Work Hard, Play HardMy Dallas Story

Name: Craig Kessler

City: Dallas

Neighborhood: Lakewood

Company/Title: Topgolf, Chief Operating Officer

When did you move here? From where?
Thanksgiving 2016, from New York City

Where else have you lived?
Before moving to Dallas, I lived in Chicago, D.C., New York, Boston, London, and quite a few others.

What made you Say Yes to Dallas?
Topgolf was a huge driver for my family’s move. I fell in love with the people and the company. I had been traveling back and forth from New York every week for seven months, and I was surprised by how attached I became to the city of Dallas. Moving here was a no-brainer.

How did you choose where to live in the Dallas Region?
It all came down to research for us. We talked to a lot of people, and we spent every weekend for two months driving around to different neighborhoods throughout the Dallas Region. We chose Lakewood, and we couldn’t be happier with our decision.

What’s the one thing that you could have done to make your move easier?
I should have bought a Cowboys jersey sooner!

How has your opinion of the Dallas Region changed since moving here?
It has really impressed us. The food scene, the nightlife, the family activities, cost of living, etc., have made this a very easy transition. More importantly, the warm hospitality that our friends and neighbors continue to extend makes us feel at home.

Tell us about your city/neighborhood. What do you like best? What makes it different?
We moved to Lakewood because of its classic neighborhood feel. Our neighbors are quickly beginning to feel like family, and we’ve started a weekly Sunday night neighborhood wiffle ball tournament. The area also has great public schools. My wife and I were both raised going to public school, and sending our kids to Lakewood Elementary is very important to us.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to move here?
If you’re worried about moving to Dallas, give it the benefit of the doubt. It’s an amazing city. If you aren’t sold on moving here, start meeting people who have lived here for a while. Pick their brains on the best places to eat, drink, and play. Then go see all those places for yourself. It will make your decision on where to live much easier!

What’s your passion, and how does Dallas help fulfill it?
Family is my biggest passion right now, outside of Topgolf. From a professional stand point, Dallas is the perfect place to grow in a hub of young working professionals. Being from San Diego, I am accustomed to a somewhat laidback environment. Dallas has a similar vibe in that most people value both the personal and professional aspects of life.

What would you miss most about the area if you had to leave?
The people — hands down.

Tell us about the work environment here.
Dallas has a great balance when it comes to work and personal life. I find that people here are involved in so many hobbies and organizations outside of work. It’s hard to balance and [it’s] something I am still trying to develop, but I think it’s something everyone can get better at and strive for.

Where do you go and what do you do on the weekends or days off?
We enjoy spending family time at the Dallas Arboretum. Outside of that, I try to golf or run around White Rock Lake any chance I get.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Neighborhood Services — it has great food and amazing service.

What is your favorite outdoor activity, and where do you do it?
Triathlons are very important to me and my wife. We love to run and bike White Rock Lake. I’m also a perpetually struggling golfer. Trinity Forest is my favorite place to golf in Dallas — after Topgolf, of course!

Where do you like to shop?
Amazon Prime! It’s efficient.

Who is your local hero?
I don’t have one yet — coming soon!

How do you interact with your community?
Right now, my family and career are top of mind for me. I’m hoping to get more involved in my community as my kids grow up and we get more familiar with the city.

Do you travel often?
I travel nearly every week right now. Traveling out of Dallas is easy with so many direct flight options out of both airports.

Video Credit: Jane Martens