As interviewed by Nancy Schlepp, Class of 2017
After growing up in Billings in a middle class family who also ranched near Columbus, Rick Leuthold graduated from Montana State University in civil engineering and spent his entire 33 year career in Billings at Sanderson Stewart starting as a field inspector, working his way up to President of the Firm and now serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Rick married his high school sweetheart, Cindy and they were blessed with two daughters who both reside in Denver. One is married adding a great son-in-law and two wonderful grandchildren (ages 6 and 4) to their family. To spend more time with the grandchildren, Rick and his wife now split their time between Billings and Denver.
Making the world a better place is one of Rick’s passions; he practices this passion in his work and family life and was grateful to extend this through the knowledge he has gained through Leadership Montana. Rick shared that his life prior to Leadership Montana was only external focused and his first 2010 Class gathering in Big Sky changed this, becoming his favorite Leadership Montana memory. He believes prior to this time he was not good with emotion or introspection and distinctly remembers having to share his feelings during this session. This was an important first step in a series of significant ones on an enlightenment journey with how he now interacts with the world.
Personally, the strongest impact Leadership Montana has had is helping Rick open up and be more aware of internal feelings and values. It has also allowed him to interact with and be involved with exceptional people on the Board of Governors. Rick shared that the Board has been kicking around the question “What is the role of Leadership Montana in our state?” To Rick, the answer is: “to continue enhancing the skills of already exceptional people from all walks of life helping make them great leaders and participants in their own lives which makes Montana better as a whole”.
Rick has a great love for Montana and shared that what he personally appreciates about Montana, “It’s our culture, which includes: great people, appreciation of a family lifestyle, a welcoming and embracing of others that helps them feel comfortable with themselves, and a way of life that puts the right things in a certain importance in our lives. There is nothing like standing in a wheat field when the sun comes up or watching a thunder storm roll in, you feel connected to everything.”
Rick rounded out our visit by sharing that he believes strongly in being involved in ones community as it is important to give back to the world with what you are given. Sitting on the Board of Leadership Montana is helping fulfill this need for Rick and is at the top of his list for life rewards. “Finding out about myself as a person, embracing diversity, making strong bonds…this Leadership Montana experience is second to none in the world.”