Chamber Presents Its “Celebrate Business” Awards

LINCOLN, NE. (December 7, 2021) – The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and its member organizations recognized the following award winners of the 2021 Celebrate Business Awards held at the Lincoln  Marriott Cornhusker Hotel on Thursday: 


Muchachos is a restaurant and food truck that combines slow-smoked meats with the flavors of New  Mexico in a truly inspired menu built to satisfy. Muchachos was built to honor the legacy of Nick  Maestas’ grandparents and pass on the legacy of hospitality to those who pass through their doors.  Featuring hand-crafted dishes sourced from the best ingredients, you’ll find tacos, hatch mac, burritos,  nachos and more on the menu plus delicious coffee, margaritas and beers on tap. When you walk  through their door, you’re treated like family—just as Nick’s grandparents treated their family. 

The Small Business of the Year Award is intended to honor a business which best exemplifies the spirt of  free enterprise in Lincoln. 


Instinct Pet Food was founded in Lincoln in 2002. Since day one, their mission has been to transform the  lives of pets with raw nutrition. They are dedicated to raw and uncooked food as Instinct provides a  range of raw options for dogs and cats such as frozen and freeze-dried raw meals, raw + kibble recipes  and raw toppers. Instinct is the only raw pet food company in North America to receive an “Excellent”  Safe Quality Food (SQF) Food Safety Rating and employs 180 people in Lincoln. 

The Manufacturer of the Year Award serves to bring attention to Lincoln’s manufacturing community  and the contributions made to Lincoln both economically and socially. 

GREEN BUSINESS OF THE YEAR – Nelnet Renewable Energy Services 

Nelnet Renewable Energy Services finances, develops and manages investments in clean energy  solutions. By partnering with investors, developers, start-ups, educational institutions and communities  to deploy renewable energy and other technological solutions, they are planting the seeds for a cleaner,  more resilient, and more inclusive future. 

The Green Business of the Year Award is designed to honor a business that has gone beyond local, state  and federal environmental regulations to create an environmentally responsible business. (continued…)


Founded in 2015, CompanyCam has revolutionized how contractors work. Users can take unlimited  photos, which are stamped by time and location, sent immediately to the cloud, and stored securely.  This complete photo software enables contractors in every industry to manage, monitor and share  project progress from anywhere. With over 350 million photos and counting, CompanyCam is dedicated  to providing contractors with the easiest and most productive photo solution.  

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award recognizes a person or company that has exemplified creativity in the  development of enterprise in Lincoln. 


Connecting Lincoln to the world is the Lincoln Airport—a customer-service, Nebraska-nice airport that  delivers over $1.3 billion in economic value, annually. The Lincoln Airport connects Lincoln residents,  families and business professionals to the world. The airport has a long history in Lincoln, dating back to  1929, with the current terminal undergoing a large modernization project. With a robust general  aviation community and a large military presence, the Lincoln Airport is also home to a thriving  industrial park, one of the largest in the Midwest. Overseeing 5,000 acres, the Lincoln Airport is home to  hundreds of tenants while welcoming and hosting numerous community events.  

The Tourism Development Award recognizes the business that has exemplified creativity in the  development of the tourism industry.  


Bryan Health is a Nebraska-governed, nonprofit health system that cares for patients and educates  tomorrow’s health care providers. They accomplish this through a singular focus on collaboration with  providers and communities across the state. Bryan Health brings care and treatment directly to rural  communities through sophisticated mobile diagnostic and treatment services, telemedicine services,  specialized heart care clinics and more. In 2021, the Bryan Health team of more than 5,500 will serve  175,000 unique patients, perform more than 17,000 surgeries and deliver 3,200 babies. Bryan Health  helps communities grow, prosper and elevate quality of life through better health.  

The Cornerstone Award is presented to the entity whose entrepreneurship and skillful endeavor has  added to the economic base of our community and provided opportunity for others to live and work in  Lincoln.  


Tom Smith grew up in Hastings, NE and graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Business  in 1968. He helped grow First Nebraska Securities, the forerunner to 1st Mid America Inc, which  eventually merged with Paine Webber in 1983. Along with Tom Hayes, Smith opened a new investment  firm in 1985 called Smith Hayes Financial Services, which continued to grow and eventually merge with  D.A. Davidson in 2016. Tom continues to serve on several nonprofit boards and has received several awards from the University of Nebraska College of Business, while also being inducted into the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2018. Tom enjoys traveling with his wife Lisa and has four daughters and 16 grandchildren. 

The Burnham Yates Citizenship Award recognizes individual citizenship efforts. It acknowledges a  corporate citizen for his/her business and charitable contributions to the city, making it possible for  Lincoln to continue to grow and prosper. (continued…) 


Marilyn Moore, EdD is recently retired as president of Bryan College of Health Sciences. She assumed  that role in 2012, following a career in K-12 education as teacher and administrator for more than 40  years, including 25 years as the Associate Superintendent for Instruction for Lincoln Public Schools. Her  undergraduate degrees are from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently serves on several  nonprofit boards and is an active member of Saint Paul United Methodist Church. Dr. Moore enjoys  classical music, traveling, baseball and spending time with her husband, Dr. David Moore. 

The Roger T. Larson Community Builder Award is given each year to an exceptional candidate whose  proven leadership and influence through public service has shaped the Lincoln community. 

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