2018 will mark a major milestone in the life of Vic Gutman & Associates (VGA), a regional leader in behind-the-scenes community event management and marketing. The company will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.

“VGA’s mission is to bring people together by strengthening nonprofit organizations and producing exceptional public events,” says owner Vic Gutman.

Company origins date back to 1975 when Vic co-founded the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. He incorporated Vic Gutman & Associates three years later to formalize management of the festival and serve other nonprofits.

Today’s VGA encompasses an Events Division that produces the Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Omaha Farmers Market and Holiday Lights Festival as well as commemorative and fundraising events. Its Nonprofit Services Division provides an array of services, including marketing & communications, grant writing and serving as project manager for the Tri-Faith Initiative.

“To succeed at VGA, you need to love Omaha. That is the sentiment underlying everything we do. When new associates are hired, we emphasize that they are not merely accepting a job, but helping to make Omaha a great place in which to live, work and raise a family,” Vic says.

Winning Insights from Our December Winner:

  • Providing an Excellent Customer Experience

“As with any other business, customers measure us on results. How much did the luncheon or dinner event net for the charitable mission? What were crowd sizes? What is the success ratio in grant requests? Is the redesigned website generating more traffic?

“Beyond results that can be counted, a crucial element of superior customer service is the relationship. Clients tend to stay with VGA for many years, providing the opportunity for consulting that will have a long-term impact.

“Communication is another essential part of customer satisfaction. We meet with clients early to set goals and share the resulting written plans and schedules. For events, we develop detailed checklists so clients understand our methodical approach. Clients don’t need to panic when the inevitable surprises occur because we’ve taken the time to consider what could go wrong and how to make adjustments.”

  • Empowering Employees and Creating a Culture in which They Can Grow and Succeed

“VGA’s capacity to serve its clients well is dependent on employees applying initiative, creativity and problem-solving skills. Senior staff is there to train, coach and advise, but we will never learn what employees are capable of accomplishing if we over-manage.

We give employees a good deal of ‘rein’ to discover their talents. We foster a strong sense of collaboration, teamwork and family. … When things go wrong, we try to learn from our mistakes, encouraging employees and building skills and confidence. We want employees to always know that we have their back.”

  • Best Practice Tip

“Build a successful business through a genuine interest in helping your clients be successful. … Most of VGA’s clients are nonprofits and nearly all the relationships were developed via word-of-mouth. We believe current clients recommend us to prospective clients because of the way we have a shared enthusiasm for their mission.”

  • Value of Chamber Involvement

“A key reason VGA’s business has grown and thrived through the decades is the Greater Omaha Chamber’s central role in fostering a vibrant and prosperous city. Our nonprofit clients benefit from being in a community where fortunes are made, then shared in amazingly generous ways.”

  • Prioritizing Community Involvement

“Because most of VGA’s clients are nonprofits, community involvement is high on our list of priorities. VGA often donates the time and talents of employees to nonprofits that are performing a vital service but have limited resources.

“This year, we ventured into something dramatically different when we ‘adopted’ a refugee family from war-torn Syria. Employees met them at the airport, helped them move into an apartment, stocked the kitchen with an initial supply of familiar foods, provided transportation to doctor and school enrollment appointments and English language classes, and continued social interactions such as trips to the Zoo or to the Omaha Farmer’s Market.”

Want to learn more about Vic Gutman & Associates? Check out the company’s website.

United Republic Bank is the sponsor of the Small Business of the Month award. View more information or nominate a small business online.