Manager of Finance,
Copper Mtn., Colo.

Age: 29
Education: Bachelor of Science in
Business Administration;
University of Colorado at Boulder
First job in industry: Ski instructor,
Copper Mountain
Super power: My super power would be flight at supersonic speeds. First off, flight just seems like it would be really fun. Second, the speed would allow you to see the world.



Dave’s work ethic is second to none. He’s greatly skilled at finance, but has a strong passion for the mountain, the environment and the guest experience. He recently volunteered to lead the Copper Green Team, which focuses on environmental initiatives, and during busy times, continues to assist ski and ride school [S&RS] with instructing for youth seasonal programs. Last year he received the coveted Copper Mountain Progressive Award for Financial Strength—only three awards are given from a pool of over 100 potential recipients. He has also received two playmaker awards in the last two years. In addition to his remarkable ability to take on any role, whether it’s instructor, finance manager or Green Team leader, Dave does it with a smile, a great attitude and an unwavering work ethic. He is certainly a leader now and in Copper Mountain’s future.

– Kelly Keefer, VP finance, Copper Mountain Resort


You’ve had an unusual career path: can you tell us about your trajectory from instructor to manager of finance at Copper?
My degree and first job out of college were in finance. However, after a year, I decided I wanted to combine work with my passion for the outdoors, so I quit my job and moved to the mountains with the hope it would lead to a career. I started as a ski instructor, part-time cook and AP clerk. These jobs, in combination with my education, eventually lead to my big break as the business manager of Copper’s Ski School and Golf Course. I performed well in this role, and was promoted to analyst for all of Copper Mountain, and most recently to the manager of finance.

What fires you up about coming to work every day?
Whether you like it or not, everything in the industry has a financial component to it. As such, I get to be involved in almost everything at the resort. I love knowing each day will be different, and getting to learn about, and contribute to, decisions on everything from season pass marketing to new lift installations. I like to think that my efforts improve the skiing experience, and I feel lucky to be able to take ski or mountain-bike breaks any time.

Can you tell us about your philosophy on effective leadership?
I believe hard work, motivation and teamwork are critical to success. Great leadership can accomplish these things, but it can be tricky because everyone is motivated differently. The best advice I’ve received is that great leaders adjust their leadership to match their team; they don’t stick to a particular style. I simply try to keep this in mind.

Do you have any advice for future 10’ers just starting to develop their own skill set?
At times, the ski industry can be small and tight-knit, and it can be difficult to break into senior roles from the outside. However, this culture also leads to numerous opportunities for internal promotion. So if you’re coming out of school and want to work in the ski industry, don’t be afraid to take a front-line position to get your foot in the door. Not only will you have a blast, because you get to ski most days, but you’ll meet people and make invaluable connections. Also, front-line jobs allow opportunities to help in other departments during busy periods—take advantage of these because the experience will help you network and build your skill set.