7 Questions with John Diak
John is a Certified Financial Planner who graduated in Business Administration/ Finance as well as Human Development and Family Studies. He is currently chairing the positions of Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), Douglas County Subregion Transportation Forum, Regional Transportation Committee (RTC), and the E-470 Finance Committee. Plus, he's just an all-around
How did you meet your wife? Noelle and I were set up in college by mutual friends on a blind date after trying for many years. When I was available and ready, Noelle wasn’t. Although we went to the same college (Colorado State University) and knew the same people, we never met. Fast forward 5 years; I was settling into a new house and very focused on my career when the phone rang with our friend wanting me to meet with Noelle. I took it and we never looked back.
What is your favorite vacation? Noelle and I go on an annual cruise called The Rock Boat (www.therockboat. com). It’s a floating musical festival aboard a cruise ship – 5 days of non-stop music from over 30 bands when we are at sea. My passion is music and my wife’s is traveling so we both benefit.
The great part of this vacation is the ability to connect with the musical artists – some have become really good friends. When artists come through town they stay with us and/or we host house concerts for our friends and other musical enthusiasts under the Twenty Mile House Concert banner (www. twentymilemusic.com).
What is your favorite “guilty" movie and why? Not the movie everyone knows you love, the one you watch when nobody is around (ie - Legally Blonde).
No surprise it’s music related –a movie called Thunder Alley. The movie is set in the mid 80’s that tells the tale of a fictitious rock band trying to make it. It has a 70’s teen idol holdover (Leif Garrett) making an appearance to give it “star power.” The movie and music bring me back to my teenage years.
A few others: The Replacements – a bunch of players not quite good enough trying to reclaim glory during a football strike. I still have no idea why Gene Hackman was in this movie but his character’s approach and wisdom make this one watchable. Uncle Buck – everyone wants to either be that uncle or have that type of uncle in their lives.
What was your first job and what was a great lesson you learned from it?
My first job was McDonald’s on Arapahoe Road and I-25. I learned to treat people the way you wanted to be treated and always try to make and collect friends. I have great memoriesand relationships as a result of that job. One of my closest friends is the person who first hired me for that job.
You went to Ponderosa High school. What is your best Pondo story?
I played snare drum in the marching band. I was very fortunate to be a part of a percussion group that won many awards and the band won two state championships in 1986 and 1988. We had great teachers who were committed to excellence and teaching us what was needed to be successful.
The most rewarding experience was being a part of the advocacy to widen Parker Road and watching the community come together to achieve amazing results. The community was losing at least one high school student a year due to the safety issues on Parker Road which was a two-lane road with limited shoulders. Parents and local community leaders came together to create awarenesson the issue and asked the State for help.
Ponderosa students wrote letters and created a motorcade to the State Capitol as our parents were on the steps with legislators demanding action. Governor Romer showed up to a packed Ponderosa gym and listened as the community shared their stories and demanded action. The governor was very sympathetic to all who provided comments but reiterated the lack of funding. Towards the end of the night, one person took a different approach and asked the Governor “What part of the road is the most expensive?” and the Governor responded “land”. The citizen responded “If I can get you the land, will you build the road?”. The governor huddled with Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) staff in attendance for a few minutes and the Governor responded, “Yes.” Within three months all of the land was donated for the widening project.
You were involved in the Denver International Airport construction. What was your role in the project and do you have any good stories about the “legend" of the airport?
I was very fortunate to work for a land surveying firm located in Parker (Western States Surveying) as a project administrator that had significant involvement in the airport construction. It is estimated we did 70-80% of the construction staking on the airport campus. Denver International Airport was the largest public construction project in the world and I was happy to play a small part.
Many of the legends center around thoughts that the airport was built by a shadow government (we received payments by contractors using federal funding) and have a subsurface tunnel system and living space for important people to go in case of a civil unrest (we worked on the subsurface train tunnels and didn’t build any other tunnels).
One of the popular events for our employees was on Sunday afternoons. The contractors would assemble all of the larger boulders in one area and then blow them up into manageable pieces for removal.
What has been your best memory serving on Town Council?
The best memories are those that provide meaningful results or amenities to the citizens. One of our former Council members said, “Most of us get to start something but rarely get to see it finished in our time on Council.” Having been on Council for 11 years, I have been fortunate to be a here for the full cycle on more than a few projects – building parks; adding trails, open space and roads; expanding our recreation center and pickleball courts. It’s rewarding to be a small part of something that so many can enjoy for years to come.