Hailing from Lansing and a graduate of Western Michigan University, Don worked all over Michigan before moving to Massachusetts and then to Upstate New York to work on the vendor side of the IT industry.
Don‘s biggest motivation to move back to his home state was the birth of his first grandchild. As an IT worker with plenty of computer savvy, Don quickly found Hello West Michigan’s website. After phone conversations, one of Hello West Michigan’s networking events in Grand Rapids, and some job searching, Don was hired on at Dell Technologies as an IT Manager.
Now that Don has taken care of finding a job and a house back in Grand Rapids, he said he and his wife are looking forward most to the fall color tours as well as the variety of nearby sports teams such the Griffins and Whitecaps. He also mentioned that “Lake Michigan is a big draw for us. Michigan is just a beautiful state geographically. All the lakes, hardwood trees, beaches and things like that—you just can’t find that anywhere else.” Along with the beautiful geography, Don said that activity and life around the lake is much more of a community than he has found elsewhere.
Since moving from New York to Michigan, Don has noticed a shift in attitude and general pace of life. “West Michigan folks are much more laid back, more welcoming; they’ll take time out of whatever they’re doing to just chat with you. Out East it’s all ‘go-about-your-business.’ They do their own thing and they’re still very friendly but if you don’t want to talk to somebody they’re fine with that.”
Not only has the culture been welcoming, the personalities of different West Michigan areas have appealed to Don and his wife. “We definitely upgraded, moving out here. I would say that if you’re thinking about moving, take the time to go in and visit the areas. They all have a different feel and charm to them.” Though West Michigan may not be as glamorous or as large as East Coast states, Don remarked that “The cost of living is much lower here but I think amenities and quality of businesses are just as good.”
But why return to West Michigan after so many years on the East Coast? “It’s home for us,” Don said. “It’s where we were born and raised. We moved away and home was out there too, but coming back it was the smell, the sounds, the way the sky looks, the foods. All that stuff you grew up with as a kid that you came to know and love about Michigan; it’s like coming home.”