Nathaniel Herz is a web developer working remotely for the Yonkers, New York, based nonprofit Consumer Reports, as a part of the consumer products team. Consumer Reports is a nationally recognized consumer advocacy nonprofit that has been around since 1936 and Herz focuses on reviews of home and technological products. While originally Consumer Reports was a print magazine, the expansion of the internet has given rise to an online format. Herz work is redefining the translation of a physical magazine to an online experience. He creates an accessible and helpful experience for the web user across America from a place like no other, Peoria, IL.
Herz began his technology career in New York at a startup at Columbia University in the early 2000s. Around that time was when Peoria popped on his radar. A friend was getting married here and Herz was invited to the backyard celebration. The quality and quantity of the real estate in the area astonished him. He says the real estate market in New York was and is depressing, to say the least. However, at this time, his work situation made moving across the country a major professional risk.
As time passed, Herz began to feel that the quality of life balance was tipping in Peoria’s favor. Herz’s commute to work varied between 45 minutes to an hour. As he began to start a family, the back and forth between school, doctor’s visits, and work caused a hectic lifestyle. Herz owned his own property, but with growing children, it wouldn’t be large enough for long. It was at that point, seven years ago, that Herz and his family moved to Peoria.
“At a certain point, I was saying to friends that it felt like I was paying the Netflix tax for living in New York. It wasn’t like my life was all that exciting. I’m working a job, I’m raising kids, and when I get a little free time, I’ll relax and watch T.V… I’m not taking advantage of all those things New York has to offer.”– Nathaniel Herz on relocating from New York
He had already moved when he got the job at Consumer Reports. Without the ability to work remotely, the job wouldn’t have been an option for Herz. Peoria offers many amenities to the remote worker that help make it an ideal place to live. Altogether, the lifestyle that Peoria offers is easier. Running errands or taking children to the doctor is simple, according to Herz. He says that there’s less friction in these important aspects of life.
Since his move to the area, Herz has become an avid mountain biker. He says that the area is well suited for the growing community. There are certain spots open to improvement but overall, Herz has found many different places to practice his sport. A hidden gem, he says, is the trail system that Wildlife Prairie Park offers. Most people are aware of the east side, with the rehabilitated animals. But, if one goes on the other side of the park, Herz describes the bountiful trails that make the place an oasis of natural beauty.
Peoria is home to an underlying vitality, according to Herz. Areas like the Warehouse District are growing and are ready for an explosion of growth. But, in the meantime, Herz can appreciate what Peoria has been doing to encourage said vitality. Coworking spaces, like The Nest, enhance the area. The Uplands Neighborhood is bursting with community and historic homes. Overall, Herz has found Peoria to be an ideal and pleasant place to meet his needs as a remote worker and lover of the trails.