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omAhA-metro business to business mAGAZine summer 2008 VOLUME 8 • NUMBER 3

inside

features

on t he web : w w w. b 2b o ma .co m

cover story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Omaha veteran broadcaster Gary Sadlemyer

b2b business Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-37 The pride of Omaha

arts & entertainment ......................................... 12 don’t paint lawyers with a broad brush how i roll ......................................................... 15 keith snyder, ’70 Ford Mustang Boss 302 the know-it-all . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 what’s choking small business? in the office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 these execs cook up sizzling ideas omaha! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 from the bin to the bank The boss has a BOSS 302. Page 15

columns

from the chamber .................................................. 44 chamber supports new ballpark

better business bureau ......................................... 45 keep your head when raising capital!

message from the mayor ...................................... 46 new city asset: ALL PLAY barrier-free park

summer 2008 B2B omaha 7


cover story

Nebraska Radio’s 50,000 Watt Voice Gary Sadlemyer story by Leo Adam Biga •

photos by Bill sitzmann

Many radio listeners consider 1110 KFAB’s Gary Sadlemyer a voice of reason amid the shock jock stunts and blowhard rants that can pass as radio announcing these days. The consummate professional, host of the popular Good Morning Show weekdays from 5:30 to 9 a.m. (when not attending to his program director and operations director duties), is the last holdover from a golden era at the AM giant. KFAB ruled the airwaves among Omaha broadcasters in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. It was THE station of choice for vast numbers of listeners and THE place to work for news hounds or middle-ofthe-road DJs. When the then-24-year-old Sadlemyer started at KFAB in 1977, he joined seasoned veterans and legends Walt Kavanagh, Lyell Bremser and Ken Headrick. He counted himself lucky to be in their company. Growing up on a farm near Eagle Bend, Minn., where he went to school and his father ran a trucking company, Sadlemyer didn’t hear KFAB, whose 50,000-watt signal carries long distances but not quite that far north. Even listening to some backwoods station was enough to spark his imagination. 8 B2B Omaha Summer 2008

“I’ll never forget, I was around 10 years old, running an errand in the car with my mother and the radio was tuned into our little local station,” he said. “I remember listening to the announcer and thinking, ‘I’ll bet that’s fun.’ Listening to that guy I imagined what it looked like in the booth. At some point I realized I don’t listen to radio the way other people do. They didn’t pay attention to it like I did.” Par for the course for kids, he went from being enamored with radio to dreaming of being a landscape architect, then a teacher/ coach, then a lawyer. After a stint at Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.), he reset his ambitions on radio and attended the Brown Institute in Minneapolis, where he received rudimentary training. What sold him on the technical school was a guaranteed placement at a real live station. He wanted a job in radio so badly he told Brown officials, “I don’t care, I’ll go anywhere. Just give me a box of records and a microphone.” To his surprise he was hired by KRGI in Grand Island, Neb., a big station in a good-sized town, not the typical way a green radio hand starts out. “I was so lucky. The program director at KRGI was on vacation and the general manager, who knew virtually nothing about radio,


called Brown (Institute). He’d fired someone or had someone quit, and he needed a guy right now. So I ended up being the guy. The program director got back from vacation and he was like, ‘What have you done to me?’ But I survived that somehow.” He learned the biz from the ground up, announcing, spinning records, covering news, running the board. “I got to learn all that stuff. It was fun,” he said. Good fortune played a part in his leaving KRGI for this region’s radio mecca -- KFAB. Not that he wasn’t happy in Grand Island — he was. If he were going to leave, it would have to be for a special opportunity. “I didn’t want to come to Omaha unless it was KFAB,” he said. “I knew there was one station in that market worth working for at the time, and in my opinion, it was KFAB. I thought, ‘That thing is the Rock of Gibraltar. Husker sports, a tremendous reputation, a tremendous name. This is the kind of place that can really provide some stability.’” Holding out for KFAB was one thing. Getting on there was another. Luckily he was befriended by “a real character” in Grand Island, Charlie Winkler, who just happened to be friends with Lyell Bremser, the genial voice of Big Red sports and the general manager at KFAB. Sadlemyer said Winkler “was kind of like a father figure” and when asked “if he’d put in a good word for me, he did.” In his best Bremser imitation, Sadlemyer recalled what the inimitable radio icon told him when the novice called to inquire about a job. “Well, I’ll tell you, we don’t really have anything at the moment, but send a tape and we’ll keep it on file.” Sadlemyer didn’t think much more about it. A year or two passed. “And out of the blue one day in November of ‘76,” he recalled, “sta-

tion manager Ken Headrick called and said, ‘We have an opening, and we’d like you to come and talk about it.’” He was offered the job the same day he interviewed. After talking it over with his first wife, he did what anyone in his position would do, he took the job and ran with it. On top of the usual hassles that come with settling in a new place, the young couple dealt with extra challenges. “It was rough right away because we didn’t know a soul. I was working seven to midnight and Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “Not making much money. And then we found out we were going to have a baby. It was just a tough stretch, but we got through that.” It wasn’t long before office politics turned ugly. A group of disgruntled employees began forcefully lobbying to make KFAB a union shop. Bremser wasn’t having it. Sadlemyer wisely chose management’s side. At the end of the fray, the agitators were let go and Sadlemyer moved to the more plum weekday morning shift. Life was good. He absorbed everything he could from the old radio pros around him. “I’d go in and bug them to tell me stuff,” he said. “How does this work? Take me through this process. They were wonderful about it. They all became friends.” They all showed him the ropes, but the one who really took him under his wing, he said, was Headrick, the boss. “He spoke to me like a dad. A very no-nonsense guy. He wasn’t warm and fuzzy, but he was a mentor to me.” Headrick was there for him when he “went through a very painful divorce” in 1986. Three years later KFAB made the awkward leap into what was ballyhooed as the next big thing on the AM band — talk radio. It’s proven to be just that. Sadlemyer hosted KFAB’s first live talk show. The transition took time for a station whose announcers were previously “not encourSummer 2008 B2B Omaha 9


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aged to be funny or to talk a lot,” he said. What won listeners over in the end, he said, was “KFAB’s neighborly style.” It’s a vibe Sadlemyer’s perfected with his folksy, homespun manner and dry wit. His personal life got better, too, as he remarried and his kids thrived. The ‘90s saw many of his trusted colleagues at the station retire and KFAB go through what he disdainfully calls “the owner of the month club”, changing hands several times. “It was like, ‘Who’s our owner now?’ That period in the history of the station is not my favorite,” he said. His own duties changed to include more administrative responsibilities. The biz changed to a more controlled, corporate model. Less personality. Less soul. He’s not crazy about what’s happened in radio but he’s never lost his passion for it. “I just love it. The work is fun. I don’t feel any differently from how I did when I was 24.” He said his favorite part of the job “is not promotions and it’s not the businesssales end of it, but it’s the relationships with the listener and with the advertiser. With all due modesty, I think I’m a pretty good commercial spokesman for people because I don’t do any spots where I don’t know ‘em and I don’t believe ‘em. And I love telling their story, absolutely love it. And getting to know ‘em and hearing about the latest offer they have. I just love that part. “And getting out on remotes and at public events and meeting listeners, yeah, I enjoy that, too, because everybody’s different, everybody’s got a story.” By choice, he still runs his own audio board when hosting the Morning Show. “I like it that way because I like to depend on myself for the pacing, and if there’s something I want to do and I’ve got it in my head, I can just move things around and make it happen. I’m responsible for the show and this gives me control,” he said. “Besides, it’s kind of like a duespaying thing. It’s a lost art in a way. That’s just the way I learned to do it and I like it.” At age 55 he figures he has 10 more years as a radio personality. A sure sign of how entrenched he is in the public’s mind and in media circles is his recent induction in the Omaha Press Club’s Face on the Ballroom Floor. Thirty-one years after signing on with KFAB and its roster of legends, he’s now a legend himself.


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“Dream No Little Dream” The Kutak Rock Art Collection

The art of law.

M

ost people don’t usually associate law firms with great art collections; but then again, most law firms haven’t been founded by a lawyer who was as impassioned by the allure of art as by the letter of the law. Robert J. Kutak was both. Known as co-founder of Kutak Rock LLP headquartered here in Omaha, he established a national law firm, which today has 15 offices located across the country. From public issues to civil rights, Kutak was outsized in all that he did, his actions keeping with his personal motto: “Dream no little dreams.” He particularly applied this philosophy to collecting art, a hobby turned avocation that fulfilled his own dreams in a very big way. Kutak purchased prints and paintings with the eye of a connoisseur, tending toward modern abstractionism that is bold, vibrant and visually engrossing. Over the years, he amassed a considerable collection, numbering some 800 pieces and ranging in size from medium to large scale. Jeanne Salerno, Kutak Rock’s director of professional development, says, “Bob Kutak focused on the broad range of an artist’s career.” She cites a large vibrantly primary oil painting created by Doug Martin called Bow & Oval, a work composed of bold color fields. “(Kutak) was a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when he met him,” says Salerno, “and he collected as much of Martin’s work as he could.” Kutak’s all-embracing kind of approach resulted in both a cohesive and diverse collection, one that provides over12 B2B Omaha Summer 2008


views of works as they evolved over the course of an artist’s professional practice. When Kutak died prematurely at age 50 in 1983, the law firm purchased most of the collection from his personal estate, and throughout the years, partners have added to that collection. Today the works number close to 550, and they are installed in Kutak Rock’s home office located in the historic Omaha Building, which is located downtown on the corner of 17th and Farnam Streets. In many respects, the building is itself a work of art. Famed architect Stanford White of the New York architectural firm McKim, Mead and White designed the 10-story building, and when constructed in 1889, its 11 stories made it Omaha’s tallest building. Kutak Rock first acquired the building during the 1970s, and over the past three decades, the firm has undertaken two major renovations. The most recent was completed just this past summer, and it fully restored the building’s infrastructure as well as its intricate interior details. To reestablish the building’s historic design integrity, the firm turned to Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture P.C. and Lund-Ross Constructors, Inc. Particularly noteworthy are the restorations that took place in the second floor’s conference center. Here, Alley Poyner came upon a large circular window framed in marble that had been bricked in by the building’s previous owners. Restored, it now faces a half circle iron grille that has been placed behind glass to create a magnificent window overlooking one of Omaha’s busiest streets. But the renovation also entailed infusing the historic landmark with a contemporary sensibility, one that would pay homage to the legacy of Stanford White’s original plans while simultaneously bringing the building forward into the 21st century. To this end, Alley Poyner created an airy atrium with skywalks on each floor that combine to give the interior space a fluid, open feel. The architectural firm also took into account the Kutak Rock art collection and accordingly designed spaces specifically to highlight the various paintings and works on paper. To accomplish this, Alley Poyner estab-

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lished themes on each floor and installed the larger pieces facing one another across hallways, which have niches at either end. “Part of this design,” notes Salerno, “is that each niche has a gray background that sets off the art.” The firm’s communications specialist Pat Brennan, who also wrote The Kutak Rock Collection, a catalogue that provides an overview of the most significant artists, adds, “They [Alley Poyner] did a masterful job of creating a color theme that doesn’t look monotonous and changes as the art does.” And change the art does indeed. Important artists include Carol Summers, Ben Shahn, Steven Sorman and Frank Sampson. Regional artists such as Allan Tubach, Gene Davis and Peter Hill are also prominently represented. While all the artists occupy important roles in the Kutak Rock collection, several stand out. Carol Summers’ work, for example, is a firm favorite. The artist (a man) is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has had a one-person show at the Museum of Modern Art. His work is also included in the permanent collections of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. Singling out the artist’s Rainbow Glacier, Brennan observes, “Summers makes art that symbolizes the firm’s active image.” The artist also created a limited edition memorial print in honor of the firm’s co-founder called In Memory of Robert Kutak. The dark purple work shows a partial sphere of the Earth, resplendently verdant, as viewed from outer space. In the Kutak Rock catalogue, Pat Brennan writes: “The greenness of the globe, virtually engulfed by nothingness, suggests that the Earth is a haven for life within an indistinct and unremitting void.” In this regard, Robert Kutak filled that void by collecting art that continues to enhance and enrich the firm that he so passionately worked to establish. For this reason, says Jeanne Salerno, “All the pieces are really personal to Kutak Rock.” 14 B2B Omaha Summer 2008


story by sandy lemke

Photo by bill sitzmann

Keith Snyder

The boss has a BOSS 302.

Keith Snyder is living in a dream world. Only his dream is reality. What red-blooded American kid hasn’t fantasized of owning a Ford Mustang? When Snyder brought out the two Mustangs in his Ford collection, nothing could wipe the boyish grin off his face. Snyder has a collection of cars both vintage and autos sure to age well. Snyder himself has aged well: he is a 1948 model. The boss (Snyder is a C-level executive at SolutionOne) has a 1970 Boss 302. This spectacular specimen is a favorite of both serious car fans and casual onlookers. Snyder is especially proud of the fact that the its original engine has just 33,000 miles. In fact, the entire car is original save the tachometer. Boss 302 Mustangs are not for the restrained driver. They’re pure flash and dash with a Hurst shifter and a rumbling engine. Of note

on this vehicle are the Shaker package and the slats. Although it does look pretty badass, the Shaker package is not just for looks. When asked how fast he’s taken the car, Snyder replied modestly, “it’s been up there.” Snyder has not one but two classic ponies: the second being a 1966 Fastback with a 289 V-8 under the hood is evidence that Snyder has an eye for quality. This is another example of a cream-of-the crop Mustang. Resting on the pony interior back seat is a car show blue ribbon. The wide-circumference steering wheel has that good old-fashioned feel. This is sure to evoke an “ugh” from most readers: Snyder’s son Scott drove this car to high school. School must have been close to home: it still has only 41,679 miles on the odometer. Snyder also owns a hardtop convertible 2002 Thunderbird. It’s the retro-style Ford brought back for just four years. As soon

as he heard Ford was coming out with this “Retro ‘Bird,” Snyder went to the dealership to place an order. “I knew more about the new Thunderbird than they did, I had read so much about it in the car magazines.” Snyder’s day-to-day car is an immaculate Ford F150XLT truck. The man owning multiple dream cars actually has a “dream car.” What more could he possibly want? “A ’66 Shelby Cobra. I had the opportunity to drive one (his neighbor’s) in high school.” Snyder has carried a well-worn photo of this car in his wallet ever since. So, how does Keith Snyder roll? In a Ford, apparently. Although his strong preference is Ford, Snyder added “I appreciate any older vehicle that is well kept.” Depending on his mood, Snyder could roll in a coupe, truck, or, be the envy of the road in a vintage ‘Stang. Summer 2008 B2B Omaha 15


photo by Pat drickey, stonehouse Publishing co.

omaha is just a solid place to do business. Just ask any of the people featured on the following pages. it’s a new edition of b2b business Profiles. stories of companies and the people behind them, and why they enjoy doing business in omaha. one of the reasons omahans are perceived as friendly is, most of us truly enjoy our jobs, being in omaha and serving our clients the best we can. A sampling of the positive comments from a few of the businesses profiled: config.com is an example of a company that came to town on recommendation. company founder Joe rinehart said, “We were not disappointed. omaha is a very good mixture of the 3 D’s: dynamic, diverse and down-home. This lends itself to a business community that is at once vital and stable, experimental and pragmatic.” “We truly enjoy serving people from all walks of life visiting omaha for whatever reason,” says brian tornquist, director of sales for regency lodge. headsetters owner marvin holst has gotten to know his customers over the past 17 years. “We…like to add humor to our conversations and we have a lot of customers that really enjoy that…” in today’s fast-paced world, it’s nice to know who’s behind the phone or the Web address. Any of these businesses would be happy to deal with you in person as well. it’s just the midwestern way of dealing. We are pleased to bring you the faces and stories of the following b2b business Profiles. 16 B2B omaha summer 2008


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Omahaprofile Weren’t computers and e-mail supposed to end the printed document? Weren’t virtual files going to replace the steel cabinets? it certainly hasn’t worked out that way, has it? We print out our emails and do our own desktop publishing. printing is crucial to everyday business. it comes at a cost, especially when color is used for visual impact. Gartner Group recently released a report illustrating that the print space cost of the typical company could be as much as 8% of annual revenues. “this is a staggering number that provides great opportunity to anyone willing to focus and manage it,” says Shane piper, Vice president of Sales at Solutionone, a locally owned and operated nebraska and iowa company that sells and services document and content management software, printers, scanners and multifunction network equipment. “We specialize in helping companies assess their current situation. We help them identify opportunities to make their processes more efficient and effective.” iper, that means improving the docuaccording to piper, ment workflow to maximize the current it and mFp he printing budget (multifunction product) investment. the is paired with powerful yet simple solutions for scanning, storing, distributing and archiving. With the workflow streamlined, it is quicker and more cost effective. “We can implement a document management program for less than the cost of a daily stop at Starbucks.” Some customers prefer in-person visits, some e-mail, some iper. “We offer our customers the phone calls according to piper. opportunity to communicate and build relationships at all levels of our company.” Solutionone, founded in 1937, thrives on doing maha is a fast-moving, businessbusiness in omaha. “omaha oriented progressive city. itt is about the people you know and the service you deliver that will secure short and long-term business initiatives. While the town is growing and is often referred to as a big city by many, it hasn’t lost the values and relationships found in smalltown communities,” says piper. ass one of the few remaining locally owned and operone ated office equipment dealers in the area, Solutionone maha grow. With its expertise and customer has seen omaha ne will no doubt be around for whatservice, Solutionone ever the future brings.

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Omahaprofile “by bricks and clicks.” that’s how Security national Bank president Jim landen summed up the omaha company’s growth plan. the community bank has 13 branches citywide, and will open a 14th location in aksarben Village at 64th and center Streets this fall. more branches and atm sites are on the horizon. Security national is also greatly investing in technology to allow customers to access traditional banking products and services, including debit card transactions and retirement fund statements, via the internet. “banking is changing, and we recognize that we can’t stay the same. our clients want to do more electronically, and they’re traveling more, even globally,” said Senior executive Vice president c.l. landen iii. “We’ve expanded our suite of services through technology to allow them to manage their money more effectively wherever they are.” that’s no easy feat, Jim added. “the trick is to provide products that have broad-based acceptance worldwide,” he said. “it takes a lot of capital and people power to get all those systems into place.” c.l. and Jim’s parents, clarence and mary landen, founded Security national bank in omaha in 1964. in some ways, the bank is reminiscent of community banks of old, remaining family-owned and operated. “there here are a lot of small, locally-owned banks in town, but none have the nearly 44 years of history that we do,” said Jim. “and nd if you walk into any of our retail branches, the personal level of service is not much different than that of years ago.” in n other ways, the bank has changed dramatically, evolving into a broad financial services company, offering trust services, health savings accounts, and many other asset management services for businesses or consumers. Security national ational prides itself in the wealth of knowledge of its staff. both senior landens andens serve on the bank’s board of directors and consult regularly on the business. the he bank also employs four former bank presidents and many officers with tenure. “We’ve found it takes generations of experience to understand what’s going on in the market, and their enormous insight and knowledge has proven invaluable to us,” said Jim. “and our bankers share our dedication to our clients.” this commitment to the client has allowed Security national ational to stand out in the omaha maha market, which “clearly has an over-capacity of banks, with one on every corner,” said Jim. the landens credit omaha for much of the bank’s success, maha has a great particularly in today’s bumpy market, saying, “omaha from left to right: his market doesn’t boom or busts like other markets. ““a nd economy. this “and Jim landen, President maha has great leadership, and there’s a lot of successful people here,” omaha c.l. landen, iii, senior ur goal is to create opportunities for our clients and be added c.l. “our executive vice President partners in their success. that’s how we view our success.” ational’s to show their gratitude, the landens and many of Security national’s maha charities. officers regularly donate time and money to many omaha 1120 South 101st Street “Giving back to the community was ingrained in us as kids by our parents,” omaha, ne 68124 said Jim. “it’s a part of our culture here,” said Jim.

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Omahaprofile When you have visitors in town, whether it’s work colleagues, family members or friends, you want them to have a great place to stay, right? Well, look no further. the two new downtown hotels just north of the Qwest center omaha – Hampton Inn & Suites and Homewood Suites by Hilton – are sure to please even the most particular guests. Sure, the beds are ultra comfy, the massaging shower heads are invigorating, and the incredible complimentary breakfast buffets (including hot items) will start your guests’ day on the right foot. but what really sets these hotels apart from others is something that’s hard to put your finger on… it just feels great to be there. there’s something about the way the team members interact with their guests and each other. “team members are engaged, enjoy coming to work, and are empowered to make decisions that enable them to provide the best service possible to our guests,” says Scott biggar, General manager of the hampton inn & Suites omaha downtown. When it comes to hotel stays, we all want more. the days of being satisfied with a coffee maker and iron in the room are long gone. now we want wireless high-speed internet everywhere in the hotel, flat panel tVs, hook ups for mp3 players, and more choices on the complimentary breakfast buffet. these two downtown hotels, part of the north central Group hotel development and management company, have stepped up with these amenities. boasts don mcnew, General manager of homewood omewood Suites by hilton, “We’ve gotten rave reviews on our clock radios with mp3 compatibility. and guests absolutely love the fact that our duvet covers are washed every time a guest checks out, unlike traditional comforters at some hotels.” the north central entral Group has added to the downtown landscape over the years. hampton inn nn & Suites opened its doors november 8, 2007, and homewood omewood suites opened January 11, 2008. the north central entral Group was founded in 1981, and opened its first omaha hotel, hilton Garden inn – omaha downtown/ owntown/ old market area, in december of 2001. the he company also operates the hampton inn & Suites laVista. the he company is proud of the value its two newest hotels offer. complimentary omplimentary amenities such as highspeed internet nternet access, 24-hour business center, parking, breakfast, state-of-the-art fitness room, indoor pool and whirlpool add to your stay’s experience, but not to the final bill. omewood Suites, guests can spread out and at homewood feel at home in a studio, one- or two-bedroom suite, each dd to that a complimentary with a fully-equipped kitchen. add ome® evening reception with light meal and bevWelcome home® h), and complimentary shopping service, it’s easy erages (m-th), to stay a few nights or a few months. ne of the most rewarding aspects of the hospitality indus“one try is getting to know our guests as they stay with us time and time again. We strive every day to make a very positive impact on their time in omaha,” says Scott biggar.

from left to right: scott biggar, General manager of the hampton inn & suites omaha downtown don mcnew, General manager of homewood suites by hilton

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Omahaprofile With seven successful stores and five more in the omaha metro on the way, Jimmy John’s gourmet Sandwiches franchise owner dean hodges couldn’t be busier, or happier! the fast-food entrepreneur is thrilled with the positive reception omaha has given his gourmet sandwich shops, which has at times been overwhelming. “in the early days, the drive-thru lane (at the 72nd and Farnam store) was backed up…all the way to dodge,” hodges said. “We even faced closure threats from the city.” off course, they worked it out with the city, re-routing traffic around the building and relocating its lunch-time catering service. and the sandwich shops’ “super fast, super friendly service”, extremely clean stores and ultra-fresh bread and toppings keep customers coming back. the he stores also offer super-fast delivery service and world class catering, so visiting the store is optional. “When customers forget to order ahead, or have last minute needs, we don’t’ turn them away,” hodges said. “our goal is to get it done!” hodges odges first got hooked on Jimmy John’s sandwiches himself while on the road, traveling to charleston, illinois llinois (Jimmy John’s birthplace in 1983), to watch his son play college soccer. “my my oldest son, matt, raved about how great a sandwich they served,” he said. “there here were locations all along i-80/i-74. We loved it and decided to go for it.” hodges odges opened his first Jimmy John’s franchise in omaha in november 2005. it quickly became the number one Jimmy John’s in the country. he now operates six omaha maha locations and one in Fremont. Jimmy John’s soaring annual sales are attributed in part to americans mericans looking for more healthy options in fast food, hodges odges said. “i think the biggest thing has been a move to mainstream thinking that sub and deli sandwiches dean hodges are a healthy alternative to burgers and fries,” he said, 850-1176 “especially where trans fats are concerned.” hee also credits the chains’ winning culture among employees and his “awesome workforce” which has locations Planned locations grown from 1 to 280 employees in little more than two nd & Farnam th & park dr. 72 84 years, for his stores’ success. th 40 & dodge 156th & dodge ur turnover is low because we treat people very well,” “our th 107 & Q 126th & Giles odges said. “We’ve given fresh start chances to folks who hodges th 168 & harrison 177th & West center have had troubled pasts, which has been very rewarding for th 145 & maple 142nd & oak View dr. ’d say our customer service is top shelf, and our employees us. i’d Fremont corporate understand this – they just get it!” 12829 W. Dodge St. • Ste. 202

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Omahaprofile as a business owner, you can plan your meetings and have your guests at any number of hotels in the metro area. the regency lodge is one hotel in omaha with a true “lodge” feel. in the heart of an area full of mature trees, native vegetation and beautiful landscaping, the regency lodge feels tucked away, yet it is convenient to the interstate, many offices and services. the b2b omaha businesses profiled are locally owned. the regency lodge is no exception. robert Green not only owns and operates the property; he tries to personally welcome each guest and meeting planner. in addition to mr. Green, guest service manager John maloof’s aim is to ensure guests’ every need is met. this includes helping them with transportation, to advising them on local attractions and events in addition to making sure their steak (from omaha Steaks®) is prepared to their satisfaction. in recent years this 146-room hotel has undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation. the exterior and décor of the hotel was updated. the lobby is spectacularly styled with a rocky mountain lodge odge feel. allll the latest amenities were added in the rooms: fogless mirrors, pillow-top mattresses, bath and body ody soap, shampoo and lotion, refrigerator and microwave and complimentary high-speed wireless internet. other ther features de rigeur for the discriminating traveler at the regency lodge: odge: an elaborate fitness center, business center available for use free of charge, ten meeting rooms for conferences, banquets and weddings both small and large and an indoor pool area with whirlpool and sauna. Shuttle service is complimentary within a five-mile radius. locals ocals may want to book a getaway weekend in one of the regency lodge’s oversized log cabin abin Suites with fireplaces or one of their Whirlpool Suites. the he signature restaurant and lounge, the 909, is noted for its american merican cuisine. imagine magine dining in a lodge atmosphere with live piano (Wednesday – Friday). the he second Friday of each month, the regency lodge odge hosts a wine tasting dinner. Guests won’t want to miss the full hot breakfast buffet. the buffet is complimentary to hotel guests. ornquist, director of sales and marWe talked to brian tornquist, keting at the regency lodge. hee proudly stated, “the odge’s focus is getting back to the true basics regency lodge’s of the hotel industry: serving people. We continuously train our team, from the line level to the managers, that the guest is number one and we are here to serve them.” “We truly enjoy serving people from all walks of life visiting omaha for whatever reason. att the end of the day, if the guest’s expectation has been exceeded, we can go home knowing that we have not only served our guests as they maha as a whole and we hope should be, but have served omaha have created an experience that will not be soon forgotten.”

from left to right: owner robert Green brian tornquist, director of sales and marketing

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Omahaprofile Functionality and Fun. Headsetters prides itself on providing customers with functional, quality products, while injecting a little fun into business equipment sales. the omaha company is a national supplier of telephone headsets and accessories, service and repair. owner marvin holst olst said the company has gotten to know many of its customers well over the past 17 years, developing a level of trust with them not often seen in commercial relationships. and “we certainly like to add humor to our conversations, and we have a lot of customers that really enjoy that kind of a break in their hectic day,” added holst. the he company was founded in 1992 here in omaha, maha, the nation’s telemarketing capital. originally, headsetters’ eadsetters’ focus was on blank audiocassette tape sales to the call center industry. as the industry evolved and customers moved into a wireless environment, the company migrated to sales of headsets, headset accessories, audio conferencing equipment and hearing protection, and service and repair. today, oday, the company’s product lines range from telephone headsets for home and office use, to bluetooth luetooth headsets for cell phones and office applications, to audio conferencing equipment. Sales of wireless headsets now make up 50 percent of its business. new ew headsets, and reconditioned models for the budget-minded, are for sale. plantronics, Gn-Jabra, VXi, Smith carona, arona, Starkey, Scitec, polycom and clearone ne are just some of the manufacturers it respresents. holst olst said each of its customers has a dedicated ustomers are given a direct headsetters sales person. customers phone number and dedicated email to correspond with their sales rep to ensure regular, easy communication. eadsetters’ commitment to quality client service, headsetters’ along with its efforts to make the buying experience straightforward and fun, has kept customers coming back maha as well. year after year. holst credits omaha maha has allowed us to grow our business through the “omaha olst said. “it’s offered many changes in business climates,” holst us great opportunity to enhance our offerings, with the vast diversity of business here.” nd throwing in a few laughs along the way hasn’t and hurt either.

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Omahaprofile did you know…omaha is the home of the nation’s largest 100% employee-owned, full-service travel management company? it’s a fact. omaha businesses and leisure customers have the opportunity to deal with someone both “large and local” when they deal with travel and transport. in addition to the above ranking, travel and transport is the sixth-largest travel management company in the United States. the company all started with one person, soon after V-day in 1945. When World War ii broke out, our nation’s people put their shoulders to the war effort and tourist travel came to a sudden halt. after victory on august 14, 1945, an omaha World-herald newspaper reporter, lawrence youngman, returned to omaha. Slightly disillusioned with his newspaper assignments, lawrence youngman capitalized on the idea of providing omaha with a progressive travel agency. thus, travel and transport, inc., was born in october of 1946 and lawrence youngman was on his way to launching a multi-million dollar agency. as big as it is, travel and transport still knows the value of one-on-one customer service. “We do not take our customers for granted. We have developed a mantra…we’re not too big to know you! that’s how we really feel,” said burma cenovich, manager, travel and transport Vacations. the travel counselors are seasoned travelers who provide real-life information. they do this so well that an exclusive network of upscale vacation travel agencies known as Virtuoso, has selected travel and transport as a member. Virtuoso comprises less than 1 percent of travel consultants in the americas. this connection provides travel and transport with preferred partners such as hoteliers, cruise lines, exclusive tour providers and onsite ambassadors. cindy novak, travel and transport’s director of leisure travel, is especially proud of the agency’s Virtuoso status and its benefits: “Virtuoso gives the client exclusive vacation opportunities that are only available through Virtuoso. on an international trip, you have onsite ambassadors who live in your international destination. they are proud to showcase their culture, treat you like a welcomed family member with Vip service, have access to special venues not available to anyone else and can secure you Vip seating at performances. as a Virtuoso traveler, you can look forward to over-the-top experiences.” For travel and transport to survive as long as it has and to grow so successfully takes constant adaptation. travel and transport has expanded their offerings from leisure and business travel to services such as incentive, group and event planning as well as offering loyalty solutions through a credit card fulfillment division. employees at travel and transport don’t just rely on their computers to deal with their customers. as employee-owners of the company, they take pride in providing these services. “people want businesses that have been around for years. travel and transport has become a landmark in the community as a company that can provide a full range of services in one location. When you talk to a travel and transport employee, you are talking to an employee-owner., according to bill tech, president and ceo. “Since our founding, we have never believed in a cookie cutter approach, where every travel program is exactly the same. We work together with our clients to develop customized travel programs that will provide a successful, long-term partnership,” says tech.

26 B2B omaha summer 2008

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Omahaprofile Feltz WealthPLAN, an omaha maha financial planning firm, is known throughout the midwest for its high performance and fast growth. even more impressive, Feltz Wealthplan is also nationally recognized by some powerful names in the industry: Barron’s Business Weekly, Worth Magazine, Research Magazine and Registered Rep Magazine. as notable as those accolades are, the firm’s attitude toward recognition is that honors are not the goal. Feltz Wealthplan president todd Feltz states that Feltz Wealth plan, established in 1989, has a higher goal of reaching client expectations. “recognition and awards are byproducts of assisting over 1,200 families reach a comfortable retirement. preservation of assets and diversification, along with education and communication, are all essential to achieving that success.” Feltz noted that bumps in the financial road happen with every investor. “bear markets, recessions and times of turmoil are probably the areas Feltz Wealthplan is best at addressing with clients. being ‘behavior coaches’ enables our clients to place the utmost confidence in the firm’s ability to act prudently. pro-active money management through active asset allocation would best describe how the team at FWp manages client money.” another way Feltz Wealthplan keeps in touch with its clients is through embracing midwestern values and traditions. the family unit is supported not only by treating its clients in a professional manner, but also by relating to them in casual settings such as holiday brunches and baseball games. Feltz Wealthplan makes a point to sponsor charitable events to give back to omaha and the “good people who live here” according to Feltz. Some exciting news at Feltz Wealthplan is the recent expansion of its 401k area to become one of the largest group retirement departments in the country. ass a result of the pension reform act, employers as well as employees can benefit greatly from the education and guidelines FWp can provide for 401k planning and management. todd Feltz is a branch manager for lpl Financial. he has been an established authority in the financial planning community since 1984. in 1993, the omaha chamber of commerce recognized todd as “Small business owner of the year” as well as acknowledged his firm as one of omaha’s fastestgrowing companies, and every year since then he has been ranked in the top 1% of high-performing financial advisors by lpl Financial, based on overall production. in addition to his professional activities, Feltz is an active volunteer in the community. Feltz feels what sets Feltz Wealthplan apart is its 101 So. 108th avenue method for success. “We believe the process begins omaha, ne 68154 with understanding each client’s situation, then taking www.feltzwp.com the time to tailor a plan to meet their needs.”

from left to right: brent o’mara, ryan feltz, todd feltz, matt hickey, dan feltz, Wade behlen, kevin o’mara.

(402) 691-0200 summer 2008 B2B omaha 27


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Omahaprofile cartridge world isn’t just a name. cartridge World is a true international company, with the omaha location locally owned and operated. the first cartridge World store opened in australia close to 20 years ago with the north american headquarters in emeryville, calif. cartridge World now has over 1,600 stores, offering over 150 printer inks and toners. proud owner brad rohrig partners with his son-in-laws, ryan Snowdon and matt molettiere in the omaha store. rohrig is nothing if not enthusiastic about cartridge World. “i was a customer almost from day one when the omaha maha store opened. i liked the product line, quality and business model so much, that i purchased the business from the original franchise owner last September 2007.” rohrig ohrig promises an old-fashioned customer service experience. “We stand behind our products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We also provide the convenience of delivering right to the customer’s doorstep. cartridge World - omaha maha does what it can to provide a quality product at a good price with superior service and convenience.” Who can do better than that? the he family business connections extend beyond Snowdon and molettiere. “my daughter ashley (ryan’s yan’s wife) helps with our marketing program. my other daughter courtney (matt’s att’s wife) sells cartridges to her fellow classmates at the creighton dental School. myy wife’s contribution to cartridge World - omaha maha is to plan our company picnics and parties.” cartridge artridge World is doing what it can to aid the recycling effort. cartridge artridge World takes your empty toner and ink cartridges and recharges them. the he result is less garbage in our landfills as well as a lower cost to the consumer. in addition to the landfill reduction, precious resources used to produce new cartridges are saved. cartridge artridge World has developed programs with several schools and business where it provides a receptacle for his is a way for schools to educate and used cartridges. this involve their students into the recycling phenomenon that is destined to be a staple for generations to come. ebraskans. rohrig and his wife are both fifth generation nebraskans. ohrig enjoys seeing familiar faces in his business. he has rohrig an interesting perspective on providing good service: “i still view myself as a customer and i look at the way we run our ur customers are no business through my customers’ eyes. our different than me. With the economic state of our country today.... we are all trying to be as cost effective as possible.

28 B2B omaha summer 2008

from left to right: matt molettiere, brad rohrig, ryan snowdon

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Omahaprofile config.com’s slogan — We make internet easy — goes right to the heart of what the company does. as a full service e-commerce provider, the company aims to help businesses accomplish all of their internet goals, without the hassle and added cost of using multiple service providers or vendors. the iSp (internet service provider) is that and so much more. Website hosting, web design and consultation, email service with spam protection, search engine optimization (Seo), and voice over internet protocol (Voip), also known as internet telephony, are some of services it provides. “We are committed to providing the network infrastructure to enable businesses to accomplish all their internet goals,” said company founder Joe rinehart. that commitment extends to personal customer support, “an art that is becoming lost in these days of e-mail-only support and outsourced support to offshore entities,” he added. rinehart got his start selling cd-rom’s in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. he registered the domain name config.com in January 1994 as one of the first 200 commercial sites on the internet. in 1996 config.com was chartered by the State of ohio to provide internet services to businesses and consumers nationwide, later adding web hosting and design services and becoming a pioneer in the electronic marketing industry. as customers moved from basic modem and phone line “dial up” services to high-speed internet through dedicated broadband technology, config.com faced increased competition from telephone companies, cable television providers and more. the company adapted and met that challenge by expanding its web and e-commerce services, focusing on helping businesses improve their communication and sales online. rinehart brought config.com to omaha after hearing rave reviews of the city and marketplace. “the city came recommended to us as the ‘all-american city’, and we were not disappointed,” rinehart shared. “omaha is a very good mixture of the 3 d’s: dynamic, diverse and down-home. this lends itself to a business community that is at once vital and stable, experimental and pragmatic.” While implementing technology is a large part of what config.com does, it’s the consultations and dealings with clients — both large and small, city and rural — that rinehart most enjoys. “doing business with our customers is a continual exchange of ideas. We learn the essentials of their business, and we teach them how to use the internet as a tool to improve those functions. “this dynamic leads to a very close and rewarding business relationship.”

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if you’re doing business in omaha, the Buy the Big o! Show is the place to be! every fall, legions of businesspeople flock to the region’s largest and most prestigious business-to-business trade show to showcase their products and services, check out new suppliers, and network, network, network! the 2008 buy the big o! Show, scheduled for Wednesday, october 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Qwest center omaha, is expected to bring 400 exhibiting businesses and more than 7,000 attendees together in one day. according ccording to chamber director of Special events vents tracey Fricke, “this is proof that one-stop networking and marketing happen at omaha’s largest b2b gathering.” the he exhibitors who take part in the show vary widely from printers to travel agents to universities and communication specialists and everything in between. “it’s a great sampling of the amazing businesses we have here in omaha,” said Fricke. “We work year-round to make this one day an outstanding day for business.” the Greater omaha chamber of commerce first produced the omaha maha trade show, then known as the entrepreneurial business Fair, in 1990. the he event, held at the Kiewit center, was a resource for individuals interested in starting a business in omaha. the he show hosted 10 exhibitors and drew just 100 attendees. but, ut, oh how the show would take off! after three years at ak-Sar-ben, en, the show moved to the holiday convention centre entre in 1994. by that time, the show had grown to 120 exhibitors and had evolved into a marketing event, emphasizing the importance of doing business locally. thus hus came the new name: buy the big o! Show. at the holiday inn, nn, the show continued to blossom, growing from one ballroom to adjacent meeting rooms, and later, the hallways, accommodating 315 booths. in 2003, when space to expand at holiday inn nn had been exhausted, the event was moved yet again to Qwest center omaha. last year, the buy the big o!! Show floor plan was increased by 50 percent to allow for more creative layout and booth options. he larger area allows for more island exhibits and shorter exhibit the rows, which help entice visitors to booths more effectively and improve visibility and traffic flow for exhibitors. uy the big o! Show has done for Fricke is proud of what the buy omaha. “ass the catalyst organization that ensures Greater omaha is a vibrant place to live, work and enjoy, the chamber promotes economic growth and provides a unifying voice for the business community,” she said. “the buy the big o! Show supports this mission of helping business be successful and thrive here in omaha.”

tracey fricke, chamber of commerce director of special events

www.buythebigoShow.com www.omahachamber.org (402) 346-5000

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pineapple macadamia nut cake. amaretto pound cake. artisan fruit and nut bars covered in dark chocolate. these are just a few of the delectable desserts that the Beatrice Bakery co. creates from scratch every day. best known for Grandma’s original Fruit and nut cake, the small-town bakery has grown into a $5 million-dollar-a-year enterprise in its nearly 90 years. one method of growth has been adding new scrumptious treats to it production line. most recently, a new line of premium cakes, including blueberry Walnut and australian apricot, and a line of all-natural cakes, including amaretto peach hazelnut and mandarin orange and cranberry, were added. the company also debuted its corporate Gourmet Gift box program, with a variety of gorgeous gift collections perfected for business and personal giving. beatrice bakery co. has expanded its distribution channels over the years as well, selling to numerous grocery and department store chains, as well as catalog companies. it sells cakes directly to the consumer online at beatricebakery. com, and through its direct mail catalog. carl Wilke founded beatrice bakery in 1919, and eventually opened in a brand new building at 201 South 5th St., which remains its home today. through the years, the company changed hands many times. peter pan bread, metz baking co., earthgrains co. and Sara lee corp. have all served as owners at one time. in 2002, the bakery was purchased by a group of local investors, and began doing business as beatrice bakery co. the company retains the secret fruitcake recipe that made it famous. While beatrice bakery produces 1.2 million pounds of cake annually, it in many ways still operates like a small-town shop. the bakery uses only the best ingredients, including the finest nuts, fruits, chocolate and liquors, and has employees committed to quality. and unlike in many bakeries, every item is handmade. “From the mixing room to the oven, our cakes are designed by hand,” said brooklyn Soft, director of marketing and advertising. “the ingredients are precisely measured and mixed, the nuts are hand-sorted and selected, and each cake is decorated by hand and individually baked in an old bread oven using a secret process. “the cakes are truly artisan…a rare find in a manufacturing business where all our competition is automated.” “there is a deep appreciation for the quality and work ethics of middle america, and nebraskans understand, appreciate and patronize that. “and our customers understand the attention to detail and commitment to quality our bakers put into each and every cake.”

32 B2B omaha summer 2008

Photos by ka yeung. © ka yeung studios

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Good news or bad news. depending on whether you are the employer or the job seeker, the conventional wisdom is that nebraska is a favorable market for employees looking for a job. “nebraska is currently facing a workforce shortage, especially in skilled labor, and that shortage will only grow in the future…” this according to Kandace miller, president & ceo of the aIM Institute. miller’s organization is working to bring satisfactory results to both sides of the job equation with careerlink.com. the aim institute was formed in 1992, and in 1994 aim was awarded a grant. this grant funded a program to match students with local internship opportunities through an electronic matching system. From that, careerlink.com was born. careerlink.com is an employee recruitment and career development site hosted by aim institute, a not-for-profit membership organization that provides information technology leadership to nebraska and the surrounding region. the recruitment website has more than 2,500 employers posting jobs. here at omaha publications, president and publisher todd lemke had his own success story with careerlink.com. “We posted a job for a skilled position and within days, we had over 100 quality resumes. We were more than pleased.” big news for the aim institute and careerlink.com: recruiters can now enhance their careerlink.com postings with video as well as expand their reach to an entirely new market with careerlink.comtV. the show airs on coX channel 2, monday through Friday from 7-10pm as well as Saturday and Sunday from 2:30-5pm and 9pm-12am. careerlink.comtV is also featured on coX channel 998-on demand 24 hours a day, allowing businesses to showcase a 3-minute video clip featuring content such as their history, workplace environment, and employee benefits. these video segments help sell prospective employees on why they would want to work at that company. robin putnam, cox local Sales manager, says “cox media is excited to partner with careerlink.com. the synergy of the online product with tV is powerful and exciting, and adding tV offers an innovative way to reach out to the passive job seeker.”

1905 harney St. omaha, ne 68102 www.aiminstitute.org (402) 345-5025 summer 2008 B2B omaha 33


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Omahaprofile huge inventory. Free next-day delivery. private branding. these are just a few of the ways Pay-leSS office Products has grown into an omaha leader in the office supply industry, outshining many of its big box competitors. the only locally-owned and operated office supply dealer in omaha ranks in the top 10 percent of independent office supply dealers in the U.S. to say the company started small is an understatement. “We started in a lunch room with three employees back in 1986,” recalls owner Jim matgen. “With more than eight independent dealers in town, the company was not even considered to be a factor in the office product industry. today, payleSS is the only company left standing.” matgen and Keith powell founded and own pay-leSS, and remain involved in all aspects of the business. Forty percent of pay-leSS’s sales are office products, 40 percent are computer products, while the balance is paper sales. “helping business do business” is pay-leSS’ SS’ slogan, and the company prides itself on being a single-source provider of office products, reducing cumbersome paperwork and runaround for its customers. offering ffering free delivery and next-day service provide its customers great convenience and help them meet their bottom line. the he company also offers hundreds of items in its private “legacy” egacy” brand line – quality products that cost customers less, while helping pay-leSS SS built brand name recognition. the he company operates from a 20,000-square-foot distribution center near 134th and chandler road. its ts inventory is massive, with 3200 SKU’s of product valued in the million-dollar range. a tour of its facility is available for prospective customers, who may gawk at the sheer size of its stock. pay-leSS SS uses price comparison software to monitor its big box competitors’ prices online and help the company react quickly to price changes, making it price-competitive. “buying uying groups (which negotiate prices with manufacturers), multi-vendor distribution centers and private label products are creating a more level playing field than ever before,” powell said. personalized service is a hallmark of pay-leSS, SS, garnering the firm many loyal customers. the he supplies company keeps inventories of special needs items for some of its customers, including starter kits for new employees and logo pens and pads, and provides forms SS sales reps are easily accessible management services. and pay-leSS he personalized and responsive to customers, powell said, adding, “the service you receive from a local supplier far exceeds the services from 800 numbers or salespeople visiting your city quarterly.” hoosing a local office supplier should be a no-brainer for choosing omaha businesses, matgen suggested. ommerce states that when you buy “the U.S. chamber of commerce from a locally owned company, 68 percent of your money stays in the community turning over seven times,” he said. uying locally gives back to your community and just makes buying good business sense.

34 B2B omaha summer 2008

from left to right: Pay-less owners Jim matgen and keith Powell

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Omahaprofile most, if not all, subjects of b2b omaha and omaha publications have been photographed by one of the three photographers of Minorwhite Studios. to say bill Sitzmann, Scott drickey and chris machian are talented is terribly cliché and a vast understatement. their subjects are always surprised and pleased with the results of their lensmanship. drickey shares his artistic partners’ enthusiasm: “We have the greatest job in the world, because we find ourselves doing something so different every day.” their heir subjects range from corporate giants to popular rock bands. in fact, Sitzmann’s work recently made the cover of rolling Stone magazine. drickey thrives on this variety, including the deadlines: “one ne day we find ourselves collaborating in the ceo’s’s office at Securities america for a national financial publication. the next, we are accommodating a major label’s band arrival with limo and entourage. When bill and i collaborate together, something really special happens in that they both bring and execute their own disciplines in a really effective symbiotic way. bill will be focused on an involved conceptual shot while i will be shooting the clean beauty end of the assignment -- all while unconsciously respect-ing the clock, which is the biggest challenge.” What works with this artistic partnership is a combination of mutual respect and mixture of talents. Sitzmann describes the artistic mix: “chris machian is the epitome of the solo journalist, strapped with too much gear and sleep deprived, i am involved with much of the music work. Scott gravitates towards still life and architecture/interiors.” minorwhite studios may have national clientele, but Sitzmann, machian and drickey value their local work just as much: “We feel very formaha, a place we tunate to be in omaha, ur local clientele are proud to call home. our are the best at what they do. We are constantly inspired by the people we get to meet in this city,” said drickey.

from left to right: chris machian bill sitzmann (with ty) scott drickey

minorwhite studios, inc. 1510 leavenworth st minorwhitestudios.com summer 2008 B2B omaha 35


Make Your Connection TV works for LinkedIn! “I had a Customer Service Manager position on Careerlink.comTV and it was awesome. I got so many responses I had to take it down. Thank you Careerlink.com!” - Michelle Steinbeck, LinkedIn Let TV work for you.

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Omahaprofile remember when mom made you write thank-you cards for all those birthday gifts as a kid? hethe berg, distributor of Sendoutcards, is a believer that sending thank-yous is a lost art – and one beneficial to a business’s bottom line. “probably 1 out of 250 businesspeople send cards expressing appreciation for their customers’ business,” berg said. “by sending real greeting cards, you can differentiate yourself from your competition by following a simple inexpensive plan that takes less than five minutes per day.” Whether you are a salesperson, a dentist, or a loan officer, berg asserts that using Sendoutcards will boost your revenues, customer loyalty and retention, and provide you with endless referrals. he offers his Sendoutcards for any industry looking to connect with current clients, or reach out to prospective clients as “the ultimate foot in the door tool” because of its customization features. Sendoutcards are not e-cards, but real cards sent from your computer. there are 10,000+ cards to choose from in the online catalog, or you can create your own cards with your own photos and logos. the cards can even be personalized with the card sender’s handwriting and signature. allll you have to do is type in your message and click “Send card”. Sendoutcard’s ard’s website technology automates the process by having it printed, stuffed, stamped and dropped off at the post office. While in business for 3 years, this unique service is newer to omaha. berg erg confidently states two guarantees. First, he promises to grow a salesperson’s referrals by 30 percent in the first 90 days, or he will pay the cost for the cards.* Second, he promises to grow a salesperson’s profit by 20 percent in the first 180 days, or he pays the cost of the cards.* berg erg encourages customers to take full advantage of the creativity and fun factor that his card service offers. a perfect example: one ne of his salesperson clients wanted a unique way to stand out in his follow-up while generating referrals. his solution: ass he closes on a sale, he sends a humorous card with a picture of the customer enjoying the product they just bought, complete with a voice bubble stating how glad they are to have found him. then, with the click of a button, two dozen cookies are added, and all is sent to their place nevitably, the customer shares the funny card and of work. inevitably, cookies with co-workers. When the salesperson makes his follow-up call, he learns of another person in that office who saw the card, had a cookie, and is interested in meeting with him. erg will allow new salespersons to try the full service for free berg o send a free card today, go to www.makeitsendit. for a week. to his is a creative way to keep yourself on top of your clicom. “this ents’ and prospects’ minds with little effort and cost,” he said. *conditions do apply.

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summer 2008 B2B omaha 37


The know-it-all is on another call.

Hedge Funds are Evil (Yet another wealth transfer economic bubble.)

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EW YORK (Reuters) - A House committee has started investigating speculation in energy markets, with plans to hold hearings in May and June, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday, citing a Democratic aide and several other people invited as witnesses. Lawmakers are aiming at hedge funds and investment banks in particular, blaming them for playing a crucial role in driving crude oil prices to record levels, the report said. Market manipulations are a fact of life. It seems that the 24/7 news cycle accelerates the creation of economic bubble after bubble. With each bubble there is yet another transfer of wealth from the pockets of hard-working Americans to the bank accounts of those manipulating the perceptions of certain markets. Let’s take the crude oil market, for example. The hype has led to the increase in the price of a barrel of oil from $50 a year ago January to the record $100+ barrel prices of today. What has led us to this perception that a barrel of oil is worth over twice that of 18 months ago? Please read on. When Enron came unglued, the focus of the government’s attack became a couple of the top dogs. Untouched were the scores of henchmen who refined their market manipulating skills — skills more recently applied to influencing commodity price fluctuations. Crude oil, for instance. For every 20 barrels of oil being traded on the markets, only one is refined. Hedge funds, and funds of hedge funds, are an unregulated form of highly leveraged investing. Many consider it no different than gambling. The difference, though, is that these highly leveraged investments rely on the availability of easy credit, and the continued ability to roll losses over into new loans. Leveraged investments in the 50 to 1, and even greater. Now, if someone was able to buy $100 of oil for $2, even small market price changes could result in significant profits. Certainly there is the opportunity for significantly greater profits than can be made with conservative investments. This opportunity bandwagon has even attracted pension fund investments, which hope to make up for losses in the stock market. Billions of dollars chasing a crude oil market which is but a fraction of the size of the money chasing it. So, how do these market manipulators drive up the price of crude oil? Well, I blame the reporters who are either lazy, have been hoodwinked or are complicit in their reporting the threadbare assertions of peak oil, increased demand in emerging markets, refining capacity, etc… While there is certainly some truth in the assertions, there is a real truth which begs to be found. Thankfully, there are now a few brave, intelligent people who are bringing to light the not-sosecret truth about the real reserves, production and supply of oil. The result of this oil bubble will be the same as previous market bubbles: The market manipulators will walk away with their surreal profits, while the pension funds and those late to the game will take a financial bath. In the meantime, consumers have been bilked out of untold billions. Yes, indeed, the henchmen are making out like the thieves they are, again. Small business is the real economic and employment engine of the United States. That is where ingenuity and 38 B2B Omaha Summer 2008


dedication are able to come together in an efficient manner that big business, forget government, can never attain. Small businesses operate on margins that are often considerably less than that of multinational corporations. As such, the impact of the manipulated oil prices has seriously hurt American small business. From the small, independent truckers to the corner florist, the unprecedented increase in fuel prices has destroyed profits and cut deeply into savings, forcing many into bankruptcy. I hope that when our representatives in Washington, D.C., look into these deceptive manipulations of the oil markets, they understand the gravity of the damage this forcible wealth transfer caused. It is a crying shame that our government seemed happy to bail out the suspicious characters at Bear Stearns Companies, as so many hard-working and honest small businesses are failing — failures which are directly attributable to the manipulated increases in oil/fuel prices. Again, Chicken Little is calling for $200-per-barrel oil. Yes, Goldman Sachs is at it yet again. Maybe this time they will get called onto the carpet for this blatant attempt at further manipulation. There is plenty of shame to go around in this present wealth transfer (i.e. theft). First and foremost, our media. They are supposed to be our watchdogs, digging for the truth behind all assertions. Protecting us from bald-faced lies the wicked market manipulators spew through their public relations mouthpieces. Second, the oil companies which have invested a percentage of the windfall profits from the increased crude oil prices into these hedge funds, further driving the unprecedented prices even higher. Lastly, our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., always behind on the information curve, spoon-fed falsehoods by influence peddlers. Commodities trading has been around as long as we have been trading. This is an efficient way to bring goods to the market. What I am pointing out here is the manipulation of markets with highly leveraged, unregulated investments. This is the dark underbelly of capitalism. A good dose of sunshine could help with this.

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Summer 2008 B2B Omaha 39


story by Leo adam biga

Photos by bill sitzmann

Omaha Steaks: Generation V Bruce and Todd Simon

Bruce Simon

B2B Omaha visited the Omaha Steaks’ hallowed halls.

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Todd Simon

irst cousins Bruce and Todd Simon are the fifth generation in family-owned Omaha Steaks. Their knack for brokering deals, managing people and anticipating the next big thing has the company’s annual sales nearing a half-billion dollars. Each apprenticed under his dad, and after working together 20 years, each holds fast to cherished lessons passed down from above. For 91 years the company has found innovative ways to market fine meat and other gourmet foods to residential and commercial customers around the nation and the world. Along the way, the Omaha Steaks name has become such an icon synonymous with quality beef that its hometown enjoys crossover brand recognition. Bruce is president/CEO and Todd is senior vice president, but their bond supersedes titles or labels. They’re family. Two in a long line to lead the business. “We have an entire company of people who we trust — that we feel like we’re family with,” Bruce said. “That blood bond is really a family bond, and it traverses not only the Simon family, it includes our executive committee and all the way down the line. We all feel a responsibility to each other to make this place successful.” “Well, I think it starts with the fact we’re a family business that allows us to really take those kinds of family values into the whole business,” Todd said. “And it shows in the benefits we provide for our team in terms of family leave, vacation benefits, day care and scholarships.” Legacy is never far removed from the Simons’ thoughts, as their fathers still take an active part in the company. Bruce’s father, Alan Simon, is chairman of the board. Todd’s dad, Fred Simon, is executive vice president. The cousins’ late uncle, Steve Simon, served as senior VP and GM. “My dad was, and pretty much still is, the operational guy. He’s the guy who ran the meat packing plant and who was the bean counter,” Bruce said. “And Todd’s dad was the real marketing guy, and Steve (Simon) was the sales guy.” The three brothers — Alan, Fred and Steve — learned the business from their father Lester Simon, who in turn learned it from his father B.A. Simon. It all began when B.A. and his father J.J. Simon, both butchers, left Latvia for America in 1898 to escape religious persecution. With the meat business in their blood, J.J. and B.A. settled in Omaha, a meatpacking center, and worked in several area 40 B2B Omaha Summer 2008


/FFEBQFSTPOBMUSBJOFS (FUCFUUFSSFTVMUTXJUIJOIPNFQFSTPOBMGJUOFTTUSBJOJOHGSPN+PIO$ISJTUJF markets. In 1917 father and son opened their own meat shop, Table Supply Meat Company, downtown. Their niche was to process and sell beef to restaurants and grocers. Table Supply responded to the growing food service sector by supplying meat to Union Pacific Railroad for its large dining car services, as well as restaurants. Cruise lines, airlines, hotels and resorts became major customers. Lester Simon first took Table Supply retail via mail order ads. Then came a mail order catalog. Shipping and packaging advances improved efficiency, helping to widen the company’s reach. By 1966 all this growth warranted an expansion in the form of a new plant and headquarters on South 96th Street. With the new facilities came a new name — Omaha Steaks International. The 1970s saw Omaha Steaks take new steps in customer convenience by adding inbound and outbound call centers and a mail order industry first -- providing a tollfree customer service line. The first of its retail stores opened in 1976. Envisioning the online explosion to follow, Omaha Steaks helped pioneer electronic marketing back in 1990. Omahasteaks.com became the banner web site for the company’s fastest growing business segment. Todd and Bruce help oversee a company with two million-plus customers and 2,000 employees. Guiding the pair in family business dealings are the principles they picked up from their elders. By living those principles, they fulfill their obligation. Todd said, “I think in a lot of ways we’ve both sort of followed in our fathers’ footsteps. Bruce is very strong operationally — purchasing, finance. My forte is marketing and sales. I think Bruce and I really complement each other well. When we both come up with ideas, I’ll see one side of the picture and he’ll see the other side. And since we’re both open to each other’s perspective on it, it really helps us balance it out.� “Our parents taught us to do the right thing. That’s really the only responsibility we have — just do the right thing. Do it all the time. Try to produce every single box of product perfectly. Try to satisfy every single customer perfectly,� Bruce said. “It’s all about being honest. That’s our corporate culture.�

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Summer 2008 B2B Omaha 41


story by elizabeth a. elliott

Photo by bill sitzmann

Recovery Mode

Firstar Fiber Saves Landfill Space and Municipalities’ Budgets

One man’s trash is another’s treasure.

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rian Gubbels remembers walking the ditches of Cedar County, Nebraska, three younger brothers in tow, and hunting for … cans. “We spent an entire summer walking ditches,” Gubbels says. “That was all of our money as kids.” That said, adds Gubbels, “I never thought I’d be in the recycle business.” He’s “all in” today. The 36-year-old Randolph, Nebraska, native is owner and founder of Firstar Fiber, Nebraska’s largest material recovery business, and since 2006, the only one in the state able to process single-stream commingled recyclables. In other words, he’s picking up a lot more than a few bags of aluminum cans. Gubbels and his uncle, CEO Dale Gubbels, founded Firstar in 1997. One year later he sold his first recyclables — a truckload of magazines. Today his company sells 20 truckloads of recyclables each day. This spring, Firstar Fiber announced its partnership with Elkhorn Sanitation Services and 42 B2B Omaha Summer 2008


RecycleBank, a Philadelphia-based company — a partnership which Gubbles says will work to revolutionize the industry. The three have begun to offer a recycling program, which rewards homeowners based on the amount of recyclables they provide in various-sized wheeled carts. Haulers collect the recyclables, weigh them, and then electronically credit homeowners via embedded barcodes on the cart. Credits can be redeemed for coupons with RecycleBank partners such as Borders, Target, Omaha Steaks and more than 250 other businesses. Gubbels estimates customers will realize $25 to $35 in credits each month. “We are the first to offer this outside of the New York-Pennsylvania-Boston area,” Gubbels says. “This is going to put Omaha on the map in terms of being one of the first rolled out. It’s going to be huge. “We reduce litter and increase recovery, with better ergonomics in terms of people being able to get it to the curb easier.” The program will be available to ESS recycling customers within West Omaha, Papillion, La Vista, Gretna, Elkhorn and Bennington. It’s all a far cry from Firstar’s beginnings in Gubbels’ apartment. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate was three years out of college and managing a sales department for MCI. His uncle, Dale, was a recycling industry consultant conducting market-driven affordability studies for the State of Nebraska. The two paired to found Firstar Fiber “and keep those feasibility studies for ourselves and develop them into a brick-and-mortar facility.” Joining them as partners were Howard Gubbels, Brian’s father, and Darrell Gubbels, another uncle of Brian’s. The company has grown quickly. Today it has a main plant in Omaha (10330 I St.) and another in Lincoln. Seventy-five mostly full-time employees serve municipal and business clients. Its first customer was the Village of Dodge, Nebraska, which collected around 15 tons of recyclables monthly. Gubbels estimates that Firstar today has nearly 500 clients, including the City of Omaha and its 1,500 tons of recyclables per month. Other clients range from the nonprofit Central Area Recycling Exchange to single-

stream customer Omaha World-Herald “Everyone can contribute in unique and OPPD. The company’s hauling range ways, from start to finish, building to disextends from North Platte to Des Monies, posing,” Patrick Wheeler, UNO environand from Sioux Falls to Kansas City. mental health and safety senior specialist, Services include training client employsaid in a release. ees to maximize recovery levels, developing For instance, the UNO Chapter of Eta and implementing “zero waste” programs, Sigma Gamma, a national health education and marketing. honorary organization, hosted on April 30 “The ingredients for success really aren’t Choose to Reuse, an awareness event about that complicated and have allowed us to the waste of plastic bags. Event marketing grow,” Gubbels says. “We’re honest with stated that Americans on average use at least them and we provide good service and pay 600 plastic bags per year. on time.” UNO professor David Corbin, a Choose Firstar pays clients for recyclables colto Reuse organizer, stresses reduction as well lected. After mostly machine sorting via a as recycling. series of discs, screens and magnets, Firstar “If necessity is the mother of invenfinds end markets for its recyclables — tion,” he says, “then abundance is the mostly paper, cardboard, plastics, tin and aluminum. We are the first to offer this outside of No viable market exists in Nebraska for glass. The the New York-Pennsylvania-Boston area. materials are shipped to buyers as near as a cellulose insulation plant in Stanton, — Brian Gubbels Nebraska, to paper mills in Beijing or to other distant spots, including mother of waste. We have to train ourselves to undo our wasteful habits. Train India, Vietnam and Singapore. “It’s just the beginning of the next life for yourself to have cloth bags in your car, the materials,” says Gubbels. “In our case, it briefcase or backpack at the ready so you don’t have to use so many plastic bags. might already be the third or fourth life.” Drink tap water instead of bottled water. With Firstar, clients have realized conAdvocate to elected officials to include siderable savings. Gubbels says the City apartments and businesses in the city of Omaha went from 22 trucks picking recycling program.” up recyclables down to eight. Recycling That last tip would sound good to also saved Omaha 16,000 tons of landfill Gubbels, whose next big idea is to develop space last year at a savings of $23 a ton. If what he calls an eco-industrial park where RecycleBank rolls into Omaha, Gubbels material processing is done in the same estimates the city will recycle 45,000 tons facility where collections are sorted. Plastics each year. That will happen “once we get could be dropped on site and made, perthe economics in play where individuhaps, into more curbside carts. als are motivated financially to make that “And developing eco-industrial parks decision between the trash bin and the would create jobs locally,” says Gubbels. recycle bin,” he says. “For every 10,000 tons we recover from the Gubbels says Omahans are “on the lower end” of the recycling curve compared to other landfill, we create 36 jobs. “There’s opportunity for Nebraska, being cities. The issue is getting more play, though. centrally located in the United States, to be On the same day that Firstar announced its a big player in the eco-industrial business… RecycleBank partnership, the University of the re-manufacturing of products, making Nebraska at Omaha Environmental Health products from scrap material. And because and Safety department announced the launch of our location, we can reduce freight cost. of a recycle-related Web site (www.unomaha. As a bleed-red Nebraskan, I’d just love for edu/green) that emphasizes wise energy use, us to have this competitive advantage for conservation, recycling and other sustainabilourselves.” ity practices. Summer 2008 B2B Omaha 43


from the chamber b y Da v i d G . B r o w n , P r e s i d e n t a n d CEO , G r e a t e r O m a h a C h a m b e r o f C o m m e r c e

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A Win for the Home Team

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he City of Omaha has put one run on the scoreboard concerning the new downtown baseball stadium. Now it’s the entire community’s turn to step up to the plate and be part of the team that supports this monumental step toward preserving the NCAA Men’s College World Series as an Omaha institution. The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce made public its support of the conclusions of the Stinson baseball stadium committee in a statement approved by the Chamber board of directors. In part, the board noted that each year, the CWS generates nearly $40 million in economic activity throughout the entire Omaha community. The importance of signing an unprecedented 20-year contract with the NCAA represents close to a $1 billion economic impact. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Omaha – no other city has been given this type of opportunity,” the statement read. “Throughout the process, we have supported the work of the Stinson committee to determine location, funding and design of a community ballpark.” Likewise, the Chamber’s Young Professionals Council issued a statement supporting the location of a new stadium in the north downtown area, as recommended by the Stinson committee.

The Young Professionals Council said the stadium, when considered along with other development and redevelopment downtown, “will help attract and retain the best and brightest for Omaha.” The Council went on to ask city leaders to consider making the new ballpark as pedestrian-friendly and environmentallyfriendly as possible, and to fully and publicly address concerns relating to transportation and financing, all points we at the Chamber support. If one were to look east toward the Missouri River from atop the Mutual of Omaha headquarters building 15 years ago, it would have taken great vision to see the downtown skyline as it is today. Fifteen years from now, we hope those attending the College World Series will be able to look around at the Omaha ballpark, and the successful businesses and attractions surrounding it, and marvel at the vision that helped bring it all about. Much work remains to be done. But, with a game plan as complete as that delivered by the Stinson committee, the backing of city government and a roster of community support, we at the Chamber are confident the home team will come out the winner – for many, many years to come! David G. Brown is President and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce www.omahachamber.org

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Start With Trust Small Businesses Looking for Funding are Increasingly Becoming Victims of Fraud

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s the credit crunch bears down on the U.S., small businesses are forced to search for alternative sources of funding, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that business owners are becoming victims of fraud when turning to the Internet for loans and grants. While the nation is focused on the credit crunch and its effect on enormous companies like Bear Stearns, the impact is also being felt by small businesses that are trying to stay afloat in hard times and are very susceptible to fraudulent loan offers. The Internet provides a perfect stage for fraud because bad actors in the loan industry can easily portray a professional image that provides unsuspecting small business owners with a false sense of trust.

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bbb advises: • Business owners should never have to pay large sums of money up front to receive loans, nor should owners wire payment for services because they will have no way to get their money back if the creditor is not legitimate. • Small business owners should be extremely cautious when providing bank account numbers, and should insist on reviewing all details of any offer before making a buying decision and signing a contract. Prior to entering into an agreement, small owners can always check out a potential creditor, partner or vendor’s reliability report with BBB. BBB company reliability reports are free and available online at www.bbb.org. • Business owners can research free information on government grant programs at the U.S. government website, www.grants.gov. If a company does qualify for a grant of some type, the U.S. government does not request payment as part of the application review or grant award process. For additional BBB advice on how small businesses and consumers can avoid fraud when seeking loans and grants, on- and offline, go to www.bbb.org summer 2008 B2B omaha 45


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ALLPLAY Barrier-Free Sports Complex: A Public-Private Partnership at Work

I

n Omaha, few things are accomplished without cooperation, teamwork and the support of others. From buildings like the Qwest Center Omaha and the Holland Performing Arts Center to community efforts like the Building Bright Futures education initiative, almost all of Omaha’s assets are the result of public-private partnerships. These relationships aren’t unique to Omaha, but we have certainly utilized them as effectively as possible to strengthen our community and enhance our quality of life. Recently the City of Omaha, in partnership with the ALLPLAY Foundation, broke ground on the first phase of Omaha’s first barrier-free sports complex at Seymour Smith Park. The ALLPLAY Barrier-Free Sports Complex will provide recreational and sporting facilities for local disabled children and adults. Long overdue, this project will provide recreational opportunities for all Omahans and serve as a center for hundreds of disabled children and adults in the metro area. When both phases are complete, this complex will feature: • Miracle League Baseball field • wheelchair softball field • barrier-free children’s playground • zero-entry water park • numerous other features including a family picnic pavilion, batting cages, accessible restrooms and a new parking lot The development of this project is the result of the strong leadership of Bruce Froendt and the ALLPLAY Foundation. Bruce actively raised $800,000 for the first phase of this project and is currently soliciting contributions for the second phase. With his determination, along with the financial support and cooperation of countless others, the ALLPLAY Barrier-Free Sports Complex will open this July. I am proud of the role the City of Omaha and our Parks Department have played in this effort. Our parks, playgrounds, baseball fields and golf courses among others, provide important opportunities for people to play, compete, relax and exercise. Omaha would not be the great city it is without these facilities. We must continue to build upon our current assets and provide even more opportunities for all Omahans. For more information on the ALLPLAY Barrier-Free Sport Complex visit www.allplay.org.


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Jul/Aug/Sept 08 - B2B Omaha Magazine  

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