How long have you been a resident of Grand County, and where do you currently live? Nine years – all in Tabernash.
Current appointed or elected office(s) and length of holding office:
District 1 Commissioner since 30 November 2015
Robin and I have been married for 26 years; together we have three children. Robin’s oldest daughter Tracy lives in Jackson, WY with her husband and their two beautiful children. Stepson Geoff lives in New York and is getting married in June. Our youngest, Tyler, is a student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden and is studying Electrical Engineering. We are incredibly blessed as all children and their families are healthy and happy.
For most of my life I have had management and leadership positions, both in business and now in government. After receiving degrees in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering, I spent 25 years working for Procter & Gamble. During that time I worked in manufacturing and engineering, and also obtained my Master’s in Environmental Engineering. My last assignment was managing the safety of 10,000 people, fire and capital equipment protection for $6 billion of manufacturing equipment, and environmental compliance for 16 sites in 9 countries. After moving to Grand County, I worked at the Grand County Water Information Network for seven years, mostly as Executive Director. During that time I made GCWIN a stronger non-profit by creating a water quality database for all of Grand
County, developing a watershed science education program for Grand County students, increasing the water monitoring programs through grants and in-kind donations, and improving communications.
Why do you want to be a commissioner?
The commissioner job is a leadership position and I like to lead. I enjoy the variety of problems that need solving, the creative people here in the county to work with, and the fun of looking ahead to create a better Grand County for all of us.
What qualities do you possess that make you a good candidate for commissioner?
First, I have been in the job for six months now and it has been an exciting learning curve because I came in during a time with many opportunities. You learn a lot by doing. Merrit, Kris and I are developing a good leadership team. Second, as a leader, I am already working hard on many of the issues that face us now. We are strengthening working relationships within the County which will be critical as we vision and plan for the future. Finally, I like the job and the people. You want a leader who is a positive force and who believes in their people and in the future.
In your opinion, what are the top challenges facing Grand County today? How would you address those challenges?
Budget is a big challenge, but we have made much progress in six months. We have a strategy to balance the budget and have solutions already so we can meet our first goal for 2017. The next challenge is figuring out how we can help Grand County attract the businesses that are right for our community. Once we
attract those businesses, how can we provide for those new people? Many people today cannot find affordable housing – it is an issue in many resort communities. Towns and businesses are implementing solutions now – how can we help them multiply their efforts? Another issue is transportation. Thanks to Winter Park and Fraser, we have a model in the County that works. We need to figure out how we can multiply that accomplishment to the rest of the County. Last, many are having issues with affordable health care. This is a tough one to work on at the County level, but there may be some solutions out there if we can get our entire health care community thinking outside of the traditional model of health care provision.
What steps would you take to help Grand County move toward economic stability?
1. Balance the budget, both expense and capital.
2. Ensure we maintain a healthy General Fund by completing budget balancing within the next 1-2 years.
3. Create a better economic vision for Grand County. We have to plan for businesses, and plan the community we want to create.
There are a number of mandated programs that must be administered. What priorities would you have for discretionary spending?
People, water, and economic development. There are groups of people who need additional services, such as Veterans and elderly. Next we have to champion our water rights so we get what we negotiated. The Windy Gap Bypass needs funding, and we need to continue our resources can work on that. Finally, we do need to keep focusing on economic development. This is an investment in our future, and we cannot just assume it will happen. It is an investment in our community.
Grand County has several distinct communities. How do you plan to help communities maintain their identities and yet work together on issues of countywide interest?
I worry less about the communities maintaining their identities and more about keeping everyone talking, especially as many issues tend to seriously divide people. What we can do, especially as commissioners, is to encourage more communication and help people find the common ground that will bring us together. If we can focus on our values, often we are closer on issues than we think, especially if we listen more to each other.
What promises do you have for your constituents if you are elected?
I will be honest and continue to make the tough decisions. I will look ahead to the future and listen to your concerns about it. I will be a good steward of our environment and continue to work to make Grand County a place we are even more proud of.