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Doc’s Choice

“After meeting with the veterinarian, Dr. Gene Graney, who founded the company and ran it for more than 25 years, we thought there might be something there.” — Tim Healy.


im Healy’s business has gone to the dogs, in one sense quite literally. He’s a partner in Choice Pet Foods, maker of Doc’s Choice dog food, along with his brother, Mark, and sisterin-law, Stephanie Healy. The Healys - though animal lovers - had not initially planned on going into the dog food business, but when a prize opportunity presented itself, Doc’s Choice seemed the right choice. Under their management, the pet food company has grown from a small-town operation with primary sales to kennels, breeders and hunting clubs in the Midwest, to a large production facility with expanding distribution in retail stores, both here and soon abroad. Healy said his brother and sister-in-law were primary owners of Vente, an internet-based lead generation and marketing business, in which he was a limited partner. They were interested in buying a business that was more traditional in nature, and came across an ad in the Omaha World-Herald for a pet food company that was for sale. “After meeting with the veterinarian, Dr. Gene Graney, who founded the company and ran it for more than 25 years, we thought there might be something there,” Healy said. “We returned home from the visit to Plainview, Neb., and we immediately went to some local Hy-Vee supermarkets to purchase some bags of Doc’s Choice so we could hand out samples to family and friends to feed to their dogs.” The positive response from the dogs that tried the product gave the Healys confidence to complete the transaction and purchase the company in August 2007. Healy explained how Doc’s Choice products – Premium Puppy and Premium Adult formulas - are different from other pet foods on the market: “The biggest difference between Doc’s Choice and just about all other dry dog food is it’s pelleted instead of kibbled. The final pellet form we produce does not have to be baked, which protects the nutrients from another high-temperature process so the availability of the nutrients in our product is very high.”

8 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

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Doc’s Choice products also use no chemical preservatives, no fillers such as rice or soy hulls which lower the nutritional value, and use only easily digestible chicken as the main protein source. For many years, Doc’s Choice production operated from a 2,500-square-foot building in Plainview. The Healys moved production to a 20,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility just outside of Fremont, Neb. “The new facility had the layout we were looking for, and it had all of the utilities we needed to facilitate our immediate growth needs,” said Healy. “We have plans to begin distribution of our product in Puerto Rico in early summer, and we’ll be testing with several other larger farm-supply stores later this fall.” Currently, Doc’s Choice is available to consumers at Hy-Vee and Bag ‘N Save grocery stores and QC Supply store in Elkhorn. Healy said the company is definitely a family affair. “Everyone in the family is involved, including my wife, Sheryl, who does the books, and my daughter, Jessica, helps fill sample bags and works the dog shows and other marketing events. Stephanie handles customer service calls and takes orders from our kennel customers, and Mark helps out with production and distributes the product via our semi– tractor and trailer.” “I run the production department, manage inventory levels – both raw materials and finished goods, develop the marketing programs and bag designs, and manage the plant layout and equipment needs,” added Healy. “We also use nephews during school breaks to help out around the plant and on order deliveries.” While he’s not a veterinarian himself, Healy believes his experience has helped propel Doc’s Choice success. “My 20-plus years of manufacturing experience has been a big plus in helping me make the best decisions to run the company and move it forward,” he said. Healy has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska College of Engineering in Manufacturing Engineering Technology. He said working side-by-side with Dr. Graney was helpful in learning the dog food business. “He is truly a gifted veterinarian who has an exceptional understanding of dog food nutrition.”

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The Players Club’s Evolution

GM and Club Pro Chris Jacobson: “We wanted to add usable space for our membership, but also add space for outside events, banquets, and dinner parties so it wouldn’t affect our members’ use of their own club.”


ocated among the rolling hills of northwest Omaha is The Players Club at Deer Creek golf course. It is known across the state of Nebraska as the one PGA legend Arnold Palmer put his signature stamp on. The Players Club opened as a high-end daily fee public course to rave reviews in June 2000. By mid-2005, the staff and ownership (Landscapes Unlimited of Lincoln, Neb.) began to toy with the idea of evolving into something even more special. “Four years ago we decided to go private. What we wanted to create was Omaha’s moderately priced private club for the first-timer and focus on family,” said Chris Jacobson, General Manager and Head Golf Professional since the club opened. To start, The Highlands 9 (a new nine-hole course) was added. This unique addition positioned The Players Club to be Omaha’s only private club with 27 holes. “One of the nicest things is that we have 27 holes, so you can still get on the course when private events are happening,” said local member John Mataya. Jacobson also points out that “the golf course is set up so that it can be very challenging to the low 10 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

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handicapper playing all the way back, but you can play from the forward tees, make it benign at times, and take out some of the hazards and water features so everybody can play it.” The golf course itself mimics the mentality that all types of members are welcome at this premier country club. The next step in club evolution came in 2008 in the form of a fitness center, Family Zone, and a junior Olympic pool. These updates parlayed into hosting outdoor events including a fireworks show with a carnival atmosphere and movie nights for members. By the following year the clubhouse expansion was completed and the facility now offers its members locker rooms and a private space for parties of up to 350 people. “We wanted to add usable space for our membership, but also add space for outside events, banquets, and dinner parties so it wouldn’t affect our members’ use of their own club. The main goal was to create a banquet space upstairs, but at the same time a pub downstairs so our members have a place to go when the upstairs space is being used,” said Jacobson. On my recent visit rain poured outside and dampened the rolling bent grass fairways of The Palmer Championship Course, but local members enjoyed coffee and chatter inside the new Palmer’s Pub. “The course is great in itself, but what adds to it is the people that work here are very interested that you are taken care of, and that starts with Chris,” said pub patron Doug Stevens. Hosting a high-profile golf event may be a plausible option in the future, but for now the members of The Players Club can rest assured that they are being looked after as priority number one. “Our main concern right now is that our programming for our memberships is at its highest level. Things such as club championships, couples and stag events, and lady leagues for example. Our numberone priority is that these are taken care of first, but we wouldn’t look away from the opportunity for a major PGA event,” said Jacobson. 4 Blocks North of 156th & Fort


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Add Glitz with Gift Gloss “FoofQueens” say you can make anything a bit more special with just a little “foofing”

As Krebs and her friends say, “It’s not what you give, it’s how you give it.”


hings have changed a lot since the days when Charles Ingalls whittled toys for Christmas presents and gave Ma lemon verbena perfume on her birthday. We now shop online using smart phones, visit huge malls filled with zillions of potential gifts, and many times settle on gift cards in lieu of real packages. With all this progress, it’s not just the shopping experience that has changed. In the old days if you were lucky enough to be able to give a gift, there were few choices when it came time to wrap presents. Laura Ingalls probably reached for a sheet of used brown paper or an old flour sack when Ma and Pa had a birthday. Over a hundred years after Half-pint and friends swapped gifts wrapped in old cloth, there are actually stores devoted to selling just cards and colorful gift wrap. Amazingly though, until recently there were only two basic options available for wrapping gifts— traditional flat paper wrap and gift bags. That all changed in August 2009 when the FoofQueens — three good friends and business associates — launched and officially introduced a whole new way of presenting gifts: Gift Gloss. If you are looking for a novel, creative way to make Bobbie’s birthday present shine and Brenda’s bachelorette gift really wow a crowd, Gift Gloss may be your savvy solution, and for less than you would spend on a fancy bag. So who are the FoofQueens, and what is Gift Gloss? Rocky Krebs of Papillion, along with her friends, LuAnn Kuyper of Des Moines, and Betty Tharpe of Chesapeake, Va., are the original FoofQueens. The trio came up with Gift Gloss after years of working together, often on recognition

12 B2B Omaha Summer 2010


and awards presentations. While thinking up a theme for an event, they would spend time making elaborate displays and wrapping packages with lots of colored paper and crunchy cellophane. Everyone loved what they came up with and truly enjoyed the flair. “People started calling us foof queens,” says Krebs with a laugh. The name stuck. Over the years they would casually say how awesome it would be to have access to cellophane in a tube, like a flat bag with no closed bottom, so you would not have to put tape all over to keep it wrapped. That initial idea eventually sparked the invention of the patented Gift Gloss dispenser, which allows you to cut a length of tubular cellophane big enough for a gift, leaving room to tie off the ends and add a little flash at the end. The FoofQueens refer to it as a three-part process—foundation, trim and embellishment. You take an item and wrap it with a foundation, like a piece of colorful tissue or fabric; cut a piece of tube cellophane (available in fun colors and prints) and insert the gift; then trim the edges with ribbon and add embellishments like bells or cookie cutters. Putting a little thought into the presentation makes even the simplest gifts seem more interesting. As Krebs and her friends say, “It’s not what you give, it’s how you give it.” Check out their website and it becomes obvious that their simple six- and 12-inch-wide tubes of cellophane are on the way to revolutionizing gift giving. You can wrap a golf club, a sweater or a tube of lipstick—all using Gift Gloss trimmed to fit the item. There are a dozen ways to wrap any gift, and depending on your level of creativity, you could be foofing all day. As for Laura Ingalls, if she were around today, you could almost imagine her giddily foofing something for Ma. Visit today to learn more about Gift Gloss and foofing. Informational videos of Krebs and her friends demonstrate how to use Gift Gloss for all kinds of presents, including gift cards. Don’t be the last person on Facebook to know the difference between Piggies and Ponys when it comes to foofing.

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Midtown Crossing Omaha’s New “Living Room”

Bob Daisley, at left, with Ken Cook: “Omaha is so robust downtown, so robust out west. Midtown was the hole in the donut. We’ve filled in the hole.”


team of business leaders, developers, designers, contractors and others who helped turn a sleepy section of midtown Omaha from forlorn to fabulous embraced the motto “Go big or go home” from the beginning. Together, those involved with Mutual of Omaha’s Midtown Crossing at Turner Park took risks, met challenges and dreamed big, transforming an underutilized area into a $325-million, mixed-use development featuring a variety of retailers, residences, restaurants, entertainment venues and more. Spanning 15 acres, Midtown Crossing is built around an expanded and revitalized Turner Park near 31st and Dodge Streets. The sprawling greenspace has become a focal point of the neighborhood and a source of pride for many in the community. Omaha businessmen Ken Cook, Bob Daisley and architect David Ertz of Philadelphia are among those who have spent much of the past several years pouring over details big and small to turn the innovative development from dream into reality. 14 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

Cook and Daisley are part of East Campus Realty LLC, the Mutual of Omaha subsidiary that owns Midtown Crossing. Cook serves as president while Daisley is the group’s vice president of asset management. Both men say Midtown Crossing was needed to help the surrounding area thrive socially and economically. “It made so much sense to get a neighborhood back here,” Daisley says. “Omaha is so robust downtown, so robust out west. Midtown was the hole in the donut. We’ve filled in the hole.” In addition to Mutual of Omaha, other groups involved in the creation, design and development include Destination Midtown, ECI Investment Advisors, Holland Basham Architects, the Weitz Company and Cope Linder Architects. “There was a crumbling in this area, not just buildings and streets but a community needing a lift,” says Molly Skold, Midtown Crossing marketing director. “They could have built a park and a small, little retail area, but they decided to go for it and build something revolutionary. It’s bringing not only enthusiasm and energy to midtown but to the City of Omaha.” Midtown Crossing officials joined hundreds of residents, politicians and community leaders to celebrate the development’s grand opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 18. The plan now is to spend the summer showing it off with a number of community events and activities. The site will host a series of outdoor markets each Saturday through Sept. 4. Area vendors and artisans will offer an array of

fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, handmade crafts and more. In addition, the event includes cooking lessons, local performers, wine tastings, gardening tips and children’s activities. For fans of live music, Midtown Crossing will host six free summer concerts on Thursday nights as part of the popular Jazz on the Green concert series. The annual event kicks off July 8 at its new home in Turner Park. “The park is the gem. It’s unbelievable,” says Daisley, an Omaha native who joined Mutual of Omaha in 1997. “I can’t wait to see the first concerts there.” Ertz, a partner at Philadelphia-based Cope Linder Architects and native of Verdigre, Neb., says he was proud to be part of an exciting project in his home state. He served as Midtown Crossing’s master planner, design architect and landscape architect. “The goal is to make a far more pedestrian-friendly environment and bring up the quality of the neighborhood,” says Ertz, adding that Midtown Crossing will become a new social center for Omaha with Turner Park serving as the city’s “living room.” “Mutual felt it was a little tired,” he says of the park. “It needed a new injection of life. My hopes are the same as Mutual’s. We hope and expect this will have a tremendous ripple effect on the neighborhood.” Excitement over the project has prompted other developers to renovate existing buildings in the area. The concept, Cook says, is not so much about a gentrification of midtown but a reinvestment in it.

As East Campus Realty president, Cook oversees all aspects of the development, management and operation of Midtown Crossing. The Glenwood, Iowa, native joined Mutual of Omaha’s law division in 1992 and most recently served as senior vice president/associate general counsel and assistant secretary. For Cook, one of the great things about Midtown Crossing is that it embraces a pedestrian-friendly, new urbanism concept that encourages people to live, work and play all in one place. Businesses open so far are Marcus Midtown Cinema, Glo Lounge, Prairie Life Fitness, Fashion Cleaners, Loft 610 Urban Restaurant & Lounge, Parliament Pub and Tru Salon and Spa. Future tenants, which are scheduled to open throughout the summer and fall, include Blanc Burgers + Bottles, Callahan Financial Planning, Cantina Laredo, Crave, Delice European Bakery and Cafe, the Element by Westin hotel, the Grey Plume, Ingredient, Three Dog Bakery and Wohlner’s Midtown Market. Plans for additional retailers are in the works. “You’re going to see one to two announcements each month,” Skold says. “We make announcements once the lease is signed. We’re sitting on a slew of letters of interest.” Other plans call for a shuttle service to link the new development with several popular destinations, including the Old Market, Qwest Center Omaha and other venues. People can park at Midtown Crossing and ride the shuttle at no cost.

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Children aren’t small adults, and shouldn’t be treated like they are. Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 15


OMAHAprofile There’s a national commercial airing these days, in which a group of businesspeople sit around a conference table discussing ways to cut expenses and improve their bottom line. Then one suit says, gesturing to the piles and piles of reports, marketing materials and other documents that sit about the conference table, “What does all THIS cost?” The point being made: Many businesses spend way too much in time, effort and money on printed materials. Performance Group, Inc. of Omaha is a local print management company which works with businesses to help them become more efficient in the way they order, manage, print and distribute all their vital business print, marketing and promotional materials. And they make those processes more convenient by offering complete print management services online. Customers need only log into their account to place orders, check inventory or distribute their printed materials right from their computer. “Our mission is to help companies increase productivity, reduce overhead and improve efficiencies by providing them with a client-tailored planned purchasing program that manages design, purchasing, storage, inventory control and product distribution,” said Performance Group President Steve Connelly. “Our clients are everywhere – from large national companies to local start-ups,” and include those in the financial, manufacturing insurance, healthcare and retail sectors. Connelly, who previously worked in the print industry and has an accounting and sales background, took a leap of faith in 1995 and founded Performance Group. Since then, the company has grown to serve approximately 1,200 clients in 42 states. Due to that outstanding growth, the company has received a Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence in Business Award three consecutive years. That growth also prompted Performance to build a new 20,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art office/warehouse facility near 132nd & Chandler Road, which opened January 2009. Connelly said he’d always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, and that it was his wife Barb’s support, business experience and encouragement that gave him the push he needed to make it a reality. “We’ve created a successful business from scratch that has weathered the storms and has given me the ability to do more than I ever thought possible,” he said. “If you have any inclination at all to having your own business, then you need to do your homework and go make it happen. The risks can be very rewarding.”

President Steve Connelly

Connelly and his wife of 25 years are the proud parents of Justin, a 14-year veteran with the U.S. Marines who served two tours in Iraq. They also have three grandchildren. The avid outdoorsman who plays competitive ice hockey twice a week (“against guys half my age,” he quips) sites as his personal goal: “To stay healthy, happy and positive, and try to outlive my grandfather, who lived 99 ½ healthy years.”

13308 Chandler Rd. Omaha, NE 68138 402-896-9400

16 B2B Omaha Summer 2010


OMAHAprofile One of the worst experiences you can have while driving is seeing a rock fly at your car and crack your windshield. Fortunately, Andrea Crampton, owner of Windshields, Inc., is here to help with all of your auto glass needs. Windshields, Inc. is a family-owned auto glass company that repairs and replaces windshields as well as back glass, door glass, and side mirror glass. Over the last two years, Windshields, Inc. has tripled its customer base as they maintain “Top Notch” auto glass education and customer service. They not only repair and replace windshields for their customers, but they also provide their customers with information about the safety of a properly installed windshield and its benefits. While most people do not view a windshield as a safety feature, Crampton feels it is of vital importance. “When it comes to roll-over accidents, the windshield is actually the structure that keeps the roof of the vehicle from collapsing down on the passengers,” says Crampton. “If there is a head-on collision, the windshield is the feature that keeps the air bag deployed in front of your chest and head. Without a properly installed windshield, there is a chance of the air bag blowing the windshield out, and you do not have use of the air bag at this point.” Currently, there are only three auto glass companies in the metro that are AGRSS Certified (Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards), and Windshields, Inc. is one of them. AGRSS certification mandates that the auto glass company complies with all available safety standards and the highest quality products that accompany them. Since the auto glass industry is not regulated, Crampton thought it would be wise to educate herself on the proper installation of a windshield and gain AGRSS certification for her business. Crampton is an Omaha native, an alum of Millard South High School and University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a proud wife and mother. She purchased Windshields, Inc. about two years ago from a family friend that had been in business for 15 years. Both her grandfather and her father have worked in the auto industry and have owned their own businesses, so naturally she followed in their footsteps. Though, originally, her background was in marketing and sales, she educated herself with every bit of information she could find surrounding the auto glass industry. She says that her biggest challenge is balancing her time between being a wife, a mother, and the owner of her own business --sometimes, she even wishes there could be more of her. But when faced with these challenges, Crampton takes comfort in her simple philosophy: “If you just be who you are, do things right, and enjoy what you do, then people respond in a positive way.”

Owner Andrea Crampton

4501 S. 90th St. Omaha, NE 68127 (402) 592-4477 Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 17


OMAHAprofile Sand Soccer... Coming soon to a town near you! That’s the plan of Tim McCormack, founder of Thunder Beach, a new franchise featuring recreational and competitive sand soccer and sand volleyball. McCormack’s franchise program provides talented individuals looking for the opportunity to get out from behind that desk and ditch that suit and tie, a chance to become their own boss, build a better lifestyle and control their own destiny. McCormack’s business plan calls for his franchisees to be an add-on profit center for driving ranges, golf courses, bowling centers, bars, family fun centers and numerous other businesses that may have land in front, behind, or next to their existing business that they are not using. Thunder Beach programs of sand soccer and sand volleyball have the ability to bring in a large number of participants and spectators into an add-on business on a nightly basis. McCormack built his first sand volleyball complex in 1980 and since that time he has built nine additional sand volleyball complexes in three different sates All but one, his Millard location, were add-on’s to existing businesses. McCormack says, “Sand Soccer is going to be the hottest new sport in the country,” and when you pair that with his successful sand volleyball programs, “You’ve got a winner.” While McCormack acknowledges that anyone can go out and build a sports complex, the thing that separates Thunder Beach from all the rest is the McCormack’s system of qualifying Thunder Beach locations , the layout and design of each complex, their rules of play, the material and methods of recruiting participants and the way they manage their programs. Thunder Beach is a format franchise and it is the McCormack’s system’s that provides structure, discipline and standardization of programs that allows people to feel comfortable knowing they will receive the same great night out with their family and friends, whether it’s in Omaha, Nebraska, or Dallas, Texas. The Thunder Beach franchises are available in 12 states : Tim hasn’t always been in the outdoor recreation business, even though it has consumed the last 24 years of his life. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur and a business owner, he was a high school history teacher and an elementary school administrator. Tim says: “ I’m proof positive that anyone can not only dream dreams about owning their own business, they can go out and build that dream.”

18 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

Founder Tim McCormack

7117 Farnam St. Omaha, NE 68114 402-953-3054



Situated on 156th Street between Fort and Ida on the edge of northwest Omaha sits Robert’s Nursery. The garden center’s exterior, painted with a colorful, larger-than-life-size mural of a wood-beam portico and country home landscape, is hard to miss. Robert’s owner, Robert Kozol, describes the center as not too small, not too big, just right. “Our niche is having a nice, cozy showroom and nursery,” he said. “Our size makes it easy to make a quick visit to see most all of our plants and products for home and garden. Still, our selection is tremendous. And because of our size, our customers don’t feel overwhelmed when they visit us, especially with our pricing.” A knowledgeable, personable staff and high-quality stock keep Robert’s Nursery customers coming back, season after season, for their garden needs. The nursery has seen 25-35 percent sales growth annually in recent years. For Robert, the garden center is more than just a business venture: “It’s definitely my dream come true.” The youngest of nine, with four brothers in the nursery business in the Omaha metro, he said owning a successful nursery of his own has always been a goal. Robert openly credits his siblings for teaching him much about the business, and jokes that now they are friendly competitors. Continuing to build a reputation for exceeding customers’ expectations at an honest price is what Robert’s Nursery is focused on these days, Robert said. “And becoming higher image…from the look of our nursery, our delivery trucks, our clothing, and our work.” As for growing up in a big family, Robert advocates it highly. “We all love each other tons, and have a riot when we get together.” Owner Robert Kozol

6056 North 156th St. Omaha, NE 68116 (402) 551-3654 www.

Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 19


OMAHAprofile For some, cleaning is a time-consuming chore to be avoided. For FBG Service Corporation, clean is a mission statement, an obsession, and an identity. FBG is an environmental support services organization that specializes in providing a clean, safe and healthy environment for their customers. Founder and chairman Wayne Simmonds believes that everyone should do what they do best; for FBG that is cleaning and maintenance. The employees at FBG operate with the understanding that a clean and healthy environment has a positive impact on a business’ bottom line-- specifically the productivity of their employees. Despite escalating wage rates and increased competition, Simmonds believes that FBG has been successful because of their concentration on four main segments of business: commercial office, industrial, education and healthcare. By developing market-specific systems, they have been able to increase the production done within one labor hour. This is FBG’s competitive edge, along with providing above-average-pay and an opportunity to be a stakeholder through their Employee Stock Ownership Program. FBG is 100% employee-owned and one of the 100 largest employee-owned companies in the nation. Simmonds says he is proud to share ownership with the people who have put so much time and effort into making the company what it is today. He said, “I learned long ago the importance of working for more than just a salary. Having an equity position in a company instills a commitment in its long-term success.” This year, FBG celebrates their 50th year, which Simmonds attributes to the development of employees who share a spirit of entrepreneurship. Though the workplace atmosphere at FBG reflects that of a hard-working, yet good-humored family, Simmonds says that the employees help grow the business by taking on roles of personal leadership. Adding, “Over the years our customers have provided the thrust to enter new markets and keep the career path open for our people. As our knowledge and experience grew, it just made good sense to employ it by expanding and diversifying our business.” Simmonds, who is now semi-retired, declares that he is 71 years young. His 49-year marriage resulted in three daughters, who currently work in the business, and have blessed him with six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He says his family and friends would describe him as a laid-back man who’s more lenient than strict, and who loves people. His mission to share ownership of FBG has been realized and his legacy is now embraced by every FBG employee-owner.

20 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

(800) 777-8326 (402) 346-4422 Founder Wayne Simmonds


OMAHAprofile Looking for an alternative to the same ol’, same ol’ Sunday night dinner routine? Drop in for an evening at Spencer’s For Steaks and Chops. The modern steakhouse at 102 S. 10th St. in the Old Market offers a Sunday night “Dinner and a Movie” special in their warm, casual lounge. The restaurant also offers a monthly Winemaker Dinner Series, which includes a four-course dinner with wine pairings, served by that month’s winemaker themselves, and a three-course Prix Fixe dinner for just $35 on Fridays and Saturdays. Spencer’s general manager Brad Marr said these are just a few examples of ways the restaurant had turned the traditional steakhouse concept on its side. That innovation extends to the ways foods are acquired and prepared as well. “What sets us apart is the innovative twists that our executive chef (Glenn Wheeler) has taken to modernize some of the menu items in what you would call ‘composed entrees’,” Marr said. “In addition, we focus on a farm-to-table approach to various items on the menu…the majority of the products come from farmers and ranchers that are within 100 miles of Omaha.” Spencer’s is known for its USDA Prime grade beef, and you certainly can find traditional steakhouse fare on the menu: Porterhouse, Filet Mignon, Bone-in Ribeye. But you can also find many seafood offerings to please the palate: Ahi Tuna, Alaskan Halibut, Wild Salmon. You’ll also find a great selection of delicious side dishes, as well as delectable desserts prepared daily. Hot Cinnamon Apple Pie, Fudge “Naughty” Cake and Sorbet are just a sample. “Our restaurant is unique in that we offer so much more than just a dinner menu,” Marr said, including a $5 Prime Time Menu from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and a separate Lounge Menu. Spencer’s also serves up vintage cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices, and boasts an eclectic wine list. Marr said his staff excels at creating a positive guest experience, and makes it look effortless. One customer described his dining experience to him like this: “Your operation is like a duck…you see it gliding smoothly on top of the water, while underneath their feet are kicking away.” “This is a testament to our staff’s awareness and professionalism. The more relaxed and calm we seem to be, the more relaxed and calm the guests seems to be. Knowing that you provided the best experience possible for your guests is extremely satisfying.”

Executive Chef Glenn Wheeler and General Manager Brad Marr

102 South 10th Street 402-280-8888 Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 21


OMAHAprofile MCL Construction prides itself on being a true leader in healthcare construction and renovation. The Omaha-based commercial contractor and construction management firm recently completed work on Omaha’s newest healthcare facility, Methodist Women’s Hospital at 192nd and West Dodge Road. MCL’s healthcare portfolio is impressive, however the company is not limited to simply one type or size of project. Financial institutions, office buildouts and renovations, retail space, churches/religious projects, and warehouse and data centers are also MCL projects of recent years. Now with over 100 employees and a second office in Denver, Colorado, MCL is poised to continue growth both in the scope of projects, and geographically. So what’s been the key to MCL’s success? It really goes back to its founders’ values. Jim Meyers and Bob Carlisle began in the company in 1987 as Meyers-Carlisle Construction. In 1996, Jim Meyers retired, and Gary Leapley joined the firm as executive vice president/owner, and the company was renamed Meyers-Carlisle-Leapley. Since its founding, one thing has remained constant: customers, both large and small, have had direct access to MCL’s owners. That direct line of communication has proven to be of huge value to their customers, and facilitated the construction of thousands of successful projects over the past nearly 25 years. That open-door policy with leadership has been extended to MCL’s employees as well, creating a culture of openness, honesty and family. Employees feel as if they’re given creative freedom and are trusted to do their jobs well, without being micromanaged. They also feel valued in that MCL goes to great lengths to teach and enforce safety measures, and maintains an excellent safety rating. “I take great pride in knowing my employees go home safe every night to their families,” said MCL President Bob Carlisle. Leapley said his company and employees perform and dedicate themselves to his customers’ needs, “and that loyalty to our customer is returned in repeat business. That, along with our willingness to accept challenges…and our ambition to take risks,” are what have allowed MCL to continue to grow. Carlisle also credits his company’s success to solid marketing and business training he received while a student at UNO, as well as relationships he built during his years as a manager at Omaha Country Club while still a student. He also found a wonderful mentor at his first job at a construction company. “A lot of people ask me if I was lucky, and I tell them, I was prepared when opportunity presented itself. If that’s luck, then yes, I’m lucky.”

22 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

14124 Industrial Road Omaha, NE 68144 (402) 339-2221


OMAHAprofile Put your business in front of thousands! Reserve your booth now for the 2010 Buy the Big O! Show, the region’s premier business-to-business trade show. The Show will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 13, from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Qwest Center Omaha. Only members of the Greater Omaha Chamber can have a booth and reap the benefits of this kind of exposure. “Exhibiting will provide your business with tremendous visibility. There will be approximately 350 exhibiting businesses and more than 6,000 people there, all in one place on one day. With booth space starting at $575, that is 10 cents per impression,” said Tracey Fricke, CSEP, CMP, the Chamber’s Director of Special Events. What are exhibitors saying about the Buy the Big O! Show?

“It’s a wonderful event. It gives you a chance to meet others, learn what other businesses are out there, and also make important contact with vendors, business partners, strategic alliances. All those kinds of different things can happen at the Buy the Big O! Show. It’s a great way to put your finger on the pulse of business.” - Deb Bass, Bass & Associates, Inc. “It is an incredible opportunity for networking!” - Tom Ward, American Electronics, Inc. “We are long-time Chamber members. We’ve been members for over 25 years. Probably the biggest thing for us is the networking opportunity. It’s been very successful for us, networking with other businesses, finding out upcoming news and finding out about new businesses in town.” - Rory Sherman, United Distributors, Inc. “It’s face-to-face, you can’t beat it! You know, you can send a hundred emails, you can send lots of letters, you can make dozens of phone calls. Nothing beats the face-to-face connections like when you come to the Big O! Show. You don’t have an opportunity to see that many people in one day in any other venue in the city of Omaha.” - David Kutler, Body Basics Exercise Equipment “It’s well worth the one day. There is so much opportunity there. We always end up doing business there. It’s really like a one-day big advertisement for your business. We look forward to it!” - Marvin Holst, Headsetters “The price is right, the location is right. We look forward to it. It is so good for business!” Dorsey Olson, Neon Products Company, Inc. “Do it to get your name out there! So much of our business is done online. The biggest benefit is we see a lot of customers we deal with throughout the year, we get to put the face to the name, and we get to thank them. And we do develop new customer relationships along the way.” - Steve Roarty, SignIT “It’s a great day for business in the greater Omaha metropolitan area. Exhibiting at the Show should be an essential part of your marketing strategy to generate a dynamic leap into a robust 2011,” added Fricke. See who is registered, view an interactive map, and purchase your exhibition space at Be a part of the Buy the Big O! Show October 13!

Wednesday, Oct. 13 Qwest Center Omaha Exhibit Hall C 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 23



Lucky and Smart


t’s smart to enter sweepstakes contests. Just ask Shane Andersen, 33, who recently won a “smart fortwo” Smart Car by entering an online contest he saw on the back of a Little Debbie snack box. The Bellevue man was one of almost one million entrants, making him not only smart, but also very lucky indeed. The smart fortwo is the grand prize in a contest and is similar to the cupcake cars that toured the country last fall to introduce Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes were handed out during the festive presentation. Andersen, an electric technician with Sytronics, a civilian contractor at USSTRATCOM, regularly enters sweepstakes. “I won a Remington shotgun once,” he said. Representatives from Smart Car USA and Little Debbie were on hand for the presentation on May 13 at the No Frills Supermarket in Bellevue. Accompanying Andersen was his wife Lyn, who is expecting their first baby girl in August. Representatives from Little Debbie presented her with a Visa gift card to get something for the baby. John Peterson of Smart Car USA said “Omaha is one of our strongest markets in the country and the biggest seller in the North Central region which includes Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City.” Performance Auto of LaVista is the local dealership for Smart Cars. The smart fortwo is the smallest car sold in the United States. Engineered by Mercedes-Benz, it is about 9 feet long from end to end. It rates 33 mpg in town and 41 on the highway powered by a 1.0 liter three-cylinder engine with a five-speed automated manual transmission. 24 B2B Omaha Summer 2010


Is Twitter in Your Toolbox?


witter, launched in 2006, has grown in popularity as a business tool. Once regarded by some as trendy, it has entrenched itself as a solid player in businesses’ social media toolbox. Rodney Rumford, an entrepreneur and business consultant from Solana Beach, Calif., has written the book on it. “Twitter As A Business Tool: Building Your Business 140 Characters At A Time.” Rumford states Twitter is “not a fad.” Rumford added, “When I wrote that two years ago, people looked at me like I was crazy. It has proven to be true. Twitter has become more a mainstream communications channel and a news discovery channel. LOCAL TWEETERS Shannon Stickman, co-owner of Seven Salon, uses business tweeting on a regular basis. “When there is an event going on such as a show we are in, or the Oscars on TV, we utilize tweeting to give our opinions about what trends are being set at these big shows. We also will tweet about hot-off-the-press news like a new product release, or a new fashion trend.”

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

is Different

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Most hospitals are designed to treat adults. Not Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 25

social media Submit your events to this list at:

CB: Business Exchange Group I♦♦ Every First and Third Thursday @ 7:30 AM Chamber Office: Council Bluffs in the Presentation Room, Atrium Level♦ Every First and Third Thursday @ 7:00 AM DTN: 9110 W. Dodge Rd - Omaha Ralston Business Exchange Network♦♦♦ Every First and Third Wednesday @ 7:30 AM First State Bank: 72nd & Main St - Ralston SCOC: Toastmasters♦♦ Every First and Third Wednesday @ 8:00 AM Shadow Lake Town Centre: 7775 Olson Drive, Suite 207 - Papillion Build Your Own Business Referral Group (BYOB)♦♦ Every First Friday @ 11:30 AM Millard Plaza Ballroom: 5339 South 139 Plaza Omaha Omaha AstroClub♦ Every First Friday @ 7:30 PM UNO in the Durham Science Center Room 169 Omaha Spirit World Tasting♦♦ Every First Thursday @ 6:00 PM Spirit World: 7517 Pacific St - Omaha Turning Point Youth Ministry Campus♦ Every First Wednesday @ 12:00 PM Big Mama's Kitchen & Catering: 3223 N. 45th Street, Bldg. A - Omaha OWCOC: Quarterly Luncheon Meeting♦♦ Every Fourth Wednesday @ 12:00 PM Green Drinks Omaha♦ Every Forth Wednesday Every Two Months @ 5:30 PM Whole Foods Market: 10020 Regency Circle - Omaha MBA - TGIF Referral Group♦♦♦ Every Friday @ 12:00 PM Millard Plaza Ballroom

PRSA - Professional Development Luncheons♦♦ Every Second Tuesday Except July, August @ 11:30 AM Ironwood Country Club: 128th & Pacific St. Omaha Coin Club♦ Every Third Friday @ 7:00 PM The Paralyzed Veterans of America building: 7612 Maple Street - Omaha Wahoo Mason's Pancake Breakfast♦♦ Every Third Saturday @ 9:00 AM Masonic Lodge: Wahoo AIGA♦♦ Every Third Thursday @ 5:30 PM Jimi D's: 6303 Center St # 105 - Omaha Bellevue Kiwanis♦ Every Thrusday @ 7:00 AM Americana Bistro: 25th & Capehart - Bellevue Bellevue Kiwanis Club♦ Every Thursday @ 7:00 AM Holiday Inn Express - Bellevue LVCOC - LEADers Referral Group♦♦ Every Thursday @ 8:00 AM Chamber Office - La Vista LVCOC Tuesday Leaders Referral group♦♦♦ Every Thursday @ 8:00 AM 84th Street Cafe: 8013 South 83rd Av - La Vista MBA - Thursday Nooners Referral Group♦♦ Every Thursday @ 12:00 PM Le Peep: 17660 Wright Plz near 178th and Center - Omaha Media Day at the Omaha Press Club♦ Every Thursday @ 11:30 AM First National Center: 16th & Dodge Streets - Omaha Optimist Club - Club # 10015♦♦ Every Thursday @ 7:00 AM Westside Community Center: 108th and Grover Omaha

Omaha West Rotary♦♦ Every Friday @ 12:00 PM Ironwood Golf & Country Club: Omaha

Realtalkers - Toastmasters International♦ Every Thursday @ 6:00 AM Omaha Area Board of Realtors: 11830 Nicholas Street - Omaha

Millard Rotary♦ Every Monday @ 12:00 PM Bel Air Banquet Room: 12100 West Center Rd. #520 - Omaha

Weekly Group Rides (Bicycling) - Thursday Night Taco Ride♦ Every Thursday @ 6:00 PM Wabash Trace Trailhead - Council Bluffs

Grow Omaha airs live each Saturday♦ Every Saturday @ 8:00 AM News Radio 1110 KFAB

Center Sphere Business Professional Networking Group♦♦ Every Tuesday @ 8:00 AM Funny Bone Village Pointe: 17305 Davenport Street - Omaha

The Omaha Empowerment Breakfast♦ Every Second Friday @ 7:00 AM Park Plaza Regency Lodge: 909 South 107th Ave - Omaha Friends of Joslyn Castle♦ Every Second Tuesday Except July, August @ 11:45 AM Joslyn Castle

Northwest Rotary♦ Every Tuesday @ 12:00 PM Champions Run: Omaha Northwest Rotary♦♦ Every Tuesday @ 12:00 PM Champions Run: Omaha Omaha Leads Club I♦♦ Every Tuesday @ 11:45 AM Valentino's: 108th between L & Q Streets - Omaha

26 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

Omaha Leads Club II♦ Every Tuesday @ 11:30 AM Garden Cafe: Rockbrook, 108th & Center - Omaha Omaha Morning Rotary♦♦ Every Tuesday @ 7:00 AM Happy Hollow Country Club: 1701 S 105th St, Omaha - Omaha Optimist Club♦ Every Tuesday @ 12:00 PM Westside Community Center: 3534 So 108th St - Omaha Southwest Omaha Night Rotary♦♦ Every Tuesday @ 5:00 PM Prestige Lounge: 810 S 169th St - Omaha Suburban Rotary♦♦ Every Thursday @ 12:00 PM Anthony’s: 72nd & F St - Omaha Tuesday Noon Networking♦ Every Tuesday @ 12:00 PM Prestige Lounge: 168th & Pacific - Omaha BNI: Rockin Referrals♦♦ Every Wednesday @ 11:30 AM Spezia: 72nd & Grover - Omaha MBA: The Big Red Referral Group♦ Every Wednesday @ 11:45 AM Vincenzo's: 144th and Blondo - Omaha Metro Omaha Business Coalition (MOBC)♦♦ Every Wednesday @ 11:30 AM LePeep: 120th and Blondo - Omaha Omaha Rotary♦♦ Every Wednesday @ 12:00 PM The Field Club of Omaha: 3615 Woolworth - Omaha Optimist Club - Club # 10085♦♦ Every Wednesday @ 12:00 PM Westside Community Conference Center: 3534 So 108th St - Omaha Rotary Club of Omaha (Downtown) Every Wednesday @ 12:00 PM Field Club of Omaha: 3615 Woolworth - Omaha Sunrise Lions Club Meeting♦ Every Wednesday @ 7:00 AM The Market Basket Restaurant: 911 South 87th Avenue - Omaha L.I.F.T. Luncheon Group♦ First Thursday @ 11:30 AM Venice Inn: 6920 Pacific St - Omaha BCOC: Chamber ChitChat♦♦ Last Friday @ 7:30 AM Chamber Office - Bellevue Playing with Fire Concert Series♦ 17/07 , 14/08 @ 4:00 PM Lewis & Clark Landing: 515 Riverfront Dr - Omaha Urban League of NE Young Professionals Meeting♦ 26/07 , 23/08 , 20/09 , 18/10 , 15/11 , 13/12 , 10/01, 07/02 , 07/03 , 04/04 , 02/05 @ 5:30 PM Urban League of Nebraska

Stickman said it has grown her salon’s business immensely. “It has increased awareness of certain services that people may not have known we offer, and also spurs excitement about salon happenings and gatherings.” Stickman partially credits social media for tripling her new nail technician’s business over the last six months “and also her expertise,” she said. We learned the power of tweeting here at Omaha Publications when we tweeted a resume request for a graphic artist position. Within a short amount of time we received enough qualified applicants to start the interview process. Interestingly enough, the individual hired was the result of a “retweet,” i.e., someone following Omaha Magazine had forwarded our tweet. DO’S AND DON’TS Smart companies use Twitter to monitor customer service problems and advise followers of new products and industry trends. Rumford advises against hardcore marketing without adding value. “If you’re always out there publishing without being interesting or compelling, you will lose followers,” he said. He also recommends putting a personal face on your company’s Twitter presence. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Rumford, who also founded, a Twitter photo-sharing platform. “By adding photos through Twitter, it augments the message.” Rumford’s book answers the following questions and “gets you up to speed quickly, while showing you the insiders’ secrets, tips, examples and best practices for leveraging Twitter and getting maximum business benefit.” • Why should my business be on Twitter? • How can I reach millions of people? • How do I build a power network that will virally spread my messages? • How can I use Twitter to listen more efficiently to my customers? • What missteps can I avoid? • What is the best way to use Twitter? • How can my business use Twitter for marketing, communication and branding benefits? The book is available online at

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12330 K Plaza, Ste. 113 Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 27

cover story

Story by Jonathan Welsh

Photos by

“The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money. Think airlines. Here, a durable competitive advantage has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright Brothers. Indeed, if a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.” — Warren Buffett, annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, February 2008

Jet Linx Aviation propels “jetpooling” trend

28 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

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It’s a well-known fact that the aviation business is a tough racket, but there’s an Omaha-based private jet company called Jet Linx Aviation that just might have the secret to the durable competitive advantage that has proven elusive for so many others in the industry. They are unique, choosing to focus on local operation, highly personal service, and the newly proposed aviation equivalent of carpooling called “CoGoJets.” Denny Walker, founder of Jet Linx Aviation, has been operating out of Omaha for the past 10 years and has retained the same level of excitement about his company as he had from the outset. His passion for private aviation began the first time he set foot on a private jet while working in the corporate world. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur, and I knew from that moment

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cover story continued from page 29

that I wanted to start a private aviation company,” said Walker. In 1999, Jet Linx Aviation was born. Jet Linx differentiates itself from other private jet firms by committing to a local base of operation rather than a nationally oriented service. National firms operate by sending jets out to various locations nationwide to pick up clients and fly them to their intended destinations. “Jet Linx is a local concept. Our clients know the pilots and flight department on a personal basis. They can fly in an aircraft that they are familiar with and on terms that are the most convenient. We also have our own private hangar at Eppley,” said Walker. Depending on how many shares you own in Berkshire Hathaway, traveling via private jet can be cost-prohibitive. Jet Linx promises to pass on significant savings by offering refundable travel cards based on hours traveled (25 hours minimum) and one-way rates based on occupied flight time only. (Other firms also charge for empty legs, overnights and pilot wait times.) There are many different ways to fly. Charter flights allow you to hire a plane for a single trip — you pay for the privilege of leaving and returning when you want. Travel cards offer a set number of hours on a plane for a set price. You can also buy a share in a “fractional jet,” anywhere from one-sixteenth to half-ownership, which entails paying an annual fee plus an hourly fee for use, and the plane is managed by a third party. And then there’s flight sharing. Jamie Walker, son of Dennis Walker and president of Jet Linx Omaha, has pioneered a new method of flight sharing that could

Jamie Walker, at right, with Denny: “I was born and raised in Omaha. There are a lot of wealthy individuals here, but they aren’t the type of people who like to show it off.”


To learn more, go to

At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, we don’t follow the latest trends in pediatric treatments and procedures. We lead the way. Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 31

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make private-jet aviation more efficient and affordable. Before going into business with his father, Jamie worked in New York as a residential redeveloper in lower Manhattan. “Even while living in New York, I had been participating in the development of Jet Linx from the sidelines. After 9/11, everything was at a standstill in New York, so I decided it was a good time to move back to Omaha to concentrate on the company full-time,” said Jamie. In charge of business development at Jet Linx, Jamie has worked closely with the FAA and other organizations for years to prepare the way for CoGoJets, the aviation equivalent of carpooling. CoGoJets is an online sister company that serves as a sort of social media outlet where people can arrange to share a private aircraft – splitting the cost on a per-seat, pro rata basis – to and from any destination they choose. You log on to the site to propose your flight terms (from, to, date and time) and match them with other CoGo community members nationwide. The idea is to correlate the economics of commercial travel. Prior to Jamie’s efforts, it was against FAA regulations to flight-share in this way. “The idea was a product of customer feedback. Many of our clients were voicing the need for a service like CoGo,” said Jamie. Jet Linx plans to take a slow approach to implementing the new concept and will be forming new partnerships in their efforts. Jet Linx has now captured the majority of the market share in Omaha and both Dennis and Jamie believe it’s because of the nature of Omahans. “I was born and raised in Omaha. There are a lot of wealthy individuals here, but they aren’t the type of people who like to show it off,” said Jamie. “Our goal is to make private-jet travel more affordable and to focus on the time-savings and convenience aspect rather than luxury,” added Dennis. People are certainly flying less these days, but they will always have to fly. For those who fly privately, it’s good to know that jetpooling is now an option. It might even open the door for people who normally fly commercial … how many people can you squeeze into a turboprop again?      

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Zongkers Custom Furniture


ince 1991, Zongkers Custom Furniture has been operating out of the old Metz Brewery building, located at 1717 South 3rd Street. The building is situated in a remote part of town, in between the Old Market and the Henry Doorly Zoo, and its walls have witnessed the crafting of some of the most unique and intricately designed custom furniture in the country. Brothers Dan and Dennis Zongker, born and raised in South Omaha, started the company in 1989, after working in the same cabinet shop for a few years. “We literally started the business out of our basements,� said Dan. At the time, they lived six blocks 34 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

office furniture

apart and each housed a portion of the business. Dan’s place was used as the shop, and Dennis set up an office in his home. Together, in two years time and not without struggle, they built the business up to the point where they could move into the Metz Brewery building. From the outside the building looks like, well, an old abandoned brewery, but inside it’s alive with craftsmen going about their various duties, leaving busy tracks in the sawdust. There are multiple rooms within the building, purposed for different stages of the fabrication process. Engineering prints and concept drawings line the walls. Access to the office portion of Zongkers is guarded by a large wooden door that looks like it might be an entrance to some secret lair from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This is where Dennis and Dan spend the majority of their time, concentrating on their respective responsibilities. Dan is the designer: “I work with clients to make sure the design is exactly what they want. This means evaluating multiple factors such as the intended space for the piece and the appearance of the surrounding environment.” Once the design is complete, Dennis takes over the engineering aspect. “I’ll take Dan’s design and prepare drawings showing construction techniques, materials and dimensions so the craftsman can build it,” said Dennis. This process has led to success for Zongkers as they now have clients, ranging from individuals to large corporations, all over the country. Their abilities range from designing original boardroom tables, such as the popular racetrack model that opens up into a V-shape for video conferencing, to custom chess tables crafted using more than 1,000 pieces of cut and inlaid hardwood. “Old world craftsmanship mixed with new technology. That’s how we like to think of our work,” said Dan. They love what they do. When asked how they became highly skilled craftsman, Dennis pointed towards the bookshelves in the office holding hundreds of treatises on the subject. “Experience,” he said. It’s safe to say that the combined experience and passion of the Zongker brothers stretches far beyond a 5-year warranty.”

Walls with flexibility, functionality Moveable walls, also known as modular and demountable walls, look permanent but are designed to be reconfigured, allowing a company’s ability to grow and evolve as business needs change. Studies show that workspaces typically need to accommodate change every two years. Renovating with standard construction involves tearing down drywall, pulling up carpet, and cutting and removing cables and electrical wiring, all of which can end up in a landfill. Moveable walls work well in executive offices, conference and waiting areas, break and common areas, and private offices.

• • •

Advantages of Moveable Walls: • Adaptability is built-in – The average North American business has an annual churn rate of 50%. With moveable walls, if you want to change an office, it can be done overnight. Plus, Haworth’s moveable walls are 100% reconfigurable. • Reconfiguration downtime is virtually eliminated – There’s no mess, no dust, and no demolition waste with moveable walls. • Reduced construction waste - The United States produces approximately 15 million tons of drywall a year, according to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. Movable walls are premanufactured, which reduces construction waste on start, and are 98% reusable so changes do not generate more waste. Great finishes to choose from - With wide-ranging aesthetics from fun wall colors to sophisticated wood options, Haworth moveable walls can easily change locations while maintaining continuity within a company’s overall identity. Collect LEED points – Buildings with movable walls collect LEED points for construction waste and construction indoor air quality (IAQ). Save time and money - Moveable walls significantly cut down on construction costs and project timelines. When you add up complete project costs including installation, demolition, paint or coverings, hardware and the time required to install/reconfigure and all related hardware, you’ll see that moveable walls are usually less expensive than drywall. No surprise back-end costs – “End of lease” turnover costs are minimized when a tenant moves out of a space – a cost rarely considered at the time of build-out.

For more information on moveable walls, visit All Makes Office Equipment Co.’s redesigned 8,000 sq. moveable wall showroom at 2558 Farnam St. or visit Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 35

T H E K N O W - I T - A L L J U S T PA S S E D Y O U .

The American Dream


n past articles I have lamented the idea that our federal government is more worried about companies which they deem “too big to fail,� at the expense of small business. Banking regulators harshly scrutinize the loans of small to medium businesses while Wall Street and the largest banks get bailouts. Worse yet, the largest banks are able to go to the Federal Reserve for nearly free money. Some even joke that the various bailouts Goldman Sachs has received over the years should cause them to be called Government Sachs. Over the last few years Wall Street has made 41% of all U.S. corporate profits. Does that seem right to you, that Wall Street is worth that share of all corporate profits? Think about it, take every company you can think of, from Boeing to the corner hardware store, and Wall Street has a profit of 41 cents of every dollar earned? This is sad, very sad indeed. I am the descendant of six of the 102 Mayflower Pilgrims. They risked all to come to this land to make a life for themselves. Better stated, they left Europe for a number of very good reasons. Europe then, and Europe now, concentrates wealth 36 B2B Omaha Summer 2010

and power in the few. America has offered the opportunity for those with a dream to create a business, and maybe even succeed. Regardless of whether we succeed in business or not, we have the opportunity to try. Just try and get a business permit in France, and see how many bureaucratic hurdles you have to overcome. Starting a business in America is as easy as forming an entity and getting an IRS number, all of which can be done online. In an afternoon the framework for a new company is complete. The opportunity to succeed, and maybe even more importantly the opportunity to fail, is intrinsic to the American Dream. There is an entrepreneurial drive that is embedded in the notion of what it is to be an American. Whether you just arrived in this country with a dream in mind, or are the descendant of immigrants generations ago. I was speaking with a friend who emigrated from Iran to America some years ago. He described a recent trip to the old country, and in doing so, he spent some time in Europe. In Europe he felt a weight on his shoulders. The weight which comes from a way of life where everyone knows their place. A predetermined pecking order. Upon arriving in Iran, a heavy weight was placed on his shoulders. We all have a feel for the burden that government imposes. When he returned to America the weight was lifted,

along with his spirits. A graduate-level university professor was discussing what America meant to him. He emigrated from Jordan some 30 years ago. On a trip back to Jordan, he offered the Jordanian customs officer his Jordanian passport. The customs officer questioned him regarding the reasons for his visit. Upon his return to America, the U.S. customs officer, reviewing his U.S. Passport, welcomed him home. He was so struck with the difference

inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients, that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends, that restless nervous energy, that dominant individualism working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom -- these are the traits of the frontier, or traits called out elsewhere because of the frontier.” If I were to get swept away with this theme, I would include the notion of Manifest Destiny in describing the passion with which immigrants took hold of the American Dream in their push across the continent. People who risked everything on the desire to improve their position in life. Freeing themselves from the yoke of the status quo to pursue an imagined life on the other side of the ordeal. This is the same today with entrepreneurs. The ordeal isn’t the crossing of difficult terrain in a covered wagon. The ordeal is the effort necessary to turn a business idea into a reality. To remove themselves from the yoke of a job and struggle into the unknown world of self-employment. My fear is that the American Dream is being trampled by the support given to the Too Big to Fail banks and Wall Street. So, it comes down to this question: Do you think we should be more like Europe? If so, that is the path we are on. If not, you had better make your feelings known. Now!

The opportunity to succeed, and maybe even more importantly the opportunity to fail, is intrinsic to the American Dream. in treatment that tears formed in his eyes. Before the Pilgrims, European explorers came to the Americas in an effort to extract wealth for Europe. The pilgrims came here to stay, their families with them, with no intent to return to Europe. The only wealth transfer was that necessary to repay the debt owed the investors who paid for their voyage. I will tell you that it is the same spirit that drives us, from the Pilgrims to the pioneers through to today. In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner described the American spirit like this: “That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness, that practical


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Children’s Hospital & Medical Center does more than provide the best medical care available to children. We teach others how to do it. Summer 2010 B2B Omaha 37

business ethics B Y B E V E R LY J . K R A C H E R , P H . D.

Baseball Stadium Ethics

“Look, I’ve been saying it since the very day I first went on the air; if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying and it’s only cheating if you get caught.” — Jim Rome, nationally syndicated sports talk show host


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his is a big summer for baseball in our hometown. Everyone knows that the Omaha Royals will play their final game at Rosenblatt Stadium on September 2. My guy, Jerry, and I are two Royals season ticket holders (yeah, I know, we’re the two). We attend almost every game and have done so for years. If anyone knows about the joys of Rosenblatt and the pain of Royals’ defeats, it’s us, the season ticket holders. I love Rosenblatt Stadium. It’s so big – and the fans are so few – that Jerry and I regularly get a whole section to ourselves. We can really spread out. We can put our feet on the seats in front of us, we can put two seats between us, and we can hang our arms over the back of our seats and not bother anyone. Rosenblatt Stadium speaks to our native Nebraskan instincts. We want space – we don’t want to be smashed into small spaces like sardines. We live in big sky country – we want a good view of it and a comfortable way to watch the fiery sun drop past the horizon at night. Rosenblatt Stadium has met our Midwestern needs – and then some. Down through the games, and the years, a Rosenblatt community has arisen. Season ticket holders and regulars, the beer vendors, and the concession stand workers are part of it. Between innings and when the other team is up to bat, we debate politics, religion, and why no one asked us if we wanted a new stadium (or two). My favorite discussions have always leaned towards ethics (I know, I was a strange child, too). So in honor of the last Royals season at Rosenblatt I would like to share some of my baseball stadium ethics with the larger community.

Rule #1: You have a right to sit in the assigned seat for which you have purchased a ticket. Rule #2: You have a right to sit in any seat not presently occupied. Rule #3: Rule #1 trumps Rule #2. Rule #1 means that you always have a place to sit – whether that is for the good or for the bad. Rule #2 means that if you don’t want to sit in your seat, and if you see another seat that is not being used, then it is acceptable to move and enjoy yourself. Rule #3 means that if someone shows up with a ticket to the seat you have…ahem… mistakenly sat in, then they have a right to make you leave. But up to that time, until someone show up with a ticket, Rule 2 applies. Now, some stadium managers might object to Rule #2. They can’t let you sit wherever you want. It’s not fair to the people who actually paid for the good seats. My reply is that context matters. First, it’s Rosenblatt. It’s huge. Even with 5,000 people, there’s room for maneuvering. Second, it’s baseball. Co-opting a seat is a fan’s equivalent to stealing a base – both are acceptable and part of the game. I can hear my mom say, “It’s your kind of attitude that’s destroying the ethics in our country today.” But I’d say that rather than ruining our country, my baseball stadium ethics speaks to the pragmatic side of our Midwestern values. Next month: Why do I always have to give the foul ball to a kid? Beverly Kracher, Ph.D. Executive Director, Business Ethics Alliance Associate Professor of Business Ethics & Society College of Business Creighton University

Today and always . . .

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As the world faces uncertainties, our firm stands as a beacon of integrity in the local business community. Independence and ethical accounting practices are important to us. Our firm is founded on bedrock principles . . .

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July/August/September 2010 B2B Omaha Magazine