Sather launches write-in candidacy |

Sather launches write-in candidacy

summit daily news
Summit Daily, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyDon Sather

SUMMIT COUNTY ” Longtime local businessman and green-building advocate Don Sather will make a write-in bid for a county commissioner seat in the Nov. 4 election.

Sather, 58, will run as an independent against Democratic incumbent Thomas Davidson and Republican Rick Amico.

Sather said his business background ” with expertise in finance and accounting ” gives him the experience needed to help Summit County face economic challenges associated with high energy prices, a slowdown in construction and approaching build-out in Summit County.

“It’s not that I could individually stop a recession or depression. But we know we’re facing build-out. A major section of our economy is facing reduction,” Sather said, referring to hundreds of locals who work as carpenters or in other trades related to new home construction. “How do you respond to a change you know is coming?”

Having survived a severe economic dip in the 1980s, when nearly half of the construction workers ended up leaving the area, Sather said he hopes to avoid a similar scenario in today’s touchy economic climate.

One option is to focus on the transition to a new energy economy, making sure that Summit County is on the leading edge of that movement.

Local construction workers and tradesmen could be re-trained to specialize in localized applications of renewable energy, Sather suggested.

“We have to look for a logical transition people in the trades, including educational assistance,” he said.

Sather first got involved in alternative energy with a solar company back in the 1970s and has remained a strong advocate of renewable energy since then.

His Bighorn retail facility in Silverthorne included cutting-edge energy applications that have allowed the store to cut utility bills nearly by half over traditional construction.

Sather’s interest in renewable energy today is reflected by his involvement with a local group called Renewable Energy in the Summit Environment, which is pushing for construction of a renewable-energy farm at the stie of the Old Dillon Reservoir.

As county commissioner, he would seek to diversify the local economy to reduce dependence on tourism and construction. Summit County should try and create a business-friendly climate that would encourage manufacturing and computer-related services businesses, he said.

“You have to look at the mix of the three county commissioners and how their skills blend,” he said. “If you look at experience with budgets and planning, I’ve got 40 years of running a business, including accounting and finance.”

Sather was born in Texas and raised in Minnesota. He attended St. Olaf College and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1967 with a degree in political science and economics.

He was a part-time county resident between 1973 and 1978, when he partnered in a local real-estate company. In 1984, he bought what had been the last operating sawmill in Summit county and turned it into a lumber yard and building-supply center still thriving today in Silverthorne.

Sather took a leadership role in youth sport organizations, including the youth hockey foundation. He was the founder the Team Summit snowboard high-school and middle-school programs.

He has served on the board of various local organizations, including the Summit County Builders Association, the Summit County Rotary Foundation and the Backstage Theatre.

Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at

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