Michael Garner was living in Denver and working for ADT Home Security when a car crash hit 40,000 pounds. crane weights changed his life.
“A semi-truck kept coming down the Hampden ring road – it happened not far from the Swedish medical center in Denver,” he recalls. “I was sitting at a traffic light behind my girlfriend in her car. She’s in a Charger, because I was trying to convince her that we really needed a Dodge Charger. She has our 3 week old daughter in the back seat. This semi that came from behind us did not stop, hit our two cars and 10 or 12 others. The semi was carrying 40,000 pounds. of crane weight on a flatbed trailer. I had a fairly serious concussion and broke a rib. I was out of work for about six months.
“We left our apartment in Denver, got off and stayed with my parents here in Springs – but after that I didn’t want to go back to Denver. I was a little shocked by the accident and didn’t want to drive so much anymore. I drove a lot while working for ADT.
“My girlfriend and my daughter were doing fine; it was a bit of a testimonial from the Charger.
It was Garner’s second move to Colorado Springs. His first – from Florida almost 15 years ago – wasn’t exactly by choice either.
“My parents gave me two days’ notice to move with them to Colorado where I had to find accommodation on my own – and I was planning to go to the University of Florida at Gainesville,” did he declare. “Honestly, I wasn’t too excited to come to Colorado. All of my friends were in Florida and for the first six months I vowed to go back. I was homesick but started going to UCCS and eventually fell in love with Colorado Springs.
Today Garner is an Account Manager at Comcast Business, Vice Chairman of the Colorado Springs Rising Professionals Board of Directors, a 2019 Pikes Peak Leadership Signature Program graduate, volunteering for organizations such as the Colorado Institute for Social Impact and fully engaged in the community. .
The Michigan native spoke with the Business journal about his career in sales and account management, recognized as the best in the West by Comcast and falling in love with Colorado.
Tell us about your job in Denver.
I found a job with ADT Home Security in Denver. I had a small apartment in Aurora, right next to the Mississippi. The office was right up the street, but I was never in the office. It was residential sales – long hours knocking on doors, and lots of evenings and weekends. It was always top to bottom; some months really kicked my ass, and i had a lot of fun with money other months. Overall, I worked with ADT for four years and learned a lot about interacting with people. I was very introverted in high school, so sales really pushed me out of my comfort zone.
What did you do for a job after moving to Springs?
I accepted a position at the Better Business Bureau in Southern Colorado as an Account Manager. I was there three and a half years, almost four. I worked my way up the ranks there a bit. I was an account manager to a team leader overseeing a small team of account managers – and at the same time I was promoted, I also became an advertising manager there. I really enjoyed that.
Why did you leave?
It was time. It was a fairly small office, and I thought I had done what I could there – and wanted to do something different. From there I went to Gazette and did digital advertising for them for a year. Now I’m at Comcast Business; I started in March 2020. I am an account manager on the commercial side of Comcast. Residential is Xfinity, and Comcast Business caters to the corporate and small business world. I frequently work with mid-sized companies. I help clients get online – set up their phones and internet… lots of advanced technology for better connectivity.
What do you like about working for Comcast?
Love it last year – when everything was pretty scary with a lot of changes – I helped find ways to keep businesses up and running and communicating. People who have never thought of working from home could. Being able to connect people and allow them flexibility – I really like that.
The hardest part was working with those last year who had to close their doors, it could not have avoided that. I had to be there, and it was hard to see.
Comcast is awesome. They really congratulate you and defend you for your successes. I won the Best of the West award in December of last year. The best of the west is the Twin Cities and the West. I had the highest retention rate in the company for a person in my position. It was pretty awesome.
Tell us about the LPP Signature program.
I was in the class of 2019 – the best class ever. What I liked was the exposure to the city and the presentations by great people, some of whom I already consider long-time friends: Nicolas Jimenez, Zachary Barker and Keith Willschau. It’s one Thursday a month, and you give up a whole day, but it’s only one a month. I was part of a Tri-Lakes Cares project as a class project. I highly recommend the Signature program. Would do it again – I get what I pay for for sure.
Talk about your role with Rising Professionals.
I’m the vice president of Colorado Springs Rising Professionals. I have the rest of this year before the end of my two-year term. I’m very excited for what’s to come – to have events again. I think there’s a lot of pent-up energy and turmoil – people want to hang out, socialize, and network. Last year has been a quiet year for us. We have done internal and structural things and rebuilt our website.
Zachary Barker, whom I met as part of the Pikes Peak Leadership Signature Program, introduced me to the Rising Professionals and their board of directors. Then I ran for vice president when it became available – wanted the extra responsibility and got elected by our board. I check with all of our different committees to provide support and communication, and work specifically on our marketing committee.
You mentioned being homesick when you first moved here, but ultimately fell in love with Colorado. What do you like about it?
I love how close we are to everything. Two weeks ago, I got a text from a friend who lives in Denver and wanted to go rafting. I got the text on a Thursday, and we were there on Saturday. It was my second time rafting. In a lot of places in the country you are not that close to opportunities like this where you can just head to the mountains, climb a 14er, go rafting. Saturday and Sunday of last week I mountain biked at Palmer Park and Stratton Open Space. I love paddleboarding. I love Quail Lake; it is a very cold lake… there are never any waves which makes it pleasant for paddle boarding. Otherwise I will go to Monument Lake or Palmer Lake. I love going to concerts at Red Rocks [Amphitheatre], and it’s only an hour away. The acoustics there are so incredible; we have the impression of being at the height of the music.