Letter from the Publisher: Celebrating Leaders

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Midlands Business Journal’s highly anticipated 40 Under 40 issue for 2023! This marks the 22nd year of this prestigious award, graciously presented by our valued partner, Northwest Bank, since its inception in 2002. Over the years, MBJ has proudly shone a spotlight on incredible young professionals under the age of 40 who are shaping the vibrant business landscape of the Omaha metro area.

The roots of Midlands Business Journal trace back to 1975 when my father had a vision to establish a weekly newspaper dedicated to local business news and entrepreneurship. In 2002, he translated that vision into reality by launching an awards event that celebrates the remarkable accomplishments of 40 exceptional young professionals. Since then, we have had the privilege of honoring over 900 outstanding individuals, each contributing their unique talents and ideas to our community.

Since 2006, we’ve also paid tribute to the Entrepreneur of the Year, a distinction that highlights exceptional innovation and leadership. This year, we are thrilled to bestow that award upon Cyrus Jaffrey, the visionary CEO of Jaffery Insurance and Quotamation. His unique journey and commendable achievements embody the spirit of entrepreneurial excellence we celebrate.

Throughout these 22 years, our honorees have not only achieved great success in their careers but have also made significant contributions to our community. The Omaha metro area is a place like no other, enriched by the creative ingenuity and unwavering determination of our young professionals. Their boundless generosity of spirit is why I am immensely proud to call this city my home.

In recent years, we’ve faced challenges that tested our resilience. Yet, they also presented us with unprecedented opportunities for growth and innovation. As you read about the noteworthy individuals featured in the pages ahead, I encourage you to ponder, “What else is possible?” These trailblazers are not just shaping the future; they are breaking down barriers that will pave the way for even greater achievements.

Our business community is a source of considerable inspiration and success. From my vantage point, the future gleams with promise and potential. Keep asking, “What else is possible?” Together, we can unlock even more remarkable accomplishments on the horizon.

I also want to thank entrepreneur extraordinaire Willy Theisen for sharing his Godfather’s Pizza journey in this issue. The same year he turned 28, Willy launched Godfathers with one location at 99th and Q Streets in Omaha. By 1977, his company was the fastest-growing restaurant franchise in the country.

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With unwavering optimism and a deep sense of pride in our community, I welcome you to this year’s 40 Under 40 issue of Midlands Business Journal. The journey of inspiration, innovation and achievement continues, and there is indeed much to celebrate.


Andrea “ANDEE” Hoig
Midlands Business Journal