To thousands of viewers in the Fort Wayne area, Curtis Smith became a household name as the Chief Meteorologist at 21Alive, a position he held from October 1995 to April 2016. Many were surprised when he decided to leave his post at the news station and join the Parkview Health family as Director of Community Outreach in May. While he reflects fondly on his time at the station, he does admit the decision to leave the weather behind was an exciting one with a healthy list of personal and professional benefits for the public figure.
Driven by a responsibility to improve the communities we serve and cultivate meaningful, impactful relationships, Curtis is one of the personable, devoted People of Parkview.
Name: Curtis Smith
Title: Director of Community Outreach
What prompted your recent career change?
Several things, but mainly a chance to work for a wonderful organization and make a difference in our community by building and strengthening relationships, on behalf of Parkview. It sounded like an exciting opportunity and something I would be good at. So far, no regrets!
What is a typical day like for you?
Right now, just over a month into the job, there’s still a lot of onboarding. There are so many people to meet and get to know here. Parkview is a community unto itself. But as the weeks go by, I am meeting with more and more people in the community and exploring what partnerships with Parkview could look like and how we could do things to benefit both parties, but most importantly, the people of our area.
What inspires you to do the work you do?
When I came to Fort Wayne in 1995, I thought I would live here for a year or two, but my wife and I fell in love with the city. All three of our sons were born here and this place became our home a long time ago. The idea of playing a small role in making Fort Wayne and the entire region a better place is what inspires me. The people of Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio have given me so much and I hope to return something of value to them.
Why do you think it’s an exciting time to be a part of Parkview?
The No. 1 reason is the quality of the people here. There are so many amazing people in this healthcare system, not just in terms of their intellect and ability to build a better tomorrow, but in the way they care and love others. This organization truly cares about the community and goes above and beyond in the way it treats and provides for the people of this area. The growth of Parkview has been amazing, but the way that Parkview has grown is what is unique and special. It’s not easy to maintain a warm and personal feel when you are as a large as Parkview is.
What qualities do you think translate from your previous role to this one?
My ability to communicate and my connections in the region. I have a base of friendships and partnerships that equip me for what we hope to achieve here at Parkview.
What most excites you about your future at Parkview?
The unknown. This is such a big leap for me and I don’t exactly know what my job will look like in a year or 5 years. That can be scary and it can be exciting, but when you are surrounded by tremendous people who have similar goals and desires, the fear goes away and the excitement takes over.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a long and storied tradition of sleep walking and sleep talking.
What’s your fondest memory from your time on air?
Without question the fun times and bond I had with Melissa Long and Tommy Schoegler. All the laughter and goofiness people saw on air and loved about our newscasts were just the tip of the iceberg. I often laughed so hard I could barely breathe. We had so many fun and funny moments during commercial breaks. Those are lifelong friendships that I will always cherish.
You host a lot of events. In your opinion, what’s the trick to being a great emcee?
Events never go exactly the way the organizers expect and timing gets thrown off, so as an emcee you have to be able to roll with the punches. Sometimes you have to fill time, sometimes you have to condense things and speed up the activities of the night, but you always have to make it appear as if nothing is wrong. So being flexible and willing to handle whatever comes your way is very important.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love spending time at home with my wife and boys. That’s something I truly appreciate about my job at Parkview. My old schedule was not family-friendly and now I’m able to be home in the evenings, and when it rains and snows I don’t get called away. I also love to golf and spend time with friends. My wife and I have two other couples we’re extremely close to and those friendships really help us stay level-headed and balanced.
If you could tell people to read one book in their lifetime, which would it be?
I would say “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”. Really all seven books of “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. I love just about everything C.S. Lewis wrote, but those books made a real impact on me as a kid and I still love them now. There is so much wisdom and truth just below the surface of those stories.
What would we find on your bucket list?
I would love to go to Scotland and play St. Andrews. Going to the Masters once and seeing the tournament in person is also very high on the list.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures. I probably should, but I don’t. I love ice cream, milkshakes, popsicles – just about anything cold. Maybe if I started to feel guilty about it, I would lose the 15 pounds I’m always saying I need to lose!