Moving to a new city for a job transfer is always an adventure. How best to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings? Where do colleagues like to meet up after work? How do you distract your kids from their moving blues? For those new to the area, here's some sage advice about life in the River City from folks who have weathered at least one job-related move.
Jamie Berkowitz, Brand analyst, Altria's U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.
For young professionals: A program of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, "YRichmond (grcc.com), has a bunch of activities, which range from networking to having fun and exploring Richmond. There was a day trip to Virginia Beach, we went to a horse race and we danced salsa. It's a lot of different activities that you might not actually think about or seek out on your own. You really expand your knowledge of what Richmond has to offer."
For business networking: "The Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce ( grcc.com ) is similar to YRichmond in the fact that there are different events and speakers offered on a weekly basis, which allows you to get involved with the community and work with other companies. I've been able to attend a few of those, [which offer access] to professional speakers and other professionals in the area."
For fun: "Richmond City Sports and Social Club ( rivercityssc.com ) offers intramural sports throughout the year. They have sports ranging from softball to kickball to flag football — all of which are things that people in my social circle partake in. You end up expanding your social circle, and it's a really great way to de-stress after a workday."
Ryan Bailey, Senior design lead, MeadWestvaco
For networking: "The Creative Crash ( facebook.com/RVACreativeCrash ) is a get-together for creatives, whether they're designers or engineers or in marketing. It's just a budding group started by one of the designers at MeadWestvaco. [They're] trying to figure out a way to pull individuals from all different creative groups in Richmond together. They try to figure out something fun and creative for everyone to do to get to know each other."
For meeting people: "Figure out where alumni groups meet. I graduated from N.C. State, and a huge group from there meets at Home Team Grill because one of the owners is also an N.C. State alumnus. Between Friday Cheers, the [Richmond] Folk Festival and [Dominion] Riverrock, there are some really neat things to do because they pull together like-minded people."
On Richmond: "For people new to the area, the things that really stand out to me about Richmond are the food establishments, the museums, the historical sites and everything around the river. [The river] creates a great environment for events, like festivals on Brown's Island. It's a good place to meet people, and the access that you have to those things from the city is second to none. You can go climbing, running, biking, swimming, get on the river and paddle and fish, or just have a beer and hang out on the rocks."
Bryan Ennis, Regional vice president, CarMax
On moving with kids: "We try to incorporate a lot of activities the kids are used to. We lived on a lake that had a boat in the backyard. So we went out on the James River on a boat and took them tubing. Sort of make them say, ‘Hey, just because I've moved doesn't mean I can't do all the things I liked to do somewhere else.' "
A smooth transition: "Utilize technology. They can get face time, take photos and send media back and forth to their friends. We moved from Nashville, so that really helped them feel like they didn't leave everybody behind. They're pretty young, 4 and 7, but they still had some close relationships with friends back home."
On beating the moving blues:"To give them something to look forward to, we planned a family trip four months after we moved here. It gave them something else to focus on, versus just all the things they weren't used to when we moved."
Jim Doyle, General manager, MGFX broadcast operations at Media General
Get organized: "Know what you have, and try to figure out the volume of things that you're going to be responsible for moving. Don't be afraid to clean house. Only take what you really need."
Be patient:"When I moved [to Richmond], I lived in temporary housing for a few months and spent some time scouring the city to find an area that worked for me. Only at that point did I find a home. I've never been happy in a town until I find an area that fits me, and it's hard to find a place where you fit when you don't know a town very well."
Weigh the pros and cons: "When my wife and I were deciding on where to buy a home, we came up with a list of criteria, 12 or 14 different touch points. We actually put a spreadsheet together as we tried to figure out where in the city we wanted to live. It really helped us to figure out where to buy a home, and it helped us be more objective about our decision."