omaha, nebraska (402) 681 - 9458 | info@verdisgroup.com

Our home to share our thoughts and host an (e)discussion about the opportunities sustainability presents and how our world will be changing as a result. From savvy strategies for clients to our fleet of Schwinn 10-speeds and everything in between; we invite you to the conversation and hope that we can explore true.green. together.


We are extremely excited to announce that on May 12, at the Greater Omaha Business Excellence Awards, we will receive the Greater Omaha Chamber’s 2015 Small Business of the Year Award. It’s a huge honor to be recognized with such an award; we are truly thrilled!

In the spirit of giving thanks and giving back, we’re offering small businesses a deep discount on our work. For a limited time, your small business (this includes you, nonprofits) can get our multiple-award-winning team of experts involved in quickly advancing your sustainability efforts.

Through our Small Business Sale, we’re offering the following scope of work. We will:

  • Facilitate a kickoff meeting with your project leads
  • Collect and analyze 12 months of data and other information
  • Conduct our proprietary Sustainability Engagement Index survey of your organization
  • Develop baseline performance metrics and recommended measurable goals in the areas of energy, water, waste/recycling, emissions, and employee sustainability engagement
  • Conduct two interviews with key personnel
  • Facilitate a two-hour workshop with select employees; includes pre-workshop reading assignment
  • Deliver key findings, goals, and sustainability recommendations (the deliverable)

It’s a streamlined scope of work that is comparable to what we’ve been doing for much larger clients like the University of Nebraska at Omaha, UNMC & Nebraska Medicine, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. The end-result is a succinct and straightforward document that will provide your organization with a clear action plan for capitalizing on all the opportunities that sustainability presents.

All this for $3,000 – 5,000! Yes, you read that right. A similar scope of work would normally cost $8,000 – 10,000, but for a limited time, we’ve cut the cost and would love nothing more than to help several Omaha small businesses advance their sustainability efforts.

It’s pretty amazing that the business community recognizes the value that we bring, and we hope to graciously accept the award and turn right around and give a little back to the small business community.

Interested? If so, give me a shout at craig@verdisgroup.com or (402) 681-9458.

Onward and upward!

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Verdis Group is seeking an intern for this upcoming summer!

The full-time, paid intern will get hands-on experience at our sustainability consulting firm in Omaha. His or her specific responsibilities and projects will vary based on interests, needs, and priorities, but the intern should expect to gain experience related to sustainability practices, data analysis, communication, and project management.

Application deadline: February 28, 2015

Click here for more information and application instructions:

Internship Info & Application Instructions

 

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ZacharyStading

“My name is Zachary Stading. I have worked as an intern with Verdis group since August of this year. It is a very hard-working, but light-hearted group.

Everyone likes the satisfaction of crossing something off of his or her to-do list. One of the enjoyable parts of working with Verdis Group was that I was constantly getting small projects out of the current work that other team members were doing to supplement my personal projects. Examples include pulling together the acknowledgements page for UNO’s Sustainability Master Plan, helping analyze some of the data from surveys, compiling lists of sustainability strategies as a reference for clients, and researching alternative methods for sending out online surveys. This gave me a break from my own projects while providing great work experience, a sense of accomplishment, and made me feel like part of the team.

I had three big projects that I worked on independently. The first was researching universities in the region to assess which ones Verdis Group could potentially partner with in the future. The second was compiling survey data for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The third was performing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Verdis Group.

The greenhouse gas emissions inventory was by far the most educational. I chose my own direction for the inventory such as what utilities and company activities I would try to account for. I had to make my own survey and send it out to the team to gather information. I was also able talk with other professionals to get information about our office expenses while working on my networking skills. Then I chose to compile that information into metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the industry standard comparative tool. I wrote up my methods so this inventory could be replicated in future years and drafted a report for the team. Finally, I was allowed to present all of my findings to the team and get their responses, questions, and suggestions.

While working with Verdis Group, I found that I have a lot of learning left to do when it comes to using survey tools. I had never known the depth to which surveys could be analyzed or how critical surveys could be when it comes to making business decisions. Another important skill I learned was that not all business comes to you; you need a strategy for going to get it. I learned how to narrow down potential partners and clients by researching organizations’ previous activities. As someone who is struggling to figure out how to search for a post-graduate job over 1600 miles away, I found this to be a very helpful analytical tool. The last key thing that I learned was that who you work with is often more important than what you are working on. When you work with a nice group of people any project can be completed with little boredom and even less stress.

One thing that I was very happy to learn from this experience is that there are people out there, like me, who want to make the world a more sustainable place to live, while still being able to pay the bills. I was also happy to find that many of the simple programs and analysis skills that I have learned during my time at Creighton University can be readily applied to a work environment. I am very grateful for this internship because I want to work as a sustainability consultant for my career. This opportunity gave me confidence as a graduating senior that I will be able to compete for a position at a sustainability company and be a valuable member of the team.”

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I started working at Verdis back in October 2014 and, as the new guy, I was (and still am) continuously understanding more and more about all of the great work we do. The nature of our team’s responsibilities requires that, on any given day, I might work on projects related to only three or four of our clients. The same can probably be said about my five colleagues. So it’s easy for each of us to get laser-focused on the specific work we’re doing for particular clients. Thus, we occasionally need to take a step back and celebrate what we, collectively, have helped our clients achieve.

I asked the rest of the team to assist me in highlighting some recent and noteworthy accolades we’ve helped some of our clients accomplish. Here’s what we came up with.

 

Omaha Public Schools

Client since July 2009

As we enter into our fifth year partnering with OPS, we are happy to report the district is receiving the recognition it deserves. On Earth Day 2014, the U.S. Department of Education announced that OPS was one of only nine school districts in the country to receive a Green Ribbon Award. The numbers back up the awards: we have helped OPS save over $4 million through its sustainability efforts. Click here to read more about our work with OPS.

 

The Nebraska Medical Center; University of Nebraska Medical Center

Client since April 2010 and July 2012, respectively

For the past several months we’ve been working with both The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC to create a new, integrated Sustainability Master Plan. The plan will potentially launch as early as fall 2014 and includes joint goals for energy, water, waste & recycling, parking & transportation, campus planning, and campus engagement. We recently helped the two organizations establish the Office of Sustainability, which included hiring a full-time Sustainability Manager to implement the Sustainability Master Plan and fully integrate sustainability into the operations of the two organizations. Also, we worked with the two organizations to expand and standardize the mixed recycling program. They deployed 675 additional recycling bins and achieved a 40% increase in collected recyclables as a result. Click here to read more about our work with The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC.

 

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Client since January 2012

From lighting retrofits to recycling expansion and a revolving green loan fund to support innovative ideas, we have helped the zoo take major steps to embed sustainable action and decision-making into its culture, and the impact has been huge. The zoo has cut energy use intensity by 7% in just two and a half years, water use is down nearly 19 million gallons per year, and recycling has nearly doubled. Additionally, the zoo is developing a compost action plan to prepare for the additional compostable materials generated from the forthcoming African Grasslands exhibit. Click here to read more about our work with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

 

Kearney Public Schools

Client since June 2013

We completed the first phase of our work with KPS in late 2013 when the district approved and rolled out its Sustainability Master Plan. Since then, our work has focused on coordinating the district’s efforts, including developing an energy reduction incentive program that incorporates several operational and behavioral best practices. Most recently, the KPS Board of Education solidified their commitment to green schools by unanimously passing a Sustainability Statement. Click here to read more about our work with Kearney Public Schools.

 

Beatrice State Developmental Center

Client since June 2013

We are partnering with BSDC to help them develop a Sustainability Master Plan. We have assessed their resource streams, and they now have a sustainability vision and preliminary improvement goals. In June 2014 we performed a waste assessment in which we sampled BSDC’s dumpster waste and measured the composition of landfill-bound trash bags. This has helped BSDC to identify opportunities for improved recycling, composting, and waste reduction. The next step in our planning process is to develop strategies that will help BSDC achieve its sustainability goals and vision.

 

University of Nebraska-Omaha

Client since February 2014

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (enrollment 15,000+) recently brought us on board to develop a Sustainability Master Plan. With an emphasis on widespread engagement of students, employees, and community members, we have used numerous methods during our discovery phase to inform the university’s sustainability vision and goals. In the coming months we will be mapping out the steps UNO should take in order to achieve the bold vision it has set. Click here to read more about our work with UNO.

 

That sample of highlights emphasizes to me that, though Verdis is small, we are quite mighty: our clients are making huge, positive impacts. Stay tuned for more accolades to come…


 

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Team Verdis just turned five years old, and if there’s one thing five-year olds love it’s pancakes. Actually, let’s be honest, everyone loves pancakes. They’re fluffy, they taste delicious, and you can make funny shapes with the batter and garnishments. What’s not to love!

We aim to serve you pancakes that are this beautiful and happy.

We aim to serve you pancakes that are this beautiful and happy.

So in honor of our fifth birthday, we’re celebrating by throwing a pancake party. Yup, that’s right, Team Verdis will be flipping cakes for your dining pleasure on Friday, September 12 from 7:30 – 9:30am at Verdis HQ (1516 Cuming St. in the Tip Top Building).

Come on down to say hi, have a bite, and pet the office dog. We’ll have pancakes (including a gluten-free option), all the best garnishments, OJ and coffee. Hope to see you there.

An RSVP would be appreciated if you’re planning to attend. Please do so here.

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Last August I noticed that Metro Transit was on pace to reach several milestones in 2012, and I wrote about it on this blog. One of those milestones was providing more than 4 million passenger trips in 2012. With 2012 now behind us, I am excited to share that Metro Transit provided 4,225,612 rides in 2012. This is a significant achievement for several reasons:

  • It is the first year Metro has provided more than 4 million rides since 1991 (4,098,497 rides). At that time, gasoline hovered near $1.00 per gallon, automakers were ushering in the era of the SUV, suburban expansion continued to be the dominant paradigm, and Metro ridership was on the decline. Now, gasoline prices are relatively high, automakers are focusing on fuel efficiency, suburban development is giving way to urban redevelopment, and Metro ridership is on the rise. Check out the trend in the graph:
(Download the graph as a .pdf: Metro Transit Ridership by Year 1973–2012)
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  • Metro ridership in 2012 matches (exceeds?) the number of passengers through Eppley Airfield in 2011: 4.2 million.
  • The previous one-month record ridership in at least the past decade was in October 2008 (381,678 rides) after the economy crashed. The current peak is now October 2012 (406,566 rides) with August 2012 (377,731 rides) a close third.
  • Seven of the ten months with the highest ridership in the last decade occurred between June 2011 and October 2012. Eight months in 2012 rank in the top twenty for ridership.

The ridership data paints a picture that is consistent with external indicators: gasoline prices; lifestyle preferences of Generations X, Y, and baby boomers; growing awareness of the environmental and health consequences of driving; and economic pressures making it more difficult to own and operate a private vehicle. In addition, Metro has rebranded itself and continues to make improvements to its services (e.g., bike racks), facilities (e.g., the North Omaha Transit Center renovations), and programs (e.g., Metro Partners) while it awaits the results of the Central Omaha Transit Alternatives Analysis, the Regional Transit Vision Study, and the implementation of the Omaha Transportation Master Plan. The external factors, the continuous improvement, and the ridership numbers clearly show that Metro Transit is becoming an increasingly important transportation option in the Omaha area.

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Yesterday I attended the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Summit at the Century Link Center. I think that the focus of the summit was to get young professionals involved in their community.  Well, hook, line, and sinker-they got me.  More on that in a minute. I did learn about issues that I don’t think I would have stumbled upon otherwise.

Open Sky Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization out of Lincoln, should be your go to for any state budget questions-a group of really sharp individuals (http://www.openskypolicy.org/). They led the breakout on state budget.

I learned that Nebraska’s tax code hasn’t been revised since the 1960’s and this is leading to a downward spiral that includes funding for K-12 education being cut $100 million in two years. These kind of numbers always shock me – how did THAT happen? This year there is going to be a review on Nebraska’s Biennial Budget-hearings began this week. What can you do? OpenSky recommended talking to our senator, Mike Johanns. Know your facts, send letters, call, emails may be ignored.  The senator will hear from 100 lobbyists but maybe 5 citizens.  All the other breakout sessions I went to were packed-this one had maybe 50 people in it.  The state budget doesn’t sound exciting, I get it-but it MATTERS. A lot. I’m in the kiddy pool on this subject but hope to learn more soon.

The end of the session was a showcase of stories by local citizens who really love Omaha. And that was really inspiring. Many left promising, stable careers to try and make Omaha better.  They found something they found important; something the city was lacking, and did something about it.

The founders of SecretPenguin/The Bay (Dave  Nelson), Love Drunk (Django Greenblatt), The Union for Contemporary Arts (Brigitte McQueen), Bergman Incentives (Mike Battershell), Habitat for Humanity (Oscar Duran), Project Interfaith (Beth Katz), and q3 systems (Michael Young).  More than one of the presenters got visibly choked up on stage talking about their struggles on their journey to begin their organization/work/non-profit.

I appreciated people discussing their struggles after a day of success stories (like saying you started your awesome organization with basically no money but worked at Bain & Company). It’s NOT that easy to go and just tackle a problem you see in the community. But hearing their stories made me realize that they’re some of the people in Omaha who have paved the way for community involvement and a way for the common citizen to make Omaha better.

I moved from Chicago to take this job with Verdis.  I went to UNO for my undergrad and moved to Chicago while working on my graduate degree.  I’ve been back in Omaha for about a month, quietly mourning my life in Chicago but loving starting my career.  What the summit taught me is that in Omaha I can dig my hands into community and have an impact –something that would be much more difficult to do in a city the size of Chicago. And I’m going to do it because I want to have a hand in crafting the place I live. This town is full of talented, passionate individuals who want to showcase the best of Omaha. I’m going to go and join them.

Last word:  There wasn’t recycling at the event.  This is going on a comment card.

 

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We are hiring again, and according to CNNMoney, being a sustainability consultant is one of the best new jobs in America (I totally agree, by the way). We aren’t putting an arbitrary deadline on receiving applications, but with that said, if you’re interested, don’t delay. Once we find that special someone, we’re going to hire them. Here’s a link to the posting pdf, which is also included below.

Verdis Group, LLC is seeking qualified individuals for a part-time, entry-level position. Ideal candidates will be adept at managing multiple responsibilities simultaneously, have wizard-like data analysis and writing skills, and have a passion for sustainability. The position is designed for a current college student or recent college graduate. Anticipated hours per week are 15–20.

SUMMARY
The skills and abilities necessary to sufficiently perform the duties are varied and require the individual to be adept at many tasks. The position requires flexibility, attention to detail, and enthusiasm for the work.  Generally speaking, the successful candidate will provide support in a variety of ways to Verdis Group senior staff and principals.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS
The successful candidate may perform the following tasks:

  1. Data Analysis: Conducting a variety of different numerical and theoretical analyses at the direction of senior staff. Collecting, managing, tracking, and summarizing data is an important component of the job.
  2. Writing: Preparing communications that are intended for a variety of different audiences, including both internal and external parties. Contributes technical writing to client reports. Other report editing and formatting as deemed necessary.
  3. Strategy: Involvement in organizational discussions intended to identify strategies that help clients be more sustainable.
  4. Miscellaneous Project Work: Providing assistance as needed on client projects, to include but not limited to: research, report writing, data collection, meeting facilitation, taking minutes, disseminating information, preparing presentations, brainstorming recommendations, and general project management.
  5. Administrative Duties: General administrative duties may include scheduling meetings, purchasing office supplies and equipment, data collection and entry, maintaining adequate electronic and hard copy filing systems, running errands, preparing correspondence, editing and formatting documents and presentations, arranging travel, and other duties as assigned.
  6. Continuous Learning: Staying on top of industry news in order to serve the clients with the most up to date practices.
  7. General Management: Assisting senior staff with miscellaneous duties including but not limited to marketing efforts, financial analysis, and business logistics.
  8. Other duties as assigned.

 

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES:

  1. Thorough and accurate in all duties and responsibilities. Attention to detail is a key component of the position.
  2. Ability to think critically, problem solve, and trouble-shoot issues.
  3. Excellent planning and organizational skills and an ability to prioritize and manage multiple duties and tasks simultaneously.
  4. Ability to collect, organize, input and analyze data in an extremely accurate and efficient manner.
  5. Knowledge of sustainable best practices as they pertain to businesses, organizations and communities.
  6. Skilled in using Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Apple software. Experience with Adobe’s Creative Suite would be great.
  7. Communication skills both written and oral.
  8. Skilled in demonstrating cooperation and professionalism.
  9. Ability to work well with minimal supervision in a team-oriented environment.
  10. Ability to effectively work and interact with various cultures and ethnicities.
  11. Mad ninja skills.

SCHEDULE
The current expectation is for 15–20 hours per week for the foreseeable future. Hours may fluctuate, particularly upward, if Verdis obtains additional business AND the successful candidate has excess capacity in their schedule.

 

COMPENSATION
Compensation is $10–13/hour commensurate with experience.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
All individuals interested in being considered for this position should submit the following information:

  1. A letter of interest not to exceed one page
  2. Resume
  3. List of three references, at least one of which must be from a previous relevant employer
  4. Any availability limitations (e.g. other employment or classes that may conflict with availability to complete the duties of the job)

Interested parties should send the requested information to Craig Moody via email at craig@verdisgroup.com.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Craig Moody, Principal
Verdis Group, LLC
1516 Cuming Street
Omaha, NE 68102

 

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