Eric Stewart (’10) had an atypical college experience. After attending a junior college in California, he played safety for a semi-pro football team for a season before heading to CSU to study sports medicine. Coming to CSU as a sophomore, Stewart ran track unattached – without CSU gear – doing hurdles and the decathlon. After his first year at CSU, Stewart joined the Marines and spent eight years stationed in San Diego (2000-2008) as an ordinance man (loading rockets and missiles), with one combat mission in Guam and other tours in Japan, the Philippines, and Australia. “The military changed my outlook on life. It was good cultural exposure to the other people in the military and to international travel,” he says.
In 2008, he left the military and returned to CSU. While studying, he coached football and track at Rocky Mountain High School. During the summers he worked at Camp Timberline in Estes Park, which is where he learned property management skills. Those skills lead him to a job in Fort Collins, and ultimately to his current job as manager of property operations at Urban Peak in Denver, a nonprofit that offer services to homeless and runaway youth.
“I love it,” Stewart says. “I’m passionate about working with youth.”
Though he is mostly behind the scenes, making sure that the six buildings he manages are working properly, Stewart does interact with the youth who get services, like the youth studying for their GED at the drop-in center called The Spot, or the young woman who called him at 11 p.m. to report that half of the electricity in her apartment was out.
Stewart draws on his experiences in the military in his work and leadership in his job. “I was never around so many people from so many backgrounds. That helps when you meet someone new – having a respect for people right off the bat, no matter where they’re from or what they’ve been through,” he says.