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Transplants, ‘boomerangers’: catalysts behind Rochester’s resurgence

I moved to Rochester in 1995, making myself a “transplant.” The pride for my beloved, adopted home comes from the same wellspring I see present in other transplants.

We are experiencing a new phenomenon with younger adults returning to our area after college and starting a career in other places. They, too, have an appreciation, passion and concern for Rochester. Often referred to as “boomerangers,” they are returning to contribute to the revitalization we are enjoying.

What’s going on here? Why are Rochester’s detractors wrong? Let’s take a closer look at some “boomerangers” and their reasons for coming back to our city.

Onno is a brilliant techie. Originally from The Netherlands, he worked here for several years before being transferred to Silicon Valley. He recently returned to the area, with a desire to come back to an open, diverse and down-to-earth community. Yes. Rochester.

Sylvan is from Lyons, France. His wife’s firm has operations in Upstate, and he followed her when she was relocated here. He is smitten with the convenient lifestyle, the openness of our culture and diversity of activities. Raised in the culinary capital of France, he appreciates the emerging food scene in our town. He is also involved with building a co-work space downtown.

Danner graduated Brighton High School and went to college and business school at two of the most selective institutions in the country. After working several years on Wall Street – and a promotion or two – she concluded that her career and lack of community connection was unfulfilling. She returned, met another “boomeranger,” who she has since married, and is now a financial executive at a one the fastest growing companies in town.

I feel indebted to Rochester for the deep and meaningful friendships I have established. I appreciate the ideal environment for raising children with the values important to me. Plus, the convenience and affordability has allowed me to be present as they grew up.

The “boomerangers” I meet are generally highly educated and cosmopolitan. They have acquired an appreciation for Rochester based on their experiences living and working in other communities. I already see their impact upon the community.

RocGrowth helps transplants and “boomerangers” integrate and contribute more effectively to our innovative community. We do this by means of our website, regular events and through the organizations we support with microgrants.

The modern economy is driven by human capital. Smart, engaged and worldly people are critical to the future wellbeing of the regional economy. Rochester is fortunate to have a healthy supply, which is growing.

So, let’s welcome newcomers and our returning neighbors. They are a gift to the community.

Richard Glaser is co-creator of RocGrowth and RocGrowth Candids and Coffee events. He was presented with Upstate Venture Connect’s Community Catalyst award for organizing programs that bring together diverse startup ecosystem players.