Bay Area to Sactown: YPs Making the Move

justin virreyThis post is a 3 minute read.

To say that I’m a “Bay Area boy” would be an understatement. I was born in The City (AKA San Francisco, for you out-of-towners), raised in San Jose, attended college in the East Bay, and then worked for numerous South Bay tech companies. Like many others flocking to Silicon Valley from around the world, what attracted me most was the unsurpassed level of tech innovation and the valley’s startup vibe.

Yet this spark soon began to lose its luster when the cost of living skyrocketed and traffic grew exponentially. For many years, I accepted this “Bay Area tax” as a way of life.

Fast-forward to when I received a call to interview at Micron Technology, Inc.—a growing tech company in the Sacramento region specializing in innovative memory solutions and data information. Initially, I wasn’t convinced that Sacramento was for me.

At first glance, the capital region didn’t seem to have a big startup scene. More importantly, my gut instinct was it didn’t seem to have a big foodie scene, which is a big factor in my happiness. I’ll gladly admit that I was wrong on both accounts. And I discovered many other misconceptions about “Sactown.”

But that phone call from Micron led to a six-year stay for me in Sacramento, and during that time I’ve discovered a vibrant startup scene, thriving new ventures and companies looking to the Sacramento region for top talent. The Sacramento region spans quite a large area, though it’s a rather small world for professional networking. I have mutual friends at Metro EDGE, the Metro Chamber and the Sacramento MBA program at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, where I’m just finishing up my MBA.

These professional networks are powerful and become stronger when you can both refer and be referred to opportunities. My tip for young professionals new to the area or looking to come to Sacramento: take advantage of making connections as soon as possible. 

This interconnected, micro-networking in the Sacramento region offers a unique benefit that the Bay Area can’t. At large organizations, it’s easy to get lost in the networking weeds. At a smaller organization—some even more impactful—it can be easier to create longer-lasting relationships.

As I see many fellow UC Davis MBA alumni moving into leadership roles in the area, I’m focused on my personal growth and expanding my network with a more natural and organic feel that is more personal—and I like it.

This more intimate level of networking will be useful as Sacramento continues to undergo a cultural, social and economic renaissance. It’s been wonderful to observe many positive changes in the region. Sacramento’s midtown and downtown areas have seen considerable revamping designed to bring to surface what’s already been there—a series of interconnected pockets and neighborhoods that are rich with history, character and pride.

Needless to say, if I wanted to start a business, I’d want to start it right here in Sacramento. And that’s based on the sheer level of support from the professional networks that I’m a part of and the personal connections I’ve made.

This is a guest blog post by Metro EDGE member Justin Virrey, a strategic systems training coordinator and project manager at Oracle Corporation’s office in Rocklin. A Bay Area native, he moved to Sacramento six years ago. Justin is a current student in the UC Davis Part-Time Sacramento MBA program where he has served as president of the student association and as an MBA Ambassador offering prospective students an insider’s look into the student experience.