Forced landing led seasoned traveler to Park City
November 27, 2015
Kimberley Labertew never had a job in her own time zone until she settled in Park City, married and had a child. For much of her career, that’s the way she liked it. Born Kimberley Welsh in Denver, Colorado, the daughter of a career global management consultant, she grew up on the move.
"I loved it," says the longtime Park City resident. "It gave me a chance to re-imagine and re-introduce myself every time we moved."
Labertew had lived in five states before graduating from a Dallas, Texas high school in 1984.
Afflicted with wanderlust at an early age, Labertew was soon on her way to Middlebury College in Vermont, a school known for its international study program. She studied abroad in Poland, Sweden and Russia, and saw most of Europe along the way. She earned her degree in political science, with the intention of working for the Foreign Service.
A summer banking job after graduation turned her head. The money was good and she soon found herself back in Europe, advising clients. Over the next several years she worked with big banks and consulting firms across the country in a wide variety of jobs. Living in Dallas, Texas in the 1990s, she was flying to jobs on both coasts every week, 50 weeks a year.
In 1995, Labertew was flying home from San Francisco when a mechanical issue forced a landing in Salt Lake City.
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"Instead of re-booking, I rented a car, drove to Park City and promptly bought a condo in lower Deer Valley. Driving up the canyon, I could just feel the tension come out of my shoulders," she explains.
Though she continued to commute, Labertew was happy to call Park City home. She was out with friends at Wasatch Brew Pub when she heard a familiar voice close by and turned to look.
"I recognized him as the guy with the sexy voice singing at the Park City Community Church," she grins.
He was also a prominent Park City lawyer and a perpetual traveler, with far-flung clients across the U.S. She and Michael Labertew were married in 1998.
"Michael epitomizes the spirit of Park City. He’s just this big ball of fire, always moving forward. I’ve lived such a rich life since we’ve been together," she gushes.
Their son, Christian, arrived a year later. The blessed event marked a turning point in Labertew’s life. Her commuting days behind her, she took a job at First Security Bank in Park City, the first she’d ever had in the same time zone and zip code.
The lifestyle change also allowed her to earn her MBA degree at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, studying nights and weekends.
"I’ve always been a curious person. Some things I don’t do well, like housekeeping and interior decorating," she admits, "but I genuinely like studying and learning about new things, especially new technology. For me, the way my mind works, this is the world I love. I’d be a professional student if I could," she says.
Though she took other jobs and continued to travel occasionally for work, Labertew was more often than not at home for the next several years. She and her husband relish shepherding their teenage soon through the hectic twists and turns of adolescence and young adulthood. Christian is growing into an accomplished actor. Last week he delighted audiences at the Eccles Center, playing Shrek in the ambitious and well done Park City High School production of "Shrek, the Musical."
With their son now just over a year from high school graduation, Labertew has more time to seek out new challenges in the workplace. She recently accepted a part-time position with NuView Life Sciences, an "early stage" bio-tech company headquartered in Redstone near Kimball Junction. The company is developing a novel diagnostic cancer technology that promises to radically reduce the need for invasive biopsies on patients who may have breast, prostate or other cancers. Labertew says this is the most meaningful work she’s ever taken on.
"For the first time in my life, rather than just looking at financial statements and annual reports, I’m helping develop technology that will actually save lives," she said. "I believe in this. My intent is to eventually work full-time for NuView. I want to sit here in my office, looking up at the Winter Sports Park every day and take the bus to work for the next 20 years."
Labertew’s new-found commitment is a marked change from the young woman traveling 50 weeks a year, racking up frequent flyer miles and hotel points by the thousands. Funny how fate steps in. If her plane hadn’t landed here with a mechanical issue, she might still be at it. After all these years, odds are she wouldn’t trade her Park City life for anything.
Favorite activities: travel, skiing, campfires at our cabin in the Uintas
Favorite foods: fresh berries, aged gouda and fig spread, peanut butter, Red Bicycle crack bread
Favorite reading/authors: adventure stories, Bill Bryson.
Favorite performers/music: "Christian and Michael; Love to hear my boys belt out power ballads." Also Imagine Dragons, Bastille, Lumineers, Train, One Republic and select classical music.
Bucket list: "Learn to speak five languages so I can have meaningful conversations when I travel." Attend a university in a foreign country; learn to meditate for more than five minutes.
Animal companions: Paiton Manning [she’s an avid Denver Broncos fan], a female, four month-old Leonberger. "She fills our house with sounds of life."
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