Mike Dulaney, a Franklin native, is one of the many young professionals who left the area after high school to pursue higher education and then found himself back at home years later. What made him decide to come back? Lots of reasons!
Aside from family connections and convenience to numerous larger cities including Pittsburgh, Erie and New York, Mike was also drawn to the outdoor recreation opportunities and the local arts scene.
“Erie is a beautiful city (more so in the summer). They have some beautiful parks, friendly people, and a great night life, but for all it had to offer it still didn’t feel quite like home.” When funding for a teaching job fell through, he decided it was time to move back home, and was surprised by what he found. “I don’t know if it was the sleepy little hometown that I grew up in or my point of view that changed, but Franklin was different. In the short five years I was gone, Franklin had started to awaken with activity and I had moved back right at the start of it.
“On the surface, it might not look like it but Franklin has a lot of opportunity for those who are willing to grab it.
“Franklin is somehow making it work. In a time when most small communities are struggling, Franklin is making progress. If there is an empty store front in our downtown, it does not remain empty for long. We are always looking for a reason to celebrate, whether it be the start of fall with Applefest, the beginning of Spring with May Mart, or just trying to shake off those winter blues with Franklin on Ice. We keep ourselves busy and it shows,” Mike said.
He himself is a big part of that progress, working as Executive Assistant at the Franklin Area Chamber, and serving on Franklin’s City Council.
Mike said he was surprised at the new faces that were in his hometown. Working for one of the main information centers in the region has allowed him to meet all of the new faces that are moving here from all different parts of the world.
“The people here are very open and welcoming to new people. I've traveled coast to coast and have visited my share of communities. Franklin has some of the kindest and most open people that I have encountered.”