Our Story

The Upper Arkansas Valley abounds with talented, conscientious, and hard-working people. But too often, newcomers must move on. Businesses, government, and nonprofits lose talent and the remaining community members carry the burden while finding and training replacements. As a result, growth happens in fits and starts and burnout runs high. Projects requiring collective action and long-term vision—such as water rights or public schools—struggle to secure buy-in and commitment. In September 2016, we started Watershed to give all parts of our community more tools to thrive: space, exposure, education, and encouragement to meet, work, and experiment for a better today and tomorrow.

About Rick and Katy:

Rick and Katy own and operate Watershed. We met in Lander, Wyoming and spent a decade in Chicago before moving to the Upper Arkansas Valley.

Rick brings energy and drive, as well as extensive experience teaching within premier educational institutions. A decade and a half of teaching an extreme range of students gave Rick the insight that the most critical learning takes places when people share experiences and find common ground. Rick volunteers with the Town of Buena Vista’s Recreational Advisory Board, and the BV Strong Community Dinner Board.

Katy brings legal, financial, and project management expertise. Years of community banking in Indiana and working toward justice system reform in Chicago shaped her belief in incremental, community-centered growth. She holds law and public policy degrees from the University of Chicago and plans to practice law in Colorado. Katy serves as Treasurer of the Buena Vista Main Street Program, Founding Chair of Buena Vista Historic Preservation Commission, and Steering Committee Member of Startup Colorado.

About The Community Manager:

Christian Kelly recently joined the Watershed team to enhance our membership experience, coordinate Watershed events, marketing efforts and collaborate with the Buena Vista community.

Christian brings a background in marketing, public relations and event planning to Watershed. After graduating from Columbia College Chicago in Marketing and Public Relations, she worked as a fundraiser at St. Patrick Center, the largest non-profit organization in Missouri assisting the homeless population. Simultaneously, she received her Masters in Marketing from Webster University in St. Louis.

Since then, she has worked at Eddyline Brewery and Taproom planning live music and marketing efforts and often freelances for small businesses in Buena Vista. Christian currently acts as Marketing Liaison for Mountain Meet Ups – inspiring, connecting and celebrating parents and caregivers in Chaffee County.

If you’re interested in learning more or becoming a Watershed member, connect with Christian at [email protected].