Speaker Highlights: Business Growth & Resources + Marketing & Social Media
The MarkeTech 2023 Conference March 2 in Kearney will offer four (4) educational tracts focused on agritourism, adventure travel, marketing & social media, and business growth and resources. Get an inside look on MarkeTech’s speakers and sessions:
Joe Sova of Ideal Payroll Service will present Delegate to Accelerate, where he will share how to design a work flow which creates reliable, repeatable outcomes. You will discover the best ways to streamline your mindset, step into your true leadership potential and actually scale your business in a long-term, sustainable way.
Joe is a dynamic speaker, podcast host and award-winning entrepreneur. With almost 20 years of experience, Joe has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs create better systems, hire top employees and build their dream team! Years ago while employed at a Fortune 500, Joe realized corporate life was not aligned with his core values. So in 2011, he took the entrepreneurial leap, founded his own company and never looked back! Starting with zero income and zero employees, Joe went through the daily roller coaster of entrepreneurship while juggling family life. After you hear him speak, you’ll discover the fastest way out of the “daily grind” of entrepreneurship and the best way to level-up your business! Today, Joe’s company continues to grow while employing a full-time staff and helping hundreds of clients. When not talking business, Joe enjoys reading, exercising, bad 1980s action movies, and quality time with his family.
Hayden Pigott of Miles Partnership will present Vertical Video: The New Way of Social Media, which will highlight how the top social platforms of today are all about vertical-video content and some of the fundamentals and best practices for each platform’s unique audiences, plus how you can create your own content from the ground up.
Hayden creates strategies for tourism and hospitality clients’ organic and paid campaigns in vertical video, including Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. When she isn’t thinking about how DMOs can create viral videos, she is searching Charlotte for the best tacos, traveling to Austin to watch her Longhorns play or reading the latest mystery novel.
InThinking Outside the Box: Small Businesses Strategy for Selling Goods Through Big Box Retailers, GROW Nebraska members Nic Bianchi,Carole Sprunk and Neal Ely will share how they have successfully tapped into the corporate gift market, gotten their products in catalogs, and big box retailers.
Nic Bianchi of Bianchi Candle Co and Yes You Candle was 12-years old when he received a candle making kit for his birthday. He fell in love with the math and science that goes into making candles. Bianchi has used this passion to create many candle brands including Bianchi Candle Co and Yes You Candle over the last 8 years. Bianchi was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska to Dave and Nicole Bianchi. He is the youngest of two siblings, Joe and Morgen. As a busy family they still find time for monthly cook offs and dance parties. While running a company at 20 years old is very time consuming, Nic still finds time for friends and family while raising his two rambunctious huskies Leo, and Zuko.
Carole Sprunk currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska where she is the co-owner and publisher of two local niche magazines, Edge Magazine and Dine Magazine. Carole also founded Clout Coffee, a barrel aged coffee company that is putting more Clout in everyone’s cup. When Carole isn’t masterminding the next big business idea, she enjoys hanging out with her husband Chad, and their four boys. She spends her days drinking coffee and evenings enjoying bourbon.
It’s often hard to know when the benefits outweigh the cost of hiring a creative service agency versus doing things in-house. In Creating Video to Market Your Business, Alec Rahe of Frost Media Group will help take some of the guesswork out of your creative process. Learn the best questions to ask marketing agencies, level-up your website, and when it might be a good time to seek out professional help.
Alec graduated from Saint Leo University with a degree in marketing in 2009. Starting his career in sales at Camping World Corporate in Chicago, he began in the marketing department and worked his way to sales manager. Taking what he had learned from working in RVs for 5 years, Rahe applied it to national sales at Dex Media. He was named Sales Rep of the year in 2015 along with multiple other sales awards. He then applied his entrepreneurial spirit to other ventures like starting the Omaha Coffee Truck 2016-2017 and becoming Co-Owner and Managing Partner of Frost Media Group in 2018. At Frost Media Group, Alec currently works with a team of 8 people in Omaha and Kansas City. Frost Media Group’s focus is the video story telling of businesses and nonprofits to help organization achieve their communication and fundraising goals.
Is your business active on social media? Are you trying to find the balance between content creation and customer support? Not sure where to start? We’ve all been there. In Creating an Effective Social Media Strategy, Alyssa Wintz of Allo Communications will dive into the importance of using social media platforms as an avenue for marketing, targeting new customers, retaining current customers, sales, and customer support.
Alyssa graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations in 2017. Shortly after, she began her career on the Social Media team at ALLO. Wintz has spent her career obsessing over creativity, organization, time management, and relationship building. She loves teamwork, collaboration, and brainstorming. Over the past five years, Wintz has specialized in Tier 1 social media customer support, content creation, social media analytics, PR/events, and has a hand in customer email communication. Two years ago, Wintz became the Digital Experience Supervisor at ALLO, leading a team of nine exceptional customer advocates and creators.
In How to Create and Maintain an Effective Website that Really Works, Adam Kroft of redthread will help you with the do’s and don’t’s of website creation and how to make your website work best for you and your customer. Plus, get tips and tricks to consistently get your website to appear at or near the top of search engine results.
Adam is the founder and CEO of redthread, a 29-person creative advertising agency located in the heart of the Midwest in the Haymarket of Lincoln, Nebraska. Working with local and national brands from U-Stop to Google to #TeamTrees, redthread has built marketing campaigns and helped grow businesses of all shapes and sizes. Adam started his entrepreneurial career at 15-years-old buying and selling sneakers on the streets of Chicago. After that business failed, Adam went off to college at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where he majored in advertising. As he was graduating, Adam launched a freelance side-hustle which eventually became redthread. Bootstrapping the business over the last 8-years, redthread has been recognized as the 2021 Inc. 5000 No. 100 Fastest Growing Company in the Midwest and the No. 1853 fastest growing company in America. Adam has personally been recognized as 2019 Lincoln’s YPG 4 Under 40 Award and the Walter Scott Entrepreneurship Award. In his free time, Adam loves to study pop-culture, relive his athletic glory days through slow-pitch softball and take long walks along the Mopac Trail with his dog and girlfriend.
In Tips to Making Your Business A High Growth Company Panel, Bob Haney, Erin Maltzer, Odee Ingersoll, Jessica Campos and Jim Reiff will share their tips for accelerated growth, including boosting customer service, being adaptable, and thinking ahead. Also join this breakout session to learn more from resources in how they will partner with you in developing and growing your business!
For Chef Bob Haney of Heavenly Waffles, in 1989, a vision for revolutionizing breakfast formed in his grandmother Glady’s kitchen. The original idea started as a pancake recipe, and later was sold to select restaurants around the Omaha, Nebraska area. Throughout the years Glady taught Chef Bob how to develop flavors. Alongside Glady, Bob’s mom, Joanne, also helped Bob cultivate his taste buds. Joanne’s creative side, and risk-taking approach in the kitchen helped Bob think outside the box – key traits that would later become pivotal in the success of Heavenly Waffles. In 2009, Chef Bob completed training at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas, and started working on transforming the initial pancake batter concept into a shelf-stable dry mix. Five years, and four food scientists later, a new revolutionary, high protein, yogurt based, waffle mix was born. Initially branded as Pancrepes, it would take three more years before the final recipe would come to fruition. Then in 2017, Chef Bob modified the mixing instructions, and instead of adding water he began mixing club soda, egg and oil with his mix – finally Heavenly Waffles was born. The name was trademarked in recognition of Grandma Glady who is now in heaven. Heavenly Waffles can be found in restaurants, coffee shops, corporate restaurants, and c-stores across the country.
Erin Malzer has 20 of years experience in digital marketing. She earned her Communication and Business Administration degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University (’01) and her Webmaster Certification from Southeast Community College (’05). She has worked for MDS Pharma Services (now Celerion), Nebraska Digital, and GROW Nebraska in the web and marketing fields. In 2013, she and her husband, Kirk, purchased Bar B Que Specialties, Inc. which produces and markets the brands Fat Boy BBQ, Hickman’s BBQ, Fat Boy Game Seasonings and Verdell’s Vegan to grocery and specialty stores in 40 states. She also manages their Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Walmart stores as well as multiple web sites. Erin was born and raised in Columbus, NE and was raised by two entrepreneurs. Her mom and sister own Barbara Jean’s – Fashions on the Square in downtown Columbus and her father ran a real estate business and consulting company.
Odee Ingersoll is the Director of NBDC’s Small Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. He is also the director of the statewide Nebraska Center for Business Value and Transition. Odee has 23 years of experience serving small businesses throughout Nebraska. Clients include all phases of business planning and operations, from start-up and launch through growth and expansion, and finally exit and succession planning. He is also an experienced business owner, entrepreneur and has training in financial forensics. He has worked on projects valued up to $260 million. Odee is a credentialed business valuation analyst and exit planning advisor. He has completed an estimated 500 valuation engagements and is recognized as an expert in business valuation for mediation and litigation. He has provided value and exit training at numerous national conferences and to other state programs and professionals. He has significant experience in financial analysis and modeling, feasibility and economic impacts, market research and GIS site studies. Odee regularly helps entrepreneurs and business owners with business plans, loan packages or funding requests and business valuation. He provides seminars or speaking engagements on a variety of business topics and has been a featured presenter for the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank for a national session on business value and exit planning.
Jessica Campos of the Center for Rural Affairs moved from Houston, Texas to Grand Island at age five, and has known Nebraska as home ever since. Rural America holds a special place in her heart because she has had the opportunity to grow up here, and the values she gained growing up in a small community are definitely something she would like her kids to have as well. Through her work at the Center, she builds relationships that will allow the organization to thrive in our communities. She wants to see the Center have such an impact in communities that it will be the first option people think of when it comes to training and developing a business entrepreneur, or an existing business owner wanting additional training in groups or one-on-one. She has been married for 12 years, and has two amazing kids—an 11-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. Her family loves to travel and spend time watching movies, playing board games, taking bike rides, and participating in 5k and 10k runs.
Jim Reiff, has been Executive Director of Nebraska Enterprise Fund since 2013. He finds incredible reward in his role, setting the strategy and developing funding sources that ultimately connect NEF clients – hard-working small business owners – with capital, training, and mentoring.
All Big Businesses Start Out Small – A Panel Discussion
Jeff Bell serves as the Vice President of Marketing for Glenn Valley Foods and Gary’s QuickSteak. Bell is an experienced marketing professional and customer experience champion with over 30 years in the industry.
Amy Wadstrom began her career with Hy-Vee, Inc. in 1996 after graduating from Drake University, and since then she has served in several positions, including pharmacy intern, registered pharmacist, pharmacy manager and pharmacy supervisor. During her many years in retail pharmacy supervision, she led and mentored over 60 retail pharmacy locations. She also led education and training programs and many clinical initiatives as well. In October 2020, she was promoted to Vice President, Clinical Operations of Vivid Clear Rx, and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Vivid Clear Rx and AVP, Hy-Vee,Inc.
Prior to becoming COO of Tasty-Toppings, Jamie Trebac had a wide variety of experiences. Most of his life was in the corporate world working as an electrical engineer before migrating to technical sales. He earned his business education the hard way – on the job training as a business owner. He and his wife lived in Phoenix and Russia prior to settling down and raising a family in the Chicago suburbs. In 2021, with two kids in college and one entering high school, he picked up stakes and moved to Columbus, NE.
Sarah Calhoun has two decades of leadership experience in both nonprofit and small business sectors, working in the outdoor education industry before founding Red Ants Pants in 2006. Tired of wearing men’s work pants that didn’t fit, she designed pants that would fit, function and flatter working women. Red Ants Pants is based out of White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Sarah is also the keynote speaker of the 2023 MarkeTech + Agritourism & Adventure Travel Workshop.
Mac’s Creek Winery & Brewery has been family owned and operated by the McFarlands since 2001. They’ve been sustainably raising grapes since 2000 and regularly grow over ten varietals for use in the creation of their wines. From the grapes that they grow to their care for the vines and the soil they grow in, the family gives attention to detail in every step of the winemaking process. They’re committed to producing the best wine and craft beers that they’re capable of, not just for the current vintage, but for years and generations to come. Mac’s Creek started brewing beer in 2019 as an extension of their brand and they now offer an array of drinking, dining, recreation and overnight options and events.
In Stop Lighting Your Marketing Dollars on Fire, Steve Maly of Maly Marketingwill help you learn toput aside the sexy pitches and learn what really matters in marketing. This presentation will provide insights into the trends that consistently drive growth in your business, as well as the metrics and insights that he personally uses to measure the success of my own marketing. Let’s get to the bottom of what actually works and leave the rest of the shiny but unproven objects behind.
Many times you can find Steve, Founder of Maly Marketing, speaking at conferences throughout the Midwest on relevant topics such as how tourism entities can stop lighting their marketing dollars on fire and get trackable results. In the office, he helps to set the vision for the organization and leads day-to-day operations. Steve and the team’s work has resulted in Maly Marketing winning numerous American Marketing Awards and the Friend of Tourism award given out by the Nebraska Tourism. He also sits on the board for the Nebraska Travel Association along with numerous business boards in Lincoln. Away from the office, Steve likes to chase little white balls around the golf course and is passionate about continuing education.