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Evangel University students travel to Omaha, Neb., on business study trip

Published on Nov 13, 2013 by Irene Kanthan

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –– Eight Evangel University students visited four businesses in Omaha, Neb., Oct. 20-22, 2013. Bernie Dana, business department chair, led the regional study trip.

The business department offers the opportunity for students to go on study trips both regionally and internationally. Domestic trips occur every year, while international trips occur every other year.

“The purpose of all of the business study tours is to provide students with an in-depth orientation to different kinds of business operations and cultures,” Dana said. “On the Omaha tour, students observed a small business start-up, a labor-intensive regional health care provider, a national and international business expansion through franchise operations and a company dealing with global logistics.”

The students met and interacted with senior executives at these businesses:

  • Val Verde Animal Hospital is a full-service animal hospital in La Vista, Neb., founded in 2002. Founder and owner Dr. Mike Hord and his wife, Carol, are both 1983 Evangel graduates. They shared with the students about the risks and challenges of starting up a successful small business.
  • Right at Home is an in-home health care company based in Omaha, Neb. Brian Petranick, president and CEO, and Margaret Haynes, senior vice president of support, spoke to Evangel students about Right at Home’s extensive franchise operations which caused them to grow from one operation 14 years ago to more than 300 locations within the U.S. and overseas.
  • Werner Enterprises is a logistics and transportation company with a global presence in North America, Asia, Europe, South America, Africa and Australia. They are the global logistics partner for Bass Pro Shops and many major companies bringing products from overseas. Students learned about the company’s operations, marketing and technology from Craig Stoffel, vice president of global logistics, and K. Wayne Gingerich (1981 Evangel graduate), senior director of technology.
  • Vetter Health Services (VHS) is a regional health care company that owns and operates 31 long-term care facilities in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Prior to teaching at Evangel University, Dana served as the executive vice president of VHS. The owners and leadership team from VHS talked about how Christian values are infused into the mission, values and culture of this for-profit organization with more than 3,000 employees. The students also toured their Brookestone Meadows facility. Vetter Foundation, VHS’ nonprofit arm, is the donor of the Vetter Center for Social Enterprise in the EU business department.

Student participants included the following:

  • Kyle Dignan, sophomore government and nonprofit business and social enterprise double major from Darien, Ill.
  • Kelly Gonçalves, senior management major from Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Irene Kanthan, senior advertising and public relations major from Singapore
  • Danna Lunday, junior nonprofit business and social enterprise major from Fair Grove, Mo.
  • Rebekah Martin, senior management and marketing double major from Casablanca, Morocco
  • Isaac Shook, senior management major from Pahrump, Nev.
  • Luke Umland, freshman management major from Clinton, Mo.
  • Joshua Whitaker, senior marketing major from Pomona, Kan.

Joining the group were Gingerich’s children who are both enrolled at Evangel. Samuel is a sophomore biblical studies major, and Ashley is a senior marketing major.

“The trip opened my eyes to the different career opportunities in the world of business,” Umland said. “It was amazing to see how God uses people to make a difference.”

For more information, contact Bernie Dana at (417) 865-2811, ext. 8116.