From Fly-Fishing to Drumming – Steve Ziemke Proves He’s Never Bored Outside the Office

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 01:42 pm

As the senior vice president of Gulf Coast Western, Steve Ziemke is no stranger to the demands of a career in senior management. But instead of sequestering himself inside a fluorescent light-lit office, Ziemke believes in living life to the fullest from sunup to sundown outside of work.

“I’m pretty active,” he says. Well, that’s an understatement…

After he clocks out, the sales executive gathers no moss. Ahead, he shares the pastimes that help him blow off steam and keep him sharp in the boardroom.

Fly-Fishing and Camping

“Just being outside is what I love doing,” Steve Ziemke says. “Being outside is my happy place. It could be just sitting out back and watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee.”

Ever the outdoorsman, Ziemke admits he and his wife splurged on a new set of wheels to take them deep into the wilderness. “A few years ago, we bought a camper trailer. We call it glamping because we have a shower, refrigerator, microwave, and TV,” he says. “We like it because it gets us out.”

After he finds the perfect campsite, Ziemke is known to drop a line.

“I’d like to do more fly-fishing. When I eventually retire, that’s going to be one of my main pastimes: to learn how to tie flies and get more into the technique,” Ziemke adds.

Skiing in the U.S. and Abroad

When the temps drop, and the powder is just right, you won’t catch Ziemke on the bunny slopes. “I’m an avid downhill skier,” he says. “Skiing was interesting because I was the first one in my family to ski. I was in junior high and I joined a ski club.”

At first, Ziemke skied locally in southern Michigan on what he lovingly refers to as ‘molehills.’ “You stand in line for 20 minutes to get on the chairlift — and then it takes one minute to get down,” he says with a laugh.

Skiing inspired Ziemke so much that it motivated him to choose a college major that put him in nature. “I have a degree in forest management,” he states. But it wasn’t meant to be. “It was a dead end, so I went out to Utah, stayed with friends of my family, and skied at Alta. That’s where I met my wife. We’ll be celebrating 41 years this August,” he says.

Utah had far more than the molehills Ziemke had skied in the past. The mountainous state had true powder skiing, which presented both a challenge and an opportunity for the budding skier. “I was just hooked at that point. I mean, it was just amazing,” Ziemke recalls. “I’ve evolved into being pretty much able to ski most everything. Double black runs and very aggressive moguls. I still do that quite a bit up at Breckenridge in Colorado.”

The United States has plenty of great spots for skiing, but the adventurous executive is setting his sights abroad for more ambitious slopes. “What I would really like to do is to ski in another country such as New Zealand. Our summer is winter in New Zealand,  and I would love to escape the heat of summer to ski,” Steve Ziemke says.

He’s With the Band

It’s a wonder he has energy left, but Ziemke says he can carry a tune.

“I never really played the drums. I always had a natural knack, and I would tap on things, driving everyone crazy, but I never did anything with it,” he says.

That changed 20 years ago when Ziemke met up with some friends at a 40th birthday party. “As part of the celebration, a few guys got together to play music.  My friend (the birthday boy) sang and played lead guitar, another friend played keyboard, and there was a drummer. The drummer wasn’t really into it,” he explains. Ziemke asked if he could try drumming, and that’s when his amateur career in music took off. They added another guitarist and formed a rock ’n’ roll cover band and called themselves Monument Hill in honor of a local mountain pass.

“We got together, and all of a sudden, we started practicing. I bought my own set of drums. We played at a couple of private parties first, and then we started venturing out into playing the bars,” he says. The group mostly played in Colorado Springs, but their music was a surprising hit with the locals.

“We had a local following in Monument where we lived, and it was just an amazing experience. We used to play a lot at bars,” Ziemke says. “It’s classic rock. We played a couple of Eagles tunes.” The cover band also frequently played hits by ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, and Lenny Kravitz.

Today, Monument Hill’s members are spread across the United States, which makes it challenging for Ziemke to reunite with the band more regularly. “The lead singer’s in Vermont, the lead guitarist is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the bass player and I are right here in Colorado,” Steve Ziemke explains.

While Monument Hill’s gigs have dwindled over the years, the best friends still gather a few times a year to practice and learn new songs. “We pick up right where we left off,” Ziemke adds.

For those looking for some travel or hobby inspo, Steve Ziemke offers up a cherished maxim: “Get out there and do things. Make things happen. Do things that are uncomfortable,” he says. “If you don’t have goals, you’re not on pace to doing the best you could be.”

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