Citizen Spotlight: Rifle’s Ed Weiss works to build a sense of community
Citizen Telegram Contributor
Growing up in the small farm town of Ovid, Colo., on the eastern plains, Ed Weiss has always valued community.
He lived outside Denver and worked for Central Bank Corp. for 17 years until he got married and had a couple young children.
“We lived in the city 17 years and I really missed that sense of community,” Weiss said.
He traveled to the West Slope a few times a month to visit branch banks and fell in love with Western Colorado.
When a college friend invited him to work at his certified public accounting firm in Rifle, Weiss and his young family picked up and moved – something that surprised a lot of friends and family on the Front Range.
While the partnership wasn’t a perfect fit, Rifle was. Weiss and his wife, Lannie, started their own accounting firm, now called Weiss and Associates. They have lived in Rifle 20 years, longer than anywhere else.
“Professionally, this community is just exactly what we were looking for,” Weiss, 59, said. “You get to know your clients and a lot of your clients are also your friends.”
But community is about more than building a good business to Weiss. He wanted to live in a place where he could dive in, get involved, do some good work and make a difference. And that’s what he has done.
Right off the bat, he started coaching some youth sports teams and spending time with his two sons, Travis and Troy. The teams were pretty limited in the mid-1990s. Weiss worked to build up the leagues so Rifle kids could compete with teams in Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, getting more practice and experience.
“We wanted to build something a little bigger and maybe a little better,” Weiss said.
That’s a theme that has continued through his years in Rifle. At the end of this year, Weiss will step down from the city parks and recreation board after nine years.
“We didn’t used to have very good facilities here,” Weiss said. “There weren’t that many to start with, and what we had wasn’t great.”
Weiss helped see Deerfield Park develop. Centennial Park was his proudest accomplishment as a member of the parks and recreation board. He worked hard to find funding from county and state grants. The board only covered a quarter of the cost; the rest had to be raised.
“I’ve been on that board a long time,” Weiss said. “It’s time to step aside and let someone else take my place.”
In addition to parks and recreation, Weiss was part of the Downtown Development Authority board for eight years.
He moved his accounting business downtown years ago to support city development.
“Downtown always intrigued me,” Weiss said. “It’s the core of the city and I really believe that when you have a strong downtown, you have a strong city.”
While Weiss has stepped down from two boards that he helped to shape, he’s hardly bowing out of public service.
He’s still relatively new to the Grand River Hospital board and the United Way of Garfield County. During his three years on the United Way board, he has worked to strengthen the organization’s reputation and prestige – something that seemed to be fading in the years before he joined.
“I don’t expect to be as active as I have been in the past,” Weiss said. “But it’s nice to be part of these positive community organizations.”
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