On June 4, 2019, we conducted a day-long interview Sprint for our Bringing Business Home Campaign, which showcases community members whose lives have been positively influenced by their employment at a local business. Over the course of 10 hours, we interviewed eight different people from six different businesses in Fort Collins. These employees work for both small and large businesses — all of which contribute to the strength of our economic vitality.

There are three things Chuck Esch is most thankful for: his son, his job and his city.

His son, Landon, is 7 years old. His job as an auto technician is one he’s had for 20 years. And he has called Fort Collins home for his entire life.

On the weekdays, you can find Chuck fixing cars at Houska Automotive. He’s one of the most experienced and tenured auto technicians you’ll find there, too, since he first started working at the local business in 1998. He was 18 years old at the time, needing a job and ready to learn. The Houskas started Chuck in an apprenticeship position, and more importantly, they immediately made him feel like family.

“I am so grateful for everything they’ve done for me,” he said. “It means more to me than I can really explain.”

Chuck eventually worked his way into an auto tech role, in which he fulfills his passion for helping others every day. He also finds purpose in knowing no two days on the job will ever be the same.

“It’s like a new puzzle every day,” he explained. “Some days are harder than others, but they’re always gratifying.”

Chuck may love solving car-related puzzles during the workweek, but he loves to get lost and clear his head in nature on the weekends. Being a lover of all things outdoors, one of Chuck’s favorite parts about living in Fort Collins is the easy access to the Poudre Canyon and many other beautiful local parks, he said.

Chuck is an avid fly fisherman. He remembers getting his first fly rod in third grade and then learning how to tie flies in sixth grade. He also enjoys camping and taking his bike out for a spin. He hopes to instill this love for the outdoors in Landon, whom often serves as Chuck’s plus-one on adventures.

In addition to exploring the canyon and Rocky Mountains in his free time, Chuck teaches local veterans how to tie fly fishing knots through Platte River Veterans Fly Fishing. He’s volunteered at the organization for about four years, and he’s had a lot of fun doing it.

“My dad was in the military, and I think it’s important to show our vets compassion,” he said. “This is my way of doing that.”

Chuck was born and raised in Fort Collins. He was born at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital, graduated from Fort Collins High School and grew up going to CSU football games. While temporarily living in southeast Colorado during his youth, he was always itching to come back home.

“You really can’t live life like this anywhere else,” he said.