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The Nebraska Chapter holds Charter No. 14, June 12, 1961 in ARMA. In April, 1961 18 Omaha business people with records management responsibilities met to talk about forming a records management association that could “provide a valuable vehicle for the interchange of ideas.” William Paustion, soon to be the first chapter vice-president, shared information on ARMA, then the American Records Managers Association. Many attendees already strongly supported establishing an ARMA chapter. Robert Runcie, who would be elected the first chapter president, suggested that a Founders’ Committee be formed to devise bylaws and an organizational structure. At the Founders Day Luncheon, May 11, 1961, the whole group elected officers, adopted the bylaws, applied for a charter, and hosted Alma Ledig of Chicago, the ARMA vice-president who outlined the national organization’s aims. At this meeting 17 of the attendees signed the application for an ARMA charter for the Omaha Chapter.


These first chapter members obviously considered their actions historic since they chose the terms “Founders Committee” and “Founders Day Luncheon”. They believed that the Omaha group was the first local ARMA chapter to be organized in a Midwestern city.


The chapter structure has remained constant. The first by-laws designated an executive board. The general meetings followed the pattern of speakers and visits to pertinent sites. The chapter has sponsored a spring seminar for years. One addition was the annual Awards Banquet, which started in 1985.


The chapter changed its name in 2003 from Metro Omaha Chapter to the Nebraska Chapter to accommodate a more diverse membership. Because of Nebraska’s geography, most of the members worked in and around the Omaha area. Since the 1970s, however, Iowa Beef Processors in Dakota City, the Principal Financial Group in Grand Island, and Nebraska Public Power District in Columbus have participated in chapter activities. For years these companies were “members at large” or “company affiliates”, but this changed, along with the name.


Many programs of the chapter meetings chart the changing technology in the business community. In 1967 an ARMA executive vice-president, William P. Southard, a former Omahan, told the chapter that they were “on the threshold of the computer age but that there is a lot of pioneering and more education to be done.” The computer was “a machine which deals in precise ‘yes & no’ logic, it has not replaced man’s thought power.” But this situation was already changing. At a 1968 meeting a Northwestern Bell Telephone Company representative described the touch-tone phone linked to a New York computer, and its implications for the banking industry – a checkless society. In 1970 the chapter visited the 1st Bank of Omaha to hear a discussion of the computer in the banking world. Northern Natural Gas Company in 1971 showed off the new “facsimile applications for documentation transmission via telephone” – the fax machine. In 1975 the chapter members visited the Omaha City Personnel Department’s operating system for placing employee records on a computer. In 1976 the Douglas County Systems and Data Processing Center director talked to them about online systems. The chapter took a break from new technology at the May 1976 meeting. Instead someone from the Omaha Civil Defense Department spoke about the “Security of Records,” using slides of the destructive May, 1975 tornado in Omaha.


Since its beginning members of the Metro Omaha/Nebraska Chapter have contributed to both ARMA International and the records management profession. Between the 1960s and the 1980s several members wrote articles for the Records Management Quarterly, including Lois Edwards, 1971, Patricia Ann Nicol, 1967 and 1968, Emil Sulentic, 1968, and Barbara Thompson, 1984. Nicol also served as advertising editor for the Quarterly and Edwards received the Britt Literary Award for her article. The Omaha Metro Chapter hosted the second Region IV Leadership Conference in the mid-1980s. Among the recent chapter members who have served on ARMA International committees or held office are William Ptacek, Scott Swanson, Cathy Danahy and David Bangtson. The Nebraska Chapter continues its pattern of service to both its members and to ARMA International.