In December 2017, Brock Wackerle moved from Silicon Valley back to his hometown of Ann Arbor. “Everyone I grew up with in Ann Arbor seems to find their way back here. It was never something I considered during my travels — I just wanted to explore the world and conquer everything as it came.”
After graduating from Pioneer High School, Brock headed to upstate New York for his undergraduate studies and then earned his master’s degree in London at Regent’s University. In 2013, he started his tech career in San Jose.
“When I was ready for the next stage of life, I had the opportunity to leave Silicon Valley with a great resumé,” said Brock. “While exploring where I wanted to go next, I discovered a strong desire to settle in a place where people value genuine connections and community.”
Also making a move in 2017 was Daysmart Software, relocating from Wixom to Ann Arbor primarily to tap into the abundant high tech talent available in the region. Four months after his return to his hometown, Brock joined the company in March 2018 as corporate brand manager and SEO strategist. “I was really fortunate to connect with a local recruiter who recognized a great match between me and Daysmart.”
Compared to the Ann Arbor he left after high school, Brock says: “There’s definitely a lot more tech in Ann Arbor, which brings with it more diversity and new voices. At the end of the day, businesses are adopting Ann Arbor’s local-first mentality into their culture. That seems different compared to the other places I’ve lived.”
In addition to his daily responsibilities, one of Brock’s early initiatives in his new position was to bring the Women in Leadership Conference and Prove Them Right conference, co-sponsored by SPARK, to Ann Arbor in October 2018. “We provide software solutions to entrepreneurs around the world — 85 percent of whom are women leaders. The conference was one way for us to strengthen opportunities by bringing together a community of women leaders and future women leaders.”
In less than one year after returning to Ann Arbor, Brock has reconnected with the community of his childhood, discovered the region’s growing tech community, and is strengthening a community of women leaders. “Ann Arbor’s sense of community builds on each other. As you grow, different parts of this community open up to you.”
Brock and his partner are excited to continue to settle in the Ann Arbor region, where they recently purchased 20 acres of property. “To be able to come back to build a career and a life — and be able to afford it — that’s the dream. It’s been great coming back to my hometown.”
Photos by Katie Alexis.