Tag Archives: Playing Big

A Conversation with Nancy Pridal

May 15, 2017 by

Scott Anderson: What are the biggest changes that the engineering industry will face in the future?

Nancy Pridal: Understanding the implications of tomorrow’s technology on how we do business today is a bit of an unknown. We have to resist the “success as usual” syndrome and continue exploring opportunities in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things, etc.

Scott Anderson: Can you give me an example?

Nancy Pridal: The distinction between who addresses infrastructure needs are becoming blurred. Tech firms like Amazon, Verizon, Google, and Apple are all jumping into infrastructure issues, autonomous vehicles, and smart cities. They’re actively seeking solutions. These were historically led by engineers. As an industry, we need to be at the table. Understanding and participating in these conversations at the highest level is critical now.

Scott Anderson: So, what is the impact that the engineering industry is experiencing today?

Nancy Pridal: At an educational level, engineering schools are reassessing core curriculum that hasn’t dramatically changed since the ’50s. Current pedagogy is being examined to produce the engineers we need for the future.

Another big issue for the industry is attracting diversity to STEM. While the field of engineering is continually expanding and can provide abundant opportunities for women and minorities in technical and leadership roles, these groups are still greatly underrepresented. The main reason women leave engineering is company culture, so it’s critical that we understand the impact of culture on women in the industry.

To engage youth in our community, Lamp Rynearson has taken a lead role in advocating for the ACE Mentor Program, which encourages high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction. It’s essential for the engineering industry to align its culture and policies so it attracts and develops a diverse group of professionals who will add the most value in this exciting future.

Scott Anderson: Are there any signs of the future impacting the present state of engineering?

Nancy Pridal: From a construction standpoint, we have seen an increase in “stringless paving” that has changed what we provide for construction administration and staking services. Drones and other new technology are already becoming go-to technologies in our field. 

Scott Anderson: So, if engineers are not involved in surveying and other traditional engineering tasks, what roles will they play?

Nancy Pridal: Lamp Rynearson is leading this discussion with peer firms now, to ensure that as a company and as an industry we are keeping pace, if not leading the way, toward future advances in our field. The key for us is to remain nimble and open-minded to anticipate the future needs of the communities we serve.

We must be continuous questioners and continuous learners to serve the continually changing needs of our communities. As engineers, it’s who we are. There’s a book called A Whole New Engineer by David Goldberg and Mark Somerville, which forecasts what it’s going to take for the engineer of the future to advance the places where we live and work.

Nancy Pridal, Lamp Rynearson & Associates senior vice president, is a civil engineer strategist with widespread project and client management, strategic planning, leadership development, and geographic expansion experience. With offices in Nebraska, Colorado, and the Kansas City area, Lamp Rynearson claims a varied and extensive list of civil engineering, landscape architecture, and survey services.

Scott Anderson is CEO of Doubledare, a coaching, consulting, and search firm.














This column was printed in the Summer 2017 edition of B2B.

Establishing an Innovative Niche

January 3, 2017 by

While contemplating the theme of B2B’s Women in Business issue, I immediately thought of my friend and client, Amy Zier. She has experience launching and managing businesses in the United States and Italy, and her new cloud-based venture will have truly global reach.

Originally from Omaha, Amy is a trained occupational therapist. Twenty years ago, she opened her first office in Chicago, Amy Zier & Associates. She moved to Italy 10 years ago and has clinics in Napoli, Rome, and Rovereto. The Chicago clinic is still operating, but Amy manages it mainly from Italy.

I asked her if she noticed any differences between running businesses in the United States and Italy. She tells me it’s very rare for a woman to own a private business in Italy, let alone a therapeutic clinic. The challenges involved with starting up were different, too: “The steps to having a business and running a business in Chicago were much easier. You just do it. Here in Italy, there is a lot of bureaucracy to deal with. Building a business in the U.S. is much easier!”

“Building my practice in Italy challenged me in every way imaginable,” she says. “Learning to speak Italian at the level I could connect with professionals and families was difficult. Understanding the culture was an obstacle in the beginning as I really needed to understand perceptions of disabilities, child development, and the role of parents and extended family within the child’s life. I was fortunate to bring to Italy ideas and ways of clinically working with children and parents that were less common; many Italians are looking outside of their ‘system’ to find ways to support differences in their child’s development.”

One of the keys to Amy’s success has been in carving out a unique niche: her clinics use a combination of two methods—DIR (the Developmental, Individual-differences, Relationship-based model) and SI (Sensory Integrations). She tells me, “Innovation is highly valued in my organizations. I encourage thinking boldly, designing programs that make a difference, even though they might be outside the traditional way of practicing.”

One newsworthy thing Amy is doing now is launching an online training/certification program for her unique combination of DIR and SI. Her targets are anyone in the UK and Italian time zones and any English speaking countries.

“The DIR/SI organization was built on the idea of bringing innovative courses to practitioners, educators, and parents from around the globe,” she says. “Our approach to teaching is unique: by incorporating practice-based opportunities, mentoring from a range of experts in diverse fields related to developmental disabilities, and building foundational capacities related to reflective practice, observation of developmental phenomena, and analyzing how to measure our impact as clinicians in meaningful ways.”

What is she looking forward to? “Bringing together participants from different countries and areas of clinical practice will be very interesting.”

The takeaway: By uniquely combining two practices in her “industry,” Amy has become a great example of creating a niche in business.

Scott Anderson is CEO of Doubledare, an executive coaching, consulting, and search firm.

This article was printed in the Winter 2017 edition of B2B.

Playing Big

August 20, 2015 by

Compiling this issue of B2B magazine got me thinking about Scott Anderson’s 2013 book, Playing Big. In it the founder of Anderson Partners who is now the CEO of Doubledare speaks of forgetting your limitations and remembering the powerful person you are.

Erika Overturff was 27 when she realized that the ballet company of which she was a member was doomed. She was an artist, a professionally trained dancer. Business savvy? Management skills? An understanding of how to fund a new performance company? Not so much.

Overturff had a list of limitations a mile long, but today she is a founding member and artistic director of Ballet Nebraska, the region’s only professional dance company, as it enters its sixth season. She discovered the powerful person that she was and, with a lot of help in mentoring and connecting along the way, she’s learned to play big in elevating the cultural landscape of a city.

Our cover story is not about a dance company so much as it is about a community’s ability to get things done when its people and its businesses share a common vision. Omaha has always been a special place, one with a “can do” spirit. While other cities struggle, we survive, even thrive.

Omaha knows how to play big.

That theme is reflected throughout the stories on the pages that follow, stories of creativity, passion, talent—even faith.

The same motif, that of playing big, is mirrored in The Firm Deal Review, the magazine-within-a-magazine found beginning on page 35. No one setting out to purchase a business thinks small, and the stories told by The Firm represent microcosms of the very definition of what it means to think, dream, and play big.

Anderson’s book pays particular attention to smaller cultures, which is fitting because most of the entities profiled in this magazine dwell in the arena of small business. It’s a strata where core values are perhaps most critical, but how is it that, even in the smallest of businesses, the simple maxim of “staying true” can remain so very elusive?

Read on to uncover what has worked for some of the most compelling entrepreneurs in Omaha.

And don’t forget to play big.