Interview with Chad Dyson April 5, 2012
Marcia: Chad, where did you grow up?
Chad: Around Wichita, Kansas.
Marcia: I guess you’ve seen a few tornados?
Chad: I have seen a couple in my life. When I was 5 years old we had one at the lake in the middle of the night and we were forced to hide under the dock and sit in the water. Apparently tornados tend to jump over water and that is exactly what it did, in a straight line over our heads! It was pretty scary for a 5 year old and immediately after that my grandpa built some tornado shelters for us and others at the lake to take safety in. Over the years they definitely got some use!
Marcia: Sounds like you were a smart kid?
Chad: Well my grandpa was at least! I did have to grow up pretty fast though as my parents divorced when I was seven years old. I had a younger sister and I remember cooking for the family as a kid while my mom worked full time as a systems analyst while raising both of us. I had no idea how hard it was on her at the time but she is also very driven. She battled her way up the corporate ladder so I was well aware of the struggles that females faced in the work force compared to male peers. Later on in life she used her drive to graduate from Seminary and became an Ordained Minister which she currently uses as a Director for Habitat for Humanity. Needless to say she has been quite the influence and I truly believe the responsibilities I learned as a kid has made a huge difference in my life. Lucky for me she remarried to a good man that I really looked up to who became my father figure. As far as school was concerned, getting bad grades was not an option so I tended to excel in class work but somehow always seem to get the checkmark in ‘Does Not Follow Directions’ in elementary school. Pretty sure my mom would attest to that when I was a kid too! I enjoyed sports a lot and was driven to improve whether it was baseball, basketball, or soccer. Balls sports took the sidelines when I moved to Colorado after I was introduced to the endless amount of extreme sports I had at my finger tips. ‘So many challenges, so little time’ is what I used to say. Whether it was the snow in the winter on the hill or the river in the summer I always was driven by sports and determined to succeed. Kayaking was hands down the sport that I got into the most. Every weekend when the season was happening we had a trip to somewhere new, maybe a first descent out of state or out of the country when the rivers dried up here. Being older and maybe a little wiser now has me playing golf instead, a sport that I will probably never master, but a sport which makes my wife at little more at ease and lets her sleep at night.
Chad: Yes, I graduated from Kansas State University. I was good in math and science which pointed me towards engineering. While attending an engineering open house during my senior year in high school, I decided on a 5 year program in Architectural Engineering.
Marcia: Did you work during college?
Chad: I always had some sort of job while attending college and also worked full time during the summer. A lot of times I would use my Christmas and Spring Break to get a few extra work hours as well which helped out with the expenses. During the last the last three years of college I taught an engineering physics lab which I really enjoyed.
Marcia: How did you end up in Colorado?
Chad: During a spring break skiing trip in my fifth year of college (ok there was one year I actually took a real spring break!) I somehow managed to line up an interview with a consulting engineering firm in Avon, CO. I must have impressed them because I was offered a job on the spot! Seemed to good to be true but two days after graduation I was working in a resort ski town in the mountains of Colorado!
Marcia: Had you been to Colorado before?
Chad: We had a few family ski trips to Colorado as a kid but I had never heard of Vail or Beaver Creek before. It would be fair to say that our family trips were on a tight budget and a very special occasion indeed. I am sure you have seen our type before. We were the Midwest family who skis in scotch guarded jeans in order to justify the lifts tickets and the rental skis but we didn’t care. It was so much fun and brings back good memories talking about those trips. Looking back it seems a little crazy that I ended up in one of the most expensive resorts in Colorado to call home for 17 years.
Marcia: Do you still ski in jeans?
Chad: Nope, I gave into the pressure of being a ‘local’ to fit in. Lucky for me I made friends with the owner of a ski shop who let me work for gear at cost by helping tune skis in the evenings.
Marcia: How did you meet your wife?
Chad: Funny story, we like to say I met her ‘pole dancing’ at a local club after a concert in Vail. My friend was dating her roommate and the evening started out as a large group, but somehow I was left alone with just Chris and her female friends. Not a bad place to be being the only male left in the group! So we decided to go dancing and the club at the time had a pole in the dance floor and of course we had to use it. When people ask us how we met, the best reaction we get is when we just say ‘pole dancing’ without expanding on the story just to see the expression on their faces. We’ve been married four years now and I like to say I imported her from Summit County. She’s very honest, love’s life, enjoys art, and is well traveled. She is a part time nanny for a family here in Evergreen and also works in Marsha Manning’s office.
Marcia: So, how did you get to Evergreen?
Chad: I was hired by Wells Fargo Advisors to be a Financial Advisor in the Bergen Park office. Quite a few years back I became very interested in the markets and decided to go back to school to learn how to invest. I found myself wanting to spend more time focusing on the markets and my investments than I did running my electrical contracting business so I decided to make a switch. The Bergen Park office seemed like a good fit and it was still close to my existing network in the Vail Valley but yet still close to the city. Not to mention living at a lower elevation! For the three years prior to moving here we lived at 10,300’ on top of Tennessee Pass which made for rather long winters. It was a great experience and we still have the property up there, but we definitely don’t miss the additional 3000’!
Marcia: So how did you connect with Evergreen Rotary?
Chad: I met Gretchen MacArthur at an Evergreen Chamber mixer and she invited me to visit Rotary. My mother was involved in Rotary and served on the board in Wichita, KS but I didn’t know a lot about it myself. The first meeting I attended was the program on a recent trip to Africa. It seemed to be a lively group with a lot of folks doing some pretty impressive things globally and locally. It reminded me of when I was in high school and went on a mission trip to help build an addition onto a church. I have to admit since then I have lived a fairly self serving life and I feel like I need to reach out beyond myself and give back and I know that being a part of rotary will allow me to do that.
Marcia: So what are you thinking about doing?
Chad: For one, I was accepted as a ‘buddy’ for Camp Comfort. This is something that really hits close to home for me. My father took his own life in 2008 after a long battle with alcoholism, depression, and the realization he was going to be spending time in jail. To make matters worse it happened a month before Chris and I got married. Looking back now I can see how much of an impact his death had on my life, as well as my wife and my families. My priorities and focus changed instantly and all of the sudden everything I was doing and trying to achieve took the back seat, both physically and emotionally, giving a whole new meaning to the word ‘perspective’. It was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure in life and I hope by supporting and sharing with others that I can make it easier for someone else. I was a camp counselor for many years as a teen for the YMCA so when I heard about Camp Comfort I jumped at the opportunity.
Marcia: Any words of wisdom?
Chad: Although it’s easier said than done - No Regrets
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson