Transplant finds city ‘just what I was looking for’

BY CAROL ROEHM

DANVILLE — After spending more than 20 years in McAllen, Texas, Vincent Halfacre now calls Danville home.

Halfacre’s specialized skill set brought him to Danville about 18 months ago, where he is a process engineer at Watchfire Signs.

He is one of several Watchfire employees who has relocated from a warm-climate state, such as Texas, Florida and California, to Danville to work at the outdoor LED sign and digital billboard manufacturer.

A Dayton, Ohio, native, Halfacre said he doesn’t mind the cold, snowy winters of the Midwest.

“It’s nice to be back to see the change of seasons,” he said.

Besides living in Texas, Halfacre’s line of work in automotive electronics has required him to live in Alaska, San Diego, Calif., and Kokomo, Ind.

“I go where the job takes me. I’ve been to the hottest place and the coldest place you could go,” he joked.

“I’ve been to so many places, I don’t notice it anymore,” he said of having to relocate because of his job. “It was a normal move for me.”

Danville is just as he expected as far as Midwestern locales go.

“This was exactly what I was looking for,” he said, referring to the job and the area.

AnnMarie Cross, human resource manager at Watchfire, said Halfacre was a perfect match for the company, too.

“We were looking for a very specialized skill set and he was looking for job with that specialized skill set,” she said.

In McAllen, Texas, which boasts a population of more than 80,000, Halfacre said he lived near not one, but two Wal-Marts and several Best Buy stores.

Still, Halfacre said he enjoys the friendly hometown feel of Danville and the community activities, especially the Summer Sounds concert series in downtown’s Temple Plaza.

“You can get around Danville pretty quickly,” he said, noting the lack of traffic and congestion.

“Since I’ve been in Danville, I’ve seen robins, squirrels, deer, a turkey and an eagle,” he added. “I never saw robins and squirrels in Texas.

“Danville has its quiet, small town atmosphere, but it’s not too far from Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis,” he said.

More important, Danville is about a three-hour drive from his hometown of Dayton.

“I’ve been able to attend family functions I haven’t been able to attend for a long time,” he said.

In fact, Halfacre said he recently discovered his grandfather was originally from Danville.

“I try to be happy wherever I’m at, and Danville is just fine with me,” he said.

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