Although Nye Health Services is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, owner Russ Peterson’s involvement in the care industry began much earlier in his life.
While most people don’t move into a nursing facility until they reach their golden years, for Peterson that time came when he was still in grade school.
“I was in fifth or sixth grade and we moved to Lyons, and my parents had just opened the nursing home up so we had a whole wing that was not being used initially,” he said. “So we literally moved into the nursing home.”
While Peterson and his family spent less than a year actually living in the small nursing facility known as Logan Valley Manor which his parents built and operated in Lyons, the industry would eventually become his life’s work.
After growing up working at his parents business in Lyons and heading off to college and eventually law school, in 1983 Peterson came back home to take over the family business.
In 1989, Peterson and his father built a 40-bed facility on 23rd Street in Fremont which—after various additions--became the much larger facility known as Nye Square.
“It was a new concept at the time, and really with Nye Square we felt like there was a need for housing and healthcare services for older adults that wasn’t subsidized housing but that offered services with a residential feel and that was the vision we started with,” he said.
That vision has now grown to include seven total campuses, including a home care and home health care agency, in cities across eastern Nebraska including three in Fremont—Nye Square, Nye Pointe, and Nye Legacy—and stretching as far as Jackson, Wyoming.
Peterson’s family business has also grown to employ more than 720 people companywide, with nearly 350 of those working in Fremont.
Along with expanding geographically, Nye has also grown to incorporate diverse services including a variety of short-term rehabilitative care options, long term care, outpatient therapy, home care, home health care, independent and assisted living, and even a bustling local technology business.
“We really are a housing and healthcare company, we see that whole spectrum,” Peterson said. “Being a family business allows us to do things differently than a lot of national companies.”
While Peterson says his company’s mission hasn’t really changed over the past 30 years, the company has continued to find new and innovative ways to enhance the workplace for team members. Recently undergoing the addition of a company value system focusing on the overall wellbeing of team members to ensure the best environment possible to provide care and service to the customers they serve.
Another large aspect of that change is the short-term care options Nye provides, most notably rehabilitation services.
“We found that with rehab, as well as some of our other services, we were starting to take care of younger people and we wanted to reflect that in our name,” he said. “A lot of times people who are very independent have a surgery and just need a place to rehab, so on all of our campuses we’ve really enhanced our therapy services.”
Peterson’s lifelong experience in the healthcare industry and passion for quality care has also become a staple of Nye’s company culture, says Vice President of Operation Kristin Harris who has worked at the company for 12 years.
“’Be Passionate’ isn’t just a value we strive for, it’s who we are—it’s engrained into the culture of our company,” she said. “We are passionate about people and serving our residents, their families and each other with our hearts. It’s not just about helping people; we want to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve every day.”
The family atmosphere that has been cultivated at Nye has also allowed the company to stay ahead of the curve and to be innovative.
One particularly innovative branch of Nye Health Services is Nye Technology Solutions—which along with serving all of the company’s seven campuses also provides IT services to more than 40 area companies.
“The company’s focus on innovation has really allowed our team to innovate as well,” Director of Information Technology Jeremy Barton said. “As a company we are on the cutting edge of technology when you compare us to others in the senior housing and healthcare industry, so being a part of the organization in IT, that makes my job a lot of fun.”
While Nye has grown in its locations and variety of services, Peterson says that one thing has always remained the same: helping residents to continue to celebrate life and live happily.
“We recognize that a lot of times our residents are in the latter parts of their lives, but we want them to continue to enjoy their lives,” he said. “We still think that there are ways for people to find purpose and find autonomy no matter what their circumstances are and that is what we mean by celebrating life.”
According to Jennifer Peterson, that mission is made possible by the company’s frontline team members and their interactions with residents each and every day.
“They are the unsung heroes in this organization,” she said. “But they make this company successful.”
As the company celebrates 30 years of serving a variety of clients through a multitude of services, Peterson says none of it could be possible without the passion of its team members.
“Our success really is due to the people that have joined our team, we’ve had a lot of passionate people and without them it wouldn’t work,” he said. “We’ve really enjoyed the journey so far.”