First in the Community

Climbing a Road to Growth

Loveland’s Summit Pathology continues to expand services

Summit Pathology has reached great heights in growth since the group formed in 2004. The Loveland, Colo., business contracted with two medical centers in the beginning, and now partners with 16 hospitals.

Summit started with a group of pathologists that had been practicing for more than 30 years at hospitals in the Loveland area. They still work with those hospitals – and the others that they have added to their client list – but now it is on an independent basis.

“We’ve been growing dramatically over the past 10 years,” said Andrea Davidson, Director of Client Services. “In 2013, we were hired to do all of the pathology for Poudre Valley Hospital; in 2014, we received the contract to do the pathology work for Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs; and in 2015, we acquired Anapath Diagnostics, which was based out of Cheyenne (Wyo.). We also acquired the contract from Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and the VA, as well as a number of other small hospitals.”

In addition to hospital contract work, Summit Pathology provides services to hundreds of outpatient clinics. It’s a growth spurt that has seen Summit’s staff of pathologists increase from six in 2004 to 17 today.

Histologist at Summit Pathology

“All of our pathologists are board certified and many of them have sub-specialty board certification, as well. We have pathologists with breast pathology specialties and dermatopathology, gastrointestinal pathology and hematopathology,” Davidson said.

Being based in Loveland has been an advantage for Summit Pathology’s growth, Davidson said.

“We have grown so much and have so many sub-specialties that we can provide state-of-the-art care here locally,” she said. “And that includes being able to handle a case from the time that it is first seen in a physician’s office until the time they are treated in one of our contracted hospitals.”

Summit Pathology has made a home in Loveland and has connected with the community as well, especially when it comes to treating patients who cannot afford medical treatment.

“We support all of the local hospitals with their efforts to treat patients that may not have funds for care. We do this through organizations like the Komen Foundation, as well as foundations at local Banner and UC Health hospitals, and we support all of those,” she said. “We support efforts with local cancer patients and we sponsor a number of other events, as well, with groups like RamStrength and the American Cancer Society.”

Davidson credited First National Bank as a source that has enabled Summit Pathology to offer more services to both employees and patients.

“One of the key things that First National Bank has helped us with is our cash payment program,” Davidson said. “That has been a huge benefit for us because we have more and more patients that are choosing to pay for services out-of-pocket up front because they get a significant discount. We’ve been able to grow that payment program, and First National has been a great help with that.”

Ho, Ho, Hops

Christmas present leads to gift that keeps on giving

 It’s been 24 years since Dick Doore opened a Christmas present from his brother that would change his life. The gift was a home brewing kit, and it began a journey for the Colorado native, ultimately leading him on a new, wildly successful career path.

Left Hand Brewing Festival Attendees

What started as a hobby for Doore – much to the delight of his beer-loving friends and neighbors – has grown into a thriving business with 125 employees and distribution to 41 states, the District of Columbia and throughout Europe and Japan. It’s called Left Hand Brewery, and it’s the 44th largest craft brewery in the United States.

Based in Longmont, Colo., Left Hand Brewery opened in a former meat packing plant next to the St. Vrain Creek near downtown. Doore and his partner –  friend and fellow Air Force Academy grad Eric Wallace – named their brewery Left Hand after Chief Niwot (meaning left-handed), a Southern Arapahoe chief whom wintered his tribe in the Boulder Valley area of Colorado.

During its 24-year history, Left Hand has merged with Denver’s Tabernash Brewing, founded a distribution company, released its famous Milk Stout Nitro, survived a massive flood and won dozens of awards at beer festivals across the globe.

Social responsibility

Throughout its success, Left Hand Brewing has focused on what it considers one of its core values, which is “do the right thing.”

Left Hand Brewing Foundation’s Hops + Handrails Event

“Doing the right thing can take on a bunch of different meanings,” said Josh Goldberg, Community and Events Manager at Left Hand Brewery. “It can be philanthropically; it can be giving back to the community and being active in your community; it can be taking care of your employees; it can be growing a business responsibly.

“It can take on a lot of meanings, but certainly doing the right thing at Left Hand has ties to being green, being sustainable, and we demonstrate that in a bunch of ways. One of the most memorable over the last 10 years was when we put in solar panels on our roof top.”

Left Hand dedicates staff to a Green Team, which takes on everything from finding ways to cut down on water use, to looking for opportunities to cut down on glue use, to limiting the amount of broken glass bottles or lost cans.

Regarding water usage at Left Hand, the Green Team has consistently helped the brewery stay below the industry average for water usage to make one gallon of beer, which is currently seven gallons of water. Left Hand averaged 4.08 gallons of water to make a single gallon of beer last year.

A responsibility to the community

High Five Events Volunteer

“Giving back to the community where we live, work and play has been a critical value that we base all that we do on,” Goldberg said. “Back before there was any ability to cut checks to nonprofits, back before the brewery was even profitable, Eric and Dick were still doing their best to donate cases of beer to use at fundraisers for homeless shelters and Habitat for Humanity. That was the best they could do back in the day.”

Now, as the brewery has grown, Left Hand’s ability to make grants and contributions to the community has increased significantly and allowed the company to develop programs like the High Five Event Campaign, a series of annual events that raise money for various charities in the Longmont area and beyond.

“We also really try to drive home a philanthropic attitude with our team,” Goldberg said. “We offer opportunities for our staff to volunteer with local nonprofits, to get engaged with local boards and to do their best to live the ‘do the right thing’ mantra of giving back to the community.”

A bank with the same commitment to community

First National Bank has partnered with Left Hand for numerous fundraisers over the years, Goldberg said, which has been a key reason why the business has continued to partner with the bank.

“First National Bank has also – beyond just providing the access to capital when we needed it – bought into our community giving side of things,” Goldberg said. “First National Bank has really done their best to support our events, to tie our brands together in front of the community. And with annual sponsorships, we’ve been able to hit some of the numbers and help find cures for cancer and make an impact on our greater neighborhoods because of that partnership.”

Vote Today for the 2017 Community First Awards!

The finalists for First National Bank’s 2017 Community First Awards have been selected. Place your vote today and every day until September 8th for the organization that you think has made the biggest contribution toward the success of our community.  The organization from each state that receives the highest number of votes will receive a $10,000 cash donation and the runner-up will receive $2,500.  Vote now by selecting your state below. The winners will be announced the week of September 18th.

Nebraska/South Dakota

  • City Sprouts – Omaha
  • Saving Grace Food Rescue – Omaha
  • Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy – Omaha
  • Intercultural Senior Center – Omaha
  • Women’s Center for Advancement – Omaha
  • Youth Emergency Services – Omaha
  • Make a Wish Foundation – Omaha
  • Literacy Center – Omaha
  • Junior Achievement of Lincoln
  • CASA Scotts Bluff County – North Platte
  • Prairie Arts Center – North Platte
  • Kearney Jubilee – Kearney
  • Care Corp – Fremont
  • Heartland Humane Society – Yankton, SD
  • Yankton Sack Pack Program—Yankton, SD

Kansas

  • CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties
  • Unleashed Pet Rescue
  • InterUrban ArtHouse
  • Wonderscope Children’s Museum
  • Blue Valley Special Olympics
  • Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas
  • Friends of Johnson County Development Supports
  • Phoenix Family
  • Growing Futures Early Education Center
  • Lakemary Center

Colorado

  • A Woman’s Place
  • Disabled Resource Services
  • Harvest of Hope Food Pantry
  • Neighbor to Neighbor
  • Coats and Boots
  • No Barriers USA
  • Weld Food Bank
  • Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate, Inc.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Weld County

Illinois

  • Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C)
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County
  • CASA Kendall County
  • DeKalb County Youth Services Bureau
  • Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center
  • Mutual Ground
  • Open Door Rehabilitation Center
  • Transitional Living Services dba TLS Veterans
  • Voluntary Action Center of DeKalb County

 

Learn more about the 2017 Community First Awards.

Banking on the Move: 5 Ways Mobile Banking Makes Life More Simple

If you’ve fully embraced online banking and think it can’t get any more convenient, wait until you try mobile banking. For those on the fence, consider this: Mobile banking makes life even easier.

Like managing your finances online, mobile banking skips time-consuming endeavors, such as waiting in line at the bank, and makes managing your finances a 24/7, wherever-you-are affair. It’s safe, secure and stress free.

It’s all about convenience when it comes to banking in 2017, and when your bank offers you the ability — free of charge — to bank using a mobile device like your smart phone, well, it’s hard to imagine that banking could get any more accessible than that.

Still not sure about mobile banking? Consider these five ways mobile banking makes your life much easier:

  • A Wi-Fi connection isn’t necessary. With mobile banking, you don’t need an internet connection. You can use your phone’s cellular service to connect to your bank online.
  • Bank anytime, anywhere. Check your balance, view and search your transaction history, transfer money from one account to another — all on your mobile device. Easy.
  • Receive important alerts. You can set alerts on your mobile device so that you receive notifications for things like minimum balance thresholds, upcoming payment dates, posted payments and more.
  • Make payments without a debit or credit card. “When you use the First National Bank mobile app, you can use the options to set up convenient payment methods like Apple Pay,” said Mike Earleywine, Sr. Vice President at First National Bank of Omaha.
  • Before you ask, the answer is “Yes, it’s safe and secure.” But that’s no reason to be lax when it comes to mobile banking. Like online banking, be smart about it: Don’t use a public Wi-Fi or a connection that isn’t password protected, and if your phone has a “Find My Phone” option, use it.

“At First National Bank, security is always our top priority,” says Earleywine. “Login is secure with your online banking user ID and password, your 4-digit passcode and Touch ID. Account information is never stored on your phone and data transmissions are encrypted with the same secure technology as online banking.”

And if you ever do want to talk with a human banker in person?

“Our mobile app has an ATM/Branch Locator option that allows you to enter a zip code for a list of locations nearest that zip code,” Earleywine said.

Lifelong Adventure

Owner of Jax Mercantile thrives on growth, conservation

Jim Quinlan is an explorer. Whether he’s digging through items at a military surplus sale, hiking a new trail in the Colorado mountains or searching for ways to encourage employees to practice conservation, Quinlan is always exploring.

It’s a trait that has served him well – from his days as manager at his parents’ military surplus store in Ames, Iowa, to being the owner of six Jax Mercantile stores in northern Colorado, and one in Ames.

“I’ve climbed a lot in Colorado – I just love to be outdoors, anything outdoors,” Quinlan said. “I like to fish, like to hike, like to camp, canoe, raft, kayak. I’m usually happiest when I’m outdoors.

Jax Mercantile Sign

“I think it’s a great thing to get people outdoors and close to nature. To me, it’s almost a spiritual experience, and I like to share that with other folks, especially kids.”

Colorado calling

 In 1955, Quinlan’s parents opened a military surplus store in Ames. By the time he was 18, he had become the store’s manager (and sole employee). He continued working at the store while attending Iowa State University in Ames. On breaks, he would make treks to Colorado for a weekend of hiking and fishing. By the time he hit 21, he was ready for full-time Colorado adventure.

“After going to college for three years, I wanted to get out to Colorado, so I came to Fort Collins and opened my first store in a little 2,200-square-foot building down on 272 North College Avenue. That was 1983; I was 21 years old. I had maybe about $12,000 saved up, and I got credit from a handful of vendors, and that’s how I got started.”

Quinlan named the new store, which opened on August 1, 1983, Rocky Mountain Surplus.

Growth was a goal from the start

Back in 1955, the year Quinlan’s parents opened their Ames store, another store specializing in military surplus opened in Fort Collins, a 10-hour drive to the west. That store was called Jax, and in 1988, Quinlan bought it.

Quinlan’s urge to grow continued. He acquired a store in Loveland. Colo., that specialized in farm equipment, trailers, pet and livestock products, tools and outdoor power equipment. He named it Jax Farm & Ranch when he took it over in 2002.

More properties followed, and today, Jax Mercantile Company includes 7 stores.

“I’ve been doing this now, 34 years,” Quinlan said. “And today we have seven locations and over several hundred-thousand square feet of retail space, and we just hit 500 employees last year.”

A dream job

Working at a business surrounded by the things you love – fishing and hiking gear, camping equipment, kayaks galore, outdoor clothing and shoes and boots and everything in between – is the job of a lifetime for Quinlan.

Fishing Products at Jax Mercantile

“I am very fortunate that I get to work around products that I love,” he said. “I also have a great staff that loves the same things that I love, and I’ve been a very, very fortunate individual to be surrounded with people – very high caliber people – that are passionate about our business and the products,” Quinlan said.

Working at Jax is not just another retail job. In addition to a shared love of the outdoors, the employees at Jax stores are partners with the business in the sense that they dictate what new products are added to the inventory. Most important, Quinlan said, is that they listen to the customers when they make requests.

“Customers will tell you what they want to buy,” he said.

Jax tries to source local products whenever possible, which means having a variety of different products unique to each market.

“We aren’t just a big box where every store is exactly the same. We have department managers within every store that are critical partners in product selection, and they get to run their own little business within our bigger business,” Quinlan said. “That’s how we try to structure it, and I think it makes for an environment that a lot of people enjoy. Every day is different.”

Encouraging care for the environment, community

Jax offers its employees “CO2 credits” for riding their bike or walking to work each day. The credits add up to additional cash in their pockets – and a bonus for Mother Nature, too.

“We try to be a socially responsible company. Nature and the natural environment is very important to me,” Quinlan said. “It’s kind of a fun thing, and every year we award CO2 credits for the person in each location that has traveled the furthest over the course of the year.

“I feel like the natural environment is critical for all of us. To me, it’s the most important thing – that we as humans take care of the earth.”

It’s a love for the environment that carries over to the communities in which Jax does business. Quinlan said Jax supports land conservation and preservation of species native to the northern Colorado area.

“We like working with local nonprofits, and Idea Wild (a Fort Collins-based conservation group) has been a partner with us for probably 20 years. So that’s one that we’ve worked with for a long time and feel really good about,” Quinlan said.

Jax also participates in several ongoing community events that are held at the Jax locations. “We partner with kids’ education, whether it’s fishing days, hunter safety courses, etc. We try to partner with the communities to have a venue where people can come in and give talks and give classes.”

Exploring growth in the future

Employees, members of the local communities, relationships with conservation groups – these aren’t the only partnerships that Jax embraces. The company also has a strong partnership with its bank.

“I would say the partnership with First National Bank has been really critical to our growth,” Quinlan said. “There was a time in our history where we were with a large national bank, and the difference between dealing with a large national bank and First National locally is just night and day.

“I mean, I can pick up the phone any time and I can call Mark Driscoll (First National Bank president in Colorado) and he’s there as a resource to help us to bounce things off. We don’t have to talk to 10 different people to get decisions made. I would say the bank is a partner we value very much and very much appreciate having a local bank that we can depend on.

“It’s not only for us, but they give some nice benefits to our staff as well. So they’re a critical component of our success.”

EMV Cards: Fighting Credit and Debit Card Fraud 7 to 10 Seconds at a Time

The person who coined the phrase “patience is a virtue” never had to wait in a grocery store line during the after-work rush while a credit card reader scanned his EMV card, more commonly known as chip cards.

“Why does it take so long to scan my debit card?”

“Using my credit card is so inconvenient now. Why do we need this?”

“I could have been home with my groceries a long time ago if it weren’t for this slow-as-a-snail chip reader machine!”

If any of those thoughts have ever raced through your head as you wait for a chip reader to scan your credit or debit card, you’re not alone. Those are common complaints regarding the increasingly utilized security measure adopted by banks and credit card companies to help protect consumers from fraud.

But are they legitimate complaints? Are chip readers really a waste of time? And what exactly do EMV cards accomplish?

Time is on your side 

Let’s start with the time issue. It takes an average of seven to 10 seconds for a card reader to scan a credit or debit card with EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) technology.

Seven to 10 seconds. That isn’t a lot of time. Would you rather spend seven to 10 seconds waiting for your card to be processed, or spend potentially hours on the phone talking with your bank, credit card issuer, credit bureau, etc., trying to resolve a credit fraud case against you?

It’s what transpires on the other end of that chip card reader that makes the seven to 10 seconds so worthwhile.

How EMV cards work

When an EMV card is inserted into a reader at a store, ATM, etc., the chip connects with the computer software running the card reader. The card’s chip data includes information like account number, expiration date of card, the terminal or merchant ID, dollar value of the transaction, whether payment is credit, debit or other, date and time of transaction and additional service codes.

Every time an EMV card is used for payment, the card’s chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. That differs significantly from a magnetic strip cards — the ones you “swipe” — which hold fixed data. If a hacker stole an EMV’s chip information from one specific sale, they could never duplicate the data again because the card would be denied.

Since October 2015 when the global transition to EMV technology began, EMV cards have become the standard for credit and debit cards. As of March 2017, an estimated 600 million chip cards have been issued in the United States, which represents 81 percent of all credit cards issued. 1

According to a January report from Business Insider, merchant adoption continues to rise — 1.75 million Visa merchants now accept chip cards, up by 110,000 since the previous quarter and over 1 million since November 2016. That’s still just 38 percent of U.S. storefronts, but it represents a significant transaction volume because most major merchants accept EMV cards. 2

Is it working? Are EMVs stopping fraud?

A recent fraud study from Javelin Strategy & Research showed that credit card fraud amounted to $16 billion in the United States in 2016. 3 EMV cards aren’t expected to completely solve the fraud problem, but they have helped.

According to a recent report from CreditCards.com, Visa reported that chip-enabled merchants saw a 52 percent drop in counterfeit fraud in 2016 compared to 2015 using their cards. Mastercard reported a 54 percent drop. 1

EMV cards are an important step forward in the effort to fight fraud, says Mike Earleywine, Sr. Vice President at First National Bank of Omaha.

“The protection this technology provides is far superior to magnetic stripe security, so you can use your card with added confidence,” Earleywine said. “EMV cards certainly make it more difficult for fraudsters to counterfeit cards, which is why we offer chip-enhanced debit and credit cards. Again, it’s a step forward as the industry continues to develop additional safeguards for consumers, and we look forward to utilizing the latest technology to continue to our fight against fraud.”

1 8 FAQs about EMV credit cards: Chip? PIN? Signature? Do old cards work? Answers to frequently asked questions – http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/emv-faq-chip-cards-answers-1264.php
2 Here’s why US EMV could be poised to rise in 2017 – http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-us-emv-could-be-poised-to-rise-in-2017-2017-1
3 Identity Fraud Hits Record High with 15.4 Million U.S. Victims in 2016, Up 16 Percent According to New Javelin Strategy & Research Study – http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170201005166/en/Identity-Fraud-Hits-Record-High-15.4-Million

Proactive Advice: 9 Ways to Protect Yourself From Fraud

Security measures such as EMV cards, commonly known as “chip cards,” have helped curtail credit and debit card fraud in some channels, but criminals continue to utilize other methods to rip off consumers.

A recent fraud study from Javelin Strategy & Research showed that credit card fraud totaled $16 billion in the United States in 2016.1 While chip-enabled EMV cards (which stands for Europay, Mastercard, Visa) have helped at the register, scammers have shifted to other fraud methods, such as using stolen credit card numbers and passwords or by opening new accounts with false credentials to use in making online payments for purchases.

So how can you protect yourself from credit card fraud? Here are 9 ways to fight fraudsters:

  1. Don’t take the bait when it comes to email phishing scams. They typically come in the form of emails, but can also appear as texts or voice messages. They appear as though they have been sent from a legitimate source and seek personal information, like passwords or a social security number. Keep an eye out for things like typos, bad grammar and pushy tactics. In general, consider all requests for personal information to be suspicious.
  2. Be diligent regarding offers from friends on Facebook. Some “friends” on Facebook might not really be friends. And real friends might have had their Facebook account hacked, so be wary of links that friends post — they could link to a website phishing scam. When a “great deal” seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  3. Although it may be convenient, don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Change up passwords among email, banks and retail websites you shop. If one website’s security is breached, the fraudster could then potentially access your other accounts. Sign up for two-step authentication when possible.
  4. Shop on a secure Wi-Fi network. While it might be handy to shop at the coffee shop while you’re sipping on a latte, it can also put your credit card data at risk. Public Wi-Fi networks are not private, so fraudsters could potentially see the data being transmitted.
  5. Set a password for your phone. If you do shop on your phone via a secure Wi-Fi network, set a password for your phone so if you lose it, your data won’t be at risk.
  6. Check your financial statements regularly. Look for any unfamiliar activity and if you see something, report it right away.
  7. Keep private information private. The Federal Trade Commission recommends not giving your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know to be reputable. If you’ve never done business with them before, do an online search first for reviews or complaints.
  8. Report stolen or lost cards immediately. Call the card issuer as soon as you realize your card has been lost or stolen. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with this. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “once you report the loss or theft, the law says you have no additional responsibility for charges you didn’t make; in any case, your liability for each card lost or stolen is $50.”2
  9. If your card was part of a security breach, ask for a replacement from your card issuer.

Go with a reliable credit card issuer 

“We have built-in protections for our credit card customers that help keep your identity safe in a variety of ways,” said Mike Earleywine, Sr. Vice President at First National Bank of Omaha.

“We monitor your account 24/7/365, and if we suspect fraudulent activity on your credit card, we notify you immediately.”

Identity Fraud Hits Record High with 15.4 Million U.S. Victims in 2016, Up 16 Percent According to New Javelin Strategy & Research Study: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170201005166/en/Identity-Fraud-Hits-Record-High-15.4-Million
Protecting Against Credit Card Fraud – https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0216-protecting-against-credit-card-fraud
Federal Trade Commission: Credit Freeze FAQs – https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs

They Got Game

Bison Inc. stays busy building nationally distributed athletic equipment

 If you’ve played on a basketball court – from Los Angeles to Nebraska to New York City – there’s a chance the hoop, post and backboard came from Bison Inc.

Not a basketball fan? In addition to industrial-grade basketball hoops distributed across the country, Lincoln’s Bison manufactures equipment for volleyball, soccer, football and several other sports that are used in schools, community gyms, parks and on playgrounds throughout the United States.

“We have exclusive independent reps in every state,” said Nick Cusick, owner and president of Bison. “We probably ship to every state, every week.”

The company, founded in 1985 in Lincoln, has a motto: “A goal for every game.”

“Soccer goals, football goal posts, basketball goals, both residential and institutional, indoors and outdoors, home driveways, outdoor parks and recreation areas, playgrounds, indoor-gymnasium-type equipment of all types,” Cusick said. “We also make tennis posts, tennis nets, badminton nets. So almost any sport you can think of.

“We don’t make balls, we don’t make shirts and uniforms. We make primarily metal-type products for the sporting goods industry.”

Sports equipment isn’t all Bison makes. Park benches, litter receptacles, bike racks – all of those are manufactured by Bison, as well, and can be found across the country at public parks or community areas.

Roots in the Lincoln community

Cusick grew up in Lincoln, went to high school there and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He says he and his employees are thoroughly entrenched in the community and have enjoyed watching the businesses of Lincoln enjoy strong growth in recent years. As a member of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Cusick had a vote on the public funding portion of the Pinnacle Bank Arena, which opened in Lincoln in 2013.

“I confidently said that that particular vote was not just about a building, it’s about the future of Lincoln,” he said. “What does Lincoln want to be in the future? What does it aspire to be? And I think the success of that (Pinnacle Arena) is proven; it was one thing that propelled Lincoln forward.”

Bison Bowl-a-thon group

Supporting his community and participating in its growth was instilled in Cusick by his parents, and it’s also become a core value at Bison.

“It’s carried over to my philosophy about my company being a good corporate citizen,” he added. “We encourage our employees to give back, whether it’s to their kid’s soccer team or baseball team, perhaps as a coach, or our United Way program, or their church.

“My philosophy is that an employee who’s engaged in the community, is engaged in their kids’ lives, just engaged in outside activities, is way more likely to be engaged in work and feel comfortable that they’re part of something greater than themselves.”

A banker with the same community commitment

“We like doing business with people who are involved in the community, like First National Bank,” Cusick said. “And they don’t do that out of obligation, but out of willingness and support to us as a company.”

Cusick said Bison’s banking relationship has been key to the company’s growth.

“There’s a delicate balance when it comes to a bank helping you determine the best time to grow, the best time to acquire somebody for growth, or when to buy new equipment, when to expand,” he said. “And the bank is a critical part of that.”

For Bison, First National Bank has played the ideal partner role in finding that delicate balance.

“They’re adequately demanding but certainly open to our entrepreneurial thoughts about expansion and acquisitions or equipment purchases,” Cusick said. “And that’s really been the right balance for us to grow.”

“I think, at every turn, First National Bank has been a good community partner,” he said. “Quite honestly, if they weren’t, I wouldn’t be banking with them.”

Still Pioneering

Architecture-engineering firm Leo A Daly sees growth spurt in health care market

With projects in 91 countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Omaha-rooted architecture and engineering firm Leo A Daly has seen growth in several areas in recent years, but the health care market has been especially busy for the 102-year-old firm.

“We have some real expertise in that area, and I think that there is a consistent need to upgrade medical health care facilities to accommodate new treatment regimens,” said Jay Brader, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Leo A Daly. “It’s an ever-changing market, whereas some other market places – office buildings, educational facilities – don’t need as much constant updating.”

A recent Omaha project that Leo A Daly is leading focuses on the Bergan Mercy Hospital expansion, which will house the new Creighton University Medical Center.

“It’s quite a feat that we are shoehorning a medical campus inside of an active hospital,” says John McGauvran, Director of Marketing at Leo A Daly. “We’re bringing in the educational component of it, but also updating and renovating functions of Bergan Mercy, and the biggest of which is their trauma unit.”

Leo Daly team discuss upcoming plans.

The health care market has presented Leo A Daly – an internationally-recognized, award-winning architecture, engineering, planning, interior design and program management firm – with a passion project that is close to the hearts of its 150 employees in Omaha. The firm has been chosen to design the new Department of Veterans Affairs ambulatory care clinic on the grounds of the Omaha VA hospital at 42nd Street and Woolworth Avenue.

“We have employees that have a real passion for helping veterans, some of whom are veterans themselves,” Brader said. “We have one gentleman who was a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and when you talk to those people, the passion for helping our veterans recover and live normal lives after they have incurred physical or mental injuries while serving our country – it’s palpable how deep their passion for that is.

“We’ve done a lot of work for the Department of Veterans Affairs over the last 10 to 15 years, and as a result, a lot of our folks feel very connected to that mission.”

In addition to the health care market, Leo A Daly has seen significant growth in other areas. “The federal market place has been a nice growth area as well, and then our civil engineering component has grown nicely in the last 10 years, too,” said McGauvran.

A winning combination

Brader says the company – with a worldwide staff of 800 – owes much of its recent success to a pioneering approach to projects that was developed by Leo A Daly Sr., who founded the company in 1915. Daly – followed by his son Leo II, and then by Leo Jr.’s son Leo III, in leading the company – initiated the use of interdisciplinary project teams:  a “whole project” approach that ensures maximum efficiency, coordination and client satisfaction.

The Strategic Air & Space Museum, one of Leo Daly’s designed facilities.

“We were a pioneer with having architects and engineers work on the same team on projects, and that is still something we emphasize today,” Brader said.

“You see a lot of architecture firms that don’t have engineers, most do not, but we feel like the project turns out better when the people are shoulder-to-shoulder, eye-to-eye, face-to-face.”

The long series of successes with that approach has earned Leo A Daly a reputation as a community leader. Brader said the company is proud of how it has helped create a sense of pride in the Omaha community. “I think we’ve brought the city a different sense of self-esteem,” he said.

“If you look at the downtown Omaha skyline, at least half of the buildings that you can identify, probably more than half, are Leo A Daly buildings, including the First National Bank Tower and the Woodmen building, as well as the twin Central Park Plaza buildings, which are the four most recognizable, iconic buildings in the skyline.

“We get a sense of pride from the comments that we hear from people the first time they come to Omaha: ‘Well, this is a really nice town, with a real downtown area.’”

A true partnership

When it comes to financial partners, Leo A Daly has partnered with First National Bank on several recent projects, but before Daly became a customer of First National Bank, the bank was a customer of Daly’s.

It began with First National Bank Tower. The bank hired Leo A Daly to lead the project, which was completed in 2002. Today, the 45-story, 634-foot skyscraper is Nebraska’s tallest building, and Daly is now a customer of First National Bank.

“I will tell you that for me, dealing with First National Bank is like having a partner in your banker with how they go about extending credit and giving us the ability to grow and deal with our cash flow, just like any business, but they really function like a partner compared to other banks I’ve worked with,” Brader said.

“With First National, the relationship has been a lot more like a partnership and a lot based on trust and having a great feel for a business and who we are as people.”

A Sweet Success Story

Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey: From door-to-door to national distribution

When L.R. Rice began his honey business in 1924, he filled the role of beekeeper and honey extractor, honey packager and honey seller. That last job was done the old-fashioned way: door to door.

Today, Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey works with many different beekeepers spread across the United States, and there are no more door-to-door salesmen. Rice’s Honey is now available at thousands of grocery stores all over the country, and the company is focused primarily on the packaging end of the business.

Headquartered in Greeley, Colo., Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey is now in its fifth generation of ownership. Brothers Mike and Scott Rice run the day-to-day operations with sister Julie (Rice) Lordemann and her husband, Michael Lordemann.

Rice’s Honey keeps it local, since Day 1

Company story and history

“I think the number one thing about Rice’s Honey is we are one of the few companies that are 100% USA honey – always,” said Scott Rice. “There’s a lot of imported honey in the United States, but we support the local beekeepers, both small and large, across the country and provide a pure 100% raw unfiltered honey. We think that is what separates us from the others.”

The company’s relationship with its beekeepers has been another important advantage that Rice’s Honey has over competitors, Scott Rice says.

“One thing that is very important is the relationship with the beekeepers. Some of the relationships are 60 or 70 years old, and because of that we kind of have first pick on the quality of honey that’s available,” said Scott Rice.

A time-tested process

When the honey arrives in barrels at Rice’s Honey, a special process is used to ensure that the honey stays as pure as possible.

“When we get a barrel of honey – which is how it’s transferred from the bee yards, in a 55-gallon drum – it’s in its purest form and we do not change that in any way. We’ll run it through a cheesecloth, which basically pulls the wax out and any debris – could be a flower leaf, things like that,” Scott Rice said. “Outside of that, it goes straight to the bottle.

“There are other ways to do it, high heat and high filtration, which becomes a processed honey and there’s really no DNA of that honey, there’s no nutrients, there’s no pollen counts and that also means no traceability. So we’re very proud of the way we get our honey from the barrel to the bottle.”

Added Mike Rice: “That was L.R. Rice, that’s the way he did it in 1924, and nothing has changed. That’s the way we do it today.”

Growing as a family and community

Over the past four years, Rice’s Honey’s staff gas grown to 20 employees.

Rice’s Honey Team

“Our ability to hire people from the community to help our expanding operation is priority number one,” says Tony Landretti, Chief Commercial Officer.

Connecting with the Greeley community is another priority for Rice’s Honey, which supports a program called Zac’s Foundation that assists families in need with their medical bills.

“We also support a lot of educational programs throughout the city of Greeley, the different schools in the community,” Landretti said. “One example is we’re going to hire an intern this summer from one of the high schools to give her an opportunity to learn more about business and cross-functional opportunities within our company to help her as she finishes her senior year in high school. We also have a connection to the University of Colorado where, in the business school, we support their management program through allowing them to use us as a platform for research.”

Outside of Greeley and through supporting beekeepers, other communities benefit as well.

“It gives them an opportunity to support their local philanthropic initiatives in their community by knowing that they have a stream of income coming from Rice’s Honey year in year out,” Landretti said.

Here to stay in Greeley

As Rice’s Honey continues to grow, there are no plans to ever move the headquarters to a different location.

“I think when you grow up in a community and you establish a business in that community, to up and leave wouldn’t make a lot of sense,” Landretti said. “The other thing is, when you look geographically where we’re positioned in the United States as far as supplying our retail partners, we’re in a pretty decent place.

“The ability of getting honey here when we think of the upper Midwest being the largest producing area of honey. When you think of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, bringing that honey here to Colorado is fairly easy in terms of shipping. We’re well webbed with this community and don’t foresee us leaving the community any time soon. We’re very proud of the fact that we’re a homegrown business.”

A partnership for growth

Over the years, First National Bank has partnered with Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey to help grow the company as it has expanded its business.

“First National Bank, and Jeremy Ehardt in particular, have been absolutely great to work with,” Mike Rice said. “They have gone the extra mile in every aspect to make sure we have the financial tools we need to succeed.”