State, local and federal leaders visited the Scottsbluff Fall Forum. (From left) Rep. Adrian Smith, Blueprint Nebraska Executive Director Jim Smith, State Senator John Stinner, Rotary President Mike Downy. Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber Executive Director Karen Anderson, Nebraska Chamber President Bryan Slone, President/CEO of 21st Century Equipment Owen Palm (Blueprint Nebraska Co-Chair)
Great start to Fall Forums
More than 150 Nebraskans have received a first-hand briefing on the results of the Nebraska Blueprint initiative and next steps. That number will continue to grow as the Nebraska Chamber and Blueprint Nebraska continue Fall Forums, a 30-community tour through October.
Blueprint Nebraska, a long-term strategic plan for economic development, is drawing attention and interest. All four state senators attended sessions in their districts, and Congressman Adrian Smith joined us in Scottsbluff.
Chamber President Bryan Slone and Executive Vice President of Legislation and Policy Kristen Hassebrook are providing a review of the 2019 legislative session, as well as a look into priorities for 2020 and beyond. The Chamber plans to help achieve Blueprint Nebraska initiatives over the next five years.
LINCOLN – The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the members of its new Leadership Nebraska Class. This year’s class is the twelfth in the program’s history.
Leadership Nebraska was founded in 2006 to identify current and emerging leaders throughout the state, enhance their leadership skills and deepen their knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing Nebraska.
Participants have been selected from different regions of the state and possess varied backgrounds and diverse talents. All candidates have demonstrated an abiding interest in Nebraska and its future.
The program consists of six sessions covering a broad range of key Nebraska issues including economic development, health care, education, agriculture, government and policy development. Class XII begins with an orientation in June and will conclude in February 2020 with a commencement in Lincoln. Sessions will be conducted throughout various locations of the state.
Bryan Slone, president of the Nebraska Chamber, said: “Nebraska faces complex challenges in this new economy. To maintain and enhance our state’s competitiveness, we need well-informed, connected leaders who are ready to serve their fellow Nebraskans.”
Listed below are the 30 Nebraskans selected to participate in Leadership Nebraska’s Class XII, along with the class member’s employer and city.
Wade Regier, Pinnacle Bank, Aurora;
David Verkler, Exmark Manufacturing, Beatrice;
Justin Suhr, Great Plains Communications, Blair;
Angie Lauritsen, Lauritsen Ventures/City of Gretna, Gretna;
Dustin Favinger, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney;
Justin Gould, Black Hills Energy, Kearney;
Derek Rusher, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, Kearney;
Melissa Scott-Pandorf, KBRWyle-Houston, Kearney;
Marsha Wilkerson, BD Construction, Inc, Kearney;
Misty Ahmic, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska, Lincoln;
Benjamin Baumfalk, First Five Nebraska, Lincoln;
Edward Boone, State Senator Tom Briese’s office, Lincoln;
Jennifer Heaton, Nebraska Bankers Association, Lincoln;
Peggy Reisher, Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, Lincoln;
Jarid Childears, First National Bank, North Platte;
Norine Howard-Domenge, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Omaha;
Travis Flodine, Mutual of Omaha Bank, Omaha;
Curtis Johnson, DLR Group-Architecture, Engineering, Planning, Interiors, Omaha;
Deborah Neary, MENTOR Nebraska, Omaha;
Heather Siebken, Omaha Public Power District, Omaha;
Paul Ternes, Peter Kiewit Foundation, Omaha;
Steve Wobken, Ash Grove Cement Company, Omaha;
Rebecca Ries, Valley County Health System Foundation, Ord;
Janell Anderson Ehrke, GROW Nebraska Foundation, Orleans;
Jordan Colwell, Regional West Physicians Clinic, Scottsbluff;
Caitlin Jerabek, Beyond Blueprints, St. Paul;
Barbara Fowler, Polk County Rural Public Power District, Stromsburg;
Emma Stokely, Franciscan Care Services, West Point;
Patrick Hanrahan, Nebraska Public Power District, York;
Mark Way, York State Bank, York.
The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry will welcome Holley Salmi to its professional staff later in April, 2019. As Vice President of Public Affairs & Policy, Salmi will lead the Nebraska Chamber communications and assist with the chamber's policy and lobbying strategies.
Before joining the Nebraska Chamber, Salmi served as a Manager of Communications and Public Affairs with the City of Lincoln. She formerly served as a marketing and public affairs consultant, a senior manager in communications, media and public relations at a large private company, and on the staffs of Governor Mike Johanns, Senator Chuck Hagel, and Attorney General Jon Bruning.
Salmi received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Nebraska in Kearney with majors in Political Science and Public Relations.
The Nebraska Chamber looks forward to utilizing Salmi's many media, marketing and strategic planning skills in moving our organization forward.
The Nebraska Chamber will host its "An Evening with Legislative Leadership" event Tuesday, April 9, at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln.
The gathering will feature Unicameral leaders who oversee key issues of importance to Nebraska's business community.
A reception at 6 p.m. will be followed by the 7 p.m. dinner. Invited speakers are Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer; Revenue Committee Chair Lou Ann Linehan; Appropriations Committee Chair John Stinner; Education Committee Chair Mike Groene; and Transportation and Telecommunications Committee Chair Curt Friesen. All other state senators will be invited to attend.
Hear directly from these leaders at a critical time in the legislative session. Cost is $100 for State Chamber members and $135 for non-members.
For more information or to register, call 402-474-4422 or click here.
Applications are currently being accepted for the State Chamber's Leadership Nebraska program, which prepares individuals to play a larger role in their community and state.
Applications must be received no later than Friday, April 12.
Leadership Nebraska is beginning its twelfth year of developing informed leaders who seek a breadth of knowledge about Nebraska issues. The year-long program consists of six sessions, each of which lasts two days. The sessions cover a wide scope of topics, including economic development, health care, education, agriculture, and state government.
The application can be found at www.leadershipnebraska.com or by calling Roberta Pinkerton at 402-474-4422.
Several Nebraska businesses have been affected by the recent devastating flooding our state has experienced. Swollen rivers and quickly rising water have washed out roads and bridges, and triggered evacuations. Many homes and businesses have been inundated by water that flowed from nearby rivers.
If your business has been directly affected -- and you need guidance on what to do next -- help is available.
Please reach out to the U.S. Chamber Foundation's Disaster Help Desk at 1-888-My-Biz-Help (888-692-4943). Or visit https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/disaster-response-and-community-resilience/disaster-help-desk.
Earlier this week, on March 6, the Nebraska Legislature's Revenue Committee held its hearing on LB720, which would bring the first major overhaul of Nebraska’s business incentives in 14 years.
The ImagiNE Nebraska Act would replace the Nebraska Advantage Act of 2005 – the state’s primary economic development tool that has resulted in 850 business expansions, $13 billion in capital invested or committed, and roughly 100,000 new jobs statewide.
The Nebraska Advantage Act is set to expire at the end of next year, making LB720’s passage critical this session.
Testifying in support of LB720 on behalf of the State Chamber was Chad Denton, president of CFO Services in Omaha. Chad highlighted LB720’s proposed process improvements, saying the bill would increase the value of incentives to businesses by making simplifications, ensuring that businesses receive earned incentives sooner, and eliminating unnecessary audits.
Other highlights from the hearing included:
During the hearing, much of the focus from opponents was related to the bill’s cost, estimated to be around $29 million in Fiscal 2020-21, but projected to grow to more than $150 million as more projects ramp up under the program. LB720's main sponsor, Seward Senator Mark Kolterman, noted that over the years, costs related to Nebraska’s business incentive programs (LB775 and the Nebraska Advantage Act) have, on average, totaled an amount equal to roughly only 3% of the state’s annual budget. Other supporters told senators that allowing businesses keep more of the money they earn in exchange for new jobs and investment should not be viewed as costs, since such economic activity would not likely have occurred but for incentives.
In his concluding remarks, Senator Kolterman told his fellow Revenue Committee members that he has repeatedly supported efforts to reduce Nebraska’s property tax burden. “But we cannot grow our state by just reducing the property tax burden,” he said, adding that doing away with incentives would be like hanging up a “closed for business” sign.
Currently, 22 senators are cosponsoring the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.
LINCOLN – On February 21, 2019, the State Chamber’s Leadership Nebraska hosted a commencement ceremony in Lincoln to honor 29 individuals for their successful completion of the program’s coursework and other requirements.
This is Leadership Nebraska’s eleventh group of graduates since the program’s first class in 2007.
Leadership Nebraska is focused on enhancing leadership skills and expanding participants’ knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing our state. The program includes six two-day sessions held over several months in various locations across Nebraska. Topic areas include economic development, health care, agriculture, education, and government and policy.
By completing the program, informed leaders can better understand issues, define problems and develop solutions to serve their communities. Graduates of Leadership Nebraska are encouraged to seek positions of higher responsibility, whether at the local, regional or state level.
The Leadership Nebraska Class XI members who graduated this week are:
Anna Brewer, Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Lincoln
Carley Bruning, Phelps County Development Corporation, Holdrege
Matthew Burke, First National Bank, Omaha
Linette Gralheer Butler, BD Construction, Kearney
Angela Davidson, Central Community College, Grand Island
Elizabeth Everett, First Five Nebraska, Lincoln
Mike Feeken, St. Paul Development Corporation, St. Paul
Sarah Focke, Kearney Visitors Bureau, Kearney
Peggy Hain, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln
Erika Hamilton, Humanities Nebraska, Lincoln
Anne Hindery, Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Omaha
John Hoggatt, First National Bank, Kearney
Sara Howard, Nebraska Legislature, Omaha
Darin Karstetter, Renaissance Financial, Omaha
Shawn Kaskie, University of Nebraska, Kearney
Noah Knisely, CHI Health, Omaha
Steve Konnath, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Omaha
Joseph Lang, Omaha Public Power District, Omaha
Marjorie Maas, SHARE Omaha, Omaha
Carsten Mlady, Nebraska Public Power District, York
James Mowitz, Pinnacle Bank, Lincoln
Sandra Reding, AKSARBEN Foundation, Omaha
Tyler Rigby, Nucor Steel Nebraska, Norfolk
Ryan Sevcik, Koley Jessen, P.C., L.L.O., Omaha
Leslie Shaver, Simmons Olsen Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O, Scottsbluff
Angela Simdorn, Hornady Manufacturing, Grand Island
Michael Venem, Fast Global Solutions, Auburn
Nicole West, Black Hills Energy, Papillion
Laurie Zagurski, Omaha Public Power District, Omaha
Applications for Leadership Nebraska's next class may be submitted until April 12, 2019.
For more information, please contact Roberta Pinkerton at (402) 474-4422 or visit www.leadershipnebraska.com.
On Feb. 7 at the State Chamber's Annual Meeting, Gov. Pete Ricketts issued a proclamation declaring February as "Chamber of Commerce Month" in Nebraska.
Presented to the leaders of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Executives (NCCE), the governor's proclamation states: "Chambers of commerce play a vital role in shaping Nebraska's future by promoting the free enterprise system" by providing leadership and fostering "an economic climate conducive to the growth and development of our great state."
Receiving the proclamation from Gov. Ricketts were NCCE Chair Denise Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as NCCE Advisory Council Chair John Hales, vice president of the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corp.
On Thursday, Feb. 7, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry held its annual meeting in Lincoln.
At the Chamber's morning board of directors' meeting, board members reviewed 2019 state legislation and acted on "support" and "oppose" recommendations made by the Chamber's policy councils. Gov. Pete Ricketts spoke at the luncheon, which honored local chambers of commerce from across the state.
The afternoon featured a panel of experts who discussed the state's workforce challenge and current economic conditions; another panel spotlighted federal issues that could affect Nebraska. The third panel -- the traditional Legislative Leaders panel -- featured Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer, as well as Senators Curt Friesen and John Stinner, all of whom addressed the current challenges facing the Unicameral.
During the evening hours, approximately 500 attended the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Banquet, which featured the passing of the gavel from 2018 State Chamber Chairman Rich Herink, market executive for First National Bank, to 2019 Chamber Chairman Todd Foje, the CEO of Great Plains Communications in Blair.