Jolene Francis - Director of Advancement/Communication Enloe Medical Center

"Chico is my hometown…literally. My sisters and I were all born at Enloe and Chico will always be part of who I am.

Chico is a place where folks invite you to cut in front of them at the grocery store when you have fewer items in your basket. A place where you can escape the pressures of everyday life by slipping into Bidwell Park for a few hours of peace, or listening to the train roll through town when the breeze is right.

There’s vibrancy here that’s hard to pinpoint. The University adds to that vibe, so does the downtown and the growing tech community. Chico is a place where you actually know the guy that built your house, the CEO of your local bank lives across the street and your kid’s high school principal is in your Rotary Club. But for all its small-town goodness, there is a definite metropolitan flair…in museums, local theater, music, and of course, the best brewery in the nation. The economy of agriculture keeps us grounded and talented entrepreneurs teach us to soar. I dare you to not love this place." 

Pat Kemeny Macias - President, MONCA

Pat-Macias-MONCA

I am Pat Kemeny Macias, the current President of the Board of the Museum of Northern California Art (monca). My days are filled with details and more details concerned with opening Chico’s first art museum.  Sometimes the “work” happens before I get out of bed . . . contemplating the unknown! As far as free time goes, there is not currently a lot of that but my energy and enjoyment that goes into making connections and telling the museum story. I am fortunate to have a husband just as passionate about this project as I am.

I am in Chico with my husband due to retirement in the Bay Area plus finding a less stressful but still cultural place to plant our roots for the final time. I was raised in Michigan, received my Bachelor’s degree in Art Education and a Master’s degree in Printmaking from Eastern Michigan University. For eighteen years, I taught art in the Ann Arbor public schools and was the Director of one of the Summer Art Fairs for seven years. Next, it was a move to St. Louis, MO becoming Education Director at Laumeier Sculpture Park before returning to teaching. A move to San Francisco led me to teach once again this time at Piedmont High School for thirteen years, retiring in 2006 before the move to Chico.

Why did we choose Chico? It reminded me a lot of Ann Arbor . . . a university filled with cultural events, approximately the same size town, a Farmer’s Market, a thriving arts community and it was affordable! The fun of seeing familiar faces around town; smiling and friendly people; people who CARE; and a supportive community that is embracing diversity more and more are what drew me here and keeps me here. The weather is also a plus!

Christa Melton - Unlock Home & Lifetime Resident

Christa-Melton-Unlock-Home

Hello! I'm Christa Melton and I’m a happy Chico local who cherishes this community with all my heart. Born and raised in Chico, I graduated from Pleasant Valley High School and Chico State University. Growing up in Chico was a magical experience. Hiking Monkey Face in upper Bidwell Park, swimming in One Mile, and riding my bike to school were some of my favorite childhood memories. I loved my childhood so much, I decided to raise my family in our tree-lined community.

As many locals do, I left our cozy town to broaden my horizons. I traveled to many parts of the world and nestled into a few different communities. When it came to finally deciding the quality of life I desired, it was time to move back to Chico. Moving back was the best decision I have ever made. I realized how much I missed our amazing park. I bought a house right alongside the park so my kids could enjoy skipping rocks in the creek and riding their bikes to their friends. I especially love my daily walks, it's a great way to start your day and energize the soul.

Chico is thriving with opportunity. We own two different businesses in our community. Melton Design Group Inc., a Landscape Architecture Firm, ran by my husband Greg Melton. My business venture, Unlock Home, inspires people to unlock the happy in their homes. I'm passionate to honor the happiness every community deserves and work to cultivate it through its citizenry.

Chico is an inspiration to have a lifestyle that is still simple, safe and full of opportunity. The hometown feel remains the same, and now we have the luxury of a thriving community full of culture and excitement.  

Hunter Hampton - General Manager, Chico Heat Baseball

Hunter-Hampton-Chico-Heat-Baseball

My name is Hunter Hampton and I am the General Manager of the Chico Heat. I spend my days immersed in our community. I connect with business owners, season ticket holders, sponsors, and all-around baseball fans. We talk about any and everything baseball. Some want to talk about their favorite Major League Baseball team (mine is the Houston Astros). Some prefer to debate which players deserve to be in the MLB Hall-of-Fame. Mostly we talk Chico Heat baseball. Chico has a long baseball tradition. Many Chicoan’s have fond memories of warm summer nights cheering their team on at Nettleton stadium.

When I’m not “working,” I'm with my wife and kids. We’re often out at the swimming pool or softball fields watching my daughter swim or play softball for Chico High. You'll often find us in the gymnasium or DeGarmo Park watching my son play basketball for Bidwell Jr High or Lacrosse for the Chico Rebels.

Why did I choose Chico?  I chose Chico twice! The first time was in 1990 when I chose to transfer to Chico State from the University of Arkansas. After moving here and getting my degree in Information and Communication studies, I fell in love with the area. I loved the climate, I loved that we were close to the bay area to watch the A’s and the Giants, and I loved that we're close to both Tahoe and Napa. I remained here for close to 20 years until I felt the allure of my hometown calling. I moved back to Houston where I could get my fix on Astros baseball and went to work for a television station in a top 10 media market. After a few years, the shine wore off and the Houston humidity, traffic, and crime drove me back to Chico for the second go around!

Even though I was not born or raised here, I still consider Chico my home as I have been here collectively more than 25 years of my life. Chico’s quality of life is second to none and is a great place to raise a family.

I’d say my favorite thing about Chico is the people. Chico is small enough to get to know members of the community on a first name basis and large enough to have a baseball team! 
 

Katie Simmons - Chico Chamber of Commerce

"In 2007, as an international convention director based in Berkeley with long commutes and regular air travel, I found opportunities to visit my parents in Chico after they relocated from the bay area. Weekends in Chico led to exploring Bidwell Park, the bike paths, and a slower pace of life. Eventually, I made the decision to move to Chico and my career path ultimately led me to the Chico Chamber of Commerce where I am now President & CEO. I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made all those years ago to work and live in the same town - a rarity in the bay area.

I take long bike rides on weekends, enjoy the parks with my family, and shop and dine locally. I found home when I found Chico, and I found my purpose in the space and time this lifestyle affords. This place has shown me what community means and I can’t imagine living anywhere else." -Katie Simmons, President & CEO at Chico Chamber of Commerce

Prem Chand, Milestone Technologies

premchand

"I was raised on a farm in a small town just outside of Chico, where I developed an appreciation for the passion and work ethic held by the people in our community. Though I left Chico and eventually founded Milestone Technologies, Inc in the Bay Area, I never forgot the sense of hope, motivation, and connectivity I felt in the Chico community.

When Milestone was challenged to open a new contact center, I knew immediately that Chico was the ideal place for our business to grow. The quality of life in Chico is unmatched, and the people boast an unrivaled drive to succeed. I chose Chico to give back—because the city’s bright, young minds deserve fulfilling economic opportunities without having to leave their own backyard. Together, we can continue to make Chico great."

-Prem Chand, President & CEO of Milestone Technologies Inc.

Kendall Gaumann, Student CSU Chico

"I transferred to CSU, Chico January 2014 and am completing my final semester. I chose Chico because I come from a small town in the Bay Area and I loved the strong sense of community Chico radiated. Because Chico is such a small community you can definitely feel the neighborly love. Everyone is so welcoming that you will never be alone."I transferred to CSU, Chico January 2014 and am completing my final semester. I chose Chico because I come from a small town in the Bay Area and I loved the strong sense of community Chico radiated. Because Chico is such a small community you can definitely feel the neighborly love. Everyone is so welcoming that you will never be alone.

My favorite thing about Chico is the diversity of activities it provides. You can take a stroll in the park, swim in the swimming holes, hike to breathtaking vistas, listen to live music Downtown Chico, or snack at some of the yummiest hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The best advice I can give is to be open to the beauty Chico has to offer, it will not let you down. My most memorable experience is hiking to the top of Monkey Face to watch the sunset. Chico has become my home and I do not want to leave. I can tune the beat of my heart to this place." -Kendall Gaumann, California State University, Chico

Aaron Rogers: Roots in Chico

Aaron Rogers - Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rogers - Green Bay Packers

Popular NFL quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, was born right here in Chico where he began playing football for Pleasant Valley High School as the starting quarterback. Rodgers then played for Butte Community College where he received an athletic scholarship to attend and play for UC Berkeley. Rodgers now plays for the Green Bay Packers and gets a hearty hometown welcome whenever he comes to visit. GO PACKERS!