By Nicholas Sauma, Reporter
Fifteen years of experience in the media capital of the world is at work for students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Erin Owen was named director of the newly formed Office of Marketing. Owen started Monday, Sept. 17. Her responsibilities will include selling UNO’s brand, building her office staff and organization, and marketing and advertising for the university.
Owen’s career started in Washington, D.C. when she accepted a receptionist position for Senator Bob Kerrey. Eventually she worked her way up and became an assistant communications director where she helped work on Kerrey’s cable show.
She went on to be a producer at NBC on “Meet the Press.” While on the show, Owen covered some of the most significant events of the decade, including interviewing Vice President Dick Cheney days after 9/11, and also the contested Bush versus Gore presidential election of 2000.
Born and raised in Nebraska, Owen returned to Omaha with her husband after the birth of their daughter.
“The breeze was blowing through the trees, birds were chirping, and the bell tower was chiming. It was like the perfect scene,” Owen said of her visit back to UNO after at least 15 years.
Walking around the campus, Owen felt UNO had a lot to offer but lacked the publicity it deserved.
After a few years serving as director of communications for UNO’s Graduate Studies program, Owen is excited to take over marketing the university’s brand. Some of her other responsibilities include building her office staff, improving the the UNO website and fostering internal communication.
“I sit in this office and get to see all the great things going on here at UNO,” Owen said. “Student awards, faculty research awards and grants, and I want everybody to get to see this information.”
Within this list of responsibilities, Owen has set some lofty goals for the future.
“I’m going to be the top bragger here at UNO,” Owen said. “And I’m so proud that that’s my job.”
Students and faculty may have already seen Owen’s work in action. A Crossroads shuttle has been wrapped in the UNO logo and name. This short term improvement has long lasting advertising potential as the shuttle runs its route every day.
“It’s a moving billboard. Free advertising,” Owen said.
A continuing goal is to focus on preparing students to enter the workforce.
“Sharing to present and future students that UNO offers career prep…and that UNO is a partner and resource in the community,” Owen said.
The internships, special programs offered between colleges and employers, and speakers and lecturers from the community are all an example of UNO using its resources to leverage community action for student benefit.
Owen gives tips and advice freely. She is the embodiment of her description of putting UNO’s resources and faculty at work for students, and offering not just an education, but tools for building careers.