From a Presidential Campaign to the Valley’s Bike Lanes
After a career as a web developer in Chicago, Aaron Salmon and his wife decided to shift gears and return to his hometown.
Wife, Laura Lash; two kids, Aleister (6) and Hugo (1); and Chai (12), the Australian cattle dog
Third Ward, Eau Claire
Aaron Salmon’s life took a boomerang path away from the Chippewa Valley and back again. He grew up just south of Eau Claire (between Brackett and Cleghorn) and graduated from Memorial High School in 1993. In 1999 he moved to Chicago to pursue a career in Web design and development, and it was there he me his wife, Laura Lash. “I was heavily involved in the local tech and startup scene, and lucky to collaborate with absolutely amazing and inspiring people,” he says.
Among other things, Aaron worked for a year and a half on the technology team for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. “That experience changed my trajectory, focusing it on community building and working with neighbors and friends on local projects and trying to make positive change in the world,” he says.
After the birth of their first child, Aleister, the young family decided to pursue a change of pace and moved to Eau Claire in 2014. “We’re having a blast with our community endeavors,” Aaron says. For him, that includes chairing the city’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee. “I fell in love with biking everywhere in Chicago, and I don’t think you can ride a bike in any city without getting interested in social justice issues,” he adds. His latest venture, a new downtown business, SHIFT Cyclery & Coffee Bar, is slated to open this spring.
We love the Chippewa Valley because of how accessible the community is. If you want to make a difference, you can do it here. We were drawn here by the revitalized downtown, public Montessori school, natural beauty, and miles and miles of bike trails (and the Joynt).
I couldn’t live without my bike. A human riding a bicycle is more energy-efficient than any other animal and any other form of transportation. How magical is that? We are so lucky!
I make sure to never miss the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series. I’m usually there working the Free Bike Valet. A perfect summer night.
My favorite place to take the kids is Rod & Gun Park. What a gem. Woods, ponds, waterfalls, playground, and shoreline all at once.
My family has taught me ... My parents taught me to not take things too seriously, to enjoy this short time that we’re here, and to periodically check in with my own needs to investigate what I want out of life next. Being a partner has taught me to be supportive in ways that might not occur to me, because I have different needs than my partner. Being a parent has taught me to surrender to the moment, to be patient, and that everyone is just doing the best they can.
I never leave the house without ... I feel like it’s hard to not answer “PHONE” here. But, my phone.
Our typical weekend is all about drinking coffee, the family getting out in nature together, and tag-teaming responsibilities with my wife, Laura, so we each get some alone time to recharge. One realization we had recently was that it’s too easy to over-plan the weekends, so we try keeping one day free of pre-planned activities so we have space for serendipitous adventure or true downtime. It’s been awesome.
In the spring, you’ll find us out canoeing in Putnam Park before the mosquitoes arrive.
When the kids are with a sitter, we love to grab a nice meal or drinks and enjoy the valuable time alone together.
My spouse would say my super power is having the universe align to deliver a magical solution to something that I may have been procrastinating on.
My kids will tell you that their dad is really good at Minecraft.
If I could pass on one bit of advice it would be stress is often the resistance to what’s actually happening.