Board Member Profile: Karl Detjen, Membership
How long have you been in Austin?
49 years. I moved here with my family in 1960, when I was 8 years old. The Capitol building and the U.T. tower were the only “tall buildings”, and you could see them from just about anywhere around Austin. Highway 183, going North from Burnet road, was pitch dark at night, because there was nothing there!
Why did you join the Friends of Barton Springs Pool?
I was snorkeling a lot there in 2007, and picking up all kinds of junk (beer cans, bottles, shoes) from the bottom; the frequent floods were washing trash from the Barton Creek Green Belt into the pool, and the pool staff couldn’t keep up with it all. When I heard there was an organization that was “hands-on” about helping the pool staff clean and maintain the pool, I was ready!
What do you do during the day?
I work at Austin Energy, just up the road from Barton Springs.
What does Barton Springs Pool mean to you?
Community; You’ll see all kinds of people from tri-athletes to school kids, international tourists, retirees, and extended families. They all co-exist and even interact in a friendly, laid-back way that you don’t experience elsewhere. Something about the beauty and tranquility of the Springs seems to put everyone in a better frame of mind.
Favorite local band or artist?
Bob Schneider. I took my daughter to see him at the Nutty Brown Café (at her request), and was quite impressed with the show.
You came to Austin because?
Because at 8 years old, I wasn’t quite ready to tell my parents to go without me.
Are you involved in any other volunteer projects?
My wife and I took the (scuba) Diving For Science course in San marcos so we can help maintain Aquarena Springs. You have to be certified in scuba and the Science course to be a volunteer there, because the habitat and species are so fragile. We learned a lot about the Edwards aquifer there, and of course that all applies to Barton Springs as well.
What neighborhood do you live in?
Sendera Place in Southwest Austin. We moved there ten years ago. It’s not a showy neighborhood, but it was affordable and very convenient; right off of MoPac and Slaughter.
Wife and kids names?
My wife is Donna, and we have three grown kids; Nathan, Chris and Stephanie. Five grand-kids, Damien, Zoe, Gideon, Joshua and Zachary.
Favorite moment volunteering for FBSP?
My favorite time was when I got to scuba dive near the diving area to remove the heavy debris from the flood. There was so much debris and silt that it was “total blackout”; you couldn’t see, you just felt your way around and piled the stuff into the lift-bag to raise it to the surface.
Any hidden talents?
My guitar talent is very well hidden. I just play at home and a few other places. I don’t have the drive to play in front of hundreds of people. It’s more like my private therapy.
How long have you been a member of FBSP?
A couple of years, but seems like… A couple of years.
Besides BSP, where is your favorite hangout in Austin?
My favorite places are the Hike and Bike Trails.
“Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”
College attended/degree in?
Texas State University (Southwest Texas State at the time) Business management.
Describe your first experience at Barton Springs Pool…
My first experience at Barton Springs was when I took a young lady there for a date. I was a Senate Page in 7th grade, and she was the daughter of a State Representative. Her mother drove us there and our favorite part was sneaking kisses while hiding behind the water that flowed over the dam.
Beer of choice?
Miller Lite. Gotta watch those carbs!
The guy who said “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”
Most odd job you’ve ever had?
In the early 80’s I negotiated right-of-way for a Chevron seismic exploration crew in the western U.S. I negotiated with Indians on the reservations (the Ute Mountain Tribe) as well as a host of very eccentric, independent ranchers and farmers in the four corners area. But the best part was scouting the territory in a 4-wheel drive truck with nothing but topo maps, binoculars, a 40 gallon gas tank, and a company credit card. That’s 4-wheeling at it’s best!
What is one goal you have for the Membership Committee to achieve in the next year?
To help all the members find a place in the organization where they feel involved, appreciated, and challenged.
See you at the Springs!