Blog

RTG Medical Program Offers Ways for Staff to ‘Give Back’

Whether it’s analyzing competitive data or planning the future direction of the company, RTG Medical has always made decisions strategically. So when business leaders were deciding the best ways to positively impact and give back to the community in 2016, they were equally strategic.

Enter RTG Medical’s Community Partnership Program.

“Company leaders conducted an internal survey asking staff what’s really important to them. This way, leadership could learn where staff members wanted company donations to go and help them learn about opportunities to volunteer in the community,” said Veronica Barrientos, marketing and brand ambassador for RTG Medical, a medical staffing agency focused on contracting travel and permanent health care professionals in nursing, radiology, therapy and laboratory in all 50 states.

“They learned that staff have certain areas they are interested in and passionate about, so we established the Community Partnership Program to give staff members opportunities to give back in a variety of personal ways.”

photo

The 2015 survey revealed that employees wanted to support organizations that serve youth, pets and veterans – the latter a group especially meaningful to company president/CEO Charlie Janssen, a U.S. Navy and First Gulf War veteran. Among those three categories, several organizations were chosen to be part of RTG’s Community Partnership Program. Special Olympics Nebraska and Fremont teams; Fremont Family YMCA; Nebraska Humane Society and Dodge County Humane Society; and Wreaths Across America were identified as causes employees had a strong interest in supporting – financially and as volunteers.

“Many of our employees sit on nonprofit boards and volunteer, so the desire to give back is strong at RTG Medical,” Barrientos said. “It was really just a matter of thinking strategically about how to do something as a group to help several organizations.”

“In being more mindful and organized, RTG Medical staff members have made great contributions in Fremont – where its headquarters are located – and Metro Omaha, in excess of $30,000 in the year alone,” she said.

In addition to gifts of money and volunteer hours, staff also took great pride in providing sponsored, matching jerseys for Special Olympics athletes in Fremont to wear during competitions.

photo

The gesture was so successful and well-received that RTG Medical employees learned athletes wore their new jerseys for several days following a basketball tournament earlier this year.

“It’s when you hear stories like that – or interact and engage with the people or animals being impacted – that you truly begin to realize how much giving back helps,” Barrientos said.

To learn more about, and better understand, the impact of their gifts on these organizations, RTG Medical revamped a tradition last November by hosting the RTG Annual Day of Thanks at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in La Vista.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, representatives from nonprofits were invited to enjoy a full-course holiday meal with staff members and explain opportunities to give or volunteer with their organizations. RTG staff members were able to learn how their gifts could help the organizations in the coming year.

Barrientos said an added bonus to the Community Partnership Program has materialized that few in the company saw coming.

Despite the company’s continued growth, the program has unified employees in a way that other company events and gatherings haven’t.

“Working together to help others has brought our staff together and created strong bonds as they’ve learned more about one another,” Barrientos said. “Over half of them volunteered to help organizations over the past year, and that has definitely made us a stronger, more unified team and company.”

photo

Posted in We Care |

We Are O.NE. Jason Feldman

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

I’m love when I can be a connector and an activator. It’s like a drug! It fills my cup when someone I’ve met with gets after that Big Hairy Audacious Goal of theirs and goes on to become a Change Maker in our community!

I’ve found you’re never more than 1 or 2 degrees of separation away from most of the movers and shakers in this community.

As long as you’re willing to put in the work and live authentically, people will go out of their way to help you!

How do you make a difference in this community? 

I’m grateful that it’s only taken me 3 decades to learn the value of leaning into your strengths. As a connector and activator, I love using those traits to organize events that bring people together and inspire positive change in our community like Open Coffee, Omaha SOUP and 1 Million Cups!

Posted in We Live |

Field Trip Friday: Omaha Storm Chasers

The Greater Omaha Chamber marketing team is on the move – experiencing the sights, sounds, creativity and tastes that typify our region. We’re exploring our community and encourage you to check out these Greater Omaha gems – because best-kept secrets are best uncovered.

It’s Friday night, and it smells like baseball.

Sure, you can spot the stadium from sixty yards back, and buzz of the crowd is unmistakable, but it’s the sweet-spicy-savory smell of ballpark food that seems to set off smiles and hasten the pace of the crowd ushering into Papillion’s Werner Park near southwest Omaha.

And, this faction of Storm Chasers fans is ready to play ball.

From the hundreds of Boy Scouts invited to the spend the night at the $36-million-dollar stadium, to the pre-gaming with baseball legend Harold Reynolds, the Greater Omaha Chamber’s marketing team was there, making the Chasers vs. Oklahoma City a stellar summer evening for the memory books.

Celebrating the franchise’s 50th year, the Storm Chasers, a minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, has shared a long, loyal history with Eastern Nebraska, beginning when the team first took the mound as the “Omaha Royals” in 1969 – a history chronicled by a vibrant, sweeping mural greeting game-goers at the ballpark’s main entrance.

The Royals transitioned to the “Golden Spikes” in 1999, returned to the “Royals” in 2002 and came out hitting, following an online fan-naming contest in 2011, as the “Storm Chasers.”

The night we marveled at baseball’s continued magic, the familiar Storm Chasers were spending an anniversary “Flashback Friday” in their newly minted (vintage-style) Golden Spikes jerseys.

Our first stop was Harold Reynolds’ meet-n-greet, an intimate soiree where the affable sports analyst, and former second baseman of the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Seattle Mariners, shook hands, introduced his family and shared his regional ties: Reynold’s wife is originally from Omaha, with parents still living in the area.

Once Reynolds’ wrapped his pre-game party, the player was off to an autograph session with fans, and Chamber marketing was on the move.

As players filtered from locker rooms to the dirt, the we watched the stadium fill from a dugout’s-eye-view, where catchers, hitters, fielders and more dusted their hands on their pants, adjusted their caps and warmed up on a well-groomed field ready for sliders, ground balls and homeruns

From kissing babies (their own and others’) held over the rails, to toeing the dirt with cleated shoes, the Storm Chasers moved through this minor league baseball’s pregame routine with gregarious ease.

After the game was in full swing, we answered the aroma of the ballpark’s cuisine call to the tune of hotdogs, cheese fries, funnel cakes and ice cream, then caught the game from the team’s media booth, where announcers wrangled multiple screens aimed at capturing big plays for Werner Park’s big screen.

The game’s biggest news the night of our visit: another win for The Storm Chasers, followed by celebratory fireworks.

No doubt about it, as the Chasers circled bases, the region’s “no coasting” rule was roundly applauded. If there’s something about a ballgame, then there’s nothing quite like a Storm Chasers’ victory.

Posted in We Explore |

If You Love Travel, Here’s Why Omaha’s a Pretty Awesome Place to Live

From Laura at Our Next Adventure

Our family loves to travel. And my husband’s work lands us in the San Francisco Bay Area quite often. So much so, that it’d probably make more sense if we just lived there. But we don’t.

We get the question a lot: “Why Omaha?”

It’s really not that complicated of an answer. But it usually starts off with one of these pretty common-sense reasons:

Lower cost of living means more dollars in our travel fund.

When you’re not throwing $3000 in rent out the door each month, think of all the places you could go?!

You might also like: How to Build a Travel Budget

24 US cities are a non-stop flight away.

Don’t get stuck in the mindset that you have to be on the coast to be in on the action. We enjoy a slower pace of life at home, while still having plenty of opportunities to immerse ourselves in a new city at any moment.

Know how much time I spend in the airport security line? Zero.

Airport2
Airport3
Airport4

Our airport is easily accessible and pretty darn efficient. Unless I’m arriving for the first flight out on a Monday morning, you can bet I’ll breeze right through security. (and the TSA agent will even flash us a friendly smile!)

Even with a connecting flight, we can get just about anywhere in the continental US in under 5 hours.

Can New Yorkers or Angelenos say that?

Plus, there’s plenty of hidden gems to uncover in our own backyard.

Fontenelle1
slattery
junkstock
Zoo
From left to right: Fontenelle Forest, Junkstock at Sycamore Farms, Slattery Vintage Estates, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Outdoor festivals, nature parks, quaint neighborhoods and amazing dining – Omaha is full of best-kept secrets that local residents know all too well.

You might also like: 15 Awesome Things to do in Omaha this Summer

The choice to make Omaha our hometown wasn’t on a whim, it was strategic. We get the best of both worlds, living in a big city with lots to see and do, while also having that friendly, down-to-earth feel. And when we want to get away? Well, that’s pretty easy too.

About the Author:

Laura Ishmael is a family travel blogger based in Omaha. When she and her family are not enjoying the good life in Nebraska, they’re off exploring the rest of the world! Read more about their adventures and family travel tips at ournextadventure.co.

 

Posted in We Explore |

Cool treats to beat the summer heat.

📷: brendan sullivan / omaha world-herald

It’s hot. Like, really, really hot. And as the summer temps rise, so do the cravings for a delicious cold treat. Beat the heat and cool down at one of our local ice cream joints. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream – and these favorites are sure to make you want to go for the double (maybe even triple – we’re not judging) scoop.

📷: matt miller / omaha world-herald

Coneflower Creamery

An artisan ice cream shop in the Blackstone District with a farm to cone concept. Made with pure and farm-fresh ingredients, their mission is simple: make really good ice cream using really good ingredients – with the bonus of supporting local farmers.

Dairy Chef

Opened since 1969, this sweet spot with a nostalgic flair is a hometown favorite. Day or night, lines out the door are an everyday occurrence during the summer months. Pro tip: get yourself one of their storms – delicious!

Dolci Ice Cream & Desserts

An Old Market fave, Dolci specializes in authentic Italian desserts and premium soft serve ice cream. Enhance your creamy confection with swirls of flavor or candy mix-ins, served in a dish, cone or shake. Whatever the combo, you really can’t go wrong.

eCreamery Ice Cream and Gelato

This “Shark Tank” participant offers flavor combinations that range from exotic (avocado habanero ice cream with cheddar cheese and bacon bits) to tame by comparison (maple blonde brownie ice cream). Visit their brick and mortar location to check out their 16 flavors that rotate daily or visit online to customize your own flavors and have it shipped to your door.

Freezing Thai Rolled Ice Cream

New to the Omaha ice cream scene, this east Asian method is an experience you can’t miss. Ice cream rolls are handmade with milk and poured over an iced grill. Add in your favorite toppings for an extra sweet treat.

📷: chris machian / omaha world-herald

Ted & Wally’s

A longtime staple in the Old Market, this creamery has executed over 2000 different flavors from traditional like Dutch Chocolate and Vanilla Bean to out of the ordinary Panna Cotta Popcorn and Peach Beet Basil. A second location is in Benson.

Zesto

An Omaha landmark for more than 60 years, Zesto’s was recently named Omaha’s best ice cream. With College World Series just around the corner, you know you’ll be making a pit stop here.

Dairy Queen

This spot may be a chain, but it still ranks high with the locals. You just might even run into a local billionaire, Warren Buffett. Try a seasonal blizzard or go for the classic dilly bar.

Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban and Clark Ruby at Dairy Queen on June 11, 2018.

Courtesy of Clark Ruby.

Posted in We Toast |

Water. So basic. So necessary.

Excerpt from 2017 We Don’t Coast magazine: omaha.com/wedontcoast. Photos courtesy of Aqua-Africa

A model of an African village is organized on the wooden office floor: huts, trees, cattle. In the middle, a towering water tank system.

Written on a nearby dry erase board:
The mission: Provide access to clean water
The vision: Develop South Sudan
50,000: Fifty thousand – that’s how many people Aqua-Africa plans to serve in South Sudan in the next five to six years.

“We concentrate on development, but it all starts with access to clean water,” says executive director Buey Ray Tut.

So basic. So profoundly important. Without water, nothing can grow.

“Communities that don’t have access to clean water, we build water systems for them (which can serve 5,500 people) or hand pump water wells (which can serve 500),” Buey says.

For him, the connection to South Sudan is deeply personal. Buey arrived in Omaha in 1998 with his parents and four brothers – refugees from the civil war-torn country. He attended elementary school though college here, graduating from the University of Nebraska-Omaha with a political science degree. Compelled to uplift his homeland, Buey launched Aqua-Africa five years ago with fellow refugees Buay Wiyual and Jacob Khol.

“We don’t want South Sudan to be a nation of aid. We want it to be a nation of development,” says Buey who spends about half the year in east Africa.

So far, Aqua-Africa has installed about 60 hand pump wells. It is in the process of constructing its second water tank system. But it goes beyond hydration. The non-profit has established a micro-democracy program to elect well administrators, a conflict resolution program and a pride-instilling Dignity Project.

Funding comes from foundations, individual donors and the villages themselves. Omaha design firm Lamp Rynearson donates architectural and engineering work.

“Omaha has been very sympathetic to South Sudan’s cause because of the major population of South Sudanese here.”

The young endeavor, which also partners with Sudanese schools and hospitals, is eyeing bold, long-term impact.

“The next five years are going to show how we’ve affected education and economic activities. Those are the measurements we want to collect.”

Posted in We Care, We Launch |

We Are O.NE. Mikala Harden

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

My story begins with a pen. As a student, I won awards for my fictional stories, and my favorite classes were English and Creative Writing. Professionally, I’ve been an Associate Editor, Creative Writer, Content Strategist, and now – Brand Strategist and Creative Director. I’ve always had an active imagination, and writing and developing creative allows me to breathe life into my ideas and make them tangible. It’s important for me to build and to see concepts grow into something authentic and purposeful. In business, it means absorbing a client’s vision, developing a strategy, and producing work that I’m excited to share.

I believe in balance and love being able to schedule my work life around my home life, which includes my husband of eight years, my two-year-old son, and two cats. We love to travel, but always appreciate when it’s time to come home. We also like to indulge in all the craft breweries and diverse culinary options Omaha has to offer.

I like to say that in Omaha, you can be a big fish in a little pond and make a real impact doing whatever you love.

I launched my brand strategy and creative studio in the summer of 2014, and I don’t know if I would have been able to do that if I lived somewhere else. Many places don’t have an environment that cultivates entrepreneurship. Innovation is welcomed here. Culture is important to quality of life, and Omaha is home to vibrant art and music scenes and renowned institutions. It contributes greatly to our quality of life. It’s important to me that my son grows up in a city that will give him opportunities to expand his mind, be creative, and learn about cultural diversity.

How do you make a difference in this community? 

I’m the President of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that I have been involved with since 2013. We believe it’s important to recognize artists for enhancing our community. The annual Awards Show is an opportunity to come together to celebrate achievements in performing arts, visual arts, and music in the Greater Omaha Area.

I am also the face behind sayheytheremusic.com, a niche hip hop blog that features local show reviews, album reviews, artist interviews and features, op-eds, news, and exclusive releases. There is so much amazing music being created right here that would rival any city, any scene. Omaha may not have a coast, but if you consider us a flyover city, you’re missing out. We’re leaving our mark in so many ways, and the world should know about it.

Posted in We Live |

We Are O.NE Erica Johnson

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

I am extremely ambitious and have a work ethic like no other. I also sincerely want everybody to succeed and will do whatever I can to assist with that.

Living in Omaha has helped introduce me to people who have helped me along the path of entrepreneurship.

How do you make a difference in this community? 

I find a way to incorporate my passions in almost everything I do. Even if it has to pertain to my business. Always bringing my passions with me enables me to provide service in a way only I can.

Whether it’s through the Female Entrepreneurship brunch that I started to create camaraderie and collaboration between female entrepreneurs of all career paths and walks of life or through the consultations I provide through my business EBE Films for video projects or social media marketing because that enables me to find out what the client needs not only through services I am able to provide to them but see what other areas they need assistance with and finding someone who can help them or traveling internationally and taking pictures of other people and cultures and sharing those with my community because many may not get to experience those places that I’ve been creating a sense of oneness and unity because we all really aren’t that different or simply teaching my science workshops to children to exercise my passion of helping to guide the next generation of leaders while also keeping my passion for science and teaching alive or through hosting events that always highlight small business and entrepreneurs because I know how hard it is to fight to be seen and noticed and succeed.

Posted in We Live |

We Are O.NE. Jessica LoVecchio

We Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

I’m from all over, I refuse to sit still! I have dual citizenship (Canada and USA) and I’m grateful everyday for the experiences it has provided me; I grew up in Toronto, Canada, moved to Seattle, Washington, studied in Salt Lake City, Utah and found myself in Omaha about a year ago when my husband’s new job landed us in the Midwest. My husband, Damon Peters, is the Chief Marketing Officer at Proxibid and challenges me intellectually every single day. I am a tech-driven, marketing guru, poker playing, strong young (millennial) woman, and I own it no matter what city I reside in.

Diversity, culture, and curiosity are my main pillars of success. It’s important to continue to explore and improve yourself and the place you live on a daily basis. Living in Omaha has provided me opportunities that I wouldn’t normally be faced with. My husband and I were nominated to part-take in the Omaha Executive Institute, a lucrative program locally here introducing high-level executives to the Omaha region and other high-ranking individuals to each other in the area. The program has allowed us to make connections in the community that you wouldn’t normally make, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the network that has propelled me professionally and personally in this city.

How do you make a difference in this community? 

I enjoy challenging community thoughts and practices on a daily basis. Omaha is in a distinct situation for growth; individuals in this city work hard every day to launch the city into a competitive place that millennial’s and the next generation want to reside. As an IT Project Manager at Berkshire Hathaway Media Group, I’m in a spot where I can challenge our technical growth in local companies,

let’s do bigger and better, let’s take this region to new heights–who is with me?

Posted in We Live |

We Are O.NE. Shomari Huggins

e Are O.NE. Series. Let’s make this a place where I get to be me and you get to be you. Let’s make this a place where together, we are O.NE. Put your hands in the middle and share your story.

Every life experience has paved the way for me to be who I am today. This includes an upbringing complete with strong black women, afrocentricism, church, soul music influence, and overall strong family bonds and influence. This upbringing helped manifest a hunger for my culture and heritage. Uncles that fought in the civil rights movement and my mother, a school teacher, helped me learn early on about the overlooked achievements of black people. My grandmother from Tennessee is a well of knowledge, wisdom, and family history. My dad is a hard working man and a language artist. My sister is an accomplished artist and youth mentor. Love for sports and participation in high school helped curate my teamwork ethic. All of these influences, plus more, combine to create the vision for the Wakanda Arts movement which I cofounded with my best friend Coleman Hunter.

Omaha has majorly impacted my world view. With many of the options similar to bigger cities but less of the hassle, Omaha is home.

My educational experience took place mainly in Omaha. From King Primary to Springville, to King Science to North – teachers, administrators and counselors helped me along the way. The seasons here in Omaha bring different weather as well as memories and experiences. There are weather-related memories like the snow storm in 1997 that we all spent couped up at home. There are the scorching hot summers where you play outside and you better stay in or out of the house but you’re not going to do both.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more in touch with the cities historical aspect, musical and political. Legends like Ernie Chambers, Johnny Rodgers, and Gene Haynes are right here in Omaha. The music and arts scene is growing and I’m glad to be a part of it.

How do you make a difference in this community? 

Every day is about improving the health of our community, especially North Omaha where health disparities are overwhelming in many areas. Health improvement can be made through being an example first. Next, we must mentor young people and old people in community health focused activity. North Omaha Area Health (NOAH) Free clinic is the vehicle through which I am able to accomplish this. Working with my mentor and the Executive director of NOAH, Ira Combs and our staff is making a difference in Omaha. The healing power of arts are another vehicle that chose me to make a difference in this community. The Wakanda Arts movement is something me and Coleman Hunter founded to share a positive message of love and consciousness throughout Omaha and the world. We believe all forms of art are necessary to expand the reach of our message.

Posted in We Live |