Currently the Bridgman city manager, Juan Ganum spent 17 years working as the community development director in Niles. A native of Detroit and a Michigan State alum, Juan moved to Michiana two decades ago.
Today, he resides in St. Joseph and enjoys spending time in big cities and having picnics on the beach with his wife, Jody, and his two young sons.
ML: What brought you to Michiana?
JG: That story began 20 years ago in May. Actually I just celebrated my 20th year in southwest Michigan. I was a student at Michigan State University in the regional planning program. Like most colleges, there was a career resource board. Every day, as we neared graduation, every one of us was checking the board. There was a job posting for an entry-level planning position in Benton Harbor for the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission. So I applied. What is interesting is a fellow classmate of mine applied for the position, too.
We interviewed together on the same day and we drove down together. I had never been to southwest Michigan. I had never stepped foot in Berrien, Cass or Van Buren counties. We conducted the interview and the director at the time thought we complemented each other so well from a skill set standpoint that she said, “If you would be willing to take a slight pay cut we would like to hire both of you.” After graduation, we were moving in together. That was my introduction to southwest Michigan.
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