• Work
  • As some of you know, Dusty helped start a website called Silicon Prairie News. As the website says,

    Silicon Prairie News is dedicated to providing news and information about Omaha, and the region’s, creative class. This includes, but isn’t limited to: entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, artists, visionaries and creatives. In short, those looking to make our region an even better place to live and work! Knowing that our area is filled with insanely talented and passionate individuals, we are playing a role to highlight and connect these groups with one another. 

    One of the big things that they worked on this past year was to host a conference in Omaha for over 400 people. Big Omaha was a lot of work for Dusty and the rest of the crew but it’s gotten really big reviews and they’re planning to host the event again this summer. Here’s what the website says about the event.

    What happens when the country’s foremost creatives, entrepreneurs and innovators descend on one place? That place explodes. Which is precisely what we plan for Omaha. The energy will be impossible to contain. We will begin building communities, companies and friendships. We will inspire new thoughts and completely new ways of thinking. We will develop visions: personal, shared, and civic. Speakers will come from some of the most innovative companies in the nation. And you’ll hear fantastic stories from numerous emerging businesses. In the end, you’ll take away a network and an energy that will propel those new connections to greatness. For you. For your business. For your community. Come to the heart of the Midwest. And let’s rebuild this country from the inside out.

    Some of our family members were nice enough to come and help out with the event.  Dusty’s mom, Jane, worked all day directing all of the volunteers and helping make sure everything ran smoothly.  Dusty’s sister, Sara, helped with the planning of the event and worked on the day of the event, making sure everyone stayed happy.  My mom, Suzane, even pitched in, bringing us some much needed ice for all of the soda and water the participants were drinking.

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    Photos courtesy of Malone and Company

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  • Media_httpwwwdustyand_lruob

    One of Dusty’s goals when starting BrightMix was not only to be a forward thinking company but to also be active in the community and to help encourage entrepreneurship locally. While doing this, some of his efforts have been highlighted in some of the local papers. Here are just a few.

    Venture to offer a co-working combo BY STEFANIE MONGE WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER Omaha entrepreneurs in need of work space will have another alternative when a new venture that seeks to expand companies and foster creativity opens later this summer. The project — called Jailbreak Omaha — will function as part co-working space and part incubator for startup companies. Co-working involves individuals and small companies sharing office space to save money and exchange ideas. The concept is gaining popularity among freelance workers and independent designers across the country, said Dusty Davidson, one of the project’s coordinators and co-owner of Brightmix — a small Omaha-based Web development company. So Davidson and other project coordinators, including Jeff Slobotski of Silicon Prairie News, decided to open a co-working space in Omaha. They want to bring “the coffee shop crowd” together to work and to collaborate, Davidson said. It can be difficult for small companies to rent office space when first starting out, he said. Entrepreneurs frequently work out of their homes or coffee shops as an alternative to paying for space. Davidson said the group is looking at locations in or around the Aksarben Village area because of its central location, proximity to the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the new development in the area. He and his partners initially chose the name Jailbreak as a code name, modeled after a similar place called “Gangplank” in Phoenix. The group liked it, and the name stuck, he said.

    And here’s another article below.

    New program brings UNO delight By Chad Purcell WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER When Dusty Davidson and Kevin Zink first opened BrightMix, a company that develops Internet-based software applications, they worked out of Zink’s basement. Within three months, Davidson and Zink moved into their own Omaha office space. Today, just two years after startup, they employ three other computer whizzes and oversee a paid summer internship program. Davidson, who graduated from Iowa State with a computer science degree in 2003, said he never imagined when he got out of school that he’d be his own boss. He worked at an unsatisfying corporate job before he ever got the bright idea to create BrightMix. But Davidson said he might have been able to get where he is today even more quickly had he been enrolled in a program like the one the University of Nebraska at Omaha will begin offering this fall.

    It’s amazing how much Dusty and BrightMix have accomplished in just a little over 2 1/2 years.  Not only has Dusty been in the paper, he’s also been speaking around town.  It seems that almost on a week basis Dusty’s going somewhere to speak about BrightMix, Silicon Prairie New, or just entrepreneurship in Omaha.

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  • Summer Classes

    August 20, 2009

    This summer was busy for both Dusty and myself. I took two classes in Lincoln and taught a five week public speaking course as well. I started the summer taking a one week intensive course called Influential Books. The objective of the course is to read 13 books related to my interest area over the course of the entire summer. I commuted for one week, met with my classmates, and read three books. Over the course of the next 10 weeks I read 10 additional books and wrote a 60 page write-up on all of them. I must say, it sounded easier than it really was. Some how reading one book a week during the summer doesn’t work out to be as easy as one might think. In the end I did get through it and learned a lot about the history of my discipline and interest area. The second course I took was about learning, teaching, and the brain. We had a guest professor come to Lincoln and spend two weeks with us for an intensive course. I really learned a lot about how the brain works and what this means about how we learn and how I as a teacher can teach. And of course my own teaching.  I love teaching in the summer because the students seem to always be on top of their game.  It always seems a lot more laid back as well because everyone is so focused during those five weeks.  Taking two courses and teaching make the so-called relaxing summer go by fast though.

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  • icecreamsocial_005icecreamsocial_006
    This summer we celebrated BrightMix turning 2 and Silicon Prairie News 1st Birthday.  It was a huge event and we had lots of great supporters.  We’d like to thank our family and friends for coming out to celebrate with us.  The event was ice cream themed.  BrightMix supplied the ice cream and those who attended were invited to bring their favorite ice cream topping.  We had a variety of different toppings from the usual to the unusual.  Some toppings included chocolate syrup, bacon, gummy bears, and sprinkles.  Check out the other pictures and see who came to celebrate!
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  • BrightMix Construction

    June 7, 2009

    We are still living in the Old Market but sometimes I feel like we’re living in a little fixer upper because we’re always doing something to the BrightMix office.  Dusty and his business partner, Kevin decided they needed to create more space at BrightMix.  Within the past year BrightMix has gained two full-time employees and several other people coming in and out of the office that are taking up space. This summer the BrightMix crew (including myself) and others helped to update the basement and make more room for Silicon Prairie News to move in to the basement.  Here are some pictures but go to Office Construction, Round 1, Office Construction, Round 2, and Office Construction, Round 3 for more pictures and updates.

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  • Conference in San Diego

    December 7, 2008

    This November, I spent four days in San Diego for a communication conference and really enjoyed the warm weather.I gave three presentations but found plenty of time to do some sightseeing.I went on a trolley tour of the city, walked on the beach, visited the zoo and tried some of the wonderful food.

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  • 40 Under 40 Award

    December 7, 2008

    Dusty was selected as one of the 2008 entrepreneurs, executives and business professionals under the age of 40 in the greater Omaha/Council Bluffs area.The Midlands Business Journal chooses 40 individuals each year to honor their accomplishments and hard work.Selection is based on creative leadership and growth of the organization or department the person works with.

    A picture of Dusty and the short bio included below will be in the current issue of the Midlands Business Journal.


    Dusty Davidson BrightMix, 27

    As one of the co-founders of a growing Web development company BrightMix, Dusty Davidson launched a product called TripleSeat during the first year in business; TripleSeat is a service providing a new option for businesses in the restaurant industry and is meeting goals of steady, organic growth.

    Davidson and BrightMix co-founder Kevin Zink sought to bring their vision of business to fruition, and their company took shape from origins in consulting from a home office, leading to a move this year into a midtown office.

    BrightMix has provided internships for students and has grown in employees and revenue since it got off the ground in 2007.Not only is Davidson an entrepreneur, he is involved in the promotion of other Omaha entrepreneurs via several projects: He helps run the Web site Silicon Prairie News, which spotlights Nebraska entrepreneurs and innovators with goals of pushing forward ideas that encourage Omaha’s viability as a city for creativity and innovation. Aiming for weekly interviews, the Web site’s founders promote news items that might otherwise be flying under the radar.

    This year Davidson was involved in creating Omaha’s first BarCamp, a gathering to bring together entrepreneurs, innovators, technologists and others.

    Davidson is an original member of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s Cornstalks group for entrepreneurs and inventors. Davidson has been involved in helping to organize networking and informal educational events through Cornstalks.

    Davidson has a bachelor’s in computer science from Iowa State University and has five years experience in his field.

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  • Going Back to School

    October 24, 2008

    I found out this past spring that I was accepted to UNL’s Communication Studies doctoral program. I didn’t waste any time getting back into the rhythm of things and started taking classes this summer. I took a small group communication theory class where I learned all about the workings of small groups and how people communicate in groups. It was an intense three week course but I really enjoyed the discussions and opportunity to learn new things in my field.

    This semester I’m taking an organizational communication theory class. It’s been equally as rewarding as my first class. I’m driving one night a week to Lincoln. I’ve been very luck that the weather has been good and I’ve found a couple of other girls from Omaha that are carpooling with me. Everyone asks how my classes are going and it’s always hard to answer because most classes are a combination of one exam and one major paper and those don’t come until the end of the semester.

    For those of you wondering or who might not know, when you get into a PhD program you must choose a concentration in your field. As of right now, my concentration is organizational communication with a secondary concentration in instructional communication. This really just means that I’ll be taking classes that are focused in these areas.

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  • Teaching A New Class

    October 19, 2008

    Teaching at UNO is going great. I feel so lucky to be doing something I’m so passionate about and enjoy so very much. Last spring and summer I got to teach a new course, it was all about interviewing. If you can believe it, you can take a course all about the different types of interviews. I’ve been teaching public speaking for so long that I had forgotten how difficult it is to create a new syllabus and teach something new. It was very challenging and very rewarding.

    This summer I had an accounting student say to me that she didn’t think this class would be very beneficial but in the end, thought it was one of the best classes she took and would tell all of her friends that they should take it. It was a great compliment to hear that from someone. I try to make all of my classes applicable to everyone but to hear the really re-affirms what I’m doing.

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  • BrightMix Is Growing

    October 7, 2008

    Dusty’s been very busy molding BrightMix into a really innovative and topnotch company. In January Dusty and his business partner Kevin went to Boston to meet up with one of their clients. They had a great time and managed to find time to work a little.

    In February, only seven months after they had officially started BrightMix, hired their first full-time employee, Erin. Erin was a great addition to the group and keeps the boys in line.

    Back tracking a little, in January Dusty and Kevin started to prepare for the BrightMix internship program. Dusty’s sister, Sara, helped publicize the internship and get the word out. They wanted to offer full-time, paid internship positions over the summer, hiring a few talented programmers and one talented designer to help build a brand-spanking-new Web 2.0 application.

    They had hundreds of applicants and in the end hired two fantastic programmers and two talented designers. The interns started in May and launched a website, Fiesty Paranha, to tell their story of the internship program. At the end of the summer Dusty and Kevin decided they needed another hand around the office and hired Erin, one of the designer interns. This is how their second employee was hired.

    I’ve been helping around the office a little as well. This summer I was the official lunch lady and brought gourmet lunches and on Fridays grilled out for the bunch. It was a really nice treat to be able to come to the office and be a part of the BrightMix family. I also help keep the books organized and make sure the office is clean.

    BrightMix continues to grow and provide a contribution to the Omaha community. Dusty has been a great support in not only having a successful business but also being a part of the entrepreneurial community in Omaha.

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