2018 Annual Report

Let’s just say things are about to get very interesting – and inspiring.

2019 is poised to be our most future-focused year yet; the year we unleash Prosper Omaha 2.0, our next five-year economic development campaign, and fast-track our vision for Greater Omaha 2040. Two decades from now – mark it down – our region will lead in innovation, offer widespread access to prosperity, and attract talent and investment as competitively as any of America’s other great regions.

Even though we are playing the long game, we can (and should) celebrate each victory along the way. All of the region-building accomplishments outlined in this annual report are a testament to the power of ‘we.’ What we accomplish, we accomplish together.

Thank you for your partnership, investment and trust – and most of all, for your incredible commitment to our community. It is our pleasure and privilege to work with you and on your behalf.

David G. Brown

President and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber

Dana Bradford

Waitt Brands
2018 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 our community forward


For a community to thrive, it needs to bring the “new”: new growth within local business, new businesses, new jobs, new opportunities.

Over the past year, we celebrated the attraction or expansion of a string of high-profile companies, including ecommerce organizations, Spreetail and i2c, a global provider of payments technology and services. Our economic development team also helped usher in heavy-hitters Sojern and Populum. Warren Distribution announced a potential 211,000 sq. ft., $12.8M expansion in Council Bluffs, and R&R Realty Group cut the ribbon on its first building in the Omaha area – a 250,000 sq. ft. speculative warehouse in Sarpy County. It is the first of four buildings planned for a new R&R Commerce Park, an 80-acre site that will eventually house more than 1,000,000 sq. ft. of total building space. Also in Sarpy County, Facebook began its expansion resulting in $1.2 billion in investment.

All of these economic wins continue to channel national attention our way. In what’s become an annual celebration, Site Selection named Omaha – Council Bluffs No. 1 for new and expanded corporate facilities among areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million in 2017. It was the third year in a row, and the fourth time since 2014, the region has captured the award.

You have an innovative idea. We have your back. In 2018, we put the power of “we” to work supporting our entrepreneurs and strengthening our community.

Our on-demand startup accelerator, The Startup Collaborative, in collaboration with the Murphy Vision Fund and Invest Nebraska, announced it would begin making equity investments in early stage tech startups. We launched the collaborative Kitchen Council, the region’s largest incubator for food entrepreneurs, offering members access to a fully-equipped commercial kitchen and a foothold in the new food economy. And, the scope of our multi-partner REACH initiative continued to expand, connecting small and emerging businesses with even more business education, technical assistance and capital. Additionally, REACH helped facilitate 26 startups in our region.


Total Landed Projects

  • Number of Landed Projects: 33
  • Capital Investment: $1,416,274,220
  • Jobs Total: 2,439
    • New Employees: 2,027
    • Retained Employees: 412
    • Number of Jobs at or Above Median Wage: 67%

Total Pipeline Data

  • Number of Files Opened: 199
  • New to Market: 134
  • Retention/Expansion: 65
  • Number of Prospect Visits: 60


The Startup Collaborative

  • Number of Startups: 101
  • Angel/Venture Capital Investment: $145,305,473


Total Hours of Assistance: 1,669



  • Certified Small & Emerging Businesses: 269
  • Contracts
    • Secured: 52
    • Value: $6,297,573
  • Loans
    • Number of Loans: 22
    • Value: $359,000

GOAL – Foster a more competitive business environment

Because competitiveness ensures we are always in the game

For our region to continue thriving, we need to challenge our transportation ‘status quo.’

Our vision for Greater Omaha 2040 includes a top-rated public transit system, one that allows seamless travel between key employment nodes to a diverse mix of residential neighborhoods. We made strides in 2018 with the transformation of the Transportation Council and Chamber support of the City of Omaha’s Smart City Initiative.

Transportation and workforce development intersected at the Chamber in July when we hosted U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. She announced a new pilot program to help qualified young veterans get jobs in the trucking industry – a way to help ease a national shortage of truck drivers and advance military friendly policies.

Our public policy team, meantime, notched significant business-friendly wins by successfully opposing property tax legislation and legislation that would have imposed burdensome, new regulations and costs on Nebraska’s employers.

Priority Bills Passed

LB 754: Creates the Commission on Military Affairs. Approved.

LB 947: Authorizes professional licenses for immigrants with lawful presence status. Approved.

LB 957: Provides $13.7 million for the Offutt Air Force Base levee upgrades, and
$4 million for the Site and Building Development Fund. Approved.

LB 960: Directs $450 million in state highway revenues to high priority construction projects.

LB 1093: Creates the Bioscience Steering Committee. Approved.

LB 1110: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Approved.

Competitiveness Rankings

#1 – Best States for Citizens (IA)
U.S. News – 2018

#7 – Best States for Citizens (NE)
U.S. News – 2018

#8 – Every U.S. State Economy Ranked (NE)
Business Insider – 2018

#1 – 5 Up-And-Coming Tech Hotspots (Omaha)
Livibility – 2018

#1 – Best Cities for College Grads (Omaha)
ZipRecruiter – 2018

#13 – The 20 Best Places in the U.S. to Give You a Fresh Start (Omaha)
MSN – 2018

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

We proved again, in 2018, that we are a driving force in talent and
workforce development.

Our award-winning Careerockit program educated, excited and inspired tomorrow’s workforce with more than 22,000 career experiences – almost twice as many in Careerockit’s inaugural year. In March, more than 1,550 young professionals gathered for the region’s largest YP Summit, which celebrated changemakers, fostered inclusivity and fast-tracked connections. We continued to prioritize the development of community leaders – current and future – through Leadership Omaha and the 49 members of Class 41; Omaha Executive Institute, which introduced our community region to a diverse group of recently-arrived senior executives; and Mindset Leadership Series, a truly elite leadership training experience. Also on the talent and workforce front, we underscored our commitment to diversity and inclusion by joining with the Urban League to launch CODE (Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity and Equity), our collaborative new D&I initiative.

Talent and Workforce Development

  • +0.45% Civilian Employment Growth
  • +0.46% Job Growth
  • +3.7% Post-Secondary Degree Holders

Increase over 2016 to 2017


  • 2 Sessions
  • 25 Participants


Leadership Omaha

  • 49 Graduates of Class 41


Omaha Executive Institute

  • 35 Members in the 2018-19 Class


CAREEROCKIT 2018 Numbers

  • 96 schools and nonprofits 
  • 190 employers
  • 22,021 experiences 

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

Because we work for you — and because of you.

Being an essential partner for our world-class business community; representing your business interests, elevating our entire region in the process – that’s what drives us.

In 2018, members counted on us for – and received – more opportunities to build personal relationships with more than 40 networking events, and more quality professional development with education series and single-session workshops on everything from sales and leadership training to cybersecurity and operational “how-tos.”

Our annual Business Excellence Awards celebrated our region’s most impactful leaders, innovators and givers with an afternoon of toasts and take-aways. We delivered another round of future-focused economic insights at our Economic Outlook Luncheon with keynote speaker Rich Karlgaard, entrepreneur-turned-Forbes magazine publisher and futurist. Then, at the end of a busy year, our Member Appreciation Holiday Open House brought members together to network, unwind and enjoy the season in our brand-new office space.

  • Total Number of Chamber Members: 2,907
    • New Members for the Year: 351
    • 82% Member Retention Rate


  • Total Events Hosted: 70+
  • Total Attendees: 10,000+
  • Event Satisfaction: 4.4/5 Satisfied/Very Satisfied

OmahaChamber.org Web Analytics

  • Total Site Visits: 201,130

Greater Omaha Chamber Social Media Channels

  • Facebook Fans: 7,028 
  • Twitter Followers: 15,056 
  • LinkedIn Followers: 5,368 

Chamber Earned Media 

  • Number of Articles/Placements: 4,090 
  • Readership: 4,865,772,832 

GOAL – Operate the Chamber with excellence

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

Even though we are firmly-focused on the future, we took time in 2018 to celebrate our past – 125 years of serving as a community catalyst. We held a public open house on June 5, in our new location – a top-floor office space on the Conagra Campus.

As part of the festivities, we encouraged our members to plug into the power of “we” during 24 Hours of Impact in July. Hundreds of volunteers answered by hitting the streets in “We Don’t Coast, We Impact” T-shirts to help others.

For our part, we will keep advancing toward our Prosper Omaha goal of prosperity for all, cheering each sign of economic progress, including our 2018 Barometer, which showed entrepreneurs in Omaha earn twice as much as the U.S. average, and innovation is consistently increasing in Greater Omaha.



  • Total Revenue (Estimated Through Nov. 2018): $7,460,460
  • Total Expenses (Estimated Through Nov. 2018): $6,865,941

Prosper Omaha 2.0

  • Investors: 140
  • 5-year Investment/Fundraised: $22,112,956 (Goal $32M)

Gallup Q12

  • 86% Overall Satisfaction


  • 43,339 Total Site Visits

Greater Omaha Earned Media 

  • Number of Articles/Placements: 1,775
  • Readership: 743 million
  • Advertising Impressions: 21 million

We Don’t Coast Social Media Channels 

  • Facebook Fans: 4,295 
  • Twitter Followers: 2,977 
  • Instagram Followers: 3,035

2019 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. Independent and family-owned, we are focused on the long view instead of the next quarter, which has been our recipe for success for generations. In the 160 years we’ve been in business, First National Bank has grown to more than 4,000 employees and 102 banking locations in seven states, with $19 billion in assets. We like to think of ourselves as a “great big, small bank,” large enough to provide the expertise and resources necessary to handle any financial need, yet small enough to know you personally. Our vision is to have successful communities in all the places we operate.  We believe in and live by our core values: Integrity in every interaction. Respect for our employees, customers and shareholders. Passion for all that we do.

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 employee 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.

Media Sponsor:

Omaha World-Herald

Supporting Sponsors:

Kiewit Corporation | Physicians Mutual Union Pacific