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Wednesday August 21st 2019

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That's what she said

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Michael Kruteck, finance executive wants to bring balance to City Council

Council candidate Michael Kruteck is pictured backcountry skiing in Colorado's Elk Mountains. (Photo courtesy of Michael Kruteck)

Council candidate Michael Kruteck is pictured backcountry skiing in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. (Photo courtesy of Michael Kruteck)

Michael Kruteck came to Boulder, sight unseen, from New York as a college freshman. At the time, in 1979, the university’s dorms were overcrowded and Kruteck didn’t have an on-campus housing reservation.

He moved into an apartment catty-corner to the Williams Village towers and got a job at a full-service gas station so that he could pay his way through school. He also hashed at a sorority on University Hill.

“I think the experience made me much more aware of Boulder and it made me a very independent thinker and problem solver,” says Kruteck, 54, and a candidate for Boulder City Council.

That same confidence to explore on his own is perhaps what also motivated him to circumnavigate the world on a ship and move to Switzerland after college.

Kruteck and his wife Pam graduated from CU in 1983, and, in 2000, they boomeranged back to Boulder because they were drawn to the city’s lifestyle, including the appreciation for the outdoors, vibrant business community and the arts and culture base. They wanted to raise their children here. They live in the Newlands neighborhood and have two sons: Ben, 19, and Ethan, 16, and two dogs.

Kruteck, who has a graduate degree in international finance, is the Chief Financial Officer at Boulder-based Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy. He’s also had senior finance roles at Molson Coors Brewing Company, Crocs and Aspect Energy.

He’s motivated to run for Boulder City Council because, he says, he wants to bring more balance to the board.

Kruteck describes himself as a fiscal conservative, and generally speaking, progressive regarding social issues. City Council has become too polarizing, with no middle ground on issues such as growth, carbon reduction and how bikes and cars share the roads.

“I believe there is room for more thoughtful and pragmatic policies and the city would benefit from more balanced discussions,” Kruteck says. “A key feature that distinguishes me is my practical business experience, and I’ve spent a lot of time in my career trying to bring folks together to the agreement stage of negotiations.”

Kruteck has been involved in the Boulder community in several volunteer roles, including coaching youth soccer, serving as a mentor in CU’s Leeds School of Business and as a mentor for the Unreasonable Institute. He’s also an E-Town board member and a City of Boulder Capital Committee participant.

In his free time, he enjoys fly fishing in Boulder Creek and is a Boulder Flycasters member. He also is a road and mountain biker and is passionate about Nordic and alpine skiing.

After graduating from CU in 1983, Kruteck wanted to travel to Europe and the only way he could afford to do so was to find work to get him there and keep him there. He taught skiing in Anzere, a small village in the French-speaking portion of Switzerland, and also in Saas-Fe, in the German-speaking region of the country. He mostly taught youth, ages 8 to 13, who were on holiday from Ireland and England.

“The best part of the experience was picnic lunches with my students surrounded by the Alps,” Kruteck recalls. “At the end of the day I would ski right into the villages and enjoy hot spiced wine with the locals.”

He says he enjoyed the way that in Switzerland, for many people, skiing is an integral part of their lives well into their 70’s and beyond.

John Blanco, who works in the physics department at CU, is a good friend of Kruteck’s and is endorsing his campaign.

“Michael is a natural leader,” Blanco says.

As an anecdote, Blanco recalls a vacation about five years back that he and Kruteck took with their families. They went hiking in Utah’s Fiery Furnace, which is maze of sandstone canyons and fins. With no marked trails, the area is known for abrupt dead-ends.

“He was eager to lead the group through and keep everybody safe, while making it interesting,” Blanco recalls.

Blanco says he’s also impressed with Kruteck’s high-level of interest and curiosity, and his professional background.

“He’s got a lot of financial experience and his practicality would be very useful on the council,” Blanco says.

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