We're lucky in Summit County to have a wealth of stories about an educational system that produces delightful lives to write about.
Jon Whitfield is just such a subject.
Graduating from Summit High in 1988, Jon was a standout, capping a positive string of prep sports and drama accomplishments.
He carried that onward to college, with two years at the University of New Mexico on a NCAA Division I soccer scholarship.
Returning to Colorado and Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Jon was on the soccer team and captained the CC Tiger squad in his senior year that went undefeated before losing in the final four Division III championships.
Armed with a BS degree in psychology, he returned to The Summit and two days later was working with us selling ads and then hooked up with Leo Larkin, writing a sports column as "Phil McCracken" and "Hank Cheese."
They covered local sports stars and worked their way into the Broncos, Avalanche, Nuggets and the just debuting Rockies MLB team at Coors Field.
They loved it and so did their reading sports fans.
"Yep," the 42-year-old remarks, "probably my greatest claim to fame."
That gig led him to be invited to judge the Copper Mountain Resort's 1997 Eeenie Weenie Bikini Contest with T. Alex Miller and Biff America. In charge of recruiting judges was Hilary Fadner, a resort marketing staffer. They started dating shortly thereafter.
"In 1999 we moved together to San Francisco where I started working for an eCommerce software company that eventually went public, but I made nooo money," Jon recalls. "Hilary worked in marketing for an Internet advertising technology company called Unicast."
"We lived there for three years, and got married in 2001 - three days before 9/11," he adds.
They moved to Denver in 2002 where they bought a house and had their first child, Rand, now 9.
"I started working for MediaPost Communications, a trade publisher that covers all corners of the advertising business, started by Hilary's father, Ken Fadner, in 1996 to primarily be an Internet-only publisher," says Jon.
Ken started AdWeek Magazine in the '70s, selling it in the early '90s, he explains. "Ken's is a storied career."
In 2003 they moved to Connecticut and Jon worked out of the New York City headquarters, again selling ads in the newsletters and print magazines (MEDIA and OMMA Magazines) for five years, eventually running the publishing business.
In 2006 Hilary gave birth to daughter Evelyn.
"Sick of the NYC rat-race commute and not seeing my kids until Saturday mornings, we relocated to Austin, Texas, in '07, when we launched MediaPost's event business which I took over and currently run," he relates.
He and Hilary have returned to ski with family, and for Jon to play one of two roles in "Tuesday's with Morrie" at the Backstage Theatre opposite of Bob Moore. The show was directed by Bob's wife, Wendy.
"We did like a 16-run season in January and February 2009, then I came back in the summer 2010 to do another 12 shows in August," Jon explains.
"That was an amazing experience because lots of wonderful old friends came out to those shows - the now-gone Jody Anderson and Jay Bauer - and many other amazing people of the community," he adds. "That was real emotional, and it was really special to be back doing a show like that with Bob and Wendy."
As for his family that resided here:
Currently, step-father Tom Forrest also resides in Austin, with Jon's mother, Davelyn. Tom was the assistant county manager here and is now a consultant.
Sister Lynly is in Astoria Queens, just outside of Manhattan, running the "Singer's Forum," a non-profit musical oasis committed to providing quality vocal training for New York City residents.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army
veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years.
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