Tag Archives: featured

2017 Anniversary Overload

January 12, 2018 by
Photography by the Durham Museum

Nebraska has spent the past year celebrating its 150th anniversary as a state, and this seems about as good a time as any to look at some recent and forthcoming local anniversaries.

First and foremost, this past year was the 150th anniversary of Omaha losing something very particular. When Nebraska was first founded, Omaha was its territorial capitol. This was always an unpopular move, largely because there were likely more people south of the Platte River than north, and so picking a northern city was seen as being a poor representation of the state’s population.

The location of the capitol was the source of considerable friction for many years. In 1867, when Nebraska was made a state, it was moved to Lincoln, south of the Platte.

This was, in its own way, a final humiliation for Stephen Douglas, who drafted the legislation that created the state of Nebraska and after whom Douglas County was named. Douglas had, years earlier, dated a woman named Mary Todd—who went on to marry Abraham Lincoln. Douglas had been the Democratic candidate for president, but members of his party were so offended by Douglas’s politicking in the creation of Kansas and Nebraska (abolitionists, in particular, were furious that his legislation left the question of slavery up to the states) that they broke off and formed their own party, the Republican Party. They would nominate Lincoln as their presidential candidate, and he would beat Douglas.

And now, at long last, the capitol of Nebraska would be moved from a county named after Douglas to a city named after Lincoln.

This past year also marked the 100th anniversary of Boys Town, Father Edward J. Flanagan’s long-lasting and remarkably successful experiment—a self-contained, self-governed community designed to help at-risk youth (originally exclusively boys).

Although Flanagan, a native of Ireland, was likely partially inspired by movements for Irish self-rule in conceiving of a place where children ruled over themselves, Boys Town was very much a product of Omaha. Flanagan had originally sought to address a large number of itinerant laborers who used Omaha as a weigh station, creating a “workingman’s hotel” for those who were broke and needed a hand up.

But Flanagan soon found that there was a permanent underclass of adult men with chronic substance abuse problems and endless legal woes, most of whom seemed impossible to help. He realized he had to reach these men before they became adults, and so the idea for Boys Town was born.

2017 also marked a more contentious anniversary, the conclusion of Omaha’s attempts to annex several once-independent communities. Omaha has always been rather quick to annex nearby town and villages, and the city looked to absorb Dundee and South Omaha in 1915. But many residents weren’t eager to become part of Omaha and fought the annexation, mounting a two-year court battle that ultimately proved futile. Florence and Benson were also annexed in 1917.

The milestones keep on rolling. One hundred years ago, Fort Omaha set up its balloon school. The school was part of a series of experiments that would eventually lead to the development of the Air Force. In this instance, the school trained soldiers in the use of dirigibles, primarily for the sake of reconnaissance and forward observation for artillery.

Many of these soldiers went on to put this into practice during World War I, anchoring their balloons near the front lines in France, mapping the terrain, reporting enemy troop activities, and directing artillery where to target their munitions. This was a risky undertaking, as the dirigibles were appealing and poorly defended. Several German flying aces made their reputations as “balloon busters” for specifically targeting the dirigibles.

2017 was the 75th anniversary of another wartime venture, the 1942 Omaha scrap metal drive. The drive was started in response to a crisis in America’s steel factories, which were so overtaxed by the war effort that several were closing down.

Omaha World-Herald publisher Henry Doorly conceived of a three-week scrap metal drive to provide badly needed raw materials. At the end of the drive, Omahans had managed to locate or donate 67,000 tons of metal. The drive was so successful that it inspired a national scrap drive.

Now what? With the turning of the new year, what milestones can Omahans look forward to commemorating?

Here’s one for 2018: This is the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest quotes in political history, which came to us in 1988 courtesy of a vice presidential debate at the Civic Auditorium. The candidates were Republican Dan Quayle and Democrat Lloyd Bentsen.

The young, conventionally handsome Quayle styled himself after President John F. Kennedy, at least in terms of his senatorial experience (his actual style drew heavily from a Robert Redford film called The Candidate.) When Quayle made the mistake of mentioning Kennedy, Bentsen shot back at him, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

The line has since become political shorthand to deflate pretentious, self-serving statements from politicians, although it probably should be noted that Quayle, and his fellow candidate George H.W. Bush, would go on to win the election. 

This article was printed in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Faith, Miracles, and New Hope for Stroke Patients

December 29, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

For most of human history, suffering a stroke has been a death sentence.

It’s the No. 5 cause of death in the United States (according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association) killing nearly 130,000 people a year—one in every 20 deaths.

So excuse Dr. Vishal Jani if he speaks with what some might consider hyperbole when explaining the newest treatment of the dreaded disease.

“I call it a miracle,” Jani says. “I call it beyond belief if it is done in time. It is…the restoration of life.”

If strokes don’t kill, they debilitate, rendering two-thirds of survivors paralyzed, unable to speak, or otherwise disabled. Most strokes—87 percent—are classified as ischemic, occurring when a clot or mass blocks a blood vessel. Blood and oxygen are cut off to the brain, killing its cells. Hemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel ruptures and prevents blood flow to the brain.

Jani was around 3 when his grandmother suffered a stroke. There was nothing his father, also a surgeon, could do to help her.

“The struggle that comes along with this disease, not just to the patient, but to the family, is mind-boggling,” he says.

Until 1996, most advances against the disease focused on prevention. That year, though, the Food and Drug Administration approved tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-busting drug that treats ischemic strokes.

It’s administered through an IV in the arm, but typically must be done so within three hours of the first symptoms. It has only a 30 percent success rate.

Now comes revolutionary stroke treatment—and hope—with a new procedure for ischemic strokes called mechanical thrombectomy. And Jani, an interventional neurologist at CHI Health’s Neurological Institute at Immanuel Medical Center, is the first neurologist in the state to perform the procedure. He does so by threading a catheter through an artery in the patient’s groin to the blocked artery in the brain. A stent retriever at the end of the catheter attaches to—then removes—the trapped clot, resuming blood flow to the brain.

Jani likens it to unclogging a pipe.

“We basically are no different than glorified plumbers,” he says with a laugh.

The procedure has an 80-90 percent success rate. And early guidelines give a larger window than tPA for when treatment can occur—within six hours of the onset of symptoms. Jani cites a forthcoming study that will recommend the procedure even up to 24 hours after symptoms begin.

Average time to perform this life-saving procedure? Nineteen minutes.

“It is mind-boggling,” Jani says. “It is amazing.”

By the start of November, Jani and his partner had performed the procedure almost 30 times.

“And a lot of those patients have gone home with minimal or no problems,” he says.

That includes an 89-year-old, still-working farmer hospitalized for other conditions when he suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak and weak on his left side. Given the farmer’s age, his family figured the stroke signaled the end of his life. Jani convinced them to let him try the procedure. The farmer regained his speech immediately and was back to his routine 10 days later.

Another patient, 31 and the father of a newborn, went home the day after Jani performed the thrombectomy. Though he was back in the hospital seven days later with another stroke, he returned to his newborn once more after a second thrombectomy.

Another save—and another reminder of why he entered this field.

“I went in this field of training with just a leap of faith that I wanted to help these people,” he says.

His faith is bringing forth miracles.

Visit chihealth.com/neurosciences-care for more information about the CHI Health Neurological Institute.

Dr. Vishal Jani

This article was printed in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Sax with Ed Archibald

December 28, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Fresh out of Technical High School, Ed Archibald and his bandmates had dreams of becoming the next Commodores.

Then life happened. Jobs. Marriage. Kids. The dream and Archibald’s saxophone were tucked away.

It took a serious injury and more than two decades to draw Archibald back to playing music.

Archibald’s musical career has a second life now. He’s added writing, producing, and arranging into the mix.

“It gives me so much joy,” he says.

Born in 1958 in Pensacola, Florida, Archibald was 10 years old when he moved into his grandparents’ home in the small town of Monroe, Alabama.

His memories of those early years are dotted with musical references: His alcoholic father pretending to play the saxophone. His uncles taking him to juke joints to hear the popular music at that time in Pensacola, the blues. The tunes of Roy Clark and Chet Atkins playing on the radio in Alabama.

Archibald moved twice more before he wound up in Omaha in 1971 and stepped into the classroom of Al McKain. Then, everything changed.

McKain taught music at Tech High and introduced Archibald to the likes of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.

“When I listened to their music, it was very complicated,” Archibald says. “I found myself wanting to imitate and emulate their abilities and style.”

Archibald learned the saxophone, becoming so engrossed with his new interest that he skipped math and science to practice. McKain pretended not to mind.

“My teacher was a strong jazz advocate,” Archibald recalls.

During his four years at Tech, Archibald also studied classical music, playing baritone saxophone in an all-city music festival. Archibald caught up with his required courses and graduated on time in 1975. He jumped into the live music scene in Omaha, playing in bands for about five years, including Wild & Peaceful and Brass, Rhythm & Funk. They spent more money than they made, usually.

“Those early years were nonprofit years,” Archibald says. “We didn’t make a lot of money, but we had a lot of fun.”

As everyone aged, fell in love, married, and started families, the fun faded. The music stopped. Archibald met his wife, Lisa, and the two had a daughter, Adriene. Their focus turned to parenting and working. In a blink, Archibald spent a combined 21 years working for two different building materials companies.

One day, Archibald suffered a back injury on the job. Unable to work following surgery, he was drawn back to music. He began to play again.

“During the recovery period, it was sort of therapeutic to focus on the music, ” Archibald recalls.

He discovered the music scene had changed, for the better. His style of music—smooth jazz—had become popular in the main- stream. Archibald also learned how easy it was to produce music and share it online. He started writing and began recording it at home, layering piano and saxophone. In 2006, he released Smoove Grooves on iTunes and cdbaby.com. His second album, Love, Jazz, and Soul, was released in 2015.

“You could call it homemade; I did it myself,” says Archibald thinking back to Smoove Grooves. “I didn’t know what I was doing.”

His abilities grew, and recording and producing that digital album was an important step in getting him back into the local jazz scene. He started playing with other musicians at clubs and restaurants. He began producing more recordings, and he developed Glenwood Heights Music, which has expanded from music production into promotions.

Archibald landed steady gigs at country clubs in Omaha and beyond, including a yearlong stint at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln. He became a regular at Happy Hollow Country Club, as well.

“We have him for all our club functions as his group is extremely entertaining for all age groups,” says Kelly Smith, clubhouse manager at Happy Hollow. “The members always look forward to his group on Mother’s Day, as he plays for both our brunch and dinner buffets that day.”

Through the years, he’s shared the stage with notable jazz artists and vocalists locally and in Denver. He backed Al Green at the Mid- America Center in Council Bluffs, and had an impromptu concert with Chaka Khan in the Hilton Omaha lobby.

These days, Archibald plays at Omaha Lounge with his trio on Thursday nights.

It was at that lounge where he met Julie Baker, a vocalist and musician. Baker had recently moved to Omaha when they met, and the two became fast friends thanks to a mutual, eclec- tic taste in music. Baker says she’s amazed by his ease of switching genres while playing.

“You can’t fit him into a box,” Baker says.

What makes Archibald a standout musician isn’t just his ability at playing a variety of genres, according to Baker. It’s his passion.

“He’s a consummate musician,” Baker says. “When Ed plays, he plays from the heart. Every note when he plays, he feels it. And people feel it.”

Follow updates from Ed Archibald on Facebook at @edsmoovegroovesarchibald.

20 November 2017- Ed Archibald is photographed at Omaha Publications for Omaha Magazine.

This article was printed in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

The Boner Killerz

Photography by Keith Binder

Make no mistake about it — Eris Koleszar, Cara Heacock, and Anna Schmidt knew what they were doing when they named their band The Boner Killerz. Koleszar, a big fan of musician/comedian Lane Moore, noticed a photo Moore had posted on her Twitter account boasting a “Feminist Killjoy” necklace, which sparked the entire idea.

“The way the necklace looked and the way I was feeling about myself, my world and my desire to be in a band all connected through that phrase,” Koleszar explains. “I knew I wanted a band with a name that screamed the same values. One night, The Boner Killers popped into my head. I grabbed up the social media handles and when I formed the band, Anna gave it the final touch with the ‘z’ at the end.”

With Koleszar on guitar/lead vocals, Schmidt on drums, and Heacock on bass (which is really all that’s needed for a proper rock band), The Boner Killerz have dialed in on their ideal musical formula — loud, explosive, and full of heart. But they also have a very specific mission in mind. Koleszar, who identifies as transgender, strives to be influential for all types of people.

“We want to be an inspiration for young women, queer people, and trans folx, and show that they can form bands and rock out,” Koleszar explains. “In a sea of music that is cisgender, heterosexual, white male-dominated, we want to create a space for other people, too.

“I would love to see a world in which all kinds of people had access to equipment, spaces, and mentorship to create, perform, and record music,” she continues. “I don’t think there’s a lot of overt exclusion from spaces and access, but I still see a lot of music in the scene created by the same kinds of people.”

Although the group formed in March 2016, The Boner Killerz have just released their first proper EP, All Boner Killerz/No Boner Fillerz. It’s the result of the trio’s instant chemistry, something they’re all grateful for having.

“I feel like compared to other band experiences that I’ve had, this is by far the most chill one,” Heacock says. “The Boner Killerz is my first serious band venture, and to be honest, it has been the most fun compared to my last attempts to start or join a band. The three of us just mesh really well and I have a lot of fun writing and playing music with these ladies.”

All three members grew up with some kind of music in their household. Koleszar’s father was the music leader of their rural Indiana church and the young Koleszar would mirror her father’s conducting. Then her friends were immersed in ska and punk music in middle school until her former girlfriend introduced her to emo.

“There was an incredibly small emo/punk/folk punk/melodic-hardcore/post-hardcore scene in that part of Indiana,” Koleszar explains. We did whatever we could to feel alive through our music in a place where there really wasn’t much going on at all.”

Schmidt’s experience was similar. Growing up in Central Nebraska, her father was an avid record collector who introduced her to classic rock. As she got older, like most adolescents, she started to form her own identity.

“I listened to the pop hits radio station religiously,” Schmidt says. “Nineties pop music still holds a strong sense of nostalgia for me. During my teenage years, my tastes evolved. The internet was a huge influence, and exposed me to the grunge and emo scene. Of course, the early ’00s Omaha music scene also left an impact on me.”

On the other hand, Heacock, who also grew up on classic rock like The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and the Beach Boys, was more drawn to metal, an element she brings to the band.

“When I started forming my own taste in music as a preteen and teenager, I listened to anything vaguely in the rock genre, including pop rock on the radio and nu-metal when that was a thing,” Heacock says. “I feel like I’m the one that brings the vaguely metal sound to some of our songs because I’m still pretty into metal.”

Although The Boner Killerz are relatively new to the Omaha music scene, they seem to have found their niche rather quickly. In fact, they often have to turn down opportunities to play live because of their packed schedule. But it’s their live shows that are so intriguing and leave people wanting more.

“I can feel that people do want to connect in meatspace and have personal interactions,” Koleszar says. “I like that we play small venues and meet new people at our shows, and deepen connections with the people we already know. Personally, I have a special connection to those bands I fell in love with at a show and got to talk to even briefly.” 

“We want to be an inspiration for young women, queer people, and trans folx, and show that they can form bands and rock out.”

Visit thebonerkillerz.bandcamp.com to find hear their music.

This article appears in the January/February 2018 edition of the Encounter.

Let It Snow So We Can Roll!

November 22, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Kate Stutheit does not often see her husband, Stan, at their business in Syracuse, Nebraska. This dynamic is nothing new to the married couple of 36 years. Kate says they rarely cross paths at Stutheit Implement Co., a John Deere retailer about 34 miles southeast of Lincoln. She manages the merchandise while her husband makes sure operations run smoothly.

“It can be stressful just like anything else, but it’s a lot of fun,” Kate says. “It’s rewarding.”

After business hours, especially in the winter, the Stutheits devote time to snowmobiling, their biggest hobby. The couple ride Polaris 800 Pro RMK snowmobiles, which Stan says is “definitely a good sled.”

Their ride is a mountain snowmobile, which is long and narrow to allow for riding hillside in mountainous terrain and through heavy powder. The vehicles have specially designed long lug tracks, which allow them to maneuver through deep snow.

The Polaris 800 PRO-RMK 163 features a lightweight AXYS chassis and 800 H.O. Cleanfire engine.

Stutheit Implement at one point sold snowmobiles. John Deere designed and built snowmobiles from 1972-1984. In fact, the popular company slogan, “Nothing runs like a Deere,” was first used to promote a line of snowmobiles. In the early 1980s, John Deere sold their product line to Polaris.

Kate says the lack of snowmobiles at work has never stopped the couple and more than two dozen of their friends from traveling multiple times a year for an adrenaline rush of winter fun.
They say their hometown of Syracuse used to be a regular go-to spot for snowmobiling, but that changed after the area started getting less snowfall.

Part of the allure of snowmobiling is the travel. The couple have snowmobiled in Colorado and Montana. Wyoming remains their favorite spot for its snowy ranges and sometimes challenging terrain.

“I like being out in the open and the scenery,” Kate says. “He usually leads. I usually ride behind. We have a good time. It’s a lot of fun.”

The couple often travel with members of the Nebraska State Snowmobile Association or Syracuse Sno Flakers Snowmobile Club. Kate says the local group is comprised of about 40 members, and Stan says the majority of Sno Flakers also are members of the state organization.

He should know. Stan currently serves as president of the state association. Along with providing fun and friendship, the association has raised thousands annually to benefit individual cancer patients, Toys for Tots, and local back-to-school efforts. At presstime, Stan was busy preparing for the 2017 NSSA Convention Nov. 17 and 18, where Stan, Kate, and other snowmobilers gathered to network and discuss their hobby with fellow enthusiasts.

Kate is also a former officer. She has served various positions with the group since becoming a member in 1981 and especially enjoys the camaraderie with fellow snowmobilers.

“There are always stories to be told on trips,” Kate says. “It’s a whole other family and friends with the state association.”

Stan says the outdoor thrills give them a chance to get away from their business.

“When we’re gone, I don’t worry about it,” he says. “I know someone is back there doing it.”

Look up Nebraska State Snowmobile Association on Facebook for more information.

This article appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Kate and Stan Stutheit

ASID 2017 Commercial Award

Photography by Kipp Abresch & Paula Guerrero

The Nebraska/Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers recently announced the winners of their annual design contest. Jessica Lindersmith of US Properties won Gold for this space, designed for The Tap Room at The Boiler Brewing Co. in Lincoln.

To reach this area, a person must descend a hidden staircase. A five-panel oak door then leads into the brewery of this 100-year-old building. Significant effort was made to retain and highlight all original elements, each with a story of its own. Original doors and marble were reused, and the boiler doors were hung on the wall. The wood panels of the custom bar mimic the original design of the building. Spotlights focus on the stainless steel tanks behind the bar and the tap tower with its handmade, unique taps. Furnishings were arranged to create a variety of conversational areas, including booths, moveable tables and chairs, and a raised lounge area.

Visit ne-ia.asid.org for more information.

This article appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.

Vie et Mort d’une Etoile

November 10, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Concept & intro by Jared Spence | Photography by Bill Sitzmann | Design by Derek Joy
Art direction assistance by Jamie Danielle Hardy | On set assistance by Johnny Ireland
Modeled by Jake Re | Agency Sasha Models

Life gives way to a passing.
A passing of shards of a former self.
A gaining of lessons learned.
A passing to transgressions of yesterday.
Death makes way for transformation.
A rebirth. a new start, a new self.
Through the fires of the
journey awaits a restfulness.

This article was printed in the November/December 2017 edition of Encounter.


Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It’s not a “Best Of” category that we consider, but we should.

There’s a guy who works on the Yard Waste Truck that services my neighborhood, who I noticed one day, who should be considered for one of our “best.” It’s easy to forget the folks who keep everything going—the people who are at the foundation of our society. This guy is great. I don’t use the word great lightly. His greatness can be traced back 2,350 years. Let me explain.

Back in the fourth century B.C.E., Alexander of Macedonia won so many battles, and marched his army over such great distances spreading Hellenistic culture, and named more entire cities after himself than our current president’s eponymous towers, he became “the Great,” or Alexander “the Best.”

Then other conquerors came along to challenge Alexander. Julius “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres” Caesar made his claim. He spread the Roman Empire across Western Europe right up to the Rhine—where my tree-worshipping German ancestors on the far side of the river gave him reason to yearn for another summer on the French Riviera. He was good, but Julius had a rich, united, populous, hyper-organized society at his back, a society that knew the difference between X and C. Alexander came from a cultural backwater. A rocky province far from the core of a quarrelsome, city vs. city, fragmented Greek civilization that had been weakened by years of internecine warfare and hemlock overdoses. Julius falls short—Alexander the Best.

Mehmed the Conqueror took down the last vestiges of the Roman Empire when he took Constantinople in 1453. He spread the Ottoman Empire across the Middle East, the Balkans, the Crimea, and into Central Europe where he even bested Prince Vlad III, best known as Dracula. But he too, was the beneficiary of a well-organized, large base of operations—the Macedonians were but a speck on the map in a time when most maps were covered with dragons, monsters, and blank spaces. Again, Alexander the Best.

Napoleon humbled army after army sent against him by the scions of a post-feudal, aristocratic system, that was, even then, feeling the tide of “modern” culture as it dampened the careworn threads of its fraying cloak. (But Napoleon had gunpowder, artillery, muskets, factories, powdered wigs, and crepes. Alexander had a one-eyed father and a homicidal mother. Nowadays the lad would have needed some serious therapy, but back then, he translated his trauma into a career of conquest. Alexander outranks him.

So what made Alexander the “Best?”

Was it his tactical skill in battle? His force of personality? His legendary horse Bucephalus? (Forget Roy Rogers and Trigger. Bucephalus was, by all accounts, the “best” horse ever.) All these factors are important, but the root of Alexander’s greatness starts in the forests of Macedonia’s rugged mountains and valleys. There was a tree in that wooded landscape that lent itself to being cut into long shafts. Tipped with a spearhead, these lances, known as sarissas, stretched up to 20 feet long. The Macedonian army, organized into square formations known as a phalanx, bristling with these elongated, fearsome weapons were simply unbeatable—at least until they ran into enraged elephants in the Indus. The wood of these trees has the perfect grain, the perfect blend of flexibility, weight, and strength that could be assembled in sections like fishing pole and used to conquer the world.

Which brings me to those same trees, the trees that made the lances, the trees that grace my front yard—the mighty ash.

My ash trees have grown old. They shed branches like I shed hair. I take those branches and cut, cut, and chainsaw them into shorter lengths that I bundle and leave at the curb. And then he arrives.

Announced with the rumble of the green Deffenbaugh truck, he balances with one foot on a pad and one hand holding a rung at the rear of the vehicle. He performs a perfect semi-jeté off the running board towards my pile of wood before the truck has even made a complete squeaking stop, pirouettes as he snags the broken bundles, and flings them without a single wasted motion into the maw of the compactor. Then, in a blink, he is back onboard and the truck moves on, now carrying scraps of the same wood that made Alexander immortal.

I watched it all from my porch. I thought to myself, “This guy is great.”

He is the best.

Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.

This column was published in the 2018 Best of Omaha results book.

2017 ASID Awards

November 3, 2017 by

Great interior design can turn any home into a showcase. Whether a person’s tastes run traditional or contemporary, whether a person prefers bright colors or a neutral palette, professional interior designers can turn ideas into reality. The Nebraska/Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers recently announced the winners of their annual design contest. Here are the Gold and Silver winners.

Design Impact Winner

Designer: Becky Rea, ASID
Firm: Fritz and Lloyd
Photographer: Lisa Guerra

The client desired a modern interior—executed with finishes of white walls, white acrylic cabinetry, and polished salt-and-pepper concrete floors. Large windows were a must-have. With strategic placement and sizing, some windows bring views of interior art walls to exterior spaces; other placements allow for privacy while providing ample natural light.

Gold Winners

Designers: Colby Washburn, ASID, & Nancy Pesavento, ASID
Firm: Interiors By Joan
Photographer: Tom Kessler

Two large islands—creatively designed to fit within the constraints of this kitchen—provide ample counter space and comfortably accommodate the lifestyle of this growing family. Unique materials were chosen for ease of maintenance and to create a dramatic, contemporary kitchen.

Designers: Julie Odermatt, ASID, and Rachel Costello, Allied ASID
Firm: D3 Interiors
Photographer: Amoura Productions

A retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation was created through the use of natural elements, a soft color palette resembling a sandy beach, a steam shower with built–in speakers, and windows allowing the outdoors to become a part of the “spa” experience. Removing the hall closet to expand the space allowed for a private water closet, which was an important element in this design.

Silver Winners

Designer: Courtney Otte, Allied ASID
Firm: The Modern Hive
Photographer: Paula Moser

The challenge for this “bachelor pad” was working with existing finishes while producing an updated environment. The client required spaces for working from home, relaxing, and entertaining. Contemporary furniture, fabrics, and finishes—using a neutral color palette—complement the existing materials and create an environment that is pleasing to all guests.

Designer: Joan Sorensen, ASID
Firm: Interiors By Joan
Photographer: Tom Kessler

This major renovation was the path to generating a transitional/contemporary design with European influences. Upholstered wall panels, mirrors, and a calming color palette were used to create a more spacious and airy look.

Designer: Brianne Wilhelm, Allied ASID
Firm: D3 Interiors
Photographer: Amoura Productions

Designing a sophisticated and modern bedroom with industrial influences for a teenage boy’s small 11-by-11-foot bedroom was a challenge. A low platform bed was centered on the longest wall. Open storage shelves with closed door storage at the bottom fit snuggly on either side of the headboard. Adjustable task lamps were clipped to each corner of the headboard and an oversized pendant provided general lighting and drama to the room. Accessories included three metal oil drums, reclaimed wood, and bronze metal items.

Designer: Kris Patton, ASID
Firm: Interiors By Joan
Photographer: Tom Kessler

Upon entering this home, the first thing a guest will see is the room with the player piano—which the family enjoys sharing with friends. The room was redesigned bringing the fireplace into scale and flanking it with an antiqued mirror, space for a large piece of art, and a massive carved wood panel with textured wall covering behind it. Furniture and window treatments completed the room, achieving a new level of functionality.

Designer: Michele Hybner
Firm: Falcone Hybner Design
Photographer: Amoura Productions

This new home boasts a minimalist look with a neutral palette and contemporary design. Generously sized closets help to minimize clutter and maintain a clean, open appearance. The busy professional couple, with three active children, required a highly functional home. To achieve this, the mud and laundry rooms were located next to the garage so backpacks and used clothing could be disposed of upon entering the house. These rooms open into the pantry and kitchen, making grocery storage an easy matter. The two bedrooms on the lower level share a built-in-study desk and space for entertaining.

Designer: Shawn Falcone
Firm: Falcone Hybner Design
Photographer: Amoura Productions

The love of color and art sets the stage for this custom ranch home. By using neutral tile, cabinetry, flooring, stone, and paint, the space provides the homeowner with the ability to display vibrantly colorful art and accessories (and the potential to rearrange them at will).

Designer: Lisa McCoid, ASID, AIA
Firm: D3 Interiors
Photographer: Tom Kessler

The overall goal of this dining room was to create an elegant, yet casual, upscale feeling for the homeowners to entertain within the home. In order to accomplish their goal, the design focused on built-in details and furnishings. The tone-on-tone color palette of soft grays and warm off-whites, accented with faux finishes and antique mirrors, brings a balance to the space and creates a beautiful dining room.

Designer: Diane Luxford, ASID
Firm: Falcone D-Lux Interiors
Photographer: Tom Kessler

The owner desired a contemporary feeling for their new home on a lake, which gave them an ideal living environment for summertime entertaining of friends, family, and grandchildren. The designer was able to give the space a unique design personality with tile, granite, cabinetry, mirrors, lighting, and paint/wall covering selections.

This article was printed in the November/December 2017 issue of Omaha Magazine.

The Centennials

September 4, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Pop quiz: From the following options, which is the oldest? a) sliced bread, b) Betty White, c) NP Dodge Real Estate, or d) traffic signals? Time’s up. Pencils down. Those who answered a, b, or d, sorry but those options are incorrect—do not pass go, do not collect $200. While NP Dodge’s founding in 1855 predates many marvels of the modern world, Omaha is actually home to more than 40 companies that have passed the centennial mark.

Gone are the cobblestone streets (save for a few in the Old Market) and telegrams of yesteryear, but these businesses are here to stay, serving as the base of a mid-sized, Midwestern metropolis thriving in the 21st century. This is made all the more impressive considering these companies have survived industry-changing technological advancements, social and economic shifts, a Great Depression, and a Great Recession. But Omaha’s oldest institutions aren’t keeling over anytime soon if they have anything to say about it.

“We learned a long time ago that we’re completely tied to the health of this community,” says Nate Dodge, president of NP Dodge. “By doing everything we can to help Omaha grow and succeed, we ensure our longevity as well.”

Like many of the companies in Omaha’s century club, NP Dodge started from humble beginnings. America’s longest-running, family-owned, full-service real-estate company, NP Dodge was founded by two brothers, Grenville and Nathan Phillips Dodge, who left Massachusetts to homestead in Douglas County in 1853. The company was born from a tiny office in Council Bluffs, with the brothers surveying land in the metro area to determine where property boundaries began and ended.

Two centuries later, the company employs more than 500 real estate agents and has been led by five generations of Dodges. According to the current Dodge at the helm of this massive real-estate ship, keeping it all in the family is not what has helped them stay afloat for so many years.

“It all ties back to the customer and how we can support the community in time, talent, and treasure,” Dodge says. “I believe the company has evolved and changed with the customer. [People] that work here focus on how we can best serve and exceed expectations in that given time.”

NP Dodge has evolved internally as well. It boasts an impressive number of women in leadership with 65 percent of all managerial roles belonging to women. Additionally, the company has continually made efforts to create transparency from top to bottom.

“I believe great ideas survive great debate, so we make leadership as accessible as it can be,”
Dodge says.

Another company that stakes its success in their ability to be proactive, not reactive, is Aradius Group, formerly Omaha Print. Founded in 1858 as the publisher of a now defunct tabloid, The Nebraska Republican, the company has grown into a full-service marketing agency and printer. Name it and they do it, including creative work, design, sales, scheduling, client services, and press work.

“We couldn’t continue doing business as we had always done in the past,“ says Steve Hayes, CEO. “Being just print didn’t give us the opportunity to grow. We needed to re-evaluate ourselves and expand services to remain relevant to customers.“

They did just that two years ago when they bought a full-service ad agency in Lincoln. With an expanded arsenal of services came a new name, and Omaha Print officially rebranded to
Aradius Group.

“We quickly realized that marketing ourselves as Omaha Print was not conveying the level of work we are now able to offer,“ Hayes says. “We grew up on print, we believe in the power of print, but we now communicate with prospects and clients in a multitude of different ways.“

The new name is a geometry-inspired metaphor, as a radius leads you to the center of a circle, just as the marketing company is at the center of their customers’ successes. Additionally, the spokes of a wheel are radiuses; thus, the new name reflects the fact that they can now offer clients an entire wheelhouse of marketing services.

Due to their continual evolution, Aradius still works with many of the same clients its founders did in the 1800s, including the State of Nebraska, Union Pacific, and First National Bank.

“We like to say we’re a two-year company with a 159-year background,“ Hayes says. “Omaha Print has really grown and progressed on parallel with Omaha.“

The Byron Reed Co., a property management firm founded in 1856, has also evolved with the city. What started as a small real-estate and land-development agency—one responsible for the original survey of Omaha and the creation of many of today’s subdivisions—is now a company that specializes in property management and investments. Its current portfolio consists of apartments, warehouses, office buildings, and commercial strip centers.

While the company’s progression has helped keep it competitive, president R. Michael Alt credits his employees for the firm’s longtime success.

“In the management business, God’s in the details,” Alt says. “Our employees have to like people, pay attention to detail, and enjoy the business while being knowledgeable of the industry and how it’s changing with time.”

 Take one look at these three Midwest companies, each remaining titans of their respective industries, and see three success stories, each due to their employees’ willingness to adapt to the times.

“Instead of being reactive to what is changing, you need to be a part of the moving tide—a piece of what the industry is changing to,” Hayes says.

Visit npdodge.com, aradiusgroup.com, and byronreedcompany.com for more information.

This article published in the Fall 2017 edition of B2B.

Martin Hager, vice president of agency services at Aradius, leads a group discussion.