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Saturday / December 2.
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5 Questions for Mark Fitz

You recently retired after a 45-year career in construction risk management.  How is it going so far?

I love retirement! It took me about a month to decompress and unwind from going to work every day.  Then I settled into a comfortable routine of house chores, health & fitness, biking and walking everywhere; along with re-connecting with friends beyond the on-line social networks used during the long pandemic and the busy holidays.  The key is to be financially secure and understand where money goes after retirement, and be able to re-adjust to the recent inflation and gas price increases.  Then I looked for ways to better connect with my community.  My favorite quote is “Think globally. Act locally.”   Finally, I am doing occasional professional consulting to help with the bills.

Lots of people start their days off with a cup of coffee but you’ve taken your morning joe to a whole new level.  Tell us about your coffee quest?

Back in early November while unwinding, and with winter approaching, I was looking for simple excuses to get out and about.  I make great coffee and I had a favorite coffee shop haunt near my house.  Out of curiosity I looked on-line and saw about eight shops in LoHi, some of which I had been to and some of which I hadn’t.  Since then I’ve been to 13 (not including several restaurants and cafes that also sell coffee.)  Some unique spots are Pinwheel Coffee which is managed by high school kids and shares a space with my bike shop, Queensberry Coffee which has as many dogs as people and Steam Espresso Bar which is in an historic Denver firehouse..    

What have been the benefits of getting out each week on your coffee runs? 

Walking is always good for any reason even if winter weather.  Seeing more of the neighborhood was nice along with seeing more of old houses without the leaves.   I have lived in Highland for 22 years and still can visualize the old houses and businesses that are gone and disappearing so rapidly. Supporting local businesses and workers is very satisfying.

You say you know a good cup of java.  What conclusions have your reached about the coffee shops in North Denver?

I’m no connoisseur or snob when it comes to coffee.  I do appreciate the many variables involved such as bean, grind, water, time & temperature.  I drink mine small, black, light roast and with a double shot of espresso.  They seem to all have their distinct personalities and character from whatever old building or former business that was there.  Every barista or server I meet is super friendly!  Lots of people are working from their laptops.  Dogs are welcome.

What advice do you have for others who are looking to find new activities and purpose in retirement?

A couple of mantras I believe in are that ‘health is wealth’ and ‘sitting is the new cancer’ so just keep moving.  Getting involved and giving back to the community is something I’ve always done but I think retirees play a crucial role with their free time, experience, and passion.  Retirees should put a lot of time and energy in relationships, personal and professional.  I’ve found this hugely rewarding my entire life but more so in retirement.

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Vicky Collins is a freelance television producer and journalist based in Denver, Colorado with a diverse portfolio of projects that include network news, cable programming, Olympic sports, corporate and non-profit videos. Some of her most satisfying assignments have been covering disasters, working in the slums of developing countries and telling stories of people who show great courage in the face of adversity. She has been in all 50 states and on six continents and many of her television stories and photos are posted on her website at To contact Vicky Collins directly email or tweet @vickycollins.

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