Mortgage man lending his talents to Carbondale community projects
Drew Sakson is a full plate kind of guy, with a big appetite for community, church and family sports.The 44-year-old mortgage broker is president of the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, a responsibility that includes weekly meetings on the art center building committee.Sakson attends a Catholic prayer group Tuesday mornings before work, and an interdenominational group called Just Faith every Thursday.He tries to play golf at least twice a month, and is father of two daughters and a son, who recently showed up with blue hair.He runs Sakson Mortgage Group from a well-shaded office at the east end of Carbondale’s Main Street.Through his company, Sakson is bringing country western singer Ty Herndon to Buffalo Valley tonight. The performance is a clue to Sakson’s take on running a business, and his life.”As a mortgage company owner and a member of the community, I like to be associated with fun stuff,” Sakson said.Sakson used to own a pair of hotels on Ocean Drive in South Miami Beach, but sold them in 1994 so the family could tour the country in a 36-foot motor home. “We got to Glenwood Springs and said, `This looks a lot like home,'” he said.If Sakson were a few inches taller, a hundred pounds heavier, and his beard quite a bit longer, a writer might say he’s sort of a Santa Claus figure. Suffice to say he usually enters rooms smiling, and he’s quietly enthusiastic about everything from sports to doing mortgage deals.These days, the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities gets much of Sakson’s attention. He first joined the group’s board to help it build an art center. He’d just finished helping raise $500,000 to build a rectory at St. Mary of the Crown Catholic Church on White Hill.”I thought I had the skills and talent that could be used for an art center,” he said.Over the past three years, CCAH has raised almost $900,000 in pledges for a $2.1 million art center that is to be built at the North Face property on Highway 133. Sakson said CCAH is looking for two to four more large donors who can really “step up to the plate” with $250,000 or $500,000 donations. After that, CCAH will go to the wider community for smaller pledges.”You need to have at least 50 percent (raised) before you can roll out the capital campaign,” Sakson said. “You really have to get the ball rolling before they (smaller donors) know their contribution is significant.”Recently, CCAH named Crystal River Valley resident Jeff Dickinson as its architect for the art center. Dickinson designed the Roaring Fork Waldorf School’s new auditorium, and worked with Sakson and others on that project.”I like working with him,” Sakson said. “He doesn’t have an ego … he listens and tries to incorporate ideas brought forth.”Sakson said he has been talking to community members to see what they want in an art center, which is expected to include a performance area, gallery space and kitchen. The center might also be rented out for weddings and other functions, because it will require a fair amount of money to maintain and operate the facility.”The site has beautiful views of Mount Sopris. It’s going to be a neat building,” he said.At Sakson’s paying gig, his desk sits in a corner with adjoining windows that look north and west onto Carbondale’s Main Street. He leans back in his chair, gazes out the window and says, “I love it here. I get to (look out) and see every family I know that comes into Miser’s Kids Store.”Monday mornings at Sakson Mortgage Group are “usually hectic” so he tries not to schedule outside activities then. Tuesday mornings at his prayer group, discussions include social issues.The Just Faith group is interdenominational, and includes priests, lay people and others. “It’s a really diverse group,” Sakson said.The group is about halfway through its 30-week mission. There are weekly reading assignments that lead to discussions on increasing social consciousness and social change. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s neat,” he said.Because of his involvement with the group, Sakson has decided not drive his car one day a week.”We study the social implications of what we do. Americans are so addicted to comfort, we don’t realize our impacts. That needs to improve,” he said.When asked about his kids, Sakson’s eyes light up and he is quick to reply.Sophie, 10, plays piano and received a scholarship to this summer’s Aspen Music Festival school. “She’s been playing for six years. She’s a dancer too, with Aspen Ballet, and takes jazz (dance) lessons,” he said.Andra, 5, will be a kindergartner at the Waldorf School. Her middle name is Cabrini, after the Catholic saint who ministered west of Denver.Jake, 12, skis and snowboards “like a maniac.” Sakson laughs when he talks about Jake dying his hair blue. “It was a little surprise for Dad … we call him The Dude.”Sakson comes to work wearing shorts and a red polo shirt that features his company name. With all the activities and demands on his time, Sakson is anything but frazzled. Maybe that’s because he likes what he’s doing and where he’s doing it.”I’ve gotten involved in things that interest me. The business is going well, and I’m at a point I can donate my time and give back to the community. I’m blessed to be able to live here in the mountains.”
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The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association is working with local businesses and organizations to celebrate the spirit of Strawberry Days with a Berry Special Weekend from June 18-20, according to a news release.