Portland, Maine

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Wade Brainerd + Jennie Hahn

Computer Programmer + Theater Director

Known For the performing and virtual arts

Located In South Portland

Wade Brainerd and Jennie Hahn both grew up in Maine and moved away after high school, as many do—Wade to LA, where he worked his way up as a computer programmer and earned a technical director position at Activision, the largest producer, publisher, and developer of video games, and Jennie to Vassar College and eventually LA, where she worked for the large community-based Cornerstone Theater Company. By their late twenties, Wade and Jennie’s one bedroom apartment in Santa Monica was starting to feel small, not the kind of place they envisioned raising a family.

Fast-forward a couple of years. Wade convinced Activision to let him open a satellite office in Portland’s Old Port, where “the rent is much cheaper than in any of the offices they have in the bigger cities,” and he and his colleagues are “happy and productive” and able to bring a “new sense of energy” to their work. Jennie runs the Portland-based community theater organization, Open Waters Theatre Arts. The couple bought a house in South Portland with several bedrooms, a yard, and a garage—just blocks away from Willard Beach and an eight-minute bike ride to Wade’s office—where they are now raising their first child, Simon. Wade says the move has another big perk: “now our cats can go outside!”

Jennie’s advice for anyone considering a similar move? She says, “Try to limit the major change to one compartment of your life at a time as much as possible (and it’s not always possible). Trying to start a new company and have a new family and find a new house all at the same time is really setting yourself up for a lot of difficulty. If you can try to separate those things, keep stability in one place while you take major risks in another, it will make the transition smoother.”