Bank president knows firsthand challenges business owners face
Going from banker to businessman and back again, Scott Holzschuh has seen the economy at its best and worst.
In the process, he’s learned a fair amount about how to build and maintain a business, to say nothing of his hard-won expertise in health care and office furniture.
Now the president of the downtown branch of American National Bank, he moved to Grand Junction as regional credit manager for Colorado National Bank, but it wasn’t long before the entrepreneur in him spread out and he took over as the day-to-day head and minority owner of Mesa Health Care in Grand Junction, providing home health care.
There, he learned a great deal about the industry before managing the sale of Mesa Health Care to a publicly held company in 1995.
“It was fun to watch that and be present for that, the life cycle of a business,” he said. “I learned a lot going through it.”
Holzschuh tried a few other ventures for the next year and eventually landed with Office Outfitters and Planners Inc., a Grand Junction company.
Holzschuh started there as vice president to Office Outfitters owner Corky Hunt, whom he had met at Colorado National Bank, and went to work learning an entirely new business.
There, he learned there are as many ways for an office plan to go awry as there are for a moonshot.
Specifications, colors, space between furniture pieces, molding — there’s almost no end to the details that can go wrong, Holzschuh said.
He mastered them, however, more than once reading specifications at home, late at night.
While there, he served on the Steelcase National Advisory Council a panel of companies that advised Steelcase, the office-equipment supplier with which he worked, on the product line, as well as the needs and wants of consumers.
Eventually, he worked with Steelcase and other lenders to buy Office Outfitters and then to buy and refurbish a building at 749 Main St. so the company could gain equity instead of pay rent.
He achieved record sales and profitability and, he said, “I thought I had everything dialed in.”
Then came the dotcom bust, acrimony over the 2000 presidential election and the eventual fallout on the Western Slope.
With Office Outfitters, he learned the other side of business there, from cutting back hours to laying off valued employees.
Holzschuh sold the business in 2004 and takes pride in knowing that the company remains in business at the home he built for it.
“I bought and sold two businesses before I was 50 years old,” he said. “For me, that’s a big deal.”
He returned to banking in 2005 as a commercial lender for American National, and he was promoted to head the downtown branch in 2006.
Holzschuh, though, is defined by more than his business.
There are more minutes in Holzschuh’s banker’s hours than many others pack into a day.
On Monday nights, he and Leslie, his wife of 31 years, can often be found working to help others with marriage mentoring. On Tuesdays, he attends a small-group Bible study, and Thursdays are for serving on the Downturn Development Authority Board two mornings a month and one evening on a financial-advisory committee.
On Fridays he attends morning God Squad meetings with other businessmen, and on Saturdays he and Leslie attend evening services so as to have a little time for themselves on Sunday.
He also finds weekday time to fit in meetings with the Downtown Grand Junction Rotary Club, where he serves in the Youth Exchange program.
A native of upstate New York who moved to the Western Slope after several years in the Denver area, he was active at First Presbyterian Church and Young Life, and he’s now active with Canyon View Vineyard Church.
Never motivated just by the pursuit of money, Holzschuh said he sees his life as a ministry taking the form of passing along lessons learned — in business and in life.
If there’s one constant, he said, it’s that no one can afford to sit still, even in the face of intimidating problems such as those of today.
“You can sit in your house and fret,” he said. “Or you can go out and do something good.”