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Our History


In late 1979, a few Lincoln business leaders met at Alice’s restaurant to begin an organization that would focus on citywide business-related issues. Their philosophy was based on the idea that the prosperity of small businesses was essential to the free enterprise system. They passionately believed that the way to achieve prosperity and preserve it was to actively use the rules and rights of our democratic system to promote business interests. The outgrowth of their efforts was forming the Lincoln Independent Business Association, an association now consisting of 950 member businesses, with a history that provides inspiration for all new enterprises in Lincoln. LIBA continues to focus on advocacy throughout the community, with a special focus on the needs of small businesses. Their early motto to generate membership was, “Why Join LIBA?  Because It’s YOUR Business.”  


These visionary leaders forged a path for an organization willing to stand up for business and taxpayers.  A group of courageous business owners were willing to stand tall and fight for the betterment of Lincoln.  


In the early stages of LIBA, the Lincoln Journal Star stated, “…despite the lack of pressure, local elected officials did a fair job this year of holding the line on spending. Some credit for that is due the Lincoln Independent Business Association.  The organization paid attention.  Its members studied the budgets.  They showed up at meetings.  They offered comment and suggestions.  They performed a valuable public service, especially considering the absence of participation from other citizen organizations and individuals.”


Thanks to a group of community leaders standing up to create an organization focused on small and large businesses alike, LIBA holds true to those founding principles, and continues to be the voice of the business community in Lincoln.  

We believe in creating a thriving community by empowering business leaders and working with elected officials.


Our Mission

To provide leadership and educational opportunities to the business community. To educate the public concerning the vital role of business in creation of meaningful jobs, and in meeting the payrolls that allow our citizens to enjoy quality of life.


To communicate the concerns of the business community to elected and appointed officials at all levels of local government; and to support political candidates who understand and promote the free enterprise system.

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Bud Synhorst

President & CEO

Bud Synhorst, a LIBA member for the past several years, was honored to be selected as LIBA’s next president and CEO in 2019. Bud’s twenty-plus year background in association and nonprofit management and contacts within the Lincoln community will assist LIBA to provide leadership and education to members and business community. Bud looks forward to working with LIBA members and the business community to build relationships and develop plans on making Lincoln a great place to do business and raise a family. 

Bud is a graduate of Pius X High School in Lincoln. He holds an undergraduate degree in Business Education from University of
Nebraska-Kearney and a master’s degree in Education Administration from University of Nebraska Lincoln.

Sam Kavan

Office Manager


Policy & Research Coordinator

Meet The Staff

Office Number: (402) 466-3419

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Bob Sawdon

Sales Associate

Experienced Strategic Development with a demonstrated history of working in the for profit and Non Profit sector. Strong business development professional skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Event Planning, Advertising, Integrated Marketing, and Sales and Fundraising.

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Shannon Kingery

Membership Engagement & Recruitment Specialist 

Shannon is a longtime resident of Lincoln, a business owner, and LIBA member. Shannon joined the LIBA staff after seven years of communication consulting and lobbying at the Nebraska Legislature. Previously, she served as the Director of Communication for the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office and Nebraska Cattlemen. Kingery has a B.S. in Organizational Communication from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She and her husband Malachi have three children and live in Lincoln.

Call her with any member benefit questions, to help host or sponsor an event, or to be added to the Membership Committee mailing list.

Brit Kurtzer

Billing Rep

Phil Young

Board Secretary


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Joe Frey

Board Chair

Triumph Home Health Supplies

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Mark Whitehead

Board Vice Chair

Whitehead Oil

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Jim Hansen

Board Treasurer

Sandhills Global

Our Board

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John Wurdeman

Wurdeman Appraisal Services

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Gary Tharnish

Home Real Estate

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Cory Hoagstrom

Midwest Choice Financial

Robert Panzer

Exchange Bank

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Kay Petersen

Liberty Packaging

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Ray Stevens


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Ann Post

Rembolt Ludtke LLP

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Dave Chapin

Willmar Electric

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Dana Stefanidis

Wheelie Good Bike Shop

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Denny Van Horn

Van Horn Custom Homes

Larry Anderson
Bruce Bailey
Jim Ballard
Russ Bayer
Joe Bolubasz
Steve Bowen

Debby Brehm
Bob Bryant
Hank Buis
Wanda Caffrey
Doug Carey
Tim Cox

Fred Duven
Ron Ecklund
Darlene Fletcher
Hub Hall
Joe Hampton
Randy Harre
Connie Hilligoss
Dean Hoag
John Hoppe Jr.
Steve Hughes
Mark Hunzeker
Connie Jensen
Pat Kahm
Peter Katt
Tom Klein
Bill Lien
Ron Lockard
Jack Lorenzen
Richard Meginnis
Marty Miller
David Pauley
Dan Roth
Bob Sikyta
Arlene Sorensen
Scott Stewart
Ken Svoboda
Todd Watson
Ken Wentz
Jeff White
Lincoln Zehr

Past Chairs

Business Meeting

A Collaborative Approach

At the core of LIBA is our committees. Many decisions are made at the committee level that impact public policy priorities, event planning, issue awareness, and community service. This offers direct input from the LIBA members that is unique to our organization.

Each committee meets on a structured, monthly basis and elects a chair who is in charge of committee activities.

Are you a LIBA member interested in learning more about a committee? Reach out to a committee chair below.

Our Committee Chairs


Our Partners

We partner with affiliate organizations to maximize our impact on the community. Focused on public policy and giving back, LIBA touches many parts of our community.

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The LIBA PAC works to elect business-minded candidates to local office. Without regard to party affiliation, the LIBA PAC supports candidates who actively supports the free enterprise system.

LIBA PAC Trustees Chair:


Wayne Boesiger

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The LIBA Foundation was established in 1996 to provide a means by which funds could be collected to support LIBA and the Lincoln business community, while providing tax advantages to donors. The LIBA Foundation works to promote its mission through a number of projects.

LIBA Foundation

Board President:


Bruce Bailey

Join LIBA Today!

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