Young professionals thriving in Midland: Spotlight on Sammi Steele
28 Feb 2022
Midland, Texas is an attractive landing spot for singles and young professionals thanks to its high quality of life, good prospects for upward mobility, and welcoming environment for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Sammi Steele, Business Retention & Expansion Coordinator at the Midland Development Corporation and a young professional herself, is passionate about living and working in the Midland area. Born and raised in Golden, Colorado, Sammi grew up singing in a professional children’s choir, the Colorado Children’s Chorale. This is where she had the opportunity to sing around the world including places like South Africa, England, Canada, and a majority of the US states. While she might have grown up on the stage, it was off the stage meeting people of all different backgrounds and socio-economic statuses that she loved the most. Deciding to major in broadcast journalism and minor in business in college, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma in May 2019. While in college, she was heavily involved in extracurriculars. Not only was she an anchor/producer/reporter for the college daily student-led newscast, OU Nightly, she was also a Gaylord Ambassador for the college, a role which saw her meeting up with alumni and donors routinely while also recruiting students for the university.
Sammi’s current role at MDC
As Midland Development Corporation's business retention and expansion coordinator, Sammi’s role is primarily about building relationships with locally owned and operated businesses in Midland. She believes that a consistent interface with business owners or lead staff will help the corporation become more familiar with each firm's expansion plans, relocation plans, workforce issues, new products, as well as high success points and the pain points that they face. The more MDC knows about local businesses, the easier it will be to help with their needs.
What inspired her to take up the role?
Sammi said, “As a journalist, I was used to building relationships and having a wide knowledge base on the community here. So when I interviewed for MDC's role and it was explained to me how much of it would be about building relationships and helping people, I knew I could tailor my skillset and be successful. I wanted to work in an environment that supported my professional goals and I felt MDC's leaders would do so. I am also getting married soon so my values had shifted and it became important to me to have more time with my family.”
Why did she choose to do so in this community?
Sammi replied - “While I may not be a native Midlander, I have spent the past 3+ years meeting, learning, and growing to love it here. I know more about this area than I do my hometown. I take pride in how it's evolved over the years and want people to perceive it the way I do. I believe that it is the people here that make it unlike anything else in the world. Most people are salt of the earth and make the community feel like a safe, kind, and supportive place to develop as a young professional. My fiance and his family are from this area and my family in Colorado envies the friendships and "small" big town feel Midland has. I think since there are no Rocky Mountains to explore nearby, people pour their time into developing relationships. To me, having good relationships makes for a fulfilling, happy life. I'm also not upset that chips and queso might as well be its own food group in West Texas!” she joked.
When asked about what her goals for the department and community were, Sammi said, “Everyone here who has a business or is looking to start one knows the resources we have that can help them. I want people to feel like we are the bridge that enabled them to grow and expand more so than they otherwise would have. I also want to use my knowledge about the area to recruit businesses here. Our community is the energy capital of the world, so we deserve to have the same opportunities as people who live in larger cities have.”
As a young professional, why does Sammi enjoy living in Midland?
“I enjoy living in Midland because of the people. The average age here is 31, so it's a young town. I've found many of the young professionals in Midland are not from the area and moved here to develop in their profession. I can relate because that's why I moved here! It's been easier to meet people walking through a similar season of life than it would be in Dallas or NYC, places I thought I wanted to go after graduating college. Your 20s should be devoted to developing your career and working your tail off to make a name for yourself, but I also think it's a time filled with a whole lot of change so you don't want to feel alone. You need good people around you to lean on and there are good people here! Not just people who prioritize business and have an entrepreneurial spirit, but people who devote time to their family and their faith, too. This area doesn't just develop you as a young professional, it develops you into a well-rounded person. Also, can I get an amen that we don't have income taxes?”
What Sammi would like local business owners to know
“If you are a locally owned and operated business interested in learning about how the MDC can assist you...reach out! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you. I would also encourage our community members to get involved. Volunteer somewhere, attend city council or county commissioner meetings, read up on things and know what is happening in the community so you can help to make it better. In a smaller community like this, putting in an effort to make a positive change is tangible.”
What makes Midland a great place for young professionals like you to grow and thrive?
Midland is a great place for young professionals to grow and thrive because you feel a sense of camaraderie with other young professionals here you wouldn't get in other larger places. That camaraderie can inspire you to work hard and feel part of the community. You can make good money here and lay a foundation for a successful life. It also is amazing that at any given time, you're only about 15 minutes from things.
What Sammi would like everyone to know about MDC
“I want them to know that we are part of the community we serve. We are not just another government "thing" buzzing in your ear. We are hungry to make Midland better. We are committed to devoting our resources to improving the quality of life here.”
The Midland Development Corporation is at the forefront of economic development activities in our area. Our staff is here to assist you, your business, and your family. We are a resource that can help you to identify opportunities, find a new home for your business, and locate available financial incentives. Our team also connects families who are interested in relocating with information about living and working in Midland.
Contact us to explore the many opportunities Midland can offer you.