I’ve written it before and undoubtedly will write it again. The most rewarding aspect of my job as editor of a business journal is meeting entrepreneurs.
If I’m fortunate, I learn a bit about entrepreneurs and their efforts and write stories about their ventures. If I’m really fortunate, I follow the growth of their companies over time and report on their ongoing success. If I’m really, really fortunate, professional relationships develop into personal friendships. Those take rewarding to a whole new level.
I can think of no more notable example than Scott Fasken — founder and owner along with his wife, Jill, of Colorado Document Security. Scott was a remarkable entrepreneur, an extraordinary pilot and one of those larger-than-life characters. Scott had friends the world over, and I considered myself blessed to be counted among them. He was gracious. He was generous. And he had a keen sense of humor.
His recent passing leaves me saddened and our valley a little less grand.
I met Scott shortly after he launched Colorado Document Security in 2003. His idea was to not only bring onsite document shredding services to his customers, but also help them prevent identity theft and comply with increasingly stringent regulations. The business involved far more than turning big pieces of paper into little pieces of paper. What the business really offered, Scott said, was court-defensible risk mitigation.
The operation quickly grew with the addition of more shredding trucks and drivers and a geographic service area that expanded beyond Western Colorado into New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Scott joined the National Association of Information Destruction and earned certification for meeting policies and procedures for secure information destruction. He became even more active in the trade association and served a term as president.
Regulations mandating the security and destruction of confidential financial, legal and medical records — and imposing stiff penalties for data breaches — increased demand. But customer service also built business for Colorado Document Security.
Scott went out of his way, figuratively and literally, to serve customers in small towns and far-flung locations that didn’t otherwise have access to document destruction services. He offered consulting and employee training to help customers comply with regulations. And he never, ever, took customers for granted. He often expressed his appreciation by bringing them Enstrom toffee.
Scott developed a well-deserved reputation in his industry for his acumen. He freely shared his time and expertise to speak at conferences and mentor others.
Scott befriended me at a time when I most needed a friend — after the death of my beloved wife in 2015. I soon learned that was kind of person Scott was. He saw a problem or need and offered his help, usually without any sort of fanfare or publicity.
Scott made me a frequent flyer in his vintage Piper Cub on his Saturday flights to destinations in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. I never tired of watching Scott perform his unique style of acrobatics — in starting the engine of his plane, that is. He turned the propeller by hand. Once the engine fired up, he quickly hopped into the cockpit to take the controls. He’d executed the maneuver so many times he made it look easy.
I don’t know how many commercial pilots in jets at airports in Gunnison, Telluride and Moab watched in amazement as Scott hand propped his Piper Cub, jumped in and took off. I bet most of them were envious.
I know my family was always envious when I showed them the spectacular photographs I shot from the back seat of Scott’s Cub. If the weather was warm, Scott put the window up and door down, offering an unobstructed look at the landscape below. It was a privilege to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the mountains of Western Colorado and canyon country of Eastern Utah.
But what I enjoyed most about those flights were the long headset conversations with Scott that touched on so many of the subjects in which he was interested — business and flying, but also his river rafting adventures and the books he’d read. He was invariably gracious to ask about my two sons and my own adventures scuba diving. Aware of my aspiration to write mysteries, Scott proposed enough intriguing plots to fill a dozen novels.
Scott will be sorely missed — by his wife and family, his many friends and, I suspect, just about everyone who knew him. But there’s some solace in a legacy he leaves behind that extends far and will endure long.
The most rewarding aspect of my job as editor of a business journal is meeting entrepreneurs. One of the most rewarding aspects of my life was meeting Scott Fasken.
Phil Castle is editor of the Business Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 424-5133.