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UNL grad brings passion for communication back to Lincoln

Andy Schadwinkel, Director of Strategic Marketing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of University Communications. Photo courtesy of Andy Schadwinkel.

Andy Schadwinkel, director of strategic marketing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln office of University Communications. (Photo courtesy of Andy Schadwinkel.)

By Ryan Rothman
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

For some people, four years of college can feel like a lifetime. For one, a career at his alma mater made perfect sense.

Andy Schadwinkel is the director of strategic marketing in the office of University Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a position that he’s held for the past seven years. University Communications offers marketing and communications support to faculty, staff and departments across the UNL campus.

“I was really excited about studying advertising in college. I knew that’s what I wanted to do from the beginning,” Schadwinkel said. “I guess I’m sort of the anomaly, where I knew I wanted to do it, pursued it, got a job in it and have been doing it since.”

Schadwinkel grew up in Alliance, Nebraska, and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after high school. He spent his time taking courses in advertising, English, history, marketing and was involved in the advertising club on campus. Schadwinkel feels that the time he spent in advertising club meetings and on trips helped him connect with peers, professionals and learn on a deeper level than day-to-day work in a classroom.

After completing his bachelor’s degree, Schadwinkel spent some time in the United Kingdom in a work abroad program and as a copy writer at an advertising agency in South Dakota. He learned a lot during his time in South Dakota, but one lesson helped him move to the next step in his career.

“I had a conversation with an admissions counselor at a college in South Dakota and heard about his work. I had a good experience in college and I knew the value of higher education — being a life-long Nebraskan, I held the university in high esteem,” Schadwinkel said. “My fiancée and I were looking for a new place to live, a job in Nebraska was open and it worked out.”

Schadwinkel began his work at UNL as the marketing director at the Office of Admissions, but eventually transitioned into his current role at University Communications. He enjoys his job because he gets to do what he likes to do for a place that he believes in.

“There’s a lot of collaboration going on,” Schadwinkel said. “We’re always involved in multiple projects, so every day is an effort to move those projects forward to completion. That involves meeting people face to face, talking on the phone, emailing, updating the project management system and coordinating.” When he’s not working with the department director or the creative directors, Schadwinkel spends some time working by himself. He develops new projects, organizes all copywriting and assists in creative development.

When he’s not working with the department director or the creative directors, Schadwinkel spends some time working by himself. He develops new projects, organizes all copy writing and assists in creative development.

While he’s worked on many projects, Schadwinkel is particularly proud of his work on the University Toolbox & Brand Book. It is a document that helps campus communicators reach their audience while retaining the UNL brand.

As the director of strategic marketing, editing plays a crucial role in his job.

“I think it’s careful to balance the utility of communication. You don’t want to compromise effective communication, clarity and all of the fundamentals that we talk about when you learn how to write,” Schadwinkel said. “The opportunity to go back and review, think about the audience and how someone might perceive something is critical. People are missing out on non-verbals. Written communication is more and more useful and more and more used, but we can’t forget the value of editing.”

Schadwinkel believes that another key to good editing is having a filter.

“We should all have a filter. In this day and age when there are so many places to publish, sometimes we have the urge to want to publish something or share it with people. As communicators, we should put the filter on for who we should reach,” Schadwinkel said. “We have an audience in mind for Facebook, email and Twitter. I might share one thing in one channel, and one thing in another channel. It’s important to have the right filter for the right audience and channel.”

For Schadwinkel, it’s all about the audience. “I think audiences are demanding. Attention is one of the most valuable things out there. You have to spend the time to make the message as clear and effective as possible in the time that you have, otherwise you’ll miss your chance.”

Schadwinkel’s advice to students is to gain experience.

“There are so many choices out there, so I think it’s important to try to get some experience in things,” Schadwinkel said. “Don’t worry about failing. Don’t worry about thinking that once you do something, then that’s what you’re committed to doing forever. You have to expose yourself to different fields and different interest areas.”

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