Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron named vice president, campus dean of CMC Aspen, Carbondale
Outgoing Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron has been named vice president and dean of Colorado Mountain College’s Aspen and Carbondale campuses, and will begin his new position Aug. 1.
Although he declined Wednesday to disclose his salary at the publicly funded college, CMC officials confirmed it is $127,898 annually, plus benefits. He steps down Monday as mayor of six years and is leaving office due to term limits.
For the past several months, Skadron, 56, has been talking with contacts he has made as mayor and putting feelers out on potential job opportunities in areas where he has worked on initiatives, such as alternative transit, the uphill recreation economy and the environment.
“I wanted to have certainty on my next steps when my term ended,” Skadron said, adding many of the opportunities would’ve taken him away from Aspen. “Then CMC knocked on my door and we’ve had a general conversation in the last five months about taking the campus to something that it is not now.”
Although he has no formal background or training in higher education administration, CMC officials and the board of trustees saw an opportunity in his leadership and policy work.
“CMC shares many synergies with the efforts he championed as mayor, including the outdoor industry economy, sustainability, and thoughtful approaches to transit and infrastructure,” said Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser, president and CEO of CMC, in a news release.
“In light of the transformative opportunities that lie ahead for CMC, Steve is the right person, at the right time, to take on this exciting role.”
Last month, CMC announced that it is considering expanding its Aspen campus to include housing for as many as 175 students and a new hospitality and culinary program. It has an public open house about the process from 3-6 p.m. Monday at the campus.
Skadron will help lead that effort, along with other initiatives at CMC.
“Given the very significant projects underway at CMC across the Roaring Fork Valley, college leadership was then positioned with recruiting a new campus leader who could step right in; relates to and respects the unique communities of Carbondale and Aspen; moves easily among the public and nonprofit sectors, industry, and community partners; and understands the college’s mission, vision and direction,” the press release reads. “With Skadron’s tenure in Aspen city government ending in June, and his close knowledge of the entire mountain region, the stars lined up.”
He will replace Dr. Linda Crockett, who is returning to teaching full-time in the fall. Skadron is a former adjunct faculty member in CMC’s Issacson School of Communication, Arts and Media, and has worked as a marketing consultant for the college.
Matt Gianneschi, chief operating officer at CMC, acknowledged the college did not follow its typical protocol of publicly posting a job opening for a national search when it offered Skadron the position.
However, under unique circumstances, the college president can do a direct appointment, Gianneschi noted, adding that with the current dean and vice president moving to a faculty position, and CMC conducting national searches for executives at the Rifle and Edwards campuses, the amount of time and effort to fill all of the vacancies would require too much manpower.
“President Hauser elected to use that authority,” he said, adding it is the only time he believes it has been used.
Couple those vacancies with the immediacy of the expansion plans at the Aspen campus.
“This is perhaps the most important time in this campus’ history,” Gianneschi said.
Skadron also is taking on additional responsibility in the areas of renewable energy and conservation easements.
Gianneschi said CMC will rely on Skadron’s experience in local government to help navigate it through environmental projects that require using conservation easements.
“We happen to have a lot going on … timing and momentum are important,” Gianneschi said.
Skadron plans to travel this summer before assuming his new role. He said he is excited for the next chapter.
“This is an opportunity to do big picture work and policy stuff, which I am good at,” he said.
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