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Posted 12/12/2012

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By Eileen Williamson, Public Affairs Specialist

Take 12 people who work in several areas of the same organization – a lawyer, a few engineers, a weather forecaster and other career fields. Bring them together to learn about themselves, their jobs, their strengths, their leadership techniques and the organization that brings them together. Encourage them to form a mentoring relationship with a senior leader and participate in class projects.

Each year, after nearly one-year together, participants in the Omaha District Leadership Development Program, which is intended to develop leadership and management skills for current and future leaders, graduates a diverse pool of potential leaders and managers.

The 2012 Omaha District Leadership Development Program class graduated from their year long program on Dec. 10, 2012.

This year’s class met each other at an off-site retreat before they embarked on a commitment to spend at least two days a month, for the next 12 months attending university classes, attending or participating in District and Regional Business Center meetings, budget discussions, District staff meetings or Project Review Board meetings. 

The team worked together on a project to develop a standard operating procedure for establishing a Recovery Field Office in response to a disaster. On Oct. 12, the class held a training session for the Omaha District Crisis Management and Crisis Action Teams. Less than three weeks later, following the devastation caused by super storm Sandy in New York and New Jersey, the procedure they developed was put into action when RFOs were established in New York and New Jersey.

Downplaying the significance of their project’s success, Fritz Lidgay, LDP graduate and class leader, suggested there were already suggestions for how the procedure can be improved but he and his classmates agreed that it was pretty special to see what they worked so hard to put together be put to the test the way it was.

Graduation was held at Mammel Hall on the campus of the University of Nebraska, Omaha. This year marks the first of a five year partnership with the University of Nebraska Business Development Center to offer the program, which was coordinated with the guidance of Jennifer Metzler and Gisele Olney.

Speakers included Assistant Dean of UNO’s College of Business Administration, Robert E. Bernier, Ph.D., and Omaha District Commander, Colonel Joel R. Cross. Both men shared poignant views on leadership and that it takes many forms but at its core it means a commitment to a great vision.

Col. Cross closed with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The application period for the 2013 Omaha District Leadership Development Program is currently open. Employees interested in applying for this program should submit an application to be considered. Applications must be received in by Dec. 21, 2012.

Selection for the program will be based on merit and appropriateness of the training to this stage of the applicant's career. The Corporate Board will evaluate applications and make recommendations to the Commander for selection/approval.

Employees will be notified by Jan. 9, 2013 if they were selected to participate in the 2012-2013 LDP class.

Employees seeking additional information on the LDP program or application process should contact Teresa Johnson at (402) 995-2882.