Rob and Sarah MacNeill

Bluffton, IN

Rob is the Midwest Regional Director of Sales for Breg Inc., a market leader in the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine medical device manufacturing industry.   

Sarah is the Director of Wells County Public Library. Previously the head of the teen department.

When did you move here? From Where?
We moved to Bluffton in 2012. We had been married for 5 years and finished our formal college educations and had settled into our career paths. It was time to start a family and Sarah was raised in Wells County having graduated from Southern Wells HS in 2004. Sarah’s immediate and many extended family reside in Wells County and NE Indiana.

Where else have you lived?
We both met at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, East Tennessee. Sarah had obtained academic scholarship and an athletic scholarship to join the ladies Golf program and Rob had made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean from Scotland on a Soccer scholarship to attend graduate school. On graduation in 2007 from the MBA program Rob moved to Knoxville, TN to start his career in medical device sales. We then made the jump to Milwaukee WI in 2009 after Sarah finished graduate school for her MLS at IUPUI in Indianapolis. For a brief spell we moved back to Knoxville, TN from 2011-1012 as Rob was promoted and had to be closer to the corporate office.     

Why did you choose to Live Better in Wells County?
Our main reason to move back to Wells County was to be close to Sarah’s parents and sister, Jen’s, family and start a family of our own with that support and in a place we both felt it was the best place to raise children. Indiana is a state with great values and is well known for career opportunity and when Sarah had the opportunity to join as head of the teen department at Wells County Public Library it was perfect timing for the next phase of our life’s together. We knew it was the right move. Rob was able to work remotely being in a sales based career.

How has your opinion of Wells County changed since moving here?
In 2012, Wells County was a very different place to today. A “sleepy agriculture” town with very few updated or new amenities but we knew we were close to family and the people in Wells County are very welcoming, serving and inclusive. Many young people who had left Wells County to find their career path are returning due to its high standard of living for reasonable cost. Over the past nine years of living here, we have witnessed Wells County growing significantly in quality-of-life offerings with a future bold vision ahead for more investment and growth in our economy in next nine years. The changes have been impressive and we have done what we can to support these pragmatic and important improvements, including:

  • A quality summer concert series at Kehoe Park
  • An art and farmer’s market in the new plaza downtown
  • Openings of unique boutiques, stores and cafes have seen success for the local economy
  • A new hometown brewery with ambitious owners
  • A growing performing and visual arts council offering diverse programs to all ages
  • Focus on continually improving our parks and trail systems for health and wellness for all
  • Investment in a new YMCA that does important charitable philanthropic work in our community as well as adding to wellness and offering education to all families  
  • A world class Library that all of Wells County is incredibly proud of. They had a recent very impressive update which helps attract people and families of all ages to the county.
  • Ouabache State Park is right on our doorstep. We love to visit there all year round!
  • A desire to create a beautiful and functional community with murals and street-scaping
  • Non-profit groups focused on helping those in our community as well as faith-based organizations linked to our diverse church community.
  • A concerted effort to reach out to our youth and realize that Wells County belongs to them just as much as the older generations.   

Tell us about your community/neighborhood. What do you like best? What makes it different?
We live on the north side of Bluffton in a neighborhood called The Woodlands. It is a great location and very safe place that is growing with new home builds. We are active in getting to know our neighbors and often see the local children playing, families walking, exercising & cycling. We have ambitions for block parties as we love to entertain and it so encouraging to see many new couples and families moving into the neighborhood with their own unique stories.

What is your passion, and how does Wells County help fulfill it?
With Sarah being employed at the Wells County Public Library we have a passion for early literacy with our children, reading, and education access for all people and community building. We have been very impressed with Bluffton Harrison School district and the preschool access for our children in the county. The new renovation and update at the Library has given Wells County a facility that is sure to “wow” any families that would be interested in moving and adding to Well’s counties vibrant and growing community. We also love outdoor activities. Rob being from Scotland and Sarah having being a collegiate golfer they can often be seen on the golf courses in Wells County and local geography of NE Indiana. There are several affordable courses. If you love to boat, fish and enjoy camping, Ouabache State park offers this all, but also Wells County is not far from fresh water lake systems throughout Northern Indiana, including many of the state’s parks to enjoy camping, biking and hiking trails. The Wabash river also adds to the counties pretty features.

Where do you go and what do you do in your free time?
We love to be with our family and friends. We are a very social family. Our Church family at Hope Missionary has fantastic programming and leadership allowing us to continue to make our faith and its growth an important part of our lives. The children and student ministry and their programming is exceptional and the pastoral team lead and encourage us to engage our community in so many ways. We also love to eat as a family. Well’s County is improving. We believe it is still an area where enhancement is needed. However the local coffee shops, the new Parlor City brewery and our Bluffton family favorites like Grand Sweet Shop, El Camino Real and Crimson House in Ossian are hangouts and local eateries we enjoy frequenting. They are all owned by families who live and are so warm and welcoming in our community.  We also love to take our kids swimming at the YMCA and we are state park and lake life junkies.

What advice would you give someone who is considering moving here?
Get involved and find out what is available that you would enjoy. Walk the neighborhoods and visit the downtown businesses and new plaza. Visit the Ouabache State Park and amazing facilities like the public library. Find an organization you have a passion for and visit our small businesses. They are thriving even after a very hard pandemic 2020. You will see that Bluffton is a very special place. 

Tell us about the work environment here.
A lot of our businesses in Wells County are locally owned family businesses, which create a warm inviting atmosphere within the business. I think it is this atmosphere that makes our Shop Local initiatives so popular. People want to support business that are owned and operated by customer centered individuals who are their neighbors and become their friends. We have a lot of people that work from home remotely or make the short journey to the city of Fort Wayne or to some of the larger towns in the adjacent counties. Country living in a smaller community is so rewarding especially for people who are raising children and see the benefits of knowing your neighbors and playing an active role in local organizations and areas like church life where there is so much support. Overall wellness and health is greater and you’ll see there are more things to do than many would think!

What is your favorite outside activity, and where is your favorite place to do it?
Camping, trail walking, golf and getting out on the lake. We also love as a family eating outside in the 8 months of warm weather we get annually. We love to grill and entertain on our patio. Our children can play and grow with their friends in a very safe environment. At Halloween and in the late fall there is all kinds of programming by the parks department and our economic organizations. Every season Wells County tries to be creative and inspire the people who live within it.

What is your favorite festival/event?
The Bluffton Street Fair in early September is really unique. People from all over the Midwest visit us for this special week. It is a fair that many counties and towns don’t do anymore but Bluffton has done a fantastic job in keeping it alive and expanding its footprint especially the many cuisine concession stands and the great evening live concert events. Some of the parades have thousands of people participating in them and the kids always love the fun fair rides. The summer concert series is also extremely popular. Local live music acts, tribute and cover bands who entertain our community. ‘Brrrr Fest’ our annual craft beer and local wine event is also growing every year. It is great to see the great people of Wells County enjoy each other’s company.

How do you interact with your community?
We get involved. If we see a need and we believe we are called to support that, we try to be bold and engage in it. It is not easy as we have a young family and we have to prioritize but it is important so you can make lifelong friends, help support your children and family’s development and wellbeing and most importantly build fantastic memories. Of course, we enjoy traveling all over the country and going to see Rob’s family and friends in Europe but when we come back to Well’s county we want to ensure we feel like this is home. We live here so we want to be an active part in Well’s Counties success for the future.