Kurt Gutjahr

Kurt grew up in Socorro, New Mexico and attended the University of Colorado Boulder, where he earned a degree in English literature. After two years of exploring the United States and camping and hiking throughout the West, Kurt continued his studies at the University of Montana, where he rebuilt a house using recyclable materials long before it was fashionable. Kurt’s passion for storytelling led him to pursue a Masters degree in literature with an emphasis in creative writing from the University of New Mexico, and a Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. As is likely evident from Kurt’s addiction to higher education, he loves learning and is especially intrigued by humans and the stories that drive them.

For fifteen years, Kurt served as the Managing Director of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center of the American West. In support of the Center’s mission to promote nonpartisan community conversations around challenging issues in the West, he led numerous projects, including developing a twenty-six part speaker series on hydraulic fracturing, producing a film on society’s current and future relationship with energy (Living with Energy) that aired on Rocky Mountain PBS, and hosting hundreds of events featuring luminaries including Ken Burns, John Echohawk, and then Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar.  He was also responsible for managing the Center’s fundraising efforts, including securing grants from national governmental and private entities.  Kurt’s other professional endeavors include teaching literature and writing at a variety of universities, and editing a number of books and professional papers.

Kurt believes that clear communication through visual storytelling and community engagement, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and a positive outlook (no matter the challenges), will help us build more resilient, healthier, and sustainable communities.

When not working, you can find Kurt on his mountain bike, taking a yoga class, cooking, or trying to learn – with fair to middling success – how to play guitar.

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