Remote Working in Buena Vista- Part 1

by on April 10, 2012 » Add more comments.

Phillip Puckett and his family live in a beautiful rowhouse on South Main Street. Phillip works from his home office as a Program Manager for IBM and was recently elected to Buena Vista’s Board of Trustees. Comment below to join us in exploring how remote working can bring jobs and professionals to a small town like Buena Vista.

Just over two years ago my wife and I decided to make a significant life change when we left our comfortable and familiar life in suburbia Texas and moved to the unknown land of small town Colorado.  Both of us were born into suburbia and had lived that way all of our lives.  After we had our first child we quickly realized we yearned for a change.  Our lives had become sedentary.  We were largely bound to the air conditioned indoors or extended time in the car to go shopping, visit friends & family, eat out, grocery shopping, to work, and even to exercise.  We knew there had to be a different way to live.  We wanted our kids to have different experience.  We needed change.

Our journey began about five years ago when, on our annual summer trip to Colorado, we stumbled upon the town of Buena Vista, CO and the South Main development.  Nestled right on the edge of the Arkansas River at the end of Main Street, this little development was different.  Though at the time there was little infrastructure and only a few houses we were drawn to the classic architecture and proximity to… everything.  The river park, mountains, parks, schools, art shops, coffee shops, library, post office, grocery store, sports and outdoor shops, restaurants, climbing, hike and bike trails, church, and a brew pub – all of this was right outside your front door within walking and biking distance.  Though this was so different than anything we had experienced, we knew this was the change we needed.

Then reality kicked in, hard.  Besides the lifestyle change, a major question was how to make a living in a small town.  My skills as an IT professional did not translate to many employment opportunities in Buena Vista.  At the time (2007) I had just started working primarily out of my home office – a very common trend for IT workers that started a decade ago.  My employer, IBM, had started a global movement to align teams according to business function rather than physical location.  I no longer worked with the person in the next office.  Instead I was working with people in many other cities around the world.  Over the next three years I discovered ways to excel as a remote worker and practiced working during trips to Buena Vista.  This would open the door to our permanent move.

Through a series of short blog entries I want to share my experience as a remote worker and how we have used it to change our lives.  My goal is to encourage people to leverage technology and this new global workplace to explore new possibilities in their living situation.  I also want to explore and discover ways to attract this growing mobile workforce to the town of Buena Vista.  When I look out at the beautiful Sawatch mountain range with the roar of the river mixed with sounds from people walking by and playing at the park I am in awe at this new life.  Surely there are others out there open to a similar lifestyle change!

Related posts:

  1. Remote Working in Buena Vista- Part 2
  2. jalaBlu Is Putting Buena Vista on the Yoga Map!
  3. New Map of Buena Vista Disc Golf Course

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April 10, 2012
11:45 am

Phillip, you’re family has made the move that I’d like my family to make. I’m looking forward to reading more about your experience!

Kim Luedke
April 10, 2012
11:48 am

We are planning to do the same thing. My husband can work from home, and I’ve been running a marketing/business services business from home for nearly 7 years. Why not do it in the place you love the most?

April 10, 2012
6:44 pm

We’ve been thinking about a similar move, and we love BV. Right now, I am telecommuting from Evergreen, CO. What’s holding us back from moving to someplace even further away from the city is the possibility that I could lose my job. It’s not imminent, but, in this economy, you never know. I think it would be harder to find a new job as a telecommuter – it seems easier to make the transition once an employer knows you and trusts you. Right now, I’m comfortable knowing that if I lost my job, I could commute into Denver. If telecommuting opportunities are more plentiful someday, maybe we can make the move to BV?

April 10, 2012
6:46 pm

Bryan and Kim – I’m thrilled to see your interest, thanks for commenting! I will be sharing more about my specific situation such as best practices, challenges, etc. Also I’ve done some more general research about other small towns that are proactively trying to attract remote “knowledge” workers that I will share. I will tell you that Buena Vista is an amazing place to live and we are loving it. I also have been successful working from here and have found a good balance between my office job and outdoor activity. Go for it! I’d be happy to discuss/answer more questions that I don’t address on the blog –

April 10, 2012
11:47 pm

Hi Laura – you bring up a valid point (chance of loosing job), one which I also took into account. For the record I am a risk averse person so I do take this very seriously. Like you said, I also recommend that anyone considering a move like this should weigh their current employment status – trust, support, tenure, etc. Personally I made my manager aware of our intention to move to BV. I spent a few years building up trust and felt I had the support from the company. Obviously many variables play into the decision but ultimately we felt the reward of living in a place we loved (as Kim put it) outweighed the risk. If you do have the support from your employer and you work in an industry that leverages remote workers then I encourage people to go for it!

April 11, 2012
1:14 pm

Phillip, thanks for the additional information and email address. As a side note, we’ve booked a rental in South Main for a few days this summer, so that we can get just a taste of what it might be like as a resident.

Mark O'Connor
April 11, 2012
2:00 pm

Phillip, congrats on a successful transition! My wife and I recently moved to nearby Salida from Chicago, where I had lived my whole life. We love it here!! I work as a Certified Financial Planner for a local firm and my wife telecommutes for a customized software firm back in the Chicago area. While we have only been here since January we wonder what we were waiting for. So for those pondering the move-sometimes it’s a leap of faith. You have to embrace the opportunity to live somewher like here and trust it works out.

Brian Krahmer
April 11, 2012
11:24 pm

I’m a software engineer, and moved to BV nearly 3 years ago, working as a telecommuter. That job went sour unfortunately, and now I telecommute 2 days a week and work in lodo Denver 3 days a week. I did find it much harder to find a telecommute job. I will look forward to the time when I can spend all of my time in BV…

April 12, 2012
8:49 am

Bryan – glad you are staying in South Main this summer. That is exactly what we did to get a feel for the area. Let me know when you will be here, would be great to meet.

April 12, 2012
9:13 am

Mark – thanks and congrats to you for the recent move to Salida! That is encouraging to hear that you landed a job in Salida plus your wife telecommutes. I’d love to hear how she doing and what if any challenges she has faced. You captured the idea very well – like most anything in life it is a leap of faith. For us this move has opened up so many new experiences that have enriched our lives. Like you said, embrace the opportunity!

April 12, 2012
9:20 am

Hi Brian – it has been great getting to know your family this year and it is fun to watch our daughters play. That is good that you were able to find work in Denver but understand the desire to get back to BV full time. We should talk soon and look at opportunities within IBM if you are interested.

May 2, 2012
10:08 am


Thanks so much for this article series, and the conversation(s) it has started. Jed and I talk a lot about what actually shifts the culture of a place… I think conversations like this are where it can start. And it is inspiring to hear the dialogue of choosing to live where you love.

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