Sessions & Presenters

2015 Speakers & Sessions

Keynote APA

If you’ve seen one rural community, you’ve seen one rural community. Communities are in many ways as varied as the people who comprise them. With over 500 Nebraska communities, the majority of which are under 250 in population, there is a lot of room for variation.   Most of our communities have a common desire to improve the amenities they have to offer, from jobs to recreation. The built environment is an important and sometimes oddly unappreciated part of that amenity package. Throughout his career, Dr. Randy Cantrell has studied the sociology of rural communities including how they invest in themselves. His experience has provided him with a unique perspective on how economic, social, cultural and environmental considerations affect the success of small towns in the Great Plains. In this presentation, we will look at some of the demographic trends that are shaping the region and learn how attention to the built environment can benefit communities competing for attention, businesses and residents.

Dr. Randy Cantrell is a development specialist with NU Rural Initiative and Nebraska Extension. Dr. Cantrell received a B.A. in Anthropology and Economics from Michigan State University (1971), an M. S. in Labor Studies from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations (1973), and a Ph.D. in Development Sociology from Cornell University (1976). He has worked with the University of Nebraska’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Innovation since 2001. Having grown up in a small community in southern Michigan where his family operated a bakery on Main Street, he studies small rural communities, including how they adapt to demographic changes.

Rural Roundtable

Cantrell will also facilitate a “Rural Roundtable” where participants will have the opportunity to share successes and challenges faced by rural communities.

Dr. Randy Cantrell is a development specialist with NU Rural Initiative and Nebraska Extension.  He received a B.A. in Anthropology and Economics from Michigan State University (1971), an M. S. in Labor Studies from the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations (1973), and a Ph.D. in Development Sociology from Cornell University (1976). He has worked with the University of Nebraska’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Innovation since 2001. Having grown up in a small community in southern Michigan where his family operated a bakery on Main Street, he studies small rural communities, including how they adapt to demographic changes.

The Neighborhood Conservation and Enhancement Initiative APA

Omaha has developed innovative methods incorporating preservation into neighborhood planning and zoning practices. This presentation will provide an overview and history of the development of Neighborhood Conservation/Enhancement (NCE) Districts. The NCE Initiative, the city’s long term plan, includes a comprehensive neighborhood planning strategy to promote historic neighborhood commercial centers originating during Omaha’s streetcar era. These centers will establish the core for planning walkable mixed-use districts, which include extensive historic resources. The Initiative includes an asset survey of twenty-one streetcar era commercial nodes, the development of flexible zoning tools to streamline redevelopment approvals, the creation of infill guidelines and ultimately the preparation of a “Form Based Code,” which targets incentives towards these centers and preserves historic assets through zoning regulations.

Jed Moulton is the Manager of Urban Design and Preservation for the City of Omaha. His current activities include implementation of the Urban Design Element of the Omaha Master Plan, oversight of the City’s historic preservation program, design compliance review within urban design and historic districts and special area planning to promote well designed, walk-able mixed use neighborhoods. Mr. Moulton worked as a private practice architect for seventeen years in various national markets before joining the City in 2007.

With more than ten years experience in architectural and site design in cities in Canada and the United States, Trina Westman joined the Omaha Planning Department in 2011. As administrator of both the Urban Design Review Board and the Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, Ms. Westman oversees applications and site plan reviews for urban design and historic preservation projects.  Implementation projects for the Urban Design Element of the Omaha Master Plan include redevelopment site and streetscape design, historic neighborhood analysis and planning and the development of urban infill design guidelines.

Nebraska Historic Tax Credit Program APA

Now in its first year, the Nebraska Historic Tax Credit (NHTC) program has offered $15 million in state tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic buildings.  It is projected to leverage over $84.5 million in investment in historic buildings in 46 projects statewide.  Learn from David Levy, the advocate and author of the Nebraska Job Creation and Mainstreet Revitalization Act, which created this 20 percent state tax credit.  Levy will recap the first year of the program and examine the benefits that the program is already revealing.

David Levy is a partner in Baird Holm Law Firm in Omaha, Nebraska, representing clients in zoning, land use, energy, environmental and general real estate matters in transactional, administrative, legislative and judicial proceedings. He is Chair of the firm’s Real Estate Section and is a registered lobbyist in the State of Nebraska. In 2011, Mr. Levy led a group that introduced and lobbied for a bill that would create a state historic tax credit in Nebraska. Prior to joining the firm, David practiced land use and environmental law with a firm in San Francisco. Before beginning his legal career, he worked for seven years as a City Planner for the City and County of San Francisco. He is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Facts and Fiction about Historic Windows

Consumers in the U.S. are bombarded with messages about window replacement. Unfortunately this advertising barrage is based upon a misleading message that few understand. This program will cut through the conventional wisdom that is promulgated by advertisers and inform you of the facts about historic windows, including replacement vs. restoration and avoiding common mistakes and challenges that arise in window restoration projects. This program will help attendees make  educated decisions about windows.

Brooks Gentleman is the owner of one of the largest historic window companies in the US. He has over 30 years experience in the window industry and owned a Pella window distributorship for ten years. Brooks also has a vast background with all the major manufacturers of wood, aluminum, vinyl, and steel windows. He has visited all of their manufacturing facilities and his company has installed thousands of replacement windows. For the past 21 years he has dedicated his efforts to building one of the largest companies specializing in historic windows. Re-View restores historic wood and steel windows and manufactures historically correct wood window replicas for large landmarks across the country. It works on State Capitols, county courthouses, historic schools, hotels, office buildings, train stations, and any other type of building.

Restoration Cleaning: Turning Back the Hands of Time

During this session, we will take a comprehensive look at the tools and methods used for cleaning historic masonry. Matt will provide an overview of the performance, durability and value found in traditional, load-bearing masonry structures, and identifies ways in which cleaning and restoring such structures enhances their value. We will discuss various types of stains, the numerous types of masonry substrates, and how to elicit the best appearance for both the cost and the effort expended, including when it might be best to leave the masonry alone.

A University of Kansas graduate, Matt Henderson is a founding member of the Building Enclosure Council’s Kansas City Chapter. He actively participates in numerous concrete and masonry associations and currently serves as Treasurer for the Kansas Masonry Industries Council. Henderson’s building science background and fourteen years of combined experience in the construction industry have enabled him to serve as a resource to many industry professionals.

Brick Streets: Their History and their Future

Architectural historian Williams will share the substance of his research into the history of brick street paving in the United States, the various types of vitrified brick materials and colors used and patterns that have been popular. Efforts to retain and restore brick streets began in Orlando in the 1980s, and their continued use has been hotly debated in communities that still retain them. Some communities in Nebraska desperately want them replaced, while some are working hard to retain them. Dr. Williams will provide a national perspective on this debate and provide information on a number of techniques for restoring brick streets.

Dr. Robin Williams teaches at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where he founded and became chair of the Department of Architectural History in 1995. He specializes in the history of modern Europe’s and North America’s built environment. Dr. Williams earned his B.A. in the History of Art at the University of Toronto and his M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation examined the transformation of Rome into the capital of modern Italy during the late nineteenth century. Since joining SCAD in 1993, he has focused his research on Savannah. He directed the award-winning online Virtual Historic Savannah Project, which received substantial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Georgia Humanities Council from 1996 to 2005. He is lead author of a new book, Buildings of Savannah, to be published by the University of Virginia Press in 2015. With student interns’ help, Dr. Williams is currently conducting a thorough survey of all street and sidewalk pavement and curbs within Savannah’s downtown historic district. The city will incorporate findings into its GIS-based planning maps to help recognize these historic resources and facilitate their long term preservation.

Mid-century Modern:  Buildings of our Recent Past

Buildings of the 1950s and 1960s have now come of age to be considered historic.  The mid-century became a time of rapid changes in lifestyles, technology and architecture. Learn more about the architecture and preservation of these remarkable buildings.

For the last fifteen years Angela Shearer has been an architectural historian with the Technical Preservation Services division of the National Park Service in Washington, DC, where she works with the Federal Tax Incentives program reviewing rehabilitation work and providing technical assistance to the public. Through her work with the tax incentives program, Ms. Shearer has been involved with the rehabilitation of numerous mid-20th century buildings by evaluating rehabilitation work in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. She has been a member of the Association for Preservation Technology International’s technical committee on Modern Heritage and most recently presented at the Fall 2014 APT DC Symposium, “The Challenges of Preserving Modern Materials and Assemblies.” Ms. Shearer received a bachelor’s degree from Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where she majored in history and political science.  After working in archeology for several years, Angela completed graduate coursework in American Studies with a concentration in Historic Preservation at The George Washington University. She is a past President of the Association for Preservation Technology, Washington, DC Chapter (APT DC).

The Preservation of Tecumseh’s Brick Streets

Established in 1857, Johnson County is one of Nebraska’s oldest counties. The Tecumseh historic district is comprised of commercial buildings from the 1880s surrounding the 1889 courthouse and prominently features historic brick streets. The area is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is the recipient of Transportation Enhancement funding through the Nebraska Department of Roads and the Federal Highway Administration. Project planning has been underway for three years.  Shayne Huxoll, design manager, has been navigating the engineering challenges, while Doug Goracke, Tecumseh’s economic development manager, has been listening to constituents’ desires and is facilitating the project locally. Both have had many challenges to overcome and have experience to share.

Shayne Huxoll is a Design Manager at Olsson Associates where he has worked for 25 years. His work on hundreds of projects includes all phases of project development from early conceptual planning to the client’s use of the facility. This variety has given him an excellent perspective on many project types and an opportunity to work with a large representation of clients and owners, each with unique goals and challenges. The core values of Shayne’s daily routine are believing in a project and exceeding his clients’ needs. Mr. Huxoll’s involvement in the Tecumseh Historic Square Preservation Project has been very rewarding through not only restoration of the brick streets, but also the interaction with those that have a genuine passion for this rare and unique asset.

Doug Goracke has worked with the City of Tecumseh for 26 years and is currently a Utility Foreman and Economic Developer. At the City, Doug wears many different hats from managing staff to fixing utility outages that occur (at the most inopportune times). His well-honed talents are engaged on a daily basis to not only plan for the future needs of the City, but also to troubleshoot the on-going challenges of maintaining a vibrant and growing community. Over the years, Doug has become the local brick street expert by having the pleasure of maintaining the nearly century old relic that has become a trademark of the Courthouse square. Doug also applies his knowledge of the community towards economic development, which has proven beneficial to the various improvements in Tecumseh.

Diagnosing and Resolving Structural Issues in Historic Buildings

Have you noticed changes in your building? Perhaps some water where you had never found it before or a gap in some masonry through which you can feel a small breeze?  Tom Jizba will give us a visual tour of some structural issues that can happen to historic buildings over time and provide us with a course of action to correct the problem. Are all structural problems created equal and therefore equally dire and expensive to correct? Our structural engineer will provide answers to all these questions and more.

Thomas Jizba received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska (1976) and an M.S. of Civil (Structural) Engineering from Colorado State University (1978). Since 2008, he has owned Atlas Engineering, of Bennington, Nebraska. The firm provides professional structural design and forensic consulting services in Nebraska, Iowa and Colorado, focusing on condition assessments of distressed residential, commercial, institutional and industrial structures. Jizba performs over one hundred building assessments each year covering a range of structural problems including soils,-foundation and roof failures; fire, hail, water and wind damage; vehicle impacts and deferred maintenance. In addition to researching and analyzing structural problems, his firm delineates damages and makes cost estimates and repair and remediation recommendations.

Rehabilitating Travers Row, an Omaha Rowhouse District APA

David Ulferts is the owner, developer and project manager of the Travers Row Historic District, located at 26th and St. Mary’s Avenue in Omaha, Nebraska. The district consists of eleven duplexes plus a commercial building with apartments which were constructed in 1916 as a residential development on a reconfigured city block. The district represented a new approach to urban planning and housing in Omaha in the 1910s. What is old becomes new again as Ulferts, working with Paul Nelson with PEN Architect, has embraced preservation and the development opportunities that preservation can provide in undertaking the entire development’s rehabilitation. Nelson and Ulferts will share their challenges and triumphs in our morning joint session.

Originally from Minnesota, David Ulferts moved to Omaha in 1991 and spent eighteen years as a banker. His love of remodeling and renovating stems from growing up in his family’s hardware store in northern Minnesota, which his brother now owns. This background, an understanding of finances and a belief in public-private solutions (Tax Increment Financing, Historic Tax Credits) gave Mr. Ulferts the confidence to invest in a renovation project called Travers Row, a series of eleven 1916-era buildings at 26th & St Mary’s Ave in Omaha.

Environmentally Friendly Restoration Products for Patching Masonry

Masonry walls can provide great strength to our structures, but over time, they can be subject to staining from pollution, spawling and breakage from water infiltration and various other problems. Keshner will discuss using environmentally friendly restoration products on various masonry materials, including limestone, terra cotta and concrete. In an additional breakout session, he will also provide a hands-on demonstration of patching techniques for various types of stone, as well as the importance of using materials that will help to preserve the integrity of the stone itself.

Gary Keshner has been working in the masonry restoration field since 1983. He started a small business specializing in the preservation of our culture and legacy through restoration and preservation of monuments, sculptures, historic buildings and fountains. As he continued to grow his business, he gained a reputation for his expertise in the masonry restoration field. He is a site consultant in the restoration of historical masonry, including limestone, sandstone, terra cotta, brick granite and marble. After years of masonry restoration work and several project awards for excellence, recognition and appreciation, Gary joined the staff of Cathedral Stone Products, Inc. and is its Midwest representative. Duties include onsite investigation of masonry problems, workshop and presentations and a contact for architects, contractors and national organizations, such as the International Masonry Union, APT and the National Park Service.


APA = Denotes APA continuing education credits