Bridges began his career with Chevron Corporation, then founded Advance Geophysical in 1980. He achieved success with the software products MicroMAX and ProMAX, both used for the processing of seismic data for the petroleum exploration industry. In recognition of his business accomplishments, he was awarded the Enterprise Award in 1991 by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists  He is also the chairman of Quest Capital, a private venture capital fund 
In 1999, Bridges founded the Bighorn Center, to "give Colorado's political middle a credible and legitimate voice in the state's increasingly polarized landscape and more importantly, to get things done."  The Bighorn Center closed in 2006, but the very successful bi-partisan Bighorn Leadership Program is still providing leadership training and development at Colorado State University. In 2004 Bridges ran for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, but stepped aside and supported fellow Democrat and friend Ken Salazar, who went on to win the seat. Looking to the 2006 election, he declared his candidacy for Governor of Colorado. However, he dropped out of the race on August 8, 2005, telling supporters "My passion has always been public policy, not politics."
Along with Tim Gill, Jared Polis, and Pat Stryker, Bridges has been named as one of the "four millionaires" responsible for donating large sums of money through 527 groups to Democratic Party-related causes in Colorado. They are credited with helping the Democrats to win control of the Colorado General Assembly in 2004.
- Larner, Ken. "S. Rutt Bridges". SEG Virtual Museum. Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- "Article in AAP Explorer". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- "Quest Capital website". Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- "Bighorn Center home page". Archived from the original on 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- "BREAKING - Rutt Bridges Out of Governor's Race". Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- Seers, Stuart (2006-09-05). "Dem quartet's '527' aid building success for party". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- Stuart Steers (May 2005). "The Gang of Four". 5280 The Denver Magazine. Archived from the original on 2015-10-13.
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