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2017 Annual Report


Catalytic change: It interrupts inertia and invites innovation. It’s out-of-the-box and outcome-driven. It’s enlightening, empowering and engaging. It defines who we are, and powers our potential.

Thanks to positive change, we’re impacting our region at an exponential rate; and, 2017 was no exception.

Over the past 12 months, we saw a record-smashing two billion reasons for recognizing success – each of them capital-investment dollars – resulting from a host of regional projects.

The architects of this success – the reason for our passion and promise – are the makers, creators, members and mentors of this hard-working community: You.

With you, we’re inventing the future every day, accomplishing more, together.  Thank you for your steadfast support. What we’ve achieved is truly remarkable. What’s ahead is truly inspiring.

David G. Brown

President and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber

Leslie Andersen

President, Bank of Bennington
2017 Greater Omaha Chamber Board Chairman

GOAL – Create, grow and recruit businesses, jobs and investment in the region

Because new jobs and investment generate prosperity and drive your business and our community forward

We lead a six-county economic development program, a collaborative effort, unbounded by state lines, creating jobs and encouraging capital investment throughout southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa.

Total Landed Projects

These economic development victories are accompanied by a host of other prodigious achievements in the entrepreneurship space, including launching 33 startups with $8,685,464 in angel investment, the 2017 launch of The Kitchen Council, a food incubator for start-ups, and of course, the kick off of the Startup Collaborative, a vibrant, innovative approach to spring-boarding new projects and products from ideation to realization.

The most celebrated investment of the year? Had to be Facebook’s entry into the regional market with plans to create a 146-acre, $1.2 billion investment in their 100-percent-renewable-energy-driven data-center campus in Sarpy County. The project located on one of six GO Ready certified sites: four owned/optioned by our economic development allies, and two privately-owned.

Projects like Facebook and Big Ox in Blair are testimony to a consistent effort to add more optimal locations under option, advancing each site toward GO Ready certification. One of these prime locations is in Bellevue, under City ownership, while the other, a western Douglas County venue, is under review by the Partnership.

Total Landed Projects

  • Number of Projects: 50
  • Capital Investment: $2,314,648,881
  • Jobs Total: 2,522
    • New Employees: 1,746
    • Retained Employees: 776
    • Number of Jobs at or Above Median Wage: 64%

Total Entrepreneurship & Innovation Projects*

*E&I projects included in total landed projects.

  • Number of Startups: 33
  • Angel/Venture Capital Investment: $16,655,000


The REACH Beyond mentoring program sustained success with six SEBs and six general contractors engaged in an in-depth year-long, three-phase program throughout 2017.

Carefully structured to facilitate growth, collaboration and inclusive opportunities, phases included assessments, a Power Team of professional service providers (such as accountants, attorneys and marketers) and structured mentoring by general contractors.


  • Certified Small & Emerging Businesses: 319
  • Contracts
    • Secured: 63
    • Value: $6,069,124
  • Loans
    • Number of Loans: 102
    • Value: $1,868,175
  • Bonds
    • Number of Bonds: 8
    • Value: $1,102,867

Business Expansion

Few organizations are more bullish on outreach than the Chamber, as our team proactively visited more than 500 area companies in 2017.

2017 Business Recruitment Trips: We’re reaching out to bring new business into our booming local economy, and 2017 meant forging fresh friendships in these domestic, and global, markets: We engaged in more than 50 prospecting trips, adding a host of promising stops to our expansive travel repertoire.


Des Moines

Las Vegas
New York
Silicon Valley

Des Moines
Las Vegas
New York
Silicon Valley

Our targeted process for regional growth yielded more than 200 new prospect files opened in the past year.

All this while supporting and saluting those who serve by recognizing the crucial operations at Offutt Air Force Base, The 55th Wing, USSTRATCOM and seven other commands and working hard to find the funding and commitment to improve the infrastructure at the base.

GOAL – Foster a more competitive business environment

Because competitiveness ensures we are always in the game

We are out in front, advocating for a pro-business climate – protecting, supporting and improving state and local initiatives in the Legislature.

Economic Development & Tax Policy Debate

We led the ongoing debate on business expansion and attraction policy, with the introduction of LB 557, the Great Opportunities Nebraska Act, a modernization of the state’s primary economic incentive program. Plus, we continued support for lowering individual and business income tax rates.

Priority Bills Passed

LB 161: Extends the Nebraska Advantage Tier 6 carryover period, inviting projects with the highest investment and employee-compensation levels

LB 253: Provides Sarpy County with a mechanism for constructing sewer infrastructure; frees land over the ridgeline for new development

LB 271: Steps up road funding and accelerates project scheduling and completion by allowing the state to administer federal environmental regulations

LB 641: Expands state business-development programs to include bio-science entities

LB 88: Removes barriers to professional credentialing of military spouses, a measure that provides support for Nebraska’s military installations

Competitiveness Rankings

#3 – Most up-and-coming Cities in America
(Omaha) Time – October 2017

#4 – Best Places to be a Teacher
(Omaha/Council Bluffs) SmartAsset – November 2017

#8 – Best Large Real-Estate Market
(Omaha) WalletHub – August 2017

#9 – America’s Best States to Live
(IA) CNBC – July 2017

#10 – America’s Best States to Live
(NE) CNBC – July 2017

#14 Hardest-Working Cities in America
(Omaha) SmartAsset – October 2017

#17 Best Cities for Quality of Life
(Omaha) Nerd Wallet – October 2017

GOAL – Grow, recruit and retain the talent and workforce needed for the future

Because a healthy, vibrant community depends on a skilled and growing labor pool


After months of planning and collaboration with community partners, the inaugural CAREEROCKIT launched in April, 2017. The week-long, Chamber-driven initiative offered more than 11,000 career experiences to area students (elementary school through post-secondary) with the goal of educating, exciting and inspiring tomorrow’s workforce. Our purpose is to help students explore career options right here at home and ultimately build our talent pipeline. The CAREEROCKIT team won the American Chamber of Commerce Executives regional innovation award as a result of their efforts.

CAREEROCKIT 2017 Numbers

  • 62 schools from 8 counties 
  • 94 host businesses 
  • 11,815 experiences offered 
  • 2,234 of those experience in technology 

Research & Young Professionals

Intended to inspire a new, collaborative YP inclusivity initiative, The Greater Omaha Chamber’s Young Professionals Council, and the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals, launched a diversity and inclusion research initiative aimed at capturing the voice of young professionals in Greater Omaha. Project partners will use the results to develop an action plan to help improve satisfaction and perceptions of the Omaha community and to increase diversity and inclusion efforts in our region.

Leadership Development

Leadership Omaha, one of the longest-running community leadership programs in the nation, reached a significant milestone in 2017 – its 40th year of developing leaders capable of strengthening and transforming the community. To date, more than 1,700 graduates have completed the program, carrying their acumen, expertise and unique brand of strategic influence into the region, the nation and the world. In addition, a new partnership with MindSet provided hands-on business management and leadership training to area executives.

The Chamber’s leadership team also grew by one, adding a leadership strategist tasked with expanding leadership-development activities such as candidate recruitment, Leadership Omaha and Boss & Co.


  • MindSet – 2 sessions, 28 participants 
  • Leadership Omaha – 48 graduates  
  • OEI – 39 members in the 2017-18 class 
  • BOSS – average 37 attendees per event 

GOAL – Deliver relevant and high quality member programs, events, services and information

Because we work for you

We give our best effort each and every day – we exist to improve and grow our community, and, in turn, our members.

Membership & Events

With an eye on engagement and a commitment to community, the Chamber thrives in supporting more than 3,100 member businesses by applauding their successes and proudly recognizing their accomplishments.

Together, we toast organizations’ excellence by awarding more than 75 members and individuals with awards throughout the year, including our Business Hall of Fame, Small Business of the Year and Small Business of the Month awards.

Creating experiences that push our members further, provide them information and foster opportunities to think outside-the-box – while forming meaningful connections – is a goal of the Chamber events. During 2017 attendees had the opportunity to learn from leadership guru Jim Collins and a variety of presenters covering topics such as economic projections, encouraging creativity and innovation, the political climate, creating a dynamic business culture, diversity and inclusion, emerging technologies and best practice business operations.

More than a dozen networking events, discounts from area leads groups, a newly designed website and a robust social media effort assisted hundreds of members in making strong business connections and increased visibility.

Membership Achievement Awards – Top ten list for large chambers (over $5 million) for Member Retention (Accounts), Member Retention (Dues) and New Member Retention (Accounts).

  • Total Number of Chamber Members: 3,109
    • New Members for the Year: 460
    • 84.1% Member Retention Rate


  • Number of Attendees: 19, 234 
  • Number of events: 244 

OmahaChamber.org Web Analytics

  • Deployed a revamped design of OmahaChamber.org
  • Total Site Visits: 147,723
    • New Visitors: 64,489
    • Returning Visitors: 83,234

Greater Omaha Chamber Social Media Channels

  • Facebook Fans: 6,726 
    • Goal: 6,000 
    • Impressions: 1,132,632 
    • Engagement: 26,740 
  • Twitter Followers: 14,683 
    • Goal: 14,000 
    • Impressions: 427,416 
    • Engagement: 2,474 
  • LinkedIn Followers: 3,306 
    • Goal: 3,000 
    • Impressions: 501,598 
    • Engagement: 7,224 

Chamber Earned Media 

  • Number of Articles: 295 
  • Audience: 1,073,089,510 
  • Advertising Impressions: 8,600,806 

GOAL – Operate the Chamber with excellence

Because we’re passionate about what we do – and how we do it

We are committed to excellence in providing the highest quality programs and services, challenging ourselves to achieve greater results for our members, our community and ourselves.

As we enter our 125th year, we’re driven by the promise of Greater Omaha 2040, a breakthrough framework for establishing ourselves as a world class region. This preferred future developed in 2017, was the result of an incredible partnership – the Chamber, United Way of the Midlands and Urban League of Nebraska.

It’s that aspirational future that fuels our “We Don’t Coast” mentality, and we’ll continue to model it as we launch into a prosperous, future with Prosper Omaha 2.0, the economic development strategy for 2019 – 2023.

Business Intelligence

The Chamber is positioned for the future thanks to a new CRM, new website and updated infrastructure – all accomplished in the past year. Plus, the BI Team strengthened the community’s core through research projects in the areas of diversity, economic outlook, and labor availability, all supporting the Chamber’s commitment to making data-driven decisions about the region’s future.


Combine “who we are” with “what we do” and you’ll appreciate why we’re always moving at the speed of life.

Responsible for managing the Chamber’s brand and communicating the region’s robust messages, the marketing team launched a new mobile friendly website that incorporated nine sites into one robust site, allowing us to build new/custom pages as needed.

It wasn’t just tech that moved marketing’s messages. For the team, reaching out meant circling the globe. The group runs CreativeMornings/Omaha, a first-of-its-kind local chapter in a consortium of just 180 “creative cities” in 64 countries.

Greater Omaha’s perpetual planet tour capped 2017 with videos, photos and local creative quotes that reached around the world and more than 500 Omaha members who gathered at monthly breakfast meetings to hear presenters on topics relevant to community, connectivity and creativity – all honoring the theme, “Everyone is creative; everyone is welcome.”

No doubt about it. We don’t coast, we invite the world.


5-Star Accreditation – this accreditation puts us among the top 3% of chambers in the country (only 205 out of over 7,000 chambers are accredited).  And of those accredited organizations, there are only 112 chambers that have received a 5-star designation (the highest).  This is our third time achieving this accreditation. 


  • Total Revenue (Estimated Through Oct. 2017): $7,026,912 
  • Total Expenses (Estimated Through Oct. 2017): $6,611,922 
    • Prosper Omaha 
    • Investors: 300 
  • 5-year Investment/Fund raised: $25,955,808 (Goal $25M)

Omaha Image 

  • Number of Articles: 356 
  • Audience 1,365,257,946 
  • Advertising Impressions: 21,549,431 

We Don’t Coast Social Media Channels 

  • Facebook Fans: 4,135 
    • Goal: 4,000 
    • Impressions: 348,990 
    • Engagement: 8816 
  • Twitter Followers: 2,823 
    • Goal: 3,000 
    • Impressions: 99,816 
    • Engagement: 655 
  • Instagram Followers: 2,274 
    • Goal: 1,000 
    • Engagement: 14,122

2018 Annual Meeting Presenting Sponsors

First National Bank

First National Bank has a history of doing what’s right for our customers and the communities we serve. Founded in 1857, in the spirit of innovation and commitment to customer service, this sixth-generation family-owned business has become the largest privately owned bank holding company in the United States.

Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, First National Bank now has 100 banking locations in seven states, $21 billion in assets, and 5,000 employee associates. However, we haven’t lost sight of the foundation on which our success was built. Integrity, Respect, Passion—these are the cornerstones of our Operating Philosophy and represent our commitment to our customers. At First National Bank, we strive to better serve our customers’ banking needs—and we are as hopeful and excited about the future of our bank as our founders were.

McGrath North

McGrath North is a business-focused law firm supporting clients throughout the Midlands and the United States. We serve a broad client base that includes Fortune 500 companies, small and medium-sized businesses, individuals, entrepreneurs and start-ups. The industries we serve cover a broad range of businesses including food, agriculture, commodities, industrial manufacturing, insurance, energy, financial institutions, hospitality, technology and more. We offer our clients a sophisticated, nationwide legal practice that reflects the integrity, personal attention and work ethic of the Midwest. We partner with our clients on a long-term basis to help drive their success.

We are proud to be Omaha based and we appreciate the clients that we serve.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha was founded in 1909 with a simple purpose: to help people protect what they care about and achieve their financial goals. For more than a century, Mutual of Omaha has held true to that purpose, listening to our customers and helping them through life’s transitions by providing an array of insurance, financial and banking solutions. As one of Omaha’s Fortune 500 companies, Mutual of Omaha has deep roots in the local community. Whether working with individuals and families on their insurance needs, partnering with local businesses on their employees’ benefits or investing in local nonprofit organizations, we are committed to Omaha and the people and businesses that make this a special place to live and work.