Incredible vision and significant investment – they’re changing the trajectory of a former industrial park and creating a new space for Omaha’s creators and innovators.

Omaha’s creative community has two genuine champions in Paul and Annette Smith, a couple supremely dedicated to elevating our arts and culture scene. The Smiths founded the non-profit Omaha Conservatory of Music and were instrumental in fostering the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Louder than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival and other annual events. Joslyn Art Museum, Film Streams, Opera Omaha, Omaha Conservatory of Music, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and United States Artists – Paul is serving or has served them all. Before COVID-19, when we could still get together, Paul outlined one of his latest investments in creativity and innovation – a collaborative community he describes as “a job generator, a lifestyle generator, a real inspiration.”

About the speaker

A 2020 inductee into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame, Paul Smith leads Black Dog Management, an investment and real estate development firm focused on strengthening Omaha’s urban core. True to its mission, Black Dog is the lead investor in: • The Capitol District, a $205 million mixed-use re-development of a former two-block stretch of parking lots at 10th & Capitol Streets • Millwork Commons, a $300 million revitalization of a former industrial park in north downtown Omaha which once housed millwork factories. The collaborative community is designed to inspire and support the work of innovators and creators from start-ups to large office tenants.

Also a member of the Board of Stakeholders of Tenaska, Energy, Inc. and co-founder and senior managing director of Tenaska Capital Management, LLC, Paul has worked in the energy industry for more than 35 years, including 25 years with Tenaska or its affiliates. Under his leadership, assets under TCM’s management totaled approximately $5 billion, including power generation and natural gas infrastructure.

Paul and his wife Annette work to promote the arts and support youth development in the greater Omaha community. They were recently were honored for their philanthropic work by the United way of the Midlands as 2018 Citizens of the Year. Ardent supporters of the humanities, the Smiths were also recipients of the Governor’s 2015 Sower Award.

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When we think about transformational change – when we think about what’s missing – it’s interesting what you can accomplish if you execute a plan to realize a thing that fits into the gap that exists. — Paul Smith

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