Tag Archives: Jim Suttle

Creating Craters, Not Waves

January 20, 2020 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Jim Suttle has impressed a 6-year-old. It wasn’t his years in public office that impressed him, nor was it his position as former VP at the nation’s 17th largest architecture and engineering firm. It was his vehicle, a Jaguar F-Type S—impossible to miss with the plates reading “Jagster” and the Caldera red color telling viewers this car is smoking-hot.

“I had stopped in Waverly, I believe, for lunch at a McDonald’s,” Suttle said. “I walked in and there was a father with a 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl. The 6-year-old was looking at the car. I told him to ask his dad if he could sit in my car. The dad took photos as the kids sat in the vehicle. It just made their day. It put big smiles on all three faces, four including mine.”

Lunch at McDonald’s, coffee with friends, board meetings—Suttle has driven his British luxury car everywhere.

“Why buy a car and not drive it?” Suttle said. “I’ve put 41,000 miles on it in 3.5 years.”

Suttle has owned several special cars over the years. A picture of his first car, a gold 1957 Studebaker Hawk, hangs proudly in the two-car garage attached to his home. His previous car was a 2002 red Thunderbird named the “Birdster.” This car, however, is different for a variety of reasons.

“I’d been eyeing this Jag for about a year and a half,” Suttle said. “I went to the dealer, and they didn’t have one in stock. But, I was getting ready to go visit my daughter in Minneapolis.”

The Jaguar dealer in Minneapolis had the vehicle on the lot, so Suttle test-drove the vehicle there and considered his options. The V-8 engine was too powerful for his tastes. He wanted an automatic, not a manual, transmission. As he picked his perfect car, the manufacturer rolled into a new year. Thus his 2016 Jaguar became a 2017. It was delivered on May 7. This is the first British car Suttle has owned.

interior of 2017 Jaguar F-Type S

“I am really impressed at how quickly I can maneuver,” Suttle said. “In Kansas City, I was on the highway and a [pickup] truck was backing up. I thought ‘what the heck is he doing?’ A toolbox had fallen off of his truck. I was able to maneuver right around it, and him.”

The 380-hp vehicle comes with features such as Bluetooth wireless technology, remote keyless entry, touch screen monitor, a navigation system, and push-button engine start. The engineer in Suttle appreciates all the modernity, but his requests for the car were relatively simple.

“I wanted a top-of-the-line sound system, because I like music,” Suttle said. “I wanted all-wheel drive, and I wanted leather seats.”

The overall design was a factor. The car came loaded with features that he said took him about a year to figure all out. The seats are heated and come with adjustable lumbar support, upper back support, even adjustable side wings. The volume of the muffler can be adjusted. The spoiler deploys at 60 mph.

The battery and the windshield washer fluid reservoir are located in the trunk. In early winter, Suttle experienced an alternator problem, which meant the mechanics needed to work with the alternator in the front of the car and the battery in the back of the car for everything to work correctly.

Suttle’s wife, Deb, isn’t so fond of riding in the car, but his 22-year-old granddaughter, Savannah French, has taken it for a drive. In fact, there are three buttons for the passenger seat that can be programmed to adjust to three people’s preferences. Button no. 1 is for Suttle’s granddaughter, no. 2 is for his daughter, and no. 3? That’s for Nougat, the Suttles’ schnauzer-poodle-cocker spaniel mix.

It appears children, and dogs, like Jaguars.

This article was printed in the February/March 2020 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.Suttle and his dog with Jaguar

Jaguar F-Type S tire

Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue

October 27, 2014 by
Photography by Keith Binder

Beth Ostdiek Smith was working at her old job and was amazed to hear about the amount of healthy meals and snacks that were being thrown out at the end of the day. She knew of an organization in Arizona called Waste Not, a perishable food rescue that was run by one of her sister’s friends. She thought Omaha could use something similar to address the city’s hunger problem.

Smith, who had been involved with local businessman Jerry Hoberman’s Winners Circle program and later in Partnership 4 Kids, both of which helped students in the Omaha Public Schools system, was looking for a new venture. Late in 2012, she met with members of the Hunger Free Heartland, which included the Food Bank, three of the city’s largest pantries, and some members of former Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s staff to explore the need for a perishable food rescue. She says all agreed this would fill a niche not being met in the community.

Smith traveled to Scottsdale, Ariz., in February 2013 to meet with the head of Waste Not.

Smith gathered information about how the company picked up food donations from different restaurants, caterers, and other food purveyors, and then delivered them to local nonprofits that feed the needy. She came back to Omaha and went about raising funds and building partnerships to create what would become Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue and Delivery.

“We do not have a food problem in Omaha but a food connection problem,” Smith, president and founder of Saving Grace, says. “Saving Grace’s perishable food pipeline addresses that issue.”

One of the first partners was Akin’s Natural Foods, which was just coming to Omaha. Company officials agreed to donate food. Now Saving Grace has 10 regularly scheduled donors, including Trader Joe’s, Greenberg Fruit, three Pizza Ranch locations, and Attitude on Food.

One of the biggest purchases that Saving Grace needed to get running was a refrigerated truck so workers could collect and deliver perishable food such as dairy, produce, meats, prepared foods, and grains. Saving Grace does not have a warehouse, and all pick-ups and donations are done on the same day, Smith says. A good truck, therefore, is a must.

Several years ago, Smith had met former Precision Industries CEO Dennis Circo (featured on the cover of this month’s issue of our sister publication, B2B magazine) through Omaha businessman Willie Thiessen, and decided to approach Circo about helping fund her new venture. Circo said he wasn’t sure it would work, but took a leap of faith and agreed to buy the refrigerated truck. He also donated office space to the nonprofit at his new Enterprise Center on 96th and L streets.

Saving Grace delivers food to 10 nonprofit groups, including the Bethlehem House, Heart Ministries, Hope Center for Kids, Open Door Mission and Siena/Francis House. Food rescue and delivery operations started last September.

Smith said the goal for Saving Grace was to deliver 300 pounds of food a day for the first three months, then add an additional 200 pounds of food a day every three months. After nine months of delivering, 152,842 pounds of food have been delivered to the needy. Smith said that besides the partnerships her group has made with donors and financial backers, Saving Grace has been successful because she and others have met with all the recipients to determine what their food needs are. The less those organizations must worry about where their food will be coming from, she says, the more time they will have to help meet the other needs of their clientele, like finding jobs and repairing broken lives.

“I see this as a movement, really,” Smith says. “People want to know where their food goes, and I think we’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg [of this venture’s potential].”

Smith hopes to purchase another truck and continue to grow the number of recipients, donors, and financial partners. Educating the public on how they can help feed the hungry while saving landfills by getting the word out on Saving Grace are also big priorities moving forward.

Visit savinggracefoodrescue.org for more information on Saving Grace.