Q & A with Scott Mattice, RFL Academy 2016 alum
From road construction worker to ski instructor to working for local government, RFL Academy 2016 alum Scott Mattice has lived through a lifetime’s worth of career changes. Now the deputy director for the Pitkin County Public Works Department and a youth baseball coach, Mattice has drawn on the skills he learned through RFL to become a more resilient and self-aware leader. Recently, we chatted with Mattice about how RFL taught him to “show up” — both for his colleagues and the nine-year olds he coaches.
Roaring Fork Leadership: How did you end up in the Roaring Fork Valley?
Scotte Mattice: I was born in New York and my family moved to Durango when I was 11 or so. I went to college in Greeley, CO because I wanted to get far away from Durango. When I graduated, I moved to the Vail Valley because I wanted to stay relatively close to my college friends in Denver. After about seven or eight years, I realized I wasn’t going to Denver all that often and had some friends over here in the Roaring Fork Valley, where I met my wife.
Soon after we married, I got a job at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana. We lasted three months before we packed up and moved back to Colorado, settling in Aspen.
RFL: Tell me about your career journey. What was your path to your current job?
Mattice coaching youth baseball
SM: I grew up playing sports in Durango — skiing, football, baseball. I thought I wanted a career in sports. The movie, Jerry Maguire, had just come out when I was in high school and I was thinking, “sweet, I’ll go into sports marketing.” So I went to business school, but during my first marketing economics class, I realized I didn’t like the business side of things.
One of my good friends who played football told me to check out the kinesiology department, so I switched my major to sports exercise science with a minor in education. When I graduated, I was leaning towards being a teacher or coach. Throughout college, I worked in road construction
in the summers and often during the school year as well. When I looked up teaching and coaching salaries, I realized road construction paid a lot better.
So, I ended up teaching skiing for 10 years and doing road construction in the summers. Twelve years ago, I decided to make a career change and do something a little more consistent.
RFL: Tell me about that transition to working for local government?
SM: I worked for La Plata County back in high school when I was doing road construction. That was my job as a teenager and it was the first time I got exposure benefits and time off for vacation. I knew I liked government. And having a new wife being new to the area, I was driven by job security. I started out as an operator in the Pitkin County Public Works Department. From there I moved up the ranks to a supervisor and then to a manager in the bridge department then as a manager for the road and bridge department where I was for the past six years. I was recently promoted to the deputy public works director.
RFL: What was the most meaningful part of your RFL Academy experience?
SM: I’m kind of an introvert so doing a lot of seminars and conferences drains me physically. Starting with the first session with Greg [Cortopassi] I had to really step out of my comfort zone, which opened me up to a lot of new relationships. To this day, I still have coworkers that were in that class with me now. I think RFL really jump started those relationships because we had the vulnerability and understanding of that time together.
RFL: How did you grow as a leader?
Mattice with his son at the top of the Highland Bowl
SM: Oh, there’s a lot. A big thing RFL taught me was having an awareness of how you show up to people. Sometimes you’re saying one thing but what other people are seeing is something different.
I also coach youth baseball, so I get to go out and teach nine-year-olds how to play baseball, where being present, listening, and being clear and concise with my instructions is so important.
But you know, as I’m saying this, I’m also realizing that through RFL, I learned how to address and know your audience. I tend to be a long, rambling storyteller, but sometimes my boss or the Board of County Commissioners really wants me to be succinct. RFL taught me to flex the muscles that aren’t strong for me and work on my presentation skills and different communication styles.