For Buchwald, the sky has really never been the limit

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Patsy Buchwald also is a single-engine airplane rated pilot.

Patsy Buchwald also is a single-engine airplane rated pilot.

Patsy Buchwald has lived in Colorado Springs since 1984.

For more than a decade, she has presented the Colorado Balloon Classic at Memorial Park during Labor Day weekend.

Buchwald recently took time to tell CSBJ about herself and her annual event.

Organization: Colorado Springs Balloon Classic Inc., dba Colorado Balloon Classic

Position: President, owner and CEO

Hometown: Demorest, Ga.

How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: Since 1984.

Education: Degree from DeKalb College in Atlanta. Continued college education at Georgia State University.

I am a single-engine airplane rated pilot and believe that: “The sky is not the limit. The only limits we have are those that we place on ourselves.”

A few words about your company: The Colorado Balloon Classic  was organized during 1977 and has grown to be the largest and the longest continuously running hot air balloon festival and airshow in the Rocky Mountain region, as well as the state.

The annual family event — admission is free — is held each Labor Day weekend at Memorial Park.

Recent accomplishments: Personally, having my head shaved on March 20 as a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I raised more than $6,000 to help find a cure to children’s cancer.

In business, having the Colorado Balloon Classic earn the rank as “One of the Top 100 Events in North America” by the American Bus Association.

Biggest career break: Being selected by Dewey Reinhard, co-founder and the previous owner of the Balloon Classic, to continue the hot air balloon tradition.

The toughest part of your job: Coming up with the money to continue the event year after year.

Our mission statement does not allow us to charge admission to the Balloon Classic, so we sell advertising and sponsorships.

Someone you admire:  Dave Csintyan, president and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

He leads by example. I am so grateful to him for always finding time to mentor me when I need a sounding board in growing the Colorado Balloon Classic.

About your family: I am the oldest of five daughters. My sisters, their families and our mother live in Georgia. My son Brian and his wife, Shellie, live in Colorado Springs with my two grandchildren, 4-year-old Eva and 2-year-old Ozkar.

Something else you’d like to accomplish: Personally, hike more Colorado mountains — the “fourteeners.”

In business, establish scholarships for young people to get pilots’ licenses.

How your business will change in the next decade: Aviation regulations continue to be updated to maintain a safety level with a growing population.

My business must be able to adhere to those regulations while producing the largest air show in the state. We are experiencing a shortage of younger people coming into our sport because of the finances needed to earn a pilot’s certificate, purchase an aircraft and maintain the currency ratings as well as the cost flying and maintaining an aircraft (balloon).

Hot air balloon event organizers and clubs will need to promote themselves and our industry to attract people to our sport.

What book are you currently reading? Just finished “The Step Dynamic: A Powerful Strategy for Successfully Growing Your Business” by Laddie and Judy Blaskowski. Just started “The Little Red Book of Selling” by Jeffrey Gitomer. Rereading “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs?  The view and impression of our city could be greatly improved by having the entire length of Fountain Creek through the city become a safe area with nature trails. We have a great start on that with Monument Valley and the America the Beautiful Park.