Living in Custer, working in New York
Published: Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Fiona Willis and Dan Sedlacek have a unique situation. They make their home inâï¿½ï¿½Custer, but both are working in New York.
They wanted to move back to the Black Hills to be closer to Dan’s family, but wanted to keep their great jobs. And they probably wouldn’t be able to live here without those jobs.
Fiona’s parents moved away from Rochester, N.Y., where they were living, which made it a bit easier for them both. But it was still a difficult transition. They’d been visiting Dan’s family in the Black Hills every year and as their children got older they knew they had to make a decision about whether they were going to make the big move.
Dan missed the Hills, so when they decided they would, it was a true homecoming for him. “There’s something about the Hills; it really calls people back and makes them feel like this is where they should be, where their heart should be,” Fiona said.
So they moved here three years ago with their New York jobs intact. Before even considering the move, however, they knew they had to make really good proposals to their respective employers.
Dan works for a payroll company. He returns for a week about once every six weeks to handle things in person. Aside from that, technology has him pretty well covered. “Even five years ago I couldn’t have done my job here,” he says. “But now I have access to everything I could possibly need — cameras on my desk so I can talk to anyone in my office face-to-face and my phone rings here instead of out there.”
Of the almost 4,000 companies for which Dan’s company does payroll, he suspects about 10 of those companies know he lives in Custer instead of New York.
Fiona works for WXXI public broadcasting as a producer for a national medical series that airs on PBS stations all over the country. âï¿½ï¿½She’s been doing it for 12 years and will soon fly “back home” (New York is still “home” for Fiona) to shoot her 11th season of the show.
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