Jefferson County has more than 3,000 employees and each one has a story to tell about what it is really like to work at Jeffco, to serve our community and be part of this workforce.Recently, we found out about the Stahler brothers who spent several summers working at Jeffco’s Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport. Luke and Sean’s mother, Mary Stahler, works at the airport and has so since 2001. We wanted to learn more about the brothers and what it was like working for Jeffco, so we sat down with them to ask them a few questions. Read below or you can hear firsthand from Luke and Sean in our video, Meet Jeffco – The Stahler Story (YouTube).
What years did you work at the airport? When did you work at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport?
I worked at the airport during the summers of 2009, 2010, and 2011.
I worked at the airport seasonally for five summers while I studied at CSU from May 2013 - August 2017.
What kind of duties did you have?
My main responsibility was grounds maintenance (cutting and fertilizing the grass, pulling weeds, trimming trees and bushes, laying sod, etc.). However, I also assisted with airfield projects (crack sealing and painting the runways and taxiways, mowing the airfield, etc.) and other special projects (constructing an overflow parking lot, constructing decorative landscaping, pouring concrete, planting trees).
I maintained the grounds while I worked at RMMA. I repaired sprinkler systems, mowed and trimmed the lawn, and took care of flower beds, gardens, shrubs, and trees. I monitored water usage to help keep costs down for summer watering. I also assisted with larger summer projects like painting the runways, crack-sealing the parking lots and runways, asphalt and concrete repairs, and mowing the airfield at night. I would collaborate with and assist maintenance workers with their own projects.
Tell us about what it was like working there and some of your favorite moments:
I had a great time working at the airport. I really enjoyed working, talking, and joking around with all my coworkers, and it was awesome to get to work outside every day (the views at the airport are pretty hard to beat). A few of my favorite moments were watching the sunrise from the runway during a crack seal project, mowing the airfield at night, attending the airport's 50th anniversary celebration, and getting to operate all the heavy equipment!
My coworkers made a huge difference in how I perceived the job. I looked forward to coming into work because I got to interact with friendly and helpful people on the job. The overall atmosphere and morale were positive and fun. I enjoyed working outdoors and assisting the maintenance crew with summer projects. One of the greatest memories of the airport was mowing the airfield. It was a two-week long project each summer. I enjoyed operating tractors with mower decks. I assisted several maintenance workers on this project and we had to mow at night, so we wouldn’t slow down air traffic. I gained technical experience and my social graces and work ethic benefited from my time at RMMA.
Tell us more about you now and what you have been up to since working for the county:
I earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University in 2013. After graduating, I moved to the Midwest to begin my career as a mechanical design engineer for John Deere. In that role, I was responsible for the development of future crop harvesting technology. Personal reasons brought me home to Colorado several years later, and I now work as a mechanical design engineer for Ball Aerospace. I married my high school sweetheart in January of this year.
I currently work as a quality engineer at Lockheed Martin. I graduated from CSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering with a math minor. I love problem-solving and get to do it every day at my job. In my free time, I play guitar and gig at local venues.
Do you feel working at the airport set you on a path for success?
Absolutely. Working at the airport required hard work, motivation, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. I attribute the success I've experienced in my academic and professional careers largely to those skills, which I honed in my time working at the airport.
I believe that working at the airport gave me the skills to be successful. I had worked other part time jobs at grocery stores before, but working at the airport was a unique experience. I acquired technical experience whether it was by helping my boss disassemble the bell-housing of a Deere mower to replace a gear that had sheared teeth, or whether it was by repairing landscaping equipment in the field. Working with experienced professionals provided me with many learning opportunities. Whenever I had questions, they were always answered. On-the-job training was supplied by my boss and colleagues. Not only did my work ethic improve as a result of working at RMMA, but my communicative skills augmented as well. The people I worked with made an impact on how I perceived the job. Not only that, but they encouraged my education. I made great friends at the airport and will always think fondly on the place that developed my professionalism.
You have a unique family story, what was it like following in your mom’s footsteps?
Mom gets along well with everybody and has a very strong work ethic. The relationships and reputation that she has built for herself during her career at the airport motivated me to give my best effort (and not embarrass her) during my time there.
My mom has developed her reputation at the airport through seventeen years of hard work and dedication. She continually seeks improvement and works efficiently to get her work done before schedule. During her time at the airport, she has experienced five shifts in management, each shift accompanied by changes in the way the airport was ran. I imagine this must be difficult because you get efficient at your job, but then you have to adapt to the changes. She is a self-starter and takes on additional responsibilities to streamline projects. I am proud of her work ethic and she is a big reason why I work so hard today. I don’t want to let my parents down, so I am continually seeking improvement and have taken on an attitude at the work place and work ethic that resembles theirs.