As assistant to the town administrator, Emily Katsimpalis “surrounds herself with what matters.” (Buena Vista town motto).
She has networked into the pulse of Buena Vista through her responsibilities as Main Street manager, and as a member of numerous advisory boards, while also serving as a staff liason for the Historic Preservation Commission, Economic Vitality Advisory Board and the Beautification Advisory Board.
“I love my job,” Katsimpalis says. “It’s so great to help enhance one’s sense of place.”
As a native Coloradoan, born and raised in Fort Collins, Katsimpalis thought she might one day become both an artist and an actress.
“I loved art and theater from the time I was a small child,” she says, “and I participated in performing arts all the way through high school in Debut Theatre there in my hometown.”
She loved to sing and dance, but as she graduated from high school, she decided to broaden her horizons. She attended University of Colorado in Boulder and earned a degree in political science and international affairs. She also took Mandarin classes to learn the language of the Chinese and studied abroad in Taiwan for a semester.
Following college graduation, Katsimpalis worked for nearly 4 years for Asia TransPacific Journeys as a sales assistant.
“We planned and booked high-end trip itineraries, marketing New York and Los Angeles travelers,” she says. “It was great because I was able to travel with my company to Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Thailand for 2- and 3-week trips.”
Eventually, she left the travel company and for the next 3 years volunteered as a CASA. (Court appointed special advocate for children.) “This was great experience while I was making plans for the next steps in my future.”
Those next steps landed her back in college at CU-Denver in the School of Public Affairs to work on her Master’s degree in Public Administration. “During this time I worked as a field organizer in campaigns for Andrew Romanoff and Betsy Markey. That work is every day without breaks until the end of the campaign. But it was interesting and I learned a lot.”
After Katsimpalis graduated in December 2012, she was hired by the city of Salida as special projects coordinator. “When I was growing up, my family vacationed in Chaffee County frequently. My mother, being an artist, really loved the area. I decided early on that one day I’d love to live in the valley.”
While working on her Master’s, Kapsimpalis did a Capstone Project on the “Effects of Art Districts on Local Economy”.
She worked on the Sante Fe Art District Project in Denver which was umbrellaed under Colorado Creative Industries; this was a new department under the Economic Development and International Trade office.”
In Salida, this background gave her the experience to help manage and support the Salida Creative District.
One project, among many, was her work in helping to secure a state historic fund grant for the 1911 fire engine restoration project.
“Eventually this antique fire engine will roll down the streets of Salida during their parades.”
In March, 2014 Katsimpalis moved up the road from Salida to Buena Vista and began working as a management analyst for then-town administrator Brandy Reitter.
“Buena Vista will continue to grow,” says Katsimpalis. “In the surge of the past few years, there have been a lot of positive changes. The energy is exciting.”