“I feel like I can be a bigger contributor to the community here than anywhere else.”
Aaron Scowcroft, 27, is a licensed real estate agent in Chittenden County. Formerly of South Carolina, Aaron moved to Vermont six years ago and has built his career and started a family here. He’s a dad, a business owner, and community leader.
How did Vermont become home to you?
Vermont became a home to me because of my brother. He moved up here to go to college and when he came up here he loved it. I was living in South Carolina at the time and not doing so well in terms of working and finances. The unemployment rate where I was was outrageous and my brother said “Come live with me up here in Vermont and start a new life.” And that's what I did. It was November of 2009. About six years ago.
What's kept you here?
At first, not much. I wanted to go to college and I started to do that. I wasn't very motivated but I just kept at it, graduated, and now I've got a small family and I love it here! I went to Community College of Vermont (CCV) out in Winooski.
What are some other things that keep you busy outside of work?
Really, more work, unfortunately. We live in a time where you can't afford not to work for too long. The nature up here in Vermont is outstanding though. You really can't find this anywhere else in New England! Without getting lucky. Aside from that, Ice Hockey. It's always been a passion for me. I play in a Men's League for Full Stride out in South Burlington.
What about Vermont makes you want to build your career here?
I really don't want to live anywhere else. I've lived in bigger cities. I grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts. I also spent some time just ten minutes south of Charlotte, North Carolina. I've seen the bigger cities, and it's just not for me. I feel like I can be a bigger contributor to the community here than anywhere else.
What do you think is one of the most challenging things about working in Vermont?
The most challenging thing about working in the Vermont area is the uncertainty. There's a lot of uncertainty to starting your own business here in Vermont. And statistically speaking, Vermont is not very hospitable to business. For that reason, it's made me sometimes second-guess my decision to become self-employed. But ultimately, it's led me to start my own career here.
What might help ease the uncertainty that the state or local organizations can work on?
Property taxes. I'm sure we pay more than our fair share for property taxes. But in terms of making things easier for small businesses, some kind of incentive program would be nice. Something to encourage more people to get out there and start their small businesses. The more work we can create up here, the better jobs we can create in Vermont, the stronger our community's going to get. And right now, it's almost impossible to sustain yourself without having a mid-level job working for a larger business here. The entry-level work here just doesn't pay for anything.
What excites you most about building your career here in Vermont?
The most exciting part for me, and this might sound strange, is the uncertainty. I don't know what's ahead. I know I have an ability to steer myself in a certain direction but I don't know what direction that is. I think the most exciting part for me is I'm diving in feet-first into a new career that I have zero experience in, aside from processing mortgage application. I find it's in this kind of challenge where I really thrive.
What do you think makes you stand out in the real estate sector?
The amount of time I've spent in the community already through different careers. I've spent a lot of time in the restaurant industry getting to know people in Chittenden county. I was a sales representative for a very long time and I feel like my reputation for sales will really help me to stand out. The reason I went as an independent agent was so people could see my last name on a sign and know “Alright, I've worked with this guy before and I know he's not out to get me or my money. He's not gonna help me make a poor decision.”
When you hear the word success, what person comes to mind?
I think success has a different definition for each person you ask. My version of success would have to be somebody who feels like they're making great accomplishments in their life and doing things they love. They're spending their time with their friends and their family because they want to. I'd say my brother stands out as a great success to me. He came from the same family background I did: it wasn't very good. And he's on top of the world right now. He's got a great family, a great job, he loves what he does. Every day is a gift when you've got that kind of mentality.
What advice do you think you would give to other young professionals in Vermont?
You gotta be patient! It's really hard to start a career. There are a lot of aspiring young professionals who just want to hit the ground running. They want to make it happen, they want to hit pivotal milestones without giving it any time. So I would say perseverance, patience and realism are all very important traits to have. None of which I have, but I'm certainly trying to change that.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I'll give you the best answer I can right now: I think the question should be rephrased as “What don't you want to be when you grow up?” Because once you figure out what you don't want to be, it kinds narrows it down. Me, I want to be a great dad, a business owner and a community leader. I wouldn't have known that even two years ago, but now as a young professional, that's exactly what I want. I want to be a part of our community and grow with my family into this community and encourage the same for everyone around me. I'm looking forward to it.
Do you have any finals words that you'd like to impart on the young professionals of Vermont?
Work as a team! People can manage their affairs independently, but it's so much more rewarding if you can develop a network of people. If you can develop a network of people then you can help each other out. And when you have the forces of many, trying to accomplish and achieve your own personal successes is so much easier. Relying just on yourself, you possess your own personal set of traits, but as a team force you have so much more potential. And I really think being part of the Vermont Young Professionals community is going to help me really figure it out and really see the benefits of being part of a community.