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Spotlight on Skutt Catholic Alumni: Behind the Scenes of the New Performing Arts Center

Four Skutt Catholic alumni were involved in the realization of the school’s long-standing dream for a dedicated Performing Arts Center on the campus. On April 22, that dream officially became a reality with the blessing and dedication of the new Monsignor James E. Gilg Performing Arts Center, where performances will take place on the John and Michaela Blazek Stage and brought to life with Theatricals in memory of Benjamin H. Ryan. Read more about the roles these SkyHawks played in the creation and construction of the new facility.


Joe Flaxbeard ‘03, Lamp Rynearson

Joe Flaxbeard ‘03 served as Chair of the Facilities Committee during the planning and initial construction of the Performing Arts Center project. He remains an active member of the committee.

While Joe wasn’t directly involved in the design or construction itself, being part of the Performing Arts Center’s journey has been a special opportunity for him. He remembers discussions about a potential Performing Arts Center as a freshman 25 years ago at Skutt. Witnessing that vision come to life and transform the campus has been incredibly rewarding.

He is proud of the school leadership team, who took on the challenge of fundraising and organizing this project. He’s also deeply grateful for the many alumni who donated their time, money, and materials to make the Performing Arts Center a reality.

Skutt Catholic’s strong math and science programs, particularly the influential teachers in those departments, significantly impacted his decision to pursue civil engineering. These teachers fostered his love for math and physics and encouraged him to pursue a Civil Engineering degree.



Steve Eichelberg ‘05, Advanced Door and Dock Systems, KE Flex Contracting

Advanced Door and Dock Systems supplied and installed the overhead and coiling doors for the project. KE Flex Contracting generously donated all the tools and work surfaces for the workshop where sets and props are built.

Steve holds Skutt Catholic close to his heart and is thrilled to contribute to its future for upcoming generations. His advice for students considering the trades? They offer good wages, benefits, and retirement security, all without student loan debt. Plus, most construction fields are less susceptible to automation, providing stable jobs for years to come.

He credits his experience at Skutt Catholic for building a strong network. The school’s ability to connect families creates a significant advantage in Omaha’s business landscape. Even today, he often finds himself working with Skutt alumni and their families.




Eddie Tritsch ‘12, Tritsch Electric Co Inc.

Eddie Tritsch ‘12 served as the electrical contractor for the Performing Arts Center, overseeing the installation of electrical components, fire alarms, and audio-visual equipment. He functioned as the project manager, heavily involved in various construction phases.

Once awarded the project, his commitment went beyond just a job. He aimed to deliver his best effort throughout. Returning to his old high school was a rewarding experience, filled with familiar faces and progress updates.

Eddie’s greatest pride lies in contributing to a project that will benefit future generations of students and families. He commends his electrical team for their dedication and high-quality work.

For those considering a career in construction, Eddie’s advice is to start young. The industry offers numerous opportunities, with high demand for skilled labor. Within the electrical field, finding a company that aligns with your personality and preferred work style (commercial, residential, industrial) is key.

Eddie’s high school experience prepared him well for leadership roles within his company. He opted for specific classes to further his business goals rather than a traditional college degree. He credits his high school education with fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork – the most valuable takeaways for his career.

A surprising highlight was the number of teachers who remembered him after a decade. This personal touch exemplifies the school’s commitment to each student.


Will Morris ‘08, Mechanical Sales

Will Morris ’08, a Principal at Mechanical Sales, played a key role in the Performing Arts Center’s HVAC system by supplying the equipment to the subcontractor for installation and ensuring proper functionality through his service team.

For Will, contributing to Skutt Catholic is always rewarding. He collaborated with Mechanical Sales Principal, Jeff Backemeyer, and the mechanical engineer on the design, considering acoustics, airflow, and system selection, providing technical data throughout the process.

Will’s advice to current students considering a career path? Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Gain a clear understanding of an industry before making assumptions. Embrace hard work and be prepared to roll up your sleeves and put in the effort.

Will shared Skutt Catholic instilled a strong foundation in: effective problem-solving, task prioritization, and teamwork. Overall, Will is proud to have contributed to a project that provides Skutt Catholic with such an amazing new space.

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