River City Six – Ilanna Fern

Meet Ilanna Fern, estimator at BELFOR Property Restoration (www.belfor.com/en/us/belfor-usa-offices/nebraska/omaha).

Tell us a little about your business.

BELFOR Omaha provides disaster recovery and property restoration services. Located in the heart of the Midwest, where severe weather is no stranger, we are 24/7 to help get you back to life or back to business as quickly as possible. If your home or business is damaged by fire, water, mold, or storm damage, we are the best contractor for the job.

How did you get started in the business?

My career as a restoration estimator was cultivated from a personal experience where I lost everything. On October 7, 2010 I was escorted up the charred staircase to what was left of my apartment in Fontenelle Hills, Bellevue. We were uninsured and all of our belongings were non-salvageable due to either fire, water, or smoke damages. Words cannot describe how devastating it is to lose everything. Words also cannot describe the path to recovery that was made seamless with the support and efforts from the community, family, friends, and, of course, the first responders. Fire officials from both the Bellevue and Omaha Fire Departments joined together to control the fire and mitigate damages. Although tragic, this event marked the beginning of my passion to “restore more than property”. I began as a receptionist for a restoration franchise and learned the administrative and financial aspects. I then began working in the emergency department, scheduling crews and writing estimates for mold remediation, trauma, and water mitigation. Four years later, I was recruited to join the BELFOR team. I was able to utilize all previous experience and training and put it to use in the field. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Without having lost everything, I would not have pursued the path that I am excited to continue.

Tell us a little about your family.

I was born in New York but have lived in six different states as my parents were both military. I have 11 siblings, six sisters and five brothers. I have a brilliant and beautiful daughter, Peyton, who is nine years old. She enjoys crafts, basketball, and pageantry. We adopted a Bengal named Ziggy. He mainly enjoys hide and seek…around the neighborhood.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

A typical day off for me involves brunch with my little one, a gym session, and thrifting.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?

Most people are surprised to learn that I am the third oldest of 11 children. We all were homeschooled and turned out sociable and fashionably savvy!

What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life?

Cooking. It is therapeutic and an art to me. If you don’t own a cast iron pan, get one!

What is your favorite movie?

The Patriot, Braveheart, Apocalypto… I can’t just choose one.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

This a tough one since I love food but Pitch Pizzeria has never disappointed. Their margherita pizza and sweet and spicy rosemary wings are my favorites!

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?

Adam Sandler. He is successful, hilarious, and humble. So many forget to appreciate the simple things in life, and he is a prime example of one who doesn’t take anything, including fame and wealth, for granted. That is rare in this world.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – (402) 891-1300; ilanna.fern@us.belfor.com; www.belfor.com/en/us/belfor-usa-offices/nebraska/omaha. You can also find me on LinkedIn!