August 1, 2023 — NE Chamber President Bryan Slone today announced the hiring of Laurel Oetken as the first executive director of Tech Nebraska, a new organization created to cultivate Nebraska’s tech community and drive collaboration, growth and policy for Nebraska businesses.
“Laurel comes to Tech Nebraska with a strong record of bringing tech leaders, entrepreneurs and community and state policy leaders together,” Slone said. “We’re excited to have her leading the efforts of the new organization to further connect technology interests throughout the state and grow Nebraska’s technology brand.”
A native of Omaha, Oetken most recently served as director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. She spearheaded Omaha-area work with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) to cultivate a short- and long-term strategic plan for growth in the innovation ecosystem. She engaged 40 Omaha-based tech startups and 400 business and community leaders during Startup Omaha Week.
Prior to that, she worked as a project manager at Ervin & Smith and a marketing project manager at Flywheel. She’s the current fundraising director for the Junior League of Omaha and was a leader in the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Journalism degree.
“I’m incredibly proud of Nebraska and the advancements our state has made collectively toward becoming a leader in technology. Tech Nebraska has the unique opportunity to continue building on past momentum, advancing our state’s technology interests and reputation as a leader in technology and innovation even further,” Oetken said. “To be a part of accelerating this growth through Tech Nebraska and to serve as its first executive director is truly exciting. I can’t wait to get started.”
Christopher Dill, Vice President and CIO at Kiewit, said Tech Nebraska’s new leader will be key in growing the state’s tech sector.
“Every Nebraska company is impacted by technology,” Dill said. “We are confident that Laurel, as the new director of Tech Nebraska, will be a leader in helping those Nebraska businesses collaborate, partner and ultimately become leaders in the technology ecosystem."
“Laurel will be a leader in guiding statewide strategy as the director of Tech Nebraska,” said Assistant Vice President & Lead Engineer for IT at Union Pacific Railroad. “We look forward to her working directly with CIOs and CTOs across the state to move our state forward in the technology ecosystem.”
Tech Nebraska’s mission is to strengthen the state’s position as a leader in the future of technology and innovation, advocating for tech-forward public policies and developing a diverse technology community. The organization announced its formation in December, and is in the process of building capacity, with senior level information and technology officers helping to create the founding board. Companies interested in engaging their chief information and technology officers may contact the NE Chamber for more information at email@example.com, or by calling 402-474-4422. For more information, visit technologynebraska.com
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