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Lincoln companies and culture represent at SXSW

The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development wrapped up a week in Austin, Texas, where they participated in exhibitions, conferences and events that brought Lincoln’s message to the South By Southwest crowd.

LPED along with representatives from Lincoln-based companies Assurity Life, Nelnet, Hudl, Lincoln Electric System, NRC Health connected with Austin residents at the SXSW job market.

“Last year [LPED] went as research and development and took a small team,” said Rachel Placzek, Director of Talent Strategy at LPED. “We had a hunch that this would end up becoming a big thing for us.”

The recruiters and reps were able to interview candidates on the spot and explain Lincoln’s job market. Companies could recruit for themselves but also acted as ambassadors for the city as a whole and even talked about other companies that weren’t at SXSW.

“Last year we were overwhelmed with candidates to talk to, and we wished that we would have had companies with us,” said Placzek. “Having real recruiters there to say what they were hiring for and talk about Lincoln made a big difference.”

After the job market, Placzek and the others stayed for Nebraska Exposed, a showcase of Nebraska bands that have built relationships with Austin venues over the years.

“It’s promotion for the bands, but also promotion for Lincoln and to show Austin what our music scene looks like,” said Placzek. “[Nebraska Exposed] offers a lot of the cultural backup that we’re talking about in the job market. We’re letting people know about the job opportunities we have, but also letting people know that Lincoln is a fun place to live.”

Christina Oldfather, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at LPED said she was also excited to participate in the American Cities House sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation and TechCo.

Oldfather said she was able to talk about NMotion, the I/O Summit and some of LPED’s recruitment programs. Maryanne Worthington from Revo was also there discussing the social impact side of Lincoln’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“We were really able to represent a broad spectrum of what we have going on in Lincoln,” said Oldfather. “We were able to connect to other communities that are also working to build their entrepreneurial ecosystems and find out what kinds of things they’re doing. We also we had a really great opportunity to showcase what Lincoln is doing.”

Oldfather said that every event she participated in was valuable, whether they were official SXSW events of just finding a chance to connect with other entrepreneurial ecosystem builders.

“There was a lot of really great content and a lot of great takeaways,” said Oldfather. “But connecting with people all across the country and all across the globe that are all working on a lot of the same things was really valuable.”

Oldfather also connected with Mastercard at the American Cities Summit and had a chance to talk to about their new initiatives around data and some of the innovative ways that they’re helping cities.

“With the information they have and can dig into, [they are able] to provide a lot of valuable data to cities regarding transportation and so much more,” said Oldfather.

Austin’s continuing population boom is raising cost-of-living within the city and having other effects like traffic congestion in busy areas. Placzek said there are people who expressed a desire to return to “the old Austin.”

“We’re hoping to capitalize on that and attract people to a place that’s more similar to the Austin that they lived in 15 years ago,” said Placzek. “There are a lot of people here who are who have been really receptive to the idea of moving to Lincoln or at least hearing more about it.”

Overall, Placzek said Lincoln was well received at SXSW and people seemed to connect with the idea of a vibrant, innovative city in the middle of a plains state––something that holds a lot of similarity to Austin.

“It’s not a stretch to explain what Lincoln is or that’s it’s cool to live there,” said Placzek. “People are ready to talk. I’ve had a great time talking with people from other places and learning from them, and also sharing Lincoln’s story.”

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Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.

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