The number of growing businesses in our region has created the opportunity to expand talent recruitment efforts, including attracting talent back to Michigan. The good news is that Ann Arbor is a place where people want to live, work, and play, including those who have limitless career options. For instance, as a city, 70.4% of Ann Arbor residents hold a Bachelors Degree or higher.

Ann Arbor is truly a unique city that leaves a charming impression on anyone who’s lived or visited the area. Usually, it’s just a matter of time until those Michiganders that leave for a few years feel the pull to come back and plant roots in this region. Ann Arbor is a great place for all; check out the recent accolades praising this region.

To shine a spotlight on this trend, we’re launching a new Q & A series with people who’ve returned home to build their high tech career in the Ann Arbor region. 

Meet Connor Tierney, a Product Development Engineer at Disher Design, a product development and consulting firm in Ann Arbor.


After graduation, I followed my family to North Carolina. I left in May of 2015, and I returned to Michigan in April of 2016.

Charlotte was still two hours away from my family so I didn’t feel closer. I missed having a lot of friends around all the time and the Charlotte weather was sweltering all summer. The winter was depressing because it rained. I remember driving home on Christmas Eve in the pouring rain thinking to myself, “This isn’t Christmas”. Believe it or not, I actually missed the snow. It didn’t feel like home. I thought about Michigan, the seasons, the boats on the lake, the sports teams, and other staples of Michigan and I missed it. All that piled on top of my girlfriend and I not liking our jobs, so we scrambled to find new jobs in Ann Arbor.

I found a job as a product development engineer and manufacturing engineer with DISHER, where I design consumer products from brainstorming to 3D modeling in CAD. I use my manufacturing background to help improve designs for manufacturability and cost. On the manufacturing side, I focus on improving processes by reducing scrap, increases production speed, and improving quality.

Working in Ann Arbor is great because we are close enough to Detroit to work with our customers but far enough away to not deal with the traffic of areas closer to Detroit. On top of that, working in the engineering field in the same town as the University of Michigan keeps us connected with research and startups on the cutting edge.

My girlfriend and I are very into sustainability and communities and that is something that Ann Arbor values, so living in the area was an easy decision. I love the small town and small community feel. The ability to walk most places is pretty nice, so I can walk to and from work instead of sitting in a car. I also very much enjoy the work – it’s challenging and fun.



Source: SPARK