Millennials are a vital part of our workforce and future homeowners in Charles County. There is a good chance they’ll start up small businesses, and they’re one of the key demographics to look at when planning for retail development. With this generation being too important to ignore, we didn’t have to travel far to find three young professionals for an interview; they’re our own colleagues in the Charles County Economic Development Department.
- Michelle DeSoto, Economic Research Specialist, with family roots in Southern Maryland, and graduate of Indian Head’s Lackey High School and the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), as well as the University of Maryland.
- Martin Proulx, Agriculture Business Development Manager, a native of Maryland, graduate of Frostburg State University, and resident of Charles County since Fall 2017.
- Daniella Djiogan, Project Coordinator, a native of Cameroon, undergraduate and graduate work in Texas and England, lived in Washington DC, and just recently moved to Charles County.
Michelle is the only Charles County native of the group. “With family businesses in Brandywine and Benedict, to growing up and attending schools here, I’ve lived, worked, and played here in beautiful Southern Maryland most of my life,” she says. After graduating from Henry E. Lackey high school, she got a start on her undergraduate education at CSM and then graduated from the University of Maryland.
Accessibility to nature, family ties, and location are the draws that keep her here. Planning to stay, she recently purchased a townhouse in La Plata. “Being in such close proximity to National Harbor, Washington DC, and northern Virginia, I always have things to do.,” says Michelle. “Charles County has lot to offer as well and has a unique balance of amenities; I can take my dogs for hikes on the Indian Head Rail Trail, stroll down Charles Street in La Plata to the local bakery, go and watch a Blue Crabs baseball game, watch a theater production by the Port Tobacco Players, eat at many local restaurants, like Rucci’s and The Charles, or I can sit on the water and enjoy the music and food at one of the many local crab houses here.“
Martin, a self-described craft beverage enthusiast, enjoys adventuring around the DMV and discovering new tasting rooms and trying the newest locally crafted libations. He was instrumental in the proposal of a Zoning Text Amendment that was enacted to expand the definition of craft beverage production and attract the industry to Charles County. From his newly purchased home in Waldorf, he says “I can visit family in Central Maryland or friends in Virginia with ease and have immediate access to many outdoor activities and communities in the County that have rich agricultural and environmental heritages.”
Daniella agrees that Charles County is a great place to live and work. After graduating from the University of Sussex (England) with a master’s degree in International Development, she decided to move to Washington DC, since it’s the nation’s capital and a hub for global organizations. “It was not long until I realized that finding an affordable apartment in DC was not an easy endeavor,” she says. She moved to Maryland, commuting daily to DC, and then just 10 months ago, took a position with Charles County Economic Development.
“Though I have had the opportunity to travel and live in very distinct places around world, I like living in Charles County,” says Daniella. “One of my favorite things to do is to drive through the back roads and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Also, living here affords me access to the city for whenever I have to meet up with some friends.”
All three of our young colleagues value the shorter commute and chance to invest in the county where they live. Martin says, “Living where I work is an exciting opportunity that allows me to be immersed in the exact region I work to promote and grow, even on my days off.” Daniella shares, “I like the perk of living where I work. I have a vested interest in the work I do for the county and am glad that I never have to worry about traffic before or after work. To me, that’s valuable, and I can use that time to relax and focus on my hobbies.”
We in economic development know a strong millennial demographic is going to support our community and businesses that already exist. They are the future of our community. That’s why we’re glad to hear it straight from our own colleagues: Charles County is a great place to live and work!
Check out the Life in Charles County section of our website for more information on what our county has to offer.