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Employee Spotlight: Kelly Kolb


family by christmas treeKelly Kolb, CCI Speer, has learned to embrace the options in his life. From sports and his career to outdoor recreation, Kelly has delved into all sides of his varying interests – a plan that has served him well.

Centerfire Value Stream Manager for CCI Speer, Kelly now manages all aspects of safety, quality, delivery and cost across the pistol manufacturing departments. But the team at CCI Speer doesn’t just know him as an Operations guy. In his 23 years with the company, Kelly initially worked in Operations. He then spent 15 years working in Human Resources. Now, he’s back to Operations.

“My career goal from the very beginning was to build both sides of my resume,” he said. “I had a strong desire from day one to become an expert in both HR and Operations and to help others grow and develop.”

Kelly says the degrees in Human Resources Management and Production/Operations Management along with the Master’s in Organizational Leadership complement each other well. In fact, these entwined backgrounds led him to be sought out by the Governor’s Task Force. The Idaho Workforce Development Council helps residents build their career – or find careers – and increases employer strength through a more prepared workforce. Kelly just wrapped up a 3-year term and was asked to serve on the Executive Committee – a combination of industry, education and government representatives. Here’s the kicker for the Vista lovers: Their vision statement aligns with where Vista is headed: ‘envision a future where Idaho’s diverse and prepared workforce meets the needs of our unique communities and employers.’

It’s clear Kelly has his career on track. There are a few other examples of choices made right. First, he played high school football and baseball. Three memories stick out from his sports career. First, he was the quarterback on the football team when they lost the state championship game in his senior year. Second, he was a pitcher on the baseball team when they won the state championship his senior year. Finally, he had a scholarship offer to play college football but – decisions, decisions, decisions! – he went in a different direction.

“I decided to go to University of Idaho and meet my future wife instead,” he said. “Courtney and I were both in the Greek system at the University of Idaho and that is how we met.”

The couple wed 23 years ago, and after Courtney became a school principal four years ago, they’ve begun sharing workplace leadership stories and bouncing ideas off each other. Their two boys, Austin (17) and Carson (15), keep them extremely busy with sports and outdoor recreation. Kelly has learned to hunt alongside Austin and Carson.

“I hadn’t hunted until about ten years ago,” he said. “I was big on fishing but not hunting growing up.” Just one more example of Kelly expanding horizons in his adult life. Reoccurring trend: He’s had a pleasant outcome.

“When I first took my boys out, I thought we’d go one weekend and move on. Hunting together has helped us build a very special bond with one another. As a bonus, I see a day in the field being as good as a day in the classroom. It teaches safety, attention to detail, planning, conservationism, ethics, etiquette, fitness and endurance, discipline, patience and confidence. Learning to hunt and having the opportunity to do it with my boys has been so rewarding. I never imagined what it would grow into,” Kelly said.

Kelly might not have a map of his life laid out before him, but he sure is navigating it well.



Last read:
“Extreme Ownership” – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Most likely to buy in bulk?
Protein bars.

Most interesting job you’ve had?
I worked for the local parks department in the summers while going to school. I spent forty hours a week, every week, mowing the grass around the headstones at the cemetery. I am not sure ‘interesting’ is the appropriate term, but definitely motivated me to continue my education.

What would a day off, by yourself, with no obligations look like?
Fly fishing on one of Idaho’s beautiful back country streams. There is a lot of skill, and a little luck, involved. I may never master it and I haven’t done much of it recently, but I hope to get into a lot more. You are always casting and/or watching your fly float down the river. There is a lot of strategy involved as well which helps make it so rewarding when you land a fish.

Least favorite candy?
Sweet tarts or Smarties

Best type of meat, and how’s it cooked?
The backstraps off of an elk, barbecued on the Camp Chef with a little Montreal steak seasoning.

Favorite family activity?
Camp and travel. The best quality time is often when just the four of us are together away from home, in the wilderness or vacationing far away. This past summer I taught my boys how to fly fish on a week long camping trip.

Worst injury?
While vacationing in Mexico with friends and family, we were playing volleyball in the pool and I tore my biceps tendon. I had to have it surgically repaired. It happened on day two of a seven day vacation so it was a long week.

Dog or Cat Lover?