Photo: Director Tony Goins (podium) and Gov. Ricketts (in back of podium) at today’s press briefing. Video from today’s briefing is available by clicking here.

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) is launching a new North Omaha field office.  The office will work to attract investment, support local entrepreneurs, develop the workforce, and grow the inventory of affordable housing.

“With its physical presence in North Omaha, Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development will connect more Nebraskans to great opportunities to create jobs, grow businesses, and achieve their dreams,” said Gov. Ricketts. “North Omaha is brimming with potential, and we have terrific leaders in place to help the community prosper.” 

Bellevue resident Trevon Brooks, an entrepreneur and mentor who has been a part of the local business community since retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 2017, has been selected to manage the new location.  He will be supported by staff including Georgetown University law grad Jacquelyn Morrison—recently hired by DED to help administer the State’s business incentives—and a yet-to-be-named housing specialist, among others. 

“We are choosing proactive leaders with a passion for the community to help achieve our vision for this new DED location,” said DED Director Tony Goins.  “I want to thank our Governor for his outstanding leadership in bringing this project to fruition.  We are ready to put boots on the ground and help support a thriving North Omaha business community.” 

The new field office is part of a broader effort launched by Gov. Ricketts earlier this year to spur growth in North Omaha.  The “North Omaha Economic Revitalization Committee”—led by State officials including DED Director Goins, Department of Health and Human Services CEO Dannette Smith, and Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Director Jason Jackson, in collaboration with numerous public and private sector leaders—is focused on removing barriers to growth and creating new opportunities to do business throughout the region. 

At today’s briefing, DAS Director Jackson also announced an initiative to increase contracting opportunities with the State.  The project is especially designed to help educate small businesses and minority-owned companies on the opportunity to compete for contracts.

The State Purchasing Bureau within DAS has implemented several enhancements to increase opportunities for these businesses to work with the State.  The initiatives have eased the process of submitting a bid proposal, brought greater transparency to contracting opportunities, and raised awareness about contracting opportunities. 

One of these initiatives is the Procurement Concierge Program, which walks businesses through the process of bidding on government contracts.  Other efforts include the online publication of upcoming bid opportunities and a media campaign to solicit bids from businesses in North and South Omaha.  Additionally, State officials are dedicating resources to educating businesses on how they can expand beyond Nebraska by participating in cooperative contracts with other states and political subdivisions.  Businesses can search for bid opportunities with the State of Nebraska by visiting the DAS State Purchasing Bureau website by clicking here.

“We are excited about making it easier to do business with state government,” said DAS Director Jason Jackson.  “These initiatives are going to enable us to increase opportunity for small businesses and minority-owned businesses, while keeping more taxpayer money in Nebraska.” 

The North Omaha office is scheduled to be up and running in January of 2021.     

Video from this afternoon’s press conference is available by clicking here.