Sergio Trevino heard two distinctly divergent reactions when he told friends and colleagues that he was moving here.
One group reacted with alarm at the cold winters Trevino, a native of Mexico, would find himself confronting.
But the other group – people who’d visited or worked here – had a very different reaction. “Oh, that’s a great place,” he said, repeating the response. “The people who have been here have nothing but nice things to say about it.”
While visiting to decide about the move, Trevino and his wife were so struck by the friendly people they encountered everywhere.
“The people that we met – we joke about it – were suspiciously nice,” he said.
And so Trevino, an intensive care physician at Essentia Health who already had been sold on the practice he would join, moved here with his wife and 1-year-old son.
“I think ultimately it just came down to the people, because everybody I met was very friendly, very down to earth,” he said.
A move to Fargo also brought Manchak and his wife closer to family. Both Manchak and Trevino are baseball fans, so the proximity to a Minnesota Twins game was a plus.
Quality of life attributes loom large in anyone’s decision when considering a move. They are part of the pitch that physician recruiters make when wooing candidates.
Predictably, given Fargo’s star status on the Weather Channel in many a winter, the weather can be a hurdle to overcome when candidates are weighing the metro area, physician recruiters said.
Surprisingly, winter apprehension sometimes comes up even from candidates from northern states, including Michigan, Maine and Washington state, said Jodi Lorenson, a physician recruiter at Essentia.
Trevino, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, didn’t find winter off-putting. His training took him first to Houston, then St. Louis, where winter makes an appearance.
As for Manchak: “Bad weather is not a good reason to turn down a good job.”
Typically, once candidates visit, they quickly are impressed at what Fargo-Moorhead has to offer in terms of cultural amenities, restaurants, shopping, schools and recreation, Lorenson and other recruiters said.
They’re also pleased to learn of the good flight connections. “Surprisingly that’s one of the first questions they ask,” Lorenson said.
During a recruiting visit, candidates tour the area, typically visiting both downtown and newer neighborhoods. Those with families often are shown schools and parks.
Local minor league sports teams, including the RedHawks baseball team and Fargo Force hockey team, are a draw for some. On Manchak’s visit, his recruiting team, who knew his interest in sports, suggested something different – a stop at a curling competition.
The metro area’s and region’s growth are attractive to candidates, Amy Dockter, a Sanford physician recruiter, said. “We like to promote the booming economy of the area,” she said. Often candidates arrive with misconceptions or a void when it comes to Fargo. “I think generally there’s a lack of knowledge about Fargo,” Dockter said.
The area’s increasing cultural diversity, including ethnic restaurants and food markets, also is a selling point, Lorenson said.
Especially for those from congested areas on the coasts, the lack of traffic hassles, accessibility and reasonable cost of living are a welcome surprise, both recruiters said.
“I love that it’s big enough to have any sort of amenity you would want,” Manchak said, “but at the same time everything is 15 minutes away at the most.”
As for Trevino, he and his wife believe it will be a good place to raise a family. “Safe place and nice people,” he said. “I don’t think we can ask more for our kids.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.