Peter joined GOCO earlier this year as our new COO, meaning he keeps us all organized and makes sure that all things GOCO are running smoothly and in the right direction. Read on the get to know the man under the bike helmet:
What did you do before you came to GOCO?
I worked for the past nine years at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), primarily working in the areas of land conservation, property management and strategic planning for the Colorado chapter. I also had the good fortune to engage on TNC work outside the state. I worked on a project focused on developing a TNC-wide business planning framework and on sustainable forestry initiatives across TNC’s Asia-Pacific Region. The highlight of this work was undoubtedly spending time on the ground in Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea with TNC colleagues.
What brought you to GOCO?
Through my previous job I was frequently involved with projects that had received or were seeking GOCO funding. I had also worked with a variety of organizations – both big and small – in the land conservation community, developing an understanding of much of the conservation work that goes on across the state, the vast majority of which GOCO has a hand in funding. I had a keen appreciation for how lucky Colorado is to have a resource like GOCO and for all the benefits – quality of life, economic, and natural heritage, among others – that accrue to the state and its citizens. I felt that I would be uniquely qualified and incredibly lucky to join GOCO and to continue this work, and I feel that even more strongly 6 months in!
What has been your favorite part of working here so far?
Two things have been refreshing for me in coming to GOCO. One is the size of the organization. When you count Board and staff we are no more than 30 people, yet look how much we accomplish! The second thing is the diversity of our programs. While I had extensive experience in the open space/land conservation realm, my professional exposure to GOCO’s other priorities was fairly limited. In my time here greatly enjoyed learning about GOCO’s work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, local government partners and, increasingly, our efforts to engage youth and underserved communities in Colorado’s great outdoors.
What is your typical day like?
Trying not to drown! Seriously, in my first six months I’m not sure I’ve had a typical day. In my role as COO I work directly with all of our programs, finance and administration, and communications staff; try to keep up with our fearless executive director; and, engage with the Board and a variety of external partners. I’m mostly in the office, but have gotten out on project site visits, conferences, and Board meetings both near – Aurora – and far – Ridgway. I like the variety of challenges that this job entails. I really enjoy the content that we work on – open space, parks, wildlife, youth engagement – as well as the fundamentals of trying to run a great organization full of smart, passionate people.
What are some of your favorite things to do outdoors?
I get outside as much as I possibly can. In the summer my main activity is biking, both road and mountain, but hiking, a bit of climbing and camping are all in the mix too. In the winter I ski, both at the resort and a fair amount in the backcountry. I’m increasingly excited about spending time outdoors with my kids – 2 boys, ages 5 and 7 – as well. Not that I wasn’t before, but they are just getting to the age where we can tackle some bigger trips. For instance, we did our first overnight backpacking trip in the Holy Cross wilderness in August and are hoping to tackle a multi day float trip on the Yampa or Colorado next spring.
Where is your favorite place to get outdoors in Colorado?
Impossible question, but I’ll try. While there are so many great places to ride across Colorado, with often limited time I’ve increasingly come to appreciate places here in the metro area which are close to home, many of which GOCO has funded. For instance, the High Line Canal is a truly wonderful amenity that I use all the time. Whether I want to go for a walk or bike ride with my family or (my new favorite way to ride) do a long night ride from Denver to Highlands Ranch, it is incredible to have a beautiful trail like the High Line a stone’s throw from my house. In the winter it is off to the mountains as much as possible. I mostly stick to the Vail Valley and Front Range resorts, but I love the Elk Range around Aspen for hut trips with friends. And, when the snow is good, say after a nice upslope storm, you absolutely can’t beat ski touring in Rocky Mountain National Park!