The Evolving Duluth: Breaking the Stereotype

Jonathan Ballmer
Project Manager
Kraus-Anderson Construction Company
Approximately one year ago I received a job opportunity which allowed my family to move to Duluth from the Twin Cities.  As I excitedly shared my news with people, half of them said, “Do you know they don’t have summer there?” and the other half said, “That is awesome!  I love Duluth!”  Out of that second half, roughly half of those people then followed up with, “I would love to live in Duluth, but there aren’t any jobs.”  
I thought to myself, “Do these people really believe this?”  I understand the history of Duluth in the early 1980’s.  On the other hand, I am telling them that I just got a job in Duluth, we were just starting to come out of a recession, and I work in the construction industry.  So as I made my way North up Interstate 35, I began to focus on understanding the identity of Duluth.
Through my time here, I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people throughout the community.  I found an underlying theme in the culture of Duluth; its people are passionate, engaged, and active.  As I look at the City, I see how these values have translated in the form of investment and/or re-investment by many businesses here over the last 5 – 10 years.  As the modern workplace continues to evolve, these values will only help to enhance the appeal of Duluth as people look to establish or grow their organizations.
I now view it as my responsibility to help educate people on the opportunities and possibilities that exist here.  Duluth is not just a great city to visit; it is a great place to live.