Yahoo celebrates 20 years, 6 years in Omaha

On Monday Yahoo celebrated its 20th anniversary with a global party and a record-breaking mass yodel. Over 350 Yahoo employees in the Omaha area participated in the event. The Omaha office includes ad operations, sales, and finance, as well as a data center, serving Yahoo’s one billion users. Altogether these departments make Omaha/La Vista the

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On Monday Yahoo celebrated its 20th anniversary with a global party and a record-breaking mass yodel. Over 350 Yahoo employees in the Omaha area participated in the event.

The Omaha office includes ad operations, sales, and finance, as well as a data center, serving Yahoo’s one billion users. Altogether these departments make Omaha/La Vista the 5th largest Yahoo office in the nation.

Yahoo finds Omaha ripe with infrastructure, talent

Yahoo’s move into the Omaha area six years ago was unintentional.

A director of advertising operations was working in Omaha remotely. Local hiring developed organically as they discovered talent in the region.

Omaha’s many call centers have created an exceptional telecommunications infrastructure, as well as a deep talent base of professionals in data, marketing, and accounting.

Yahoo draws young talent to Omaha

Yahoo actively hires graduates from UNO, UNL, and Creighton. Some opportunities have even allowed Nebraska students to intern at Yahoo’s headquarters in Sunnyvale.

Cristina Sanchez, a 2012 UNO grad from Chicago, joined the Yahoo ad operations through a referral program.

“Working for a forward thinking and progressive company has made living in Omaha great,” Sanchez said.

Andrew and Emily Wettengel, two Omaha natives, actually moved back to Omaha from bigger cities to work for Yahoo.

“When I left Omaha 12 years ago there weren’t companies like this  in Omaha,” said Andrew. “In those 12 years it’s changed so much. There’s a cool culture that didn’t exist then.”

Alexi Wellman, Vice President of Accounting, said that the accounting department has been actively insourcing jobs to Omaha from places like India.

Yahoo plans to consolidate all of its global accounting in Omaha. They have recently hired four Mandarin-speaking employees to work with overseas clients.

Nick Lim, a UNL graduate from Malaysia, speaks mandarin and works in the accounting department. He likes Omaha because it is “not too big and not too small.” He also likes working at Yahoo.

“There’s a lot to learn,” said Lim. “I’m excited to learn.”

La Vista data center provides backbone to Yahoo data

IMG_2363The Yahoo data center in La Vista is one of three Yahoo data centers in the US. The other two are in Washington and New York.

The La Vista data center is also the primary production and warehouse facility for Yahoo’s servers and parts.

Luis Ayala, a member of the server installation team, wheels a cart with a keyboard and monitor between the massive server pods in the tightly controlled environment.

“I’m amazed at the scale and the amount of traffic that goes through [the data center],” said Ayala.

Ayala grew up in Neligh, Nebraska, and graduated from Hastings College with a degree in Art.

He said working at the data center has changed how he uses the internet on his own.

“It makes you realize you’re not just looking at a computer screen,” said Ayala. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into it.”

Yahoo’s strong community ties

Yahoo has donated backpacks of school supplies to children in the Papillion-La Vista school district. They also work with local schools and charities to donate old server equipment.

Christine Stell-Strong, Senior Director of Sales, lived in Boston and Barcelona before coming to Omaha. She moved six years ago and loves the community.

She has been involved with the Yahoo Employee Foundation in helping raise significant funds for Boys Town in recent years.

“I’m really proud to call Omaha home,” Stell-Strong said.

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