Moffat County 20 Under 40: Kathryn Sampson — Promoting Craig as ‘beacon of truth’
Kathryn Sampson is the finance coordinator at Tri-State Generation & Transmission, but besides crunching the numbers for one of the biggest employers for Craig and Moffat County, she is involved in economic development and several other initiatives.
“She’s everything a young professional should be: bright, hard-working, pleasant, and present,” noted Jayne Morley in her nomination of Sampson for 20 Under 40.
The Craig Press caught up with her to find out what makes her successful in her position.
Craig Press: What problem would you like to solve?
Sampson: Locally and in relation to Moffat County, there are three major areas of concern that I have a keen interest in being an active member in resolving.
1. Economic development — Unfortunately, I see Craig and Moffat County heading into a very challenging economic period as regards the economic growth of the community, over the next 10 years particularly. Idealistically, I would like to assist in slowing and ultimately reversing Craig and Moffat County’s budgeting and cash issues.
2. School system — I have two young children which will be entering into the school system soon. For this reason I want to do what I can as a parent and community member to improve their learning environment and foster their opportunities for scholastic success. Moffat County’s school system was ranked as one of the lowest for the state of Colorado. I find this particularly concerning since we are surrounded by communities with schools ranked as some of the highest in Colorado.
3. Community policing and drug prevention — I am extremely concerned with elevated levels of drug use and criminal nuisance activity, which we have been experiencing in recent years in Moffat County and the monetary and social drain they place on our community. With my background in criminal justice, I would like to assist in making Craig safer by evaluating and analyzing the current regulations and procedures in place and improving upon those processes to better fit Craig’s unique profile and problems. I suspect that issues 1 and 2 are largely the result of issue 3, and solving that issue first would drastically improve and possibly even reverse issues 1 and 2.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to see myself in a managerial role for Craig Station and my business talents being utilized in much the same manner they are currently serving as the financial coordinator.
What community organizations and volunteer work are you involved in?
Until recently I was on the Museum of Northwest Colorado board, where I had served several years as a board member. I gave up this position last month due to a schedule conflict but do intend on attending when my schedule allows (I did not wish to hold the position when my attendance would be sporadic). Currently I am a board member on the Craig Parks and Rec advisory board, which has been looking at a master plan for the City of Craig for future investments and priorities for the City Parks & Rec district. I attend meetings with the Yampa Valley Young Professionals, and although I was not appointed, I did try for the school district board position which had been vacated after Charity Neal moved.
“Deep down we still think Grandma and Grandpa were the best generation and we are still rebelling from our parents, but now we use the internet to be heard. We care about our environment and the future of America, and we want everyone to agree with us because we have been told from a very young age that we are special and will make a difference in the world. Mostly, my generation is the people-pleasing generation. We want to do what is right and we want to see everyone else get along and treat one another fairly.”
Who’s your hero and why?
As cheesy as this sounds I always idealized fictional and literary heroes like Zorro, Bruce Wayne and the Count of Monte Cristo. I liked them not for their daring acts of bravery and action powered fight scenes, although entertaining, but rather because they were individuals who served their communities anonymously. They did not desire praise or recognition but rather served with the intent of protecting and improving lives of good people, fighting for liberties and correcting injustices without the need for accolades.
What is it about your generation that sets it apart?
My generation — Generation Y/Millennials — gets a lot of criticism, which I think is interesting because when you actually stop and think about who we are, the stigma doesn’t really fit us. Millennials were the generation coming into adulthood during the 9/11 tragedy, and in school during the Columbine shooting. We learned early that the world was not a safe place. We were in school at the height of when science was making huge strides in research and unlimited information suddenly became available at the click of a mouse. Despite what you might hear in the media, we are a generation with low teen pregnancy and a low criminal backgrounds. We schedule everything because we have an incredible amount of pressure on us to be the best at everything, and the only way that is possible is to schedule, plan and organize.
For most of us, we were the grandkids of the GI Generation or the Silent Generation comprised of those who fought in WWII and the starters of the civil rights movements. We loved, appreciated and cared deeply for our grandparents all while relishing in the stories they told us as kids and the cautionary tales they preached to us as we grew. Some of us rebelled from our own parents, aka Baby Boomers, who were known for their free thinking and what was viewed as radical ideas during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Our parents did drugs and took civil rights to a whole new level, but were also gone a majority of the time working or fighting for some cause. As a result, we are assertive with our views because we rebelled from one of the most dominate generations of the century, and we had to be loud to get their attention. Deep down we still think Grandma and Grandpa were the best generation and we are still rebelling from our parents, but now we use the internet to be heard. We care about our environment and the future of America, and we want everyone to agree with us because we have been told from a very young age that we are special and will make a difference in the world. Mostly, my generation is the people-pleasing generation. We want to do what is right and we want to see everyone else get along and treat one another fairly.
Why did you choose Moffat County?
My family is from here, and we love Northwest Colorado and all it has to offer in the form of outdoor activities.
What do you do for play in Moffat County?
I am a new mom, with another young child, so mostly I do things I can do with my family. Camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, etc.
What have you read lately that has changed the way you think? And how?
Unfortunately, as a new mom reading (in the traditional sense of the word) is something I do not have much time for, unless you count “Goodnight Moon.” I have however listened to some great audio books, but mostly I read the news and posts from blogs and such. Probably the most influential thing I have read or listened to lately would be the book Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Outside the Box by the Arbinger Institute. I had read it while at college, then promptly forgot about it, and then rediscovered it again recently. To be brief, it made me appreciate the view point of others and how I may affect them and how their actions affect me and my behavior towards them. I realized that there are certain people who I find I am ”in the box” with and when I slow down and think, I am usually able to “get outside the box” and work with them on a higher and more respectful level. Usually the principles work and the relationship can be salvaged, but if not the principles do at least help me to move on and do what I know to be right.
What kind of future do you see for your industry or career in Moffat County?
That is a tricky question, as I work in an industry that is continually fighting for its life each election, and a lot can happen in just four years. Idealistically, I would like to see my industry adapt to changing times and become a major powerhouse in the renewable energy market. Most people do not think of coal as a renewable energy source, but I think that if given the chance, coal may in fact be the best source for future renewable energies in the years to come. I have seen some amazing possibilities and models of what coal can do and how clean it can be, and I am excited and hopeful that we will have the opportunity to show the world what we can do for them. If we can get around the current public ignorance and demonizing of the coal industry I think we have the potential to improve processes and inefficiencies that would allow for coal to reach new heights in power generation. I just want to be a part of that bright future.
If you could change one things about Moffat County what would you change and why?
If I could change one thing, I would ask that Moffat County stand up and act as a beacon of truth to the rest of the US. There is a definite disconnect between a large portion of the US and the land that we rely on for our survival. Most Americans have no idea where their food comes from or where their power comes from. That ignorance is not present here in Moffat County. We do know where our food comes from, we do know what is involved in the generation of power, we do know what it takes to produce things and make them with our own hands and the costs associated with it. We know how to take care of our environment and foster that symbiotic relationship with the land. We see the ignorance of others and dismiss them and shut them out because of it.
We tout an “us vs. them” mentality which causes “them” to misunderstand us and what we stand for. This disconnect was never more apparent than in a recent article published by USA Today. I feel this article could not have been more off on who Moffat County is and what we stand for. However, I think that is largely our fault. We let USA Today paint us this way because that was the side we showed them. Right now we do not teach, we do not share our skills or our expertise with others, and because of this the rest of the world is ignorant of us and our way of life. If I could change anything it would be that we would reach out to others as a teacher, as a beacon of truth. Light a path through the yellow journalism and politics that is used to foster resentment towards us and our way of living.
This year, a handful of Moffat County High School graduates are setting out to carry on the family tradition. From business to education, these students plan to follow in the footsteps their parents and in some cases, grandparents and great-grandparents.