It was a passion for the natural sciences and a strong desire to help people that led Nurse Practitioner Calvin Clark to Lubbock, Texas.
“I decided to go into health care really early on,” Clark said. “I discovered I could mix a good amount of biology, chemistry and physics with my passion for people.”
While growing up, Clark’s mom would often reminisce about her fond memories of Texas Tech, leading Clark to leave his hometown in the Austin area upon graduation to become a Red Raider.
“I was pre-nursing going into my undergraduate studies,” Clark said. “Texas Tech had, and continues to have, a good reputation, a very good academic center and good medical facilities.”
Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Clark stayed to attend nursing school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and later started his career at University Medical Center (UMC).
“I worked there as a nurse for a few years until my wife graduated,” he said. “After she graduated, we moved to Austin, and I continued my education and became a nurse practitioner in downtown Austin.”
But five years later, Clark and his wife felt a pull to come back to Lubbock.
“I moved away, but Austin was really fast-paced,” Clark said. “Traffic was terrible; I was spending several hours in the car driving to work. Two hours a day adds up over the course of the year, and that’s valuable time I could be spending with my family.”
Couple the lengthy commute time with the quality of life differences, and it was a no-brainer for the Clarks to return to Lubbock.
“The quality of life in Lubbock is way better than in the big city,” Clark said. “Your money goes further, people are friendlier here and it’s a really great place to raise a family. For my family and I, that was really what we wanted.”
Despite the Clarks’ familiarity with the city, the landscape of Lubbock had changed drastically during their absence. “In the short time I was gone, a number of new businesses and restaurants had opened. You could see a lot of economic development was going on around Lubbock,” Clark said. “Lubbock has really gotten a facelift in the last 10–15 years, and it’s really awesome to see.”
Now a nurse practitioner at UMC, Clark notes that just as Lubbock is growing, the health care industry in Lubbock continues to innovate and advance.
“The health care industry here is very forward thinking,” Clark said. “They’re on the forefront of a lot of innovation. A lot of people think Lubbock is just a little West Texas town with no research, but we really have a lot going on here.”
Part of what allows Lubbock to stay on the forefront of medicine and technology is the presence of hospitals such as UMC and Covenant, top-notch academic medical centers and an influx of residents.
“When I look at what we have in Lubbock, I see resources plus a huge complement of people that are highly trained in their fields,” Dr. Jason Felton, a neurosurgeon and Lubbock native, said. “People just don’t know about all the things we can do here. We get our hands on patients who say, ‘I’ve been going to Dallas. I had no idea I could stay in Lubbock and get this done.’”
Staying on the cutting edge of medical advancements and technology requires a highly skilled and educated workforce, a top priority for the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA).
“One of LEDA’s roles is to act as a conduit between job seekers and businesses,” Christine Allen, LEDA’s director of workforce development and Foreign-Trade Zone 260, said. “One way we’re doing this is through a web portal—return2lbk.org—that serves as a one-stop-shop featuring concentrated, valuable job opportunities.”
Not only does LEDA provide information and links to a large number of jobs in the health care field, they also provide links to other jobs available in the Lubbock community.
“Fortune.com recently listed Lubbock as one of the top 10 cities to find a job,” John Osborne, president and CEO of LEDA, said. “As Lubbock continues to grow, more and more of our [Texas Tech] alumni and former residents are finding out there are greater opportunities to move back to Lubbock than ever before.”
With top-rated schools, more house for your dollar, an abundance of restaurants, a growing arts scene and a variety of entertainment options, Lubbock has become one of the top cities for opportunity, according to Forbes.
“In the six years that my wife, Sunni, and I have lived in Lubbock, we’ve come across so many wonderful people that decided to move back because they wanted a place they could not only find a good job, but raise their family in a safe, friendly community,” Osborne said. “Our kids can be active in so many extracurricular activities, and my wife and I can attend each and every one of them. That’s why we are in Lubbock.”
As for Clark, his family has no plans to leave anytime soon.
“Lubbock is really special to me,” he said. “This is my first adult home, this is where I met my wife, this is where I have fond memories of developing myself as an adult. After moving away, I really wanted to come back home, and Lubbock really is home for me.”
For more available health care positions and other employment opportunities in Lubbock, please visit www.return2lbk.org or call 800.687.5330.