Behind the Scenes at Org&Relo - Meet Steve Mathay

I moved out to Colorado about 20 years ago with the idea that I’d be a ski patroller. I had grown up in California, and much of my youth was spent waterskiing and wakeboarding on Folsom Lake and snow skiing in Tahoe. Anything to do with boards on my feet was a huge passion--I still ski at least 30 days every year--and this seemed like the right place to live the dream.

My first dog Lexi and I arrived in Boulder in the summer of 95.  I quickly realized that finding a place in the mountains that would also accommodate a dog was going to be way out of my financial wheelhouse, so I decided to settle in Boulder.  I got a job at Boulder Ski Deals where the legendary Loyal Ayde, sadly now gone, taught me the art of tuning skis. I enrolled at CU in the fall of 96 where I got a degree in environmental science and did the next best thing to living in the mountains: I just skied them every chance I got.

My job history was pretty varied. My first job at 14 was cleaning manual typewriters--remember those things?!--in high schools. Back then they taught typing classes so there’d be classrooms with 30, 35 typewriters in them. During the summer we blew them out with an air compressor, replaced the ink cartridges, changed the ribbons, and oiled the moving parts. At the end we had to strike every key to make sure it typed correctly and didn’t clump up with others or land in the wrong place.  The following summer I took a job servicing aquariums for small businesses before moving on to Taco Bell, REI, and Macy’s. I became EMT certified when I decided on my future as a ski patroller. Never in there did I do any professional organizing, but I was always someone who kept things in order. Everything had its place... and I knew exactly where that was.

My next job was as a music buyer and audio engineer for Gray V, a background music company. I got in on the ground floor during the startup phase and stayed for 11 years. The founder had a restaurant background, and her vision was to get royalties to artists, since people were burning random CDs and playing them on iPods all over the place. She wanted the money to get back to the record labels and the musicians. We started super small with just a couple restaurants. Zolo was one of our first local clients and, at one time, we provided custom playlists for many of the restaurants in that group. It was fun to hook up a space with a particular sound; one for Happy Hour, one for the eleven p.m. crowd--a playlist to capture any vibe the principals were going for.

At that time, Muzak was the big force in background music, but they had a pretty lame format. Only eight channels to choose from with repeating playlists and no cutting-edge material. Gray V had the cool stuff. We hired ex DJs to source arcane tracks, used a lot of B-sides that never got any play, and came up with rare, amazing mixes that eluded the old guys at Muzak. I had to organize and code a digital library of hundreds of thousands of tunes, so some organizational skills definitely came into play for that job.

Gray V grew rapidly. In year three the founder relocated to New York City and stayed there. My job eventually was eliminated as technology absorbed my skill set and, besides, moving to NYC was not for me.  Pretty hard to ski the Rockies from there!

That was when I signed up with Sheryl at Org&Relo. A mutual friend suggested I work with her after seeing my garage all lined up, dress right dress. It’s true, I do like things to be set up in a way that makes sense and is easily accessible. Why would I mix my ski stuff and my mountain biking stuff? Or my tools and my backpacking gear? Everything in its place.

It’s amazing how useful my college experience has been to this work: the most important thing I learned in those four years was how to manage my time. (Yes, I can also write an environmental assessment in case I ever get a wild hair to build a shopping mall, but these other skills are more valuable!) The ability to meet deadlines and work efficiently have served me practically every day of my life--and never more so than with organizing work.

As a project manager at Org&Relo I always feel a great sense of accomplishment when I leave a job and know I’ve made people’s lives easier. One of my clients recently thanked me for treating his house like it was my own. That was nice; feeling that I’d made a difference that the client really appreciated. I like helping someone see that keeping seven years of Xcel bills on file isn’t really serving them. I love geeking out in garages, setting up systems, organizing tools and gear. It’s a privilege to be let into people’s lives on this level. I don’t take that lightly.

 

 

When I’m not organizing I love going to concerts and dancing up a storm, spending as much time as possible hiking, biking, golfing, and skiing, and I also love to garden. I’ve got peppers, tomatoes, and basil in the ground already. Soon it will be time to make pesto.

It’s funny, I recently got back after a long stretch in the mountains and when I unpacked--which I do immediately upon arriving home--I noticed I was missing a few things. A couple weeks later I called my buddy who had been with me to ask him if he had my stuff, and he said he’d check when he got unpacked. “What?” I said, “Where’s your gear?” He told me it was all still piled in the entryway where he’d left it when he got home. Cool if it works for him but that’s not me; I couldn’t live like that.

Thanks for reading,

Steve

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