Joey and Ashleigh Bryan Photo

Joey and Ashleigh Bryan

Joey and Ashleigh Bryan moved to Yankton, South Dakota from North Carolina in 2017 in order to further Ashleigh’s career working for the manufacturing company - Parker Hannifin. With Ashleigh never having lived outside of North Carolina, the decision to move was one the Bryan’s carefully evaluated. After visiting and falling in love with the beautiful natural landscape and charming community, the Bryan’s were confident they would enjoy living and advancing their careers in Yankton. 

Ashleigh works in quality for Parker Hannifin so there were clear career opportunities available to her by making the move. Still, when asked about career advancement, the Bryan’s had a unique perspective. “We view “Career” through the holistic lens of life - not just your job, but your personal and social wellbeing. In that sense, being located in Yankton has been unimaginably great. Both Ashleigh and myself are respected members of growing companies, who value our thoughts and actions. In addition, we get to eat lunch together every single day at the house (because zero traffic), which is worth more than money can buy,” said Joey.

Even before realizing these benefits firsthand, Joey Bryan was excited about the opportunity to move, and because he works remotely for a national firm, he was able to do so. “Originally growing up in Stone Mountain, GA outside of Atlanta, I quickly came to despise traffic. I had never had the opportunity to move to a town the size of Yankton. About ten years ago, I went on a 6 month long road trip around America and my favorite place in the USA was camping in the badlands with no tent. The stars changed my life and any opportunity to get closer to that location excited me,” he said. 

The Bryan’s were attracted to the area’s natural beauty but it was Rita Nelson, YAPG’s Workforce Development Coordinator, who first got them thinking about a move to Yankton. “Rita originally came down to North Carolina and caught the attention of my wife. They discussed living in Yankton and the community. Once we decided that we were interested, we took a flight to visit South Dakota to what the entire state had to offer.  We experienced Deadwood, majestic buffalo, and National Parks with essentially no traffic congestion. We had great conversations with locals everywhere. I spent a day or so driving around and it felt like a great place to start and raise a family. After Doug Walsh, Ashleigh's manager at Parker gave us a tour of the river, the lakes, the campgrounds, and the nature everyone in this city has at their fingertips; we were sold,” said Joey.

Now that they have lived in Yankton for 2.5 years, we wanted to know what they like the most about living in the area. 

“We enjoy the four seasons, since there are limited seasons where we are from in the south. After living in the Atlanta heat, where it is 100 degrees on one big  parking lot for 6 months a year, I would much rather take the four seasons and steady breeze coming off the Missouri river than sweat in the south. My wife and I also enjoy living in Yankton’s Historic District and giving this area of town the love and attention it deserves. The house we bought and renovated was built by William S. Stockwell who owned the cigar rolling factory in town in the late 1800s. If anyone has not read Yankton: A Pioneers Past by Karolevitz, I highly recommend they do as it highlights what makes Yankton charming - it’s history. 

As for leisure, I find walking the Auld-Brokaw trail to be such a delight. One of our favorite activities is to walk to Riverside Park with the dog and a book and enjoy the views. In addition, we are ten minutes away from a beach at Lewis and Clark Lake, which is where we try to spend a lot of time in the warmer months.”

The Bryan’s are also heavily involved in the community.  “The old adage: a church isn't the steeple, it is the people. We believe the citizens of Yankton make this city come alive and thrive. Ashleigh and I have been so blessed in meeting so many wonderful and talented people here. They inspire us to get involved and do good for the community in our daily lives. We are both involved with the United Way, where Ashleigh has been a community campaign coordinator for the last 2 years. I enjoy keeping busy as a “Big Friend” in the “Big Friend, Little Friend” program, drive for Meals on Wheels and sit on the Gregorian Board at Mount Marty College.. Driving for Meals on Wheels is just a great service for the community, in not only delivering a hot meal to home-bound seniors, but having a warm conversation with those that need it. Every delivery reminds me of my grandparents, who enriched  me with so much love that I enjoy giving back, and because of things like not sitting in traffic, I have time to do so,” said Joey.

Time is something that many of us take for granted. It can easily be taken away by things like sitting for hours in traffic or dealing with bureaucracy. That’s not the case in Yankton. As the Bryan’s have discovered, they were able to free up more of their time by moving, which means that they have more time together during the week, more time to volunteer, time to enjoy nature, and time to travel - a passion of theirs. In a sense, moving to Yankton has opened up a world of opportunities and possibilities.

Discover Life in Yankton

The Bryan’s took a chance moving from the South to Yankton. Having never lived in the Midwest, they were open to trying something new and the experience has been incredibly rewarding. From the ability to eat lunch together every day to never sitting in traffic, to living a quality life that is truly enjoyable - they have found their home and their community in Yankton. We invite you to join them in discovering all that Yankton has to offer. 

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