By Nathan Brennan, Edinboro University Student
From Detroit, to Greenville, to Detroit and back again.
Such has been the journey of Benjamin Beck, a family man who’s bounced between the Motor City and the smaller, more rural area of Greenville, Pennsylvania.
However, one may ask: why the back and forth? For some, it may be because they simply cannot choose and do not wish to commit to either one. Others may just grow tired of their surroundings and seek new scenery and opportunities elsewhere.
With Beck, though, it’s not a matter of indecision or boredom; in fact, he exudes confidence and is driven by a desire — a desire to fit in, provide for his family, get involved and invest in a community he could call his own.
It would just take a while to find the right fit.
Growing up in Detroit, Beck and his family subsequently made the move to western Pennsylvania in 1998. Here, he attended high school and graduated from Thiel College with a fine arts degree. Describing himself as an “experienced creative type” on his resume, his degree spoke to his skillset of creativity and interest in arts-related fields.
While Beck acknowledged that finding a job for his particular skill set would be difficult, he made it clear that he wanted to gain valuable experience through work with local institutions and non-profit organizations. He noted later that that this decision would ultimately play a big role in where he ended up currently.
He started work on creating an art gallery in Greenville in 2014, the Sans MOCO, while he volunteered with Downtown Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to Christian ministry in the area. Beck was not shy in admitting that the gallery is “one of the best galleries you’ll find in the area.” Due to his enduring interest in art, he still volunteers there to this day.
Around the same time, Beck worked with the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, which helped him become heavily involved with business development in the community.
Despite his progress, Beck’s work in Greenville at that time was cut short when his father abruptly passed away in 2015, causing him to move back to Detroit. While there, his highest priorities were to spend time with family and explore how to get involved with things in Detroit. The latter was easier said than done. Detroit, Beck noted, is a much larger area, and therefore became more difficult to feel a connection. He said, “I believe it’s much harder to get involved in some other, more populated areas.”
Beck moved back to Greenville in 2016 working for various companies in marketing, and is now executive director of the Greenville Neuromodulation Center (GNC). Regarding his hiring, Beck stressed that the size of the area may have made it easier to stand out: “I don’t know that that opportunity would’ve been afforded to me in a place like Detroit or some other city where I was kind of lost in a sea of people.” Plus, with all the sincerity, Beck emphasized that he and Greenville were just a good fit, saying, “I love the pace of life here.”
Beck, hoping to help others with their journey, offered this advice for those who still search for their right path, a process he knows all too well: “Wherever you’re at, I think it’s important to invest in your community.” Considering the Greenville website itself boasts, “Greenville’s community game is strong,” Benjamin Beck is feeling good about where he eventually landed.