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Intentional.

That word describes a young Lincoln couple and their involvement in our community. Erin is an architect with Davis Design, and Ryan directs live programs for NET Television … but their jobs don’t begin to describe how they’re civically involved in Lincoln.

Erin moved here from Colorado when she was in high school, and has received two degrees in architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Ryan hit town from Kearney to attend UNL and has a degree in broadcasting. As an architect, Erin’s been involved in projects for Lincoln Fire and Rescue, Tabitha and a church in Fremont. If you’ve ever watched volleyball or “Big Red Wrap-up” or “Back Yard Farmer” on NET Television, you’ve seen Ryan’s work behind the scenes calling the shots.

They both love their jobs, love Lincoln and have intentionally sought ways to give back to the community.

“Lincoln’s home,” noted Erin. “We’ve built our lives here, we have family here and our friends are like the family we choose.” Ryan quickly added, “There are some great things happening in Lincoln, and we want to help keep it going.”

The two are very involved in Downtown Rotary (aka Rotary 14), helping that club in many ways. Not long after she became a member, Erin volunteered to help coordinate the club’s major fundraising event, Rise.Shine.give. She was co-chair of the event for two years, and in 2019 she took on the challenging task of organizing the silent auction aspect of the event. Ryan served as secretary for the club in 2017-18 and continues to be actively involved in a variety of ways.

But that’s not all. Wanting to be more involved, the pair intentionally sought the opportunity to participate in Leadership Lincoln’s Executive Series. Many participants in this year-long program are nominated by their companies or organizations as new arrivals in town. The Dobeshes, not new at all, made the conscious decision to take part in the Executive Series so they could better understand and support their hometown.

“We made friends during our time with Leadership Lincoln,” said Ryan. “We learned what makes Lincoln tick; we have a greater understanding of Lincoln.”

One aspect of Leadership Lincoln that especially touched both of them was their participation in the Poverty Simulation.

“I was fortunate growing up,” said Erin. “The Poverty Simulation was a real eye-opener for me. It helped me appreciate what we do have here.”

Ryan was so touched that he regularly volunteers to help run the event so others will gain a deeper understanding of the issues resulting from poverty.

Back in 2012, when TEDxLincoln hosted an event in the main studio at NET, Ryan was assigned to serve as television director.

“Sitting in the director’s seat,” noted Ryan, “gave me a great opportunity to hear the stories, to pick up on the ideas being shared, to see how this would make our community better.”

After that event, he volunteered to help organize the next TEDxLincoln events, and in 2019 Ryan has taken over as president of the TEDxLincoln organization.

“Our event this year will be on the stage at the Lied Center,” he added. “I’m excited about our June 13 event, which will have the theme ‘Disruption.’”

Ryan traveled to New York to take part in the TEDxFest in April 2018. That gave him an opportunity to meet TEDx curators from throughout the world. “I was especially impacted by the TED talk on the Bail Project,” he said. As a result, one of his first moves as the new leader of TEDxLincoln was to coordinate an event featuring Lancaster County Public Defender Joe Nigro, focused on Nebraska’s efforts to change the bail bond process.

In addition to her work for Davis Design and Rotary 14, Erin recently joined the Board of the Nebraska chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In that capacity, she will help guide the AIA’s efforts to meet the needs of Nebraska’s architects and the public by developing public awareness of the value of architecture and good design.

Oh, and one more thing about just how intentional these young folks are: When Erin was in Europe as part of her studies in architecture, Ryan hopped on a plane just to propose to her. That was in 2008. Now, that was intentional. In May of this year, they’ll celebrate their 10th anniversary. Lincoln is fortunate to have Erin and Ryan Dobesh, a young couple intentionally involved in our community.

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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