Leaving a Legacy: Lamp Rynearson’s Nancy Pridal Focused on the Future

Lamp Rynearson’s Nancy Pridal had what she calls a “clear vision” for the impact she wanted to make when she stepped into the role of president and CEO. She wanted to continue building the company’s legacy, and, by extension, her own. But, there was no roadmap; no steps to guaranteed success. 

Her lived experience as an untraditional student taught her that being flexible would be essential to the journey. 

“Paths are never straight,” she said. “I think that leaders have to be visionary, but they also have to listen.” 

Building Lasting Change

Civil engineers are responsible for many of the iconic structures today, like the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building and the Panama Canal. 

Historically Lamp Rynearson has been involved with Rosenblatt Stadium, the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Aksarben Village, Midtown Crossing and more. In 2022 alone, Lamp Rynearson was involved with Omaha Public School’s Westview and Buena Vista high schools, the Crossroads redevelopment, the Market-to-Midtown Protected Bikeway, Habitat for Humanity’s Bluestem Prairie Multi-Generational Development and ongoing work on the Capitol District. 

“In infrastructure and engineering, landscape, architects, surveyors, planners, it’s what we design, what we create, that lasts for a long time,” Pridal said. “So how do we continue to leave that legacy? 

“As a leader, that’s where I go back to is the values we define together. Then how do we drive that?”

Legacy of Learning

As Lamp Rynearson continues to evolve, so do the values that define the company. In the last couple of years it has placed greater focus on its DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion) goals and strategies. 

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“It’s about supporting our growth in areas that we want to advance, and providing opportunities for folks to step into those roles,” Pridal said. “It’s about really reaching behind and giving a hand up, not a hand out.” 

She said part of lifting others up is acknowledging that not everyone has had access to the same opportunities, whether that be attending a university or receiving a scholarship to attend college. 

For example, Pridal explained how an internship supervisor impacted her career trajectory when she let Pridal work from home using a laptop. Being able to work from home helped her take care of her kids as a single parent, while continuing her coursework and balancing her internship. 

“I had so many people who helped me reach the next level,” she said. “If we see the potential in people, and look at what they are willing to give, then we can help build opportunity for just about anyone.” 

Two projects in particular, OPS’ Westview and Buena Vista high schools, added an additional layer to the company’s mission to create access. Lamp Rynearson acted as an equity advocate, fulfilling bond requirements that designated 7% of design fees to go to small and minority-owned business contributors. 

ACEC of Nebraska recognized the Westview High School project with an Honor Award at the 2023 Engineering Excellence Awards. 

Balancing Access

Giving a “hand-up” is something Pridal strives to do outside of the office through her community service on boards. 

She currently sits on two advisory boards for the University of Nebraska: the President’s Advisory Council, and the College of Engineering Advisory Board where she chairs the scholarship committee. 

“For me, education was that opportunity to change the trajectory of my life,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to give back to the college and to help support how the college and the industry thinks about students and what their needs are.” 

She’s also dedicating time to helping solve the affordable housing crisis through the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Urban Core Committee. On the committee she chairs the housing subcommittee. 

“We’re really looking for what is affordable? What is workforce housing? What does market rate look like in the core,” she said. “And then what recommendation can we make to help support growth in those areas.”

Sharing Insight

In early 2022, the Lamp Rynearson marketing team approached Pridal with an idea for a quarterly product to amplogy their purpose statement: Leaving a legacy of enduring improvements to our communities.

“It’s not about the 100,000 or a million listeners,” Pridal said. “It’s more about how do we get our message out in a way that folks can connect with. 

Legacy Listening was born with the first episode on July 5 featuring Shawntal Mallory, ESQ, executive director of the Nebraska Legal Diversity Council, and adjunct professor at Creighton University. 

Subsequent interviews were with Jason Lauritzen, author and management trainer, and a special 2022 wrap-up with Lamp Rynearson’s Mike McIntosh, Sam Howland, and Kim Shanahan. 

Begin with Passion

Building a legacy, Pridal said, begins with finding what you’re most passionate about 

“Having a clear understanding of what’s important to you, what is near and dear to your heart,” she said. 

Start there, and don’t give up if and when it gets uncomfortable. 

“Standing strong with the vision and trusting that the outcome will be okay,” she said.