Tag Archives: Gavilon

TOYO! 2016

April 5, 2016 by
Photography by Contributed

Outstanding is a word that is used often to describe an ideal situation or person. The Omaha Jaycees uses it to describe the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans (“TOYO!”), individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 who have exemplified the ideals of their communities and exhibited extraordinary leadership qualities.

Visit omahajaycees.org to learn more.

01Heidi-MausbachHeidi Mausbach

President and CEO, Ervin & Smith Advertising
and Public Relations

Mausbach has won such awards as Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, the Silver Beacon International Award for excellence in financial services advertising, ADDY Awards from the Nebraska Advertising Federation, and several awards from the Public Relations Society of America’s Paper Anvil Merit and Excellence Awards. Passionate about helping women and children, she has served such non-profit organizations as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Go Red for Women, Habitat for Humanity, YWCA, and ICAN. She’s developed new programs at Ervin & Smith to keep women in the workplace and transition them into leadership roles and is a mentor for several organizations that are committed to the advancement of women.

02David-ArnoldDavid Arnold

Managing Director, Straight Shot

Arnold serves on the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Board of Directors, the Omaha Public School’s Career Education Advisory Council, the Advisory Board for The Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic at the University of Nebraska College of Law, as well as the Metcalfe Park Neighborhood Association. In 2012, after serving as deputy communication director for the Omaha Mayor’s Office, Arnold joined MindMixer–a civic tech startup founded by two Omahans. As account manager, he helped create and lead the company’s Client Services division. He saw Straight Shot, a business accelerator, as an opportunity to combine community building and new venture creation, becoming Managing Director in 2013.

03Shonna-DorseyShonna Dorsey

Co-Founder, Interface: The Web School

Dorsey is currently involved in Web Developer Training at Do Space, Flywheel, the Omaha Public Library, and various other venues, as well as managing website development for Nelson Mandela Elementary. She also coordinates the website and web application development for local nonprofits and small businesses via students of Interface: The Web School. Interface helps people build skills for the web, supplying startups, small businesses, and corporations in the Midwest with technology talent. In addition to her TOYO! award, she has also been recognized by the Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 (2014) and as an AIM Tech Community Builder of the Year (2015).

04Mosah-GoodmanMosah Goodman

Corporate Attorney and Business Development Parter, Gavilon

Goodman serves on the board of directors for the Child Saving Institute, is a co-founder of 24 Hours of Impact, served on the metro area board for TeamMates, and is a graduate of Leadership Omaha. Upon graduating with a J.D./MBA from the University of Iowa, Goodman accepted an offer to join Gavilon, where he currently serves as counsel. He has managed the construction of the company’s downtown headquarters, supported various business development efforts, and has worked on a variety of legal and compliance issues. Goodman is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and a former nationally ranked chess player.

05Roger-GarciaRoger Garcia

Student, Theology

While at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Garcia became involved in various leadership opportunities, earning him the Senior Vice Chancellor’s Leadership Award and the Student Leader of the Year Award. He has also been involved in the Nebraska Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Family Violence Council, the YWCA, and Justice for Our Neighbors—Nebraska. Garcia has been working in the nonprofit and public sector for more than 10 years and is now serving as the executive director of Centro Latino of Council Bluffs, Iowa. He also has served within public office as a member of the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors since 2013.

06AndresTorresAndres Torres

Engineering Project Manager, Valmont Industries

Torres is actively involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers and has held different roles, including President of the Nebraska Section and co-chair of the Younger Members Group. Since 2013, he has also served as Council Member for the Greater Omaha Young Professionals and is one of the founders of the Valmont Professional Network. Torres received the Greater Omaha 40 under 40 Award in 2012 and ASCE’s Young Engineer Award for Professional Achievement in 2014. As an engineer, he designs tubular steel structures that are used to support transmission lines, highway lighting, and traffic lights for customers in more than 25 countries around the globe.

07Julie-Sebastian-(1)Julie Sebastian

President and CEO of New Cassel Retirement Center

Aside from New Cassel Retirement Center, Nebraska’s largest assisted-living community and a nonprofit provider of services for the aging person, Sebastian also founded the Franciscan Adult Day Centre, one of few adult day service programs in Nebraska. She has volunteered with youth at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church for nine years and also serves as chair of the board at LeadingAge Nebraska, where she participates in LeadingAge’s national public policy congress. In her leisure time, Sebastian mentors young people she met through St. Andrew’s youth group, including spending a week each summer on the annual high school mission trip.

08Eric-WilliamsEric Williams

Natural Resources Planner, Papio-Missouri River NRD

In 2008, Williams founded the Omaha Biofuels Cooperative to recycle used cooking oil into local biofuels and reduce the use of fossil fuels in our community. His work with nonprofit organizations includes helping found the Dundee Community Garden, serving on the boards for the Green Omaha Coalition and Mode Shift Omaha, and serving as chair for Earth Day Omaha in 2014. Williams is president of Nebraskans for Solar for 2016 and has worked with the Office of Sustainable Development at the City of Omaha on climate legislation. At Papio-Missouri River NRD, Williams manages trail construction for active transportation and recreational access to natural resource areas, as well as urban stormwater management projects.

09Beth-MorrissetteBeth Morrissette

Treasurer, Westside Community Schools Board of Education (WCS BOE)

Morrissette recently left her position as executive director of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Network, a collective impact that works with community partners to provide a continuum of care for individuals with mental health and substance abuse needs. In 2013, the network received the NACo (National Associations of Counties) Achievement Award for the Alternatives to Incarceration project. Today, Morrissette continues to provide consulting and strategic planning services serves as the WCS BOE representative on the Learning Community Council. Since 2013, Morrissette has served on the United Way of the Midlands Community Impact Cabinet and is a member of the Women’s Fund Circles.

10Butch-Burgers

Butch Burgers 

Associate Athletic Director, Creighton University

Mark “Butch” Burgers is involved with Special Olympics of Nebraska, the American Heart Association, the Kyle Korver Foundation, Community Health Charities, Angels Among Us, the Omaha American Cancer Society, the Knights of Aksarben, and the Jaybacker Executive Board at Creighton. Before returning to his alma mater, Burgers served as associate athletic director at South Dakota State University for two years. At Creighton, he assists with day-to-day operations and oversees the operating budget, donor relations, and various sports. Creighton became the only university nationally to have top-10 attendance in soccer, baseball, and basketball and has reached record numbers in corporate sponsorship sales, season ticket revenues, and Jaybacker support.

George Behringer

January 19, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When George Behringer retired as a certified public accountant from PricewaterhouseCoopers 13 years ago, he had no idea that he’d end up busier than when he was working full-time. As Honorary Consul General of Japan at Omaha, Behringer is working daily to help bridge a greater understanding and respect for Omaha’s sister city of Shizouka, Japan.

It’s a relationship that started years before Behringer took over the position in 2010 from Dr. Ron Roskens, who served as president of the University of Nebraska system from 1977 to 1989. The partnership originated 50 years ago when the downtown Rotary Club of Omaha recognized that the city needed to become more global and move towards developing new international economic opportunities.

Motivated not only by the desire to understand other cultures, these forward-thinkers wanted to look at ways to expand their businesses and encourage new ventures that offered the chance for Nebraska to be an option for overseas companies.

And Shizouka seemed like the perfect match. With their main industry being that of agricultural development, Shizouka was a city with businesses and practices that aligned well with Omaha.

But that relationship didn’t come easy.

Omaha had to go through what Behringer calls a “beauty contest.” Other cities were interested in establishing that union, but Shizouka saw the great potential in Omaha and ultimately selected the city for a partnership.

It’s been a partnership that has served both cities extremely well. “Overall, Omaha’s projected a better global image as a result of the sister city relationship to welcome foreign direct investments into the Omaha area,” Behringer explains. That includes attracting companies like Gavilon, a global grain-trading business purchased by Marubeni in 2013, and Solutionary, a security services provider purchased by Nippon Telephone & Telegraph (NTT) in 2013. Both businesses were operating in Omaha prior to being acquired by Japanese companies.

Behringer’s role is that of a diplomat. After originally being recommended by Dr. Roskens, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs interviewed Behringer, then submitted his name to the U.S. Department of State for approval. He’s just been reappointed for a second term of building bridges between Nebraska and Japan.

Perhaps Behringer’s most ambitious undertaking to date is the 50th anniversary celebration occurring this year. Shizuoka has sent more than 100 emissaries to participate in the celebration, and Omaha has sent more than 60 counterparts to Japan to participate in cross-anniversary events. Following the anniversary, Behringer’s goals are to expand such initiatives as educational exchanges, cultural activities like Ikebana flower arranging, Japanese culinary arts and language programs in area high schools, and the American Japanese School in Omaha—all built on a foundation of promoting trade between Nebraska and Japan.

The program has also expanded to six other cities around the world. Omaha now also has sister city relationships in Germany (Braunschweig), Lithuania (Šiauliai), Ireland (Naas), Mexico (Xalapa), and, most recently, China (Yantai).

Behringer believes the key to a successful sister city relationship isn’t in economics or businesses, but rather the people.

“People are respectful,” he says, “and they are curious about Americans. It’s through them that the sister city relationships have been sustained. The leaders and mayor of Shizuoka have been so supportive and we are grateful for that relationship.”

Visit omahasistercities.com to learn more.

George-Behringer-2

Gavilon

December 5, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Walking into the lobby of the new downtown Omaha headquarters of Gavilon, a commodities trading firm, is like walking into the future—a $44 million testament to the awesome capabilities of electronics, fiber optics, and the human mind. To the eye, the lobby, in hues of gray, appears elegant in its simplicity. Walls that reach up to a very high ceiling are bare except for the word “GAVILON” in large silver letters above the security desk. Four low-sitting, squared-off beige leather chairs trimmed in chrome in a Mid-Century Modern vibe could have come from the set of Mad Men.

To the ear, however, the building at 1331 Capitol Ave. is pure state-of-the-art. A litany of beeps breaks the lobby’s stillness as employees scan their ID badges against doors and elevators. Without a badge, no employee would get past the parking garages, which form the first two floors of the five-story building. Security is multi-layered and includes 65 cameras—a necessity that becomes obvious when looking down from the fourth floor railing onto the heart of the operation: the massive trading floor.

A 35,000-square-foot hub of activity, the trading floor is the “wow” factor of Gavilon. It occupies more than half of the third floor of the building and faces Dodge St. to the south, while the IT section takes up the rest of the room along Capitol. Hundreds of traders on headsets stand at their desks or sit at computers, buying and selling grain and fertilizer for transport on a global scale. The trading floor of Gavilon emits a continuous low hum of voices, thanks in part to the 22-foot-high ceilings and carpeting that help dampen the sound.

“We wanted a very open and a very collaborative workspace,” says Robert W. Jones, Gavilon’s chief administrative officer and the company’s point man on the project. “There are no columns on the trading floor, creating an environment that allows for real-time communication and information sharing.”

The trading floor sits on an 18-inch raised platform that “controls the cooling and ventilation management, the cable and power management with 85 miles of copper and five miles of fiber optics under the floor,” Johnson explains, clearly proud of the achievement.

When Gavilon’s 400 Omaha employees (expected to rise to 750 eventually) moved into the new global headquarters last December from their former location on the ConAgra campus, they discovered plenty of amenities. The dining area offers full-service breakfast and lunch, with an outdoor patio overlooking TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Coffee bars abound, as do conference rooms, huddle rooms for impromptu meetings, and phone rooms for privacy. The virtual environment allows employees to sign in to any computer in any room. They can also access information at home.

When asked if he might have done anything differently, Jones admits that, “I would have made the fitness center a bit bigger.” With the fifth floor finished but unfurnished in anticipation of growth, that idea might just go from virtual to reality some day.

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The State of Downtown

December 25, 2012 by

With 2012 in the rearview mirror and a strong 2013 ahead of us, we thought we’d bring to you the State of Downtown Omaha!

Downtown Omaha is thriving. Major development and redevelopment projects are changing the landscape of the area. Projects such as the Hyatt Hotel, the Barker Building, the Marriott Hotel, the Highline, and the Gavilon headquarters building will bring people, jobs, housing, and businesses to the downtown area.

Small businesses continue to emerge. Le Wonderment and The Tea Smith have established themselves within the traditional small business center of the Old Market, while Café 100, The Tap House, Block 16, and McLovin—A Store for Men dot the downtown cityscape.

The coming year will bring additional changes and isn’t without challenges. Opportunities to improve the public parking system, vehicular and pedestrian wayfinding, the Leahy Mall, and 16th Street are within reach. However, we must also remain vigilant in our efforts to tackle the challenges that exist on 16th Street, in the lack of short-distance transit options, and the periodic safety issues.

This is a time in our city’s history when we should be proud of our downtown, its ongoing growth, and the bright future that lies ahead. Happy New Year!

This column is part of a series detailing the activities and efforts of the Omaha Downtown Improvement District (DID) to further strengthen Downtown Omaha.