NOA Awards

Each year the Nebraska Optometric Association recognizes individual members who go above and beyond for their patients, community, and the optometric profession.

2020 NOA Awards

Below is the list of Awards and the qualifications for considering the recipients. Please let NOA know if you have any questions noa@assocoffice.net.

Optometrist of the Year Persons nominated for this award shall be optometrists, members of the Nebraska Optometric Association, who have contributed their time and talent in the most outstanding manner for the betterment of the visual health and welfare of the public and to the profession of optometry during the past year.

Young Optometrist of the Year Persons nominated for this award shall be members of the Nebraska Optometric Association who have been licensed optometrists for 10 years or less, and who have contributed their time and talent to the optometric profession and who have shown remarkable leadership skills when serving their profession, their patients and their community.

Distinguished Service Award Persons nominated for this award shall be optometrists, members of the Nebraska Optometric Association, who, over their careers, have rendered outstanding and exemplary service to their community and profession, and who have distinguished themselves as exemplary citizens and optometrists of the state of Nebraska.

Keyperson of the Year Persons nominated for this award shall be optometrists, members of the Nebraska Optometric Association, who, during the past year have helped advance the Association's advocacy efforts through effective involvement in political or regulatory affairs on behalf of optometry.

Para of the Year Persons nominated for this award shall be a paraoptometric who has made outstanding contributions to the fields of paraoptometry and optometry, been an asset to their doctor(s), advanced themselves with continuing education and a commitment to the profession with a number of years in the field. Self-discipline and professional conduct are also criteria for which the award is judged, along with the paraoptometric's accomplishments in the profession. Either a fellow paraoptometric or a NOA doctor may submit nominations for this award.

Congratulations to the 2020 Nebraska Optometric Association's Award Recipients!

2020 Optometrist of the Year: Andrew Bateman, OD - Lincoln

Dr. Andrew BatemanDr. Bateman was recognized for his outstanding leadership as NOA President during the challenging year created by the pandemic. In presenting his award, President-Elect Amy DeVries, OD saluted his effective leadership and guidance for the Board despite the closure of practices, loss of dues income for NOA, transition of both major meetings to virtual formats, and many other uncertainties.

Dr. Bateman has also continued to be an effective advocate for the profession as a keyperson coordinator, as keyperson for his own state senator, member of the legislative committee, and as a participant in numerous meetings and discussions with state senators and candidates. His leadership has been also been instrumental in getting NOA and its messaging on vision care for students closely broadly interfaced with the Nebraska Department of Education.

Click here for a list of previous NOA Optometrist of the Year recipients.


2020 Young Optometrist of the Year: Matt Willis, OD - Omaha

Dr. Matt Willis

This honor is given to an association  member who has been licensed 10 years or less and has contributed time and talent in the most outstanding manner for the betterment of the visual health and welfare of the public, and to the profession.  Dr. Willis currently serves as vice-president of the association and has served on its board of directors since 2016. He is a graduate of the NOA Leadership Institute, serves on the association's education and legislative committees, has been a liaison to the Paraoptometric Section, and helps coordinate optometrists' involvement in advocacy and political affairs.

Since entering optometric practice in Nebraska, Dr. Willis has been a volunteer for multiple programs providing free vision care in the Omaha area, has spoken to pre-optometry clubs at Creighton University and the University of Arkansas, and is active in his church.

Click here for a list of previous NOA Young Optometrist of the Year recipients.


2020 Keyperson of the Year: David Kincaid, OD - South Sioux City

Dr. Steve Gradowski

This award recognizes members who have developed and maintained effective relationships with legislators and candidates, educated legislators on optometry's issues, actively participated in legislative activities and supported NOA political initiatives.  Dr. Kincaid was saluted for meeting these criteria for more than 30 years.

He has had a strong personal relationship with every state senator from his district since at least 1989. He has raised money for them, educated them about optometry, and has lobbied them successfully on optometric issues. He has raised money for NOA legislative efforts and is one of the top lifetime contributors to NOA PAC.

Click here for a list of previous NOA Keyperson of the Year recipients.


2020 Distinguished Service Award: Ted Vorhies, OD - Lincoln

Dr. Vorhies was honored for his career-long commitment to getting members involved in the association and encouraging leadership.  His nomination focused especially on the role he has played over many years in not only recruiting members for the association but in encouraging many members to seek leadership positions in NOA. Multiple board members and officers have credited Dr. Vorhies with being their impetus to run for office.

Dr. Vorhies has been an active volunteer over the past three decades including serving on the NOA Board and as president. He continues to serve as a legislative keyperson, has represented Nebraska on the Board of Directors of Heart of America Contact Lens Society, and is currently a member of the Nebraska Board of Optometry

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Click here for a list of previous NOA Distinguished Service Award recipients.


2020 Paraoptometric of the Year: Krista Fischer, CPOT - Norfolk

Krista FischerKrista is senior optometric technician at Fiedler Eye Clinic.  In presenting the award, Dr. Jeff Klein especially cited her expertise in working up a patient, scribing, coding, and communicating to the optical. She assists in CL fittings an evaluations, orders medical supplies; heads the scheduling of surgical and pre-op patients and is the lead trainer for new staff.

Dr. Klein noted that Krista volunteers to help with off site vision screenings and health fairs and is instrumental in implementing See to Learn and InfantSEE programs in the practice.  She customizes templates in the practice's EHR system, helped develop the practice's COVID policies and procedures, has created several office handouts for patients.  She is active in her church, coaches her daughter's softball team, and serves as secretary of the NOA Paraoptometric Section. 

Click here for a list of previous NOA Paraoptometric of the Year recipients.