John Messner is currently a County Commissioner for Gunnison County. While Gunnison County is a small rural county, it is in many ways a cross section of the economic and social demographics of the State of Colorado. Over 80% of the county consists of public lands. Its economic drivers include ranching and agriculture, oil and gas development, coal and hard rock mining, timber and outdoor recreation including a ski resort, mountain biking, river and lake sports, and hunting and fishing. There is a University, manufacturing and a strong small business community. The community prides itself on working together in tackling challenges and developing partnerships and collaborations to work proactively towards a successful future.
John came to Gunnison County from Denver in 1991 to attend Western Colorado University, and shortly after began working for both the Colorado and South African Outward Bound Schools. In 1999, he chose to chase his entrepreneurial spirit and open Gunnison Valley Tack & Saddlery. What started as a retail tack and saddle store, evolved into High Country Cowboy Company — a manufacturing operation producing custom lines of saddles, tack and silver which were marketed and shipped across the country.
John’s parents joined him, and his brother Matt, in Gunnison County around this exciting time allowing John to take on a shared management role of the family’s agricultural operation in the Ohio Creek Valley. John continues to enjoy that role and has an understanding of the importance that agriculture plays in the history and current economy of Gunnison County.
High Country Cowboy Company was sold in 2008 when John moved into a newly developed position of Facility and Event Manager within the City of Gunnison. This new opportunity tasked John with managing the Jorgensen Event Center, as well as developing, managing and supporting year-round events for the City of Gunnison. In 2013, John left the City of Gunnison to become full time manager at what is now the Messner Ranch. Unable to let his entrepreneurial spirit rest, he started a consulting business that focused on fundraising, grant writing and project management of Outdoor Recreation programs and amenities.
John is the proud father of Josephine and August Messner. Josephine is currently attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, and August is recently back from spending a year abroad in Japan and will be entering his senior year at Gunnison High School.
In addition to the above roles, John is Co-Chair of Counties and Commissioners Acting Together (CCAT), Chair of the Gunnison Valley Regional Transportation Authority, Co-Chair of the North Fork Coal Mine Methane Working Group, Vice Chair of CCI Land Use and Natural Resources Steering Committee, member of the National Association of Counties Land Use, Energy and Environment steering committee, board member of the Gunnison Rural Housing Authority, and was instrumental in developing the Gunnison County Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee.
John was elected to the Board of County Commissioners in November, 2016.
1141 CR 818
Gunnison, CO 81230
First Appointment: January 2017