Jason Gustafson has served as a middle market lender with UMB for the past two years and has more than 18 years of banking experience in the Omaha and Lincoln communities. Here, he shares more about his involvement with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), the impact he and the Chamber have had on business in Omaha and what it means to be awarded the Chairman’s Award of Excellence.
Describe your involvement with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
I first got involved in the Chamber eight years ago because I wanted to make a larger impact in the community. In my time spent as a volunteer, I try to make connections with new or existing businesses that are not yet Chamber members and let them know the benefits of being plugged into the Chamber and what we do for our community. The Chamber covers eight counties and we work as a region to try to bring business to our cities and towns.
Recently, I’ve been focusing on how to help manufacturing companies become involved with the Chamber. I am passionate about this industry and have a lot of experience with the sector on the banking side. I see the value in connecting business owners with the Chamber to help guide them through global trade, tariffs and other prominent issues. We pride ourselves on being a hardworking community and believe this brings a lot of value not only to the people who live here, but the employers as well. We work to show them the benefit of putting offices in the Midwest, and specifically in our region. If we are growing the community with new employers, we are able to provide more value to our citizens.
What has been the impact on the region?
One significant example is that six years ago the Chamber set its sights on trying to bring large tech companies, such a Google and Apple, to the region. A big selling point for the Omaha area is that we have affordable power. The Chamber’s economic development team had a vision to develop some of the land southwest of Omaha and build data centers. This would bring in the big-name employers and employ a large number of contractors and electricians in the area, and would bring in millions of dollars into the local economy. If it wasn’t for the Chamber, we wouldn’t have these larger employers in our community today.
What is the Chairman’s Award of Excellence?
The Chairman’s Award of Excellence celebrates individuals who have produced exceptional Chamber membership sales and retention results and have had a part in helping the Chamber’s progress. I am honored to be recognized by the Chamber. The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce won the top ranked Chamber in the nation a few years back and this did not come as a shock to anyone in our community. I am proud to be part of bettering our community and expanding our economic footprint. Our Chamber has a great vision for Omaha and the surrounding region, and I am thankful to be a part of that success.
I started volunteering in 2012 and since then I have introduced 177 new members to the Chamber. I also believe it’s important to engage and retain people already immersed in the Chamber. I work to introduce new and old members to different programs and make sure everyone’s aware of the resources at hand, whether that’s an industrial size kitchen a small baking business can utilize or helping people understand our Reach program, which supports small and emerging construction businesses. We help people and companies think outside the box and if business is growing, then our community is also growing and improving.
It’s a great honor to be recognized by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and receive the Chairman’s Award of Excellence award‡. I look forward to many more years of making a difference in Omaha and the surrounding region.
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