She’s a relative newcomer to North Lake Tahoe, having moved here five years ago, but 26-year-old Amie Quirarte is already making her mark on the community by choosing to stay involved. From the time she was a young girl, Amie spent summer vacations at Donner Lake and North Tahoe with her parents, who were married in an impromptu ceremony at Chapel of the Bells in South Lake Tahoe. Born and raised in Pacifica, Calif., she graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2011, and moved here after college to start a career that was far removed from her original plan. Amie says she really found herself here, and also her fiancé Cliff Costa. The two met at Sugar Bowl. “I have to say I was a bit naive about what it took to live here full time,” Amie reflects. “The biggest hardship was making the financials meet.”
If she wanted to stay, she knew she needed to find a different job, and answered a posting to work with check-ins for Tahoe Luxury Properties’ rentals. “I was happy there, but I had this urge to do something more. I wanted to pursue real estate, so I left Tahoe Luxury Properties, took real estate classes, then found my way back.” Owner/Broker Bill Dietz and staff have mentored Amie along the way.
Tell us about your involvement with the Truckee/Tahoe people Facebook page.
It’s a community page. We have almost 6,000 members with about 35 requests daily. My friend JD (John David Fore) started it a couple of years ago as a site for locals to find housing and exchange information. It took off overnight. He asked me to take on the role of administrator along with him and his sister. This winter, the sled hill issue in Truckee came up. People voiced their frustrations with visitors leaving trash behind, then a dad and his son built a snowman, put up a box and a sign, and asked people to please clean up after themselves. My job is to keep this an unbiased, safe community page where cyberbullying is not tolerated, and some people have said things I cannot mention. This page has changed my life. It’s a full-time job, but it’s something I do because I love our community and I’ve seen the positive effects it has had on people who find rentals and jobs.
What was your ideal career when you were in college?
I always dreamed of being a dolphin trainer and pursued a Bachelor or Arts in Psychology at University of California, Santa Barbara, a requirement for animal training. I swam with dolphins in Hawaii when I was young. I love animals. My best bud is my rescue dog Mowgli. I applied for a summer job during my sophomore year to work with dolphins and when I saw the size of the tank they were kept in I vowed I would never work with animals in captivity.
You’ve been at Tahoe Luxury Properties for several years now. What do you think is your strongest asset in working with people?
My strongest asset, which I believe carries though every aspect of my life, is that I’m really honest and very transparent. To me, people are not commission checks. I would never feel comfortable going through a sale that I didn’t believe in. I read about the housing crisis recently and decided to reach out and hold a first-time homebuyers seminar with a friend who’s a mortgage broker. It was really successful. We had about 38 people.
You say you’re very passionate about travel.
Yes, I have a goal of hitting every continent before I turn 30. After a trip to Asia later this month, I’ll have Africa and Antarctica [left].
Do you have a special place at Tahoe that you’re willing to share?
Eagle Rock is one of my favorite places to watch the sunrise and sunset. Also, I live in Tahoe Park and walk to the lake to sit on the dock almost every morning. I can look around and don’t hear anything other than the water on the rocks. It’s where I go to have my peace.
Are there certain local organizations you support?
I’m on the Board of Directors for the Tahoe City Downtown Association. I’m a Big Sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I’ve worked with Project MANA. When I first moved up here I was involved with the High Fives Foundation. Cliff moved out here from Colorado to intern at High Fives because the founder, Roy Tuscany, was Cliff’s ski coach at Sugar Bowl.
Do you think you’ll stay here long term?
Yes. I love it here. I’ve worked really hard in my life to overcome the obstacles I’ve been faced with. My dad died 17 years ago and my mom has addiction issues. I don’t have brothers or sisters and I’ve been on my own since I was 16. Cliff and I plan to buy a house soon and raise our family here. Tahoe casts its spell and makes you stick around.