Tag Archives: green

TD Ameritrade

August 25, 2014 by
Photography by Scottdrickey.com

Mike Burns cycles two miles every morning to his corporate job off the Papio Trail. The 51-year-old e-commerce director arrives by 8:15 a.m. (weather permitting).Then, he tucks his bike into an employee locker and
heads upstairs.

Thirteen hundred employees at TD Ameritrade’s new headquarters are trickling into the building. Anyone driving a low-emission vehicle can park at preferential spots. Other employees with electric cars charge their batteries for free.

TD Ameritrade’s turquoise-green façade looms over the Dodge Street/I-680 interchange. The building’s design features random dark squares, resembling the old-fashioned stock ticker tapes once sent by telegraph, a tribute to the leading online brokerage’s forbearers.

Green splashes the company logo. Its website claims that green is “not just our company color.” A variety of eco-friendly amenities are helping the headquarters achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest level of certification, LEED Platinum. LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.”

The 12-story, 530,000-square-foot Omaha facility broke ground in July of 2010. Three years later, TD Ameritrade began relocating employees from five offices scattered across Omaha.

“We were looking for an opportunity to bring all of our Omaha employees into one location,” says spokeswoman Kim Hillyer, a healthy-looking communications executive dressed in green tones. 

Concentrating workers allowed the company to offer perks—a basketball court, sand volleyball court, gym, and cafeteria—and to experiment with design. Architectural firm HOK designed the headquarters, TD Ameritrade’s first custom-build despite locations across the country.

Sunlight pours from enormous southward windows. The entire building was oriented to maximize natural sunlight and cut energy consumption by 45-46 percent.

Hillyer begins a campus tour from the cavernous lobby. A “smart” elevator without buttons takes guests down to the garage (generating electricity en route).

“When we first moved in, two staffers drove electric cars; now we have 10,” she says, standing beside one of five charging stations in the car park.

Up the tower, employees are typing from low cubicles facing a wall of windows. Fritted glass controls light and heat exchange. A shelf above the window helps reflect light to the back, where a slanted white ceiling and white walls reflects it across workers.

Meeting rooms occupy the back of each floor. Electronic sensors detect movement to activate/deactivate lights. Bamboo wood and linoleum from linseed oil were common construction materials, due to their rapidly renewable nature.

A rooftop garden pavilion hosts a team meeting in the sun, and nearby solar devices generate heat for the building. Meanwhile, rooftop drains gather rainwater for toilet flushing. Lawn drains also collect runoff to irrigate an expansive field of drought-resistant native vegetation, buffalo grass, and junipers.

“Part of the LEED requirement is education,” Hillyer says, pointing at the information labels posted throughout the facility. Public tours are available once every quarter.

Four wind turbines twirl on poles above the parking lot. They only generate a kilowatt per day. But there’s room for 20 more turbines. The management is thinking green, Hillyer insists, for the long-term.

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TD Ameritrade

May 31, 2014 by
Photography by Scott Drickey

Mike Burns cycles two miles every morning to his corporate job off the Papio Trail. The 51-year-old e-commerce director arrives by 8:15 a.m. (weather permitting). Then, he tucks his bike into an employee locker and heads upstairs.

Thirteen hundred employees at TD Ameritrade’s new headquarters are trickling into the building. Anyone driving a low-emission vehicle can park at preferential spots. Other employees with electric cars charge their batteries for free.


TD Ameritrade’s turquoise-green façade looms over the Dodge Street/I-680 interchange. The building’s design features random dark squares, resembling the old-fashioned stock ticker tapes once sent by telegraph, a tribute to the leading online brokerage’s forbearers.

Green splashes the company logo. Its website claims that green is “not just our company color.” A variety of eco-friendly amenities are helping the headquarters achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest level of certification, LEED Platinum. LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.”

The 12-story, 530,000-square-foot Omaha facility broke ground in July of 2010. Three years later, TD Ameritrade began relocating employees from five offices scattered across Omaha.

“We were looking for an opportunity to bring all of our Omaha employees into one location,” says spokeswoman Kim Hillyer, a healthy-looking communications executive dressed in green tones.

Concentrating workers allowed the company to offer perks—a basketball court, sand volleyball court, gym, and cafeteria—and to experiment with design. Architectural firm HOK designed the headquarters, TD Ameritrade’s first custom-build despite locations across the country.

Sunlight pours from enormous southward windows. The entire building was oriented to maximize natural sunlight and cut energy consumption by 45-46 percent.

Hillyer begins a campus tour from the cavernous lobby. A “smart” elevator without buttons takes guests down to the garage (generating electricity en route).

“When we first moved in, two staffers drove electric cars; now we have 10,” she says, standing beside one of five charging stations in the car park.

Up the tower, employees are typing from low cubicles facing a wall of windows. Fritted glass controls light and heat exchange. A shelf above the window helps reflect light to the back, where a slanted white ceiling and white walls reflects it across workers.

Meeting rooms occupy the back of each floor. Electronic sensors detect movement to activate/deactivate lights. Bamboo wood and linoleum from linseed oil were common construction materials, due to their rapidly renewable nature.


A rooftop garden pavilion hosts a team meeting in the sun, and nearby solar devices generate heat for the building. Meanwhile, rooftop drains gather rainwater for toilet flushing. Lawn drains also collect runoff to irrigate an expansive field of drought-resistant native vegetation, buffalo grass, and junipers.

“Part of the LEED requirement is education,” Hillyer says, pointing at the information labels posted throughout the facility. Public tours are available once every quarter.

Four wind turbines twirl on poles above the parking lot. They only generate a kilowatt per day. But there’s room for 20 more turbines. The management is thinking green, Hillyer insists, for the long-term.

Nature-Inspired Office Space

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Tom Kressler

The four elements—earth, fire, wind, and water—connote strength, simplicity, and timelessness andwere the source of inspiration for the design of the Pinnacle Bank Headquarters at 180th & Dodge streets in Omaha.

Pinnacle Bank, a Nebraska-based institution now in eight states, worked closely with the team at Avant Architecture to make the building essentially a piece of modern art. Rising from the horizon, the stone, steel, and glass structure suggests strength and elegance, simplicity and beauty.

“We’re really all about Nebraska and the Nebraska way,” says Chris Wendlandt, Senior Vice President of Marketing/Retail. Having previously worked with Avant, Wendlandt says the architecture firm knew their philosophy well. “Avant worked to match the building with the brand, and I think they did a great job.”

Wendlandt says that the goal was to create a space that would be simple, warm, and inviting, and something that both employees and their customers would be proud of.

Atrium.psd

Since their grand opening in June 2011, the response of employees and clients has been overwhelmingly positive.

The overall design of the building is sleek, yet elegant. “The emphasis is on light, openness, and views [of the exterior landscape],” says Wendlandt. Italian tile runs throughout the approximately 82,000-square-foot building. Other materials carried throughout the building’s design are the dark, German wood veneer, Oberflex, used in cabinets and doors, as well as a Gage Cast bronze metal that can be found near the teller line, in the elevator, and in other parts of the building.

Glass plays a prominent role in the overall design as well. Running through the lobby is a green-tinted channel glass wall, hinting at the element of water and providing light, as well as privacy, to first-floor offices and conference rooms. Large glass-panel walls on both exterior and interior walls keep with the open and airy feeling.

“The consistency throughout the whole building gives it that warm feeling, but then the artwork really brings [to life] what our brand is,” says Wendlandt. While the design of the space is minimalist, the artwork is what captures the attention of the viewer.

Board Room.psd

Aided by Holly Hackwith of Corporate Art Co., the art in the building was commissioned especially for the Pinnacle Bank project. With the majority of the artists being from Nebraska and the surrounding area, their work conveys the feel of Pinnacle’s home state. “We went through and identified artists we thought worked for the building,” says Wendlandt. Some of the more prominently featured artists are Jorn Olsen, Helene Quigley, and Matt Jones.

Then, in what Hackwith calls an extraordinary gesture, the Pinnacle executives allowed their employees to select which pieces would go into their personal offices. The result is an art collection that is a healthy mix of traditional and modern, serene and vibrant.

“Their employees really felt like they were a part of the process,” says Hackwith. Each work of art includes a plaque detailing the name of the piece, the name of the artist, and a brief description of the piece and artistic process involved.

The executive offices on the upper floors have glass-panel walls that look into the hallways and common areas. Employee cubicles have lower walls with glass panes imbedded, giving nearly every employee access to natural light and breathtaking views.

Roof Deck.psd

A community meeting room was created so that many of Pinnacle’s nonprofit clients can reserve it for their own use. “Community is…very important to us,” says Wendlandt. She says that they made a conscious effort to include a conference room with community access to it. All conference rooms are equipped with the latest in audio-visual technology

The top floor houses a green roof as well as a meeting area surrounded by glass-paneled walls that can slide open and be used to entertain clients or hold business meetings.

The building has achieved its sought-after LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. To earn this distinction, the building must meet green building standards regarding energy performance, water efficiency and several other aspects. In September 2012, the Pinnacle Bank project was also honored for its superior design with a silver award in the Corporate-Healthcare category by the Nebraska-Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

President Sid Dinsdale and the executives at Pinnacle Bank have created a new work space that reflects their values as a company. In doing so, they have also built a monument to where they came from and the clients they serve.

Choose the Right Shadow for Your Eyes

January 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It’s common to get stuck wearing the same eyeshadow color for months, if not years. Sure, it’s intimidating to venture into a realm of new colors when you’re not even sure if those new colors will work well with your complexion or your eye color—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find a new color that really makes your peepers pop. Whether you have brown or blue, green or hazel, there is a perfect set of complementary colors for your eyes that you should definitely try.

Brown Eyes. Most women with brown eyes complain about having brown eyes, but what they don’t realize is that they have a really versatile eye color. For best emphasis of the beautiful, deep brown, try greens, pinks, and grays. A soft green can bring out the dimensions of brown eyes while coral pinks can draw brown eyes away from their “muddy” state. Grays are often ignored because they’re thought to be bland, but the silver tones in grays can actually help intensify the chocolate and amber qualities in brown eyes.

Blue Eyes. One of the most common mistakes women with blue eyes make is that they wear blue eyeshadow, which actually draws attention away from the beauty of their eye color. The best colors are actually earth tones, like browns, taupes, and grays, because they are more neutral and make blue eyes seem more vibrant by comparison. For more fun-filled splashes of color, blue eyes will also look lively with a deep magenta or fuchsia.

Green Eyes. Green eyes are often mistaken for hazel because many women don’t know how to play up their unique eye color. Unlike hazel, green eyes require more dramatic colors to emphasize their hidden qualities. Eyeshadows with sunset undertones, like amber or copper, bring out the yellow subtleties in green eyes, as green and orange are complementary colors on the color wheel. Even more dramatic enhancements can be made with a plum or purple eyeshadow, which really makes green seem brighter.

Hazel Eyes. Since hazel is a blend of all of the other eye colors, hazel can get away with several different shadows, depending on which color is going to be the main accent. To emphasize more of the brown, go for greens, pinks, and grays; to emphasize more of the blue, go for earth tones, like browns and grays; to emphasize more of the green, go for coppers and purples. The other option, of course, is to showcase all of these colors at once with a combination of browns and forest green shadows.

The DoubleTree Building

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Blueprints were in the planning stage in the mid-1960s when Hilton Hotel developers told city leaders they wanted to build a new hotel in Downtown Omaha. Their target site was between 15th and 17th streets near the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

They needed two blocks of downtown land owned by First National Bank to build what would be Nebraska’s largest hotel, Hilton developers said. What’s more, they wanted to build smack in the middle of 16th Street. This brought gasps of dismay.

“At the time, 16th Street was the main conduit to North Omaha,” says Mike Kosalka, director of operations for the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel that now occupies the space. “Many people were upset the street was closed and said that this would cut North Omaha off from the downtown area.”

In 1968, when workers showed up to begin work on the new Hilton Hotel, the downtown area had lost a number of its old buildings as city leaders prepared for urban development. The Omaha Auditorium, where 19th-century actress Sarah Bernhardt performed and Caruso sang, was torn down in 1963. The older auditorium had been replaced in 1954 by the Omaha Civic Auditorium, which now, itself, faces closing.

“We reintroduced the grande dame to the city. Every room, every public space was modernized.” – Stephan Meier, general manager

The Fontenelle Hotel, a social center for Omaha when built in 1914, was razed in 1983. It had closed in 1971. The elegant old Omaha post office at 16th and Dodge streets was razed in 1966. Preservationists protested but couldn’t rescue the red sandstone post office.

“The western half of the hotel development was built on the site of that old post office,” says Bill Gonzalez, photo archivist associate at The Durham Museum.

The 414-room Hilton Hotel opened in 1970. It became the Red Lion in 1980. Today, the hotel is the DoubleTree by Hilton.

The hotel’s exterior looks as it did the day of the 1970 ribbon-cutting. But an all-new hotel is inside thanks to a $20 million renovation, said General Manager Stephan Meier. In October, the renovated DoubleTree held a gala event with Omaha mayor, Jim Suttle, and other dignitaries on hand for a ribbon-cutting. “We reintroduced the grande dame to the city,” says Meier. “Every room, every public space was modernized.”

Stephan Meier

Stephan Meier

Then and Now Since 1970

Over the years, considerable changes have taken place inside what is now Nebraska’s second-largest hotel. In 1970, doors were opened with a key. A card with a magnetic stripe was introduced in 1980. An RFID, a scanner code, became the way to open doors in 2012. “We’re the first in Omaha to have this new technology,” says Meier.

Then there was hardwiring. “Hardwire is now less safe. Wireless is the way to go,” Meier says. “Guests have laptops, iPhones, iPads, and other electronic gear. We tripled outlets.” Previously, rooms had clunky televisions with few channels. Now, they have flat-screen TVs with 150 channels.

Then, there was a rooftop restaurant with a revolving barroom floor—the Beef Baron in the 1970s, replaced by Maxine’s in the 1980s. Today, the 19th floor is an executive meeting center.

“There’s more need now for company meetings,” says Meier. Dining is now on the first floor. “Once brunch was ‘owned’ by the hotels. Now, every little café has a brunch.”

Gluten-free? Low fat? Chefs in the 1970s rarely prepared special foods. Now, guests demand them. “People then didn’t worry about cholesterol,” says Meier. “Today, my son worries about his cholesterol. And he’s 7 years old.” The new emphasis on health is also served by the hotel’s high-tech fitness center and swimming pool.

Then, people didn’t know what “carbon footprint” meant. Today, going green is part of the hotel’s business plan. What happens to the shampoo and soap that are half-used when guests leave?

“We work with an organization called ‘Clean the World’ that collects all our discarded soap bars and shampoo bottles for a fee. They are recycled to create hygiene kits that are provided to third-world countries and organizations helping underprivileged children,” says Meier.

“Our green-team committee looks for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We recycle all trash. We bought 100 percent-recyclable cups. And we just banned Styrofoam, which sits in the landfills for hundreds of years.”