2014 a Year to Remember for the Lincoln Chamber – Also Welcomes New Members

The City of Lincoln and the State of Nebraska made some incredible strides forward in 2014.  Much of our community’s success has translated into a successful year for the Lincoln Chamber, the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

At the Chamber, our year came to a close on the high note.  We were re-certified as a Five-Star Chamber of Commerce by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  We are one of only 77 Chambers to earn this distinction, out of more-than 7,000 Chambers across the United States.  It is a prestigious honor and we will continue to work diligently to uphold that honor as we work on growing Lincoln.  Other Chamber achievements of note in 2014 include:  

• Surpassing the 1,600 member mark for the first time in Chamber history.

• Earning three national awards from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives for our campaign to brand Lincoln nationally.

• Working to modify Storm Water Collection regulations to make development less burdensome for home owners.

• Extended sunset dates for the Nebraska Advantage incentives to spur more technology and start-up development.

Job growth and economic expansion played a large role in Lincoln being named to several “Top 10” lists in 2014.  At the forefront of this success was the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development.  The Partnership took home three awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2014.  The awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in their communities.

The Partnership submitted three award applications and received the following awards in the 200,000 to 500,000 population category:

• Gold – SelectLincoln.org – General Purpose Economic Development Website

• Gold – Lincoln Economic Dashboard – Special Purpose Brochure

• Bronze – Inc. 5000 Billboard Campaign – General Purpose Promotion

The Partnership also played a role in helping several business expansion projects in Lincoln.  The expansion projects generated an estimated 300 additional jobs and more than $51M in capital investment in Lincoln.

Our economic success in 2014 is also directly attributable to the number of new events coming to our community.  Sporting events, especially youth sporting events, continues to be the fastest area of expansion.  Of all of the room nights booked by the Convention and Visitors Bureau in the past year, 80% have been related to youth sports.  Most of those participants are coming to Lincoln from outside of the state.  A list of new events booked in the last year includes:

• 2015 State Games of America • Women of Faith Conference

• Return of State Volleyball to Lincoln

• Sports Car Club of America National Finals

• Women’s Professional Rodeo Barrel Racing Finals

As we look ahead to another successful year in 2015, Lincoln’s momentum doesn’t appear to be slowing any time soon.  The Pinnacle Bank arena continues to book A-list acts, more businesses are locating in the new West Haymarket, and downtown Lincoln is adding residential units that should attract more young professionals looking to achieve an urban lifestyle while enjoying all that Lincoln has to offer.  Lincoln is truly on the move – I hope you will help keep it going this year.

by Wendy Birdsall, President

Lincoln Chamber of Commerce



The Chamber’s mission is to improve the lives of Lincoln residents by providing increased economic opportunity and can only be accomplished together.  Networking opportunities, business advocacy, and creating economic viability are critical to our success.  We encourage you to become a member and help us achieve these goals for Lincoln.  For more information, please contact our Membership Director, Kristin Holmes, kholmes@lcoc.com.

LCOC New Members

Colea Alterations

Colea Alterations has been specializing in adjusting ready-to-wear clothing to fit properly since 2001.  Our expert fitters will assess and adjust your clothing for a perfect fit.  We specialize in leather alterations, zipper repair or replacement, and length and size adjustment on everything from suit jackets to jeans to sweatpants.  We offer Etcetera trunk shows, an exquisite women’s clothing line, four times a year.  Etcetera has a reputation as a chic, everyday lifestyle brand for women on the go by creating exquisite clothing held to couture-level design standards.  Let us help you select the perfect color, proportion and style for your body type and personal style.  For more information about Colea Alterations, please call (402) 421-2144 or visit www.coleaalterations.com.

Lincoln Family Dentistry

Lincoln Family Dentistry is comprised of three dental offices in Lincoln, NE; NorthStar Dental at 5800 N. 33rd St., Coddington Dental at 1320 W. A St., and SouthPointe Dental at 7940 S. 13th St.   Our Mission is to provide gentle and quality dentistry at affordable prices.

We know patients are busy so we are open evenings and Saturdays, appointment requests can be made online, and an emergency dentist number. Services include gentle family and cosmetic dentistry along with permanent dentures or teeth in one day. For more information about our Lincoln Family Dentistry offices, please visit www.lincolnfamilydentistry.com or call NorthStar Dental – (402) 742-0000, Coddington Dental – (402) 438-5555, or SouthPointe Dental – (402) 423-3333.

Transworld Business Advisors

Transworld Business Advisors, a unique business concept that provides services for business brokerage, franchise consulting, and franchise development, with a location in Lincoln owned by Mary Jo Cassner. Transworld Business Advisors is essentially three complementary businesses rolled into one: business brokerage, franchise consulting, and franchise development. The brokerage side successfully puts buyers and sellers of businesses together; the franchise consulting side gives entrepreneurs access to more than 200 pre-screened franchises, and the franchise development service assists people in growing their businesses through franchising. For more information on the new Transworld Business Advisors in Lincoln or a free consultation, contact Cassner at (402) 413-1095.

Gold’s Gym

We offer options for every fitness level, from beginning exercisers to elite athletes looking to sharpen their speed, agility, power and endurance. Our inspirational fitness experts can assist you with a low impact workout designed specifically for seniors, or show you the right techniques for a high intensity workout for both men and women. Gold’s Gym O street is located behind the Gateway Mall. Gold’s Gym Pine Lake is located off 18th and Pine Lake Road near Southwest High School. For more information about Gold’s Gym, please visit www.GoldsGym.com or contact us at (402) 466-3191 or email tjordan@goldsgym.com (O Street) (402) 805-4179 or email jblack@goldsgym.com (Pine Lake).

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LIBA Requests the LPS Board of Education Lower the Property Tax Levy – Also Welcomes New Members

The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) requests the Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) Board of Education work to lower the property tax levy in the next budget year.

LIBA recognizes that LPS is not currently in their budget process, however, LPS is in process of negotiating with the Lincoln Education Association (LEA) for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Personnel costs are one of the main drivers of the LPS budget. Therefore, if the LPS Board intends to lower the property tax levy it must begin with personnel costs.

Lincoln is home to a great school system and the community is tremendously supportive of our schools. In 2014 we approved a $153 million bond issue. Currently, LPS is building a new Career Academy with significant backing of many Lincoln businesses. After receiving so much continued support from Lincoln, it is time for LPS to show its support and appreciation of the Lincoln community by lowering the tax levy.

Using LPS research, here is how teacher pay compared with similar districts in the 2013-14 school year.

According to LPS research, starting base pay for LPS teachers in 2014-2015 is $4,300 above Omaha Public Schoolsi and $4,000 above Millard’sii. That is just base pay, this gap widens as salary is increased due to years of service and annual raises. Further, LPS gives teachers twice the amount of planning time as similar Nebraska school districtsiii, shorter instructional days than comparable districtsiv, class cover pay that is $12 an hour above that paid in Omahav, and unlimited accumulation of leavevi.

This is not to say that LPS should pay teachers less, we are saying that since we are now at the TOP regarding pay and some benefits, that it is time to prioritize a tax cut for Lincoln. Fortunately, LPS can lower its levy by $.01 without triggering a loss in state aid money.

We can be proud that the district compensates teachers very well, is building new facilities, remodeling and implementing technology. It is time to recognize the “community” behind this momentum. Now is the time to give-back to the community by planning to lower the tax levy and keeping taxpayer dollars in the taxpayer’s pocket.

2014-2015 Settlements for Neighboring and Omaha Metro School Districts; Compiled by LPS Human Resources ii 2014-2015 Settlements for Neighboring and Omaha Metro School Districts; Compiled by LPS Human Resources iii 2014-2015 Settlements for Neighboring and Omaha Metro School Districts; Compiled by LPS Human Resources iv 2013-2014 Comparability Information; Compiled by LPS Human Resources v 2014-2015 Settlements for Neighboring and Omaha Metro School Districts; Compiled by LPS Human Resources vi 2013-2014 CIR Leaves and Other Conditions; Compiled by LPS Human Resources

by Coby Mach, President & CEO

Lincoln Independent Business Association



LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and our community.  If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at 466-3419.  LIBA membership is not restricted to just businesses.  We also have “individual” memberships for those who want to help influence our local government decisions.

LIBA New Members

Bryson’s Airboat Tours

When you think of airboat tours, do you think of the Everglades or a swamp tour? Well, think again! Bryson’s Airboat Tours will take you for the ride of your life on the beautiful Platte River. Whether it’s a team-building event, family reunion or a sunset boat ride, we have you covered. Contact us today and we will find the package that works best for you. For more information about Bryson’s Airboat Tours visit our website at www.brysonsairboattours.com or call us at (402) 968-8534.


Whether you are just getting started (or wanting to get started) with online marketing (email and social media), dkSolutions speciaizes in helping entrepreneurs and small business owners navigate this sometimes tricky and often overwhelming area. Owner, Diane Siefkes, is a certified HootSuite professional and Constant Contact service provider. For more information about dkSolutions, please contact Diane at (402) 525-6027, by email at diane@dksolutionsne.com, or visit www.dkSolutionsne.com.

Greta’s Gourmet

Greta’s Gourmet is an incredible place where food=love. You can smell it the second you walk in the door, and taste it in every bite. Your “Meat”ing place for gourmet food in Lincoln, Greta’s Gourmet offers a wide selection of hand-crafted foods that are perfect for any occasion. Greta’s Gourmet is a full-service caterer, providing Chef-created meals for parties and offices for 2-500 people. Their full-service butcher shop and sausage kitchen feature Certified Angus Beef, fresh seafood, poultry, pork and 27 varieties of sausages and jerky every day.  They make EVERYTHING from scratch, and the quality is unmatched in Lincoln. For more information about Greta’s Gourmet Catering, please contact Kyle at (402) 420-6328, via email at catering@gretasgourmetfood.com, or visit www.gretasgourmetfood.com.

The Nine’s

The Nine’s is a new women’s and men’s boutique open in Fallbrook, located at 575 Fallbrook Blvd, Suite 106, in the heart of Fallbrook’s Town Center. The boutique carries a variety of unique clothing, shoes and accessories. The Nine’s hours are Monday-Saturday from 10-6, with the exception of Thursday when hours are extended until 8 pm for special Wine Nights where customers can shop later while enjoying a glass of wine, and Sunday from 12-5.  The Nine’s offers a casual, relaxed shopping environment with plenty of convenient parking and will only carry a limited amount of each exclusive item, so stop out and DRESS TO THE NINE’S!!  For more information about The Nine’s, find The Nine’s – Fallbrook on Facebook and Instagram or contact owner Kathy Hagge at (402) 904-5257.

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StarTran Receives $2 Million Federal Grant in Lincoln, Nebraska

Mayor Chris Beutler and StarTran officials today announced that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded a $2 million Ladders of Opportunity grant to StarTran, the City’s transit system. StarTran will use the grant funds to buy three buses and two downtown trolleys that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) as well as a bus driving simulator.

“The Ladders of Opportunity initiative supports the modernization and expansion of bus service,” Mayor Beutler said. “The goal is to connect disadvantaged and low-income residents with the vital services they need to improve their lives – services like education, employment, job training and health care. The grant process was very competitive – only 24 transit systems in the U.S. were selected to share in the $100 million in grants.”

Mokhtee Ahmad, the Regional Administrator for Region 7 of the FTA, attended the announcement, and Beutler thanked the FTA for its continued support of StarTran. Ahmad said FTA received 446 project proposals from 282 applicants for the grant.

“Priority was given to projects that provide ready access to work for individuals lacking reliable transportation, especially in low-income and under-served neighborhoods,” Ahmad said. “At the Regional FTA Office in Kansas City, we have always had a wonderful working relationship with StarTran. We are excited that Lincoln is a recipient of these funds to help enhance bus transportation opportunities in the community.”

The Mayor also thanked Black Hills Energy for its cash match commitment of $28,000 to the purchase. Black Hills also helped the City purchase its first five CNG buses earlier this year. StarTran Transit Manager Michael Davis said CNG buses are less expensive to operate, better for the environment and safer. He said StarTran’s fleet of CNG vehicles will grow to 29 over the next two years.

Davis said he plans to have the procurement of these grant-funded CNG buses completed within one year. The new vehicles will replace ones that have surpassed their 12-year usable life. The full-size buses will be used on routes with a high number of low-income patrons. He said the bus driving simulator will be StarTran’s first, and it will help improve safety by enhancing the driver training. The simulator replicates the driving component of a typical bus and uses video displays of real driving experiences.

More information on StarTran is available at startran.lincoln.ne.gov or (402) 476-1234.

by Terry Uland, President
Downtown Lincoln Association

Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy.

For a complete listing of downtown businesses, events and residences visit downtownlincoln.org. ‘Like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/downtownlincoln.

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Sandler Training – Step Three of Professional Selling: It has got to hurt!

I bet right now you are carrying around a wallet or purse that contains your credit cards, debit cards, and/or cash.  I know why you carry that stuff around all the time…it is because you like to buy stuff.  Buying things can be very emotionally satisfying, unless a salesperson gets in the way and steals your emotional satisfaction.  That’s right, sometimes we, the sales professional, are the reason our prospects choose not to buy from us.

We who sell should understand what motivates people to buy in the first place so that we can avoid being the problem.  If prospects buy for emotional reasons then which emotions provide the greatest motivation?  Some people buy because it brings pleasure.  Clothes, food, drink, toys, and vacations might be some good examples.  Some people buy because it relieves or prevents pain.  Insurance, dentist, financial advice, and security systems might be some good examples.  It is important, however, to recognize that people’s desire to eliminate or prevent pain is significantly more powerful as a motivator when making buying decisions than people’s desire to have pleasure.  And most of us professional salespeople are in the pain removal/prevention business.  Therefore, your strategy when selling your product or service to the prospect should be to find out where it hurts.

Sometimes this is not easy.  It takes a good sales professional who is properly prepared with the right questions to uncover real pain.  Imagine going to visit the doctor to get a routine checkup.  The doctor begins to ask you a series of questions about how you feel.  The questions are good and very thorough.  You explain to the doctor about some minor cramping you have been experiencing recently in your side but it was no big deal.  In fact, you weren’t even going to bring it up if it weren’t for the thoroughness of the doctor’s questions.  The doctor orders some tests and a scan of your side.  A short time later, the doctor returns with the results and tells you that your appendix is on the verge of rupturing and it needs to be surgically removed immediately.  What would you, as the patient, do at this moment?  Would you tell the doctor to give you a price because you need three bids before you can decide who performs the surgery?  Would you say that you need some time to think about it first?  The pain that the doctor professionally uncovered would be so great that you would likely be motivated to authorize the surgery without even talking about price or anything else.

The sales professional should be prepared when in the sales call to thoroughly examine the prospect for pain which the product/service being sold can effectively remove/prevent.  The tools we use to execute this examination are questions.  Spend some time developing a list of diagnostic questions that are well written, thoughtful, clever, and unique.  If you hear the prospect say “That’s a good question,” you know you are on the right track.  Have at least ten questions prepared for the sales call because not all questions will find pain.  When you find pain indication, move the discussion from intellectual to emotional by asking the following follow-up questions:

1. Tell me more.
2. How long has this been a problem?
3. What have you done to fix it?
4. How did that work?
5. How much has this problem cost you?
6. How do you feel about it?
7. If I were to fix it, what would that mean to you?

It is extremely important that when you are doing your diagnosis, you keep your mouth shut as much as possible.  This is not the time to do a feature/benefit dump.  Let the prospect tell you everything about their problems and get emotional about it!  Your success at selling a deal at the price you deserve depends greatly on your ability to uncover the pain.  For the prospect to buy, it has got to hurt!

by Karl Schaphorst, President



Sandler Training is a global training organization with over three decades of experience and proven results. Sandler provides sales and management training and consulting services for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies.  For more information, please contact Karl Schaphorst at (402) 403-4334 or by email at kschaphorst@sandler.com.  You can also follow his blog at karlschaphorst.sandler.com.

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Lincoln Chamber Accredited with Top Honor from U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Welcomes New Members

Lincoln has made headlines over the past few years with its top ten rankings and nation-leading low unemployment rate. Along the way, we’ve pointed to the Lincoln business community as the leading factor in attaining this national spotlight. The business community’s commitment to maintain a sustainable economy avoided the pre-recession bubble and the following economic downturn.

Our outstanding business community is also committed to maintaining a strong Chamber of Commerce.

I’m proud to report the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce has once again achieved a Five-Star Accreditation status from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is the highest level of achievement awarded by our national organization.

As stated by the U.S. Chamber:

Accreditation with the United States Chamber of Commerce is the only program of its kind that defines excellence in chamber planning and recognizes chambers for outstanding contributions toward positive change in their communities.

Currently there are 7,077 Chambers in the United States, 207 of those are accredited and only 82 receive a 5-star designation.

By earning Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a chamber shows its dedication to:

• Reviewing, improving, and promoting strong business practices

• Recognizing leadership and outstanding contributions to the community

• Supporting the principles of free enterprise and promoting pro-growth policies at federal, state, and local levels

• Establishing best practices and staying in-step with industry changes
On behalf of our Board of Directors, I am honored to receive this great recognition.  Our thanks go out to you, our members and our investors. Without your dedication and support, we could never achieve this elite accreditation.

The Chamber isn’t alone in earning national honors.

The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development was also recognized in November by the International Economic Development Council.  The Council is the leading voice in the industry today with over 4,500 members across the globe.  It’s safe to say their opinion matters.

The Partnership took home three awards they give out annually for Excellence in Economic Development.  There are 34 awards given by I.E.D.C in total and they honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Winners are recognized at the organization’s Annual Conference.

The recognition comes from marketing campaigns used by the Partnership to sell Lincoln to potential employers across the country:

• Inc. 5000 Billboards – General Purpose Print Promotion

• 2013 Lincoln Economic Dashboard – Special Purpose Print Brochure,

SelectLincoln.org – General Purpose Website

Both the Accreditation status and the Economic Development awards mark a year of success for Lincoln.  I always tell people we have something special going on here, it’s nice to know the leading voices in our industry feel the same way.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

by Wendy Birdsall, President
Lincoln Chamber of Commerce

LCOC New Members

Logo_Center_Sphere_Omaha_NebraskaCenter Sphere

Center Sphere, LLC was founded in January of 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. Its purpose is to help business professionals get positive business exposure, expand their sphere of influence, build personal relationships, receive warm referrals and gain self-confidence.  The mission of Center Sphere is to provide a network of local support for businesses through trusted, profitable, and proven relationship building.  For more information about Center Sphere, LLC, please visit www.centersphere.com or call (402) 889-5439.

Logo_Body_Nouveaux_Spa_Lincoln_NebraskaBody Nouveaux Spa

Body Nouveaux Spa is a day spa located at 5600 S. 48th St. Suite #118. Services include facials, body waxing, chemical peels, massages, Slender Body Wraps and Spray Tanning. They are the only Suddenly Slender Body wrap provider in Lincoln and also utilize their own line of spray tanning solution.  Body Nouveaux was voted 2014 Lincoln’s Choice Winner in Massage and Runner-up for Aesthetics.  For more information about Body Nouveaux Spa, please call (402) 476-7855 or visit www.bodynouveauxspa.com.

Logo_GP_Customs_Lincoln_NebraskaGP Customs

GP Customs was founded in 2006 as a Window Tinting business. Since then we have grown into one of the largest automotive restyling businesses in the Midwest. We specialize in Window Tinting, Car Audio/Video, Remote Car Starters, Vinyl Graphics, Vehicle Paint Protection, Car & Truck Accessories, Vehicle Lift Kits, Leather Seat Repair/Replacement, Spray-on Bedliners, In-Car Breathalyzers and much more! At GP Customs we try to accommodate all of your vehicle needs under one roof; we pride ourselves in being “Your One Stop Shop.” For more information about GP Customs feel free to visit our website www.GP-Customs.com , find us on Facebook.com/GPCustoms or call the shop at (402) 421-0888.

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Changing the Conversation Around Health in Lincoln, Nebraska

There is a movement in our area to provide intensive wellness services for individuals who are high risk.  These are people that primarily fall in to the obese bucket or have a cluster of health factors called metabolic syndrome.  While true that these folks need assistance to accomplish better quality of life and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes, we need to “change the conversation around health.” 1

The primary emphasis for most companies to use the high risk method is because individuals with five or more risk factors (i.e. high risk) typically account for more than twice the medical costs as compared to healthy individuals. 2

What we typically see are programs that provide a premium discount or incentive if individuals pass a health screening.  For example, if individuals meet a specific score or have fewer than three risk factors for metabolic syndrome, they receive a premium discount of 20%.  These employees are deemed healthy and are essentially done for the year.  They can come back next year to the screening to get their discount.  The employees that do not meet the guidelines are asked to participate in intensive classes or health coaching and must lower their risk by one factor within a specified time period (10-12 weeks).

Again, while we should provide assistance to individuals that have health concerns, we ignore our healthy and moderately healthy people at the risk of gambling that these individuals will forever maintain an optimum level of wellbeing.  Extensive research points to the contrary.  Dee Edington, Ph.D., leading researcher from the University of Michigan and author of the book Zero Trends makes a valid argument to spend the majority of resources on engaging all employees.  In his research he found that programs that primarily target high risk end up losing the wellness battle over time because healthy people eventually will slip in to a state of worsening health as we age.  In essence, we may help ten individuals reduce their risk for metabolic syndrome this year; however next year we may find twelve new individuals that were not high risk and now have metabolic syndrome. Edington argues that the best bang for the buck is to get the highest engagement possible and keep the healthy people healthy.  He also argues that just keeping moderately and unhealthy from getting worse is a win!

So what is the moral of the story?  Make sure you spread your resources evenly.  Offer the services for all employees regardless of risk state.  Design your program to encourage your people to engage throughout the year and not just give them a free pass once they meet screening guidelines.   Wellness is about a shift in culture.  It will take all individuals within an organization to be successful.  It is time to change the conversation around health in this country.  Let’s do it right!

1 Edington, Dee W; Zero Trends, Health Management Research Center, University of Michigan
2 Edington, AJHP, 15(5): 341-349,2001

by Lisa Henning, Executive Wellness Consultant

UNICO Midlands




Your resources for all of your insurance needs


4435 O Street • Lincoln NE 68510 • 402-434-7200 • 800-755-0048


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