Happy to be in Summit County
April 4, 2009
BLUE RIVER ” Rob Waterman, a Blue River councilman, is passionately devoted to where he lives.
“Summit County keeps you young,” he said.
Originally from Detroit, Waterman liked to vacation at Copper Mountain, where he owned a second home. When his youngest child graduated college and the corporation he worked at closed, he took a calculated risk and decided to start over in the mountains.
“It wasn’t a hard decision,” he said.
So, in 1998 at the age of 56, Waterman “came out here with no job, no nothing” and built his own law practice from scratch. He specializes in corporate commercial real estate and civil litigation.
“It takes a long time to build up a practice,” he said. “People have to know you.”
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And Waterman is known to many ” he’s ensconced himself in the local community with involvement in a plethora of associations. Besides being a Blue River councilman, he’s president of the Summit County Chamber of Commerce, vice president of the Summit Visitors Information Center, a member of the Summit County Rotary Club, a board member and vice president of legal affairs at Summit Public Radio and a past board member of the Summit Association of Realtors. He’s also on the steering committee for the Colorado Competitive Council, and he’s on the joint committee for the creation of a business court in Colorado.
“People think I’m semi-retired because I teach skiing at Breckenridge,” Waterman said. “But I’m not. I work seven days a week, and I get more than 100 days on the mountain. … I can work on the weekends and make up for a ski day.”
Waterman’s other passion is economic development.
“There’s two ways a community grows ” more of the same or a different direction,” he said. “The population is growing in Summit County. How are we going to grow?”
He suggests diversification ” like attracting high tech and biotech industries that are ecologically friendly, high paying and in need of little or no infrastructure.
“I want to create a middle class,” Waterman said. “Right now, we’re like a Third-World country.”
Waterman also said he believes the biggest problem for Summit County is affordable housing. Without attainable housing for a middle class, businesses can’t survive due to an inability to attract and retain employees.
“We are trapped in thinking that all our money is going to come from tourists,” he said. “Economic development shouldn’t just be retail.”
Though Waterman is busy, he said he’s never been happier.
“I never leave,” he said. “There’s no place I’d rather be. In shoulder seasons, this is all mine.”
And though he’s “gray around the muzzle,” Waterman exudes youthful enthusiasm for everything he does, whether it’s work, play or something in between.
“You’re either growing or you’re dying,” Waterman said. “If life doesn’t excite you, what are you doing?”
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or