Lilac Time in the Lilac City   March 26th, 2015

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Starting officially in 1946, Lincoln was known as the Lilac City. During the 1940s and 1950s, by proclamation of the Mayor, the city would enjoy two weeks each year of displaying and celebrating lilacs. The Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the initiative and their slogan was, “A Lilac in Every Yard.” Concerted plantings were encouraged at residences and were undertaken around all public schools and other public buildings, and in parks.

It appears that both Pace Woods, Sr. and his son, Pace, Jr., may have been unwitting trendsetters with regard to Lincoln and lilacs, and both had a strong affection for the flowering plants. When asked to share recollections of the two men as colleagues and as friends, associates independently brought up the flowers.

Vera Salmon, a veteran Woods Bros employee, worked closely with the men. “They both came to the office every day. They carried themselves differently, with the demeanor of old-world, courtly gentlemen. Very sharp and well dressed.” She continued, “Pace Sr. would bring in gorgeous antique vases of flowers to the Country Club office. I remember lilacs especially in spring.” There was a smile in her voice as she summoned this final memory, “Pace was aware of how beautiful his flower arrangements were. He would smile and say, ‘You may keep the flowers, but I would like to have the vase back.’”

Gib and Mary Eley were co-workers and close friends with the Woods father and son. In remembering their times at the office they recalled that, “Pace Sr. would bring in beautiful Cloisonné vases of lilacs and all kinds of flowers.”

Before its days as the Lilac City, the Woods family actively cultivated a love of the flower in Lincoln. The family grew lilacs at a nursery south of Sheridan Boulevard. Woods Bros developments of the early- and mid-twentieth century increasingly incorporated landscaping elements into their overall designs, and lilacs were regularly included.

Noted Lincoln landscape architect, Ernst Herminghaus, a designer for Woods Bros in the 1920s-1940s, often used lilacs as major landscape design elements. They were featured prominently in his plans for Pioneers Park and were included in a number of the sterling developments near the Country Club of Lincoln, including Woodsshire.


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Pam Rademacher

Pam Rademacher

Pam Rademacher joins the Lincolnshire office. She grew up in a military family, she has had the privilege of living many places, even Iceland! Her hobbies include running, reading and being a mom. Pam can be reached at 402-309-4652 or pam.rademacher@woodsbros.com.


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ACME Electric Systems is owned and operated by Joe Lutter of Lincoln, NE. Joe and his partner Bob have been servicing Lincoln’s electric needs since 2001. They possess years on on-the-job experience and are industry certified, committed to keeping up with the latest advances in the field.

Servicing both residential and commercial properties, you can count on ACME to deliver results and be quick and efficient while maintaining accuracy and professionalism. Call ACME for electrical audits, repairs, installations, build outs, and more.

The expertise Joe and Bob bring to their line of work is much appreciated by real estate agents and customers, alike.  “We never cut corners and we never will” – Bob Helfer.

Joe – 402-416-0041          Bob – 402-430-3744

Or Visit their website at www.joesresidentialelectric.com

ACME


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Woods Bros Realty agents and staff helped to raise more than $3,000 during the sixth annual Soup or Chili Cook-off for Cancer Wednesday in Lincoln.

The Chili Cook-Off raised $3,081 for the American Cancer Society through $1 voting beans. Voters were made up of Woods Bros and HOME agents and staff, along with staff from Nebraska Land Title and Abstract (NLTA), HomeServices Lending, HomeServices of Nebraska Insurance and Larabee School of Real Estate. The group has raised more than $13,000 at these events to date.

This year the Celebrity Judge Award went to John Janovy of the Woods Bros Realty Lincolnshire Square office for his T&T Chili. Celebrity judges were Channel 8 Eyewitness News Anchor Rod Fowler, Lazlo’s Owner Jay Jarvis, and Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel.

JanovyWinner

The People’s Choice Award (with the most beans) went to Mary Ryan of the HOME Real Estate Cotner office for her Jalapeño Popper Turkey Chili.

MirandaRollsCelebrity judges also awarded a new prize for Best Cinnamon Rolls to Miranda Watson with the Woods Bros Lincolnshire Square office.

“We’ve had a lot of cancer within our organization, and it’s just affected so many families, so many agents, that we wanted to do something,” HomeServices of Nebraska CEO Gene Brake said. “This was our way of participating and trying to help find a cure.”

The 2015 Woods Bros participants were: Megan Yank, Country Club Plaza office; John Janovy, Lincolnshire Square office; Jayne Debus, Wilderness Hills office. Kristin Boucher represented HomeServices Lending, Peggy Forcier cooked on behalf of NLTA, and Mike Hasemann souped up for the Support Services corporate team.

More photos from the event can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/2015-hsne-chili-cookoff.


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Hasemann named Shining Star   February 27th, 2015

Mike Hasemann with CEO Gene Brake

Mike Hasemann with CEO Gene Brake

Mike Hasemann, of our accounting department, was recently named a Shining Star.

His nomination read:

“Mike is amazing and has been wearing so many hats!  He goes out of his way to help with anything needed and always is pleasant and has a smile on his face!  I have never once seen him stressed or overwhelmed even in the midst of year-end reports and start of new year … all this while covering 3 positions!  Mike truly is a shining star!”

Shining Stars are HomeServices of Nebraska associates, including managers, employees and agents, who help make our company a better place for our customers, clients and for each other. Nominees must exemplify the following:

  1. The person went out of their way to exceed the HomeServices of Nebraska Standards and best practices.
  2. The gesture or service was above and beyond normal job requirements or expectations.
  3. The employee, manager or agent went beyond the call of duty to ensure the needs of a customer, fellow employee or agent.

Anyone is invited to nominate employees, agents or managers who have displayed The Shining Star Spirit. For someone to be recognized, a Shining Star Nomination Form must be submitted by the 15th of every month. *A participant is eligible to win one (1) time per year.

Shining Star Values

Positive Attitude – A positive attitude is focusing on what is useful, beneficial and worthwhile in each and every situation. Your attitude is displayed through your words, actions and facial expressions with your customers and those around you.

Accountable - Accountable is being responsible for your actions and behaviors as they impact customers and those around you.

Responsive – Being responsive is being open to the situation as it occurs and responding in a sensitive manner to meet needs and expectations.

Teamwork – Teamwork is helping each other win and taking pride in each other’s victories. No one person or department alone can provide for the comprehensive needs of our customers. We achieve our goals when working together as a team.

No Excuses – A culture of no excuses acknowledges when mistakes or perceived shortcomings are made and seeks to correct or make right rather than rationalize or justify the problem.

Exemplary - To serve as a model or example of positive action; strive for high performance standards and deliver results. Demonstrate technical competence. Set high standards for self, demonstrating integrity and superior customer service skills.

Responsibility – Responsibility is acting with initiative and understanding that our organization and our customers are depending on us.

Service - Service is everything we do to exceed the needs and expectations of our customers at all times.

Safety – Demonstrate the importance of safety and how it may influence our daily lives.


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OldSaleSignThe natural development of young cities often clustered in their centers. By 1908, Lincoln’s roughly 43,000 inhabitants mostly traveled by way of mud streets (with nearly 300 miles worth) and 75 miles of streetcar lines. The growing city’s edges were no longer so sharp and the time was right to continue moving outward from the cluster and connecting burgeoning additions.

In 1910 the area south of South Street (between 13th and 27th to Calvert) was still a beautiful tract of cornfield. It was about then the Woods Brothers began executing a 20-year plan for its development, and they purchased much of that land, some for as much as $600 per acre.

There was confusion in the growth of Lincoln at the time. Mark Woods reflected that, “… buildings just went up according to the owner’s urge.” It was time for much-needed residential planning, both to create order and to beautify his city. It was a major challenge to lure citizens past South Street, which mostly created the peak of a natural hill, and also to lure them past the railroad tracks to the east (Rock Island Line, today a hiker/biker trail that meets South Street at about 32nd).

Their plans for motivating people included winding streets with structures set back away from them, all landscaped with shrubbery and trees. These large areas would lend to the city a distinctive character and an aesthetic appeal that shines brightly still. Their innovations would guide growth east- and southward, and help add to what Woods called Lincoln’s “… spider web development.”


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“IT Guys” named Shining Stars   February 24th, 2015

Bryan Snodgrass and Steve Dowse, of our Information Technology “Help Desk” department, were recently named Shining Stars.

Their nomination read:

“Bryan & Steve face many obstacles when working with us day to day. The way they negotiate through them inspires everyone.  We are thrilled to have them on our team and we want them to know how much we appreciate the work they do for us. They are truly our Shining Stars.”

Bryan Snodgrass & Steve Dowse

Bryan Snodgrass & Steve Dowse

Shining Stars are HomeServices of Nebraska associates, including managers, employees and agents, who help make our company a better place for our customers, clients and for each other. Nominees must exemplify the following:

  1. The person went out of their way to exceed the HomeServices of Nebraska Standards and best practices.
  2. The gesture or service was above and beyond normal job requirements or expectations.
  3. The employee, manager or agent went beyond the call of duty to ensure the needs of a customer, fellow employee or agent.

Anyone is invited to nominate employees, agents or managers who have displayed The Shining Star Spirit. For someone to be recognized, a Shining Star Nomination Form must be submitted by the 15th of every month. *A participant is eligible to win one (1) time per year.

Shining Star Values

Positive Attitude – A positive attitude is focusing on what is useful, beneficial and worthwhile in each and every situation. Your attitude is displayed through your words, actions and facial expressions with your customers and those around you.

Accountable - Accountable is being responsible for your actions and behaviors as they impact customers and those around you.

Responsive – Being responsive is being open to the situation as it occurs and responding in a sensitive manner to meet needs and expectations.

Teamwork – Teamwork is helping each other win and taking pride in each other’s victories. No one person or department alone can provide for the comprehensive needs of our customers. We achieve our goals when working together as a team.

No Excuses – A culture of no excuses acknowledges when mistakes or perceived shortcomings are made and seeks to correct or make right rather than rationalize or justify the problem.

Exemplary - To serve as a model or example of positive action; strive for high performance standards and deliver results. Demonstrate technical competence. Set high standards for self, demonstrating integrity and superior customer service skills.

Responsibility – Responsibility is acting with initiative and understanding that our organization and our customers are depending on us.

Service - Service is everything we do to exceed the needs and expectations of our customers at all times.

Safety – Demonstrate the importance of safety and how it may influence our daily lives.


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Woods Bros Realty offices helped raise more than $2,600 for the American Heart Association during the company’s annual “Paper Heart Challenge.”

The Lincolnshire Square office won the challenge, raising more than $1,000 from the sales of different colored paper hearts. The winning office earns a breakfast cooked by corporate staff.

Woods Bros Realty and its sister companies hold the “Paper Heart Challenge” each February during National Heart Health month.


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Matan Gill, Cory Scott and Ben Dinger
Matan Gill, Cory Scott and Ben Dinger

Woods Bros Realty was pleased to be a sponsor of the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development’s JumpStart Challenge for the second year in a row. Woods Bros and its parent company, HomeServices of Nebraska, awarded a $1,000 cash prize to the team of Cory Scott and Matan Gill, who presented an innovative solution named “myBlock” to the company’s neighborhood reviews challenge.

“Not only was myBlock well designed, Cory and Matan did excellent research into the business and regulatory side of the problem,” said Ben Dinger, Internet Services Manager for HomeServices of Nebraska, who, alongside General Manager Shannon Harner, awarded the prize to Scott and Gill.

LPED’s JumpStart challenge involves corporate sponsors presenting an industry problem to various teams who, in turn, pitch a solution at a later date to the companies. HomeServices was joined by Cabela’s and nMotion accelerator in judging the Challenge, which is now in its third year. For more information about the JumpStart Challenge, visit www.jumpstartchallenge.com or the official press release.


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Woods Bros Realty celebrated the close of its 125th year and its top sales professionals with an Awards Banquet Feb. 13 at the Country Club of Lincoln.

Vladimir Oulianov of the Country Club Plaza office was named the Salesperson of the Year with the Most Listings Closed and Highest Volume of Closed Listings.

Oulianov and Craig Loeck of the Lincolnshire Square office were both recipients of the Century Award for closing more than 100 transactions in the calendar year. Loeck also had the Most Transactions Closed and the Most Sales Units Closed. Ann E. Deck had the Highest Volume of Closed Sales.

Russ Quick of the Lincolnshire Square office was honored with the Woods Bros REALTOR® of the Year award for 2014 for his willingness to help others and his contributions to the company and community.

Angela Stueckrath of the Country Club Plaza office won the Excellence in Outgoing Referrals award for helping people relocate in other communities. Sales Couple of the Year went to Bob and Sally Peterson of the Country Club Plaza office, and the Sales Team of the Year was Cindi Hahn and Russ Quick. The year’s Rising Star for most success within the start of her career was Janet Smith of the Wilderness Hills office.

The overall Outstanding Achievement award went to Kelby Nitz for his 320 percent increase in sales from 2013 to 2014. Office Outstanding Achievement Awards also went to: Beth Scholz of the Lincolnshire Square office, Marsha Turbett of the Country Club Plaza office, Tammy Peter of the Wilderness Hills office, Chris Schwieger of the Grand Island office, Linda McCall of the Beatrice office and Gayle Coffin of the York office.

Top Sales Associates by office were: Vladimir Oulianov, Country Club Plaza; Craig A. Loeck, Lincolnshire Square; Jayne V. Debus, Wilderness Hills; Chuck Winkler, Grand Island; Shelly Nitz, Seward; Gayle Coffin, York; and Pam Norton, Beatrice.

To see more of the top awards and photos, please visit www.WoodsBros.com/Awards.


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Lucky Thirteen   February 12th, 2015

Col. F.M. Woods

Col. F.M. Woods

Frederick Moffatt Woods, the father of the Woods Brothers, was born August 13, 1844. He was told that it was a Friday. Friday the thirteenth. Counter to the growing superstition of his day that the coincidental phenomenon of day and date was unlucky, he came to consider it good luck. Lucky thirteen.

As a boy in Illinois, Woods was struck and bitten by a rattlesnake that had thirteen rattles. It was reported that the lad recovered from the attack, “without the aid of whiskey.” Throughout his successful career as an international auctioneer, he claimed to have conducted his best business on those rare Fridays the thirteenth.

Of F.M. Woods it was said that he, “possessed a peculiar style of eloquence—earnest, forceful, logical, and convincing always.” These skills were apparent in his proud crusade to promote the State of Nebraska and its resources, and to spread the word about the importance of good agricultural practices such as soil improvement techniques and livestock breeding enhancements.

This work ultimately resulted in Woods being recognized for his vision and tenacity on Friday April 13, 1923 by the University of Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture with an honorary Doctorate.

Of course, his descendants became extraordinarily savvy developers and businessmen in real estate. It is perhaps no surprise that in 1871 F.M. Woods sold his family’s farm in Illinois for a net profit increase of roughly 13 times—a pretty tidy sum.

In a way, Woods became inspired by 13, and especially by Friday the thirteenth. Who may guess what nuances or phenomena will motivate and inspire us, and why? Perhaps it is for the best that F.M. Woods never checked to learn that August 13, 1844 was actually a Tuesday.


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Reflecting upon Lincoln when it was young, John E. Miller wrote that in 1880 it was a proud place – but deficient of a few essentials of a city.

“What it lacked was at times conspicuous, as if a reveler should appear in shorts and a tuxedo.”

Like the city itself, Lincoln’s leaders of the time were young. The State’s Governor was 32. The city’s leading banker (and first millionaire) was 31. The average age in the legislature was 34. Youth literally ruled, and growth was rapid. To follow Miller’s tuxedo metaphor: the vibrant young city needed to upgrade from shorts to pants, so practical issues needed addressing.

An example: Formalities of staking out and connecting additions to the city’s perimeter were few, as no water or sewer utilities had to be planned.

As Mark Woods reflected,

“Sanitation was becoming a problem. Not everyone could keep a few hogs to eat the garbage.”

Mark, George and Frank Woods (clockwise)

Mark, George and Frank Woods (clockwise)

In 1889, Mark and George Woods founded Woods Bros Realty. When they entered the game with vision for growth, they not only planned for these types of practical matters, they also made certain that such intangibles as beauty and elegance were considerations of their projects.

They introduced curving streets to the city’s basic grid structure; they hired the nation’s best landscape architects; they even started their own nursery to fulfill their planting needs.

With their brother, Frank, and their father, “Colonel” F.M. Woods, their every touch seemed to positively mark the city and help it grow. They helped lead the way in business and community development.

Part of the reason that Lincoln became so fine is that they thought big, and they knew the importance of balance in establishing a city of essence.

From tallgrass prairie to silicon prairie, Lincoln continues to recreate itself. The decades of maturation have similarities because scales are balanced – growth and development equalizing tradition and maturity. Leading the way, Woods Bros Realty is an embedded fixture in the transformation of the city.


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Kinship   January 29th, 2015

Pace Woods, Jr., (second from top left) and Woods Bros agents go on a listing tour.

Pace Woods, Jr., (second from top left) and Woods Bros agents go on a listing tour.

The late 1970s and early 1980s was a boom time in Lincoln. Everyone working for Woods Bros Realty during the time of great growth felt a part of a family. Pace Woods Jr. really promoted that.

Any occasions for parties or celebrations, birthdays or holidays or even major sales, were seized upon with cakes and cookies. Interaction and relationships worked as strengthening bonds that would transcend business and amity. This kinship empowered agents to embrace change and growth.

Made up of two offices in 1975, (one at the Cornhusker with eight employees, and the second with about 20 employees at the Country Club,) the business family would come together on Tuesday mornings for weekly sales meetings.

Following the meetings, agents would carpool around town together touring new listings. After tours, they would gather together for lunch and more camaraderie.

There were discussions of strategy and opportunities to air different challenges that they may face.

Soon, agent numbers grew too large to carpool. Pace hired a bus so that everyone could tour together. Not long after that, a second bus became necessary to accommodate the growing family of agents. When two busses were not enough, a new idea was hit upon – individual agents would host open houses for colleagues at their new listings, luring their coworkers with promises of pizza or sandwiches or other snacks. This tradition continues today. The busses were let go and there was a return to carpooling.

Pace Woods’s determination to foster a family spirit led to great success.

He was busy galvanizing people and relationships so that it surfaced not only with results and prosperity, but also showed the power of belonging and affinity.


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HomeServices of Nebraska recently hired Beth Plants as Commissions Processor on the accounting team.

Plants will be processing commission checks to ensure that each real estate agent involved in any given transaction is paid correctly.

Plants also works part-time as a tax specialist for H&R Block during tax season. She was born and raised in Lincoln, but has traveled throughout the United States and also Mexico, Canada and even went with Nebraska Wesleyan Symphonic Band to Australia to play for the Olympic Torch run in the 2000 Olympics.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, Justin, nine-year-old daughter, Winsome “Winnie,” and their two dogs, Jax and Buddy. She also enjoys Husker football, yoga and knitting.

HomeServices of Nebraska is a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate. It includes the entities of Woods Bros Realty, HOME Real Estate, Nebraska Land Title and Abstract (NLTA), HomeServices Lending, HomeServices of Nebraska Insurance, Home Owners Plus and the Larabee School of Real Estate. For more information about HomeServices of Nebraska, call 402-434-3700.


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The Young City as a Garden   January 22nd, 2015

During the 1860s and 1870s, if they thought of it at all, most people considered Nebraska part of a great American desert. To many, our State was barren space to be traversed, an obstacle beyond which was the shimmering prize of a distant western goal. A common sentiment, both literal and metaphoric: what could possibly grow here?

Fortunately, some dreamed beyond that sentiment. Where others saw only desert, a few envisioned a robust garden. Roots were set and Lincoln rose up. The city’s emergence from the dust and soil was patient and steady as prairie flowers.

Settling a city was irresistibly alluring for a certain type of young person who found risk and adventure glamorous. But dreams alone wouldn’t make success, and risk can be tempered by order, mitigated by hard work.

A plat, originally made in 1867, roughly delineated the borders of the city from A Street north to U Street, and east from First to 17th Streets. Over the coming quarter century, land booms were under way. Within these borders the young city was a garden beginning to bud, outside the borders tendrils crept.

In 1889 Mark W. Woods and George J. Woods began city realty development in Lincoln. Platted additions stretched six miles north of the University, south of city hall to the penitentiary, and west of what is now Pioneers Park. Lincoln began to flower.

Like great gardens, fine cities demand dreams and creativity. The Woods Brothers added to the equation courage, compassion, and common sense. Lincoln thrived and so did they.

Lincoln in 1889

Lincoln in 1889


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