New tourism marketer finds Carson City a natural sell
November 19, 2018
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Shortly after moving to the area, Lydia Bruegge signed up for her first official race — a 5k with the Ascent Runs Be Bold, Run in the Cold series.
"I was so intimidated," she remembered. "But everybody there was so awesome and willing to invite a stranger into their group. People just get so excited you're trying something new, and that energy really helps a newbie."
It helped confirm she and her longtime boyfriend, Chris Beck, made the right decision in moving to the Genoa Livestock Ranch, where Beck took over as manager.
"I knew I wanted to stay out here," Bruegge said. "This is the place we want to plant our roots down."
It was difficult to settle, however, as she was required to travel back to Illinois every six weeks to continue working as marketing manager for her parents' Ashley Furniture HomeStore group.
So when she saw an opening for marketing manager of the Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority, she jumped at the opportunity.
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"I saw it as the perfect scenario to make this place my permanent home," she said. "I'll definitely miss working for my family, but it set a good foundation to take what I learned working with them and meld it into what I love."
Bruegge was hired recently to replace Kyle Horvath, who left to accept a position as tourism director in White Pine County.
"The foundation was laid and the support of the team has been incredible," she said. "It's really been an effortless transition."
She said she plans to continue a rebranding effort to emphasize the area's recreational appeal, while incorporating other assets as well.
"We aren't pigeonholed into one category. We have it all," she said. "We have great recreation, great food, great arts and culture, and a strong historical presence. I don't think we need to have just one identity when we have so many things that make Carson City a great place to live, work and visit."
The key to selling the city, she said, is its residents.
"I think this town is amazing," she said. "From an unbiased view, the camaraderie of the community — the passion and love they have for Carson City — is inspiring. It makes it really easy to market this place."
Bruegge grew up in Breese, Ill., a farming community outside St. Louis.
She earned a commercial real estate degree from Marquette University in 2011.
After running a recruiting agency for more than three years, she took over the marketing component for her family's furniture business.
"I always loved marketing," she said. "It was something I was always utilizing, just without the title. I was a student of the craft for a long time, and when I stepped into the role I realized I was having a lot of fun with it."
After that first race in Carson City two years ago, Bruegge is now training for her first half marathon. She also enjoys hiking and biking.
"I really just love trying new things, traveling and getting out of my comfort zone," Bruegge said.
Living here, she's free to explore new adventures, while still feeling connected to her upbringing.
"I'm surrounded by outdoor recreation, in a new position I love, while still being part of the agricultural world, a luxury many people don't get," she said. "I just feel incredibly grateful."