FUSE Coworking Announces New Executive Director

FUSE Coworking Executive Director, Rena Valentino Photo credit: Adam Casey

FUSE Coworking Executive Director, Rena Valentino

Photo credit: Adam Casey

Lincoln, Nebr. - FUSE Coworking, a collaborative coworking space based in Lincoln, Nebraska, has hired a new Executive Director, Rena Valentino, to continue to build and expand FUSE’s vision and mission after last year’s expansion. Bob Hinrichs, co-founder and board member of FUSE said, "We are excited for the future. Rena’s strategy and execution skills will let us take FUSE’s vision to new levels, and will benefit the whole community.”

Valentino brings both entrepreneurial and brand strategy experience from establishing and running her own service businesses, as well as developing brand strategy, communications, and execution for her clients. She is excited about the new role and the opportunity to expand FUSE’s vision in alignment with the innovative startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem to foster the recruitment and retention of talent to the Lincoln and surrounding area, as well as Nebraska, as a whole. “Lincoln is in a very exciting time right now with the density of startups, entrepreneurs, business development, and breadth of innovation across industries. I’ve been a part of it in a small way with clients, but am looking forward to launching FUSE to become even bigger and make a greater impact for this community and network,” Valentino said.

We are excited for the future. Rena’s strategy and execution skills will let us take FUSE’s vision to new levels, and will benefit the whole community.
— Bob Hinrichs, FUSE co-founder

Previous Executive Director, Lana Zumbrunn, led FUSE through its expansion in January 2016 to its current location in the Haymarket after Nelnet and Speedway Properties approached the original three FUSE founders, Hinrichs, Matt Westenburg, and Andy Beecham, to provide corporate investment and 10,000 square feet of additional space to the coworking company. "Lana has done a remarkable job leading this last year’s growth of FUSE through the transition and growing its membership. We know she will be missed by the startup community, but we’re happy for the ventures that she’s pursuing. We’re looking forward to another leader to step in and take FUSE to the next level,” remarked Chuck Norris, Director at Nelnet.

FUSE will host a celebratory open house on Tuesday, April 11th from 5 pm to 6 pm as a thank you to Zumbrunn for her service as Executive Director and a celebration of Valentino's transition into the new role. It will be held at FUSE’s location in the Haymarket on the fifth floor at 151 N. 8th Street.  The community is invited to join and encouraged to be present at 5:30 pm for FUSE’s celebratory announcements.

ABOUT FUSE COWORKING

FUSE Coworking houses a variety of different companies, from solopreneurs to small teams of individuals and corporate innovation projects. At FUSE Coworking, you'll find the comforts of home and shop with all of the benefits of working in an office setting. Best of all, for less than the price of buying a latte per day, you can call FUSE Coworking "work.” For more information, visit www.fusecoworking.com or contact we@fusecoworking.com.

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FUSE Member of the Week | Andrew Tuzson

“Love your craft from Back to front.” With this motto and hard work, Evol Empire Creative believes everything will fall into place. They strive “to do what they love and love what they do” to provide the highest Quality service to all of their customers through superior work and witty attitudes (try spelling lovE from back to front).

Evol provides a wide range of services from one end of the digital ecosystem to the other. Their two main markets are design, which includes branding through digital media, and web marketing. The design aspect of Evol includes providing services to businesses they can then share with their potential customers. They create amazing websites for companies, as well as provide graphic designs to portray the company’s culture. These are touch and see aspects of Evol. Through their marketing tactics, Evol helps businesses determine who is the best group to target for the product that company provides and determines the most effective way to reach the targeted group. This is how Evol has positioned itself to be a well-rounded business in a growing community in Lincoln.

“FUSE as an incubator for small and growing businesses that do not need a lot of space.”

Evol has experienced exponential growth in the last two months. As the founder of Evol, Andrew Tuzson and his wife, Angela, have been hard at work to make this company a success.  Since the Tuzson’s moved to Lincoln in May, when it was only the two of them with Evol, the business has evolved into ten high caliber members as the core of operations. Andrew knows that this growth could not have been achieved without much sacrifice and hard work that has gone into starting the business.

The plan for Andrew and Angela was to find a place with a welcoming and safe community where they could raise their children, but they also needed a place where Evol could thrive. They believed Lincoln was the best fit for their family and their business. The need in the Lincoln area for a diversified web development and marketing group has been in high demand. Businesses have had to hire several different companies to complete the many needs they have. Evol has been able to provide an answer to all of these needs as a one-stop-shop design company. Lincoln’s small business and start-up community has been exploding! With this kind of growth, these small companies have been in need of affordable well-rounded services that Evol can provide.

Andrew brought Evol to FUSE Coworking after he heard about the space through some of the connections he made. Once he visited, he knew it was the place he needed to grow his business. FUSE offered a very smooth transition for Andrew from Denver to Lincoln as well as a welcoming atmosphere that benefited the growth of Evol Empire Creative through several networking opportunities. The company has grown so rapidly FUSE is no longer able to provide enough space for their needs. The members are sad to see them go, but knowing they are just a few floors down is comforting.

Andrew describes FUSE as an incubator for small and growing businesses that do not need a lot of space. He is sad to be moving Evol Empire Creative out of FUSE because of all the opportunities they have been able to provide especially through networking. However, with an expanding business looking to hire more positions, they are ready to take on their own space.

As Evol continues on their journey, Andrew will continue to foster the relationships he has created during his time at FUSE. The connections he has made the last couple of months have been very influential in the growth of Evol. Andrew has already become involved in the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Young Professionals Group. He has been able to give back to the community while also learning from other members of the groups. Andrew feels it has been very important to be a part of this community and understands that you only get out as much as you put in.

This philosophy is why Evol has seen so much success here in Lincoln. The hard work Andrew and Angela have put into getting this company up and running and the connections they have made, have provided a solid base for Evol to be able to thrive in an already wonderful Lincoln community. 

 

DO YOU KNOW OF A STORY ABOUT A FUSE MEMBER THAT SHOULD BE PUBLISHED? EMAIL RACHEL@FUSECOWORKING.COM

FUSE Member of the Week | Gretchen Larsen

Even though it may be difficult at times to go on your own, Gretchen Larsen has found the passion needed to get through the difficult times.

As a web development and design freelancer who teaches for Interface Code School and a volunteer throughout the community, Gretchen has greatly benefited from all of the connections she has been able to make at FUSE. For the last year and a half, she has been networking her skills and also learned the ins and outs of being successful.

“FUSE has been a place to learn to be more serious about what I am doing,” says Gretchen. “It has also been a place where support is endless. The founders, Bob and Andy, and Lana have been so supportive of me and encouraged me to be brave and bold in my decisions and declaring what I do to others.” Gretchen also believes without FUSE and the encouragement from all the members that she would not be doing what she is doing to the same degree.

Through community lunches, Friday Afternoon Clubs (Happy Hours), and board meetings Gretchen has been able to meet a lot of the members of FUSE and share her passion for teaching. Along with attending the Star City Code School graduation held in June and Chelsea Clinton visiting FUSE Gretchen has learned ways she can continue to enhance herself and her skills through others.

Gretchen hopes to strengthen her skills so she can continue to build and design websites and teach what she knows with others. Her goals are to make some money so she can turn around and help other people and create things that make her see good and feel goodness in others. She has been doing this some already. While working with a friend of hers to teach young children to code, Gretchen is also teaching her friend and serving the community.

“I want to encourage people to face their fear of ‘presenting,’ and to embrace that fear as a challenge.”

Gretchen hopes that she can use a similar model for women coding developers and designers. “I want to encourage people to face their fear of “presenting,” and to embrace that fear as a challenge. So many women I know are uncertain or embarrassed about their skills when they are actually so incredibly knowledgeable and talented!”

Through all of her experiences at FUSE, Gretchen has been very grateful for all of the people she has met along her journey and looks forward to all of the people’s lives she will impact in the future. If there are a couple of things Gretchen would like to see more of at FUSE it would be more tables by the windows and WOMEN. “Men are everywhere in this space and I want to see as many women here as men.”

 

DO YOU KNOW OF A STORY ABOUT A FUSE MEMBER THAT SHOULD BE PUBLISHED? EMAIL RACHEL@FUSECOWORKING.COM

FUSE Member of the Week | Matt Burkey

When it comes right down to it, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is less of a suggestion and more of a motto to Matt and Dave Burkey, the two brothers behind Golden Rule Contractors.

We are working on becoming more technically efficient in order to reach a greater number of customers and FUSE has been able to help us in the learning process.

Golden Rule Contractors is a family-owned roofing business who strives to serve Lincoln and the surrounding area since 1996. Centering their business around the golden rule has benefited the Burkey brothers for the last 10 years and provided them a base to continue successful business practices. With over 40 years of roofing experience, the two pledge to treat each customer’s house as if it were their own while using the guiding principles of honesty and integrity.

According to Matt, “We do our best to maintain a high quality of our products and installation. It is an important aspect of the customer service that we provide.” Even though the summer is a busy time of the year for the two brothers, Matt said they still find time to stop by FUSE to engage in some networking opportunities. “The speakers that FUSE has hosted that talk about marketing and networking to improve one’s business model have really benefited us in our expansion into Lincoln. We are working on becoming more technically efficient in order to reach a greater number of customers and FUSE has been able to help us in the learning process.”

FUSE has been a local office space for Golden Rule Contractors for the last five months where the company is able to network with potential customers of the area. The open space and meeting rooms have allowed the brothers a private area to meet up and for a few minutes after long days on roofs in the heat. They take advantage of the wi-fi and mailing address along with the networking opportunities and speakers that FUSE hosts. Matt feels that they have been able to learn from other members at FUSE about ways that they can improve their business.

Even though Golden Rule Contractors are in the peak of business this time of year, they feel that they will continue to benefit from all of the conveniences that FUSE is able to offer them. They hope to be around more during their less busy time to continue to take advantage of the meeting spaces and the events that FUSE hosts throughout the year.

 

 

DO YOU KNOW OF A STORY ABOUT A FUSE MEMBER THAT SHOULD BE PUBLISHED? EMAIL RACHEL@FUSECOWORKING.COM

FUSE Member of the Week | Daniel Young


Fantasizr is a company that allows people to create fantasy leagues for anything they wish.

Fantasy leagues can be created to “fantasize” reality tv shows, co-worker attendance, and of course sports. There is also the ability to fantasize anything!  Leagues can be chosen from previous popular frameworks or customized to fit the desires of a creator’s needs. 

Dan feels that this space has allowed his company a wonderful place to work with others while also providing an area to work as a team.

Fantasizer started working in FUSE on May 1st in a 13-week accelerator program through NMotion which has been helping them grow as a company through education, workshops, and mentorships. Through hands-on testing, building, and pitching of their products, Fantasizr has learned what it will take to continue to make their business successful.

Dan Young, co-founder of Fantasizer believes FUSE has been able to provide a wonderful business workspace, large conference rooms, and blazing fast internet in the process of expanding Fantasizr. Dan feels that this space has allowed his company a wonderful place to work with others while also providing an area to work as a team. 

Events that have been hosted by FUSE that Dan has attended, such as 1 Million Cups and several of the lunches, have provided him with wonderful networking opportunities from which he learned a lot. At these events, he has met several helpful community members who have encouraged his business plans and continue to support his amazing ideas. 

 

do you know of a story about a fuse member that should be published? email rachel@fusecoworking.com