The Class of 2019 inductees for the Omaha Business Hall of Fame were recognized Wednesday, April 17, at a gala celebration. Pictured from left at top are Greater Omaha Chamber president David Brown and Greater Omaha Chamber board chairman Lance Fritz; at center are Gail DeBoer, Gale Wickersham and Larry Kavich; and at bottom are Nancy Estabrook, Daniel J. Bishop, Amee Zetzman and Jeff Kavich.
(Courtesy C41 Photography via Greater Omaha Chamber)
Omaha Business Hall of Fame Adds 8 in Class of 2019
By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record
The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce inducted eight people into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame at a gala last week.
Joining the Hall of Fame are Daniel J. Bishop of The Maids International; Gail DeBoer of Cobalt Credit Union; John W. Estabrook of Methodist Health System; Gale L. Wickersham of Wick’s Truck Trailers Inc.; and the Kavich family of All Makes.
“Our 2019 class has elevated some of Omaha’s most iconic companies and institutions,” David G. Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber, said in a release. “They have achieved inspiring levels of success and community impact.”
The inductees were recognized at a gala celebration April 17 at the Holland Performing Arts Center, according to the chamber. This is the 26th anniversary of the Omaha Business Hall of Fame.
Here’s a little more about each of the honorees, according to biographical information provided by the Greater Omaha Chamber:
• Daniel J. Bishop is the founder and chairman of the board of The Maids International.
Bishop started his first company, Bishop Building Services, at age 20, and he built the business to have 300 employees. Then he founded The Maids, where he worked for more than three decades as president and CEO.
Bishop also founded American Security Services, one of the largest security firms in the Midwest, and helped found the Building Service Contractors Association International.
• Gail DeBoer is president and CEO of Cobalt Credit Union, which was formerly SAC Federal Credit Union.
DeBoer started her career working a clerical job for the Omaha Royals. She eventually found herself working at Enron, and left in 1988 to become an internal auditor at SAC Federal Credit Union. She was promoted to senior vice president of operations, helping to grow the credit union from five to 12 branches.
DeBoer became president and CEO in 2007, and she’s grown the credit union to 25 branches, which includes two in Iowa. The credit union hit the $1 billion mark in summer 2018, shortly before rebranding as Cobalt.
• John W. Estabrook retired as the president and CEO of the Methodist Health System.
Estabrook helped grow a 230-bed community hospital into a multi-hospital health system. He began his career in the U.S. Navy, where he contracted tuberculosis and spent two years in a hospital, and that experience brought him to the health care industry.
Estabrook became an assistant administrator, hospital administrator and eventually president and CEO. He led the construction of Methodist Hospital at its president location at 83rd Street and West Dodge Road. He created the region’s first health system, the Nebraska Methodist Health System, in 1981. He retired in 1992 and died in 2018.
• Gale L. Wickersham is the chairman and founder of Wick’s Truck Trailers Inc.
Wickersham grew up in Council Bluffs and started out driving for Yellow Freight at night. He became a dispatcher for American Transport, then he refinanced two cars and used that $2,500 to start his own truck brokerage business out of an unheated popcorn stand at 72nd and L streets.
Wickersham secured large fleet orders and eventually switched dealerships to Wabash National. He has expanded facilities to Springfield, Missouri, and South Sioux City, and he has truck dealerships in Omaha and Lincoln.
• The Kavich family of All Makes Office Equipment includes Jeff Kavich, president and CEO; Larry Kavich, retired chairman; Lazier Kavich, owner (second generation); and Amee Zetzman, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
The family has a legacy of customer service stretching back more than a century. Harry Ferer founded the All Makes Typerwriter Co. in 1918, and he gave the company to Lazier Kavich in 1938. He added government surplus and office furniture to the business and changed the name to All Makes Office Equipment Co. in 1960. Larry Kavich came on board five years later, and he became president in 1983.
The fourth generation – Jeff Kavich and his sister Amee Zetzman – are now in charge of the family company. All Makes now offers office technology and interior design along with its office furniture products.
For more information on this year’s winners, visit the Greater Omaha Chamber’s website at omahachamber.org/bhof.