Pretty as an Emerald…
Rural Sourcing Team Member Recalls One Year in Northeast Indiana
I’ve been an official resident of Fort Wayne for a little over a year now. I came to the Summit City from Las Vegas, where I was head of IT for a major casino resort operator, to help Rural Sourcing open and expand a new Software Development Center. When I made the decision to join Rural Sourcing and come to Fort Wayne, which I now consider the smartest career change ever, I would get a variation of the same reaction from old friends in Las Vegas and new friends in Fort Wayne. The respective conversations would go something like this:
- Las Vegas friend, “You’re moving where?”.
- New Fort Wayne friend, “You moved to Fort Wayne from Las Vegas?!”
For my Las Vegas friends, my response would always involve the story of the fact-finding visit to the city over a weekend in early May 2019. I loved telling them about parking the rental car in West Central on Jefferson and walking around the beautiful neighborhoods for two hours, where residents were clearly intent on restoring the historic feel and charm of the city. We found many people sitting on their porches; they would wave and say “Good morning” as we passed by. My wife, Michele, is a baseball maven, and we had a dog and a beer at a game in a really major-minor league park. We quickly learned we didn’t need to throw a baseball very far from nearly any spot to have it land in one of the lovely green municipal parks in the city. And, the calendar of events from Whatzup! was incredibly thick, with great festivals and lots of music. I would always end with, “Pretty as an emerald… flat as a pancake!” (Las Vegas is surrounded by mountains.)
Talking to my new Fort Wayne friends, I sometimes felt I was reminding them of the many very good reasons to make a home and grow a business in Northeast Indiana. I would often lead with the “emerald” quote. And, that would then flow into a very natural discussion about the alignment between the mission of Rural Sourcing and the features Fort Wayne has to offer a growing technology company. Rural Sourcing is all about bringing fulfilling, engaging, and meaningful work to people in cities like Fort Wayne. In Fort Wayne, Rural Sourcing found a city, much like our five other home cities, with a high quality of life and low cost of living. Fort Wayne offered access to multiple four-year universities and colleges producing great students, many of whom would choose to stay in NE Indiana if they could find the right job in a company with the right culture. The workforce was solid and dependable, with a growing technology presence. And, perhaps most important, NE Indiana had a clear vision to become better tomorrow than today, and do that every single day. That’s just part of the culture here.
Culture is very important to Rural Sourcing, too. We measure all decisions against how it will affect our culture, and strive to develop the “engineer’s mind” and cultivate along with it the “teacher’s heart”. And, we are always thinking about strengthening our culture. That includes making sure we have a diverse and vibrant team. I love the way our HR Manager, Amy-Lynn Graf, sums it up, “We don’t look for ‘culture fit’, we look for ‘culture add’.”
Rural Sourcing believes our culture accelerates us in good times and sustains us through difficult times. We have done well through the COVID Crisis, and we believe a major reason is the strength of our culture, and the close alignment of our company’s values and the values we find in the region. In fact, we are growing and hiring. And, so far, I am the only new hire from outside the region. I feel lucky to be a Rural Sourcing Hoosier right now. (I know it’s only been a year, but, I think it’s OK to say I’m a Hoosier.)
After a year, it’s clear Rural Sourcing chose well with NE Indiana. I was Colleague #14 in the Fort Wayne Development Center. By the end of September, we will have more than tripled our size, and we will be on our way to 100+ in the next 12-18 months. The local schools are clearly producing high-quality talent and we have formed great relationships with several of them. Our senior hires are top-notch, and I would stack them against any team in the nation and feel confident. Our Fort Wayne colleagues have contributed successfully to nearly 50 projects so far, on a wide variety of technology, and are steadily building their reputation as dependable, hard-working, and really smart professional consultants. We have a healthy and expanding roster of clients, several of whom are local.
All in all, Rural Sourcing is very pleased to be a corporate citizen of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. We see a solid future for the region and look forward to being part of the growth.
- By Bill Rose, Development Center Director with Rural Sourcing
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