Nearly 10 years ago, my wife and I came back to the state of Michigan. Prior to that decision, we had both carved out equally rewarding careers in our chosen professions in Nashville, Tennessee. I was an editor at a national sports magazine (Athlon Sports) and she was in charge of public relations for 21 YMCAs in the Nashville area. Our careers were progressing quite nicely and we thought growing our “we” to “three” would be a great idea. My oldest son, Sean, arrived in 2000. He changed our lives and, effectively, the course of our careers.
Heather, my better half, had spent her entire life in the mid-Michigan area prior to our jaunt to the South. I had spent the better part of my school-age years in the suburbs of Detroit. We would intersect at Michigan State University, and, would likely have found a nice cozy Michigan town we could claim for our own if not for struggles finding jobs in the state.
Each of us grew up close to family, so the idea of being two states removed from our hometowns gave us pause. Ultimately, the need to be gainfully employed trumped our pull to stay near home. Five years later, the birth of Sean would trump the pull of our adopted state and family would draw us back to Michigan. Eventually we’d connect with Michigan State University again, as staff.
I’ve never wavered in the belief that we made the right decision coming back. Sean has grown up knowing his grandparents. In 2005, we added Connor, our Michigan-born bundle of energy. Both give me energy to drive initiatives in the state revolving around entrepreneurialism, enterprising thought process and innovation. I want Michigan to be a place they can choose to live if they want 10 years from now. Where jobs and sense of place are a given. And, selfishly, as a father…I want them close to me.
I’ve gotten to know John pretty well over the last few months. We first connected on Twitter and met at 140 Conference Detroit last year. I can definitely say that John loves his family, loves Michigan State University and is a truly passionate advocate for the state of Michigan. If you ever get a chance to hear John speak, I highly recommend it. You can find John on Twitter at @msuaajohn or connect with him on LinkedIn. Better yet, you can visit his newly launched blog!