Vail council selects Scott Robson as the next town manager | VailDaily.com

Vail council selects Scott Robson as the next town manager

Robson, the director of the Civic Center Conservancy in Denver, will start in Vail on Nov. 1

Scott Robson
Special to the Daily

Who’s Scott Robson?

  • Current job: Executive director, Civic Center Conservancy, Denver.
  • Other positions: Executive director, Denver Parks and Recreation; alternative transportation and trails manager, Boulder County; lead planning manager, National Park Service.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Colorado, Boulder; master’s degree, University of Oregon.
  • Personal: Robson is 47. He’s married, with two sons.

VAIL — For the record, Scott Robson is a skier and has telemark, Nordic and Alpine boards. That should serve him well as Vail’s new town manager.

The Vail Town Council announced Robson’s hiring Tuesday. The council will formalize his employment contract at its Oct. 1 meeting, and Robson will start work Nov. 1.

Robson is currently the executive director of Denver’s Civic Center Conservancy and has experience with both government and nonprofit groups, including the Colorado Mountain Club, where he led a dramatic turnaround in declining membership, posting a 105% increase in members who are younger than 30.

Robson also led Denver Parks and Recreation, which includes responsibility for both neighborhood parks and the Winter Park ski area.

Eager to start

In a Tuesday telephone interview, Robson said he’s excited to come to Vail. He grew up near Boulder — he earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado — and he and his family have been skiing Vail since the late 1970s.

He said his new job in Vail is “a dream come true,” adding he hopes to play a role in building the community.

Council members shared Robson’s enthusiasm.

Council member Jenn Bruno said the council was unanimous in picking Robson from a field of four “incredible” candidates.

Bruno added that Robson stood out from the other finalists due to his breadth of experience and the fact that he’s spent his career in both governmental and non-governmental work.

Robson’s experience running nonprofit groups may help him work with what Bruno called a “demanding” customer base.

“It’s fair to say that Vail residents, second home owners and visitors have high expectations,” Bruno said.

Council member Greg Moffet is leaving office after the Nov. 5 meeting due to the town’s term limit rules.

Moffet said Robson impressed the council as “a leader who can manage and a manager who can lead.”

Moffet agreed with Bruno’s assessment of the finalists for the job.

“We were uniformly impressed with the candidates,” he said, adding that any of the four would probably have done well in the position.

“It made our decision delightfully challenging,” Moffet said. “It’s a real, real high class problem.”

With a strong candidate field, Bruno said council members thought Robson brought a “quiet confidence” to the process. And, she added, Robson’s “excitement about Vail certainly was fantastic.”

Learning the territory

Robson said his excitement about Vail stems in large part from getting to know the community a little bit.

The community “wants to be involved in some of the major decisions moving forward,” Robson said.

Robson acknowledged there’s a lot to learn. To do that, he said he looks to get out into the community as much as possible, and build relationships with the town’s partners, from citizens to business owners to nonprofit groups.

Looking broadly, Robson said he’s looking forward to seeing how the Vail Civic Area Plan turns out and looking into how to fund “what will be a transformational project for the town.”

He added that a good staff is in place to help move the town forward.

“Through the interview process — which was one of the most robust I’ve seen — I was completely impressed by the staff,” he said. “It’s a great environment for a new manager to be stepping into.”

Of course, there are always outside forces at work in planning the future of a resort town. Robson said one of the biggest unknowns is the state of the national and world economies in the coming year or so.

“I’m happy to see that there were alternatives (in the 2020 budget),” he said. It’s good to see the council and staff with fallback positions.”

Longtime Vail resident Mark Gordon was at a recent event to meet the manager candidates.

Gordon said he was impressed when he had a chance to chat a while with Robson.

“He wasn’t on my radar just reading the resumes,” Gordon said. “But he impressed me at the event. He was passionate. He seemed very smart and willing to engage (the community).

“He was my first choice when I left the meeting.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.