This is the third in a series of stories about companies in the metro area that aren't deterred by uncertainty over the fiscal cliff and are expanding or renovating headquarters here.
The hunt for just the right office space hasn't been easy for ad agency Phenomblue, which is looking for a new headquarters to accommodate a growing Omaha workforce.
The right space to lease will have an open floor plan, plenty of collaborative space, and a west-side location to accommodate Phenomblue's employees.
“So many of Omaha's business leaders live in west Omaha, yet most of the cool spaces and buildings — the type we're looking for — are downtown,” said chief executive officer and president Joe Olsen. “We want our people to be able to get to work easily, so this has been a struggle for us as we look for a new space.
“We need more cool places like Aksarben Village for companies to headquarter and work from.”
Corporate-headquarters tenants in Aksarben, the newer mixed-use development at 63rd and Center Streets, include Gordmans and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska.
Phenomblue has been on the hunt and said it won't be able to say for sure where it will land for at least two more weeks. Its current location at 10250 Regency Circle has grown too cramped for a staff that currently numbers about 30, said Kate Richling, vice president of marketing.
New hires include chief operating officer and chief financial officer Joe Urzendowski, and vice president of engagement Deb Lammel, both new leadership-level positions.
“We're starting to run tight on space in our current office, and it's time to find something larger for our growing team, with a more open floor plan that fits our culture,” Richling said.
Phenomblue describes itself as a “brand experience agency,” helping clients reach consumers in a way that's interactive, not “one-way messaging,” Richling said.
“Our focus is on brand experiences and integrating innovative technology, not advertising to a specific niche market.”
The firm started as a company that could help other ad agencies with high-tech needs like animation and web development, but has grown by offering a fuller array of services directly to clients in industries including higher education, consumer packaged goods and service providers, Richling said.
Clients have included national brands like McDonald's and OfficeMax, plus Omaha's eCreamery, Omaha Children's Museum, Oriental Trading Co. and College of St. Mary. As an example, for a Halloween promotion with Oriental Trading Co., Phenomblue created interactive pages where people can upload pictures of their friends into animated videos, then share their creations on social media.
With its planned move, the agency is setting the stage for more growth, Richling said. The firm has recently posted listings for seven professional positions in its Omaha office and two in its Los Angeles location, which opened in 2011 to support West Coast clients and give the firm easier access to recruiting creative talent.
“We have lots of great, affordable technology talent in Omaha, and that resource has never been an issue for us,” Olsen said. “On the other hand, recruiting expert-level creative talent in Omaha is a challenge for every business here.”
The firm's recent openings included copywriter, account supervisor, project manager, software engineer and several visual designers.
Despite the challenges, Olsen said, the firm intends to stay rooted in Omaha, where Olsen and vice president and general manager Jimm Wagner founded it in 2004.
“It's been a great place to grow our business and workforce since,” Olsen said.
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