Tag Archives: B2B

Jeri Schlickbernd

April 21, 2017 by

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

Jeri Schlickbernd enjoys working with all of her clients. But she especially enjoys time spent with female clientele.

“Our female investors are fun to work with because this is often new and exciting to them. Since I am a woman, they have a lot of trust in me, and they confide their fears, hopes, and so on with me more than they likely would with a man,” says the CEO of DVG Realty. “I do the same with them, which naturally creates a trust level.”

Her office is unique in the real estate investment world—50 percent of her employees are female.

“I think one of the greatest things about women working together is our ability to do business and get things done at a high level while also involving our emotions,” says Schlickbernd. “It creates a level of trust and camaraderie that men don’t typically share.”

DVG Realty specializes in income-producing residential real estate—house flipping and turn-key rentals. “Turn-key” means that DVG Realty handles everything for a client—from acquisition through rehab and then rental or sale.

Schlickbernd has been through the ups and downs of real estate investing.

“I started my real estate career in Phoenix, and I lived through the real estate crash of 2008. Because of this, I am super careful with my real estate investments,” she says.

Women are generally a bit more cautious than men when investing, she adds.

“So, our philosophy of investing only in what we would invest in ourselves and of looking at worst-case scenarios really speaks to our female clients,” says Schlickbernd. “Most investment-focused companies sell the upside because it’s exciting. I sell the worst-case scenario because I want my clients to know that when the real estate market turns again, they will be fine, and when the market is good, they will be great.”

Trust is a key word for customers. “We have a very successful track record, and our clients know they can trust us,” she says. “We look at every investment with the mindset of ‘would we invest in this ourselves?’”

“Women control a large, and growing, percentage of the wealth in the U.S.,” she adds. “Many women are intimidated with investing this money. We make investing in real estate easy to understand and to be successful at by being a trusted partner and service provider.”

Some customers are single women or women investing without a spouse or input of their spouse. “Historically men have made investment and real estate decisions when it’s not the primary home they live in,” says Schlickbernd.

Stocks or real estate? She says a big advantage that real estate investing has over investments like stocks is that you own a tangible asset: “So, if the market turns bad, you still have something instead of losing everything.”

“We want to be the go-to company for real estate investing,” she says. “We want to be known as honest, fair, and trustworthy, while at the same time creating great return on investment for our clients.”

4669 L St.
Omaha, NE 68117
402.680.1010
dvgrealty.com

What a Load of Garbage

April 20, 2017 by

When you hear the words “garbage collection,” you might think of a truck rolling into the neighborhood and a couple of guys hopping off to pick up your waiting bin(s).

It turns out that the Omaha metro area is one of the last places in this country where trash is collected that way.

Omaha mayor Jean Stothert wrote in a March 2016 press release, “I feel like our current service is way outdated.”

Efforts to modernize have been underway for some time now, according to an email from Justin Vetsch, 30, the Omaha senior district manager for Waste Management. Waste Management is the company that handles the City of Omaha’s garbage collection services.

“Back in November of 2016, upon the city’s request, Waste Management implemented a pilot program which showcases what a modernized collection system would look like, with automated trucks and standardized 96-gallon carts for trash and recycle,” Vetsch says. “This pilot program will conclude in April. The feedback and comments that Waste Management has received from residents indicates the pilot area is going well.”

Mike Shrader, 57, is the owner/manager of Premier Waste Solutions, a private company servicing Sarpy County, northern Cass County, and western Douglas County. He has been in the waste-collection industry since 1975 and hopes the city’s new system works as well as it has for his company.

“The vast majority of municipalities across the country use some form of a carted system,” Shrader says. The old model of collection, in which employees rode on the back of the truck and picked up the trash, has not been viable since the 1990s. “It’s hard to find individuals who are willing to do that kind of work, week in, week out.”

The Shrader family, looking for a different model, was introduced to an automated pickup system in Arizona, in which the garbage trucks use mechanical arms to pick up 96-gallon carts. What used to be a two- or three-person job now only needs a driver, and the carts hold about three times as much waste as a residential garbage can and can be wheeled around instead of lifted.

With the exceptions of the city of Omaha, Bellevue, Carter Lake, and Ralston, every other community in the area is what Shrader called a “carted community,” though there’s a pilot program underway now in Bellevue that is similar to the one in Omaha.

Overhauling the system is expensive, Shrader says, which is why it has not happened yet, but changing to this automated system brings with it a number of advantages.

Safety

“Not only is it more efficient for the hauler, in a sense of one-man crews, it’s also safer,” Shrader says. “When we look at the injuries across the nation … it’s usually the second or third person that’s on the truck.”

Aesthetics

When everyone in the neighborhood has the same carts, Shrader and Vetsch say, it gives the neighborhoods a sense of uniformity.

“A modernized system would also include easy wheeling, and standardized covered carts with lids, which are more aesthetically pleasing to have lined down neighborhoods versus loose bags and individually selected cans,” Vetsch says.

Environment

If you have ever had your trash can tip over in a stiff wind, then you know it is a hassle to retrieve trash strewn about your curb and lawn.

“The lids are attached, and they’re on wheels,” Shrader says. “They do a better job of withstanding some of the wind.”

The carts will still fall if the wind is strong enough, but they have an easier time remaining upright, and the lids help make them more “critter-proof,” Shrader says.

Vetsch pointed out that having fewer trucks on the road is good for the environment as well.

“As part of the current pilot, Waste Management is collecting the recycling in 96-gallon carts every other week,” he says. “With recycling collection every other week, it reduces truck traffic in the city’s residential neighborhoods, along with reduced emissions from fewer vehicles.”

Recycling

“Going with a cart system for the recycling is probably the bigger plus,” Shrader says. “Not only do you have a lid on your recycling cart, but you have the capacity of 95 gallons versus 18.”

“In most cases, the ability to have a cart with a lid for recycling dramatically improves recycling participation, as a household may be currently limited due to the recycling bin’s size,” Vetsch says.

The future of Omaha’s garbage collection has yet to be determined, of course. Like any new system, Vetsch says, there will probably be a sense of hesitation.

“I really hope this pilot program works for them,” Shrader says. “It’s like coming out of the Dark Ages.

“If the city would accept that program, I think they’re going to be very, very happy with that for a long, long time.”

Visit wasteline.org for more information.

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

Lynne Sangimino

April 14, 2017 by

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

Lynne Sangimino tells women that to move forward in their careers, sometimes they have to move sideways.

“I worked for a company that I helped build that was bought by another company,” she says. “In hindsight, it was one of the best things that ever happened. The willingness to try another role is very valuable. You have to be prepared to make a number of changes, including making a lateral move before moving up. It will help you grow.”

Sangimino has been with Cox for 10 years, making the move to Omaha three years ago to serve as vice president for Cox Business in Omaha. In her role she leads the Cox Business team for commercial customers, with clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

“I love this community,” she says. “It has high expectations of local business leaders for collaboration. I don’t know if Omaha realizes how unusual that is. We work together and compete for the greater good. I’ve not found that in other communities where I’ve lived.”

Not only do local companies work together, so do the employees at Cox. Committees made up of Cox employees focus on ways that workers can be involved in the community. Employees often volunteer to work for charities.

“Many of our employees serve on philanthropic boards. So their influence is felt not only at the company’s business, but in the Omaha community,” says Sangimino.

Technology has historically been a male-driven industry, she notes. But that’s not so at Cox.

“What’s unique about Cox in Omaha is most of our executives here are female,” she says. “It’s a testament to our company placing high focus on diversity.  Our female employees are very capable and very confident and especially involved.”

The average tenure of employees on the Cox Business team is 10 years, “which I think is unique in business these days,” Sangimino says.

Cox Communications is one of the largest broadband and entertainment companies in the U.S., providing video, internet, telephone service, home and business security.

“We’ve been successful in the Omaha community 35 years with our residential services and have been offering business services for 18 years. Cox is a company that is in many markets nationwide,” she says.

“We are one of the first companies of our type to offer business security, (launched in July), both detection and surveillance for small-to-medium-size businesses.”

Customers choose us as their technology partner because of our ability to be nimble, she says. “We break through red tape to get things done quickly. We are a large company with strong capabilities and financial stability that does not lose sight of our customer and serving them 24/7.”

Reflecting on her legacy, Sangimino says, “It’s my hope that I’ve helped lift others up in their careers through mentoring and stretch assignments; it’s so satisfying hearing some employees I’ve led five or 10 years ago who started their own business or moved up the ladder, who called to say, ‘thank you.’ I serve my team and my company to leave it better than when I came.”

401 N. 117th St.
Omaha, NE 68154
402.934.3223
coxbusiness.com

Marti Neely

April 7, 2017 by

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

A landscape designer who works independently, Marti Neely has no obligation to any nursery or garden center. That means she can focus on a client’s needs.

She calls on contractors who can help her achieve the dream she has for a client—workers with skills in installing swimming pools, fire pits, patios, seating areas, kids’ play areas, gardens, and more.

And she’s a problem solver.

“Ugly utility boxes and other similar things seem unsightly. I look at effective ways to hide them,” says Neely.

She discusses with clients how the landscaping might add to the home’s future value. “We should always be practical and smart in what we are doing,” she urges.

She believes there’s a lot of value in working with a designer.

“Ultimately, it saves you money down the road by working with someone who understands the progression of a project,” Neely says. “Designers have ideas and knowledge that typical consumers don’t have.”

Clients appreciate her honesty, even when she disagrees with them.

“I help them make good choices about how to spend their money,” Neely says. “I treat their property like it’s my property.”

402.630.0050
martineely.com

Sales Insider

April 5, 2017 by

I love sales. It is a career where you, the sales professional, determine your income based on how skillfully you execute the duty. It has a feel of independence, ownership, and entrepreneurship, and it can be extremely rewarding. Professional selling is regarded as one of the top-earning careers on the the planet. Note to you business owners out there: If your salespeople are making more money than you, don’t be jealous, be excited because they are building your business and increasing its value.

The term “commission” is familiar to ranks of sales professionals. However, I want you to think about your income a little differently. Rather than earning commission when a sale is made, think about your pay as an hourly wage. What makes your hourly pay different from the familiar, traditional hourly jobs is that your hourly rate will change based on the activity you happen to be doing at the moment. For example, in my previous career, for every 10 presentations I made, I would close on, and get paid commission for, three orders. On the three projects I won, my hourly rate was great, but on the projects I lost, my hourly rate was $0/hour. I thought “this is just how it is in sales,” so I did little to change or improve my sales performance until I was taught to think of my compensation as hourly. Spending 60 hours per week on sending proposals to my customers meant missing out on my kids’ activities and time with family, all so I could get paid for 30 percent of my time. That made me angry. This is madness, yet a vast majority of salespeople would give you a similar story.

I think there is a better way to sell that will pay more per hour, which means one can earn their desired wage in less time. I just need to figure out how to get rid of the seven prospects who don’t buy quickly and only spend time on the three who will buy. If I can figure this out, then I will close the three orders, so my pay is the same as before, but I do not spend much time on the seven who do not buy. Can you see how my hourly wage more than doubles?

Since your time is just as valuable as your prospects’ time, only the prospects who plan to buy from you get any of it. In order to do this, you must sort all prospects who talk to you as either buyers or window shoppers. The first step in doing this is to recognize that there are four possible outcomes of a sales call: yes, no, maybe, and clear future. Let’s examine each one.

Yes: Congratulations! You achieved an order and you will earn money.

No: Shoot! Shake it off. There are plenty of other customers out there who will buy. Did you know that “no” outcomes are good, and they can actually make you money? If you get a “no,” that opportunity no longer consumes your time, which means you can divert time to those who buy, and your hourly rate actually increases.

Maybe: Stay away from the dreaded “I need to think it over.” These outcomes represent the “window shoppers” and will cost you money. These prospects waste your time and consume your resources. Therefore, when a prospect stalls, push them to “no.”  At least a “no” will make you money.

Clear future: Sometimes your product or service cannot be sold in one call. You might need multiple meetings to formulate the solution and make the sale. This positive outcome is for those prospects who see value in your solution, are willing to move the process forward, and want the sales conversation to continue on a specific day at a specific time.

Thus, the rule is “No more maybes.” If you can make this rule part of your selling system, you will increase your hourly rate and significantly grow your sales. You effectively sort the buyers from the window shoppers and spend more time on those who buy. Now, I close three out of four presentations I make, my income has increased by triple digits, and I spend less time doing it all.

So, what is you hourly wage?

Karl Schaphorst is a 27-year veteran of sales who now specializes in training other sales professionals. He is the president of Sandler Training.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

Beth Raper

March 30, 2017 by

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

From 20 people to 50,000 people. Fun Services provides entertainment for groups of all sizes.

The 50,000 people? That would be the Offutt Open House and Air Show, where Fun Services supplies entertainment.

The company has been around 50 years, says Beth Raper, who runs Fun Services with her husband, Joey. They employ 40 people.

She says not only is Fun Services the oldest firm of its kind in Omaha, it’s the best equipped in all of Nebraska and western Iowa to help customers plan special events offering inflatable rides, concessions, and casino parties, as well as party rentals, tables, chairs, and canopies.

“We have been in the business so long that we have the inventory to accommodate the customer,” Raper says. “We help businesses, churches, and schools plan special events.”

“Some people call to rent a few things. Some call and say, ‘Would you guys help with everything? I’m planning a party for 500 people,’” she says. “People appreciate that we‘re a one-stop shop.”

She and her husband bought the family-owned business five years ago. He was familiar with Fun Services and what it could provide—with good reason, she says. They both were working at Fun Services while in high school, when they met. “That’s everyone’s favorite story about us,” she says.

After college graduation, she worked as a wedding planner for five years.  Of course, she planned her own wedding to Joey. It was a small, quiet wedding with friends and family. No inflatable rides. No concessions. Just fun.

Fun Services is a fun place for the college-age students currently employed. “We provide great part-time jobs for kids. They are part-time in college and work part-time for us. We take care of our employees and have parties throughout the year.”

Approximately 90 percent of her clientele are women. “A lot of women work in an environment where they are responsible for planning a party—perhaps a PTA mother or someone planning a church festival,” she says.

“I want to be known for the fact that I love what I do. Everybody has a great time at events we plan. I try to put my touch on everything I do,” says Raper.  “But when I am at home, I focus my time on family and kids.”

Raper goes from executive boss to mom in seconds when she walks out the Fun Services door.  She has one child and is expecting another baby in time for Christmas.

Separating the two worlds is important, she says. “I think women that are mothers but also have full-time jobs know it’s hard to balance. I try to leave work at work. And make sure when I am at home, I focus my time on family and kids.”

7535 D St.
Omaha, NE 68124
402.393.7397
funservicesneia.com

Julie Tartaglia

March 27, 2017 by

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

The Tag Team at CBSHOME is different from other real estate groups, according to team leader Julie Tartaglia.

“We have all women and just one man. We call him the ‘lone wolf,’”
she jokes.

How they work with each other also is different. “It’s more of an atmosphere of lifting each other up with a positive and encouraging environment and helping people be successful,” she says. “We’ve made it a point to focus on helping each other succeed on every transaction.”

Ask a team member to describe the Tag Team at CBSHOME, and you’ll be impressed by the passion they display.

“We are a passionate group of professionals who have the philosophy that real estate doesn’t have to be complicated, and we’re driven for positive results,” says Tartaglia. “We pride ourselves on thinking outside the box with creative marketing and innovative ideas. We have a clock in the office that says, ‘Sometimes you just need one more patch than the inner tube has holes.’ We pride ourselves on being creative while being ethical and achieving desirable results.”

Understanding that women are a significant part of any transaction and treating all clients with no bias is part of the team’s beliefs.

“We don’t just do transactions,” she says. “We build relationships. And all
of us build our businesses by referral. Referral-based business is the
foundation of our whole team’s work.

“Our philosophy and concepts work.
We’re one of the top teams with CBSHOME.”

15950 W. Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68118
402.215.2156
tagteam-realestate.com

 

Lallenia Birge

March 9, 2017 by

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

The website for Big Birge Plumbing has an old-fashioned look. “That’s intentional,” says Vice President Lallenia Birge. The theme is displayed on the company trucks, websites, and social media pages. “We started our company with the slogan ‘Old-fashioned values reborn.’”

Throughout their marketing, you will notice Lallenia wearing 1950s-style outfits; her husband, president of the company, Brad Birge, appears dressed like a lumberjack. Their logo is of Brad’s muscular arm in a red and black flannel shirt holding an oversized pipe wrench. “It’s very tongue-in-cheek marketing,” she says, adding, “We try to be honest and fair with everything we do, and believe our marketing reflects that.”

“It’s is unusual for a woman to own a plumbing company,” she says. It all began when she fell in love while working at the gym. “I saw this super attractive guy and found out he [Brad] was a plumber. Not realizing what went into the plumbing business, I would make jokes about it to my clients.”

The jokes must have paid off! They were married in 2009. “He quit his job at another plumbing company, and in 2012, we officially started [Big Birge] together,” she says. “I was still working as a trainer, started learning marketing, and dug into the business side.”

Hiring their first employee in 2013, they have expanded to nine employees. Lallenia enjoys the supportive workplace atmosphere, which they encourage with regular company outings and weekly meetings. “It’s kind of like a brotherhood; we have each others’ backs,” she exclaims.

Every Monday morning, they hold a meeting with their employees to discuss company core values. Protect the health of our community, tighten every bolt, and take ownership are three of the six values they review with the crew.

“If something doesn’t go right, we do everything in our power to fix it. Plumbers sometimes get a bad rep, and I want to prove that is not the case with our company.” She goes on to explain the company has three plumbing divisions: service, residential remodeling, and commercial.

“My role isn’t only marketing and business but to keep learning and growing myself and our team. I am even taking business classes at Metro. Someone has to keep those guys on their toes!” She says with a laugh. Her resilience on the job reflects the old-fashioned values that she holds dear from her diverse childhood.

Lallenia learned to be self-reliant at a young age. Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, her parents separated around the time she was 2. She was in and out foster care and family friends’ homes until age 9, then adopted. By the time she was 16, she was working three jobs while going to high school and living on her own. Following a friend to Blair Nebraska at age 18, she eventually made Omaha her home.

“I give a lot of credit to the fact that I surround myself with positive people, people who are smarter than me, better than me,” Lallenia explains.

Having already accomplished her dream of becoming a personal trainer, she now wants to be remembered as a loving mother to her children (Wyatt 6, Brielle, 11 months), a great wife, and an inspiration to others in and out of business.

“I want to be known as a woman who is able to overcome and achieve something greater than herself,” she says.

402.575.0102
bigbirgeplumbing.com

Team Irish

This sponsored content appears in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B. To view, click here: https://issuu.com/omahapublications/docs/b2b_0217_125/56

The mother-daughter real estate duo of Sheila Irish and Brittney Kusmierski have a simple philosophy when it comes to their clients.

“We do what’s right, and we treat people the way we would want to be treated,” Irish says. “We do our business with heart; we care about our clients. This is the largest purchase most people will ever make. We go above and beyond to make sure things go smooth through the whole process from the loan to the closing. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying/selling a $70,000 or $1.5 million house—you’re going to get the best service from both of us.”

Team Irish’s cozy office nicely fits the family atmosphere of their real estate group, she adds. “Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Ambassador Real Estate is a family. We work to help each other. We’re transparent, and we have an amazing culture that Vince Leisey has created,” she says. “The employees at our company are not agents and work directly for Vince. We’re always running around 100 miles per hour, and each of us have our own lives going on, but at any given moment we’ll stop and chat and be there to support one another.”

That positive environment translates to great service for clients.

“From contract to closing and beyond, we’re diligent in the work that we do and the service we provide,” Irish says. “We complete not only the necessary tasks to get a deal done, but we lead our clients on a journey that they remember. And we have fun!”

331 Village Pointe Plaza
Omaha, NE 68118
402.618.5037
teamirish4homes.com

Ethics

February 24, 2017 by

Years ago, my colleague Butch Ethington showed me a graphic he designed when he was the ethics officer and ombudsman at Union Pacific Railroad. I still use this graphic in my Creighton classes and the department uses it in our Business Ethics Alliance programs.

It is a pyramid. At the bottom are all the rank-and-file employees, the heart and soul of business. Their No.1 ethical issue, Butch says, is fairness. “She got more time off.” “He was given the opportunity for travel.” “She got to work from home.”

In the middle of the pyramid are the managers and directors. In between the top dogs and rank and file employees, managers and directors have tough roles. Their No. 1 ethical issue is accurate reporting. “How do I make my boss happy about the numbers?” “How do I showcase my subordinates?”

At the top of the pyramid are the executives and board members of the organization. They spend a great amount of time interfacing with government, the public, and all stakeholders. Their No. 1 ethical issue is conflict of interest.

Of course, conflicts of interest can occur at any level of an organization. Think about the conflicts that arise for salespeople, or the ones that occur in procurement. Executives have other ethical issues, for example, telling the truth or community responsibilities. Let’s focus on executives and board members and their conflicts of interest.

Three key questions arise. What is a conflict of interest? Why is it so hard to recognize our own conflicts of interest? What can be implemented to reduce conflicts of interest?

As for the first question, we all know that a conflict of interest can arise when someone is responsible for serving competing interests. But this is not, in and of itself, unethical. It is what a person does about the competing interests that matter. Classic examples of conflicts of interest focus on financial interests, for example, an executive who shares confidential information, thereby decreasing his firm’s assets and increasing his own. But a more nuanced definition of conflict of interest includes multi-dimensions and is not always about making more money. For example, what about a board member who provides a building to the firm at reduced rent? In this case, she provides a benefit because of her interest. Is this a conflict that is unethical?

It has been said that half of the battle in ethics is being aware that there is an ethical situation in front of you. Why is it so hard to see one’s conflicts of interest? Behavioral ethicists shine a light on this second question. We have psychological dispositions to think or act in certain ways, due to chemistry or socialization, which are unnoticed or disbelieved. Deeply entrenched and habitual dispositions can be healthy, like being confident. But confidence can become extreme and turn into a bias. Overconfidence bias can block one’s perception of a conflict of interest and when this happens we say a person has a psychological blindspot.

Overconfidence bias can be heard when an executive says, “This is not a problem. If anyone can handle it, I can.” But no one is immune to psychological blindspots and unethical conflicts of interest. No one. The best we can do is recognize our human nature and develop strategies to overcome our extremes. Which takes us to question three.

What can we do to reduce conflicts of interest? At the policy level, it is helpful to have executives and board members sign conflict of interest statements. But make sure the documents are multidimensional, addressing possible financial, as well as non-financial, conflicts. Most conflict of interest statements do not. Second, we can learn from something Bruce Grewcock, CEO of Kiewit, once told me. He says that the company has leaders who are willing to speak up and point out to him when he needs to examine a situation again. He’s expressing the old adage, “surround yourself with good people.” When we do this, we have the best chance of recognizing our overconfidence and reducing the chance that we will act inappropriately and wreak havoc on our world.

Beverly Kracher, Ph.D., is the executive director of Business Ethics Alliance, and the Daugherty Chair in Business Ethics & Society at Creighton University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.