Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs City Council member Paul Strong has been named the new executive director of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns.
The new job is a part-time paid staff position that will require about 40 hours of his time each month. Strong also has a full-time job as a Steamboat accountant on top of council responsibilities.
Strong said he has enjoyed public service and, as the new executive director, he will be able to continue influencing policy decisions after he finishes his term as a council member. Strong said he does not plan to run for re-election in November.
"It's a way to stay involved," Strong said.
Strong has served on the Steamboat Springs City Council since 2000. Fellow council members elected him council president from 2003 to 2005.
Strong replaces Jacque Whitsitt of Basalt as executive director of the ski towns group. Before being named the organization's new leader, Strong was a Steamboat representative to CAST. He served as president of the CAST board for two years, starting in June 2004.
"I enjoy the process, and CAST is one of the things I really enjoyed," Strong said.
The CAST organization has 27 members, with mayors and city managers typically representing communities whose economies are largely dependent on tourism.
"It's a knowledgeable group," said council member Ken Brenner, who also is a Steamboat CAST representative. "It's a great place to network and learn from each other's successes and failures."
Organization membership to has grown to include Denver; Estes Park; Park City, Utah; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and the major Colorado resort communities.
The goal of the organization is to "foster growth that will ensure an exceptional quality of life for citizens and a positive experience for visitors," according to yampavalleyinfo.com.
They do this by lobbying the Colorado Legislature and by keeping close tabs on legislation that might affect resort communities.
"We wanted someone who had knowledge of political issues and how they're dealt with in Denver as well as locally," said Telluride Mayor John Pryor, CAST's current president. "With Paul's help and leadership, you are going to see the desires and wishes of the ski towns better represented. I think that he will help us raise the profile of CAST."
The CAST membership meets five times a year, including an annual legislative meeting in March.
As the director, Strong said he hopes to strengthen and grow the organization.
"For me, it was an opportunity to raise the visibility of CAST in Denver with some of the other organizations," Strong said.
He said he also hopes to strengthen the bridges between skiing companies and the communities in which they operate.
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