It wasn't until Saleem Mamdani looked at the classifieds that he realized Quincy might be the place for him and his then-fiancee, Jamie Friye, a Quincy native.
"I looked at the real estate prices and said, ‘Are you kidding me?'?" he said. "We had talked at one point about maybe coming back here because it would be a nice place to raise kids."
Instead the couple made Quincy the first place they lived after they got married in 2007. Mamdani, a lawyer from suburban Chicago, took to Quincy as easily as the town took him in.
"It's such a welcoming community. I've always felt really comfortable here," he said. "When you're in this line of work, a lot of your referral basis is family connections and being part of the community and having people know you. It was easy to start from scratch."
Mamdani is active in several community groups and will become president of the Breakfast Kiwanis in October.
"Giving back was emphasized growing up," he said. "Being involved in the community is how you integrate yourself."
Family: Wife, Jamie Friye; two children; two dogs; parents, Meenal and Bashir Mamdani; in-laws, David and Kathi Friye.
Education: Oak Park River Forest High School gradaute, 1998; bachelor of arts, biology and political science, Colorado College, 2002; J.D., Loyola University. Chicago, 2006.
Community Involvement: Member, St. Francis Church; chairman, 2013 St. Francis Parish picnic committee; member, West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living Board; member, Breakfast Kiwanis.
What is your job, what do you do and what do you like best about it? I'm a general practice lawyer and mediator. The best part of my job is achieving a positive resolution for my clients.
What is a typical workweek like? I'm typically in the office during regular working hours, and I also go in early in the mornings on weekends. Probably 10 to 15 percent of my time is spent in court, the rest is spent in the office.
What was your first job, and what do you remember about it? My first job was working for the local park district, coaching children's sports and sidelining as their official photographer.
How do you balance everything? It's a great week if everything balances well. I certainly couldn't do it without the support of my wife and our family.
Which person has influenced you the most and why? My father has probably had the greatest influence on my life. Early on, it was by demanding excellence from me. Later, after seeing him deal with some difficult issues, it was by demonstrating grace and good humor in the face of some very trying circumstances.
Have you ever failed at something? How did you recover? I've had many failures in my life. Failure is an inevitable consequence of pushing yourself. The best way to recover is to understand the reasons for the failure and then try again.
What does success mean to you? Cliche alert -- Success is happiness. You can make a bunch of money or win a lot of victories, but if you are ultimately unhappy your achievements are hollow.
What was your proudest professional moment? It's not a moment, per se, but I am most proud of being able to come to this community and build a successful practice without having the benefit of being from this area.
What is your favorite stress-buster/leisure time diversion? I love cooking, reading and golf, though I haven't taken the opportunity to play in more than a year.
What is the biggest need in your community? I think the biggest need in this community is the retention and attraction of young families of talented people. I was involved for some time with a Greek organization at Quincy University and was disappointed with how many young and talented graduates who grew up in this area were leaving rather than staying to build their lives here.
What gives you reason for optimism in your community? I think the strong local economy is a good reason to believe that Quincy will remain vibrant for the long term.
If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you were in high school, what would it be? Learn more about computer programming -- there's a field where unemployment seems to be nearly nonexistent.
If you weren't working for Lewis, Longlett & Lannerd, what would you be doing? If you mean, if I wasn't a lawyer, then I'd say probably practicing medicine.
If you could add a few more hours to the day, how would you spend them? Probably hanging out and playing with my kids.
Do you live by any mantra or saying? Nope.
Career aspirations aside, name one thing you definitely want to accomplish in your lifetime: Visit all seven continents.