2018 Citizens of the Year
There are so many caring and committed community members in our metro. With advice and counsel from the previous Citizen of the Year recipients, United Way of the Midlands is proud to name a special couple for this year’s recognition: Paul and Annette Smith.
Paul Smith is currently a member of the Board of Stakeholders of Tenaska, one of the largest private, independent energy companies in the United States. Throughout his 25-year tenure with the company, Mr. Smith served in a variety of leadership roles, including Vice-Chairman. Mr. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University and a M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Joslyn Art Museum. He is also past Chairman of the boards of Film Streams, Omaha Conservatory of Music and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Mr. Smith also serves or has served as either a member of the board of directors or committees of Opera Omaha, Omaha Community Foundation, United States Artists and the Whitney Museum National Committee.
Annette Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and business administration from Dana College. She also holds a degree in architecture from the University of Nebraska. Mrs. Smith currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors of Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands. She is also past Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council for the United Way of the Midlands. She serves or has served on the board of directors or committees of the College of Saint Mary, OpenSky Policy Institute, Kent Bellows Studio and Center for Visual Arts, Nebraska Academic Decathlon Foundation, Whitney National Committee and Omaha Area Youth Orchestra.
Together, Mr. and Mrs. Smith work to promote the arts and support youth development in the greater Omaha community. Also ardent supporters of the humanities, the Smiths were recipients of the Governor’s 2015 Sower Award. They founded the Omaha Conservatory of Music, which is known nationally for its program String Sprouts, and Impact Circle – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands. The Smiths have also been instrumental in the origination of the annual events Louder than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival and the Great Plains Theatre Conference.
In addition, the Smiths are lead investors in the Capitol District, a mixed-use development located at 10th Street and Capitol Ave. in Omaha. They also lead development and investment in Millwork Commons, a mixed-use development at 12th and Nicholas streets.
The Smiths are most proud of their three children Louis, Charlie and Greg and together they enjoy art, architecture, traveling and many outdoor activities.