I grew up in Allendale, Michigan. I attended Miami University from 2000-2004 and upon graduation; I joined the Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant. While in the Marine Corps, I lived in Hawaii, did two combat tours in Iraq, attended graduate school in Monterey, California, moved to Virginia, and did another combat tour in Afghanistan. The military lifestyle was both challenging and rewarding. I embraced the opportunity to live in new places and experience new things.
During my thirteen years away from West Michigan, time with my extended family was small due mostly to the distance from West Michigan. I have very close ties to my family in Allendale, Saugatuck, Holland, and Spring Lake, and I wanted to be closer to them so that our family could be a part of the larger family unit. Once we made the decision to move back to Michigan, figuring out what path I wanted to follow was a tough one. The Marines have a pretty prescribed path on active duty. The first thing I did to try to find my new direction was reach out to contacts I have in my local network. Starting conversations to talk about different types of industries and jobs that might be a good fit for my skills. I talked to a lot of different companies to figure out the corporate culture that would work for me. Then, my father met Cindy Brown of Hello West Michigan at the Laker Regatta (GVSU Rowing Club) event in Spring Lake. When he mentioned that I was interested in moving back to Michigan, Cindy and I got connected. We talked about my background and what I was looking for and I gave her my resume. The conversation seemed a lot like the other conversations I had been having with contacts, informational, with interview type questions. But unbeknownst to me, Cindy was working behind the scenes with Hello West Michigan members, sending out my resume and credentials. That was really the critical element for me. Her efforts helped pave the way for me to get an interview with Steelcase, Inc. who I accepted a position with.
I am very appreciative of Hello West Michigan for creating the bridge between Steelcase and myself. This showed me that all of the time I spent talking to people and reaching out wasn’t a fool’s errand; I was looking in the right direction. It validated my efforts. Looking for a job is always a tumultuous experience with many ups and downs. It’s great to know you have people working on your behalf like Hello West Michigan.
Since moving back to West Michigan, we have spent time on the lakes with family, explored the unique communities in search of a new home, and I have started a new career. It’s hard to believe the transition from the Marine Corps back home was built off a simple conversation between Cindy and my Father. My advice to anyone looking to move; is don’t hesitate to call upon others for assistance. I was surprised at how robust my network became when I just reached out to people. West Michigan is a great place and I am very happy to be back.