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Staup is OPPD’s people person

September 24, 2018 | Laura King-Homan | OPPD at work, OPPD employees
talent acquisition

John Staup wants you.

Staup, director of Talent Acquisition at OPPD, works to attract and retain qualified employees for the utility. That job runs the gamut from scouting and sourcing candidates for open positions to onboarding new employees during their first days, weeks and months.

There is no typical day, he said, but each day is focused on the “people programs” that improve OPPD employees’ service to their customers.

OPPD @ Work_John Staup_team
John Staup, second from right, meets with his team. From left, clockwise, Jennifer Skupa, Darlene Brown, Athena Roberson and Laura Fritson.

Filling positions at a company goes beyond collecting resumes and scheduling interviews. For Staup, it’s about OPPD’s brand as an employer and ensuring the utility is represented across social media and job recruitment channels in a way that promotes the utility’s values and the benefits of being an OPPD employee.

In a state where unemployment hovers below 3 percent, it can be a challenging task. Recruiting at a utility can bring additional challenges since the industry’s unemployment rate is even lower.

“We’re always working to find very talented people to bring into the organization,” he said.

Generational shifts in the workforce add another layer to consider as a talent manager.

More and more Baby Boomers are retiring, taking with them the institutional knowledge from a place they may have worked at for decades. Staup said transitioning younger applicants into those position while not losing that knowledge is another aspect he must consider.


Staup has always had more of a head for business.

“Most kids when they’re younger think about going into the NBA, NFL, or whatever. As weird as it sounds, when I was 10 years old I was committed to the dream of being a CEO.”

His exposure to the business world came early, often visiting his father’s business as a child and learning about what it takes to run it.

Before coming to OPPD, Staup worked for a little over a decade in the technology industry, specializing in communications technology. When he learned about the opportunity at OPPD, he knew enough about the utility to know that he needed to check it out. After meeting with executives, talking with employees, and learning OPPD’s mission and core values, it was clear the position “no-brainer.”

OPPD @ Work_John Staup_vertical
Staup and Darlene Brown discuss their work at Energy Plaza.

During his career he’s dealt with many disciplines – finance, sales, operations, marketing – that all now apply to his job in Human Capital.

Staup credits being blessed with “rock-solid” mentors as the reason he is able to pull in those experiences to what he does today, and for shaping his career philosophy.

“They gave me space and also pushed me to not fall into the traditional HR mindset. Once you have some successes you build momentum” he said. “And that allows me to move the utility forward and help it achieve its business goals through my work.”


Staup and his team – Darlene Brown, Athena Roberson, Jenny Skrupa and Laura Fritson – incorporate varying levels of those disciplines in their day-to-day work in order to be successful. That approach allows the Talent Acquisition team to work across all of OPPD’s business units.


Staup said he loves many things about his position, but helping employees grow in their careers is near the top of the list.

“I don’t understand how people couldn’t enjoy that.”

He said that outlook may be influenced by his sports background. His philosophy has always been about the team and their success, not his own.

“As a team, if you’re able to develop that weaker link, you’re becoming better and stronger as an organization,” Staup said. “It gives me a huge sense of pride.”

Helping others is a leading driver for his department’s strategic goals. He said his team works to push OPPD’s capabilities further and enhance its workforce. They do that by hiring applicants who are technically competent, critical thinkers, and align with OPPD’s mission and core values.

As an avid sports fan, Staup’s love of sports continues, especially for the University of Nebraska. But his time away from work also involves a lot of reading about digital marketing, the user experience and metrics-based management.

“I’m a total geek,” he said, “ but don’t tell my wife. She still thinks I’m cool.”

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About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the supervisor, Brand and Communication Operations, at Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Laura King-Homan >

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