Born in Lansing and raised in Hastings, Gary is no stranger to West Michigan. He attended Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula–or “God’s Country” as some like to call it — and continued his education at Oakland University.

After graduating with his masters in mechanical engineering, Gary lived in Detroit while working in the automotive industry. After working five years for Chrysler in Detroit, he decided it was time to come back home to West Michigan.

Gary attended ReThink West Michigan at the Hastings location in 2017 after hearing about it from a friend. “The atmosphere was very relaxed and stress free,” Gary said. He had assumed he was going to end up in Grand Rapids because of the expectation that “all the industry was in the big city” but found that wasn’t the case. “I was able to land an engineering position for a global company right in my hometown in Hastings.”

After ReThink, Gary interviewed with a couple of companies and started with Viking Group in January. Even after being hired, he was still being approached by companies that he met at ReThink. He now has a role where he gets to be more hands-on and is more responsible for projects rather than smaller components, which he greatly enjoys. He’s had the opportunity to travel a few time already in his new position and felt like a crucial part of the company shortly after starting.

Gary’s love of the Lake is another reason that drew him back to West Michigan. He loves taking advantage of the region’s many options for public hunting and shooting. Catching up with his coworkers in downtown Hastings is another highlight of being back, especially at Walldorff BrewPub or getting takeout at Northside Pizza, one of his favorite spots. He appreciates the diversity of settings in West Michigan. “I can go from a country-side feel to the liveliness of downtown life to an ocean-like beach all in one day,” said Gary.

Barry County Fact!
Jobs in the manufacturing sector makes up 33% of all employment in Barry County, per a 2017 report by Talent2025. That’s almost twice the state average! Register for the ReThink Hastings location here.