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Steve and Wade from Breeze Thru Car Wash

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Influential Men of 2024

The inspirational, innovative, and influential men that are making waves in our community

Dave Clark 

Owner and Executive Producer at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration and motivation in your journey?

My biggest source of inspiration and motivation through the years has been my wife and my family number one. But also, the people that I work with at The Candlelight. The patrons, they’ve probably been the biggest source of keeping me going because we provide an opportunity and a service, and they come and enjoy it. When they express their gratitude to me after their show it's very fulfilling to see that. So, that gives me the drive to continue on and to continue to improve what we're doing at The Candlelight – which is what our goal is. We started candlelight about 17 years ago. It's been a challenge at times, but a very joyful experience most of the time. We started small and we continue to improve, which is one of our ultimate goals. I've had a lot of support from people that have come to the show, and I've received a lot of feedback that people enjoyed coming and had a good experience. So, that's been really fun for me.

Jeff Green 

Financial Professional at Layman Lewis Financial Group

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in your career or personal endeavors, and how did you overcome them?

Changing my career path later in life. It took courage, grit and faith to start something mostly new in my forties. I had several people in my life encouraging me and helping me see the transferrable skills I had already acquired and how they could be useful. I ultimately drew on the advice I'd always given my kids in athletics. If you want to play in the game, show the coach you can do it in practice and when you get a chance to play, take advantage of it. I took that attitude into my career, and it has paid off. It helps to be on a great team! But faith cannot be left out of the equation. I felt throughout the process I was not alone even when no one was around. It was a place to voice fears and failures and feel a sense of peace in the midst of it. I know it doesn't always work out like it has for me but if it didn't, I'd be talking about grace, and I've needed that too!

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration and motivation in your journey?

My family is my biggest inspiration. Seeing all my kids taking on adulthood, getting jobs, getting married, having their own kids, succeeding and failing - even my wife, getting a master's degree in her 50's and starting her career as a therapist. Doing life with all of them is the greatest journey.

What advice would you give to other men who aspire to be leaders in their communities?

Be a person others can trust. It’s probably not the quickest way to be the leader but eventually, loyalty and faithfulness get recognized. I've always believed the long game is more important than the short game - except in golf - the short game is more important there...

Steve Phillips

Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Breeze Thru Car Wash

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration and motivation in your journey?

My biggest source of inspiration is my wife, and those in my sphere of influence. Each individual has helped me see different ways of looking at things and helped teach me multiple things in my life and professionally. Also, how to work hard for what I want to accomplish in life. My family is my motivation to strive to continue growing and discovering ways to make the community we live in a better place for them and others.

If there was one thing you wish you knew before you started, what would it be?

To know more of the impact you can have in your role at work, home, or in the community, even if it's not something you personally view as a big deal, could very well be to someone else.

Jon Banis 

President of Japango

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration and motivation in your journey?

I would say, first and foremost, our employees and staff. Our staff is our driving force for motivation. They're the translators of what my wife, Erin, and I try to broadcast to the communities that we're in and broadcast the brand we are and the level of service that we’ve provided for the last 20 years. They're the ones who show up every day. They put in the hard work and represent our restaurant. They're the ones that are the boots on the ground and show what potential we can bring to a community like Fort Collins. So, they are what truly motivates us on a day-by-day basis.

If there was one thing you wish you knew before you started, what would it be?

Always trust in your process and the mission you set out to do. Any and all obstacles, people, and timing will get in the way of you accomplishing what you want if you let them. Having the perseverance to not let them keep you from achieving your goals and knowing that from the start, is what will get you there.

Clark Hodge

Founder of Chase the Music

What do you consider to be your most significant contribution to the Fort Collins community, and how does it align with your vision for the future?

My work in the past 10 years with Chase the Music, where I am founder and impresario. Chase the Music gives children battling critical conditions hope, strength, love and joy through the power of music. We commission composers and musicians to create and perform original music, just for these special kids. The shared experience is remarkable, and the music is timeless. In my high-tech career the goal was to be done. With Chase, I’ll work the rest of my life to help create musical gifts for children across the globe. Music is life!

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration and motivation in your journey?

A five-year-old girl named Lauren that was battling leukemia. She was the first recipient of a Chase the Music gift. At the end of her premiere performance, she looked up and said “Clark, I’m never going to stop smiling. Afterwards we had a pizza party with the 50+ performers. She asked to go to each table and thank them. Such grace and beauty. To stay inspired - I only need to think about Lauren, and then think of all the others that would benefit from the gift of music.

What advice would you give to other men who aspire to be leaders in their communities?

Life has many phases. Common across all are the themes of self, family, and community. At times you’ll focus and put energy into one more than the others. Accept that they are all important and maintain a healthy balance.

Mark Koepsell

Owner of Xanadu Med Spa

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in your career or personal endeavors, and how did you overcome them?

I would articulate that I am still involved in one of the largest challenges of my career... and that is owning and operating a small business. For years I worked for somebody else, another institution. Of course I had my own challenges within my own position, but I never fully appreciated everything that it takes to keep a business afloat until I actually wore those shoes. I have had Xanadu Med Spa now for a little over nine years. The road is a little easier than it used to be, but it's a never-ending challenge that one never gets to walk away from when you own the business. Staffing, customer care, cash flow, marketing, strategic innovation, and so much more goes into the process, and as a business owner you never, ever get to stop focusing on the goals and challenges in front of you. It takes ongoing education, the ability to think outside the given box, the support of peer networks, and a large amount of good old-fashioned grit to push through. And so, the challenge continues every single day – but I do love what I do!

Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration and motivation in your journey?

As a young child, I lost my father to cancer. This is a largely impactful experience in my life. I think of him often and just hope he would be proud of the man I have become and what I have accomplished. When I get frustrated and beat down, I wonder what he would do. I even flat out ask him for advice now and again. It's his memory that provides me constant inspiration and motivation to be the best that I can be in all endeavors.

  • Steve and Wade from Breeze Thru Car Wash