Eight past and present outstanding Omaha area business leaders will be inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame at a gala Tuesday, April 24, at the Holland Performing Arts Center. The inductees represent the creativity, energy and passion that is critical to the growth of Omaha. View news release.
Each week, honoree highlights will be featured in the Chamber's e-newsletter. To learn more about the inductees and their contributions to Greater Omaha, join us at the gala. Patron tickets are available for $250 and sustaining tickets are available for $200. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with an hors d'oeuvres dinner with the honorees or their representatives, followed by the program at 7:30 p.m. Make reservations by Tuesday, April 17.
This week we focus on Robert Gregg "Bob" Hoig and Jun and Ree Kaneko.
Robert Gregg "Bob" Hoig, publisher and chairman, Midlands Business Journal
When journalist Bob Hoig announced that Omaha needed more business news coverage and he was going to provide it by starting a weekly newspaper, his former co-workers scoffed.
But since the first issue came off the presses in 1975, the Midlands Business Journal has hit mail boxes every week. In 1996, Hoig launched a second publication, the twice-monthly Lincoln Business Journal.
He and his newspaper have received a number of awards. Among them are the Greater Omaha Chamber's Golden Spike in 2002 and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004.
Hoig's first business transaction was lending books to fellow fourth graders for one penny each. He also could be found behind a lemonade stand and bussing tables.
For over 20 years Hoig reported for news outlets such as the New York Daily News, Miami News, United Press International, Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star. He also was editor of the Douglas County Gazette and managing editor of the Omaha Sun.
Jun and Ree Kaneko, Kaneko
Empty buildings and bleak streets lined the Old Market area of downtown Omaha when Ree and Jun Kaneko began building a neighborhood of artists that would become a draw in years to come.
Jun and Ree met in 1982 when she invited him to participate in a workshop at the Alternative Worksite/Artists in Industry program she founded, which brought more than 100 artists to Omaha.
Jun had emigrated from Japan in 1963. In 1986, he left his professorship at Cranbrook Academy of Art and moved to Omaha to concentrate on his art. He began buying and renovating warehouses in the Old Market for studio space.
The Kanekos founded the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in 1985. The Bemis provides exhibition space, studios, housing and stipends for artists and is now one of the nation's top residency programs. Ree was the center's director before leaving in 2000 to focus on directing the Jun Kaneko Studio.
In 2000, Jun and Ree introduced KANEKO: Open Space for Your Mind. The nonprofit program offers the public creative experiences in the arts, science, philosophy and business.
The 2012 Omaha Business Hall of Fame Gala sponsors are Fraser Stryker, KPMG LLP and U.S. Bank.
Supporting sponsors are Alegent Health, Creighton University and Creighton University Medical Center and Lincoln Financial Group.