Greater Omaha Chamber 2012 End of Year Report
Happy New Year! I hope both your business and family have a spectacular 2013. As I reflect on this past year, I believe our community has much to be thankful for. We have weathered the recession better than almost any community in the nation, as Visa economist Wayne Best noted, "Omaha is an oasis" and several recent #1 national rankings attest to that.
This success is the result of ongoing sound decision-making by individuals, businesses and elected officials. I believe that your important decision to be among the 3,100 companies that make up the Greater Omaha Chamber delivered significant results last year.
Our collective efforts brought important business and community growth.
- 38 economic development projects were landed, bringing an estimated $528 million in capital investment and 528 new and 1,069 retained jobs.
- Ground was broken for the new billion dollar USSTRATCOM headquarters, celebrating years of intense effort to support the continued strength of the base. A new mission, a detachment of the Joint POW/MIA Identification Command, brings an estimated $8 million annual impact and over 50 scientists to the area.
- The community's need to grow, retain and attract talent was supported through the Greater Omaha Young Professional's Summit and year-round programming, participation in K-12 superintendent searches, the Intern Omaha program, and a variety of media including Omaha Extraordinary Opportunities and talent ads and videos.
- Civic leadership was enriched with graduates from Leadership Omaha and Omaha Executive Institute.
- Business growth was supported across the metro with community development initiatives including Vinton Street corridor improvements and support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem including the launch of the Common Ground program. There was $26.5 million in reported funding for start-ups and six new high-growth start-ups funded.
- Over 800 business decision-makers from across the globe were introduced to the benefits of doing business in the region when we hosted them at Only in Omaha events during 2012. More than 80 million were exposed to Omaha brand messages due to our image efforts.
Your voice was heard in several business-oriented issues.
- 2012 was the culmination of several years of research and work to find a fair rate schedule for sewer and water users to help pay for the community's combined sewer overflow (CSO) project.
- Local officials heard the business community perspective on several issues including the retail liquor tax and regulation ordinance and the importance of parity for large industrial companies on sewer fees.
- At the state level, more than 35 bills were monitored on your behalf during the legislative session and 19 were worked actively. Several pieces of legislation to reduce taxes and support economic development were successfully passed.
- We all were also able to get up close and personal with elected officials at the Federal Fly-Back, the U.S. Senatorial candidate debate and the annual legislative forums.
As a member to one of the largest chambers in the nation, you also have easy access to information and business connections. Last year, over 150 events and programs provided opportunities for targeted interactions and information, including special member-to-member purchasing opportunities at the Buy the Big O! Show. Information is also at your fingertips when you want it by accessing OmahaChamber.org or SelectGreaterOmaha.com for monthly business indicators, demographic information and member news including ribbon cuttings and product/service discounts.
Through your membership you have significantly invested in the well-being of our community, as well as your business, this past year. I hope you continue that contribution in 2013. And don't forget to use our information, programs and services; as well as displaying your membership with pride using the enclosed window cling! I welcome your involvement and hope you recommend us to your friends and associates. We are all much stronger together!
David G. Brown
President and CEO