The Greater Omaha Chamber and an audience of more than 550 continued a proud tradition on Tuesday, April 14, welcoming in gala style the newest class of Omaha Business Hall of Fame inductees.
Center stage at the Holland Performing Arts Center, Chamber president and CEO David G. Brown opened the evening by praising the honorees as extraordinary business leaders “who share an instinct for long-term success, an incredible devotion to community and a humility that might be hard for others of their stature to maintain.”
The 2015 Omaha Business Hall of Fame inductees were:
William “Bill” A. Cutler
Funeral Director, Heafey-Hoffmann-Dworak & Cutler Mortuaries and Crematory, Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring Funeral Home, Walnut Hill Cemeteries
After almost five decades in the family mortuary business, Bill Cutler has not lost his passion for the job or that sense of privilege that comes from supporting others during their darkest hours. His great-grandfather opened Cutler Funeral Home in Council Bluffs in 1901. Bill’s father, William Cutler II, assumed ownership in 1957. As Bill grew in the business, the business grew too, through mergers, partnerships and acquisitions. The original Cutler Funeral Home is now Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring Funeral Home. The partnership in Omaha – Heafey-Hoffmann-Dworak & Cutler Mortuaries and Crematory – offers a combined 200 years of experience.
Cutler told the gala audience, “As I stand here tonight, I am aware of how blessed I have been throughout my life. I am grateful to have been raised and educated in the Heartland. I’m thankful for my wife of 45 years, my children, my grandchildren and my loyal friends.”
John S. “Sid” Dinsdale
Chairman, Pinnacle Bancorp Inc.
Sid Dinsdale assumed the role of Pinnacle Bancorp president in 1994. He now serves as chairman. Banking is in his DNA. His grandfather, grand-uncle and some friends pooled resources during the Great Depression and opened a bank to serve the people of Palmer, Neb., a small farm community where Sid grew up – and where his family still has farmland and feedlots today. In the 1950’s, father Roy and uncle Jack extended the company’s reach, opening banks across Nebraska, then on to Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
Like his father, Sid Dinsdale has overseen tremendous growth. The Pinnacle Bancorp portfolio now includes $8 billion in assets, more than 130 locations in eight states and almost 1800 employees.
“We absolutely love what we do,” the honoree said. “This city and this country have been so good to our company and our family. We count our blessings every day. … There is a special culture in our city and state that is positive and promotes success. Let’s keep our city and state growing and doing things the right way. At Pinnacle, I can assure you we will do our part today, tomorrow and into the future.”
Stanley “Stan” Olsen (1921-2012)
President and CEO, Stan Olsen Auto
He is the central character in a bone fide American success story, an inspiring volume written over a span of 91 years. Some knew him as “the boss,” others as Dad and Grandpa, and the masses as “Stan, Stan the Pontiac Man.”
Stan Olsen’s entry into the car business came in 1951 when he and his wife, Mary Ann, bought a Ford dealership in Walnut, Iowa. They were married earlier that year, partners in every sense of the word. In 1972, Stan and Mary Ann bought 16 acres near Westroads Mall, land that would become home to a consolidated Stan Olsen Auto Group.
Olsen’s son, Jim, accepted the honor on his late father’s behalf: “It’s very humbling for me because I know my father and my mother would be very humbled. … It would have been nice, I suppose, if this would have happened when they were alive. But you know what? I think they know what’s going on.”
Robert “Bob” A. Reed,
Chairman-elect, Physicians Mutual Insurance Company
Bob Reed quietly amassed a stunning record of achievement during his 40 years as president and CEO of Physicians Mutual Insurance Company. From 1974 through 2014, company assets grew from $54 million to $3.3 billion; annual premiums collected rose from $72 million to $700 million; and annual benefits paid increased from $49 million to $461 million.
After a total of five decades with the company, Reed said he never lost his passion for the work – or the workers. Now, for the first time in a long time, he is experiencing life beyond the president and CEO’s office. On Jan. 1, 2015, Reed transferred leadership of the company to his successor – his oldest son, Rob Reed, who has been with Physicians Mutual since 1989.
Guided by his credo of “work hard and practice humility” Reed said, “I consider this an honor for Physicians Mutual. It has truly been a labor of love for me to help build a company committed to helping people deal with life’s uncertainties.”
Lee H. Sapp
President, Lee Sapp Enterprise
William D. Sapp
Chairman, Sapp Bros. Inc.
It started with four brothers: Ray, Lee, Dean and Bill Sapp, children of the Great Depression raised in southeast Nebraska with their three sisters.
Hardship – being without – was, according to the brothers, the best thing that ever happened to them, an incentive to work hard, be persistent and succeed. Today, Sapp Bros. Inc. employs more than 1,400 people with annual revenue exceeding $1.5 billion.
Ray and Dean have since passed. Bill and Lee are left to carry on the legacy – and what a legacy it has become:
- 16 travel centers from Pennsylvania to Wyoming with a 17th set to open in Missouri this year
- Sapp Bros. Petroleum
- Sapp Bros. Propane, the largest propane distributor in Nebraska
“We were sincerely blessed by having some of the greatest people commit their lives to helping us and helping our customers. I profess there isn’t any business that is any better than their employees. What greatness we’ve had is because we’ve had some great employees,” Bill Sapp said.
Hosted by the Greater Omaha Chamber Foundation, the Hall of Fame Gala began with a 6 p.m. hors d’oeuvres dinner and mingling followed by the induction ceremony at 7:30 p.m. As is tradition, Mary Maxwell, “the Queen of the Omaha Business Hall of Fame” and “Omaha’s First Lady of Humor,” helped kick off the evening by sharing her unique take on the honorees.
The Omaha Business Hall of Fame was initiated in 1993 in celebration of the Chamber’s centennial anniversary. Proceeds from the Omaha Business Hall of Fame Gala will continue to support the permanent Omaha Business Hall of Fame exhibit at The Durham Museum and the annual Young Professionals Summit, a project of the Chamber’s Greater Omaha Young Professionals.