How in the world does a noname 20-something writing blog posts from the laundromat end up with so many friends and opportunities in an industry as cool as skiing?
With humble beginnings, I have a ton to be thankful for. So being, every year since those early days scribbling ideas beside the hum of washing machines I’ve taken a moment to share my appreciation for the people who have helped those stars align. This marks the ninth year and it’s become a tradition I look forward to for months.
To recap, here are the previous years’ lists:
Eric Hoffman, Christian Knapp, Corey Ryan, Dave Amirault, Kim (my wife), Jon Slaughter, Evan Reece, Doug Holton, Brian Rodine, The Utah Joes (Johnson & Myers)
Missy W Larsen, Milena Regos, Shawn Alain, Thomas Prindle, Ben Zeeb, Kim Blanchard, Ryan Blanchard, Alex Kaufman, Troy Thompson, Davy Ratchford, and everyone who drinks (the ski industry).
Callie Blanchard, Shawn Gallagher, Mark While, Steve Pope, Krista Parry, Paul Allen, Corey Ryan, Kory Samson, Dave Gibson, Kim Blanchard.
The Origin Crew, My Parents (Paul & Kim), Halley O’Brien, Brad Larsen, Patrick Sande, Jason Dyer, Chandler Burgess, Greg Kwasnik, Mary Jo Tarallo, Kim & Callie, James Keddington, Rob Megnin, Bruce Rosard.
Steve Wright, Mike Swanson & Jackie Megnin, Sam Blanchard, Rick Kahl, Jamie Ippolito, Patrick Crawford, Trevor Crist, Kurt Gellert, Jeremy Davis, Chris Bradford
Kim Blanchard, Larry Bird, Craig Deluca, Pascale Savard, Trevor Crist, Richard Elwood, Paul Allen, Dr John Goshert, Rob Webb, Josh Arneson
Trevor Crist, Corey Ryan, Adrienne Saia-Isaac, Hugh Reynolds, Joe Hession, Joni Loveless, Joe Johnson, Claire, Pascale Savard & Donnie Clapp, Kim & Callie & Sam
Kelly Pawlak, Dave Meeker, Ryan Hoover, Greg Fisher & Thad Quimby, Karin Tierney, Nick Herrin, Kim Blanchard (my mom), Dan Tosch, Brandon von Guenthner, Joan Gallagher, Shawn James
Without further ado, the 2019 list.
1) Patrick Sande, Brian Elliott, Kurt Kinscherf
These guys have been my rock as I’ve tried to find my way through new roles and responsibilities at Inntopia. Part of the original Ryan Solutions gang, they have always been willing to give it to me like it is, jump on the phone and talk through things, keep me on track, and help ideas come to life. I’d be in a rough place without them.
2) Amy Josef
Speaking of original Ryan Solutions folks, Amy has given me so much in my career and life. Amy was one of the people who gave me a chance 8 years ago that I put me on course to where I am today. She’s be gracious, supportive, and encouraging every step of the way. I’ve mentioned Amy before, but a little retrospection lately has really deepened my appreciation for the chance she took on me.
3) Sam Blanchard
Sam is my son. And, well, he’s awesome. Whether we’re working on our teardrop or playing blocks or throwing a football or plopped on the couch reading a story about trains or dinosaurs, life is so good with him around. My life is full of many lovely moments, but the loveliest of all is when I hear him wake up and run down the hall to come snuggle with me each morning.
4) Earl Saline
It’s crazy to think back to my first NSAA in 2011. I would never have imagined I’d ever be on stage, yet I find myself there regularly thanks to Earl’s support and invitations. He does a fabulous job with NSAA and I’m extremely grateful for all the chances he’s given me to be part of their incredible events. Keep up the awesome work, Earl.
5) Donald Blanchard
Donald, or Don, was my grandpa. He would have turned 100 years old yesterday. I’m also named after him (fun fact, my full name is Donald Gregg Blanchard). I’m just grateful for his simple example of hard work. He came home from WWII, got a job in a steel mill, and didn’t miss a day of work for the next three decades. As I try to balance my career goals with needing to provide for a family, I think of him often.
6) Donnie Clapp
You’d be hard pressed to find a better dude than Donnie Clapp. I was lucky enough to work alongside Donnie for a couple of years and am nothing but appreciative for everything he’s done for me personally and professionally. My branding skills improved significantly under his tutelage.
7) David Epstein
I don’t know David, but I am so grateful for a book he wrote called Range. If there’s one thing I’ve struggled with, it’s feeling confident in the value of my very broad skill set. This book, however, pulled back the curtain on why it can be a strength and how to make it one. The timing was perfect, and those lessons have helped me immensely lately. Even though I’ll likely never meeting you, David, thanks.
8) Olivia Rowan
Who ever thought my name would be in a list of book quotes? Not me. Olivia, however, gave me just that opportunity with Chris Diamonds’ new book and I’m still smiling about it. SAM has helped my personal brand grow as much as anything, and that is thanks to Olivia and her team’s willingness to let some no-name marketer put his ideas into their pages.
9) MJ Legault
Earlier this year I caught wind of something that Origin does in the way they run their business that absolutely intrigued me. I wondered what I, and Inntopia, could learn from it. So I asked. Rather than just a cursory reply, she got on the phone with me and gave me more knowledge on the subject in 30 minutes than I’d found in the three months prior. The results of that conversation have helped me more than I can say. Yet another in the long list of things that impress me about MJ and Origin.
10) Kim Blanchard
Kim is my wife. And she too is awesome. Working from home, I sometimes walk out of the office with a tangle of ideas and priorities that she patiently listens me talk through and try to unravel. Listening to me describe the concept behind a new marketing campaign or how I’m structuring that database for a new project, she’s always there to listen and ask thought provoking questions. And man on man, it makes all the difference. Live. Is. Good.
That’s all for this year.
As always there are dozens of people that could have been on this list. I appreciate everyone who has supported me more than any words on a screen could every convey. Life is good because of people like you giving me a chance.
Here’s to a happy, healthy Thanksgiving for you and yours.
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