Introducing the President of Boulder Dushanbe Sister Cities - Rett Ertl!

Our BDSC President is a mysterious figure, so we wanted to pull back the curtain with a deep dive into the life of the illustrious Coloradan and world citizen, Rett Ertl.


Rett is that unusual phenomenon in modern America – a native Coloradan. Like many other Coloradans in the 1960s, he began studying Russian in high school. Unlike most of those students, he continued studying until he attained a B. A. in Russian and an M. A. in Slavic Languages and Literature. In the mid 1980s, back in Boulder, he became an avid fan of Summer Swim League, where his children swam with the children of Philip and Lena Gordon. Philip asked if he would be a board member of the Boulder Dushanbe Sister City Project, and he said, “Sure, why not?”  

Nate and Rett with Lilya Mustaeva, 2017 Open World delegate, at the Tajik Sea near Khujand, Tajikistan

His tenure on the board lasted about a year and a half, at which time he went east to get yet another degree, an M. A. in Political Science. For the next twenty years, Rett was in and out of Boulder, creating a business importing nesting dolls and other products (including carved Santas, bicycle frames, ball bearings, and chemicals) from Russia, and working as a USAID consultant in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan.  


In 2017, Rett was again recruited onto the board, this time by his neighbor, Aldona Siczek. Only a year after he joined the board, the president of the Board, Stephanie Martz, was offered a job in Mali, and Rett offered to take over her position. Little did he know that this “job” involved some twenty hours a week. Since coming back to the board, Rett has been fortunate to visit Tajikistan three times, and he looks forward to returning soon. The position as BDSC president is rewarding, especially when helping to coordinate and support the many activities that Boulder Dushanbe Sister Cities become involved in, all of which help to develop relationships with the wonderful people of Tajikistan. 


In his spare time, Rett is writing a book on the history of Eldora Ski Area, which his father purchased in 1967, and he managed from 1982 to 1985.


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