CMC trustees appoint ski and finance expert to board
Colorado Mountain College on Wednesday selected Bob Kuusinen to fill the Routt County seat on the college Board of Trustees vacated by Ken Brenner until the November election.
Kuusinen was particularly attractive for his strong financial background, several board members noted. He is currently the market president for Vectra Bank in Steamboat Springs, and has deep connections to the ski industry.
“Colorado Mountain College is an incredible asset to our community, and I know those of us in Steamboat Springs understand that,” Kuusinen said. “I am honored to serve CMC, its students and the region through governance and setting policies that guide the college’s strategic direction.”
Kuusinen will fill the seat until Nov. 5, when it will be subject to election. In his application to the board, he said he would be interested in running.
The board voted 4-1 — East Garfield County Trustee Kathy Goudy voting nay — in favor of Kuusinen after it interviewed six candidates for the seat. Several trustees expressed appreciation for the number and quality of the candidates.
“I think this was the most outstanding group of candidates I could ever believe,” board member Pat Chlouber of Lake County said.
“I appreciated those people who had a strong association with CMC, and those that had one a little more remote via a child or a friend,” she said.
Several of the candidates previously taught for CMC, and every candidate had some personal connection to the college. Kuusinen said he gained new appreciation for CMC after his daughter attended for two years before transferring to another school.
His resume says he started as a grill cook at Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation in 1974, and worked his way up to vice president of operations by 1990. He started in the banking industry in 2003, and said he is nearing retirement from Vectra, allowing him more time to serve on the board.
Kuusinen is currently a board member of the Mountain Village Partnership, a long-time Rotarian, and has been part of numerous other districts and nonprofit boards in the Yampa Valley.
Kuusinen’s financial background best fits the needs of the board, at least until November, Eagle County board member Chris Romer said.
Romer added that he sometimes questions whether staff members at CMC campuses are best suited for the high-level work of the board.
“I certainly appreciate the institutional knowledge, but I have questions of, can you [segue] from years of staff work to changing hats completely to college-wide versus campus focus, and a governance role,” Romer said.
The board asked each candidate what they see as the role of trustee.
“I think board trustees need to keep in mind the fact that they’re not managing this entity, they are policy [and] government pieces in the organization,” Kuusinen told the board.
“You need to stay up at the policy, governance level, and leave the management to the management group,” he said.
Kuusinen said one thing he would like the CMC board to work on is more four-year degree programs at the Steamboat Springs Campus, and across the network.
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