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2008.12.22 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

Nebraska’s Certified Public Manager Program Graduates First Cohort

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) “Certified Public Manager®” (CPM) graduated its first cohort of certified public managers on Dec. 5 in a ceremony at the university that was presided over by Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy. The program was started last January.

The Nebraska CPM is a year-long program and includes a mixture of 17 on-line and on-campus courses, plus a major project that is designed to tie all of the classroom learning together. CPM candidates designed the projects to address an existing problem in their organizations. Projects included:

• Creating an alternative to incarceration for low-risk, non-violent offenders to reduce overcrowding in Nebraska’s prisons, reduce costs to taxpayers and reduce disruption of families;

• Developing a wellness program for city employees that has already significantly reduced health care costs;

• Rebuilding sustainable recreational facilities after flooding; and

• Involving citizens in setting priorities for capital expenditures for a city.

Phyllis Wagner, business manager of Omaha Small Business Networking (OSBN), focused on OSBN’s admissions criteria for incubator businesses.

“It was important for me to contribute to my organization at a greater level and in a more meaningful way. The project I completed using the tools and understanding gained from the program, will have a huge impact on my organization,” Wagner said. “I am excited about its implications not just for the organization, but in the community. The tools provided in the course enabled me to clearly and systematically identify challenges, and correct inconsistencies and weaknesses, toward the redesign of a process for admitting businesses into our incubation program.”

A guest at the graduation ceremony, Ron Buchholz, immediate past president of the American Academy of Certified Public Managers® (AACPM), sat in on the project presentations and told the graduates afterward that in the many years he had attended CPM project presentations, he found this group to be one of the most impressive.

“Nebraska’s inaugural class is unusual in its diversity—with participants from all levels of government and nonprofits. The projects reflect that diversity and the deep commitment to public service of the graduates,” Bucholz said. “These projects are ‘real world’ applications with solutions to challenges facing the graduates’ agencies, cities and organizations. In many instances, there are significant cost savings resulting from the implementation of these projects, a very positive benefit during these difficult economic times.”

Below is a listing of the candidates, the organizations they work for and the projects they created.

The new Certified Public Managers® :

• Dana Bainbridge -- minister, First Christian Church, San Jose, Calif. (Project: Short-Term Strategic Priorities for a Non-Profit in Transition);

• Evelyn D. Bullock -- parole transition manager, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (Project: Corrections Alternative Placement Program);

• Andrew L. Devine -- city administrator/clerk/treasurer, Albion, Neb. (Project: City of Albion Budget Process: 2008-2009);

• Janeth A. Glenn -- director, Business Services, Educational Service Unit #3 (Project: Performance Pay: Is it the way to go?);

• James A. Litchfield -- city administrator, Wakefield, Neb. (Project: Wakefield-Challenges our Community Faces);

• Suzanne R. Murray -- city clerk/human resources, South Sioux City, NE (Project: Benefits of Wellness);

• John J. O'Hare -- special projects officer, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City (Project: Issues encountered with implementing Risk Management);

• Patrick J. Petersen -- utilities superintendent, Public Works, Yutan, Neb. (Project: The New Face of The Yutan Ball Parks);

• Athena K. Ramos -- program director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center (Project: Increasing Organizational Accountability through Strategic Planning and Team Development);

• Margaret Ann Sheldon -- administrator/clerk/treasurer, Hemingford, Neb. (Project: Is Housing a Crisis in Rural Nebraska?);

• Laura J. Urbanec -- executive director, Central Health Center, Grand Island, Neb. (Project: State Support for Family Planning Services); and

• Phyllis A. Wagner -- business manager, Omaha Small Business Network, Inc. (Project: The Redesigned Admission Process to Gain Entrance into OSBN’s Incubation Program).

For detailed information on the program, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/cpm/index.php or contact Jessica McVay at 402-216-9432 or jkmcvay@mail.unomaha.edu .

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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