It is very common in college towns for there to be a large
population of accompanying spouses and partners, and Ann Arbor is no exception.
There are countless individuals who have relocated to the region supporting their
loved ones while they pursue graduate and professional degree programs.
Madeline Shepherd is one such spouse. “When my husband Jeremy decided to pursue his MBA at University of Michigan Ross School of Business, it was a joint venture. My first time ever in Ann Arbor was Jeremy’s interview weekend. I spent the day wandering around by myself, went into the West End bookstore, over to a café and read the book I just bought, and wandered around Main Street. Right away, I felt this would be an excellent place for us to begin our next chapter.”
The reality for accompanying spouses is that while they willingly move to support their loved ones, they often leave their own careers behind. Madeline, an urban planner with a master’s in urban planning and policy left a five-year employment without her next job lined up. “I had always worked in the transportation policy space and when we moved, I sought opportunities within that space, knowing I may not find something similar to that exact role.”
Fortunately for Madeline, the job market in the Ann Arbor
region is flush with opportunities. It wasn’t long before she joined the City
Solutions Team for Ford Smart Mobility, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. “A
lot of my team works remotely in cities across the country. On days that I
don’t travel to our headquarters in Dearborn, I work out of FordLabs which is
located in downtown Ann Arbor. A lot of what they are doing is testing new
concepts and it’s a fun way to be embedded with innovations going on within the
Now, Madeline enjoys working with cities and stakeholders to
address transportation challenges and working together on supporting their
efforts with Ford solutions. “The Ann Arbor region has a vibrant mobility
ecosystem,” observed Madeline. “The number of companies located here that are
using technology to help people move better and more efficiently is really
The city itself holds a lot of charm for Madeline. “Ann Arbor is a small town in size yet feels very cosmopolitan. It’s very hip and culture oriented, diverse with lots of different perspectives, and even stands out amongst other college towns. When I first arrived, I was just shocked by how many trees there are! To be able to take a quick drive out of the city and discover such beautiful scenery, red barns, apple orchards, and rolling hills — it’s just beautiful.”
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