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When Patricia R. Britton accepted the job as general counsel of Porsche Cars North America Inc. a decade ago, one of the advantages was that the offices were in Reno, Nev. — a three-hour drive from family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she grew up. But a year later, Porsche moved its North American headquarters to Atlanta, lured in part by a closer time zone and direct flights to the corporate headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

Britton was a single parent with a 9-year-old daughter and all her relatives on the West Coast. But they made a home in Sandy Springs a few miles from the Porsche offices in a high-rise on Hammond Drive. Her daughter is now in college, and she has adopted a 15-year-old son whom she first met as a foster parent.

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