Did you know: Erik says the summer concerts at the Idaho Botanical Gardens show off some of the best aspects of living in the Treasure Valley.

Erik Stidham, Partner,
Holland & Hart LLP

What is the first thing you would show a visitor to the Treasure Valley? Why?

A summer concert at Outlaw Field in the Idaho Botanical Garden. The concerts show off some of the best aspects of living in the Treasure Valley. The venue is spectacular, bordered by the Foothills, the gardens and the historic penitentiary. The atmosphere in the crowd is welcoming and positive. And the quality of the performers reflects that the Treasure Valley is a growing, vibrant place with enough economic power to draw top acts.

What is your company’s philosophy on the importance of community?

We have been part of the Boise/Treasure Valley community for more than 80 years, dating back to our predecessor firm. Many of our attorneys are Idaho natives and have chosen to work, live, and contribute to the place they call home.

Of Holland & Hart’s eight core values, one of those is community. We acknowledge a special obligation to our communities, and we actively seek and undertake opportunities for giving our skills, time, and talents to pro bono and public service activities.

As an office and through the Holland & Hart Foundation, we support dozens of organizations in the Treasure Valley, both financially and through volunteering personal time: To name a few, Red Cross of Idaho, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, American Heart Association, Idaho Humanities Council, Lee Pesky Learning Center, Idaho Foodbank, Women’s and Children’s Alliance, Movies for a Cause, One Stone and the Boys & Girls Club of Ada County.

What is the biggest challenge or opportunity for our community in 2016?

In coming years, continuing population growth will challenge our quality of life by placing increasing demands on our schools, transportation systems and recreational sites. It will be up to business and community leaders to demand that local and state government deliver services more efficiently and invest more in education and infrastructure. And while we cannot let growth damage recreational assets like the Foothills, the river and our park systems, we can reap the benefits of growth: a more diverse community and broader economic opportunities.

What is the Treasure Valley’s best-kept secret?

While the Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT) is not a secret, it does not get as much attention as it deserves for decades of sustained excellence. BCT always provides an interesting mix of productions in a season. The performances are always good. For example, the roars of laughter heard during the BCT’s production of “A Skull in Connemara” were as loud and as frequent as I can remember hearing any place, any time. When I remember how limited the arts were in Boise when I was growing up, I just find it remarkable that we have a local institution like BCT—it really punches above its weight.

Why did you choose to get involved in Together Treasure Valley?

The decision to get involved was easy. First, I owe a lot to Boise and the Treasure Valley. I could not have asked for a better place to grow up or a better place for my wife and me to raise our three daughters. Second, I am lucky enough to work at a firm that makes community involvement a priority: Community simply is a core value that the firm supports with time and money. Third, Together Treasure Valley is following a model that has been successful in other places and will be successful here. Together Treasure Valley will allow us to combine the assets, energy, and commitments of the participating companies and organizations to do great things. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in that?

How has the Treasure Valley changed since you’ve lived here?

The value placed on the Foothills and the Boise River has changed significantly. When I was growing up, the community did little to protect the Foothills, and the Boise River was frequently used as a dump. Now, if you talk to my daughter’s generation, they identify the river and Foothills as assets that should be protected. There is a real sense of community ownership. Many volunteers spend hundreds of hours maintaining trails in the Foothills. The residents of Boise agreed to a levy to protect and purchase more public space in the Foothills. Boise has the Land Trust. The Greenbelt is being expanded with broad public support. Significant improvements are being made to the whitewater park. And, owing to the support of the Simplot family, Boise will soon open the Esther Simplot Park, which will take full advantage of its site along the Boise River.

Who is someone local who has influenced you?

When I consider who has influenced me to get more involved in the community, I think of Mayor Garret Nancolas of Caldwell and Mayor Dave Bieter of Boise. The two mayors are very different politically and approach problems differently. But they are similar in several positive ways. They are both locals who grew up to serve their home cities. They both are guys from modest backgrounds who bypassed more financially rewarding careers for public service. They both have been willing to put themselves in some political risk when that was in the best interests of their cities. And they share a deep commitment to making their cities better.

Anything else you’d like to highlight about how your company supports the Treasure Valley?

Every attorney at Holland & Hart pledges to donate at least 100 hours of professional services each year to worthy public interest activities or pro bono legal services. Activities include charitable, civic or educational endeavors that are beneficial to indigent individuals, the community at large or a recognized group within the community. On average, our attorneys commit about 9% of their chargeable hours to pro bono work. We believe that pro bono work furthers an attorney’s personal and professional development.

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