—— NANCY HALBROOK—— Dual Career Partner Program Manager, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Simply put, I am a near-native to Gainesville and never found a need to move away from the area. Growing up in nearby Keystone Heights, Gainesville was always the closest go-to place for eating out, shopping and entertainment. After high school, the logical choice was to enroll at the University of Florida and move to Gainesville. Having three great educational institutions nearby provided me with lots of options for college. I’ve completed coursework at the University of Florida, Santa Fe College and Saint Leo, and can say that all of them were perfect for what I needed at that point in my education and life. I was fortunate to be able to work while taking classes and got to know a lot of great employers in town before settling down with a full-time job. Finding engaging work, friends and starting a family here was natural. Thirty years later and I’m still here. I love to introduce new people to the area and can sum it up by calling it an “Opt In or Opt Out” kind of place. Depending on my mood I can jump into the middle of whatever event is happening in town, or find solitude within a 20-minute drive in any direction. Gainesville is close enough to get to everything in Florida without having to live in a more urban area. The variety of employers within easy commuting distance always surprises people. With a little bit of research and an open mind to the many industries we have here, many people find first, second and third careers all within our region. Gainesville is a gathering place for amazing people and businesses. From agriculture to aerospace, the area generates ideas for both practical solutions and “might be possible.” Diverse interests are celebrated. It’s a community that is rich in history, and yet so forward-thinking that when tradition and innovation meet in unlikely spaces it generates some incredible reactions. Many people I’ve met and worked with here are eager to share their ideas and experiences. I can walk up to someone I’ve never met and feel comfortable enough to ask “What is it, and why are you working on it?” and they’ll tell me with pride about their project or business. To sum it up, I live and work in Gainesville for the lifestyle. The ease of living in a community where natural beauty surrounds us, the people (both new and established), the variety of businesses and the positive energy that they generate together keeps me here.
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