Our long-time employee and friend Kris Keys is retiring from Zephyr at the end of the month.
I first met Kris in September of 1998 at the North Shore Inline Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. Kris approached my booth where I was promoting our skate tours—we were in only our second season—and I found her to be smart and personable. When she said she was completing a masters in marketing and just needed to complete a final project, I said “I think I could find a project for you to work on.”
In 1999 Kris completed a detailed marketing analysis of my new, small tour company, consisting of a written survey and telephone interviews with our travelers and potential travelers. The results were highly useful and thus it was that one year later, in May of 2000, I approached Kris with this:
“I have a terrible job offer for you. It is only half time for now and although you can start by working out of your own home, the job is going to move somewhere in the Rocky Mountains later this year and I am not sure exactly where yet.”
Kris took the job and started working for Zephyr on May 20 and moved to a full-time role on August 21, 2000. Now, 22.5 years later, Kris is retiring.
Our staff love Kris for her loyalty, professionalism, and good humor. Our travelers love Kris for her warmth, care taking, and leadership. Kris has consistently scored above 4.9 as a guide on our 5.0 scale – which is a high bar and not easy to do.
But all good things must come to an end and we are both sad and excited to see Kris moving on. I founded Zephyr with the idea that “life is more important than work” and Kris has other things to do with her life. She was recently elected to the Red Lodge city council, needs to spend time helping her husband run his own small business, and – hopefully – will have more time to enjoy the beautiful Beartooth Mountains that she loves.
Kris, thank you for spending 22.5 years with Zephyr and with me. I am honored that you did so and grateful to have had you in my life.