Chris Hardy
Owner/Partner/Employing Broker
Elevations Real Estate, LLC
BA – English w/Education Certification 1987

Chris 1987

How did your major prepare you for the job, the life you have now?
Where to begin? At first, my plan was to teach and coach at the middle/high school grades, making a difference in the world one student at a time. This plan was modeled after several of my own high school teachers and coaches who critically influenced my personal development. It was a good plan. In retrospect, I think it was less a plan and more of a “plan-B”… you know, “Oh, you can always teach…”

What I discovered, is that with a bit of curiosity and a willingness to pursue emergent opportunities that piqued my interest, jobs and careers I never dreamed of being possible (let alone desirable) presented themselves. Communication skills (written and verbal), critical thinking skills, lesson planning, exposure to literature from the past and present, from women and minorities, to adolescents and eccentrics – my English degree curriculum and teacher certification program prepared me for a life in our tech-driven, multi-cultural, business-as-a-lifestyle global village.

I’ve been a general manager, a property manager, a general contractor, a builder, a real estate broker, a sales manager, a corporate trainer, a business coach, and entrepreneur. Seriously? Business Management? Sales…I mean, Business Development ? Corporate Trainer? Real Estate Broker? The 25 year-old-me would have said “Eww, no way” to each of those job titles. Nonetheless, each job allowed me to explore the world in ways I couldn’t have considered as an idealistic undergrad.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (both personally and professionally)? How did your experience in the English Department help you with these achievements?
My greatest accomplishment overall? Easy! The relationship with and marriage to my wife, Pat (CSU, BS –Psychology, 1986). We met while attending CSU and working at the Aggie Theatre (when it was a movie theater). We would also see each other outside a common classroom in the Clark building. A true campus romance that 30 years later is still going strong!

From a professional standpoint, my greatest accomplishment is the role I play in our local and regional Realtor Association. A couple of years ago, at the urging of several colleagues, we started the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS Emerging Professional Series: The FCBR Academy. It is a 12-hour continuing education class designed to help new real estate licensees navigate their first years as a real estate broker. Nearly 200 have taken the course and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I also facilitate a number of other classes for REALTORS along the Front Range intended to improve professionalism in the industry. In the long run, “plan B” was inescapable. I love to teach and I feel like I am making a difference in the world one student at a time! Without my time in the English and Education departments – I may never have discovered my passion for teaching, presenting, and coaching.

 chris sweater (2)

What did you like about the English program?
I loved the diversity of the curriculum: Dr. Mark’s Shakespeare; Pattie Cowell’s Women’s Literature; Dr. Zoellner’s Major Authors Course on Hemingway: Carol Mitchell’s Mythology Course; Dr. McBride’s Adolescent Literature; Steve Reid’s Teaching Writing; Neil Petrie’s 19th Century British Fiction; and even David Lindstrom’s Literary Criticism course continue to stand out in my memory as being elemental in the broadening of my life perspective and the critical role that words and language play in our day-to-day lives.

Why did you choose to study here?
CSU was a natural choice for me as I grew up nearby in Berthoud. Plus, family members attended in the past: father – James Hardy, aunt – Elizabeth Wolverton, and uncle – Van Wolverton).

Do you have a favorite or funny story from your time with the English Department? Or something you particularly miss?
I miss the immersive nature of studying literature. My post-academic life is so fractionalized. The opportunity to focus on a single work or the characteristics of a group of writers (like the modernists) seems like such a luxury now. I am a bit nostalgic for class time and the open discussions of the books we were reading and the themes the authors were exploring.

Was there a specific class, professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you, helped you, or inspired you when you were at CSU in the English Department? Do you still keep in contact with your classmates or professors?

Dr. William (Bill) McBride! Not only was he one of my most influential professors (adolescent literature, teaching writing) – he was my academic advisor, too. His personal interest in my success and development went well beyond the basic professional obligations of an instructor or assigned advisor. He made me feel worthy of pursuing a teaching credential and that I had real gifts to share with the world. His encouragement made all the difference for me in attaining a degree! I hold him as the model by which great teachers are measured! Dr. McBride (Bill) and I have gotten together for lunch on occasion and as our schedules allow. I try to tell him each time I see him what an impact his teaching and mentorship has had on my life.

What would you like to tell prospective CSU English Department students?

Words matter. Language matters. Spelling matters. Writing matters!! Those who understand how language works can learn just about anything – can adapt to just about anything. Those who understand how language works can inspire, persuade, critique, applaud, compliment and complement! With an English degree, you are given access to history, philosophy, psychology, thoughtful analysis, creative and critical thinking. It gives you the foundation to truly do anything to which you set your mind.

What advice do you have for current CSU English Department students?
Do whatever it takes to finish your degree program. Don’t worry about the path after school – many times, the path that has the most to offer isn’t visible until you’ve pursued a couple of dead ends. Consider broadly what your skills and talents as an English Major can offer – it isn’t just teaching. It isn’t just writing. It’s management, communication, marketing, sales, leadership, entrepreneurship. Read Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

What was the last piece of writing you read or wrote? OR, What are you currently reading, writing?
Oddly, I’ve become an avid reader of non-fiction. I mentioned Daniel Pink – he’s terrific! I’m currently reading Charles Duhigg’s latest book on productivity, Smarter, Better, Faster. As a journalist for the New York Times, I find his writing concise and compelling. His previous book, The Power of Habit is also a favorite. I’m a sucker for a good Michael Connelly novel and since my birthday is 11-22-63, Stephen King’s book of the same title is mind-bendingly entertaining!

I write every day! Perhaps it isn’t the great American novel – but I love writing! Whether it is an email to a client explaining the process of buying a house – or a snarky Facebook post that generates laughs and comments, I love that command of the language gives me confidence and that a well-developed vocabulary is powerful in both written and oral formats. Even when I’m developing a power point presentation that is driven by images – the text that remains on the slide is the way-point that provides the listener navigation in the skills they are building.

What are your hobbies or special interests, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?
I love to flyfish, travel, read, work with wood, do home improvement projects, and Pat and I still love the movies after all these years and go as often as we can.

Chris fishing hat

Where will we find you in five years?
I love this quote from Norman Maclean: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”  You will find me on the river – likely, on the Poudre, near my home just 7 miles up from Ted’s Place.