2019 Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Service Award RecipientEric Kramer

What experiences at Leeds helped lay the foundation for what has become a lifetime of service?
Several thoughts come to mind as I reflect on my experiences at CU, but I have to say that my professors played the most influential role in helping lay a solid foundation for the future and my intellectual development. Of note: Wilmer Bernthal, professor of Business and Society (now called Business Ethics) opened doors to numerous interesting learnings. For example, Bernthal shared a memorable essay by Irving Kristol (the “godfather of neoconservatism”) in defense of capitalism, in which Irving claims that Adam Smith never said capitalism was the most moral system, just the best one we have found thus far. Professor Griffin taught real estate and made us learn everything in the world about DCF (discounted cash flow) analysis. And, Professor Zubro, who taught Fundamentals of Macro Economics, supply and demand, and the general workings of the economic machine.  

Tell us about a significant accomplishment that you attribute to your time and involvement with Leeds.
Founding and developing one of the most prominent and innovative wealth management firms in the country with a phenomenal team and exceptional clients is at the top of the accomplishments list. Crestone Capital has developed an incomparable brand reputation by focusing on integrity, service and results. Leeds has played a critical role in my approach to never be okay with the status quo. 

What values are important to you that are also reflected in the culture at Leeds?
Through a culture centered on integrity and excellence, Leeds has become one of the country’s top business schools, located in one of the nation’s most vibrant business communities—Boulder, Colorado (my home and Crestone’s home). It’s important that as leaders in the community, we continue to produce innovative, principled business people who are equipped to drive value.

What best practice has stuck with you throughout your careers?
You never go wrong doing the right thing. Although, it’s not always easy to get to the right thing given that you are constantly faced with a flood of ambiguous information to sort through. (At Crestone, we keep a large stuffed gorilla at the office to remind us that “It’s a jungle out there!”) I’ve always focused on this best practice, keeping it at the core of everything that I/we do. 

What does it mean to you to be a CU alumnus?
When I reflect on my experience at CU I can confidently say that it has increased my well-being and overall life satisfaction. I’m grateful for CU every day—the relationships I’ve built, the exceptional professors, its highly regarded academic reputation, and the community that we are a part of today. Not to mention, I could have been a Minnesota Gopher had I not been admitted to CU!

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December 2019