Todd recently joined the GOCO team as Director of Communications and Outreach from the University of Kansas, where he worked in media relations and marketing for 15 years—most recently as the university's Director of Marketing Communications.
Q: Why did you want to work at GOCO?
Todd Cohen: Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to help communities and other groups preserve vital open spaces, create trails, establish access to rivers or build a park. This is a remarkable opportunity to do work that’s not only personally rewarding but also helps make a tangible, meaningful difference to the public for years, or rather generations, to come.
Q: How do you summarize GOCO's role in keeping Colorado a great place to live, work and play?
TC: I think GOCO, in its partnership with Colorado Lottery and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, plays a vital role in helping maintain the state’s quality of life and its economic strength. Parks and trails enhance communities and in turn maintain or boost property values. The natural wilderness and recreation areas attract a steady stream of tourists, who pump substantial amounts of money into the state that residents would have to provide otherwise. If Colorado didn’t actively preserve its natural resources, everyone would suffer.
Q: What challenges does GOCO face and how do you envision helping the organization meet those challenges?
TC: Colorado is growing quickly, and that signals two things for GOCO. First, increased pressure on existing recreation space and wilderness, which means there’s an urgent need to keep up and stay ahead of demand so everyone can continue to enjoy Colorado’s natural spaces, and to avoid degradation of existing resources due to overuse. Second, it’s vital that new and existing residents are informed about how Colorado uniquely preserves its open spaces, parks and the like through GOCO’s administration of lottery revenues. The challenge is to keep pace with change and do so effectively.
Q: How did you get into communications and marketing?
TC: I worked in journalism as a reporter and editor before converting to the “dark side” — as journalists call it — to do marketing and communications for my alma mater, the University of Kansas. I pretty much grew up on a college campus as my dad was a professor, so it was a natural fit for me. And quality education is something I firmly support and enjoyed helping advance.
Q: Do you have a personal or professional philosophy that helps guide you?
TC: Stop and smell the roses, and practice random acts of kindness.
Q: You recently relocated to Colorado from Kansas, what made you want to make that move?
TC: Kansas has many fine attributes but its central location means you are equally too far away from just about everything. So the opportunity to live in Colorado, to which we have made long drives to enjoy the mountains or other activities, was too enticing to pass up. The best thing so far has been humidity-free days and the cool evenings. Colorado’s air alone has been very refreshing.
Q: What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?
TC: Growing up, my family did a lot of camping and fishing in Wyoming and Montana and later exclusively in Northern Minnesota. We also did canoe and cross-country skiing trips though eventually I transitioned to downhill skiing in Colorado. Previously, I lived in Seattle and loved to bike on the Burke-Gilman trail so I look forward to exploring Colorado’s bike trails.
Q: What parts of Colorado are you looking forward to visiting with your family?
TC: I know my wife and kids are looking forward to many more ski trips this winter. We enjoy the Steamboat area and hope to get back there frequently now. There is a long, long list of places we plan to visit—my son hopes to conquer his first 14er this summer with this grandfather— but I would love suggestions about where to start.