Senior Engineer, PPL Electric Utilities
After living in southern cities for five years, Jean Blanc wasn’t sure what to expect when he moved to Lehigh Valley in January 2019 for a job as a senior engineer at PPL Electric Utilities. To say he has been pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.
“When I accepted the job, I was unsure of what to expect first because I’d never heard about Allentown,” Jean said. “As I’ve gotten acclimated with the area, I found it’s a really fun place to be. I’ve made great friends here. I’ve formed great relationships. You can make fantastic connections in a short period of time.”
Jean describes his new home as “an intimate community within a big city.”
He was born in Haiti, grew up in Boston, and has lived in mid-sized cities in the South. While each of those places has much to offer, he explained, Lehigh Valley has a unique combination of all their best elements.
“You are at the epicenter of a thriving economic community. You can work for a Fortune® 500 company. And you can be in place where you feel as though you know everybody well,” Jean said.
Living in downtown Allentown, Jean is close to work, the gym, restaurants, concerts, and cultural activities.
“It’s a gem of a city that I have embraced,” he said. “I love that it’s so convenient. I described it to my friends as optimizing my life.”
Jean also finds meaning and fulfillment in his work for Allentown-based PPL Electric Utilities, which is part of one of the largest utility companies in the United States.
“It’s a growing, thriving industry that is changing at a rapid pace. Smart grid, electric vehicles… these are some of the innovations that are about to move us to the next phase of sustainability. And I get to analyze data on how we’re impacting uses of these technologies,” he said.
He also is impressed with the work culture at PPL Electric Utilities. He has made an immediate impact as president of PPL’s African-American Business Resource Group, which supports a variety of community initiatives and collaborates with similar employee groups at other Lehigh Valley employers, including Air Products and Olympus.
Before moving here, Jean knew little about Lehigh Valley. In his first year here, he has enjoyed sampling what the region has to offer, from winery tours to whitewater rafting, and from volunteering at a local festival to attending a Meek Mill concert.
“There are so many great things about this area that a newcomer would enjoy,” he said.
He’s looking forward to his first full year in Allentown, as well as visiting family in Boston and neighboring New Jersey. Jean will also soon be joining the Board of Directors for Community Bike Works, a nonprofit organization that teaches life lessons through bicycles to the young people of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley who could benefit most.
Live Like a Local
Favorite place to eat: Tacos Y Tequila in downtown Allentown
Favorite date night spot: There are a lot of them, but the Dime is a good spot because it’s right in the middle of everything yet still intimate. It’s synonymous with Allentown in that way, and it has a lot of character.
Favorite outdoor activity: I went whitewater rafting with a group of co-workers on the Lehigh River. We had a phenomenal time. Later, I went rafting in Colorado and the experience here was more enjoyable because the waters here are fast, but calmer.
Biggest surprise about moving to Lehigh Valley: How genuine the people are and how many connections I made in my first year here.
Fun fact about yourself: I’m a very active museum-goer, I’ve been to the Louvre in France, Picasso Museum Málaga in Spain, The Palace Museum in China and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, and now I am proud to have a membership to the Allentown Art Museum.