The Q&A - Who would CURT?STEPHENS most like to dine with?

Curt Stephens

Tell me about something you’re really good at. 

I’m pretty good at negotiating, I guess. I’ve negotiated quite a few contracts. I usually run a crew, so I guess I’m good at those kind of interpersonal relationships; to get something done in small groups, like 12 or 15 people or less. I’m goal-oriented, so typically, it would be a work group that has certain goals to reach in a certain amount of time. 


What or who is the greatest love of your life? 

My wife. We work so closely together that I think that if we weren’t truly in love we wouldn’t be able to. We walk across to the office every morning together, and we’re together all day, working together. She’s a partner in all aspects – a business partner, every aspect of my life she’s partner to it. I just don’t know what I’d do without her. 


What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

I think I’d have to say right where we are. I like the climate here. I like having projects to do all the time. I like some variety in the projects and this business has been really good for that, you know. I have science background and there’s computer things to do. I studied business in college and there’s enough bookkeeping. And there’s always things going on in the community and involvement there. And with the [Ocean Park] Chamber, there’s advertising, marketing and web design, and I find those things interesting. So, right where I’m at and the things I’m doing. I don’t like it when a job becomes a routine and methodical.


If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would they be? 

My father. When he was dying, he had a hard time speaking. So I guess if I could go back, I would go back and ask him if there’s any way he could tell me what he was trying to say. I think it was mostly things he wanted to say about my mother, I know it bothered her not knowing.


What is the worst job you’ve had? 

I used to be an operator in a pilot plant in Portland, so I guess it would be doing brick inspections inside of a reformer.  You had to crawl into a small brick-lined pipe and it was probably over 120 or 130 degrees in there. You actually had to put your arms in front of you as you went and inch up with your toes and arms. If you were claustrophobic, it was not the job for you.


If you could edit your past, what would you change? 

You know, I think I’ve been a really, really lucky, and with the decisions I’ve made, I don’t know if I’d change them. I don’t know if I would because they probably led to something good. So I’d have a hard time choosing what I’d change. Like an old girlfriend breaking up with me — if that wouldn’t have happened, I would probably not have ended up with who I’m married to.


You just won the lottery – what are the first things you’ll do with the money?

Probably paying this business off would be first because the economic downtrend has been a real strain and stress. Then, it’s ironic— I would dearly love to give my kids something, but I’m a firm believer that in life I’ve learned that people don’t treasure things that are given to them, but they do treasure the things they earn. So I’d give them the opportunity for education. I guess my wife has always wanted to take a cruise, so we’d take a cruise. I’m just not a thing person. I just don’t have a big desire for that. And I suppose I’d have to sit down with my wife — we moved from North Carolina from her family, so the third thing would be whatever she wanted to do with her life. Because I’ve taken her to Portland and then to here, so she’s done whatever I wanted to do. So I guess it would be to do whatever she wants to do for a change.


If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 

You know, I’ve had to do startups in the desert and in the tropics and I did one in Montreal and in Germany in the winter, and I have found that when I don’t have seasons, I really miss seasons. I’d really have to be in an area with spring, fall, winter and summer. And in all the places I’ve traveled all around the world, I don’t think I’ve found a place I like any better than here. And it’s nice because we do have some distinct seasons — we have winter, we have spring, and we have summer sometimes. And each one has a kind of excitement to it.


The oldest of seven kids, Curt Stephens grew up in Lake Oswego, Ore., graduated from high school in Scappoose, Ore., and attended Portland State University. He once owned a bar and restaurant in Charlotte, N.C., and also worked for Shell Chemical, Midrex and Riedel Environmental Services. He and his wife, Karen, purchased Ocean Park Resort in the late 1980s. They have two children, Brad and Melissa.

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