LINCOLN–(News Release June 23)–Wendy Birdsall, president of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Partnership of Economic Development, announced she will retire on December 31, 2021. Birdsall’s retirement concludes her 30-year career with the Lincoln Chamber.
“It has been a true honor to serve the Lincoln business community as president of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce for the past 15 years. I am extremely proud of our accomplishments and attribute much of our success to the hard work of my dedicated team and our exceptional board of directors,” said Birdsall. “I have been fortunate to work with such strong and talented business leaders throughout my career. I can’t thank the Lincoln community and our Chamber membership enough for their ongoing support.”
Birdsall’s career with the Lincoln Chamber began in 1991, as she served as director of Lincoln Specialty Care, a cooperative effort of the Lincoln Chamber and Lincoln medical community. She then stepped into the role of vice president and executive director of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau before serving as interim president for the organization twice in 2004 and 2005. She was named president of the Lincoln Chamber in 2006.
“Wendy has been an outstanding community leader throughout her career at the Lincoln Chamber and LPED. She has had a profound impact on economic development and the growth of Lincoln’s business community,” said Marc LeBaron, LPED’s board chair. “I have enjoyed working with Wendy on numerous projects. Wendy’s energy and creativity has inspired us all.”
Wendy’s thoughtful leadership positioned the Chamber and the Lincoln business community to create a climate to advance the success of existing Lincoln businesses while developing community resources to support and retain Lincoln’s entrepreneurs and startup companies. She led the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development’s impactful efforts to attract new businesses and jobs, expanding employment opportunities for all Lincolnites and recruiting new talent. Under her watch, the organization also expanded its reach to engage Lincoln’s future, launching Lincoln’s Young Professionals Group – one of the largest in the country.
While promoting Lincoln as a vibrant, welcoming and forward-looking city, Birdsall and her team offer a platform for recognition, celebrating and applauding the accomplishments of the extraordinary business leaders who call Lincoln home. A trusted and collaborative partner focused on the greater good, Birdsall built what is now considered Lincoln’s premier business organization.
“As chair of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, I have had a front row seat to Wendy’s insightful leadership and dedication to the Lincoln business community. Throughout her tenure, she has remained steadfast in her support of our local businesses while also promoting Lincoln as an attractive city for new businesses and individuals,” said Lincoln Chamber Board Chair Andy Hunzeker. “Wendy’s passion for Lincoln is evident and our business community is stronger because of her leadership. Wendy has been an impactful leader to her team at the Chamber of Commerce and leaves the organization in a very strong position. I applaud her successful 30-year career at the Chamber, filled with
countless accomplishments that helped to shape Lincoln’s business landscape,” added Hunzeker.
Under Birdsall’s leadership, the Lincoln Chamber positively impacted the business landscape of our community in countless ways, including:
Successfully guiding Pinnacle Bank Arena-related legislation through local votes, leveraging
organizational assets and mobilizing members, young professionals and elected officials to
advocate for the $340 million project
Serving as a connector between Lincoln Public Schools, Southeast Community College and the
Lincoln business community in the creation of the Career Academy, introducing high school
students to a variety of career pathways
Advocating strongly for LB 720 which rolled into LB 1107 and was passed – a huge win for our
Launched Jumpstart Challenge, a reverse pitch competition serving as a platform for startups to
develop innovative, new products created to solve a challenge presented
Creating Lincoln Specialty Care to promote Lincoln’s top-notch medical resources to Greater
Nebraska and surrounding states
Providing qualified startups with $25,000 grants and connections to mentors and additional
capital to grow their businesses in Lincoln through the LaunchLNK program
Recruiting large events to our city, such as the 2010 Special Olympics National Games, the 2015
State Games of America and various NSAA State Championships.
Birdsall is a fifth generation Lincolnite who remains committed to ensuring Lincoln is a great place to live, work and play beyond her retirement. “My passion for our city will continue long after my role as Chamber president concludes,” said Birdsall. “I am extremely grateful to have spent my career doing what I love, surrounded by people I admire in a city I am so proud to call home.”