Many of you know that I was raised with grandparents who ran a large ranch. Growing up that way helped me develop values that I bring to work each day. Ranchers and farmers know how to put in a full day’s work, how to keep working until the work gets done, and how to relax when the work is finally finished (although that is rarely the case). I share that experience with my colleague and mentor, Monty Rutherford. Monty has been the regional representative for Manufacturer’s Edge and the MEP for the Western Slope for more than three decades. He has helped numerous manufacturers throughout the state in so many ways. Additionally, Monty owns a ranch in Mack, Colorado where he runs all-natural black angus beef cattle.
Over 20 years ago (no need to tell how many years over), I had the privilege and honor of working under Monty in Grand Junction as his intern for Manufacturer’s Edge (then known as MAMTC). Monty was the perfect mentor, he always provided opportunities to learn. I recall one day he walked up to me and asked if I had ever done a business valuation. I said, “No, I haven’t”. His response, “Great, let me know if you have any questions”. My response, “Yes I do, what is a business valuation?” I learned so much from Monty during that time and always admired his knowledge and loved his incredible storytelling.
Monty has one of the most colorful resumes I have ever seen. From nearly becoming a priest, to being a state patrol officer, to being a truck driver – he has done it all. Which I think is why he is an incredible storyteller. You see, you never really know if the story he is telling is true or not until he gets to the punchline. That is the same way my grandpa was.
It is with mixed emotions that we are saying goodbye to Monty as a contributor to the Manufacturer’s Edge team. Monty is ready to be a full-time rancher and spend time with his amazing family. We will miss his great smile, hearty laugh, and surprise punchlines. I would like to send him off with a poem my rancher grandpa wrote:
The Bridge Builder
An old man, going on a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear of him,
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
You are wasting strength with building here,
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way,
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you this bridge at the evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head,
“Good friend, in the path I have,” he said,
“There follows after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be,
He too, must cross in the twilight dim,
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”
Thank you, Monty for all the bridges you have built for me. I would not be the person I am today without your influence. We will miss you! Let me know when it is branding time and I will be there for the good stories and great company.