DLA Announces 2012 Impact Award Winners

The 2012 Downtown Impact Awards were announced today at DLA’s Annual Awards Banquet at the Embassy Suites. DLA’s Impact Awards recognize businesses or individuals that have made a significant contribution to downtown Lincoln. The seven Downtown Impact Awards were given to the following recipients:

Significant Development

Assurity Life

For 122 years, Assurity Life has helped define the character of Lincoln through its many home office buildings and original companies. With a board primarily made up of local business leaders, Assurity realized it was in a unique position to be one of the first private sector investments to help jump-start the major downtown redevelopment.

In 2008, plans were approved for the construction of a new headquarters in the newly created Antelope Valley development project. The groundbreaking took place in September 2009, and the new Assurity Center opened for business last December. 

The 175,000 square foot multi-tenant office building consists of five stories plus a lower level. It features extensive state-of-the art communications and information technology systems and embodies the company’s environmentally progressive mindset by meeting the LEED Gold certification standards of the U.S. Green Building Council.

By creating a premier facility in one of the city’s most exciting new areas, Assurity has exemplified the integrity and initiative needed to create a more viable and sustainable downtown Lincoln.

Business Leadership

Burlington Antiques

In 1985, Lou and Gale Shields opened Burlington Antiques at 7th & P in the space where Lazlo’s sits today. The shop was lauded for its high-quality vintage merchandise and quickly became one of the most iconic retailers in the Haymarket. In 2001, Burlington Antiques was purchased by current owners Jeff and Diane Cunningham, who moved the business across the street to its current home inside Lincoln Station.

The couple fell in love with the Haymarket, and has spent many years using their business as a platform to highlight and strengthen the unique culture of the area. Their involvement began in the early ‘90s when they opened Gatherings, their first antique shop, at 8th and P. Since then, they have volunteered for several committees including the Haymarket Farmers’ Market, where Jeff has served as business manager for 12 years, as well as Chocolate Lover’s Fantasy, where Diane has served as chair or event coordinator for the last ten years.

While Burlington Antiques is known for selling the past, we recognize them today for looking towards the future. And though many would attribute the majority of the store’s success to the diligence of Jeff and Diane, we’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of Max Cunningham, the couple’s dog, who oversees the daily operations as the store’s CEO – or Canine Executive Officer, as Diane calls him. 

As we get ready to usher in a new era of the Haymarket, we thank Burlington Antiques for their commitment to the area’s growth and look forward to their continued success for years to come.

Young Entrepreneur

Jason Davis, Screen Ink

Four years ago, Jason decided to pack up his screen-printing shop and move to a more viable area where he could invest in both his business and himself. Jason chose downtown Lincoln.

After opening its doors at 11th and L, Screen Ink quickly began to emanate the spirit of downtown through its upstanding business practices and community involvement.

Jason employs a number of sustainable business tactics, including the use of more eco-friendly products in the screen-printing process. The shop uses 100% biodegradable solutions, as well as water-based inks composed of greener properties. They also make poster paper, totes and garments from recycled materials. To top it off, Jason and his employees even bike to work.

Screen Ink is very active in the community and takes part in a number of collaborative projects that benefit nonprofits and shed light on local issues. They’ve also opened their own in-house art gallery that participates in First Friday Artwalks and features art and music from a variety of artists.

Jason has become a role model for the growing number of young professionals downtown. His environmentally conscious approach to business and his desire to give back to our community have truly allowed his screen-printing shop to become a “perfect fit” for downtown Lincoln.

Downtown Champion

Ann Ringlein, Lincoln Running Company

Ann grew up in Red Cloud, Nebraska and, according to her mother, began running the minute she was born. She attended a school that did not have a girls’ track program, but after engaging in a “spirited discussion” with school staff, Ann and her friends convinced them to begin one. 

This type of spirited leadership remains with Ann to this day. Every morning for the past 30 years, she’s up at 5 am to go for an hour-long run. On late nights, she’ll even sleep in her running clothes so that she’s ready to go when she wakes up. Ann brings this dedication to Lincoln Running Company, where she’s served as manager for the last 25 years.

The store first opened its doors 37 years ago at 12th and Q, where it remains today. They’re involved with many running events in our community including the Lincoln National Guard Marathon as well as all Lincoln Track Club events. The creation of their “Beginner’s Luck” program has introduced running to over 400 people each summer for the past ten years. Ann also works with the downtown YMCA for a five-month YMCA Marathon Class that lasts through the Lincoln Marathon in May.

For someone who likes to move, we certainly hope that Ann’s leadership and winning attitude stay put in downtown Lincoln for many years to come.

Downtown Visionary

Tom Smith

The impact Tom has had on the growth and development of downtown Lincoln is truly indelible. As a member of 2015 Vision, he has had a hand in a number of significant projects in the area that have benefited the city, the university and the community at-large.

Tom’s involvement with Downtown Civic Ventures has helped to establish several retailers along the P & Q Street corridor and also raise funds for the new Civic Plaza. Through Concorde, his real estate property management company, he has developed several major apartment complexes, including the Bank of the West building on O Street that now features a 24-unit residential space. Additionally, he has partnered with WRK for three other projects downtown that are at various stages of redevelopment.

Tom’s vision for a lively and prosperous downtown is quite literally helping to expand our city’s horizons. This afternoon, we recognize him for all of the professional and civic affiliations he’s held in support of the downtown community. 

Downtown Volunteer of the Year

Staci Hass, GoLincolnGo

Staci grew up on a farm just outside Ithaca, Nebraska, and lived in Omaha and Kansas City before moving to Lincoln. She quickly became attached to the tight-knit community here and began to seek out ways to become more involved. She was told about an opportunity to volunteer for the Logistics Committee of a flourishing downtown festival called Celebrate Lincoln, and took it.

Today, Staci serves as Chair of Celebrate Lincoln and Board President of GOLincolnGO. She and her organization plan diligently year-round so that for one weekend, families in our community can experience a magnificent celebration of a unified Lincoln. Her insistence on ushering in national acts and creating an unparalleled, vibrant atmosphere has helped Celebrate Lincoln grow to become one of the city’s most popular and cherished annual events.

Downtown Residential Development

Larson Building

For 19 months from December of 2010 until August of 2012, the entire city of Lincoln watched as a new ten-story building etched itself into the downtown skyline. The idea of a contemporary building rising up in such a historic part of town captured the interest of the City. Its completion showcases the commitment we have to our downtown’s future as a mixed use center.

The Parkhaus consists of two and four-bedroom apartments that have been outfitted with Scandinavian-inspired interiors. It also features a number of amenities, including study rooms on each floor, an 8,000 square-foot green roof and a residents-only fitness center. In addition to Parkhaus, Scott Woodbury enhanced the street with 17,000 square feet of first-floor retail lining 13th, Q and 14th Streets.
Scott Woodbury Wiegert in partnership with Colmena has jumpstarted residential development in downtown with a brand new residential complex right in the heart of Downtown. Parkhaus has quickly become one of the area’s most sought-after living spaces for its prime location and contemporary look.

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