Kooler Lifestyle Podcast 6 – John Norton

00:00:00:14 – 00:00:21:18
Matt Keuhlhorn
Hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Kooler Lifestyle Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Keuhlhorn, and I’m excited to have you join me as I interview community members and business leaders from the communities in which I live, work and serve. Through my business cooler garage doors, we’re going to bring you highlights and characters in our communities. Why? Because community matters.

00:00:21:22 – 00:00:47:02
Matt Keuhlhorn
And I want to know more about who is behind our business and leadership in order to understand and support the community fabric that are relationships to make up. Join me twice a month as we dove into getting to know each other better and collectively we can build stronger communities that support our lifestyles, our youth and our health. Hello, ladies and gentlemen, this is Matt Keuhlhorn, the Kooler Lifestyle Podcast.

00:00:47:02 – 00:01:07:06
Matt Keuhlhorn
Today I have a guest, John Norton, who are very excited to talk with John, came into our valley in the Golden Valley in 1985 to work with CBR. He then went to Aspen in 91, ended up running the ski areas there and returned to our valley in 2002 when our ski area was struggling and he had saved it in a lot of ways.

00:01:07:06 – 00:01:28:08
Matt Keuhlhorn
He ended up selling to the Muellers in 2004, establish a corporate interventionist consulting company, and in late 2015 he was asked to step in as temporary head of the Tourism Association during the reconstruction and the new board asked that he stay on. The rest is more or less history there. John. His wife Robin has been active in the community.

00:01:28:10 – 00:01:51:15
Matt Keuhlhorn
They established the physically challenged ski program. Now the adaptive sports, which I worked with for many, many years, Robin was the first there and Robin was a prime mover in establishing the CCB. Peter John has been very active in partners. They raised three girls here and are still passionate about skiing, whitewater kayaking, fly fishing and mountain biking. John, it’s a pleasure to have you here this morning.

00:01:51:15 – 00:01:53:16
John Norton
It’s good to see you, man. Glad to be here.

00:01:54:07 – 00:01:59:09
Matt Keuhlhorn
Yeah. As in I understand here at your home office, just office Snack Creek Road.

00:01:59:20 – 00:02:01:08
John Norton
That’s right.

00:02:01:08 – 00:02:03:11
Matt Keuhlhorn
I love it. It’s a beautiful spot down there.

00:02:03:18 – 00:02:07:20
John Norton
It’s a beautiful squad. It’s a great house. You helped with it, so thank you.

00:02:08:12 – 00:02:21:11
Matt Keuhlhorn
Yeah, absolutely. And maybe we’ll talk about your garage doors because they are super unique. And that was when I was installing. I got in trouble for like over lubricating the springs and having that drip on a concrete pad.

00:02:22:05 – 00:02:33:08
John Norton
I always say, Hey, it’s a garage. But when people ask to see the house, I always brag on the garage doors most. I just love the garden. Yeah.

00:02:33:15 – 00:02:40:11
Matt Keuhlhorn
The garage. Is it close by? John, where did you grow up and how did this form who you are today?

00:02:41:10 – 00:03:19:06
John Norton
I grew up in the city of Pittsburgh and I am the product of the Catholic school system there. I was taught by nuns and brothers during all my formative years. I grew up in a big Catholic neighborhood. And, you know, I believe behind is there the value of hard work and to the best of my ability. Reflecting on, I try to make moral judgments almost all the time.

00:03:20:00 – 00:03:55:20
John Norton
I’m not always successful, but I try. And, you know, the nuns were tough and the brothers were tough. And but they also taught the value of prayer and daily gratitude for all the things we have. And I try to reflect on that stuff every day. So no complaints about my upbringing. I could have complained about some things at the time, as we all did in our Catholic schools, but that’s so far in the rearview mirror.

00:03:55:20 – 00:04:07:20
John Norton
I got so much more out of my primary and secondary education and Catholic upbringing than than I did. I can’t find anything to complain about now.

00:04:08:15 – 00:04:14:07
Matt Keuhlhorn
Here in Pittsburgh that is considered to be in the Rust Belt, is that correct?

00:04:15:01 – 00:04:40:02
John Norton
Yeah. And although Pittsburgh got saved and and I’m kind of I’m surprised. But, you know, when I was growing up, it had it had a lot to do with why I went to college, where I went and how I ended up here. You know, Pittsburgh was still plenty filthy. You know, the mills were going, the barges were active.

00:04:41:00 – 00:05:23:09
John Norton
We were industrial city with an industrial base and, you know, there are pictures during the war years and for years to come where if you’re driving somewhere, you had your headlights on 24 hours a day and the streetlights in Pittsburgh were on 24 hours a day because the the sky was so full of soot. But community leaders in the late seventies, early eighties, when all the mines closed, got together and they turned Pittsburgh into kind of a medical and scientific mecca.

00:05:24:18 – 00:06:04:10
John Norton
And it’s where Elon Musk is testing his, you know, driverless cars with the help of Carnegie Mellon University. It’s the regional hub now for western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, West Virginia. In terms of the medical complexes there, the University of Pittsburgh still does well. So Pittsburgh actually recovered where? Youngstown, Ohio, Gary, Indiana, parts of Chicago have not. And it was through community leadership in the private industry, really working with elected officials that did that.

00:06:04:10 – 00:06:29:18
John Norton
I, I do miss some of the grit of old Pittsburgh and those were, you know, there was terrible angst. I used to be a paper boy, morning paper boy for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a guy that followed me by several paper boys actually stole money from my mom once. And I was just shocked because that never would have happened.

00:06:29:18 – 00:06:47:06
John Norton
Well, you know, I grew up in a neighborhood where if anybody saw you doing something wrong, your parents were going to hear about it, you know, before you had a chance to get home and and the fact that this guy stole from my mother, that that was some of the bad stuff that happened in Pittsburgh during the transition.

00:06:47:06 – 00:07:19:17
John Norton
But that transition happened not without pain, but it’s a pretty good place to live now. And I enjoy, you know, going home and call and I’m still a short student was back in this isn’t the greatest year to be a Steelers bear but I think it’s you’re born on team and and I and all my friends from growing up many of whom don’t live in Pittsburgh still bleed the black and gold.

00:07:20:15 – 00:07:31:11
Matt Keuhlhorn
And now I’m looking at all I was. I started my formative years in Chicago and, you know, the 1987 Bears I’ll never forget. So I can’t I can’t leave the Bears too far.

00:07:31:20 – 00:07:32:16
John Norton
Yeah. The fridge.

00:07:33:14 – 00:07:47:24
Matt Keuhlhorn
Yeah, that’s right. So, John, what’s the. So you came to this valley in 1985 between Pittsburgh and here. What’s it what’s a concise story about line that.

00:07:48:03 – 00:08:11:24
John Norton
Well, you know, so I ended up going to Dartmouth and and I was a good student in high school and had the opportunity to go to a number of different schools. I chose Dartmouth because I was so tired of the filth of Pittsburgh. I wanted to get out in the woods in the most beautiful place that I knew of, and it never really looked west.

00:08:11:24 – 00:08:32:03
John Norton
I mean, that, you know, back in, I guess I graduated high school in 1973. I didn’t know anything. I knew something about the western United States, but it wasn’t the type of thing. It’s like, Oh, I’ll go to Sue Boulder, you know, I’d never even heard of it. And so, you know, my eyes were were turned east anyway.

00:08:32:03 – 00:08:57:17
John Norton
Ended up Dartmouth. I met Robin there, my wife, she was a ski racer. I was not. And, you know, I learned to ski a bit at Dartmouth. I learned to enjoy Whitewater a bit at Dartmouth. I learned to fish a bit at Dartmouth Mountain biking had been invented then and, you know, I spent some time in the Marines and then I went to work for Procter Gamble.

00:08:57:17 – 00:09:28:23
John Norton
And, you know, I was in New York City. Wood Crested Butte reached out it because of Robin’s skiing background. So she was a NCAA, you know, alpine skier. Her best event was the downhill. She had coached the eastern junior national team when we were getting married. And and so just a huge ski background for her. Would we had the opportunity to come out here.

00:09:30:03 – 00:09:49:01
John Norton
She said, let’s go. Even though we had, you know, we had two kids and and Robin was pregnant with her third at the time and we never looked back. I just love we both just loved the mountains and love this valley.

00:09:49:01 – 00:10:02:16
Matt Keuhlhorn
That and you’ve been a part of Tap for a number of years through multiple transitions, perhaps an acronym. How would you define TAP today?

00:10:03:11 – 00:10:29:09
John Norton
Yeah, well, so it’s been six years, right. And and it was the tourism association would refer to it as the T.A. and then the commissioners, I think three or four years ago, because we were doing so well, we were growing our revenues, which is a for our revenues come from a 4% tax on commercial lodging. So no one in the Valley pays anything in the tap.

00:10:30:23 – 00:11:04:04
John Norton
But are all our guests do and the the commissioners at the time it was, I think, John Messner leading the charge. But Jonathan was on the commission then. And I think Phil Chamberlin asked us to help Westar if we could, because Western so important. And they kind of threw that in the economic development bucket, which the TA is allowed to spend money on economic development and then to focus on economic development.

00:11:04:04 – 00:11:38:04
John Norton
We ended up with the Ice Lab and you know, those are and of course we still market the valley, but it we were no longer the tourism association. Right. We spend, you know, half our money and our resources and our brainpower on the ice lab, on Western sustainable tourism and outdoor recreation. And the other half is, is in what I’d call traditional marketing activities.

00:11:38:04 – 00:11:50:22
Matt Keuhlhorn
And we just had a proposal on the ballot for six eight, which my basic, basic understanding allows an altercation of funds to be able to focus on various priorities. Is that correct?

00:11:51:03 – 00:12:30:09
John Norton
Yes. So the the we had restricted funds by the state prior to next year. And and those you know, we were playing within the lines of what the state said we could spend. And the commissioners actually, I think it was Jonathan Houk and Lou Smith went to the state and said, let’s see if we could pass through the state House and Senate and get the governor to sign a bill to allow other uses for local budgeting, marketing, district funds, and also other tourism related funding, tax funding that that is around the state.

00:12:30:21 – 00:13:08:04
John Norton
And that passed. And so we’re just passed here is that the commissioners will be able to spend 40% of our funds to help affordable housing and to help child care and daycare activities. So those are clearly important efforts in the valley. Now, we certainly need more affordable housing than we have. We’re past the childcare age with our kids.

00:13:08:04 – 00:13:30:09
John Norton
But I understand talking to people that child care is very important to people. It’s always been important to people, but now it’s just tougher to get your kid in child care. Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, our lady Mondays are tappers. We’ll go to other worthwhile ventures to the degree that the commissioners want to spend on that.

00:13:30:09 – 00:13:34:22
Matt Keuhlhorn
Yeah, yeah. I want to bounce back a little bit. What did you study in?

00:13:36:09 – 00:14:14:02
John Norton
Uh, I was religion and philosophy at Dartmouth and Ross of physics in there. And then I actually did some graduate work in mathematics at the University of Virginia and the University of Georgia. So I’ve just sort of a combination of science and mathematics and pretty steeped in religion and philosophy. And I actually be teaching at the Rady School of Engineering with David Assad, who runs the Ice Lab this second semester.

00:14:14:02 – 00:14:36:01
John Norton
This year, we’re going to be teaching the opportunities presented by entrepreneurism to interested engineering undergrads and hopefully get some of those kids interested in becoming inter entrepreneurs and then staying in the valley and establishing companies here, which is what the Ice Lab is all about.

00:14:36:18 – 00:15:05:03
Matt Keuhlhorn
Yeah. Okay, so where’s that thread trying to do spin and connection philosophy, math, religion? I’ve always. You’ve been a silent mentor of mine for a bit now, and we’ve talked a little bit, especially as I’ve gotten into involvement with Chamber and other community building organizations. And I’ve always considered you an entrepreneurial mind, a bit of a change agent.

00:15:05:03 – 00:15:14:20
Matt Keuhlhorn
And I guess my question, like, do you see yourself that way? And, and where does the spark for business and entrepreneurial wisdom come from?

00:15:14:20 – 00:16:01:15
John Norton
Yeah, I do think I’m a change agent and and most people don’t like change and I thrive on it. And new challenge. And so, you know there’s really you know so from religion and philosophy to the Marine Corps, that’s a pretty big change. And then for big business, you know, Procter Gamble and right before I was, you know, came to the Valley to work for this little ski company, I was, you know, consulting with Pepsi and Seagram’s and Anheuser-Busch on how they could respectively sell more booze, some more soda pop and sell more beer.

00:16:01:15 – 00:16:40:11
John Norton
And it’s a pretty abrupt switch, you know, from the very biggest of America’s companies to then end up with a little scary. And that was a big change. And I obviously was able to carry some of the things I learned at P&G, you know, to see BMR and then over to Aspen. And then, you know, it was a very big change, you know, so would I left the Mullen people and and started consulting people assumed I was consulting in the in the in the resort and tourism field.

00:16:41:00 – 00:17:19:11
John Norton
And I wasn’t at all. I was, again, working with big business. So companies like the Hartford and Berkshire Hathaway companies and some finance companies in this corporate intervention world, which I had had to do a couple of times at Aspen, and it should be more about it. Very interesting. And it’s like, how do you change, you know, how do you actually get an organization within in Aspen space, 5000 people, 5000 employees to really take a step change in the way we do business.

00:17:20:11 – 00:17:51:16
John Norton
And it’s not easy, but it’s hugely fascinating to me. And so that’s was what I was doing in consulting there. And, and honestly, in 2000, the end of 15, when I was asked to step in and just kind of keep the lights on at the to until a new board could be appointed and, you know, I thought that that was going to be truly a temporary a multi month position.

00:17:51:16 – 00:18:17:01
John Norton
I remember I think it was in March or April at our board meeting that I didn’t sense the board was the new board was had a search going on for my replacement. And I and I said to them, I said, can I help? You know, I have some suggestions. I’d be glad to. You know, I’d be glad to help you guys find my replacement.

00:18:17:13 – 00:18:43:00
John Norton
And they said, How about would you consider staying on? And the reason they said that, I think and I it it was I had spent the winter so my first three or four months at the time the tier wasn’t working well. Right. So it, you know, from 2003 when it was established to 2015, you know, revenues really haven’t paid growth.

00:18:43:17 – 00:19:13:20
John Norton
And you know, when I took over in, let’s call it January 16 and winter was already written, you don’t start winter in January, but summer hadn’t started yet. And I started researching pretty heavily what I thought might be the solution to our lack of growth. And I concluded it. It probably would have been mountain biking. You know, we’ve got the best trail network in the world, at least in the country.

00:19:15:00 – 00:19:38:13
John Norton
It was a growing sport, mountain biking at that time. It just passed road biking and hard good sales. It was part of our culture and we didn’t talk much about it, you know, at that time, you know, the top five places somewhere in the media, you might read a story about the top five places to go in Colorado to mountain bike.

00:19:38:18 – 00:20:10:21
John Norton
And we may or may not have been on that list at that time. It’s kind of amazing. You know, it was Durango up at Winter Park, maybe Breckenridge, maybe Steamboat Salina, which was just wrong. I mean, we already had a better product than those guys. We had never talked about it. And and I think the board so I said to the board, I said, we ought to put all our chips on mountain biking and see see how the see how that plays out.

00:20:11:07 – 00:20:36:05
John Norton
But I think that could be the answer to our kind of stagnation. And and so when the board said they’d like me to stay with, the second part of that was, was, okay, don’t you want to see this mountain biking thing through? And they also asked, what happens if mountain bike doesn’t work? And I said, well, not bike, it doesn’t work and will change, you know, quickly, but I think it’s going to work.

00:20:36:05 – 00:20:47:01
John Norton
And so it was the the opportunity to see mountain biking through that can be at the to initially.

00:20:48:14 – 00:21:13:12
Matt Keuhlhorn
Call in as a change agent. I mean, I think it’s fairly obvious to most everybody that’s in this valley there’s significant change occurring now. And that might have been, you know, in development and just fuel added to the fire through COVID and people wanting to exit larger towns and find a community like ours that has more outdoor venues and opportunities.

00:21:14:23 – 00:21:25:04
Matt Keuhlhorn
With the amount of change that’s occurring in the valley, what are you seeing? What are you getting excited for in over the next few years? And what might be some potential challenges that arise with this?

00:21:25:24 – 00:21:52:12
John Norton
Well, I’m I’m excited to see how some of our historic funding could be used to spur the development of more housing. Right. So we need it. And we’ve got you know, Duke Bratton’s Gunnison rising, sitting there. And I’m anxious to see that begin to flourish. You know, dig still pretty healthy. I hope he’s around long enough to see certainly not all of that through, but some of that through.

00:21:53:22 – 00:22:27:05
John Norton
I’m excited about the CB South to CB trail you know and and you know bicycles as not only a great recreation and a great sport but as a as a way to get around. I’m excited about, you know CB more hopefully and Vail Resorts spending some money on the mountain I hope we see TiO2 come to fruition someday.

00:22:27:05 – 00:22:53:08
John Norton
I hope I’m still ambulatory so that I could ski TiO2. I have done it, but obviously it’s not open to the public and it would just be fantastic to read. It’ll make a real big difference in the mountain and um, so I’ll say, you know, I said like focusing on mountain biking was very important this summer. Focusing on extreme skiing was, is also very important.

00:22:53:08 – 00:23:23:17
John Norton
And you know, when Vail bought so, you know, if you think about the the late eighties when we put the North base lived in, you know, I had been bugging the Cowboys in the Waltons to put a lift in the North face. And I thought Ralph Walton got so tired of hearing me say that, that, that he said, Look, if you want the North Base to be built, take it out of your marketing budget and build it yourself.

00:23:24:20 – 00:23:45:00
John Norton
And I looked at I think our marketing budget at that time was about a million bucks, maybe 1,000,002. And the North face was going to be 650 to put it in that list were much cheaper back then. And I thought about that for a couple hours and I went back to Ralph and I said, I’ll do it. And he was kind of shocked.

00:23:45:00 – 00:24:07:14
John Norton
He did not expect that answer because marketing guys don’t give up their marketing budgets. And I said, no. I think the publicity around the North face and it’s just one extreme skiing was starting to happen will be so significant that it will dwarf whatever. I could have spent that 650,000 bucks on it, and it was right. And so we grew like crazy.

00:24:07:14 – 00:24:36:12
John Norton
That’s how I ended up over at Aspen is we were so successful in aggressive Butte and the ski industry across the country was looking at at Crested Butte as the innovator we focused on. You know, we obviously had the extreme ski championships. We had that great reunion this winter where so many former champions came back and the celebration of all the things we did in the eighties and early nineties, and that worked like a charm.

00:24:36:12 – 00:25:10:00
John Norton
When I left. And this is a story about focus that the the mountain went back to kind of talking about intermediates, skiing and families and and start falling apart. And I don’t know why the mountain left the extreme. Obviously, you know, kind of the extreme adventure skier is a small fraction of the alpine ski market, but it’s one that we’re uniquely attractive to.

00:25:10:00 – 00:25:34:08
John Norton
And, you know, in terms of intermediate ski, you know, we’ve got Snowmass and Keystone, Vail and Steamboat and, you know, we just it would be like me getting in the ring with Muhammad Ali. It’s just not going to work. You know, we can’t lead with intermediate ski, although we have some and and, you know, so when I came back, we started talking about the extremes again.

00:25:35:10 – 00:26:01:05
John Norton
That was in oh two. The modelers came it they said, no, we’re intermediate because the market is so big for intermediates and you know, that didn’t work. Again for the second time. And then Vail came in and this I’ll give Bill a lot of credit for this. They came in and I said, we’re selling two different products, the tail end and the ski area.

00:26:02:03 – 00:26:33:06
John Norton
We’re talking about the extremes and the adventure skiing that’s here. That is fabulous. And the mountain is talking about intermediate skiing and blue skies and it’s not working. And after a year, Vail, it’s very careful in its decision making, didn’t jump to it, but they said, you’re right. And now we’re on the same page. And I think that’s why we’re seeing the growth in the alpine skiing product is because we’re selling a wild place that’s out of the way that’s harder to get to.

00:26:33:15 – 00:26:54:11
John Norton
And we’re not afraid to say that. And we never should be. You know, someone said, yeah, you’re you’re kind of harder. I was flying home with a guy, you know, my c no, I wasn’t with him, but I was talking to his landing in Denver and I said, Are you home? And he said, Yeah, I got to go to Evergreen or wherever he was going.

00:26:54:11 – 00:27:12:13
John Norton
And he said, How about you? And I said, No, I got to catch another flight to Gunnison. And he said, Are you poor guy? I think we had flown in from New York. And so you always like your flights to be ending. And he said, Are you poor guy? And I said, Well, you can say that, but when I wake up in the morning, I’m going to be aggressive, dude.

00:27:12:17 – 00:27:36:16
John Norton
Anyway, that’s a good point. And you know, it’s harder to get to but worth it because, you know, you get a sense of being away from it all when you’re in this valley. And so we can lead, you know, when people say, geez, Crested Butte, hard to get to, I say, you’re right. And if it wasn’t hard to get to, it wouldn’t be Crested Butte and it wouldn’t be Gunnison.

00:27:36:16 – 00:28:04:20
John Norton
And so, you know, if, if that’s cool to you will come on and if you default into an easy place to get to, then go there. And that works. It works with a lot of people because as you know, we’re more crowded now. But the focus on mountain biking and extreme skiing is is what has led to, you know, our success these last four or five years.

00:28:05:02 – 00:28:27:01
John Norton
Do we have, you know, fun? WHITEWATER Yeah, we do. But we’re not the Arkansas Valley. And and, you know, do we have we truly have great fly fishing and, you know, talking to the guys and stuff like that were flown up. But we spent a lot of time on our website talking about how terrific the the fly fishing is.

00:28:27:01 – 00:28:40:08
John Norton
And, you know, we give a nod to our Nordic skiing, too, but it’s the adventure, extreme skiing and the mountain biking that makes this place competitive in a world that’s very competitive.

00:28:41:09 – 00:28:53:03
Matt Keuhlhorn
Yeah, I hear all that and love that. You know, my takeaways are to know who you are, right? And this is for personal and business, but then that focus focuses so key.

00:28:53:11 – 00:29:27:19
John Norton
Yeah. And, you know, people’s minds are cluttered. Mind is to with there’s something called decision fatigue. Right. And and it’s one you’re just presented with too many options and, and, you know, there’s a Steve Jobs story. So Steve Jobs gets asked to come back to Apple, just kind of like I was asked to come back to Crested Butte and Happy to because Apple was struggling in his absence and Apple had 30 or 40 computers.

00:29:28:00 – 00:29:55:10
John Norton
Even Steve couldn’t tell the difference between all the computers and he, you know, eliminated all but a couple or three and then started to build the company from there and and, you know, as a valley, if we’re going to and this all true, we’ve got whitewater, we’ve got fishing, we’ve got lake fishing, we’ve got boating, we’ve got flowers, we’ve got trails, we’ve got and all of a sudden someone try to make a decision on that, their head explodes.

00:29:55:19 – 00:30:12:22
John Norton
You know, there’s too much to consider, even though everything we said is true, you got to figure out what you’re going to focus on. And and in a in a landscape in a media landscape that’s just overloaded with information and consumer messages.

00:30:13:16 – 00:30:35:07
Matt Keuhlhorn
Yeah, awesome. I mean, so starting to put pigtails on this conversation. John, a couple of final questions for you. One is, you know, looking at some of the changes, looking at the shift in allocating resources, you know, obviously, housing is a big, big topic for this valley. Child care, I think, is right up there, too, for working individual.

00:30:35:07 – 00:30:45:00
Matt Keuhlhorn
That’s a family person. How my business and community leaders work together even more like there’s a lot of continuity, I feel. But what’s the next level?

00:30:46:08 – 00:31:22:11
John Norton
Yeah, the you know. So I was part of One Valley Prosperity Project, which is kind of how our tourism Prosperity Project name came. And that was one of the few community efforts I’ve ever been part of, where a bunch of people put a bunch of plans together and then actually executed on the plans. And that’s unique. Okay. Because we I’ve been through processes here prior where, you know, a lot of brain cells were burned and a lot of time was burned.

00:31:22:11 – 00:31:52:23
John Norton
And the report was finally done. And it went on the shelf, collected dust and nothing happened. And, you know, I think, you know, so and we’re still meeting with OVP, although I forget what we’re calling it now, but it’s the same crew of people trying to follow up on the same objectives. And that’s where the ice lab, you know, an economic development program is to put another economic leg on the stool of the valley.

00:31:52:23 – 00:32:24:02
John Norton
Besides Western and tourism, I think, you know, I’m good buddies with Ed Billick, who’s the mayor of Seabee now, and this community compass that they’re going through, that’s not good. He’s not going to let that sit on the show. He’s going to start executing on that and and I think, you know, I think we’re blessed with some pretty good community leadership right now.

00:32:24:10 – 00:32:58:23
John Norton
Our commissioners and, you know, they’re our bosses ultimately at tap. But I’ll say, you know, we’ve got a top notch crew and we’re recognized throughout the state as having a top notch crew. And this goes back years when I’m at the CTO or REC or I’m in the edit building, which is, you know, four or five times a year, probably our guys are recognized, Jonathan and John Messner, who’s no longer here, I think Sunil is in now.

00:32:58:23 – 00:33:26:22
John Norton
Laura, have a lot of respect on you know, it’s like the little engine that could were not the biggest, most important valley. We get some real political leadership talent here. And I think it’s it doesn’t mean we don’t have problems here, but that that recognize these partnerships are and that the private sector can be part of the solution.

00:33:26:22 – 00:33:57:08
John Norton
And isn’t the problem. And an example now would be what’s going to happen in housing, right? So if they took 40% of our 3.5 million bucks, whatever that is, 1.8 billion, that that doesn’t buy any housing. You know, that that’s a lever to get housing built. And, you know, I think they they prep the site for Gary Gates project down in Gunnison, which everybody seems to love so much.

00:33:57:08 – 00:34:25:07
John Norton
And Gary delivered the goods. But, you know, I think they brought water and sewer and graded the property. And he said, I’ll take it from there. And so that’s a trick that they’re going to need to repeat if we’re going to see real progress made with what little money? You know, it’s big for us, but it’s it’s little in the scope of what it costs to build a 20 unit building.

00:34:25:16 – 00:34:32:23
John Norton
Now, it’s what our our money’s not going to do it. And so they need to look for partners, I think I think they’ll find some.

00:34:35:09 – 00:34:45:21
Matt Keuhlhorn
That’s awesome for folks that want to reach out, either get involved or connect with you. How might we connect with Tap In and John Norton.

00:34:46:21 – 00:35:28:02
John Norton
Yeah, I think they you know, we have most of our meetings at the ice lab and so that’s an easy place to stop by. And if people haven’t bid the ice slab, which is on the western campus, kind of up the hill a bit from the football field, they can drop by any time, my website or my email and my phone number or on the the you know, the Gunnison Crested Butte dot com website, which is our tourism and relocation website, but easy to get a hold on and I think all of us are so at the moment.

00:35:28:17 – 00:35:34:06
Matt Keuhlhorn
And I really appreciate the conversation. I appreciate your time as we close, do you have any final words for the day?

00:35:35:19 – 00:36:01:13
John Norton
No, I’m terribly excited about the future. I think the world is getting better and almost everywhere. Our valley is much better to live it than when I moved here in 1985. Again, it doesn’t mean there are problems and stuff to fix, but it’s just, you know, the trails are better, the skiing’s better, the libraries are better, the schools are better.

00:36:01:13 – 00:36:27:00
John Norton
We have a high school in the North Valley. We have a radio station. We it’s just, you know, amazing if people stop and reflect on what was and what is now, it’s just it’s just a better place in almost every way I can think of. And and I’m so grateful to live here, and I hope other people feel the same, and I think most do.

00:36:27:14 – 00:36:28:13
John Norton
Yeah. Well.

00:36:29:02 – 00:36:32:19
Matt Keuhlhorn
I’m grateful for your time. Thank you very much, John. Enjoy a great day.

00:36:33:05 – 00:36:35:01
John Norton
All right. I will, Matt. Thanks.

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