Curtis was raised in Hatch, New Mexico. He received a B.B.A. in Marketing and an M.A. in Economics from New Mexico State University. He is has also done graduate work in Higher Education Administration from New Mexico State University.
He began his professional career working for the Legislative Finance Committee in Santa Fe where he spent over a decade, concluding with three years as the Staff Director. Subsequently, he served as Planning Officer for New Mexico State University, and both Senior Fiscal Analyst and Deputy Director for Finance at the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education(now Higher Education Department). Moving to the Department of Finance and Administration, he served as Deputy Director of the State Budget Division and Director of the State Board of Finance.
He has been at UNM for over eleven years in the positions of University Budget Director and Associate Vice President for Planning, Budget and Analysis. He joined the staff of the Provost in the role of AVP in November 2007.