There’s nothing obvious to connect northern Kentucky with southeast South Dakota – other than it happened to be the route of a road trip that led to a life-changing move.
“My daughter and I only spent one night here, but it was extremely welcoming, and everyone was very happy to help, whether we needed directions or to offer food options,” said Michael Norris, who visited the city in March on his way to Montana.
“I felt like it was small, but it was beautiful, and the Falls were a natural attraction that really pulled me in. I just felt like it had a lot to offer.”
Norris grew up on the Kentucky side of the Cincinnati metro area. At 43 and after spending his whole life in one place, “you start to kind of get burned out on the same things,” he said. “I love that area and everything it has to offer, but it was time for something new and different, so I was very excited to make the move and just see what the city had to offer.”
He convinced his significant other, Jamie Lameier, to consider Sioux Falls too.
“He just said how much he loved the area, and we continued to have the conversation until I said ‘Let’s just do it.’ There’s nothing holding us back; there’s no reason why we can’t,” she said. “It’s a new challenge, and I was very up for it. You only live once, and there are more people to meet and things to experience.”
A master electrician, Norris easily found job opportunities and accepted an offer at Harvard Integrations.
“When I interviewed, it felt like home – welcoming right away,” he said. “They had the ability to make this entire move as easy and simple a transition as possible. They were behind me every step of the way.”
Lameier’s background is in nonprofits, most recently as director of advancement at a private high school. While still in Kentucky, she connected with Canfield Business Interiors, which was looking to add to its business development team.
“The company resonates with me personally,” she said. “My grandfather started a business, and my father became president, so I understand the ‘why’ behind the business and what they’re trying to do. When you feel good about a space, whether it’s your home or office, it makes a big difference. And the people here were very welcoming. I just had a good feeling from the start.”
The couple’s experience illustrates the variety of opportunities available in Sioux Falls, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
“We can never underestimate the value of a positive first impression,” she added. “This couple’s Sioux Falls journey began with travel and continued with their initial job interviews, where they felt welcomed every step of the way. It’s a great example for mid-career professionals who just feel like they need to make a change that there are so many opportunities to do that here and become connected to our community.”
The couple visited in July – “for maybe 24 hours,” Lameier said. “So we didn’t see a lot, but we found a place to live at The Blu, and everything was right there that we needed with being new to the community.”
They now live alongside Lake Lorraine, within an easy walk to groceries, shopping, dining and entertainment.
“It’s been an easy transition,” Lameier said.
“We’ve explored downtown, so that’s been fun, and we like hitting up new restaurants, so I’m always asking for recommendations. We’ve been to two hockey games, which is one more than we ever went to in Cincinnati, and even the networking has been good. I realized I can make connections. I used to feel like I knew everyone, but we went to a hockey game recently, and I already knew someone, so it’s been good.”
Her adult children also have been supportive of the move.
“I told them we were going on a new adventure probably somewhere you’d never guess, and my son actually guessed South Dakota,” she said. “My daughter even thought it would be nice to move west, so I encouraged her. If you have the time and opportunity and it works out, you should do it.”
Norris also has decided his initial impression of Sioux Falls was the right one.
“I think the community has a lot to offer,” he said. “We try a new restaurant at least once a week. And my daughter is happy for me too. I’m excited for her to come back out and show her the city we’ve learned to love and embrace.”
Are you looking to make a change, grow your career and connect to a community? Contact Denise Guzzetta at email@example.com to learn more about what Sioux Falls has to offer.