Tag Archives: Great Depression

Entrepreneurs of the Great Recession

July 30, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Even the Great Depression couldn’t keep some entrepreneurs down. Enduring companies and brands including Sony Music, Westin Hotels, Allstate, Rubbermaid, Ray-Ban, and Tyson Foods all originated during the economic downturn in the early 20th century. Similarly, the period of economic recession that began a decade ago didn’t stop several local entrepreneurs from starting businesses during a time when numerous companies were floundering or failing.  

Kirt Jones was already a business owner when 2008 began. He had started Jones Construction in 2005 under a strong market climate, which may have helped him achieve financial stability, but, ironically, did not foster rapid growth. 

“[That] made it very hard to find lots to build houses on in good developments. Simultaneously, banks were not interested in working with a new company to provide construction lending,” he says. 

He started Castle Brook Builders in 2008 not knowing a market crash was around the corner.

“The change to Castle Brook Builders was for marketing purposes. We wanted to bring brand awareness to the company by developing name recognition to the Omaha area. We started before the market crash, but we accelerated growth during the downturn,” he says. “When the market did slow down, banks paid more attention to our strong financial position and land developers were willing to listen to my proposals on multiple lot purchases. I developed a successful business model from these long-term lot purchase agreements, providing higher profitability for Castle Brook Builders.”

The timing was advantageous but Jones says other factors also contributed to his success during a time when so many of his competitors struggled. 

“I have a financial background, so developing long-term strategies and partnerships allowed me to rise above the competition with stronger sales and profits. We invested some of this profit into creating and continuing our brand awareness,” he explains.

Having been through the economic downturn, he says he is ready now for anything that happens in the next 10 years and beyond. 

“Reputation is very important in the Omaha market. We have worked very hard to establish strong relationships and partnerships with other respectable homebuilders and land developers in the area. This will provide CBB a very strong competitive advantage far into the future,” he says. 

Chris Hughes’ IT job was eliminated in 2009 as a result of the economic downturn, and he needed to create another source of income after landing a job that brought in about one-third of the salary he once commanded.

“I was obviously looking for any other avenue, and I was making tote [bags] in my basement to sell on Etsy,” he says. “That started to take off for me, so this decision to launch Artifact was partly due to timing and largely due to necessity…I’m pretty risk-averse in general and the idea of entrepreneurship—it would not have been my first pick.” 

The well-crafted bags he sold on Etsy for extra cash became a big hit, and he officially launched Artifact Bags in 2010, when the economy was slowly starting to turn. It is thriving today. Looking back, Hughes says that, although he may have felt then like circumstances forced his hand a bit, waiting for the economy to turn around would have actually been a misstep.   

“I think it’s becoming more and more difficult to do what I’m doing. The market is more saturated with people who are doing similar products or business models to what I’m doing,” he says. “I was on the bleeding edge of it and there was a time, with e-commerce, where Google was at a point where I was able to really leverage my standing in Google search in a way that was more democratic and didn’t require as much capital as it would require now to pay for that space.” 

The frustration he encountered in trying to find a new job turned out to be somewhat motivational, he adds. 

“When you’re backed in a corner and you’re trying to tell people what you’re capable of, there comes a point when you give up and you demonstrate what you’re capable of, through entrepreneurship or just doing your own thing. And I think that it speaks more than just your own self-speculation about what you think you can do for some company,” he explains. “Everybody’s got an idea written down on a napkin somewhere, but execution is everything. I’ve met a lot of people along the way through the eight years of doing Artifact, and I hear tons of great ideas all the time, but they don’t mean anything. A great idea that is never executed is worse than an average one that someone works their butt off to try to get out there in the world.” 


For more information, visit artifactbags.com and castlebrookbuildersomaha.com.

This article was printed in the August/September 2018 edition of B2B.

Chris Hughes

In Their Own Words

May 25, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Members of the Greatest Generation tell their own stories in a locally produced documentary, 48 Stars. The in-progress film features personal testimonies from World War II veterans.

War buff Shawn Schmidt conceived the project. His co-director is Jill Anderson. The Omaha filmmakers are unlikely collaborators. He’s a holistic health care provider and former race car owner-driver. She’s a singer-actress. He’s unabashedly patriotic. She’s not. But they’re both committed to telling authentic stories of resilience.

They met while she was a patient under his care. After sharing CDs of her Celtic music, he was taken by her rendition of “Fare Thee Well.”

“It was not just the music, but Jill’s voice. That song fits everything this film has to say about that generation,” Schmidt says. “They’re disappearing, and the interviews we did are like their final swan song. It gave them a final chance to have their say about their country, their life, where America is today, where America is going.”

Originally hired as music director, Anderson’s role expanded. Filmmaker Aaron Zavitz joined the team as editor and creative consultant.

Forty-plus interviews were captured nationwide, mostly with veterans ranging across different military branches and racial-ethnic backgrounds. Some saw combat. Some didn’t. Civilians were also interviewed about their contributions and sacrifices, including women who lost spouses in the war. Even stories of conscientious objectors were cultivated. Subjects shared stories not only of the war, but of surviving the Great Depression that preceded World War II.

With principal photography completed, editing the many hours of footage is underway. The filmmakers are still seeking funding to finish the post-production process.

The film’s title refers to the number of stars—representing states—displayed on the American flag during World War II. Each interviewee is framed with or near a particular 48-starred flag that inspired the project. Schmidt rescued it from a junk store. On a visit to Pearl Harbor’s war memorials, he had the flag raised on the USS Arizona and USS Missouri.

He grew up respecting veterans like his late father, Richard W. Schmidt—a Navy Seabee in the Pacific theater. His father died without telling his story for posterity.

“It dawned on me I could interview other veterans and have them hold this flag, almost like a testimonial to what this piece of fabric is about,” Schmidt says.

He added that combat veterans’ accounts of warfare teem with emotion.

“There’s a distinct difference in energy, pain, and identification with their country and flag from the ones who did not have to kill. The ones who did kill are still hurting, and they’ll hurt till the day they die,” he says.

Whatever their job during the war, Anderson says, “There were discoveries with every new person we talked to. It’s humbling that people trust you with some of their most soulful experiences and memories.”

Schmidt says, “They opened up with stories sometimes they’d never shared with their family. I think, for a lot of them, it’s a catharsis.”

There are tales of love and loss, heroism and hate, improbable meetings, close calls, intersections with infamy, history, and fate.

Not all the attitudes expressed are sunny. Some folks became anti-war activists. Others returned home to endure Jim Crow bigotry.

Anderson says the film intentionally depoliticizes the flag: “It can’t be about God and country or honoring glory because that doesn’t match with the testimony.”

Schmidt feels an urgency to finish the project. “The generation that has the most to teach us is leaving,” he says.

He won’t rush it though.

“It’s a serious responsibility,” Schmidt says. “[The film] needs to honor these individuals who gave their time, and it’ll be done when it’s exactly right.”

Visit 48stars.org for more information.

This article appears in the May/June 2017 edition of Sixty-Plus, a periodical within Omaha Magazine.

Calendar of Events

January 5, 2017 by

The following online calendar of events appears as it does in the print edition of Omaha Magazine.
To be considered for publication, please send your event three months in advance to editor@omahamagazine.com

Art & Museum Exhibits

Passion & Obsession at KANEKO

Passion & Obsession at KANEKO

Passion & Obsession: From the Collection
Through May 6 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.
This exhibit celebrates both the passion of the artist to create and the obsession of the connoisseurs who collect. Admission: Free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org/passion

Dirt Meridian: Photographs by Andrew Moore
Through Jan. 8 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.
During the past decade, artist Andrew Moore made more than a dozen trips to photograph along the 100th meridian, from North Dakota to the Texas panhandle. This is a ticketed event: $10 adults, free for ages 17 and younger, college students with ID, and Joslyn members. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Hayv Kahraman
Through Jan. 8 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St.
Hayv Kahraman draws on sources including Renaissance painting, Japanese woodblock prints, and Persian miniatures to create work that considers the repercussions of being displaced from one’s home. Admission: Free. 402-342-3300
joslyn.org

The King is Dead! The Regicide of Charles I
Through Jan. 8 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
This exhibit shows the rise and fall of England’s King Charles I and his kingdom. Running in conjunction with this exhibit is “War, Wealth, and Stable Repairs.” Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors, $7 children ages 3-12, free to ages 2 and under. 402-444-5071
durhammuseum.org

War, Wealth, and Stable Repairs
Through Jan. 8 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
This exhibit shows the old monarchs of Europe did not always yield absolute power that changed the course of history. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors, $7 children ages 3-12, free to ages 2 and under. 402-444-5071
durhammuseum.org

YMCA of Greater Omaha: 150 Years of Providing Firsts
Through Jan. 8 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
On April 2, 1866, the YMCA first began to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all citizens of Omaha. Today, they continue to strengthen the community through programs focused on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors age 62 and older, $7 children ages 3-12, and free to ages 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

exhibits01-01americanspirits

American Spirits at The Durham.

American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
Through Jan. 29 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
Step back in time to an era of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance workers, and legends like Al Capone and Carry Nation. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors age 62 and older, $7 children ages 3-12, and free to age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Homebrew: A Spirited History of Omaha
Through Jan. 29 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
Krug. Storz. Metz. These were some of Omaha’s founding brewers. Local brews fueled the workers who helped the city expand so rapidly and gave power to the mob bosses of the Prohibition era. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors age 62 and older, $7 children ages 3-12, free to age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

exhibits01-04operationivy

Operation “Omaha Ivy” at Lauritzen Gardens

Operation: “Omaha Ivy” by E. Taylor Shoop
Jan. 4-Feb. 20 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.
Shoop has focused his lens on ivy to create his unique, kaleidoscopic compositions. This show focuses on the city’s collection of ivy. Included with garden admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, free for members and children younger than 6. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Imagination: Celebrating 40 Years of Play Exhibit
Through April 16 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St.
The museum is bringing back fan favorites from the past 40 years. Admission: $12 adults and kids, $11 seniors, free for children (under 2) and members. 402-342-6164.
ocm.org

First Friday Old Market
Jan. 6 and Feb. 3 at various Old Market locations (Harney to Jackson streets and 10th to 13th streets).
Stroll distinctive brick streets to live music, ride Ollie the Trolley for free between venues, and ignite your imagination with art. 6 to 9 p.m. Free.
firstfridayoldmarket.com

exhibits01-14legos

Nature Connects at Lauritzen Gardens

Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks
Jan. 14 through May 15 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.
Sean Kenney’s third indoor exhibit features 13 displays with larger-than-life sculptures. Included with garden admission, which is: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for members and children younger than 6. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project
Feb. 18 through April 30 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
Drawing inspiration from the Great Depression-era Farm Security Administration photography project, the photographers of the Environmental Protection Agency’s DOCUMERICA project created a portrait of America in the early and mid-’70s. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors age 62 and older, $7 children ages 3-12, free to age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Art Exhibit: Omaha Artists Co-op
Feb. 23 through April 3 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.
Local artists will exhibit their works in the gardens. Included with garden admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for members and children younger than 6. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Performing Arts

The Met: Live in HD 2016-2017 Season—Nabucco (Verdi)
Saturday, Jan. 7, and Wednesday, Jan. 11 at Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.
The legendary Plácido Domingo brings another new baritone role to the Met under the baton of his longtime collaborator James Levine. Tickets: $10-$24. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

Thumbelina
Jan. 14 through Feb. 5 at the Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.
Thumbelina is a flower-sized girl determined to discover the true meaning of friendship. This world premiere production uses inventive puppetry and innovative design. Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 and 11 a.m.; select Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Tickets: $12. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company’s The Legacy Project: A Dance of Hope
Jan. 19 at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
Told through the lens of the Holocaust and its devastation, hope inspires the journey to a land that promises new beginnings. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15-$36. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Around the World in 80 Days at Omaha Community Playhouse

Around the World in 80 Days at Omaha Community Playhouse

Around The World In 80 Days
Jan. 20 through Feb. 12 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.
Two men journey around the world to win a simple wager, but they leave an incredible story about loyalty and friendship in their wake. Wednesdays: $28 adults, $18 students; Thursdays-Sundays: $36 adults, $22 students. 402-553-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

The Met: Live in HD 2016-2017 Season—Roméo et Juliette (Gounod)
Jan. 21 and 25 at Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St.
Giana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo perform as opera’s classic lovers in Charles Gounod’s lush Shakespeare adaptation. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the sumptuous score. Admission: $20 for Film Streams and Opera Omaha Members, $24 adults, $10 students. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Jan. 27 through Feb. 12 at the Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.
Join intrepid go-getter journalist Lillian McGill live in the ready-for-reality-TV courtroom for the trial of the century to determine if the wolf we all know as Big Bad is truly guilty of the crimes of which he has been accused.  7 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m Sundays. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

The Sound of Music
Jan. 24-29 at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
The hills are alive in this brand-new production of The Sound of Music, directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien. Tickets: $35-$110. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

ætherplough
Jan. 27-28 at the KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.
This group will perform genesis 2.0, a variety of dance styles that aim to provide tools and infrastructure to encourage risk taking and innovation. Dance forms explored include butoh, aerial silk, burlesque, and modern dance. Back-to-back performances Friday and Saturday with one performance at 6 p.m., and the next beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-341-3800.
aetherplough.com

HIR at the Bluebarn Theatre

HIR at the Bluebarn Theatre.

Hir
Feb. 2-26 at Bluebarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St.
Somewhere in the suburbs, Isaac has returned from the wars to help take care of his ailing father, only to discover a household in revolt. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 12 and 19,  and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb 26. Tickets: $25-$30. 402-345-1576.
bluebarn.org

Where the Wild Things Live with photographer Vincent J. Musi
Feb. 7 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
For a story on “Exotic Pets” that appeared in the April 2014 National Geographic, Vincent J. Musi explored the deep connections some people have with creatures you can’t get at the pet store. Tickets: $10-$25. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Elvis Lives! at the Orpheum.

Elvis Lives! at the Orpheum.

Elvis Lives!
Feb. 14 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St.
Elvis Lives! features hand-picked finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises’ worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35-$65. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Huck Finn
Feb. 24 -March 12 at the Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.
The great American novel comes to life in a thrilling and deeply funny adaptation. Huck Finn flees the claws of “civilization” for the freedom of the mighty Mississippi. Along the way, he comes across Jim, an escaped slave. The journey downriver is a real education for Huck. 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Concerts

Casey Donahew
Jan. 6 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
In just over 10 years, Casey Donahew has risen from being a favorite on the local Texas music scene to a nationally popular touring act who sells out venues across the country. 9 p.m. Tickets: $25. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

concerts1-07mckeeAndy McKee
Jan. 7 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Andy McKee is among the world’s finest acoustic guitarists. He entertains both the eye and the ear as he magically transforms the steel string guitar into a full orchestra. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20 advance/$25 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

No Getter with Mom Jeans, Sports, and Graduating Life
Jan. 8 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave.
Four Omaha dudes with similar and different influences. Emo/punk songs came together with ease—their EP, Fitting, was released last year. 8 p.m. Tickets: $7. 402-884-5707.
-reverblounge.com

Cold Cave with Drab Majesty
Jan. 15 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
This band has become a name synonymous with the contemporary resurgence of darkwave and synth pop sub-genres. 9 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance/$15 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

concerts01-17lumineers

The Lumineers at CenturyLink Center Omaha

The Lumineers: The Cleopatra World Tour
Jan. 17 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St.
Two-time Grammy-nominated artist The Lumineers will be embarking on their first-ever North American arena tour. 7 p.m. Tickets: $30-$60. 1-800-745-3000.
ticketmaster.com

Jamison Ross
Jan. 20 at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
Drummer and vocalist Jamison Ross delivers his hard-hitting, rhythmic jazz in Omaha for the first time. 8 p.m. Tickets: $30. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

No Shelter with Badmotorfinger
Jan. 21 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
No Shelter is a Rage Against The Machine tribute band, and Badmotorfinger offers the ultimate Soundgarden tribute experience. All ages. 9 p.m. Tickets: $8 advance/$10 day of show. 402-345-7569.
slowdown.com

Bazile Mills EP Release
Jan. 21 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave.
Bazile Mills is based around songwriter David Mainelli and features lead guitarist Tim Rozmajzl, singer Laura Streeter, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Sam Vetter, bassist/lap steel guitarist Dan Stein, and drummer Robb Clemens. 9 p.m. Tickets: $8. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

Josh Abbott Band
Jan. 25 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Josh Abbott Band has become one of the leading country acts in Texas music, winning four trophies in the inaugural Texas Regional Radio Awards. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Turnpike Troubadours with Dalton Domino
Jan. 26 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Turnpike Troubadours are a hard band to define. Take some steel-guitar country music, throw in some punk rock, and add that fiddler from the honky-tonk. 9 p.m. Tickets: $30. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Cherry Glazerr with Slow Hollows
Feb. 1 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
The off-kilter noise pop sound of L.A. quartet Cherry Glazerr was born in 2012 when high school student and singer-songwriter Clementine Creevy began recording songs in her bedroom. All ages. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 advanced/$14 day of show. 402-345-7569.
slowdown.com

Twenty One Pilots at CenturyLink Center.

Twenty One Pilots at CenturyLink Center.

Twenty One Pilots
Feb. 1 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St.
Twenty One Pilots currently consists of lead vocalist and keyboardist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun. The duo rose to fame in the mid-2010s, after several years of touring and independent releases. 7 p.m. Tickets: $39-$49. 1-800-745-3000.
ticketmaster.com

Excision—The Paradox Tour
Feb. 2 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St.
Excision DJ shows are like no other—a virtual apocalypse of twisting and morphing sounds turn massive crowds into a frenzy. Also performing: Cookie Monsta, Barely Alive, and Dion Timmer. All ages. 8 p.m. Tickets: $33.50 advance/$36 day of show. 402-346-9802.
sokolauditorium.com

Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy
Feb. 3 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
This international concert phenomenon features Nobuo Uematsu’s stirring music from one of the most popular video games of all time. 8 p.m. Tickets: $30-$100. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Kevin Garrett
Feb. 4 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
Garrett is known for poignant out-of-love songs that combine a reverence for classic soul with modern electronics and traditional instrumentation. All ages. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance/$14 day of show. 402-345-7569.
slowdown.com

Lemuria with Cayetana, Mikey Erg
Feb. 5 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
Lemuria, from Buffalo, New York, creates what sounds like sugary indie-pop, but is actually discordant notes, odd time signatures, and brutal riffs creating menacing yet catchy music. All ages. 8 p.m. Tickets: $13 advance/$15 day of show. 402-345-7569.
slowdown.com

An Evening with Dawes
Feb. 7 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Dawes is an American folk-rock band from Los Angeles and is composed of brothers Taylor (guitars and vocals) and Griffin Goldsmith (drums), along with Wylie Gelber (bass) and Lee Pardini (keyboards). 9 p.m. Tickets: $23 advance/$25 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Ariana Grande at CenturyLink Center.

Ariana Grande at CenturyLink Center.

Ariana Grande
Feb. 7 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St.
The international pop sensation brings her signature cat and bunny ears to Omaha as part of her “Dangerous Woman Tour.” 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30-$200. 1-800-745-3000.
ticketmaster.com

Susto
Feb. 8 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
Susto is a Spanish word that frontman Justin Osborne learned as an anthropology student. The word refers to a folk illness and means “when your soul is separated from your body.” It also roughly translates to a panic attack. All ages. 8 p.m. Tickets: $8 advance/$10 day of show. 402-345-7569.
slowdown.com

The Five Irish Tenors
Thursday, Feb. 9 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
The Five Irish Tenors fuse Irish wit and boisterous charm, with lyricism, dramatic flair, and operatic style to bring you a unique Irish tenor concert experience. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15-$35. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Keller Willams
Feb. 10 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Williams’ music combines elements of bluegrass, folk, alternative rock, reggae, electronica/dance, jazz, funk, and other assorted genres. 9 p.m. Tickets: $23 advanced/$25 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Tribal Seeds with Raging Fyah and Nattali Rize
Feb. 11 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Tribal Seeds is a reggae band based in San Diego, California. They have shared the stage with Slightly Stoopid, Matisyahu, The Wailers, and others. 9 p.m. Tickets: $17 advance/$20 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Mike Doughty with Wheatus
Feb. 15 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Doughty is touring his largest band ever: a cello/bass player, drums, another guitar player, an organ player, and a backing vocalist. Using hand gestures, Doughty acts as an improv conductor for the band. 8 p.m. Tickets: $17. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Hippo Campus with Magic City Hippies
Feb. 16 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Hippo Campus is an indie rock band that has performed at South by Southwest, Lollapalooza, Red Rocks, Conan, and Reading and Leeds. 9 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Hot Club of Cowtown
Feb. 17 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
Hot Club of Cowtown has ascended from its unlikely beginnings in NYC’s East Village a decade ago to become the premier ambassador of hot jazz. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

P.O.S. with DJ Fundo and Ceschi Ramos
Feb. 18 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Stefon Alexander, aka P.O.S., makes tight, declamatory music that builds on DJ Fundo’s penchant for grinding beats and radical lyrics. 9 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance/$18 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Nebraska Wind Symphony: “Past, Present, and Future”
Feb. 19 at Omaha Conservatory of Music, 7023 Cass St.
Music selections help reflect on our past, present, and future. 3 p.m. Admission at door: $10 adults/$5 students/seniors; free to children under age 12. 402-216-0325.
nebraskawindsymphony.com

Florida Georgia Line at CenturyLink Center.

Florida Georgia Line at CenturyLink Center.

Florida-Georgia Line
Feb. 24 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St.
This popular country-music duo’s latest album, Dig Your Roots, includes songs with guests Ziggy Marley and the Backstreet Boys. Tickets: $28-$75. 1-800-745-3000.
ticketmaster.com

Valerie June: The Order of Time Tour
Feb. 24 at the Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.
Valerie June encompasses a mixture of folk, blues, gospel, soul, country, and bluegrass. 9 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Sean Jones Quartet
Feb. 24 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St.
Sean Jones, the former lead trumpet for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, stands out with his bright, muscular tone and impeccable sense of swing. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0606.
ticketomaha.com

Lettuce
Feb. 26 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
For more than two decades, Lettuce has brought a new vitality to classic funk, matching their smooth and soulful grooves with a hip-hop-inspired urgency and mastery of beat. All ages. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20 advance/$25 day of show. 402-345-7569.
slowdown.com

Miscellaneous

Shane Mauss at The Slowdown

Shane Mauss at The Backline

A Good Trip with Shane Mauss
Jan. 6 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
Sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), comedian Shane Mauss has appeared on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel, Showtime, and has specials on both Comedy Central and Netflix. 8 p.m. Tickets: $10-15. 402-345-7569.
slowdown.com

Improv on Fridays
Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27, at the Backline Comedy Theatre, 1618 Harney St.
This weekly comedy show features local improvisers and special guests. If you are familiar with the Upright Citizens Brigade, The Backline is the closest in style in the entire Midwest. Tickets: $5. 9 p.m. 402-720-7670.
backlinecomedy.com

Cocktails & Coloring
Jan. 25 and Feb. 22 at the Apollon, 1801 Vinton St.
Come with your friends! Bring your own materials or stop into Oracle Art Supply to pick up coloring books and colored pencils. Cash bar. 6 to 9 p.m. Free. 402-884-0135.
apollonomaha.com

Kevin McDonald
Jan. 21 at the Backline Comedy Theatre, 1618 Harney St.
Known for the TV sketch show The Kids in the Hall and as the alien Pleakely from Lilo & Stitch, McDonald will be in Omaha as part of a weekend workshop. 9 p.m. Tickets: $12. 402-720-7670.
backlinecomedy.com

Joke & Dagger Standup
Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Backline Improv Theatre, 1618 Harney St.
Hosted by Winslow Dumaine, this improv show is unique, morbid, and enjoyable. Tickets: $5. 402-720-7670.
backlinecomedy.com

2017 Nebraska Chinese Lunar New Year’s Celebration
Feb. 4 at Westside Middle School, 8601 Arbor St.
This event showcases Chinese culture and heritage with kids’ activities, Chinese cuisine, and traditional cultural performances, such as lion dance, martial arts demonstrations, folk dances, and more. Admission: $15 members, $20 non-members. 402-515-4491.
omahachinese.net

The Law of the Land

June 9, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article originally published in Summer 2015 edition of B2B.

The awards and accolades keep coming Deryl Hamann’s way, but the 82-year-old Omaha attorney has a decisively modest take. “You stay around long enough and they have to recognize you.”

The latest honor was the 2014 Douglas E. Parrott Faith in Action Award from Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. Hamann is grateful and humbled by the recognition, but, he feels he isn’t doing anything extra. In fact, he’s enjoying the slower pace these days.

“I come to the office every day, but I don’t work very hard,” Hamann says from his office high up in the Woodmen of the World building. “Mostly I just ferry my wife around.”

Hamann still has some long-time clients he tends to. And he is always there to offer up advice as needed to the younger attorneys at Baird Holm, the firm he’s been with since 1959.

Yes, the praise is nice and all, but that’s not what drives Hamann. He’s still the Iowa farm boy who worked his way through law school and went on to become one of the state’s most respected experts on banking and corporate law, not to mention the CEO of a large banking organization. Hamann says he is driven by the satisfaction that comes from showing up to work each day and serving his clients.

It’s a work ethic learned on the dusty farmlands of his north-central Iowa youth.

Hamann learned early on that there is no substitute for hard work. If asked about the accolades, you’ll get some pleasant comments. But talk to him about those early years managing the local drive-in north of Fort Dodge, Iowa, or clerking for U.S. District Judge Robert Van Pelt, and you’ll get a sense of what drove Hamann to success.

The combination of work ethic and intelligence led Hamann into the banking business in 1971 with the purchase of a small bank in southern Iowa. That led to him becoming the chairman and chief executive officer of Great Western Bank, which grew to over 100 locations in six states before selling in 2008.

Hamann is also a trustee and past president of the Nebraska State Bar Association; former chairman of the board of trustees at Bellevue University; a director of the University of Nebraska Foundation and chairman of its Investment Committee; and, also, former chairman of the Bethphage Foundation. In 2011, he was designated Corporate Lawyer of the Year in Omaha by Best Lawyers in America.

“Those were pretty busy years,” he says of balancing his career and raising four children, and later, three stepchildren.

Hamann graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1956 as an undergraduate. He received his law degree in 1958, the same year he clerked for Judge Van Pelt, a man who he says had a big impact on him and his career path. “The phrase ‘a gentleman and a scholar’ could have been invented just for him,” Hamann says.

Hamann recalls his first job, cutting cockleburs with a corn knife and helping with the chores around the little farm “a quarter mile down a mud lane just off a gravel road.”

Growing up during the Great Depression taught Hamann the value in helping others. And in treating other people right. “There is great satisfaction in being able to help someone in need, especially when you grow up without much,” he says. “Back then, things were not that lush.”

Times have changed, no doubt. But for Hamann, some things are constant, like the value of lessons one learns early on and, hopefully, never loses sight of.

Deryl Hamman