NOA Awards

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

Congratulations to the 2019 Nebraska Optometric Association's Award Recipients!

2019 Optometrist of the Year: Teri Geist, OD - Omaha

Dr. Teri Geist

Dr. Teri Geist is the 2019 NOA Optometrist of the year for her significant leadership contributions to the profession and to the Association on both the state and national levels, highlighted by her election to the AOA Board of Trustees in June. She is the board liaison to six national committees and commissions, six state associations, and one optometry school. She served on the AOA Third Party Center Executive Committee earlier in the year before her election as a trustee.

In addition to her AOA work this past year, Teri has continued to serve as Chair of the Nebraska Foundation for Children's Vision, serves on the NOA children's vision legislative project team, has been active as a state legislative keyperson, and testified during this year's legislative session hearing on behalf of NOA's scope of practice enhancement bill.

Dr. Geist practices at Midwest Eye Care PC in Omaha. She is a past president of NOA and the North Central States Optometric Council.

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

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2019 Young Optometrist of the Year: Will Ferguson, OD - Omaha

Dr. Will FergusonThe Charles Seeger Young OD of the Year recognizes leadership skills and contributions to the profession by an optometrist licensed ten years or less.

Dr. Will Ferguson, the 2019 NOA Young OD of the Year recipient, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and graduated cum laude from Southern College of Optometry in 2009.

He currently serves as a Director for the NOA and the Nebraska Foundation for Children's Vision and chairs the NOA project team addressing children's vision policy enhancements.

He is a graduate of the NOA Leadership Institute, is active as a state legislative keyperson and PAC contributor, is a member of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) and Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA), and is a regular lecturer for paraoptometric education at the NOA Fall Convention. He also donates his time and services for multiple in-service presentations and vision screenings for businesses, organizations, and educational institutions throughout Omaha.

Dr. Ferguson practices at Heartland Eye Consultants in Omaha.

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

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2019 Keyperson of the Year: Steve Gradowski, OD - Omaha

Dr. Steve GradowskiThe NOA Keyperson of the Year Award recognizes an NOA member who has helped advance the Association's advocacy efforts through active involvement in political or regulatory affairs on behalf of optometry, with special emphasis on building and maintaining effective relationships with state or federal legislators or regulators.

Dr. Steve Gradowski has been a long-time member of the NOA Political Action Committee and is one of the top lifetime PAC contributors in the state. He has been an active legislative keyperson for multiple state senators over the years and attended numerous fundraisers and campaign events on behalf of NOA. During the past year, he organized a successful optometric fundraiser that helped get Sen. Steve Lathrop elected in the top priority legislative race for NOA during the 2018 election cycle.


Dr. Gradowski is a past president of NOA and practices at Eye Care West PC in Omaha.

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

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2019 Paraoptometric of the Year: Jean Jergensen

Jean JergensenThe NOA presents the Paraoptometric of the Year Award to 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 the award, along with the paraoptometric's accomplishments.

Jean Jergensen is the office manager at Clear Vision Eye Care in Lincoln. Jean enjoys forming relationships with patients and building their trust. She is a great listener and is driven to find solutions to meet her patients' needs. Having previously owned a business in Lincoln with her husband, Bob, as well as her previous experience as a preschool teacher, many faces come through our doors of the clinic that Jean recognizes.

Jean enjoys spending her free time with family, making jewelry, crafting, shopping, or going for a walk. 

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

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