PAST FEATURED SPEAKERS
Past Guest Speakers are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Founder & CEO, Innovation Pavilion
Vic Ahmed is a serial entrepreneur that has built several companies from scratch with his unique ability to translate ideas into sizable business opportunities. He has consistently demonstrated the commitment and energy required to raise angel, venture and private equity funding with world-class teams.
President & COO, 1st BANK
Dave currently serves as the president of FirstBank in Lakewood, Colorado. During his 31-year career at FirstBank, Dave has served in a variety of positions, including executive vice president of FirstBank Holding Company and Chief Operating Officer. He was named President of FirstBank in 2010 and continues to serve as Chief Operating Officer of FirstBank Holding Company.
Katie’s independent Western spirit, combined with her love of Colorado, led her to co-found The Starboard Group in 2008. A fourth-generation Coloradan, Katie serves as the Denver board chair for the March of Dimes, the Regional Chair for Teneo, the Colorado Leadership Board for Maverick PAC and is on the National Thought Leaders Advisory Council for the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. She also volunteers her time with several non-profits in the region.
President, University of Colorado
Bruce D. Benson became president of the University of Colorado in March 2008. Since taking the helm of his alma mater, Benson has enhanced CU’s standing as one of the nation’s leading public universities, advancing the economy, health and culture of Colorado and beyond. He is the longest-serving CU president in more than half a century.
CEO, Stellar Restaurant Solutions
Steve Bigari is the Founder and CEO of Stellar Restaurant Solutions. Stellar Restaurant Solutions is the premier restaurant carry-out order processing organization in the world. Steve was mentioned in the book, "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman, and resides in Colorado Springs.
BETH BOWLEN WALLACE
Director, Denver Broncos
Beth Bowlen Wallace, Director of Special Projects for the Denver Broncos, has a passion to support the community that has been so loyal to the Denver Broncos. Her work includes supporting Colorado based nonprofits and charitable foundations. Beth played an integral role indevelopment of the Ring of Fame Plaza at Sports Authority Field and the recently commemorated statute of her father, Pat Bowlen.
Director, Colorado Women's Alliance
As the Executive Director of the Colorado Women’s Alliance, she develops strategies, messaging and infrastructure focusing on issues that matter most to women. Her work has been featured on Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News, BBC News World Have Your Say, SkyNews, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, and the New York Times.
Former President, University of Colorado
Former CEO, The Daniel's Fund
Former U.S. Senator
Throughout his 40-year career, Hank has held several positions in public service. Most recently, Hank served as the 21st President of the University of Colorado (CU). His tenure at CU is marked by successes with record enrollment numbers, donations, diversity growth and the largest increase in state funding seen in the university’s 131-year history. His leadership was instrumental in increasing the university’s federal research funding to $640 million and reforming its governance process.
Award-Winning Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author
There is a war for talent taking place on a global scale, and the future belongs to forward-thinking organizations that are focused on creating and sustaining a dynamic and compelling workplace culture. Since 1998, Eric Chester has been the leading voice in attracting, managing, motivating, and retaining the emerging workforce.
President & CEO, Colorado Banker's Association
President/CEO of the Colorado Bankers Association, Don Childears has served CBA since 1975, preceded by legislative and campaign work for a Congressman. He’s completed his Juris Doctor from University of Denver College of Law, and BSBA from Colorado State University, where he was student body president.
President & CEO, The Daniel's Fund
Linda Childears is passionate about the work of the Daniels Fund, and has served as its President and Chief Executive Officer since 2005. Bill Daniels appointed her as a trustee of his estate, and named her to the Daniels Fund’s original Board of Directors. Linda’s leadership reflects her strong dedication to preserving the philanthropic intent of Bill Daniels, and honoring his specific directions.
CEO, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
Tom Clark is the Chief Executive Officer of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and Executive Vice President of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Colorado Attorney General, Colorado Attorney General
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman serves as the State’s 38th Attorney General and is the second woman to hold this office. Since being elected in November of 2014, General Coffman has focused on community outreach, consumer protection and protecting public safety and Colorado’s sovereignty.
STAN DEMPSEY, JR.
President, Colorado Mining Association
Prior to becoming President of CMA, Dempsey has served as the President of the Colorado Petroleum Association (CPA) for over 17 years representing all aspects of the oil and gas industry before the Colorado General Assembly and state regulatory agencies. In the 17 years Dempsey led CPA, Colorado’s oil and gas industry experienced tremendous growth in oil and gas production while facing extensive legislative and regulatory challenges.
Gayle Dendinger is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CAP Logistics. He has been in the expedited freight services industry more than 30 years. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, CAP Logistics operates one of the most extensive and comprehensive domestic and international heavyweight and emergency transportation and distribution networks. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska and has done post-graduate work in entrepreneurship at the University of Denver.
Executive Director, Cleantech Open
*Richard is also the proud Father of 4-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, Missy Franklin
Dick is the Regional Director and Co-Founder of the Clean Tech Open which has grown to become the largest clean tech accelerator in the world! The Clean Tech Open has aided over 865 companies who have collectively raised over $1 Billion dollars and created thousands of jobs.
Founder, Executive Director, and Senior Futurist, The DaVinci Institute
As the Executive Director and Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute, he has developed original research studies, which enables him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities.
Host, The Aaron Harber Show
Aaron Harber hosts “The Aaron Harber Show TM” and “The Aaron Harber Show: Colorado Business News TM” --- seen onKCDO-TV (K3 Colorado --- Channel 3), COMCAST Entertainment Television (CET), KPXC-TV (ION Television, ION Media Networks), other cable and satellite channels, and the Web.
President, Mercator Energy
Mr. John A. Harpole is founder and President of Mercator Energy LLC, a natural gas services, brokerage, and research company representing both producers and end-users. Mercator currently assists end-users and producers in 12 states, moving 5 BCF of gas per month. Mercator also conducts special research projects for client groups exploring the impact of industry trends on various regional markets.
Owner, Publisher & CEO, Colorado Community Media
Jerry Healey is Owner, Publisher and CEO of Colorado Community Media. Colorado Community Media builds stronger communities by helping people enjoy a better life through creating relevant and useful connections. It does this by delivering hyper-local content to 16 Denver-metro communities through its 17 print publications, websites, social media and digital offerings. It has more than 300,000 weekly readers and is Colorado’s largest Local Community Media Outlet.
CMO, Dixie Brands
With 20 years of experience in consumer marketing tactics and a cross-functional approach to brand leadership, Joe has a broad skill set across media relations, channel strategy, branding, marketing, advertising, social media, investor relations, crisis communications, events development and community relations. And one day he decided that it might be fun to put those skills to use in helping to build the future of cannabis with Dixie Brands as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
WILLIAM J. HYBL
Chairman & CEO, The El Pomar Foundation
William J. Hybl is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of El Pomar Foundation. Hybl has also been engaged in a variety of public service activities. He is Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (Senior). In 2008, Hybl was confirmed by the United States Senate as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Public Diplomacy, a position he was appointed to by President George W. Bush. He was reappointed by President Barack Obama on June 1, 2011. Hybl was originally appointed to serve on the Commission from 1990-92 by President George H.W. Bush. He was reappointed by President William J. Clinton and served from 1993-1997, including four years as Vice Chairman.
President & CEO, American Furniture Warehouse
American Furniture Warehouse, which is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, is one of the top retail furniture companies in the U.S. With sales topping $392 million in 2013 and with nearly 2,000 employees throughout Colorado, American Furniture Warehouse is one of the largest privately held businesses in the state.
DOUGLAS JACKSON, PhD, JD
President & CEO, Project CURE
Dr. Douglas Jackson serves as the President/CEO of Project C.U.R.E. Each week, Project C.U.R.E. delivers approximately three semi-truck loads of donated medical supplies and equipment to desperately needy people around the world. Since 1987, Project C.U.R.E. has delivered equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics in over 130 countries. Project C.U.R.E. is consistently recognized with the highest Four Star ranking from Charity Navigator, and was named by Forbes as one of the top 200 charities in America.
President & CEO, Colorado Automobile Dealers Association
Tim Jackson serves as president/CEO of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association, the trade association for 260 new car and truck dealers across the state. As the chief staff officer of CADA, Tim advocates for issues of importance to franchised new car dealers, business and employment issues and fights for entrepreneurial freedom in the legislative process.
PHILIP B. KALIN
President & CEO, Pinnacol Assurance
Philip Kalin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacol Assurance, Colorado’s leading provider of workers compensation insurance. Pinnacol is among the country’s largest 25 insurers in the workers compensation marketplace. Mr. Kalin has served as the chief executive of organizations in both public and privately backed companies including large hospital systems as well as healthcare data and technology start-ups. He has been active nationally on healthcare topics related to insurance, data analytics, technology innovation, cost improvement and risk mitigation.
Aerospace and Defense Industry Champion
Maj Gen retired Jay Lindell is the Aerospace and Defense Industry Champion, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. His responsibility is to promote aerospace and defense industry economic development in Colorado. He has been in his current position since November 2013.
RICHARD L. MONFORT
Owner/Chairman & CEO, The Colorado Rockies
Dick Monfort enters his 19th season with the Rockies franchise and in 2016 he continues in his role as Owner/Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the club. A Colorado native, Monfort and the Colorado Rockies Ownership Group have established the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club as a leading organization in the Rocky Mountain Region in both the sport and business of baseball.
President, Belize Natural Energy
Grounded by her love of nature Susan Morrice lives to create positive change in the world. As an experienced geologist, explorer and dealmaker Morrice is renowned for her down-to-earth approach. She has a passion for the protection of our precious environment and a vision of uncovering the true potential of everyone with whom she meets and works.
KOGER L. PROPST
President, ANB Bank & Sturm Financial
As president of ANB Bank, Koger Propst brings more than 30 years of experience in community banking with a focus on creating alignments that allow the bank, its employees and its customers to achieve mutual goals. He leads ANB Bank with a firm belief in the power of independent banking and its ability to help enhance lives and communities.
Chairman & CEO, Shane Co.
Shane Company or Shane Co. is the largest privately owned jeweler in the United States. The company is a direct diamond, ruby, and sapphire importer that operates twenty retail stores across the United States and their website ShaneCo.com. The company was founded in 1971, and is based in Centennial, Colorado.
President, Enstrom Candies, Inc.
Doug Simons, who became president of Enstrom Candies Inc., in 1987, has turned a “Mom and Pop” business into a competitive, high-quality producer of confections. Under his leadership, two manufacturing facilities and corporate offices have been constructed. He has also brought innovation through technological advancements to both the mail-order and manufacturing sides of the business having assisted in the development of cutting-edge machinery to allow for continuous- production of Enstrom’s premiere product, World-Famous Almond Toffee.
Colorado Treasurer, Colorado Department of Treasury
Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton's roots run deep in Colorado, his family has been actively involved in Colorado since the early 1900’s. As Colorado Treasurer, Walker continues this proud family tradition of community leadership.
Founder & CEO, XJET
XJet is the culmination of Josh's lifelong dream to create a unique brand, recognized worldwide for its genuine people, passion to serve, and commitment to shine as a beacon that inspires others to live their dream. XJet opened its flagship location at Denver's Centennial Airport (APA) in 2007 and plans are underway to launch their first global hub at Dubai World Central (DWC) by 2014.
After working as the director of development for the Metro Denver Sports Commission, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing premier sporting events to the Mile High City, Kristin co-founded the Starboard Group in 2008 to marry her love of politics with her desire to give back to the community.
Attorney State General, State of Colorado
John Suthers was appointed Attorney General of Colorado in January 2005. After serving for nearly two years, in November 2006, he was elected - by a large margin - to serve a full four-year term and he was re-elected in 2010, again by a large margin.
Jamie Van Leeuwen currently serves as the Senior Advisor for Governor Hickenlooper after almost four years as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Community Partnerships. Leading up to the Hickenlooper administration, he worked as the Policy Director and served on the transition team for the Hickenlooper for Colorado gubernatorial campaign. He is also the founder and CEO of the Global Livingston Institute, a non- governmental organization in East Africa designed to engage students and community leaders to develop innovative solutions to poverty and is a Senior Research Fellow with the Buechner Institute at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs. He became a Fulbright Scholar in 2013.
CEO, Denver Botanic Gardens
Brian Vogt has been the CEO of the Denver Botanic Gardens since April 2007. His 25 years of community leadership and an extensive background in fundraising, organizational management, communications and branding, cultural development and volunteer coordination have proven invaluable as the Gardens engages in a historic capital campaign and the subsequent build-out of its new Master Development Plan. By the end of 2010, over 30 construction projects and nearly $50 million dollars worth of investments will have been made, in just over two years, at the Gardens, including the Mordecai Children’s Garden, the new parking complex, the Bonfils-Stanton Visitor Center and the Greenhouse Complex.
President & CEO, Colorado Concern
Tamra Ward is the President and CEO of Colorado Concern, a business advocacy association of more than 100 chief executives from across the state. Before joining Colorado Concern, Tamra was the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to being the Founder and CEO of the Opportunity Coalition, Brian Watson is also the Founder and CEO of Northstar Commercial Partners. Northstar Commercial Partners is a privately held commercial real estate investment company that was founded in 2000. Northstar acquires and operates attractive commercial real estate opportunities throughout the United States.
President & CEO, Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain
As the President & CEO of Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc., Robin Wise provides leadership and vision for the largest economics education organization in the region. Under her direction, the organization inspires student success through three vital pillars: entrepreneurship, financial literacy and workforce readiness.
Chris Wright is CEO of Liberty Resources, a Bakken-focused E&P company with unique expertise in well completion and stimulation technologies. Chris is also the CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services, LLC, an oilfield service company specializing in hydraulic fracturing with operations in North Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming.
Passionate about the art form of cartooning and its unique and powerful form of expression since childhood, Jared Wright currently serves as the CEO and Publisher for The Colorado Statesman. While he is now quite happy to be an outside observer of the process, Jared is also quite experienced inside the career of politics. He started down the political track when he obtained his B.A. in political science from Colorado Mesa University in 2006, and served as the elected student body president in his junior year at the institution. Out of college, he went on to work in politics at both the state and federal levels, serving on a U.S. Congressman's staff. Jared was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2012 and served one term as member of Colorado's 69th General Assembly from 2013-2014.