For years — decades even — Sandhills Publishing quietly went about its business, tucked away in northwest Lincoln, next to the interstate but otherwise surrounded by open fields.

But that's getting harder and harder to do.

When its new Cyber Center opens on Monday, it will be the third new building the media and technology company has christened in the past six years.

Much of that construction is due to business and employee growth.

Sandhills has expanded rapidly, both organically and through acquisitions. In just the past decade, it has more than doubled its workforce and now has more than 1,000 employees worldwide, with more than 800 of them working out of its 70-acre campus in Lincoln. And it still has hundreds of open positions to fill.

Over the past two years alone, the company has added 20 new trade publications and websites through acquisitions and established new offices in five U.S. cities, two cities in Italy and the United Kingdom and offices in Australia and France.

"It's an exciting time at Sandhills," said Chief Operations Officer Shawn Peed, whose parents founded the company. "We're actively broadening and evolving the scope, accessibility, and utility of our products and services in line with market demand across the industries we serve. As our operations continue to grow, we're committed to reinvesting that success back into the company."

Sandhills, which was founded in Iowa and moved to Lincoln in 1985, was long known as a publisher of trade magazines in the agricultural, construction, industrial and trucking industries. It still produces dozens of print publications, but most of its growth now comes from technology.

The company writes software, hosts websites and email servers and offers a number of other technical services to those and other industries.

The new Cyber Center is a logical extension of that growth. More than 200 employees will call the 42,000-square-foot building home. That includes staff in information technology, sales, auction support and human resources. The space also will host training and recruitment activities.

Like a data center that opened in 2012 and another IT center that opened in 2015, the Cyber Center will be gold-certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the green building group's second-highest rating.

The two-story building has a number of environmental innovations, including recycled and reclaimed building materials, state-of-the-art light-harvesting sensors, motion sensors that control plumbing and electricity, a green roof, cisterns that collect rainwater for irrigation and a closed-loop geothermal well field for heating and cooling.

Peed said those aspects are expected to cut the building's energy bills by about 20 percent.

It's a continuation of a tradition of environmental stewardship at the company, which recycles every scrap of paper and aluminum it uses.

"We've always been environmentally conscious," said Chris Lee, Sandhills' purchasing manager.

The company also has always been loyal to Lincoln, despite its expansions, first outside the state and then overseas.

"As we continue to grow in markets all over the world, we're proud to call Lincoln home," Peed said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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