Date ArticleType
1/1/2018 Chamber News
Young Professionals Offer Fresh Perspective

Often, one of the best gifts we receive is the gift of perspective. We were recently treated to a fresh perspective on living and working in Chautauqua County from some of our hard working young professionals.  We invited four of them to speak at the Chamber Annual Meeting, and found their enthusiasm for our communities refreshing and uplifting.

Kris Maytum, Director of IT & Voice Services for DFT Communications in Fredonia, appreciates his walkable commute to work and the affordable cost of living in his hometown.  After living away for a while, he returned home to join his family’s business and said being in Chautauqua County has provided a number of benefits including proximity to family.

Amber Grekalski is Resource Development Coordinator for United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. She talked about her top five reasons for choosing to live and work here. Calling her job “rewarding,” she noted the people, businesses, and local agencies who help to improve Chautauqua County regularly. She serves on the boards of Northwest Arena, the Audubon Community Nature Center, and the Jamestown Young Professionals, and also pointed out that recreation and entertainment opportunities are plentiful here, whether it’s hiking, kayaking, or finding great music, and a connection here to people and surroundings.  In addition, she appreciates Chautauqua County’s potential.

“The more I learn through my work and board involvement, the more I want to see Chautauqua County succeed,” Grekalski said. “Every decision to build, expand, and innovate is making a direct impact on the success of tomorrow,” she added.

Matt Mazgaj is a Lakewood native who married his high school sweetheart. After they graduated from separate colleges, they drove across the country and also spent some time traveling in Europe before they settled in Washington, D.C. where he attended law school. But each time they returned home to visit they found the lifestyle here compelling.

“We had good jobs, but always felt like something was missing,” he said.

Now an attorney with Phillips Lytle in Jamestown, he says, “working here in Chautauqua County allows me to immerse myself in a community where I work hand-in-hand with people trying to make this area a better place to live, work, and visit. Success is a work-life balance,” he noted, “It is seeing your kids and being able to afford childcare and housing. Success is being part of a community of people all rowing in the same direction; and knowing your neighbor and being able to depend on them.”

Monica Kemp-Simpson is the Incubator Program Manager for the Fredonia Technology Incubator. She moved here from the Buffalo area three years ago and sings the praises of the people in Chautauqua County.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to have a career in economic development, helping small businesses grow, working on community projects, and making a real impact in this county. I see only great things for Chautauqua County and am thankful to be part of its bright future,” she said.

We are fortunate in Chautauqua County to offer amenities that many professionals of all ages seek: affordability, an easy commute to work, quality schools, access to healthcare, and a plethora of recreational and entertainment opportunities. Watching a new generation of leaders choosing to build their lives and careers here is gratifying and inspiring. 

If you’re a young professional interested in working with like-minded people of your generation, we hope you will contact one of the go-getters we heard from, and we look forward to working with them in the future through the Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers Association.

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