CWP Architects Design Future Through Client Cooperation

Carlson West Povondra Architects began in 1987 with a philosophy of client-centered design – an approach it has carried forward in the intervening decades.

The full-service architectural firm’s design expertise is vast. It spans education, commercial office, justice, police, fire, senior and supportive housing and spiritual design. CWP projects have included repurposing buildings and interior renovation in addition to building from the ground up.

“We have a lot of land available here in the Midwest,” said Mike West, senior principal and architect. “But we also work toward slowing urban sprawl. We’re always looking at what exists and can sometimes repurpose buildings that may seem otherwise disposable. Sometimes, it’s a matter of helping a client to fully envision their space.”

The firm’s staff of 25, based out of 5060 Dodge St. is made up of architects, interior designers, construction administrators, urban designers and support staff.

Jamie Eckmann, head of business development and a partner, said the firm’s architecture, interior design, graphics and construction departments “evolved towards a more collaborative environment” in recent years.

“We encourage younger professionals to question and learn from the experiences of those with years of experience,” Eckmann said.

The firm completed a rebranding process and full interior renovation of their building about two years ago. That project promoted flexible and collaborative work, while allowing individuals to maintain productivity.

Reference books and product publications, once prevalent in an architect’s space, all but disappeared, replaced by digital resources, and physical product samples of exterior materials as well as carpeting, floor and wall tiles were shifted into a product library outfitted with a specialized lighting system that shows how a color scheme looks in a range of natural and artificial lighting.

Clients “can experience how they will function in their yet to be built building,” Eckmann said.

West said clients can also see how light changes within a space over the course of a day and with the seasons, as a summer afternoon and winter morning often will create different lighting.

Darin Blair, senior associate and architect, said virtual reality offers another opportunity to experience what a building will be like before it’s constructed.

VR allows for clients to evaluate plan layout, experience lines of sight for improved observation and security, view multiple variations of finishes and walk their space as it is changed in real time, Blair said.

“We could always discuss how a space looks, but now we can show clients how the space feels,” he said.

The firm’s evolution has earned it the honor of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business of the Month Award for March.

For more information on CWP Architects, visit the firm’s website at


Written for the Omaha Daily Record:

Verdant Focuses on Clients to Help Them Grow Their

Although founded as a traditional accounting agency in the 1950s, Verdant Accounting and Business Strategies began offering an expanded range of complementary services in recent years to handle all marketing and financial needs for small to medium-sized businesses.

The firm’s philosophy is to provide dynamic accounting and business strategy, including offering wealth, human capital, insurance and creative services.

“We’re not just the place you’re going to drop off your tax returns,” said Angela Schroeder, business development director.

Verdant is a client-oriented business and its 30 employees seek to better serve clients’ needs through a mindful approach and attention to detail.

Its founders “set a real intention on culture, process as well as executing client experiences and having vulnerable and impactful conversations,” Schroeder said.

The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce awarded Verdant its Small Business of the Month Award for its superior customer service. Schroeder said it was exciting to be recognized.

Caitlin Manley, digital specialist and photographer for Verdant, said the firm’s logo shows how details are important to the firm.

The logo combines four flowers into one.

“When it was created, there were four different divisions, so each flower represents each division,” Manley said.

As a designer, Manley finds it rewarding when clients enjoy a new website or logo. She said they “get really excited about it and are motivated to move onto the next part.”

Verdant’s president, Brian Goracke, enjoys watching clients’ businesses progress over time.

“What I really love is that every day is different,” Goracke said. “I get to help my clients grow through all of the diverse services that we offer. Whether it’s the accounting or the creative side, wealth management and human capital or insurance, there’s so many things that we get to wrap around that business owner and help them with the things that they ultimately don’t want to do and are not the experts to do.”

Schroeder said Verdant’s marketing strategy is primarily referral-based, so they treat every client experience as an opportunity to earn new business.

Verdant also offers complimentary consultations to assess the needs of any company. To book a consultation or find more information, visit

Written for the Omaha Daily Record:


Written for Cubby’s Blog:

When a community is faced with a pandemic like COVID-19, closing schools and after school programs can lead to a ripple effect of negative consequences that might not even occur to some. Believe it or not, one in six children struggles with hunger in Nebraska*, meaning these daily programs are essential for the survival of struggling families trying to put food on the table.

Luckily, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Omaha has partnered with Cubby’s Convenience Stores to provide 1,000 sack lunches per day to families that might otherwise go without.

According to Tom Kunkel, CPO of BGCO, “the school districts and the Food Bank had done a really good job helping to cover the breakfast and lunch for kids and families, but there were still some gaps in the evening meal, which was where we would normally fit in. That is when we decided to see if we could provide an evening meal distribution to our members,” who had been unable to access clubs since March 13th. Kunkel had some difficulty finding a local source of produce and supplies at his initial inquiry, so when Cubby’s stepped in to provide meals for the organization at cost, they began distributing meals to hundreds of families from eight of their fourteen locations. In their first three nights, according to Kunkel, the clubs served 2,242 meals and continue to do so daily from 5-7pm.

De Lone Wilson, President of Cubby’s, has been participating daily in the organization and distribution process. He said,  “We have worked on past projects with the The Boys and Girls Clubs and when they reached out looking for a partner we didn’t hesitate to help. At our Old Market store all sandwiches are made fresh so we didn’t need to contact any vendor.  We’re able to provide the food at cost. I visited with our Executive Chef, Sherri Summers and Store Director, Zach Hennings to be sure we were capable of this daily effort with no determined end date – both were eager to get started and staffed up with employees and rounded up some volunteers.  Within a couple of days we’re up to speed and making and delivering 750 to 1,000 meals a day, five days a week. We are happy to have the resources to help”.

Having these pickup locations available has also helped the BGCO stay in touch with the community they love to serve. Kunkel said, “just having some sort of contact is important. We’re practicing social distancing and wearing gloves and masks and minimizing contact,” while providing a quick drive-thru service where families can take home 5-6 meals that will get them through the night. As we adapt to our new normal amidst COVID-19, Kunkel said, “having just one way that we can try to help some of the most vulnerable families in our community is really important, and Cubby’s is right there next to us helping to do that.”

For information on how to donate or to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Omaha and join the fight against hunger in Nebraska, visit

Cubby’s Convenience Store, a staple of Downtown Omaha, is open to help serve the tightly knit area and its residents for groceries, including meat and fresh produce.

KreativElement’s Core Values Bring Clients Success

In high school, James Duran brokered lockers for his classmates. Now he uses his business savvy running KreativElement, a digital media agency located in the heart of downtown Omaha.

“I had always had a bug of being an entrepreneur,” said Duran, the firm’s managing partner, who added that he has a knack for problem-solving and thinking outside the box.

For their outstanding service to the Omaha metro, KreativElement has been selected by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce as the first Small Business of the Month Award Recipient of 2020.

In September 2012, KreativElement was formed out of a small digital agency of a different name to serve as a comprehensive digital media agency. The firm focuses primarily on social media management using video to communicate client marketing strategies, but it also offers services of all kinds while maintaining a role laying the foundation of a business’ marketing strategy.

“We are fairly siloed, which means that we have specialties in things like social media, web design and development, and digital ads – that’s SEO, SEM and display ads,” Duran said, using acronyms for search-engine optimization and search-engine marketing.

To maintain a loyal clientele base, KreativElement strives to create long-term relationships with every organization it represents.

“Those businesses that started with us in 2012 are still doing business with us today,” Durnan said, adding that his team has been able to bear witness to their partners’ successes.

Having acquired a business recently that won the award in 2016, Duran said he and his team are excited for the positive feedback from their community. Going into the new decade, the business is focusing on health care; nonprofits, professional and home services; improving processes; and on continuing to do bigger and better things.

“It’s a new decade, a new year, a new time, it’s a fresh start for everybody,” he said. “We have plans for big growth in 2020.”

One aspect of KreativElement that has made the business so successful are its core values, summed up as “TRIBE.” That means the firm’s team operates with Transparency, is Results-oriented, comes up with Innovative ideas, hires and serves the Best people and clients and Engages with its community.

Courtney McGann, director of operations, said she enjoys her role at KreativElement because they’re not “helicopter bosses.”

“People don’t have the fear to fail, which means they’re more open to trying new things and taking risks,” McGann said.

Logan Aurelia, a staff member of KreativElement, said his favorite part of his job is the team.

“We all get along really well,” Aurelia said. “We work together creatively and cooperatively, and like the variety of the clients. I have about 20, and they’re all completely different.”

Duran said the firm strives to be transparent with its clients.

“We don’t hide behind what we call ‘digital magic,’” he said.

The team explains every element in the creative process of fabricating their media to prove exactly why their time and services are so valuable – which makes the firm a better partner.

“I treat every business we work with as if it were my own,” Duran said. “We say that we’re essentially your marketing department; we just don’t drink your coffee.”

To find more information about KreativElement and its services, visit

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