular stadium hosts many local activities, including the State High School Baseball Tournament, but Uhe looks forward to their new USL League One soccer team, Union Omaha, kicking off its inaugural season in late March.
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“I love the roster’s assortment of different countries,” Uhe said, “it reads like a United Nations meeting.” With players from Uganda, Kenya, and the Caribbean, Uhe hopes the team will help develop a diverse component in the area, especially regarding the county’s growing Latino population. When prodded for challenges as he pushes for growth, Uhe refers to some residents’ resistance to change.
Dan Stava, Founder of General Stamping
“Some people get up in arms about infrastructure updates like traffic lights on Highway 370. They tell me to stop making changes and inviting visitors to the area, but I tell them no,” Uhe joked. “I remember back when senators fought tooth and nail to prevent interchanges on Harrison Street, but our market is the traveling public,” Uhe said. “My goal is to take Sarpy tourism to another level, so people don’t think the grass is always greener someplace else.” Visit gosarpy.com for upcoming events and group tours. B2B
O'Donnell, Ficenec, Wills & Ferdig, LLP 402-592-3800 www.OFWF.com
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64 | B2B MAGAZINE · 2020
VOLUME 20 · ISSUE 2
OMAHA CVB BY KEITH BACKSEN
WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN CONVENTION BUSINESS ast year, Resonance Consulting ranked Omaha as one of the top 10 best small cities in the U.S. We ranked second, right behind Honolulu. Yes–Honolulu, Hawaii.
Omaha earned the No. 2 spot thanks to its culture, nightlife, dining, and shopping options. All of these attributes help sell our city to meeting and event planners. Even as a top city, there is a lot of competition. Visit Omaha’s sales team travels the country scouting for meeting business that might be a good fit for the city. The team qualifies the business, builds relationships with the decision makers, and sends business leads to local hotels and venues. Then the sales team compiles a compelling proposal, negotiates back and forth, and waits for a decision. One way to convince the site selection team is to invite them to the city; we know if we can get them here, we have a better shot at closing their business. In 2019 Visit Omaha hosted 44 site visits for meeting and event planners, and 65% of those visits resulted in booked meeting business for the city.
Once the event is confirmed, it is coordinated by the Visit Omaha Convention Services Team, which serves as a concierge for the event planner or organizer. The services team connects planners with local vendors and businesses, helps organize transportation needs, coordinates restaurants, provides registration assistance, and manages hotel reservations for attendees. The marketing team is the promotional fuel that supports the city’s brand as a successful meeting and event destination. It’s a lot harder to sell Omaha to those who don’t know it. The sales and services effort goes beyond Visit Omaha; it includes the city’s convention centers and arenas, hotels, venues, and attractions, all working together toward a common goal. Many people worked hard to compete for each event. And with each time the city wins, Omaha builds a better resume. B2B
ETHICS BY BEVERLY KRACHER
THE TMB APPROACH B
est of show competitions create excitement and drama. They are also opportunities for revealing the strategies and tools that perpetuate excellence. When it comes to organizations and their ethical excellence, the TMB approach shines through. But what does that mean? It’s: Tone at the Top; Mood in the Middle; and Buzz at the Bottom. The cultural tone set by leadership steers an organization to brilliance or disaster. All stakeholders, including employees, customers, and vendors, can tell by the way leaders talk and walk if an organization is happy to cut corners, make side deals, and tolerate incompetence. Leaders at the top need to be positive role models. They have an obligation to identify the organization’s moral compass and purpose, and then live and breathe it in every word they speak and policy they create. We all look to tone at the top when evaluating best of show. While tone at the top is necessary, it is not sufficient for greatness. Organizations need mood in the middle. Gallup recognizes this with their recent book, It’s the Manager. They have discovered that “a staggering 70% of the variation between great workplace engagement and lousy workplace engagement can be explained just by the quality of the manager or team leader.” (Clifton, The Chairman’s Blog)
Managers translate the tone at the top so it can be reached by everyone else. They need to talk about the organization’s ethical values and commitment; explain how they apply to work groups and individuals; create a sense of safety so employees feel free to speak up when they are confronted with a moral crisis. Managers break the moral isolation and build a mood of community within organizations. Buzz at the bottom refers to everyday ethics. It is necessary for ethical excellence, too. Buzz is the pulse of the organization, especially at the frontlines. It’s the way things happen during hallway chats and in face-to-face meetings. It’s the tone used in email and instant messenger communications such as Slack. Frustrated employees can develop a culture that uses humor to create an us vs. them mentality. Even with great leadership and managers, a culture can become toxic because of the negative attitudes shared between peers. Excellent employees uplift each other. They actually live the organization’s values. They enjoy their work, speak well of each other and strive for a culture of trust. Best of show organizations have all three components of the TMB approach. Their focus on moral excellence is not a flavor of the month but a strategic element of their long-term success. B2B
Keith Backsen is executive director of the
Beverly Kracher, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Business
Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Ethics Alliance and the Daugherty Chair in Business Ethics and Society at Creighton University.
VOLUME VII â€˘ ISSUE I
Intangible assets are no longer to be feared when there's no limit to success.
The Successful Transition of a Service-Based Business.
On the Fast Track Transportation-Based
Engineering Firm Changes Hands
Look Who's Talking Too
Translating One Iowa-Based Intepretation Company Into Two
Deal Review Magazine
Published by The Firm Advisors
Cortney Sells • President Anne Boonstra • Portfolio Associate Anya Roberts • Seller Liason Cadence Hollers • Office Admin Cassandra Powers • Chief Operations Officer Dan Hayes • Outreach Coordinator Jamie Heldridge • Office Admin Jared Olson •In-House Legal Counsel Jessica Hughes • Outreach Coordinator
Blue Sky Bliss by Cortney Sells
When it comes to business, the term "Blue Sky" is often misunderstood. Buyers might shy away from blue sky because of the misconception that there is no real value. Blue sky businesses get passed over all the time due to the question, "Why would I buy a business with little to no assets?" The answer: intangible assets are aguably more important than physical assets. Brand Equity — A business can set itself apart from others based solely on consumer perception. How consumers feel about a product is imperative to a brand's overall value. This is a tremendous part of the premium paid as a goodwill by a buyer to a seller during an acquisition. While brand equity is not a physical asset, consumer perception of a business has value that helps increase sales in any company. Intellectual Property — The value of intellectual property (creativity, technology, design) is immeasurable when it compares to physical assets. Patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets are all examples of this type of intangible asset that provides financial worth to a company.
Lori Hulshof • Client Liason Makayla Holliday-Kalagias • Brokerage Principal McKenna Thorngren • Portfolio Manager Rachael Rand • Director of Advisory
Customer Lists — It takes years to build a plum customer list and it has a decidely important future value for any business. A solid business has the expectation of repeat customers, which creates value for customer-related intangible assets. All businesses look to build on interactions with previous customers to sell their products and services in the future. A customer list is invaluable.
Rene Rademacher • Senior Advisor Stefanie Baguian • Strategy Development Officer Susanne Miller • In-House Legal Counsel
Goodwill — The intangibles are more valuable than the tangibles. They can be challenging to value, but companies should calculate their fair value. They are the result of grit, dedication and backbone. A word to the wise: don't shy away from the Blue Sky Bliss.
Editors • Cortney Sells & Stefanie Baguian Contributing Writers • Anne Boonstra, Rebecca Bowman, Makayla Holliday-Kalagias, Stefanie Baguian, Rachael Rand, Amy Goldyn
To Subscribe: info@TheFirmAdv.com 210 N. 78th St. Omaha, NE 68114 | 402.998.5288 Advertising Inquiries: 402.884.2000
Ta k e a L o o k 04
No Assets? No Problem
No Such Thing as Typical
Feng Shui on Steroids
8 Businesses That Could Change Your Future
Answering the Call
Learning from a Pro
More than a Job Board
Speaking The Same Language
With a Bang!
Philadelphia Engineering Firm on a New Path
Nothing But Blue Skies Ahead
Who's out there searching for a business to buy?
KC-Based Commercial Interiors Firm Aligns With Longtime Goals
The Real Value in a B2C Call Center
Tricia Hoffman, Gulf Coast Small Business Lending
AIM's Growth Means a New Home for Careerlink
Interpretation in Des Moines and the Future
Entering 2020 on the Heels of a Successful 2019
Perfect Pairing in Pennsylvania How one patient purchaser placed himself to be profitable by Makayla Holliday-Kalagias
Nathan Niles entered the professional world with an MBA from Harvard Business School. From there, the companies he worked for varied, from audit strategies to financial planning to nursing homes to dental practices. One thing remained the same – he kept himself in a senior position. He had also owned and operated two companies over the span of his career before starting his search again. One of his businesses advised other owners and helped them to turn their business around. The other was in the healthcare industry, negotiating sales and helping business owners choose the right direction for them. Before starting to work with The Firm, Niles had already signed over 15 NDAs and reviewed 20+ companies trying to find the right fit. He went into the process knowing exactly what he was looking for in a business. The perfect company would be local (in Pennsylvania); have a positive, steady, cash flow; have a great positive reputation; and have a diverse client base. Being so specific can lead to some hurdles with finding the correct company, as Niles quickly found out, weeding through dozens of businesses to find the best fit. “I also wanted to go into something I could understand,” stated Niles. “It didn’t have to be something I had done before.” Niles did review a couple of different opportunities with The Firm before landing on Clifton, Weiss, and Associates. This company seemed like a great fit from the start. The business was well-founded, being around nearly 30 years, had a great reputation and relationship with clients, a strong team in place, and a solid profit year-over-year. After recognizing that this
company was the perfect fit, the process went smoothly moving forward, from meetings with the seller, putting an offer in place, and proceeding to the closing table. Niles had plenty of experience previously with businesses whose success thrived on client relationships as well. The fit was natural from both sides. A big focus getting to the closing table was ensuring that SBA financing could be secured with this deal. This engineering firm for public and private communication networks was not an asset-heavy business. When speaking with Niles, he surprisingly stated that, “the financing was fairly easy to secure.” One thing that both the bank and the buyer wanted to see was that, “there was some skin in the
Clifton, Weiss & Associates • Location: Gwynned Valley, PA • Cash Flow: $1,175,467 • Loan Type: SBA • Number of Employees: 11 • Client Base: Railroad, Transit, Architecture, Engineering, Construction • Website: www.cliftonweiss.com
• • • •
Sale Price: $3,900,000 Asset Value: $649,640 Blue Sky Value: $3.25MM Key Intangible Assets: • Long-standing relationships with clients • Superior Reputation • Technical Experience • Cash Flow The Firm Deal Review
NATHAN NILES Buyer
“Being prepared is key if you are looking to purchase a business.” The future of CWA is bright with new growth measures already taking place. According to Niles, a new engineer and an auto-CAD technician have recently been brought on board, and they continue to look for a couple of new team members to expand their team. A new system is being implemented to help modernize the business and help with practice management. There is also a CRM sales system coming into play soon – it is all about keeping the business moving forward. On further growth and expansion, Niles said that they will “continue working organically for now, but it may make sense to buy another similar business in the future.” Based on his history, we have likely not seen the last of Nathan Niles. •THE FIRM
I like going to the meetings internally and meet with clients as well, when needed.”
"I wanted to go into something I could understand. It didn't have to be something I had done before. - Nathan Niles
This has allowed Niles to easily integrate himself into the thriving company. Clients and employees have both taken to the new presence, which lends to the idea of continued success for Niles and everyone else at the company. In short, “everything is going well.” When asked what advice Niles would give to a new buyer, he stated that, “I was pretty selective. I didn’t just jump at the first thing I saw. Also have the right professionals to back you up.”
game for the seller after the sale.” This was Going into the process of finding a business a huge piece of getting both the buyer and with a team of trusted advisors saved quite a the bank on board. With the true value of the bit of time for Niles in the long run. business lying with the relationships built over 30 years, having the proper introduction and transition into the company was paramount to Niles’ success.
Elizabeth Clifton Seller
The buyer and seller were able to finalize the sale in October 2019, and Niles got straight to work. To help the transition period, he has decided to be, for the time being, “pretty hands on. I am attending the trade shows,
Jaye Firmature McCoy and her spouse sold their service-based business through The Firm Advisors, and Jaye bought another for herself one week after. Five years later, FirstLight Home HealthCare has grown beyond her imagination. Congratulations on your success, Jaye!
Experience you can count on. - 149 Current Opportunities - $325 million in assets under management - 121 days - average time on the market - 248 closed deals - Voted Top Brokerage by the International Business Broker's Association - 21 industries represented 6
The Firm Deal Review
What is Blue Sky? Structuring a Transaction with Little to No Hard Assets by Rachael Rand
The term "blue sky" comes up often when referring to selling a business â€” What does it mean?
More often than not, the seller agrees to assist
as computers, dump trucks, printing presses, lab
the new owner for a pre-determined period of
equipment, or similar.
time, anything from two weeks to five years, depending on the type and size of business.
Blue sky and goodwill are often used interchangeably. They refer to intangibles, whether
Anything tangible related to the business, such
Inventory: Blue Sky/Goodwill:
this is via reputation, processes, procedures, etc.
The sellable merchandise a business keeps on
Examples include a software system, large con-
hand. For business such as plumbing companies
This refers to the financially justifiable portion
tracts the business won but then turned down due
or electrical contractors, their inventory is the parts
of the purchase based on the company's
to timing or capacity, brand equity, customer lists,
they keep on hand to service their customers. This
processes and procedures, name recognition,
intellectual property or another revenue line that
would include conduit, pipes, wire nuts, etc.
recurring clientele, et al.
has started but is not yet showing profit on the company's prior year's tax returns.
How is a purchase structured that involves blue sky?
non-compete or non-competition agreement as
A portion of the business is allocated to the persuant to the negotiated agreement between both parties that the exiting seller will not impact There are several ways to go about buying a
company with blue sky. This can mean proving the perceived value to a bank through a structured business plan, or an earn out where the seller is paid for that portion of the business based upon how the company performs after acquisition. Of course, an unfinanced transaction â€” commonly referred to as an all cash deal â€” can have as little or as much blue sky as the buyer is willing to pay.
What is an example of a purchase structrure? Largely, the purchase of a business will be allocated into different "buckets" by the attorneys and CPAs involved. These allocations are very important as there are large variations in tax strategy. For instance, a business could be broken down as follows:
Courtesy: Interior Enhancement
Empty Nest to Full Succcess
Couple takes opportunity to turn day-trip destination into full-time home by Rachael Rand
It’s a nontraditional story for a nontraditional business. For St. Louis residents Bob and Christina Urberger, who were looking to become first-time business owners, an interesting catalyst drove them to make the journey into entrepreneurship. When their college-aged son’s internship at Elon Musk’s SpaceX in California went from a university credit to a full-time position, the Urbergers looked around their home in St. Louis and realized that for the first time in decades, they had an empty nest. Bob was a broadcast engineer, focusing on technology installation for corporate clients. Meanwhile, Christina had a diverse background of design, running a construction company, developing an internal team at Anheuser-Busch, and creative problem solving. She had also sold furniture as a passion for her entire adult life.
Interior Landscapes • Location: Kansas City, MO • Cash Flow: $547,381 • Loan Type: SBA, USBank • Number of Employees: 8 • Client Base: Healthcare, Government, Education, and Corporate • Website: www.interiorlandscapes.com
What was next? Bob and Christina put their heads together and decided it was time to have something new they could call their own. After a call with Cortney Sells, President of The Firm Advisors, they were introduced to a professional business located three hours to the west, in Kansas City. A month to the day after their initial
call, they met The Firm’s broker at Interior Landscapes in KC’s Crossroads Arts District and introduced themselves to the company’s current owner, Mike Hodes. Hodes hailed from a diverse background himself, working in several different industries and having multiple business partners before eventually becoming the sole owner of Interior Landscapes. With his own life changing, and his adult children already “contributing to the GDP” in their own ways, it was time to wind down and find a transition plan for the company he had built with his team. It felt like kismet. Bob and Christina were impressed with not only the quality of the work and their clients, but the strength of the company’s financial history and the employees who each treated the business as if it were their own. Founded in 2004, Interior Landscapes provides modern furnishing solutions for clients small and large during renovations or after new construction. Their furniture can be found all over The Firm Deal Review
the Kansas City area and beyond, from schools in Topeka to medical facilities in Lee’s Summit.
It was a strong company, the buyers were qualified and the business was profitable enough... however, Interior Landscapes did not have significant hard assets to collateralize a traditional commercial bank loan.
The opportunity made sense, but there was one challenge left: bank financing. It was a strong company, the buyers were qualified, and the business was profitable enough to give Bob and Christina a comfortable lifestyle in a new city; however, Interior Landscapes did not have significant hard assets to collateralize a traditional commercial bank loan. As is the case with many service-based businesses, the inventory was custom-ordered for each job, sometimes sitting in storage for months while the plumbers, electricians, and other contractors did rest of rior Landscapes, with the help of Hodes their build-out work. and the incredibly strong team he “Furniture is the last to go in, so some- had built. times we end up waiting,” said Hodes. “I can’t say enough good things After being denied by two banks due about this team,” Christina exclaimed. to the very nature of the blue business, “They really made us feel like part of the Urbergers worked with US Bank to the family.” find an acceptable financing solution. At the end of 2018, the company was The new owners were now in the drivtheirs. They got to work quickly to learn ing seat of a well-oiled machine. The the day-in and day-out of running Inte- changes in the business were few, as
Hodes completed a six-month transition period. The Urbergers celebrated his retirement with a party for clients and staff alike in September. Since the deal closing over a year ago, the company saw revenues increase and completed several large projects, such as the Jardine Elementary/ Middle School for the Topkea Public School District. Interior Landscapes’ next big endeavor is the Wyandotte County Juvenile Justice Center, a new construction project on which they are the lead furniture supplier. How are the Urbergers feeling after their relocation to Kansas City? They’re thrilled that their favorite city for a day trip from St. Louis has become their new home. Christina is ecstatic. “KC is such an up-and-coming, vibrant city. The restaurants! I can’t get over how good the restaurants are.” •THE FIRM
• • • •
Sale Price: $1,800,000 Asset Value: $22,840 Blue Sky Value: $1.64MM Key Intangible Assets: • Great Reputation • Ongoing Contracts
8 Businesses That Could Change Security and Automation for Commercial Buildings Location: Missouri Price: $6,150,000
These specialty contractors focus on power, automation, and data/security installations with associated maintenance. The team works with large companies and projects include security system installation, industrial machine installation and maintenance, complete electrical installation, data center electrical work, and the installation of building automation with controls.
Owner Profit: $1,375,134
Vancouver Area Architecture Firm Location: Surrey, British Columbia Price: $6,387,000
This architecture firm specializes in multi-family residential and mixeduse designs. The team of 20 creates beautiful properties for developer/ contractors who are building office buildings, residential towers, senior care facilities, and public buildings, in addition to multi-family homes and mixed-use developments.
Owner Profit: $1,344,708
Pet Boarding & Daycare Absentee, Non-Franchise Location: Reno, NV Price: $540,000
This company has fostered a loyal following with many happy customers. The open play spaces accommodate dogs of different sizes and temperaments and the boarding area is comfortable and spacious for those staying the night. An experienced groomer offers baths, brushings, cuts, and nail trims, and kennel staff can bathe a pup while they are boarding or at daycare.
Owner Profit: $148,439
HVAC and Plumbing in Sacramento Location: Sacramento Valley, CA Price: $9,700,000
This growing company completes HVAC and plumbing projects for new construction as well as renovations. With an on-site fabrication shop, this company can meet any HVAC needs of their customers located throughout Northern California. The owner currently focuses on lead generation, estimations, associated negotiations, bonding, PR, and financial oversight.
Owner Profit: $3,864,684 10
The Firm Deal Review
Opportunities Presented by The Firm See our website for over 140 additional deals!
Commercial Plumbing in Omaha Location: Omaha, NE Price: $940,000
This plumbing business has been serving the Omaha area since 2011. Their service extends roughly 60 miles from the office, allowing them to work in smaller towns outside of the metro if needed. They currently work fully on commercial projects. 75% is large commercial plumbing, and 25% is installing utility lines, also for commercial clients.
Owner Profit: $257,545
Specialized Trucking, Civil, and Mining Support Location: Midwest Price: $17,800,000
This plumbing business has been serving the Omaha area since 2011. Their service extends roughly 60 miles from the office, allowing them to work in smaller towns outside of the metro if needed. They currently work fully on commercial projects. 75% is large commercial plumbing, and 25% is installing utility lines, also for commercial clients.
Owner Profit: $257,545
Expert Masons, $4MM in Sales Location: Eastern Iowa Price: $3,200,000
This company has mastered bricklaying since 1988 and works with both commercial and residential customers. Projects include home exteriors, campus dorms, high schools, churches, community centers, and commercial buildings. Most work is completed locally. In addition to laying brick, the team also completes decorative concrete projects that include everything from grocery store floors to a pool deck.
Owner Profit: $792,485
Advertising Firm: Visual, Media & Communications
Location: Toronto, New York and Montreal Offices; Ontario Production Facility Unmatched in terms of technology, production capabilities, and product diversity, this firm is serviced by the most experienced and knowledgeable team of display graphics, digital signage, video production, and print professionals. Reputation for reliability, quality workmanship, professionalism, and customer service is well earned and reflected by the trust and loyalty of clients served.
Owner Profit: $5,932,295 TheFirmAdv.com
Jonathan Ratliffe, Buyer
Nita Chisari, Seller
BUY? SELL? PARTNER? The Firm Shakes Up the M&A Industry with an
Innovative Opportunity for Two Business Owners by A. R. Goldyn Nita Chisari had been working as a senior claims adjuster in the corporate insurance industry for several years when she decided it was time for a change: She wanted to start her own business. “In 1996, I got downsized from a company,” Chisari said. “They went bankrupt, and that caused me to examine the industry and figure out what I wanted to do.” That same year, Chisari’s husband would retire from his 25-year career with the Orlando (Florida) Police Department, and they planned to move to a farm in Tennessee with their young son. Maybe Tennessee would be the right place to start a new business as well.
Chisari had a penchant for claims handling, and she was passionate about discovering call management services and solutions that could improve customer service and job efficiency for the first-notice-of-loss (FNOL) industry. Those interests led her to consider starting her own claims reporting business.
“A gentleman was trying to teach me how to load the software,” Chisari continued, “when they got a call from a company called Georgia Casualty out of Atlanta looking for a firstnotice-of-loss company, and the gentleman says, ‘Here she is.’ I was taking their calls 24/7 the next day on my cellphone.”
“I always thought that first notice of loss was a very important part of the claims process,” Chisari said, “and I didn't think a lot of emphasis was being put on first notice of loss outside of the worker’s comp industry. So, I decided to go to Birmingham, Alabama, to buy the software to do first-notice-of-loss [reports].
In March 1999, with a couple of telephone lines, Chisari started Quality Resource Management (QRM) in the living room of their home and the company grew by word of mouth. “By the end of the year, I had five phone lines in my house with different ringtones so I could
The Firm Deal Review
Deal Review: Quality Resource Mgmt • Location: Nashville, TN • Cash Flow: $7,949,406 • Loan Type: SBA Loan • Number of Employees: 160+ • Client Base:large clients, business-to-business, na tionwide footprint • Website: www.qrm-inc.com
“When I talked to Nita, she was adamant that she was not ready to retire or sell her business,” Sells said. “She wasn’t sure she was prepared to buy out a competitor, either. But she did ask about what options she might have for expanding her service offerings. “I had an idea,” Sells continued, “I wasn’t sure whether Nita would be interested, but I knew that if she liked it, we were going to do something groundbreaking for M&As. So, I said, ‘Nita, what would you think about forming a strategic, symbiotic partnership with a company that complements yours and has the services you’ve been talking about wanting to add?’”
you can have partnership contracts with our giving away the farm, so both companies prosper for the next 20 years. You can hold on to your company’s integrity and stay involved.” By engaging in a strategic partnership with Ratliff, QRM, Inc., makes it possible for adjusters to look at completed claims, which they can adjudicate and manage in a onetouch manner. With the strategic partnership, Chisari can offer pricing that’s beneficial to QRM, Inc., clients because of the business they do with Ratliff's company, and QRM, Inc., receives a volume discount.
determine which client was calling in on Chisari was interested and engaged in an “Our goal is not to integrate the companies,” which line,” Chisari said. “After the first year, agreement with The Firm. Chisari continued. “See, everybody, when we obtained an office suite and [the business] they acquire stuff, they think of integration. just started taking off from there.” Sells started calling The Firm’s qualified con- That is not us. We are remaining our own tacts. While speaking with Jonathan Ratliff, brands but leveraging and working together QRM, Inc., partnered with regional companies owner of Collateral Holdings, LLC in Tusca- to bring new ideas [into the] space we’re opthat were either carriers, third-party administra- loosa, Alabama, she heard him saying a lot of erating in. We're looking at things that each tors or self-insured employers. The company the same things Chisari had said. He wasn’t company does well and saying, ‘OK, how do also partnered with vendors serving the indus- looking to sell his business or acquire a com- we fit? What could we add, should a client try, such as independent adjusters and nurse petitor. But, like Chisari, he suspected he desire this? How would we work together to case managers — vendors that also needed could be doing more to diversify his business deliver that type of cohesive service?’ So, 24/7 dispatch and notification services — ef- and enhance his service offerings. we're taking the best of both worlds.” fectively providing triage or exposure controls Continued page 14 based on the severity of an incident. “I said, ‘Jonathan, I have someone I think you need to meet,’” Sells said. “I told him I rep“We became known as the 911 of the casu- resented the owner of another family-owned alty business,” Chisari said. "Our whole focus business who was looking for a strategic was to control the ultimate loss on the claim.” partner that could help her diversify her service offerings, and I thought they Twenty Years Later … could help each other.” Not long after QRM, Inc., celebrated its 20th anniversary in March 2019, Chisari started Ratliff said that was something thinking about her next strategic move for the he’d really like to hear more company, how and whether she should diver- about. sify her service offerings, and how she could preserve her legacy at QRM, Inc. A New Type of Deal • Sale Price: $11,000,000 “Not all acquisitions Around the same time, Cortney Sells, presi- are black and white,” • Asset Value: $445,000 dent of The Firm, learned that the insurance Sells said. “There claims industry was experiencing spectacu- can be hybrid deals. • Blue Sky Value: $10.5MM lar growth. Always on the lookout for oppor- As with this partner• Key Intangible Assets: tunities to match up business owners, Sells ship, two family-owned reached out to owners of leading insurance companies can work to• Long Term Clients claims services providers to see if any were gether to grow without giv• Streamlined Operations preparing for retirement, planning an exit strat- ing up their family’s legacy. egy or looking to expand their businesses. The biggest takeaway is that
◄ from page 13
“We were not going to find a strategy that would put any changes to current workflows,” Tips for Landing a Strategic Partnership Chisari said, “because we were already When businessowners first decide to look great-performing companies and administerfor a strategic partner, they should out- ing the core services that we already had. But line what they’re trying to accomplish. looking at what could we add on to those core Chisari recommends also defining the services and putting together those roadmaps managerial weaknesses. — that was really the biggest obstacle.”
Chisari said of her experience working with The Firm. “[It was] everything that I wanted, Jonathan felt like he came out with a big company. I've already made a sale for the new company. He goes, ‘Nita, working with you is a hoot!" We've got a good relationship. And I just couldn't say more about Cortney and her staff. They have been wonderful.”
“I recognized that I had grown the company,” she said. “I had brought the company to a point where I needed to look at the landscape of the industry, understand the changes, and then scrutinize my strengths and weaknesses as a CEO and decide how I was going to respond to those weaknesses."
Chisari also said that she and Ratliff remain in close communication with one another, and they communicate frequently with their direct reports to ensure that each company’s culture continues to develop in positive ways.
Although she describes the formation of a strategic partnership as “a journey,” Chisari said it was a positive experience because she, Ratliff and Sells all worked together to make it happen. “The challenges, I don't know if I would really call them challenges because Cortney's staff did such a good job in vetting and bringing to me partners they thought would fit the model I was looking for,” Chisari said. “They actually brought me companies that really would be good partners for QRM. So, they didn't waste my time. “I think the challenge with anything is trying to work out a contract that really emphasizes partnership, my ongoing involvement, their ongoing involvement, how we were going to work together to enhance each other's offering,” Chisari continued. “It really worked through those dynamics purely on a high-level basis. By analyzing and spending time understanding each other's capabilities, and visiting each other's locations, we were able to work through those questions and get concepts for future products.”
"It was everything that I wanted. Jonathan felt like he came out with a big company. I've already made a sale for the new company."
“I think one thing that played very well in QRM's favor was that they’re a lot larger than the company they’ve partnered with,” Sells said. “QRM has such a strong positive culture, and Ratliff really admired that.” In fact, he plans to enhance his company’s culture with many of the employee programs that QRM, Inc., has implemented, well-positioning his company on the employee side as he and Chisari move forward.
Sells offered some additional advice to businessowners seeking out strategic partnerships: “Visit each other’s locations and spend time analyzing how to build a roadmap to work together to enhance products while maintaining your individual brands,” she said. “Put together a shared business plan with shared goals and a good roadmap.”
“My legacy hope for my company has not changed,” Chisari continued. “I feel that I put my company in a great position for its legacy. I still work in the company...I've got more tools to help pursue the legacy of my company...I think 20 years of experience in understanding the needs of my clients has allowed me to put that knowledge to work. I think we found the Chisari also had one last piece of advice for best partner, and I'm excited about our future.” entrepreneurs considering a strategic partner- •THE FIRM ship or other type of hybrid deal. “I just want young entrepreneurs to not look at acquisition like people have always looked at it,” she said. “Yes, there was money exchanged, but it's different; it's more of a hybrid agreement because we share so many common philosophies. It's really the best thing. Even better than the monetary gain, it's the ability to partner with a company that you share so much heart with. I don't know how to explain it.”
Chisari said that the most difficult part of the deal was working through a roadmap of how she and Ratliff would work together to bring Don’t You Love a Happy Ending? those enhanced products to market while “I'm very pleased at the agreement and the still preserving their individual brands. contract, the contract terms, the selling price,”
The Firm Deal Review
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Flooring & Installation - Absentee Owned Sale Price: $4,615,000 Cash Flow: $1,089,012 Multiple: 4.24 Business Location: Phoenix, AZ Buyer Location: Lincoln, NE
B2B Sales of Industrial & Automotive Equipment
Sale Price: $1,200,000 Cash Flow: $543,874 Multiple: 3 Business Location: Columbus, OH Buyer Location: Leesburg, IN Blue
Blue Sky Value: $4.35MM
Sky Value: $575,0000
Successful Deals Closed by The Firm ! D L
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Design & Architecture with Hotel Focus Sale Price: $3,200,000 Cash Flow: $1,693,152 Multiple: 2.57 Business Location: Nashville, TN Buyer Location: Columbus, OH
Blue Sky Value: $1.55MM TheFirmAdv.com
Luxury Dog Daycare, Boarding & Grooming
Sale Price: $2,708,604 Cash Flow: $272,858 Multiple: 4.5 Business Location: Washington, D.C Buyer Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
Blue Sky Value: $2,435,746 Deal Intelligence
You have mentioned standard addbacks several times. What exactly are standard add-backs?
For business acquisition transactions, we have found that transferable/relevant management experience is critical. We also look at the buyer's personal credit and the cash flow of the business (using standard addbacks). OF course, this isn't everything we analyze, but experience, personal credit, and cash flow are typically the top three.
Stand addbacks would include such items as: interest payments, depreciation amortization, seller's compensation, and other expenses that will not continue under new ownership. Of course, we need to factor in appropriate compensation for the buyer since we are sure you want to be paid for all your hard work!
This edition is all about cash flow lending. Some lenders call this "air ball Tell us about your lending lending" and tend to steer buyers institution. away from businesses with blue Gulf Coast Small Business Lending (a sky. What is Gulf Coast Small Budivision of Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Co.) siness Lending's policy regarding is a nationwide SBA Preferred Lender blue sky?
that thinks logically and moves quickly. We provide great terms and competitive We commonly refer to the "blue sky" rates to borrowers across a wide range component of the deal as "goodwill." of industries on loans up $10,000,000. Gulf Coast Small Business Lending is definitely a cash flow lender. When a Would you rather loan on transaction has good personal credit, postclosing liquidity, and relevant ina business with heavy dustry experience along with excellent hard assets or on a busibusiness cash flow (With standard adness with a heavy cash flow and a dbacks and an adjustment of approlot of blue sky? priate owner draw), we put no limit on Well, both collateral and cashflow wou- the amount of goodwill that we will conld be nice! However, if we had to pick sider financing. We would rather rely one, Gulf Coast Small Business Lending on excellent cash flow (which, let's be definitely relies much more heavily on frank, is what really repays loans) than business cash flow. Unlike some len- collateral. It is our greatest hope that ders, we are very comfortable conside- the excellent cash flow continues, the ring transactions with large good com- borrower pays the loan as agreed, and ponents. Question four discusses our we never need to depend on the business assets to pay off our loan. approach in more detail.
What are some of the key attributes you look for when assessing a loan request?
What are the most common reasons for an SBA loan to be denied?
SBA loans are denied for a whole host of reasons, but the most common are: business/buyer not eligible for SBA financing, buyers with insufficient management experience, poor personal credit histories, and/or inability to demonstrate adequate cash flow (with standard addbacks) to service the debt obligations of the business.
What are some costs that are common with an SBA loan?
SBA loans include all of the standard costs assoicated with any commercial term loan (so collateral appraisals, business valuations, legal fees, recording fees, and the like). Although SBA loans are not assessed "points," there is an SBA Guarantee Fee that is comparable to "points." Borrowers should be provided with an estimate of closing costs during the underwriting and/or closing process. Note that in many cases, the closing costs can be paid with loan funds which reduces the borrower upfront, out-of-pocket costs.
Tricia Hoffman Vice President Business Development Officer
The Firm Deal Review
The plan you needed; the partner you didn't expect. Jaime Heldridge Cassandra Powers-Satterfield Rene Rademacher
Susanne Miller Makayla Holliday-Kalagias Rachel Rand
Cadence Hollers Jessica Hughes Jared Olson
Stefanie Baguian McKenna Thorngren Anya Roberts
Anne Boonstra Dan Hayes Lori Hulsof
For the Greater Good of Omaha
A DEAL 30 YEARS IN THE MAKING by Stefanie Baguian
The AIM institute was started almost 30 years ago to address a shortage of tech talent in the Omaha metro. Careerlink started as one of a variety of projects to create funding for the greater good of the AIM Institute's mission. At a time when most job postings were merely in newspapers, the AIM Institute created Careerlink as one of the first online platforms to search and apply for jobs. As Careerlink became financially successful, the Board of Directors at the AIM Institute shifted their goals in a new direction, wanting to focus more on their not-for-profit missions and their educational programs. Unfortunately, Careerlink took away the focus from the main missions. They decided that Careerlink needed to stand on its own.
Courtesy: AIM Institute
“Careerlink itself wasn’t perfectly aligned with our mission,” said Levi Thiele, the Vice President of Program and Resource Development at AIM. “We were also growing more sustainable funding sources for mission related activities, so the board's advice was to sell Careerlink off, take the proceeds from the sale, and invest in growing mission related services.”
“We have trademarks that go along with it,” said Thiele. “We have the intellectual properties, we have the platforms and we have all the contracts with customers, so that’s really what we were selling.
It might seem to be a rare moment in a business’s course when they realize that only a portion of a business needs to be sold and not the entire business. Business owners A perfect example of a blue-sky business, who have different divisions may not realize Careerlink carries a minimal amount of phys- that this is an option for them if they are not ical assets and really focuses on the services willing or ready to sell off the whole business. they provide. The Board of Directors reached out to a plethora of brokers, had phone calls and heard pitches. After a referral from the Vistage Network, they ultimately met with Cortney Sells, President of The Firm Advisory.
• Location: Omaha, NE • Cash Flow: $927,113 • Loan Type: SBA • Number of Employees: 10 • Client Base: Small to large businesses looking to acquire employees, individual job seekers • Website: www.careerlink.com
The Firm Deal Review
• • • •
Sale Price: $2,770,000 Asset Value: $900,000 Blue Sky Value: $1,187,000 Key Intangible Assets: • Brand Recognition • Great Reputation • Ready for Expansion
The Firm tries to make this a smooth process and deliver an outcome that leaves both buyers and sellers feeling satisfied.
“I have no experience selling businesses before,” said Thiele. “It’s not my background. It’s not something I have a lot of experience with...so what I really appreciate is that we could reach out [to The “Cortney’s [pitch] was just the most persuasive and got us the most Firm] with a lot of questions, like newby level questions, just beexcited,” said Thiele. “She has a lot of energy and enthusiasm and cause we didn’t understand the process. No one at The Firm ever she spoke very knowledgeably about carving out a piece of a busi- made us feel stupid for asking.” ness and doing that with as little disruption as Thiele offers some advice to others selling possible to the rest of the business and that’s their business. something that was important to us. It wasn’t like we were selling our entire company. It was “If I could go back and do it again, one a carveout.” thing that I would have done differently, I would have spent more time prepping for Through The Firm’s process, they met with the carveout before we ever put the busiseveral prospective buyers. All coming from ness on the market,” said Thiele. “I think a national level, the buyers were anything what happened in our case, we weren’t from investment groups to staffing agencies ready for a lot of the questions. We hadn’t to people who just wanted to own their own split out some of our books and our prosmall business. cesses in a way that made them easily shareable when we started getting down In the end, a single buyer was decided upon. the road with some of the potential buyers. I think it made some of the process drag “There were two main out longer than it should have.” reasons,” said Thiele. “The first was financial, As Careerlink transitions away from AIM just the deal itself, in a and starts a new chapter, that doesn’t mean it will not be rememfinancial point of view, bered at the AIM Institute. best aligned with what we were looking for and “Because it serves so many customers across the region, I think I’ll the value of the busiLevi Thiele miss having that connection to such a wide audience,” said Thiele. ness. The second thing “Because oftentimes, it did provide us the opportunities to get our we were looking for: the not-for-profit mission in front of that wider audience.” •THE FIRM buyer’s vision for what he wanted to do with Careerlink sounded really good to us. This particular buyer wanted to keep Careerlink running in the Omaha area. He wanted to take on all the existing employees. He had a vision for growing it more into a staffing model. All of that sounded like it would be really really good for Omaha. That was compelling to us as well.”
"We have the trademarks that go along with it. We have the platforms and we have all the contracts with customers... that's what we were selling."
A new business owner takes leap and learns the language of a new industry by Rebecca Bowman They say if you love what you do then you will never work a day in your life. That could not be more accurate for International Translation Services President, John Bryant. Starting out his career in the insurance industry, but his position was eliminated due to a company closure. Bryant then looked to business ownership as a solution. Having other family members who had gone that route in the past, it seemed like a good option. Although Bryant had no previous experience in the language services industry, he was blessed with a bilingual wife. Stumbling upon International Translation felt like a natural fit for his family. Being around non-native English speakers, Bryant saw the positive impacts language services can have firsthand. With any business, there are challenges in this industry that Bryant is still navigating his way through. Most language services professionals have been interpreters themselves, which gives them a huge advantage of having existing clients to work with. Additionally, employing quality translators isn’t cheap. This is a professional service where you get what you pay for and Bryant only wants the best. International Translation Services provides face to face translation services which can struggle to compete with online translation services; however, that face-to-face contact is one his biggest assets. Being able to hear tone and see facial expressions while translating makes a huge difference. How many times have you copied something
into an online translation tool and the results are something completely different than what you meant? It can be safely assumed that the answer to that question is often.
from the beginning that his home state of Iowa didn’t offer a lot of translation service opportunities, he has always had it in mind to expand to other states. Knowing what your end goal is up front can help outline what day-to-day deciAs seen with other blue sky businesses, sions will get you there. a translation services company has minimal to no physical assets, with the big- Two years after Bryant’s initial purchase gest intangible value being those inter- of International Translation Services, he preters working face-to-face with people has returned to The Firm with interest in need of help. This was a business that in another translation service business. didn’t need a brick-and-mortar location Now with experience in the industry, or a large amount of inventory on hand. Bryant feels comfortable purchasing a business that was originally located When planning long term, it is vital to hundreds of miles away. An industry he know what your limitations are and what knew very little about has now become resources you have available. Knowing his new career and passion. •THE FIRM
• • • •
Sale Price: $625,000 Asset Value: $1,000 Blue Sky Value: $624,000 Key Intangible Assets: • Long Standing Contracts • In-Demand Field • Scheduling System • Diverse Set of Languages Offered • Recession Proof The Firm Deal Review
John Bryant's Advice to those New to Business Ownership • Do your own research...digging into the financials and physically touring the business gives you a much closer relationship with the opportunity to really see if it’s right for you. • Talk to people that do the same type of business in another state. Not being seen as a competitor they most times have great advice to give. • Be on the look out for potential customers (specifically large organizations) – this gives you a starting point for growth opportunities • Pay attention to the news! What is going on in the world can have a large impact on business owners. • Being excited about a new opportunity can sometimes give you rose colored glasses. Don’t forget to also consider worst case scenarios while you daydream about the possibilities. • Expect to lose Deal Review: some business International Translation due to the change Services, Inc. in ownership. • Get the seller’s • Location: Des Moines, IA buy-in. Having a • Cash Flow: $656,000 good contact to • Loan Type: SBA Loan • Number of Employees: 1 help you through • Client Base: Healthcare, the transition is in• Insurance, Banking valuable. • Website: www.translatorsiowa.com
he past year was a successful one for everyone with many things to celebrate. Here we look
back at all the huge milestones we hit in 2019:
ROARING PLENTIES: A Year of Success in [July 2019] We were featured on the cover of the Midlands Business Journal celebrating our international recognition and our impact on the Business Brokerage and Advisory Industry.
[Jan. 2019] We earned a place on the BBB Honor [Aug. 2019] Roll for the ninth year running. We were named one of Inc. 5000's The Most Successful Companies in [Apr. 2019] America. These are business that We earned Best Business Broker in are privately-held in the US that are Omaha for the eighth year. experiencing fast-paced growth.
[May 2019] We cleaned house at the International Business Brokers Association Awards. Out of 2,000-plus brokers, we won Top Deal Maker, Top Global Producer of the Year, Closing of the Year, IBBA Chairman's Circle Award, and IBBA Deal Maker Award.
Photo Courtesy: IBBA.org The Firm Deal Review
Review [Sep. 2019] Cortney Sells, President of The Firm, was featured on The Real Deal, a podcast put together by tthe IBBA. She discussed her method to success for The Firm and how to measure it. This podcast had over 1,000 listens and Sells received over 300 thank you notes from various brokers around the country congratulating her on a successful year and for sharing valuable knowledge to experience success in the advisory industry.
[Oct. 2019] Sells was named to Midlands Business Journal's 40 under 40, a celebration of the Omaha Metro's leaders. Sells was honored to be on this list dominated by women in 2019. Sells is committed to her job and the Omaha Community.
[Dec. 2019] The Firm ended the year on the highest note celebrating an alltime high in transaction dollars for businesses sold in 2019 and The Firm looks forward to another year of continued success in 2020.
The plan you needed; the partner you didn't expect. At The Firm, we set ourselves apart by offering 100% confidentiality, personalized attention, and a complete team dedicated to you and your business from start to finish.
Local HQ. Global Leader. The Firm sold more businesses in 2018 than any other M&A advisor in the world. Contact our office here in Omaha for expert guidance on your exit or acquistion.
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