Park City newbie juggles work, school and play
Ryan Summerlin March 29, 2013
Jake Brown used to dress up like a drink cup and wave at passing cars outside the Rochester, Minn., Quiznos where he worked. He was 14 years old and it was his second job. He says it wasn’t as good as his first job picking up golf balls at a local driving range in exchange for free golf but it paid better.
Brown, who moved to Park City two years ago to work and go to school, has never succumbed to the sin of pride when it came to making a buck. He’s a hard-working young man who’s determined to make his way on his own terms. Currently working two jobs and taking classes at Salt Lake Community College, he’s definitely not a slacker.
Brown has always had a stubborn streak. It manifested early when, at age 12, he got a new pair of brilliant white Nike shoes. When he went for a bike ride with his parents, his mother begged him not to wear his new shoes. He insisted.
"Like many times in my life, I didn’t listen to the sound advice of my parents," confesses the now 21-year-old. Speeding ahead of them, his foot flipped off a pedal and he went over his handlebars. His skinned knee bled profusely all over his new shoes. Karmic.
Another example: Last January Brown was looking forward to running his first marathon, the popular Disney world marathon in Florida, with his father. After all, it was his dad who had encouraged him to run in the first place. "He’s always been an inspiration to me," says Brown. The day before the run, he came down with a monumental case of the flu. His father tried to talk him out of running. That would have been the smart thing to do. But for Brown that would have been too easy.
"I’m not the type to be talked out of doing a race, especially after all the hard training and money I had put into it," he says. "It was very hot on the course and I was miserable the whole way, but just being there with my dad inspired me to finish."
They both came in at just over five hours, with Brown the younger crossing the line seven minutes ahead of dad. Stubborn? Maybe. Brown’s take is better. "It was a character-builder," he grimaces.
Fresh out of high school in 2008, Brown briefly attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth. "I found out the hard lesson that I was not prepared for college as an 18-year-old," he says.
Brown’s first encounter with Utah came in 2010 when he took an internship with SOS Employment Group in Salt Lake City. He now works about 30 hours a week with SOS in Salt Lake as a recruiting specialist and loves the job. "Matching talent with opportunity, that’s our mission statement," he recites.
A sojourn to Park City planted the seed that grew to fruition when he settled here in 2011.
"I love the community feel here and I love how active the town is," says Brown. "Even on the coldest of days, you will see runners outside braving the elements. During the summer you can’t go a day without live music being played, some form of race being run, or some awesome locals’ deal at a restaurant. Park City has a vibe that not only has an unmatched energy, but also people who actively make you feel like a neighbor and not just another face in the crowd, like so many other cities."
A touch of maturity and, perhaps, a dose of reality prompted Brown to return to college here. He’s studying business and accounting at Salt Lake Community College and wants to start his own business.
Committed to physical fitness, he envisions himself as a running consultant, taking "newbie" runners from ground zero to their first races and beyond. "I’ve done so many 5Ks,10Ks and half-marathons that I know I can help beginners take on the challenges that go along with racing."
To help pay for school, Brown works part-time as a server at the O’ Shucks in Quarry Village. The Tuesday night locals’ special ($3 burgers and beer) draws a crowd.
"It gets really crazy sometimes, but the people who work there are a lot of fun and I get to meet amazing people all the time," he says. Brown also worked part-time last summer doing set-up and tear-down at Park Silly Market and hopes to do it again this summer.
Brown and his longtime girlfriend, Hannah, share an apartment near Redstone. "She moved here from Minnesota not long after I did. I like to think it was because of me, but you’d have to ask her," he grins. "She’s gotten into running too and I’m really proud of her for doing that. It’s something we can do together and have a lot of fun." Together, they’ll travel to Phoenix next month to do a 10K race.
Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Favorite activities: Running, Crossfit, skiing, the Park City Film Series.
Favorite foods: "My mother’s spaghetti and my girlfriend’s cookies."
Favorite reading: "I’m a sucker for Dan Brown and Stephen King books."
Favorite performers: "Flogging Molly, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Billy Joel."
Bucket list: Skydive and finish college.
Animal companions: "Lilly, an overly-energetic three-year-old golden doodle who thinks she is a human."