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Success Stories

According to his friends, Alan Rust is “that guy.” He’s that guy you ask when you want to go to the best restaurant in the city, hoist a few in the best brewery in town, or hit the best bars for a classic cocktail. He’s that guy who knows the local chefs and isn’t shy about making recommendations. And he’s that guy who doesn’t just know all the hot spots in Omaha, Nebraska – he knows them in the many cities he’s lived in over the years, too!

In his previous career Alan spent decades in retail where he gained experience doing every aspect of business. But when the retail industry became unstable, he decided it was time to strike out on his own.  His friends were quick to point out what type of business he should start – an experiential based tour company.  In June 2017, Alan and co-founder and friend Dakotah Smith started American Tour Company in Omaha, Nebraska – locally known as Nebraska Tour Company. American Tour Company also operates tour companies in Iowa, Kansas,... Read More

Rich Messina, owner of Omaha’s Play It Again Sports, didn’t start out thinking being a business owner would be part of his future after he retired from the military.  He found, however, after attending entrepreneurial training offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration he had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. 

Messina had enjoyed 22 successful years as an Air Force pilot - a career that took him all over the U.S. and around the world.

When Messina finished his military career at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska in 2014, he anticipated moving into a career as a civilian pilot with a major airline. But he found himself grounded with the desire to explore becoming a small business owner.  He attended an SBA Boots to Business entrepreneurial workshop before exiting the military.  In two days, the course acquaints transitioning military members with the possibility of a future in business ownership. Following up, he attended SCORE’s two-night... Read More

Rakesh Srivastava, owner and founder of Hastings, NE based Innovative Prosthetics & Orthotics, is a textbook example of transforming childhood adversity into a career and a life-long passion for helping others in the fields of prosthetics and orthotics. Srivastava, born in India, was only 10 years old when his left leg above the knee was amputated due to an unfortunate accident. His experiences wearing a prosthetic limb and subsequent interest in the field led to him taking a position at the Akshay Pratisthan Rehabilitation Center in New Delhi. But this was only the beginning. In 1997 Srivastava relocated to the US and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Nebraska Kearney. He then became certified by the American Board of Certified Prosthetics and Orthotists – a journey that culminated in him opening Innovative Prosthetics & Orthotics in Hastings, Nebraska in 2006.

What started as a 600-sq foot clinic with two employees has since... Read More

What do a life-long love of animals, a degree in Zoology, and getting fired from a high-paying job after 30 years in the corporate world have in common? They all led to Eliza Burr creating Preferred Pet Partners, a pet care/walking/sitting business based in Omaha, Nebraska. “In 2013, I reached what I thought was the pinnacle of my career. I was climbing the corporate ladder, travelling to other countries and around the US – I had the corner office, the title, the money. Everything I’d worked for. Then in 2014 something amazing happened – I lost my job. More specifically, I got fired from my job,” said Burr when asked about the origins of Preferred Pet Partners. Eliza moved into another corporation but couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t in the right place. She wanted something more meaningful. Something closer to her true passion – caring for animals.

Eliza has always stayed close to animals and has spent over 15 years volunteering for humane societies and rescues.... Read More