If you were to take a survey around town, there is no doubt that most people have heard of Alan Lambert. But for as many people as you polled, you would get an equal number of answers as to how they know him. It’s hard to dispute that he may be one of the most interesting and diverse people in Rifle. Describing himself as having lived “too many different lifetimes”, there are few things Alan hasn’t done.
Professional journalist? Check. Country western dance instructor? Check. Rodeo Rider? Bus driver? Hunting guide? Check, check, check. And, of course, he lived in a cabin for three years with no running water, a 19th century wood burning cook stove and an outhouse. Presumably, this rugged period helped shape his mellow personality and quick wit. In fact, his sense of humor becomes evident when he describes what he refers to as the three stages of cabin living.
“The first is ‘oh cool! I live here!’ The second is ‘why am I here?’ and the third is resignation-this is life”, Alan states with a chuckle and a gleam in his eye.
Growing up mostly in Conifer, Colorado, Alan’s curiosity and work ethic began at a young age. In 1976, he became the City of Conifer’s first Eagle Scout initiating a tree planting project. Many of the trees he planted are still there today. He attended the University of Northern Colorado earning an astounding three degrees (one in journalism, one in photo journalism and a third in industrial arts) as well as a teaching certificate. He funded his own education doing woodwork.
Alan’s post college career began in journalism writing for newspapers in Winter Park and Fairplay before he put another degree to use becoming an industrial arts instructor at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey. Teaching everything from architectural drafting to mechanics, his students won first place in a graphic arts competition. Summers were spent working as a cowboy before he decided to pursue that full time becoming the Head Wrangler at Rocky Mountain National Park.
A job at Coulter Lake is what brought Alan to Rifle and is where he pursued his woodworking career in earnest and met his future wife, Patty, at a dance club in Grand Junction. After leaving ranching, Alan did woodworking full time for 18 years. It was a skill he learned from his dad. He put in long hours working art shows and keeping up with demand. His creativity and business acumen led him to help found Midland Arts Company.
Never one to sit around, Alan got very involved in the Rifle community right from the beginning. He became a member of the chamber of commerce, eventually becoming president and spent time on many local boards. While serving on the planning commission, he noticed some policies he thought needed to change. A run for City Council landed him a seat where he was re-elected three times and served 12 years. Alan was also one of the founding members of the Energy Advisory Board and has been involved with the Museum Board and the Senior Center Advisory board. Currently, he is serving as Board President for the Colorado River Fire Protection District.
“I was able to take the knowledge I learned from my time on City Council and apply it to the fire district,” he says. He is currently in the middle of a two year term serving in that capacity.
After several part-time jobs to supplement his income, Alan applied for a position with the City of Rifle Parks and Recreation Department. He became an integral member of the City team handling everything from mowing the parks to general building maintenance. City employees knew they could count on Alan to fix just about anything and always have a positive disposition. He really seemed to care about his job and his colleagues. So it wasn’t really a surprise that Alan threw his name in the hat when a position opened for Community Service Officer.
“I get the opportunity to use my brain instead of my back. It’s the challenges in life that keep you going. You always need positive challenges. Plus, I’m moving up in the world!” he jokes. “I can make a difference again in a different way. Many of the laws I approved while serving on City Council I can now make work.”
Helping people is second nature for Alan and these new responsibilities provide him plenty of chances.
“The other day I found a stolen vehicle that had been taken from an 83 year old lady in Grand Junction. The fact that she got her car back is one of the reasons I do this. Plus, the people I work with are phenomenal.”
The sentiment seems to be mutual. According to Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein, “Alan is dedicated to Rifle. He is now part of the Rifle Police Department team and we could not be happier to have a member of our community that clearly cares about the quality of life and the direction of our City. In addition to serving our community, he is an exceptional artist and his woodwork can be viewed at local craft fairs and at the Midland Arts Company. Alan knows the history of our area and if you want to know about Rifle’s past, take a few moments to speak to him.”
When not at work, Alan has numerous hobbies including hunting, fishing and travel. He can often be seen in the summer on his pontoon boat up at Rifle Gap or Harvey Gap. He and Patty have traveled all over Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. They are planning a trip to New Orleans in the spring.
Alan will now bring his diverse life experience to a new job enforcing the Rifle Municipal Code. His focus is on educating citizens about laws which may affect them. He can be seen on any given day walking or driving around town. If you see him, be sure to say “hi”. And if you have a minute, ask him for the story of how he met his wife or his tales of skiing backwards through groups of wealthy Texans on the slopes. His amiable nature will surely bring a smile to your face (even if he’s giving you a warning about shoveling your sidewalk!).
Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact City of Rifle Public Information Officer Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.