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Editor’s note: Danny Conrado is the newest member of the Meeker Town Board of Trustees. He will be sworn in April 12, along with returning Trustees Regas Halandras and Rod Gerloff and Mayor Mandi Etheridge.
What were your reasons for running? “Since moving back to Meeker I have wanted to give back to this community that has blessed my family and this opportunity presented itself this year. I’m a fifth-generation Meekerite and I’m so happy to be living in this great community and raising two sons here with my wife Ellen. I believe I have a unique skill set, industry background and can bring a fresh voice to the Board of Trustees. I’m excited and honored to be a part of this diverse group of individuals. “
What do you see as the biggest issues facing the town? “Obviously, there are a couple major projects occurring in the town this year, the roundabout project, which is in the bidding and soon construction phase and the site of the ‘old’ Meeker Elementary School. Like many locals, I have an emotional attachment to the building where I first attended school. ‘Mothballing’ the facility might be the best idea, since there is no real urgency and historical funding may be available. We must be fiscally responsible and now is not the time to ask taxpayers to sink a ton of money into another project. I think the board has done a great job of listening and asking for input from the community and county on this issue.
“While both of those are huge issues, the most pressing issue I see and have felt is the economy. Meeker is blessed with many great small businesses and I want to be sure that the town is responsive to their needs and opinions. We are in this economy together and we need to support what we have. We cannot afford to lose any more talented local businesses. In other towns and counties where we (MSG) operate, they have really adopted the theory of keeping work and jobs local. Sixty-eight cents of every dollar spent locally returns. Why do we want to send our money, especially the people’s money, out of town? Being a supplier to many contractors, I overwhelmingly hear that the county and town need to become better partners in growth with industry and developers, not create hurdles or hoops for them to jump through. And that is hard for elected officials and government employees to hear, but it’s the truth. I know that there are cost savings that can be realized by all the government entities and special districts working together and consolidating services, in the end saving the taxpayers of the town of Meeker and Rio Blanco County. Examples of such cooperation can be seen 65 miles to the west in Rangely, where, from what I’ve seen, there is great cooperation within the town and eagerness for growth in the community. We must never forget that we work for the people of Meeker.”
What’s your occupational background? “Along with my parents Joe and Kelly Conrado and sister Katie, we own and operate Meeker Sand and Gravel/MSG Ready Mix. We are humbled to be one of Meeker’s longest-standing businesses. MSG has grown to incorporate four ready mix concrete facilities in northwest Colorado (Meeker, Craig, Rangely and Piceance Creek) and operates two gravel mines in Meeker. I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.S. in business management (operations), minor in political science and certificate from the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship. I spent the summer of 2001 in Washington, D.C., in a summer internship and educational program through the Foundation of Teaching Economics and the Cato Institute. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life, but nothing compares to working with your family, along with the opportunities and people of northwest Colorado.”
When do you officially take office and what will your role be in the interim? “Monday, April 12 is currently the date I will be sworn in. I will continue to talk to members of the community to listen to their needs and expectations as well as contact current and former board members to get a feel for the operations. The town has been exceptional at including me in current meetings such as the special workshop between Meeker, Rangely and Rio Blanco County, as well as providing me with educational resources.”