OMAHA, Neb. May 19, 2020 – A regional task force of Greater Omaha business leaders today announced THRIVE 2020, a consortium of influencers (CEOs, founders, executive directors and innovators) who are spearheading a phased plan for economic recovery during changing times.

Working collaboratively with the Greater Omaha Chamber, the THRIVE 2020 team today launched “We Rise,” Omaha’s first comprehensive recovery strategy to collectively address the COVID-19 crisis – and one of the only regional recovery plans of its kind nationally, built predominately by business leaders in alignment with health recommendations.

The result:  Guiding principles focused on “high hopes” for the future designed to move Greater Omaha from crisis to recovery – all fueled by six committees: Economic Growth, Small Business, Diversity and Equity, Talent, Entrepreneurship and Public Policy. Each of the committees is led by an Omaha executive; and, together, the committees strive to characterize the Omaha region, a geographic and economic powerhouse representing more than 50 percent of Nebraska’s economy.

“If you’re asking, ‘What now?’ ‘What next?’ we hear you, and you’re not alone,” said David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber. “We’re committed to bringing people together to provide answers, moving our recovery process forward intentionally, with a strong strategic plan to help everyone affected by this crisis.”   

That plan, Brown said, begins with a better understanding of public health relative to economic risk – a plan that ensures people are protected, elevated and safe as they return to work.

“Safety is our primary concern,” said Tim Burke, president and CEO, OPPD and Greater Omaha Chamber’s chairman of the board. “That’s why we’re working cooperatively with our community partners to prudently return our region to work, while also building on Omaha’s historically strong economic foundation.”

Carmen Tapio, president and CEO, North End Teleservices, is Thrive 2020 diversity and equity executive committee chair, she said Omaha is poised for next steps, even as the THRIVE 2020 task force recognizes many unknowns remain with the current health crisis.

One thing, she said, though, is certain, “This is an ‘everyone’ effort. From our elected leaders, to our business leaders, to our neighborhood leaders. Never has it been more imperative that lines of communication remain open. That activities are coordinated. That strategies are inclusive.”

“We Rise,” THRIVE 2020’s kickoff document, offers guidelines for managing economic recovery in crisis; and, suggests strategies for economic recovery must begin right here at home, in Omaha.

“By undertaking careful planning now, we can continue to manage the COVID-19 health crisis, while preparing our regional businesses to emerge from this crisis,” said James Blackledge, chairman and CEO, Mutual of Omaha. Blackledge is chairing the THRIVE 2020 Economic Development committee.

“The pace of this recovery is paramount, but it needs to be done safely and responsibly. That’s why the first output of the THRIVE 2020 task force is our recovery playbook, We Rise,” Blackledge said.

THRIVE 2020 Executive Committee
Economic Growth: James Blackledge, Mutual of Omaha
Small Business: Leslie Andersen, Bank of Bennington
Diversity & Equity: Carmen Tapio, North End Teleservices
Talent: Samantha Mosser, Access Bank
Entrepreneurship: Todd Richardson, Husch Blackwell
Public Policy: Steve Seline, Walnut Private Equity

We Rise Recovery Plan:

About Greater Omaha
Greater Omaha is a No. 1 ranked up-and-coming-tech hotspot and Time magazine’s 2017 No. 3 Most Up-and-Coming City in America. Recognized for its “We Don’t Coast” attitude, and named America’s No. 2 Best Small City, Greater Omaha is home to more than 30 communities and nearly 1 million people, with a youthful population (more than 40 percent are age 24 or younger), low cost of living and steady economic growth that outpaces the nation. Berkshire Hathaway, Mutual of Omaha, Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. and Union Pacific – all Fortune 500 companies – call Greater Omaha “home.” 

About the Greater Omaha Chamber
The mission of the Greater Omaha Chamber is to champion a thriving business community and a prosperous region through visionary leadership and collaboration.