“I think I have the type of personality where I never thought I’d hold a job longer than three to five years,” explains Hartzell. “When I was at Colorado Mountain College for 25 years, I had eight different jobs.”
Those jobs ranged from part-time secretarial science teacher to full-time ski operations instructor, and finally the dean of the Leadville campus before his retirement in 2004.
“I think I am the only person in the world that taught Snowmaking and Shorthand during the same quarter!”
Hartzell described his years as assistant campus dean from 1983 to 1986 as the “toughest I had at CMC.”
The Climax Mine had shut down and there was a movement to close the Leadville Campus since the tax revenues were less than our campus budget due to Lake County’s assessed valuation going from $250 million to $45 million during the 1980s, he said.
The Leadville campus lost a number of programs including Resort Management, Photography and Design. Environment Technology was on the chopping block.
“Being in the center of what would ultimately become an EPA Superfund site, we fought hard to keep our ET program,” notes Hartzell. “We barely succeeded and now the renamed program, Natural Resource Management, is a very successful program and has made numerous local contributions to the EPA Superfund cleanup.”
Hartzell was also integral in starting a nine-county (CMC service area) leadership development program. Central Rockies Leadership (CRL) was the result and ran from 1993 through 2002. During that time, with the help of local CRL graduates, he founded Leadership Leadville which he ran from 1996 through 2002.
“It’s a great place and if you were worth your mettle, then you got recognized for it,” Hartzell says of his time working at CMC. “The college is really good at that.”
As a distance learning instructor at CMC, which was all done by video tape at the time, Hartzell said he made it a point to teach from every site where he had students – from Spring Valley to Steamboat Springs.
That left an impact on people and now five, 10, 20 years later, students see him around town and thank him.
“This was the best job, I guess, that I’ve ever had…,” muses Hartzell. “Like everything else it had its ups and downs, but there was a lot of fulfillment.”