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Professors Host Cybersecurity Camp

Posted on July 25th, 2016 by

Professors Host Cybersecurity Camp

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Bellevue University, led by Professors Douglas Rausch and Ron Woerner, hosted the Silicon Prairie Gencyber camp, July 18-22. The first three days of the camp were spent on the Bellevue University campus, while the final two were at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

The camp attracted 20 students who were exposed to the roots of computer hardware and software and how to operate in that arena. As part of the camp, each student received a Raspberry Pi, a small computer that can assist with learning how to program.

SONY DSC“We talked about binary numbers, the most basic hardware, operating systems – Windows and Linux,” Rausch explained.

Understanding how computers work at those basic levels can help students learn how to close down cyberattacks.

Woerner and Rausch hopes the camp inspires students to consider a career in cybersecurity. The pair makes a point to let students know about the main career opportunities are available in the field.  They also want to make sure students use their new-found skills in the right way.

“We make a big deal about ethics,” Rausch said. “It’s a tool. I can give you a hammer and you can build a house or smash a window.”

Sebastian Hanus, a camp participant from Fremont, Nebraska, enjoyed the event.

“I have some previous experience, so there was some review, but I learned some new programming as well,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I want to something in engineering and most likely in software. I’ve done programming in the past, but nothing quite like this.”



MPA Alum De Jesus Delivers Tasty Message

Posted on July 19th, 2016 by

MPA Alum De Jesus Delivers Tasty Message

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Carne Asada! Churrasco! 烧烤

No matter how you say it or spell it, barbecue means good eating. As the Director of Multicultural Marketing for the National Pork Board, it’s part of Jose De Jesus’ job to get that message out to people of all nationalities across the country.

JESUS_Jose_de_CroppedI am responsible for multicultural marketing strategy development and implementation as well as execution of marketing, public relations and social media campaigns in the U.S. for multicultural segments, including Latinos and African Americans,” said De Jesus, who earned his Master of Public Administration degree through Bellevue University in 2009. This is a very rewarding job because I work on behalf of America’s pork producers. Our charge is pretty simple: to promote an amazing, inspiring and delicious product – pork. Aside from that, marketing is fun in that you are constantly looking for that one idea that can disrupt the market, and the journey to get there makes it extremely rewarding. From the creative brainstorming with our teams to program execution and everything in between, the job is exciting.”

A native of Puerto Rico, De Jesus graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora del Pilar before earning his bachelor’s degree in Communications at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. He worked as a journalist at the Green Bay Gazette-Press and the Des Moines Register and was the Chief Communications Officer at the American Institute of Business before joining the Des Moines, Iowa-based National Pork Board in September 2013.

A master’s degree had always been on his radar and he took the plunge with Bellevue University in the Fall of 2006.

“I wanted to make sure I was working with a deeper understanding of the business world before deciding what degree to pursue,” he said. “Being able to apply some of my learnings from my career into the Master’s program was one of the things I enjoyed the most. I quickly felt the Master of Public Administration program was the perfect fit for me. I felt all of our professors were well prepared and added significant and real-life point of views to the curriculum.”

While his degree has paid off at the non-profit National Pork Board, De Jesus sees additional benefits as well.

“I’d like to think that it has impacted my career positively, but earning a master’s degree was also a decision I made for personal reasons,” he said. “No matter what happens in life, no one can take away your education. Whether in business or personally, we are constantly learning and striving to get better and that’s how I approached it.”

One of De Jesus’ latest initiatives is the ¡PRENDE EL SABOR! campaign, designed to reach Latino customers in the United States.

PrendelSabor page imageIt’s about bringing to life the idea of ‘What would the grill say’ if he or she could describe the grilling experience as a fan of grilling and pork,” De Jesus said. “To build on this fun approach, we added a layer of cultural relevance by creating this “Gloria” persona who has certain traits that Hispanic consumers can relate to such as eating pork at every celebration and wanting to put together the perfect BBQ to entertain family and friends.”

The campaign enlisted popular Mexican actress, comedian, and singer Angélica Vale as the voice behind “Gloria.”

“ ‘Gloria’ gave a voice to the campaign and allowed the National Pork Board to communicate key messages about healthy cuts, recipes, flavor, inspiration and creativity in a fun and unexpected way,” De Jesus said. “We took a multi-channel approach – earned media, digital influencers, social media, digital video content, and digital media – to create awareness of pork in the market and drive consumers to our Spanish-language website,, for relevant seasonal content.”


Tuskegee Airmen Display Coming to Humanities Center

Posted on July 18th, 2016 by

Memorabilia from the Tuskegee Airmen will be on display at the Hitchcock Humanities Center from Monday, July 18-30. The display will consist of posters, photos, models, uniforms and other items provided by the Alfonza W. Davis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Incorporated.

Tuskegee Airmen is the popular name of a group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II. Officially, they formed the 33rd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Force. The name also applies to the navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, instructors, crew chiefs, nurses, cooks, and other support personnel for the pilots.

SONY DSC“The official definition of Tuskegee Airmen is anyone who was stationed at or worked at Tuskegee Army Air Field from 1941 to 1949,” said Bob Rose, an Air Force Veteran and President of the Chapter. “The operative term there is anyone. It doesn’t say black, it doesn’t say male, it doesn’t say pilot. It says anyone.”

The group was formed at a time when the military was segregated.

“In 1925, the Air War College actually released a study that said blacks were incapable of handling sophisticated equipment — couldn’t and wouldn’t take orders,” Rose said. “Organizations such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Red Ball Express – the combination of success by these groups led to President Truman signing the executive order to integrate the military. In my humble opinion, that changed the fabric of American Society.”

The exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen have been documented by Hollywood over the last decades, first with the HBO movie The Tuskegee Airmen in 1995 and more recently with George Lucas’ Red Tails in 2012.

“It was kind of fascinating. Most Tuskegee Airmen didn’t know that they were Tuskegee Airmen until the movie came out in 1995 and they certainly didn’t know that they were heroes,” Rose said. “Most of the awareness took place after the HBO movie.”

The mission of the Davis Chapter today is to educate and inspire.

“Our mission is to perpetuate and preserve the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. We use aviation, aeronautics, and airplanes as a hook to get kids interested and then try to convince them that, just like the Tuskegee Airmen, if you’re prepared you can do anything,” Rose said.

“In today’s world, prepared is spelled STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We have various programs. Our primary program at the moment is out at Offutt Air Force Base. We have nine kids out there today flying the KR 135 flight simulator. It’s a very unique program — a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

In addition to being the namesake for the chapter, Alfonza W. Davis has a middle school named for him in the Omaha Public School System. Davis was the first African-American aviator from Omaha to be awarded his wings. A recipient of the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Unit Citation, Davis was assumed to be dead after going missing on or about July 30, 1945 over the Adriatic Sea.

For more information on the Alfonza W. Davis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Incorporated visit their website or facebook page.

Builders of Bellevue University: Across the Years and Generations

Posted on June 29th, 2016 by

Builders of Bellevue University: Across the Years and Generations

By Bill Wax

In celebration of Bellevue University’s 50th Anniversary, we take time to recognize the many individuals and organizations that have helped to build the University into Nebraska’s largest private college or university. R. Joe Dennis and his daughter, Susan, are prime examples of the vital role played by Builders of Bellevue University.

Joe and Susan Dennis Provided Early and Ongoing Support and Involvement

The late R. Joe Dennis and his daughter, Susan, a current member of the University Board, were not only business partners, but individuals who have been among Bellevue University’s most consistent and stalwart supporters and advocates from its beginnings.

Joe & Susan Bldg LC 360ppi

Joe Dennis

After returning from military service in World War II, Bellevue, Nebraska, native R. Joe Dennis partnered with his brother, Bill, to build homes in Sarpy and Douglas counties, and then with Bellevue realtor F. Hoyte Freeman, to launch Freeman Company. Dennis was company President.

Although he did not join Bellevue College’s Board of Directors until 1970, Mr. Dennis played a pivotal role in the college’s founding. He strongly supported the idea of building a local college, which was presented by businessman William V. “Bill” Brooks at a June 1965 meeting and took the lead in raising start-up funding. He was part of a core of key leaders, including the founding Board of Directors, who formed a Finance Committee that met at Johnson’s Pharmacy in downtown Bellevue later and built and divided up a list of likely local donors to ask for their help to raise the start-up money through a local bond issue. A 40-year history of the University compiled by longtime University Art Professor Dr. Joyce Wilson, includes this account. “According to Bill Brooks, Joe Dennis really took charge of the fundraising effort and took a large portion of the list for himself.”

The community ultimately raised $218,000, enough to purchase a vacant 14,000 square-foot building and 7 ½ acres of land formerly occupied by International Telephone and Telegraph (IT&T). Dennis was President of the Bellevue Industrial Corporation, which owned the property. Initially the building housed the entire college: nine classrooms, a library, student lounge, and administrative and faculty offices.  Thanks to Joe and other community leaders, the College now had a home and opened in September 1966 with about 400 students, three-fourths attending evening classes.

After it proved financially unfeasible to develop some college-owned land overlooking the Missouri River, which at one point was intended to be the eventual home of a brand-new campus, Dennis proposed developing the property as a residential area called College Heights and using the profits to pay off the College’s bond debt. “We were able to pay every note holder off down to the last one, including interest,” he recalled later. Some bond holders waived repayment and donated their notes back to the College.

When his first wife, Marialyce, died in the early 1980s, Mr. Dennis launched a memorial scholarship in her name, helping dozens of students to complete their education. R. Joe Dennis received an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree from the University in 1988. Dennis, who was known by many local residents as “Mr. Bellevue,” died in 2009. The University’s R. Joe Dennis Learning Center is named in his honor. A charter Board member of the college said of him, “Were it not for the efforts of Joe Dennis and several other earlier supporters, Bellevue College (University) probably would not exist today.”

Susan J. Dennis

Like her father, Susan J. Dennis grew up in Bellevue. She became acquainted with Bellevue College as a young person through her father’s involvement. Freeman Company, the family business where she sometimes helped out, is located right across Galvin Road from the University’s main campus.

Susan Dennis Honorary Degree“As a Bellevue native, I can tell you that Bellevue University is truly a great source of pride for this city, and for me personally,” Susan recalled recently. She became Freeman Company’s president after her father, Joe, retired. She joined her father, R. Joe Dennis, on the Bellevue College Board of Directors in 1992. “I joined the board because It was a working board,” she said. “They enabled the College to meet some daunting challenges and continue to be successful. They wanted college to be affordable and accessible for members of the community, including second-chance students.

“The reason I have remained involved and supported the University all these years is the students,” Susan said. “As a young adult, watching the college grow, I realized that I was fortunate. My parents paid for my college education. I took it for granted. But at Bellevue University, I saw people who were working hard just to pick up three credits anytime they could.”

Like her father, Susan has provided steady support and guidance and served as chair of the University and Foundation boards. She received an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree from the University in 2016.

IT&T Building 2 IT&T Building 1

A 14,000 square-foot former International Telephone and Telegraph building housed the entire college when Bellevue College opened in summer 1966.  The building included 9 classrooms, a library, break room, and faculty and staff offices.






Alum McPheron-Kreitter a Hit As UFC Executive Assistant

Posted on June 28th, 2016 by

Alum McPheron-Kreitter a Hit As UFC Executive Assistant

 By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Want to know what it’s like to operate inside the Octagon?

Kim McPheron-Kreitter knows as well as anybody. Not in the same way as Ronda Rousey or Miesha Tate, but as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Operations Officer and the Chief Financial Officer at UFC, McPheron-Kreitter is definitely running with the heavyweights of the Las Vegas-based mixed martial arts organization.

KKIt’s McPheron-Kreitter’s job to handle the details for COO Lawrence Epstein and CFO Nakisa Bidarian.

“I am a project manager, event planner, payment processor, travel coordinator, personal assistant, office coordinator, relationship manager, communication liaison, etc.,” said McPheron-Kreitter, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management from Bellevue University in 1995. “The executive assistant role has changed so much over the years which is why I really enjoy it – the ability to take on various tasks and responsibilities are endless.”

After graduating from Grand Island (Neb.) High School, McPheron-Kreitter attended Central Community College before joining the Air Force.

“A friend of mine met with an Air Force recruiter, was telling me about it, and I thought what do I have to lose!” she said. “I scheduled a meeting, the recruiter was a great salesperson, and I signed up!  It was the best thing I ever did!”

McPheron-Kreitter served for eight years before separating from the military in 1998.

“I was in the administrative career field in the military, so I have had the opportunity to work in so many different areas – security forces, the base commander’s staff, maintenance squadron, and transportation squadron – I really enjoyed all of my assignments for different reasons,” she said. “But, my favorite/most interesting assignment was the opportunity to deploy to Saudi Arabia at the same time as my husband.  Few military couples are given that opportunity and to experience the military’s overseas objectives and in a different culture together – we still talk about it years later.”

After her active duty career concluded, McPheron-Kreitter worked in a variety of civil service jobs before landing at PayPal as a Community Events Manager in 2006. When her husband, Doug Kreitter, retired from the Air Force, the family (daughter Madison is now 11 years old) moved to Las Vegas and McPheron-Kreitter connected with UFC as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

“I wanted to find a position in the casino or sports industry.  I applied for an executive assistant position at the UFC thinking there was no possible way I would get a call because you probably need to know somebody who knows somebody in the company, so I was very surprised when I did!” McPheron-Kreitter said.

So what’s different about working for UFC as opposed to PayPal or the military?

“The UFC is definitely a faster pace. It has grown so much since I first started with triple the number of employees, offices now around the world, more events per year, and many more distribution channels.  The original owners are still with the UFC, so it has also been interesting to watch the company evolve,” she said.

McPheron-Kreitter came to Bellevue University to complete her bachelor’s degree while stationed at Offutt Air Force Base just a few miles south of the school.

“Like other military members, I was in search of a school/program that would take into account my military experience, training, and associate’s degree. Bellevue University offered an accelerated bachelor’s degree program in the evenings that was perfectly aligned with my military commitment,” she said. “It was extremely beneficial to be part of a program where my classmates were not just other military members, but people from outside of the military who were actually in positions in companies and offering their ‘real world’ experiences in class.”

McPheron-Kreitter, who holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma, credits her Bellevue University education with expanding the way she thinks beyond black and white.

“I still recall my first interview as I was preparing to separate from the Air Force. We were in Las Vegas and I had applied everywhere! I wasn’t having much luck, but then got a call from a small hotel/casino who wanted me to interview for a marketing coordinator position. When I interviewed, one of the senior vice president’s first few questions to me was ‘can you think outside of black and white’?” she said. “This was her concern with hiring military members since life in the military is so regimented.  I attribute my ability to think in “gray” terms to my bachelor’s program.  Having teachers and students with ‘real world’ experiences was instrumental in shaping my thought process after I separated from the military.”


Bellevue University Celebrates 50 Years

Posted on June 27th, 2016 by

Bellevue University Celebrates 50 Years

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

50thThe University kicked off its 50th Anniversary with an all-campus meeting on Friday, June 24 in the Criss Auditorium of the Hitchcock Humanities Center. The event featured several veterans of the University reminiscing about the ‘good ole days,’ a video recounting the University’s first 40 years as well as faculty and longevity awards.

Rita Sanders, Mayor of the City of Bellevue, read a proclamation declaring it Bellevue University Day throughout the city.

University President Dr. Mary Hawkins and Chief Operating Officer Matt Davis wrapped up the meeting by addressing where the University will be moving in the future.

Jim Maxwell, Director of Public Relations, hosted the event.

Hawkins emphasized the University’s goal to become the premier open access institution in the United States.

“Open access means opportunity,” Hawkins said. “We believe that there should be an equality of opportunity. It’s not that everyone is going to get to the same level. We really believe that people should have the opportunity for a better life and to pass that on.”

The University will accomplish that goal by focusing on a number of key areas including offering relevant degrees, embedding skills to performance in all programs, and developing an engaged citizenry. High graduation rates and affordable tuition rates will also be keys.

“We are about growth. Our strategic plan has a lot of spelled out about why and how we’re going to grow going forward,” Hawkins said.

Davis offered a glimpse of how the University will be presenting those ideals to the public.

The University is working with Entangled Solutions, a San Francisco-based company that markets itself as an innovation agency for Higher Education. The organization will be collaborating with the University’s Marketing Department to produce a website that details how the University is defining “Premier Open Access Institution” and how it intends to become just that.

“Selective institutions can only have selective impacts,” Davis said. “We take folks no matter where they’re at. We can meet them where they are, no matter where they’re at.  If they walk through our doors and work with you, they have an equal chance of walking off our stage no matter where they came from.”

Other highlights included faculty awards.

A group of 11 professors earned the John R. Maenner Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for their role in teaching, coaching and nurturing students from Guangzhou College of Commerce. Those professors are: Drs. Ed Haynes, Tony Jasnowski, David Levy, Jena Shafai as well as Professors Charles Benish, Gloria Lessmann, Kristin Lynch, Laurel Mitchell, Sheryl Okash, and Mark Stevens.

Dr. Julia Cronin-Gilmore earned the John R. Maenner Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award.

“I’m fortunate she created an exceptional, innovative marketing program. No other program in the area is comparable,” said one nominator.

Dr. Emad Rahim won the faculty award for Excellence in Innovation.

“He has redesigned the MPM program adding up to date course materials and creating templates students could use professionally,” said one nominator. “He’s also designed the assignments and content to be more applied learning thus balancing theory and real-world application.”

SONY DSCThe fireside chat (minus the fire) featured long-time University employees Robin Bernstein, Senior Director of Library Services; Jerry Blasig, Vice President of Administration, and Dr. Jon Kayne, Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. The group reminisced about some of the unique aspects of the University in its earlier days.

“I had been here two weeks when President Muller told me ‘we have a bit of a problem. The Board is going to talk about whether to close the doors,” Kayne said. “I’m thinking I’ve been here two weeks my family is coming I’ve burned my bridges. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do with myself. That was the beginning where everything had to happen tomorrow. It wasn’t like my previous experience in academia where you had a year or two to make things happen. I guess I was kind of socialized into the whole process that way.”

Blasig explained some of the unique wild life that frequented campus in the early days.

“The west part of the campus there was a farm to the west of us,” he said. “They had some horses. Every once in a while the horses got loose and ran through campus.”


Huckabee-Washington Reflects on Gilman Experience

Posted on June 16th, 2016 by

Huckabee-Washington Reflects on Gilman Experience

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Cheryl Huckabee-Washington recently reflected on her experience in Barcelona after earning the study abroad opportunity through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program.

The Q&A below is part of the follow project report required by the interns in the Gilman program.

HuckabeeAppWhat were some of your responsibilities during your internship with BarcelonaSAE?

My responsibilities took on new and exciting directions. My duties mimicked a very fruitful collaboration with the CEO of a newly developed App to assist business with Executive Recruitments and Event Planning.  I began with  conducting a SWOT analysis which served as a roadmap to carefully craft various quality controls techniques which would help put the product in the marketplace a with greater success and minimal risk.

We conducted focus groups of the product’s viability and tweaked the App as needed for a more International functioning appeal and usage.

I found an assistant to train and help with the office Admin duties while the CEO was concentrating on outside marketing opportunities.

Worked on presentation to pitch App to the EU leaders and businesses.            

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

I really enjoyed the energies of working within an incubator with such diverse and driven entrepreneurs.  So my experiences transcended more than just my particular focus and objectives.  There were opportunities to collectively interact with others in a collaborative manner since breaks are most common place in their work culture.

What advice would you have for others pursuing a Gilman scholarship or other study-abroad opportunities? Particularly for a non-traditional student?

The Gilman will provide an epic opportunity to the non-traditional students who maybe are retraining or retooling to keep pace with the current International competitive marketplaces.  It can be a real game changer for one’s career directions.

The support from the Gilman Scholarship team is excellent.  The fact that Gilman identifies and supports students from the diverse pool of our country’s citizens speaks volumes to the intent of facilitating the growth of our nation’s commitment to international collaboration both culturally and economically.

What was your impression of Barcelona? What did you enjoy most about the city? What was most challenging?

Barcelona is an exquisitely magical and beautiful city. The weather in the fall and winter was just great.  Barcelona is on the Mediterranean coast. I lived only 2 blocks from the beach.  The architecture just amazing — Antoni Gaudi impressive works are viewable around the city. Barcelona is very vibrate, alive with events, (I saw Madonna in concert), music and nightlife such as a Flamingo Dancer’s show, Tapas bars, oh how authentic. The art and culture there is full bodied, I went to museums and saw works from Picasso and Dali. I took a cooking class to learn how to make seafood paella which included shopping for the ingredients.

Health care was excellent and better structured in cost.  Some of our prescription drugs are over the counter and much cheaper there, however, many were manufactured by the U.S. pharmaceutical companies I found that most interesting.

No personal firearms allowed — makes a difference in crimes which have hand guns. Downside is the many pickpockets; they have a certain acceptance which I found unacceptable.

What was your impression of the Barcelona/Spanish culture?

There are many types of people from various cultures around the world who are wonderful, inviting and accepting not just the Spanish or native Catalonians.  So much universal acceptance of lifestyle choices, open displays of affection not in an offensive manner.  Barcelona has very impressive environmental policies which all citizens gladly participates in so it is very clean.  There are the Spanish culture and the Catalan culture which is more unique to Barcelona.  The dynamics of the history and co-existing of the two nationalities are very interesting.

What were some of your biggest takeways from the experience? Did you make some business connections? Will you be going back or doing more traveling in general?

My greatest takeaway was how glad I was that I applied for the Gilman Scholarship and was selected.  As a non-traditional student it took a tremendous effort to clear my scheduled at home, business, civic, and personal responsibilities to go.  I was the only intern which still had course work to complete I was doing my Capstone class also working back at home remotely.

Yes, I did manage to secure some working partnership which I am fostering now that I am back for the future and I am so absolutely thrilled about the possibilities of continued working partnerships.

Yes, I will go back, my home placement also secured a great mutual friendship so I would want to visit her and my many other wonderful people who just open up their hearts, and homes to me.  Also I have invited them to come to the U. S. and visit with my family and me.

Glad to be back?

Yes, there is no place like home, however, home can also be where one heart is and the heart can hold many special places for wonderful experiences past, present and future personally and professionally.

Thank you Gilman, Bellevue, and BarcelonaSAE


Stickalicious Pops: Keeping You Cool at the CWS

Posted on June 13th, 2016 by

Stickalicious Pops: Keeping You Cool at the CWS

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Are you planning on taking in some College World Series action this week? With temperatures projected into the 90s, you’d better have a plan on keeping cool as well.

StickaliciousLogoA Basil Lime or Simply Strawberry popsicle from Stickalicious Pops is a step in the right direction. The year-old business, owned by Jenna and David King of Missouri Valley, Iowa, will have a stand at the Omaha Baseball Village, 501 N. 13th Street, during the CWS, June 16-29. The couple splits duties with Jenna handling the sales and kitchen, while David, a 2015 Bellevue University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain and Logistics Management, handles inventory, purchasing, and event set-up.

Stickalicious Pops aren’t just any old popsicle though. The treats are made with local produce whenever possible including strawberries, apples, melons, and basil (other ingredients such as grapefruit, pineapple, and coconut aren’t grown locally).

“Right now, we don’t have a supply chain, in the sense that two links don’t make a chain,” said David, who also works as a Customer Account Specialist at Airlite Plastics, in their Fox Blocks division. “We work with farms to get local produce whenever possible. We research and negotiate with vendors to get the best prices. As Stickalicious Pops grows, this will develop into a more traditional supply chain, one that is more in line with my course work from Bellevue University.”

That growth is coming fast.

“We had a plan for slow sustainable growth. Now that we have been presented with so many amazing opportunities, we try to keep up,” David said. “We have dipped our toes into the entrepreneurial waters before, and it seemed cold and impossible. I guess when you find a good fit, you know. It also helps that Jenna and I are further along in our career development and better prepared to ride the wave rather than get off the beach.”

The Kings moved from New Jersey to the Midwest eight years ago in search of greener pastures.

13427897_1623441227973340_7282712602087184098_n“Simply put, jobs. More broadly, the dream of higher education, careers over jobs, home ownership, and business ownership seemed entirely impossible in a state with such a high cost of living,” David said. “Nebraska has been a great place to grow, and live the good life! About a year and a half ago, Jenna and I bought a home in Iowa, and Stickalicious is based there. Iowa has been phenomenal in helping with starting and building a small business.”

David brought an Associate’s degree in Secondary Education from Cumberland County Community College in Vineland, New Jersey with him and Bellevue University’s credit transfer policy made for an easy transition.

“The credit transfer process is the reason I attended Bellevue University,” David said. “There are many things that attracted me to Bellevue. I loved the convenience of online classes, but I wanted a physical university as well. Bellevue offers the best of both. The Kirkpatrick Series is life changing. I, of course, did not know that going into it, but I loved the concept. I knew that the University shared several of my core values. I also was impressed by the real world education concept. Classes teach more than a theory, they teach application. But credit transfer is why this was all possible. I was able to choose Bellevue University over less costly options because I had my AA, so I was halfway to my Bachelor’s degree.”

David cited a Business Finance class with Adjunct Professor Jane McGee as one of the highlights of his academic career.

“It was very fun and informative to deep dive into a company’s financial data and draw conclusions, predictions, and comparisons from what we found,” he said. “A very helpful class in learning how healthy businesses operate.”

Stickalicious Pops landed their prime CWS spot when organizers at the Omaha Baseball Village noticed David and Jenna’s charitable contributions.

SimplyStrawberry“The organizers had an opening for a nondairy dessert and contacted us. They were impressed that we donate tips to Fit Girl Inc., a nonprofit that helps girls aged 9 to 14 learn to build healthy relationships, love themselves, and live a healthy lifestyle,” Jenna said. “The event is partnered with Camp Quality, a camp for children battling cancer and their siblings. We are proud to be participating in supporting them as well.”

So what to try at the stand? David favors Ditmar’s Mulled Apple Cider, a sweet and tangy pop made with Ditmar’s Apple Cider mulled with cinnamon.

“I could eat that year round, but sales on that trend toward the late summer and fall,” David said.

Jenna recommends Mango Madness.

“Mango Madness stands out because it is so fresh. Even as we make batch after batch of them for the CWS, the smell of fresh mango never gets old,” she said. “The other one that stands out is our Cookies and Dream pop. It is made with cookies from The Country Oven, a small partner bakery in Blair, NE that makes fabulous cookies and brownies.”

Sounds like you can’t go wrong. So stay cool and play ball!


Builders of Bellevue University-Bill Brooks

Posted on June 13th, 2016 by

Builders of Bellevue University-William V. “Bill” Brooks

 By Bill Wax

As we celebrate Bellevue University’s 50th Anniversary, we take time to recognize a number of individuals and organizations that have helped to build the University into Nebraska’s largest private college or university. Bellevue University is celebrating its 50th Anniversary because of historic leaders like our very own Bill Brooks—founder and Builder of Bellevue University.

William V. “Bill” Brooks Saw a Need for College and Inspired the Community to Pursue It

Bill BrooksAfter returning home from a distinguished career as a Marine fighter pilot in the South Pacific during World War II, the late William V. “Bill” Brooks started several successful Bellevue-area businesses, including a gasoline and auto service station.

“A lot of local kids came to my place to find work,” Brooks recalled years later. “My theory was, you have to be pretty darn smart to work in a gasoline station, and if you are going to succeed, you need to go ahead and get your college education.” But with the exception of Omaha University, which offered some night classes, there weren’t many alternatives for local working students seeking to advance their education in the 1960s.

Brooks saw a need, which prompted him to do some research and float the idea of starting a new college in Bellevue and presented the idea at the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce’s dinner meeting in June 1965. “I asked for five minutes, and the enthusiasm of the crowd in the Chamber was so great that I suppose I was up there talking 30 minutes,” Brooks said. “The business people said, ‘Boy, this would be a terrific thing for Bellevue! It fills a need that some of our kids could find beneficial.’”

Brooks Library Groundbreaking

Bill Brooks, right, helps break ground for construction of the College’s Library in the early 1970s, Also pictured, Librarian Ruth Palmquist, foreground, and board member L. A. Campbell.

Brooks was one of five founding members of the Board of Directors of Bellevue College, which opened for classes in September 1966. In July 1967, Brooks himself became a member of the College’s first graduating class of 37 seniors. He had completed three years at Peru State College before the war interrupted his education and plans of becoming a teacher. So what better place to complete his education than the college he founded?

Bill and Jane 90s

Bill and Jayne Brooks

The first few start-up years included daunting challenges of various kinds: financial, academic, personnel, developing a campus, getting accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Sometimes, Brooks acknowledged, it was worrisome, but he had no regrets. His wife, Jayne, once asked him, “Why did you ever do that? Why did you ever go down there (Chamber) and suggest we start a college?” He responded by citing the comment of another founder of the College, the late Leonard Lawrence, who said, “Had we been men of good sound judgment, we never would have done it.”

“But I guess we weren’t,” Brooks quipped, “so we did.”

At the time of his passing in 2010, Brooks was one of the last surviving American pilots of the Battle of Midway in June 1942. He is fondly remembered for his quiet strength and unwavering support, involvement and leadership in his community, and as a member of the Board of Directors for most of Bellevue University’s 50-year history. The citation accompanying the honorary Doctor of Laws degree he received from Bellevue College in 1985 begins, “It is a trait of true leaders that, even in the middle of their own daily affairs, they are sources of vision and ideals.”

The founding Board of Directors of Bellevue College

Founding Board Members

From left to right: William V. “Bill” Brooks, business entrepreneur; H.W. “Hugh” Campbell, President, Bank of Bellevue; L.A. Campbell, funeral director; John S. Reinhart, President, First National Bank of Bellevue; and Harold A. Smock, Executive Secretary, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce.

Chadron’s Turman Adds MHA to Busy Schedule

Posted on June 9th, 2016 by

Chadron’s Turman Adds MHA to Busy Schedule

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

FreelTurman_CroppedAlready the Chief Information Officer at Chadron Community Hospital in northwest Nebraska, Anna Turman took on the responsibilities of Chief Operating Officer three years ago. That makes for a pretty hectic schedule already, but Turman is also in the midst of pursuing her Master of Healthcare Administration at Bellevue University. Turman was recently interviewed about her experiences in the MHA program so far, and what it takes to juggle work family and school.

What led you to pursue your MHA at Bellevue University?

I am an extremely driven person, and ultimately desire to be the most highly effective leader I can be.  I am actively involved in the healthcare industry with many years of experience, but leading with experience alone I feel is a myopic approach.  I felt there was tremendous opportunity for growth of my leadership skills through greater knowledge.  Bellevue’s MHA Program aligned with my goals, making it the right fit, and here I am today.

What have you enjoyed most about the program thus far?

I have learned there is no perfect set of leadership skills; it is how one utilizes those skills and leadership style that adds value.  I have most enjoyed the diversity of professors and students, and appreciate the different approaches and styles in every class.  I learn something new from every committed and involved person from students to professors; you get out of it what you put into it. I also appreciate the extensive backgrounds of the professors; they add value when they teach from experience.

How do you juggle work and family responsibilities with school work?

It is tremendously helpful to have wonderful support mechanisms or team, the stronger the support from work, school, and family the easier it is.  I just simply make sure I am giving 100% to all three commitments and it comes back three fold. It then becomes less of a juggling act worrying about dropping a ball, and more about a balancing act where team members support some weight.   The only things I have let slide a bit, is my morning run (the dog has gained a lot of weight), and how often I make lunches for the kids to take to school.  There will always be sacrifices, one just needs to prioritize what is ok to sacrifice, in this case an overweight dog, and more hot lunches seem like appropriate sacrifices.

Has anyone been particularly supportive during the process (family, professor, etc.)?

My family takes the biggest brunt, and has been the biggest supporters.  My kids do their homework with me after school, they read to me at night while I am doing homework, they help make breakfast while I am doing homework, and they snuggle on the couch with me while I am doing homework.  They have even let me work on homework on the sidelines between wrestling, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and football games.  All of this and I have never once heard a complaint that I am too busy for them.  My kids and husband are more amazing than I am, they are my own personal cheerleaders, and teammates in my pursuit for a MHA.

From Bellevue perspective I have had great experiences with professors especially Dr. (Mike) Freel who encourage, understand, and support my goals of success, I especially appreciate when they weave themselves throughout the healthcare community, their commitment to presenting or attending organizational forums, conferences, and meetings validates that they are committed to developing and supporting the future leaders of healthcare.

What has it been like to interact in the online classroom with other healthcare professionals from around the country?

It is very different than the previous experience of earning my bachelor’s degree, but different is good.  Life is different than it was the last time I went to school.  Life is fast paced and busy, and for someone who is balancing family, work, and school like me, they will find advantage in the agility and flexibility of Bellevue’s MHA program.  The program is much more interactive than I would have actually expected, and I appreciate the diversity of fellow students from all across the country.  I sometimes even forget that another student I am talking to is from a completely different state, or organization.   The ability to network and connect with each other removes the factor of distance as a barrier.  I feel that In today’s culture of immediate gratification Bellevue’s MHA program is successful at providing responsive and conducive interaction.

What are some of your responsibilities as COO and CIO at Chadron Community Hospital?

My responsibilities are along a very broad spectrum especially in a small rural organization where employees where many hats.  The most important responsibility is leading, empowering, engaging, and believing in the most valuable of all assets, the employees.  It is a team effort to accomplish any goals operationally.  My team is made up of incredibly hardworking people with pioneering attitudes that have helped provide access to high quality care efficiently and effectively for our community.

What led you to take on the role of COO three years ago?

A Chief Information’s officer is a business partner in an organization, who aligns the IT department’s goals and objectives with the organizations strategic goals.  Having the vernacular and experience of technology added value to what seemed a natural and logical move to Chief Operations Officer, managing operations in the technologically savvy world today often requires leveraging technology to improve processes and quality, in effort to achieve goals. Based on my leadership experience and technological vernacular, it was the right fit and move for both the organization and myself.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What are some of the biggest challenges?

I enjoy the people, especially taking a group of diverse individuals with different beliefs, opinions, ideas, strengths, and weaknesses and connecting them to meet there fullest potential to ultimately attain success as a team.  It is an awesome thing as a leader when there is synergy.