County welcomes new attorney

Amy Markwell hits the ground running

By JUSTIN CRIADO, Associate Editor Jan 26, 2018

The Markwells: Grant, left, Cade, Mckenzie and Amy attend Mckenzie’s high school graduation. (Courtesy photo)

The “nomadic” Markwell family recently settled in the Telluride area after bouncing around the globe for many years.

That may be a bit of an overstatement. In all fairness, Amy Markwell — recently hired as San Miguel County’s new attorney — and her husband, Grant, have been in Colorado for 14 years now. Amy formerly worked as El Paso County’s assistant attorney and Grant was an active-duty U.S. Army soldier, and later, a Colorado Springs police officer.

Amy will succeed longtime County Attorney Steven Zwick after his Feb. 9 retirement. Grant has been sworn in as a Mountain Village police officer. The couple’s two children, Mckenzie, 19, and Cade, 18, are remaining in Colorado Springs for school.

When asked where she’s from, Amy admits the family has “lived all over the place,” including stops in New York (her home state), Massachusetts, North Carolina, Maryland, New Mexico and Germany. Such is the life of a military family.

Amid the Markwells’ many travels, Amy received her undergraduate degree from Boston’s Simmons College, then completed law school at Campbell University — home of the Fighting Camels — in Buies Creek, North Carolina.

Grant’s transfer to Fort Carson, which is just outside of Colorado Springs, brought the Markwells to Colorado. It was after Grant decided he was through with active duty 12 years ago — he retired a reserve soldier — that Amy decided to take the state bar exam and began working for El Paso County.

Since then, Colorado has become home for the Markwells. Mckenzie is currently a sophomore at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Cade will follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the Army after he graduates from high school. Amy said the family’s time in Colorado is approaching a tenure longer than any of the previous locales. (She lived in upstate New York until she was 15.)

Throughout all their travels, the Markwells never made it to San Miguel County, though. They did get as far as Ouray and Montrose.

“The Western Slope is amazing in general,” she said. “I’ve heard if I thought that the rest of the Western Slope is beautiful, then wait until I see Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County.”

It was that type of mindset that made the move a no-brainer.

“Both of us were like ‘let’s go.’ We jumped on it. It’s amazing out here,” she said.

Not even a month has passed since relocating and Amy has jumped right into work with Zwick as a mentor.

“I’m so grateful that he’s been willing to have a transition period. His knowledge and expertise, specifically to San Miguel County, is invaluable,” she said.

Zwick explained in a previous interview with the Daily Planet that he hopes to pass along his “institutional knowledge” before he leaves.

County Commissioner Joan May, who announced earlier this month she will not seek reelection this year, mentioned hiring Amy as something she’s proud of accomplishing before leaving office.

Amy’s first order of business has been sorting through proposed county Land Use Code amendments regarding regulation of recreational and medical marijuana-growing operations in unincorporated parts of the county.

“We’re all sort of mucking through the changes as they come,” she said of new state laws concerning grow operations, which went into effect Jan. 1. (Local governments have some leeway with the new state regulations, but the county wants to mimic the state with its proposed amendments.)

During Wednesday’s commissioner’s meeting, Michael Martelon, president and CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board, welcomed Amy.

“It’s a very difficult place here,” he said, jokingly.

She quipped: “I get to commute on the gondola.”