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Working from Home Can Mean a Better Family / Work Balance



jason reese
Jason Reese’s current workspace set up.

Photos by George Hunter

In mid-March 2020, millions of workers were driven out of the office with no definite return date when the COVID-19 pandemic completely disrupted everyone in the United States’ livelihoods, plans and vocations. Peachtree Corners was no exception, and thousands of residents were forced to improvise creating a work-friendly space inside of their homes.

After over a year of commute-free and remote jobs, the pandemic has completely deconstructed how humans relate and view their space — showing that careers are more transient than we ever thought. Even though nearly 47% of the U.S. population is vaccinated and life is slowly coming back to a sort of normal, home office spaces may be here to stay.

A head start

Jason Reese, an IT Systems Architect for NVIDIA, a multinational technology company, had a head start on remote working in 2016.

Reese’s Movie / TV Room space

“After over 10 years where I did a lengthy daily commute driving to midtown Atlanta, in 2014 I got the opportunity to work for a company on the West Coast and split my time working between there and home in Atlanta,” Reese said. “Even then, most of the meetings I was in were video calls with teams dispersed across different states and countries. In 2016, it worked out to where I went full-time remote and only needing to travel one week a month to be ‘in office’.”

Reese’s workout space

Reese’s home office space evolved from just a laptop on his kitchen table, to a makeshift desk in the living room, (“that was a real eye-sore whenever we had company,” Reese joked) to, finally, converting his bonus room into the ideal working space. Opting for an electric standing desk, over the usual large office desk, allowed Reese to alternate sitting and standing throughout the workday.

“I put a privacy divider up behind my workspace, primarily for video calls,” Reese said, “so co-workers don’t see anything but my professional space.” The privacy dividers also keep the rest of the bonus room off the call which includes “a TV room with surround sound and synced hued lighting and a home gym.”

Space to concentrate

Cliff Bramble, a self-employed restaurant and real estate investor also found himself having to convert to working remotely March of 2020. Amid the pandemic, Bramble started a full-time restaurant consulting company called Hungry Hospitality.

Cliff Bramble’s office space and podcast area.

“I have a consulting company that works with start-up businesses and restaurants in helping them in any business aspect on the business side,” Bramble said of his company. The company has also published books on the subject and will be launching a new product in August.

Like Reese, Bramble’s new workspace is in his basement, but it is minimal to say the least: only sixty square feet with no windows. But this isn’t at all bad — Bramble wrote two books in that tiny office.

Bramble’s office space and podcast area.

“Being in a small space along with no windows has allowed me to focus on getting more done. It allows me to write my book in a non-disturbing space,” Bramble says of his workspace.

Reese has found a similar sense of productivity and peace in his home office workspace rather than the typical 9 to 5 office.

“In an office, especially the ever-present ‘open office layouts’, there were constant distractions. I’d try to work on something needing focus and get interrupted by chit-chat or conversations two feet away.

That’s not counting needing to find conference rooms, [getting] to them, often in different floors or buildings, just to have a meeting.”

Less commute, more productivity

Reese believes that while undoubtedly there is value in meeting and interacting with someone in person, “the minutes and hours gained by removing long commutes have added more productive time.

Most of the work I am doing is behind a computer screen. If I can block distractions, I can focus on work for a few hours and complete more in less time it would take in an office.” Though remote working or learning may not be the best fit for everyone, it has given Reese more balance in his life.

“Before I worked from home, I’d spend one to two hours, [each way] commuting. I’d stay at an office until 6 or 7 trying to avoid even more traffic, then get home and be too tired or stressed to do anything besides eating and sleep,” he said. “Weekends were spent running errands with maybe a dinner out thrown in.”

This way of life pre-pandemic was monotonous and prevented many from seeing their families and being able to do anything outside of the necessities. One of the very few benefits of the pandemic was that it gave us time to spend doing things we never would have done because of our busy schedules.

This allowed Reese to go get lunch out with his wife occasionally, and during his West Coast worker’s lunch breaks, allowed him the chance to walk his dog in the neighborhood or run errands — do things for himself.

Bramble agreed with Reese, drive-free work environments are a plus. Working at home has also allowed Bramble to be within arm’s reach of his children, “I have never had that luxury in my prior businesses.”

Home office challenges

Suffice to say, remote working does not come without its challenges. “The biggest challenge when I started working from home was worrying that I wasn’t doing enough,” Reese said. “Your first impulse is since your boss or coworkers can’t see all the work you’re doing, [so] you should just do more. Be available all the time. Show that you’re up and online at 7 a.m. sharp. Skip stepping away from your desk or computer to take breaks or even eat meals.”

Reese quickly realized that this work ethic based on fear of his coworkers, his boss wasn’t sustainable. You can burn out quickly trying to be available for ‘every meeting,’ ‘lead every project,’ just to show how hardworking you are while working at home. Instead, Reese suggests that you set boundaries to prevent burnout and cultivate maximum productivity.

“For me, setting up a dedicated desk and the work area was crucial. Each morning, the routine is to take out and feed the dog, make coffee, go upstairs to get ready and all work is done in the home office. When I’m not in that space, I’m spending time with my wife or trying to fit in a quick workout,” Reese said.

“Even though the room may be used for other things, it is set up with clear separation. The workspace and home office are defined, so all meetings and all focused work are done every day. That’s helped the most with my routine.”

Another unexpected challenge for Bramble was the lack of community and meeting people in his business. “I have always been around hundreds of people and talking to them and getting to know them in restaurants. Fortunately, I have a lot of friends around [Peachtree Corners] and we still get together and share good laughs,” Bramble said.

Better balance

According to Bramble and Reese, with remote working, balancing family life with professional life is easier than it’s ever been. “Working at home saves you time and allows you to get a lot of work done. Plus being self-motivated helps, too,” Bramble explained.

Humans cannot take all the credit though; Reese said his workspace would not be complete without his dog, Sasha. “She holds it all together each day as de-stressor and overall chief happiness officer at home.”

“It’s hard to have a bad day with a dog who likes to lay next to your desk while you work,” Reese continued, “and is equally adept at pawing at you to take a break, go for a walk or just go out for a bit to step away and enjoy a moment sitting in the sun between all those pesky meetings.”

As of 2021, society is still learning that we do not have to “go into the office” to be successful. For Bramble, his small 60-square-foot basement office was ideal enough for him to write two books, record podcasts and audio business classes, as well as launch his $12 million company.

“It is not the size of the office but the amount of creativity and work that gets done in the office,” Bramble explained. “With the connection to the internet, I can launch an entire media company in my office.”

Elizabeth Sigmon is a junior Creative Writing Major and Music Minor at Young Harris College. She graduated from Norcross High School in 2018, and has lived in Peachtree Corners her entire life. After college she plans to pursue higher education along with her writing. Aside from writing, Elizabeth has been singing and performing as long as she can remember and music will always hold a special place in her heart. You can follow her on Instagram @_efsigmon to follow her on her adventures and life updates!

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City of Peachtree Corners Unveils Space-Inspired Tot Lot Playground



Last November, the city began constructing a new tot lot playground for children under six years old that is themed around space exploration. 
Photos by Dorie Liu

On Friday, May 10, 2024, the City of Peachtree Corners held a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony of its new space-themed Tot Lot Playground on Town Green.

Last November, the city began constructing a new tot lot playground for children under six years old that is themed around space exploration.  This new play area includes a rocket ship, a moon rover, a crashed UFO and other fun designs. It was also created to be fully accessible, ensuring all children can enjoy it.

During the ribbon-cutting, children and their guardians enjoyed fun activities, including an ice cream truck, bubble lady, balloon animals, face painting and even a visit from Buzz Lightyear.

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Peachtree Corners Councilman’s Journey to Opening a Dog Park Haven



Peachtree Corners Dog Park by Louis Svehla

When Peachtree Corners City Councilman Alex Wright last had a dog, he was only a kid.

Young Alex was devastated when he died and did not want to get another dog because he did not want to endure that trauma again. 

As a result, his family has never had a dog, and even though the two youngest of his four children badgered him and his wife endlessly, they always said no. 

Then COVID-19 hit. The Wrights’ youngest son, Michael, was committed to convincing his parents to get a dog. He even did a PowerPoint presentation (with music) explaining why he absolutely needed a dog. 

Michael and Murphy courtesy of Councilman Wright

“I guess it was from being cooped up during Covid that my wife suggested maybe we should give in. Next thing I know we tell the kids we are going to get a dog,” Councilman Wright wrote in an email.

So, in June 2021, they got their first dog, Murphy, an Australian Labradoodle. 

“All of a sudden, we discover this whole dog subculture that we had not really paid attention to before.  All the things dogs liked to do, all the stuff you could buy them, all the people we met through walking the dog,” he explained. 

In February, Wright and his wife were at Avalon returning a purchase when they came upon a modest-sized dog park. Wright’s wife suggested having something like that at Town Green would be great. 

Dog Park Ribbon Cutting photos by George Hunter

“Later that day, I texted the City Manager [Brian Johnson] about the idea, and he really liked it.  At the time, the playground (the one that opened in August 2022) was under construction, and we were already discussing other ideas to create activation at the Town Center, so this fit right into that plan,” said Wright.

The assistant City Manager, Seth Yurman, was tasked with the nuts and bolts and worked with a contractor on location and design. 

“Can’t say enough about what a great job Seth did. We have definitely had some supply chain delays, which resulted in an opening maybe 9 to 12 months later than originally hoped for, but it is finally open,” he added.

Dog Park Ribbon Cutting photos by George Hunter

A couple more things are still left to do for the project, including installing a large sail cover over the stone entrance area. Construction of the Bone Bar is also on the agenda. This small bar will serve adult and non-adult beverages and likely…you guessed it? Treats for dogs. 

The new dog park is situated behind the CineBistro building near the Town Green. The Peachtree Corners Off-Leash Dog Park is approximately 9,000 square feet and is divided into sections for smaller and larger dogs, with natural and artificial turf areas.

Dog Park Ribbon Cutting photos by George Hunter

PTC Dog Park Rules

  • The dog park is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The dog park is CLOSED for maintenance every Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Use of the dog park is at your own risk.  You are responsible for your dog and any injuries or damage caused by your dog.
  • All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • All dogs must wear a collar with a valid license and have current vaccinations required by law.
  • Please call 911 for all emergencies.
  • The small dog area is for dogs 30 pounds and under.  Dogs over 30 pounds must use the large dog area.
  • Dogs must stay on a leash until they are in the fenced-in areas of the dog park and must be off-leash while in the dog park.
  • Professional dog trainers may not use the dog park to conduct business.
  • No person shall bring more than three dogs at one time.
  • Please dispose of your dog’s waste in the receptacles provided. Remind others to do the same.
  • Dogs must always be under the control and supervision of their handler.
  • If your dog becomes aggressive, please leash the dog and exit the park immediately.
  • Gates must be closed after entrance and exit.
  • Dogs under six months old and female dogs in heat are not permitted.
  • Food (human and dog) and glass containers are not permitted, as are smoking, vaping and drug use.
  • Cats and other animals are not permitted.
  • Bikes, scooters, skateboards and motorized equipment are not permitted.
  • Violation of these rules may result in a ban from the dog park.

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Memorial Park Planned to Honor Memory of Late Peachtree Corners First Lady



To honor and remember Debbie Mason, the first and only first lady of Peachtree Corners, who passed away after a long battle with cancer, a memorial park is being built.
Debbie Mason with her Yorkie

To honor and remember Debbie Mason, the first and only first lady of Peachtree Corners, who passed away after a long battle with cancer, a memorial park is being built.

A Peachtree Corners Arts Council subcommittee was formed to plan, develop and execute the park. Debbie Mason Memorial Park committee members include Lynette Howard, Robyn Unger, Bob Ballagh, Dave Huffman, Gay Shook, Sarah Roberts and Pat Bruschini.

“Lynette Howard led us in some brainstorming and creative sessions about what the garden should look like,” said Bruschini. “We had pictures of her backyard. Some of us had been to her backyard. It took a couple of months until we got a handle and feel for what we wanted the garden to be and what we thought [Mason] would want.”

One unique feature will be a Yorkie statue, Mason’s favorite dog, perched on top of a coffee table-like boulder encircled by granite benches. The brochure for the fundraising campaign will feature a photo of Mason and her beloved pet.

After looking at a few possible locations, a tract of land near the city’s botanical garden was chosen.

“The area where the park is going had been semi-developed,” said Buschini. “If you’re standing on the sidewalk with your back to the new dog park or your back to Cinebistro, you’ll see a granite semi-circle wall and steps that come down from Peachtree Corners Circle. We are enhancing that area.”

Debbie Mason Memorial Garden Plan Pikes plan showing Phase 1 and Phase 2

Everyone involved wanted the park to be near Town Center and accessible to everyone. So, an offshoot of the botanical garden, a property owned by the Downtown Development Authority, made the most sense, Bruschini added.

The park will be connected to Town Center with one entrance off Peachtree Corners Circle across from Davini Court.

“We have a complete plot plan designed by a landscape architect from Pike Nursery. Jennifer Freeman, a Duluth mosaic artist, created a mosaic design of the city logo,” said Bruschini.

The Debbie Mason Memorial Garden will be the city’s first park. Although there are other parks within city limits, this is the only one that will be owned and maintained by the city. 

To improve its access, the city is working with the Solis Apartment Complex being built nearby.

The plan is to have an extensive sidewalk connecting to the park. Construction of the park is underway and plant material will go in this fall. There will be a ribbon cutting and dedication shortly after that. 

But for now, the committee wants everyone to know that it’s coming and contributions are welcome. Find the wish list for the Debbie Mason Memorial Garden at the end of this article.

The memorial is fitting because Mason really was Peachtree Corners, said Bruschini.

“She was a volunteer extraordinaire,” she said. I met her on the board of the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association, and she headed up the Peachtree Parkway Improvement Project for six years. That’s where she would contact all the businesses along 141 and ask them to make a contribution so that the median strip could be maintained.”

Mason also co-founded the beloved Peachtree Corners Festival alongside Dave Huffman.

Garden Site Construction

In 2008, there was a tour of homes in Peachtree Corners, and the funds raised went to solar lights to light up the sign going into Peachtree Corners. Mason was front and center with that.  But she always had time for family, Bruschini said.

“Her son Nick was in drama at Norcross High School, and she was very involved in that. And she worked with the taste of Norcross High School going back, I’ll say, 20 years maybe,” she said.

“She and Mike started the Fox Hill Homeowners Association and she worked with the Peachtree Corners Yes campaign and served on the board of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful as well as the City Arts Council and also the first City Green committee. This is fitting because she always wanted to make memories in Peachtree Corners,” she explained.

Garden Sponsorship Items

  • Mosaic Logo – $10,000
  • Mosaic River – (3) $5,000 each
  • Bronze Plaque – $3,000
  • Arbor – (3) $1,000 each
  • Japanese Maple – $800
  • Flowerpots full of color – (3) $500 each
  • Dogwoods (3) $500 each
  • Tea Olives – (6) $400 each
  • Yorkie Dog Statue – $300
  • Azalea/Hydrangeas (40) – $60 each

Garden Sponsorship Levels

  • $1000: Platinum
  • $500: Gold
  • $250: Silver
  • $100: Bronze
  • $50: Friends of the Garden

Ways to Donate
Checks are preferred and are payable to:
Peachtree Corners Arts, Inc. Attn: DMMC
PO Box 922469
Peachtree Corners, GA 30092

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