POR: Curt Martin March 15, 2009
Martin is the financial aid director for Mesa State College
It was blowing off his boss to go to lunch on Aug. 3 13 years ago that landed Curt Martin where he is today.
Martin eventually would become the financial aid director for Mesa State College, but on that day, he had just found out his wife, Laurie, was pregnant with their daughter Racheal.
He worked in the financial aid office of the Denver-based Barnes Business College and had been in back-to-back meetings leading up to lunch.
Martin’s boss tried to pull him into his office on his way out the door.
“I knew I would never get a lunch if I stopped to talk to this guy,” said Martin, so he left for lunch and told his boss as he walked out he would meet with him when he got back.
When he returned, however, Martin found the school closed, having filed for bankruptcy while he ate.
Mesa State was looking for a new financial aid guru at that same time, however, and had called Martin on his work phone one day previously to offer him an interview.
“You go to lunch and lose your job, but if it had happened one day sooner, I wouldn’t be here,” Martin said. “I had a good feeling about Mesa State, and I thought we really, really needed to be here.”
Martin said his guiding principle is to always be in tune with God.
That’s the only explanation as to how a Cornhusker who graduated from the University of Nebraska into a job in agriculture economics ended up in financial aid in western Colorado.
The financial aid business employs a scattershot of skills and requires people to be analytical, computer-savvy, people-friendly and at least tolerate bureaucracy, Martin said.
“Nobody plans to be in financial aid,” Martin said. “It’s the perfect field if you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up.”
There certainly is more than a hint of youthfulness to Martin, and visitors to his office will be hard-pressed to not feel at ease within 5 minutes.
A clue to Martin’s personality is revealed in the memorabilia from the TV show “Monk.”
“Everyone has this weirdness where you have this order,” Martin said. “I put my french fries in order of crunchiness.”
There is a science behind french-fry organization, with crunchy fries tending to be smaller,
Martin said, but is there a life philosophy?
“Nah, I just like my fries hot and crunchy,” he said.