Kramer achieved national recognition for his state and national public power leadership as general manager of the Loup River Public Power District. Kramer first became active in Nebraska's public power systems in 1932 when he assisted in bringing about the passage of the Nebraska law that permitted the establishment of public power districts and was instrumental in the formation of Loup River Public Power District. He was the owner of a coal company and active member of many civic enterprises.
Gilbert Behlen, Walter Behlen, Mike Behlen
The three Behlen brothers took a business from the garage of the family home to become one of Columbus' premier employers. It began when Walt Behlen produced steel toe caps for industrial wooden-soled shoes. New products and innovations would follow as Walt was joined in the business by his brothers, Gilbert and Mike. With the success of toe caps and reusable egg case lid clamps, Behlen was a full-time manufacturer by 1943. The Behlens built a 200-foot by 200-foot plant on an industrial site on the east edge of Columbus in 1946. Behlen's innovations continued into the 1950s with the introduction of what was known at the time as a "honeycomb" building using rolled steel panels that served as both the structural component and skin of the building, eliminating the need for interior framing. The frameless design gained nationwide notice when a Behlen building survived an atomic bomb blast during government tests at Yucca Flats, Nev., in 1955. The brothers grew the firm to world wide stature before selling the company in 1969.
A Columbus native and civic leader for more than 60 years, Hockenberger was instrumental in the promotion of the Loup River Public Power District in 1932. In 1938, he promoted the creation of the Consumers Public Power District (CPPD). CPPD merged with other entities to form the Nebraska Public Power District in 1970. He also conceived the idea of constructing an industrial site to bring industry to Columbus. The first 12 acres were sold to the Behlen family for construction of the Behlen Manufacturing Company. Several other companies followed in quick succession. The first national company recruited was Becton, Dickinson and Company.