Change is good. Just take it from William Gordon, an expert in industrial design whose career has included stints at Kohler, SC Johnson, and his own consultancy in New York City.

In 2015, William was lured to California from Chicago. CamelBak in Petaluma was the impetus behind this westward migration, specifically William’s position there as Industrial Design Director in which he leads a team responsible for designing and developing CamelBak products.


First-time California residents, the Gordon family have settled in nicely to West coast life, and especially appreciate the conveniences of living and working in the same town.

One example: In Chicago, William’s commute took an hour and a half. Now he bikes to work and it takes 15 minutes. That’s definitely a change for the better.

William and his wife enjoy the interesting mix of people in Sonoma County, from farmer to hippie to young professional. Having lived in urban environments with all walks of life in their past, they prefer an eclectic community and Petaluma delivers.

Then there’s the scenery.

“Within a short drive, you’re in an epic landscape with farmland, the coast, hiking trails,” says William with some awe. “People come to the Sonoma County from all over the world to spend their vacation; I’m lucky enough to live here.”


William’s team at CamelBak includes many 20-somethings. He was surprised to learn that most of them have chosen to live in Petaluma. Now that he knows the town better, he understands why.

“There’s a whole scene here for people in their 20s and 30s,” he says. “It’s laid back and accommodating, and this group of young people don’t seem to miss the City at all.


The Gordon family partakes in the farm-to-table local bounty so readily available in this neck of the woods–or, as William puts it, “We have become egg snobs.”

They enjoy the walkable lifestyle in their southwest Petaluma neighborhood and have connected to a community of professionals and transplants similar to themselves.

In describing his Petaluma experience, William compares it to the familiar child’s tale “Goldilocks.”

“The town is not too urban or sprawling, but also not too small and provincial,” he says. “For the Gordon family, Petaluma feels just right.”