It was big news when Google chose to open an Ann Arbor location in 2006. At the time, the announcement clearly indicated that this tech giant recognized the region as a destination rich in resources and talent. Since then, Google has continued to invest in its Ann Arbor offices — developing a dedicated campus, adding more jobs, and establishing itself as a community partner.
In addition to its status as an emerging hub of innovation, Google values Ann Arbor’s quality of life and how it helps attract employees. This was the case for Kris Lunde, an account strategist on the Google Customer Solutions team. Originally from a small town near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Kris started working for Google right after college. “When I came in for the interview, I spent some time assessing Ann Arbor to see if I could live here,” recalled Kris. “Ease of living was an important value to me, having grown up in a town where ‘traffic’ was a single red light. When I heard back that I had the job and it was between headquarters in Mountain View and Ann Arbor, I pushed for here. I knew it would fit my lifestyle more than California would.”
Kris’s wife, Viviana, didn’t have any trouble finding a great career, either. “Once I got the job here, she started applying. We actually thought it was going to be a process, but then she quickly got a great opportunity that she really enjoys with Thomson Reuters.”
The couple recently bought their first home on the west side of Ann Arbor. “I am somebody who really likes to be grounded and involved. When we moved here, I was also able to immediately connect with some of my passions, like coaching flag football. While I could have done these things in other cities, there would have been increased challenges and barriers.” Kris added, “Viviana’s also fond of the community aspect of Ann Arbor. She’s drawn to the events here and she loves the farmers market.”
Over the past 13 years, there’s grown a tight network of Google employees who got their start in Ann Arbor. “When we have a conference and I see people who used to be from Ann Arbor, there’s a strong sense of camaraderie. I’ll often meet people who started here, then moved to another city, and are now looking for ways to get back.”
Google recently announced it was expanding its footprint in Ann Arbor by leasing a building adjacent to its campus on the north side of Ann Arbor which is home to more than 450 Google employees. “One of the first things I observed about Ann Arbor is that there’s a lot of growth happening in the region. Tech professionals can launch a career trajectory and develop professionally.”