Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guest Blogger: Brett McGreaham

As I mentioned in the first post, the first post of every month will feature a Young Professional guest blogger! As much as I enjoy telling you all about my life and experiences here, allowing you to read what some other individuals have to say is an excellent way to really get to know the "voice"of your Traverse City Young Professional population.

Brett McGreaham, TCYP Chair.

Our First Guest blogger is Traverse City Young Professional's Chair, Brett McGreaham. I'll let him take it from here:

As a Traverse City native, it seems that after high school, most people are eager to leave the “land of cherries” for places that are more fun, more interesting and more ripe with opportunity.  I will admit - I was one of those people. I will also admit that I was an idiot.

For the past ten years, I’ve had the opportunity to live all over the world and there is no place like Traverse City.  I’ve been back in Michigan for almost two years now and I couldn’t be happier.  The sense of community within this region is phenomenal.  The support from local business and citizens for projects, initiatives and each other is unprecedented.  There are festivals of every shape and sort.  The food is second to none.  It is safe, beautiful and full of people who love life.

So, why would anyone want to move away from this northern Michigan utopia?

I have a few ideas. 

First: many people don’t realize how much this region offers until they live somewhere else.  Moving to another place makes you miss all of the things you once took for granted, such as a commute along Lake Michigan or not having to worry about your car being broken into.  Being away and experiencing a different lifestyle is necessary for most people.  As I get older, more and more people are starting to make the move back to northern Michigan because the quality of life is unbeatable.

Second: historically, Traverse City has not been a good place to launch a career.  Luckily, that is changing.  With recent changes in demographics and Michigan business laws and taxes, the region has become much more favorable for starting or joining a business.  Through a little bit of networking and some leg work, I bet there is a job in the region that aligns with any young person’s career goals.  Having trouble hooking up with the right person? Get involved with a local organization that can help you navigate the local landscape (I hear the Young Professionals are good at this…).

Third: young people want to be around other young people.  Ten years ago, I would’ve said that Traverse City was mediocre at best for a young, diverse and culturally rich environment.  Not a weekend passes now without hundreds of young (and older) people celebrating something that the region has to offer (i.e. wine, music, art, water).  As more and more young people move back, this cultural scene is only going to grow.  There is literally something for everyone.    

I know that my list of ideas is only three-strong.  And, I have no doubt that there are other reasons for people moving away from Michigan.  But, what it comes down to is this: Traverse City is not what it used to be.  It still has all of the water, cherries and tourists that have been around for years, but gone are the days of your typical resort town.  The young demographic in the region is growing and with it comes even more opportunities for both work and play.  Cheers to that and cheers to Traverse City!

Have you recently moved back to the region? Tell us your story in the comments below!


  1. This is good to hear! Especially to someone who would like to relocate to TC from out of state (FL). I have also lived around the world and been to many different places, but I find that I have a strong connection to TC and Norther Michigan. It appears that TC is a great place for young professionals and their families. I'll continue looking for career opportutnies in TC and appreciate the TCYP assistance that they have provided! Thanks for the good post.

  2. Similarly, I’m from the Grand Traverse area originally, have lived all over the world for the last 10 years and moved back to the area this past December. If I had been asked 10 years ago if I ever thought I would move back to Traverse City, I would without a doubt have said "no". Today, I could not be happier and more certain that I made the right decision. With that said, if I wouldn’t have left, traveled the world and experienced living in other regions of the country, I don’t think I could appreciate Traverse City the way I do now. This weekend, I took a look around and thought, “I don’t know how it took me so long to come back.” Dorothy had it right, there is no place like home, but this holds especially true if your home is Traverse City.