Overland Park, Kansas, is a family-friendly suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. If you want to raise kids while freelancing or starting a tech business, be sure you don't "overlook" Overland Park (sorry). The city lands on a lot of lists for top places to live, work, and raise a family, including…
"The schools are fantastic, some of the best public schools around, so I think people really are drawn to that," says Scott Maher, CEO of POSIM, a point-of-sale inventory management company that provides software to retailers. "So you have young couples that have lived in other places in Kansas City and once they have kids they want to live out here and enjoy the schools."
He's not kidding. In fact, Niche rated Overland Park's Blue Valley Unified School District as the 32nd best in the US. But it's not just families who enjoy the lifestyle that Overland Park offers.
"There are quite a few younger tech employees here," says Maher. "We find it to be a great place to have our company because there's an excellent quality of life for the employees. Overland Park is consistently rated one of the best communities to live in and it's easy to see why. It's a very nice area – neighborhood after neighborhood of nice places, so people like it."
Overland Park residents frequently take advantage their proximity to Kansas City, which is only about 25 minutes away. That city is home to several organizations geared specifically toward the tech set, including the KC Tech Council, Kansas City Women in Technology, startup accelerator Think Big Partners, and Techweek Kansas City.
If you'd prefer to mingle locally, there are plenty of Chamber of Commerce events you can attend to meet potential clients, and even socialize with your IT competitors.
"I do most of my networking through the chambers," says Ed O'Connor, co-owner of PC Partners, a four-person IT firm that provides IT support to home users and small-to-medium-sized businesses. "The Chambers have been instrumental in the success of my business. I also know a lot of my competitors and we work well together. There's plenty of work to go around."