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Technology PR and Chicago: A match made in heaven

Chicago Techweek Walker Sands Communications
Mike Santoro and Jackie Lampugnano smile for the camera at Chicago's Techweek this past June.

PR is one of the few industries that provides you with endless career opportunities. It’s a field that allows you to tailor your career to fit your interests, while getting to choose your dream location. Whether your passion is beauty products, fitness apparel, or technology, there is a PR career out there for you in the city of your choice – it’s just a matter of finding it. And with still one year left of college, my internship at Walker Sands has led me to the perfect combination, technology PR and Chicago.

Despite being home to companies like Orbitz and CareerBuilder, along with thousands of entrepreneurs, startups, and innovative companies, Chicago has never been considered a tech center until now. With Chicago’s technology industry booming, it’s the perfect time to be doing tech PR in the Windy City. The rapid growth of Chicago’s technology industry combined with the city’s endless list of things to do – it’s definite that Chicago and tech PR go hand in hand.

Here are four reasons why I believe tech PR and Chicago are a match made in heaven.

1.       Always an exciting event happening right outside your door

No matter what city you choose to live in, there will always be an unlimited selection of things to do and events to go to, Chicago being no exception. But with the rise of Chicago’s tech scene, major events like TechWeek and the Chicago Innovation Awards are held only blocks away – making for a very exciting internship! Attending industry events is always a must, no matter what career you pursue, and having them held within walking distance makes them that much more accessible.

2.       Relationships

Relationships are an essential component of public relations, no matter what area of PR you work in. If you want a lasting client and faithful reporter, you must always build strong relationships with both. Being in Chicago definitely makes forging these relationships a much easier task. We’re able to have face-to-face meetings with clients, rather than always having to rely on phone conferences or video chats. Many of the publications we regularly pitch to are also located in Chicago, allowing us to meet them whether it’s at a local conference or if it’s on the “L”. Being able to put a face to a name or voice goes a long way with a client and a reporter.

3.       Endless opportunities

In 2011, 193 new startups were founded in Chicago. That’s equivalent to one new startup every 48 hours. What does that mean for young professionals? Endless opportunities. With 71 of the top 100 digital companies located within a mile radius of river north’s infamous Merchandise Mart, and Google and its newly acquired Motorola Mobility division soon to join that list, there are an infinite number of chances for possible tech PR jobs, new clients and networking contacts.

4.       Location, location, location

Other than being the perfect location to pursue a career in technology, Chicago has many other great things to offer. One of the best parts about living and working in Chicago is the location. No matter where your office or apartment is located, you can easily walk outside and find a delicious meal at a reasonable price. Working in the West Loop has definitely allowed me to discover some of Chicago’s best finds! Some of my favorites are Glazed and Infused (a decadent doughnut shop located right over the Kennedy Expressway), Jefferson Tap (a Walker Sands classic), and Province (you get two delicious cookies at the end of every meal). Working in Chicago has also provided me with some refreshing afternoon excursions. Sometimes sitting at a desk for 8 hours can get a little draining, but when you work in a city like Chicago, there’s always something to explore, whether it be the local farmer’s market at Willis Tower or a big sale that’s happening over on State and Lake.