Nov 12, 2013


On Friday evening, November 1, 2013, nearly 200 BNI members and guests from around the area gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of their fellow members and chapters over the last year.

We celebrated members that have been in their BNI chapters over 5 and 10 years, and each were awarded a new BNI pin, representative of their accomplishment, as well as a new name badge, and the appropriate ribbon, 5 year member or 10 year member. We then recognized all members that achieved 100% attendance at their chapter meetings over the last year.

Next we moved into our regional leaders awards where the following individuals received a "BINNIE" for being the leader in our region.

Mitch Becker, BNI Good To Great Chapter, Most Referrals Given
Scott Koethe, BNI Money Makers Chapter, Most Visitors
Andy Vuko, BNI Profit Powerhouse Chapter, Most 121s
Sandra Larsen, BNI Rainmakers Chapter, Most Closed Business
Chris Gann, BNI Network Connections Chapter, Most CEUs

The somber moment of the evening occurred when Vince Vigneri, BNI Heartland Executive Director, called upon 2011 recipient, Jeff Elgan, member of the BNI BOBN Chapter, to award the 2013 Nick Ryan Memorial Membership to Virginia Karimi, member of the BNI Business Boosters Chapter in Lincoln, NE. Nick lost his life in July 2011 in a hiking accident in Montana. Nick is remembered by BNI as a friend and business owner, a husband and father, and someone who truly lived by Givers Gain®. <CHEERS>

We transitioned into our chapter awards, beginning by awarding new medallions to our chapters that surpassed membership levels, and sustained them, 1 chapter reached Silver, BNI Network Partners Chapter in Rapid City, SD, and 2 chapters reached Gold, BNI Business Boosters Chapter, in Lincoln, NE & BNI Success Unlimited Chapter, in Gillette, WY. 

We also awarded chapter "BINNIES" to the following chapters for being the "Best in Region" in their category:

  • BNI Business Boosters Chapter, Most Referrals per Member
  • BNI Paying It Forward Chapter, Most Visitors per Member
  • BNI Profit Powerhouse Chapter, Most One-to-Ones per Member
  • BNI STARS Chapter, Most Income Generated per Member
  • BNI Biz Boosters Chapter, Most CEUs per Member

Our Rookie of the Year, awarded to a new chapter that exemplifies the BNI standards in their first year, went to BNI Success Unlimited Chapter, in Gillette, WY. The chapter was also recognized as our region's first Hall of Fame Chapter at their kickoff! Our Rising Star award, awarded to a chapter that not only made gains in membership but other areas as well, went to BNI Seward County Chapter, and our 2012-2013 Chapter of the Year was awarded to BNI Business Boosters for their consistent performance in all areas of our vision.

The event concluded with the "BINNIE" for Director of the year, Lonnie Keyser.

Thank you, to all that attended this year's BNI of the Heartland Awards Banquet - your participation combined with the support of the sponsors made for a truly remarkable evening.  And thanks to our sponsors who made this evening possible.  I want to take a minute to recognize a last minute sponsor that did not make the print deadline and was overlooked in the acknowledgements on Friday night.  Shawn Cannon with FedEx Ground handles Seasonal Driver recruiting for Lincoln and Omaha.  If you’d like to help him out, he’s looking to meet firefighters, lawn care owners, and other professionals with driving experience who might be interested in working for $12+/hr on their days off.  Shawn can be reached at [email protected] or 712-310-4484.