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Hudl Week brings hundreds of employees to Lincoln

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Pooja Naidu has worked for Hudl for 16 months, but until this week, she had never set foot in Lincoln.

Naidu, a senior product director for the sports video analytics company, lives and works in London, and because of the coronavirus pandemic, she didn't go through the usual two-week in-person orientation program.

Hudl Week

Hudl employees, some visiting Lincoln from work locations overseas, listen to a presentation at Tuesday's Hudl Week event at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

So this week's Hudl gathering had special meaning for her.

"The buzz of being together for the first time, you know, post-pandemic, is priceless, honestly," Naidu said.

She said everyone being in Lincoln together at Hudl's headquarters "brings your heart and mind together."

"This is priceless, because you can't make this happen when you're miles away on a Zoom call," Naidu said.

Hudl has grown tremendously since the last time it gathered employees in Lincoln in 2018. And much of that growth has come from employees who, like Naidu, are based outside the U.S.

The company, which continues to grow at a rapid pace both organically and through acquisitions, now has more than 3,000 employees worldwide, about 550 of whom are based at the Lincoln headquarters.

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That's more than double the number of employees it had in 2018, when about 600 people came to Lincoln, about 150 of them from overseas.

This week, Hudl is hosting more than 900 of its employees, 272 of whom live outside the U.S., residing in 15 different countries.

Another of those employees is Charles Wood, who is head of operations for Hudl's office in Pune, India.

Wood has been with the company for eight years and has visited Lincoln once before, but because of the pandemic, he hasn't seen some co-workers for years.

"There are a lot of old faces (in Lincoln)," Wood said. "A lot of new ones as well."

He said he loved the energy and the vibe of employees being able to gather together in Lincoln.

Hudl Week

Hudl CEO David Graff watches a presentation by Karen Cvitkovich, president of Mosaic Global Solutions, at a Hudl Week event on Tuesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Hudl CEO David Graff said this year's Hudl Week is the biggest employee gathering it's ever had.

"We're really happy to have everyone in town from around the globe," Graff said.

He said having so many employees together in one place allows them to build connections that aren't possible over Zoom.

The gathering helps "strengthen that trust, strengthen those relationships, build that camaraderie back again."

Camaraderie is a big part of Hudl Week. While there is a business element to the weeklong gathering, much of it is focused on socializing and fun.

After Tuesday's kickoff event at Pinnacle Bank Arena, employees were scheduled to attend a "Haymarket takeover" Tuesday night. Wednesday includes hands-on demonstrations of many of Hudl's products, with a 7-on-7 football game at Waverly High School and volleyball and basketball games at Speedway Village.

On Friday, a number of employees will head to Omaha for an outing that includes visits to Henry Doorly Zoo and TopGolf, while others will participate in activities in Lincoln.

Hudl Week

This week, Hudl is hosting more than 900 of its employees in Lincoln.

Overall, there are about 400 employees from outside Nebraska visiting Lincoln this week, and they, along with any guests they bring, are spending the equivalent of 2,800 room nights in local hotels.

Graff said it will be a "unique opportunity" for people downtown to hear "a lot of other languages being spoken, or a lot of accents."

And for those employees who are visiting the Capital City for the first time?

"It's just an awesome chance for people to see what this community has built and experience what makes us love calling Lincoln home so much," Graff said.

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

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business 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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