Cities and towns cannot run without dedicated city employees who put in long hours to make it appear that the community runs itself.
It’s important to acknowledge those who make Fremont County life smooth for the everyday resident. Cañon City’s new Human Resources Director, Butch Batchelder, is one of those dedicated individuals.
Originally from Illinois, Batchelder spent 20 years in the Navy after enlisting at the tender age of 17. He visited regions and countries across the world, including Cuba, Japan, and many areas in the U.S. as a military personnel worker. He spent time stationed on bases, submarines, aircraft carriers, and military destroyers.
Despite the many memories he has from his numerous stations throughout his career, Batchelder holds Yokosuka, Japan, particularly close in his heart.
It was in 1989 Japan that he met his wife, Sheri.
“She was what they called a cryptologic technologist … she dealt with a lot of top-secret material and worked in communications,” he said proudly. “We actually met through her roommate who was a personnel man on shore … we all went out as a large group and we happened to connect and got to talking and one thing lead to another.”
The two were married Feb. 14, 1991 — a day that Batchelder holds as one of his best ideas as it’s now nearly impossible to forget their anniversary.
Batchelder’s military legacy was passed on to several of his five children, including a daughter currently stationed in Naples, Italy, as a Navy nurse, another daughter who works for the Navy, and a son that spent four years in the Navy.
“We’re definitely a Navy family,” he said.
In March, his youngest daughter will be transferring to Yokosuka, Japan, where her parents met and will likely work in the hospital her brother was born.
Batchelder retired from the Navy in 1996, and because Sheri is from Pueblo, the couple decided to settle down in Colorado’s Steel City. He worked for Prudential Insurance before striking out on his own to develop an advising firm (during which time he completed contract work for the state).
Pueblo Community College beckoned him in 2005, where he worked in personnel and also taught on a part-time basis, and he didn’t leave until 2019. Batchelder focused on business, business law, economics, and CIS and management courses. He still teaches part-time to this day.
In 2019, he transitioned to the Human Resources Department for the city of Pueblo, where he refined and cultivated vital skills he would need as the future HR director of Cañon City. He learned about the position in late 2022 and officially took on the role of HR director in October.
“There was a transition period because I had some projects I was working on in Pueblo,” he said. “The first month … I worked part-time at both. I would basically work Monday, Wednesday, Friday here in Cañon City and Tuesday and Thursday in Pueblo.”
Since Nov. 24, Cañon City has had Batchelder all to itself, and he has worked to implement the wide array of skills he has in personnel and human resource development.
Though it’s always intimidating to learn new systems (whether computer-based or human-based) Batchelder has found acceptance with his employees and bosses alike.
“I enjoy the group, we’ve got a good, friendly, supportive group. Ryan (Stevens) is a great boss,” he said.
In addition to his busy professional life, Batchelder thoroughly enjoys pursuing passions outside of work. He and Sheri regularly attend whatever event or festival is on tap for any particular weekend and Batchelder himself is an avid golfer.
One of his greatest memories stems from a visit to Scotland when he had the opportunity to golf at the St. Andrews Golf Course, which is dubbed The Old Course and the home of golf by golf fanatics. He found himself at the front gates at 4:30 a.m., unsure if he would find an available tee time. Luck was on his side, however, as he ended up playing on the revered course alongside an Englishman and two men from Maryland.
Batchelder and Sheri currently look forward to a trip set for 2024 to visit their daughter who will be stationed in Yokosuka — the place it all began for the family.
“We’re planning on going over to see them but also kinda reminisce and see what’s changed in the past 30 years,” he said. “Retrace some of our steps on some of the things we did.”
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