Recent UCCS Grad Matthew Driftmier is this week’s Fresh Perspective Profile! He’s got big plans for Colorado Springs! #GetFreshCOS
1. Tell us about yourself!
-My name is Matthew Driftmier and while I am unfortunately not a native to Colorado Springs, having been here since 2004, I certainly have no desire to ever leave. I got my Political Science degree from UCCS (go Mountain Lions!) and really fell in love with this City and got to meet a lot of wonderful people here. I am currently the Executive Director of The Colorado Springs Company, which was founded by General Palmer in 1871 as a retainer for all of the land in Colorado Springs and a vehicle to start the City. My team and I are working on taking it away from being a defunct, for-profit real estate corporation to being a non-profit dedicated to serving Colorado Springs and everyone in it. There are a lot of big things we are planning, so stay tuned!
2. What are the top 3 issues you see facing Colorado Springs?
-There is a big issue which, to me, eclipses the others facing Colorado Springs.The problem is us. And trust me, I do not say that lightly. Let me explain what I mean by that: whenever something good happens to us, or there is something of promise on the horizon for the City, we immediately pick it apart and leave it on the side of the road to wither into oblivion. Good things never even have a chance to prove itself to be good. I think this stems, in part, from living in the shadow of Denver for so long. Denver has a tendency to hog the limelight and to sap resources away from the rest of the state which sows a feeling of “why bother?” Why bother trying to improve our business climate when Denver will just give more incentives than us? Why bother trying to make our airport better when Denver’s will just be “cheaper?” Why bother attracting young professionals when they are just going to move to Denver?
You get the point.
I think we need to have more confidence in ourselves and in our future. We need to inspire ourselves to work together to make Colorado Springs a better place where anything is possible. Yes, that means that it will require work and yes, that means the status quo is going to be changed. But change is only scary if we let it be. We cannot build a future on the premise of “wait for perfect solutions to fall into our laps and make things better.” That is called magic and it is not going to happen.
A quote from a friend sums it up perfectly: “What if there was real place where people could spend a day absorbed in the wonders of innovation and the diversity of mankind. A place where inspiration and application converged. And when you went home, you could not only relive that experience, but seamlessly continue the journey?” Why can’t that be Colorado Springs? If we work together to come up with new solutions, then there is nothing to stop us from a more beautiful tomorrow for all.
3.What do you love about Colorado Springs?
-I could talk your ear off on this one, but quite simply, it’s the beauty of the City and the surrounding area, and the people. We have such lovely people here to call our fellow citizens and mind-numbingly beautiful environments that I cannot imagine why one wouldn’t love Colorado Springs.
4. What would you change about Colorado Springs?
-The density. We’re the biggest city in Colorado (land area wise) which does not come without consequences. We build out faster than we can fill up interior spaces, so that leaves dead spots behind. Academy Blvd. is a perfect example of this effect. If we were a little more close-knit, then our transit could be better, there would not be as many roads to maintain, you would not have to travel as far to get places, and we all might get to know each other a little better.
5. Would you ever consider running for office in Colorado Springs?
-You can count on it. I will never mince words about my desire to serve the citizens in public office. To me, it is offensive when people hem and haw about running for office or they have to be “pushed” by others to run. If you have to be convinced to serve, then you do not have the right service-oriented attitude that the people deserve from their public officials. I believe there is no greater honor than for the citizens to trust you with the office of a public representative. For people to stand up and say “this is who we want to speak for us, in them we imbue our trust” and to say it at the ballot box, there is nothing more powerful or moving than that. If the citizens agreed, I would be honored to serve them in the City Government.