Often a round or two of rewrites are needed to craft a solid lead. Curtis Condon’s career path to Ruralite Services included a few rewrites, too.
His journalism career began at a startup magazine, then a newspaper.
“It was such a lousy work environment I decided to quit and go to grad school instead,” says Curtis, Ruralite’s retiring managing editor.
He worked as a freelancer for a few magazines and was wrapping up his thesis for his master’s in journalism at the University of Oregon when he heard about a job at Ruralite. He joined the company as an editor in 1990. Within two years, he was tapped to lead the magazine staff as managing editor.
Under his leadership, Ruralite magazine won the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s George W. Haggard Memorial Journalism Award in 2015. The annual award is given to the nation’s top cooperative magazine for journalistic excellence. This video highlights fun moments from his career.
Curtis retires in July as Ruralite Services’ longest-tenured current employee, and one of its most liked and respected.
“What will I miss most? Definitely the people,” says Curtis. “The people here, the people at the co-ops and the readers.”
With a career spanning almost three decades, Curtis helped shape utility communications across the Northwest.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Curtis through the years,” says Bob Marshall, CEO of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative in California. “He is a thoughtful, hardworking individual who helped keep utility communications current and engaging. Without his influence, our members would know much less about what cooperatives bring to our communities.”
“He signals the changing of the guard, the end of an era of challenge and change,” says Dave D’Avanzo, member services manager at Lane Electric Cooperative in Oregon. “Curtis made a difference, at Ruralite and with its members. He’s a class act, a good friend and a wonderful resource. Thanks, Curtis, for your knowledge, wisdom, hard work and, most importantly, your friendship. You will be missed.”
“Far beyond his tenure, Curtis has been a rock for Ruralite Services,” says Ruralite Services’ CEO Michael Shepard. “His dedication to the utilities we work with, his staff and Ruralite are nothing short of legendary.”
Curtis’ early workplace experiences drove him to foster a work environment based on trust, teamwork and fun.
“We have all worked for bosses who talk about teamwork, then take credit for everything their staff does,” says Linda Wiseman, Curtis’ magazine assistant since 1995. “That’s not the case with Curtis.”
From organizing conferences to winning national awards, Linda says Curtis always shares credit.
“You don’t win the Haggard without a team effort and a managing editor who understands that,” says Linda. “We were lucky. We had both.”
“Curtis always gave us room to grow our skills,” says Assistant Editor Mike Teegarden, who joined Ruralite in 1994. “If we wanted to learn something new, he supported us taking a class or attending a workshop. Then he gave us ways to use the skills.”
“It is difficult to lose him as my boss,” says Assistant Editor Pam Blair, a 23-year staff veteran. “He looked for ways to help me grow professionally, and also supported me personally … from struggles I faced with fibromyalgia to my journey recovering from cancer. Both cases required compassion in helping me recognize my limits and creativity in setting up schedules. Not every boss offers that kind of flexibility, but Curtis is no ordinary boss. He is also a friend.”
Ruralite’s new managing editor, Leon Espinoza, joins the staff in mid-August. Learn more about Leon here.