Dan Minor was looking for a change of scenery and a chance to be closer to Colorado's mountainous country.
Enter Colorado Northwestern Community College.
On Jan. 1, Minor started his first day as dean of instruction for the college's Craig campus.
The position is new in Craig this year and puts Minor in charge of all occupational and academic programs at the campus.
"I am excited to be here," he said Thursday.
Minor is a life-long Colorado resident and the father of two grown children: a son, Casey, 28, and a daughter, Emily, 31. He and his wife, Mary, also have a 4-year-old granddaughter.
His enthusiasm for moving to Craig stems from two sources:
The move puts him in the Western Slope, where he can indulge his interests in photography, biking and fishing.
"I've got a lot of exploring to do," said Minor, originally from Lamar.
But the main reason behind his interest has more to do with the community college system, where he's made his career.
"Community colleges do provide tremendous opportunities for a wide gamut of people," Minor said.
In his view, places such as CNCC are "vibrant institutions" that offer services to new high school graduates and adults alike.
Tasks in Minor's new position don't differ much from those in his previous job. Until he signed on with CNCC, Minor was dean of academic services for Lamar Community College.
Both colleges are members of the Colorado Community College System.
Dr. David Smith, CNCC vice president of instruction and student affairs, was chief administrative officer in Lamar when Minor was dean of academic services.
"We're just really fortunate to have him," Smith said.
Minor dealt with the fallout from a recession after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and state funding cuts, Smith said, adding that CNCC encountered the same problems.
Minor "did a great job in some pretty challenging times," he added.
Minor's working relationships also made an impression on Smith.
"He was very well liked by faculty and staff and students" in Lamar, Smith said.
Minor doesn't plan to introduce additional academic or occupational programs at CNCC, he said.
Instead, he intends to work with the course offerings already in place.
Helping grow CNCC's newest occupational courses, including automotive technology, industrial electrician and power plant technology, are high on his priority list, as will furthering its nursing and cosmetology programs.
"CNCC offers a broad range of opportunity for students," he said.
Drawing students from outside the area also is one of his goals.
A residence hall is scheduled to open on the Craig campus this fall.
Minor said he thinks this building will help attract students from outside Craig and bolster enrollment.
"Some of these programs will be great opportunities for anyone, anywhere," he said. The challenge now is housing."