Who We Are

The People Behind The Movement

MEMBER STRONG

EPIC is a group of prestigious business executives partnering to invest in children. As leaders in their companies and industries, our Members are leaving a legacy of true progress and lasting change.

EPIC’s Board of Directors

MEMBERS

Ryan Beiser

Chairman of the Board
Regional President
PNC Bank

In this role, Ryan is responsible for leading overall growth across Colorado with a special focus on the Denver Metro area, as well as overseeing all aspects of Corporate Banking in the region. His office implements all local sponsorship and philanthropic efforts to execute PNC’s community-based goals and initiatives.

Ryan previously served as the chief operating officer of PNC’s Corporate and Commercial Banking groups. Prior to his COO role, Ryan led Corporate Banking for PNC’s Florida East region. During his tenure, he has participated in numerous internal and external initiatives while at PNC, including Men Advocating Real Change (MARC), Women Connect, and United Way West Palm Beach.

In Denver, Ryan is a member of YPO Colorado and serves on the board of Mile High United Way, the Board of Advisors for the University of Colorado Denver Business School, and on the Major Gifts Council for Early Childhood Education of the Mile High United Way.

Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from St. Vincent College and a MBA from the University of Maryland. He and his wife Heather live in Denver with their three children.

Marc Pasquariello-Williams

Secretary
Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor
RBC Wealth Management

Marc has been serving clients in the private wealth management industry since leaving public accounting in 1991 and is currently, Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor for RBC Wealth Management. Prior to RBC, he was Family Wealth Director, Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager and Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley for over 9 years; and then Senior Vice President for almost 18 years at Wells Fargo. Marc has a background in law, JD from William Mitchell College of Law, accounting (CPA), and business (MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management).

When Marc is not busy earning the title of trusted advisor to his client base who seek to fulfill their true intent for advancing purpose and legacy, you can find him engaged in any one of several outdoor activities, enjoying all that Colorado has to offer. Marc is the single father of two daughters. His oldest, Gabrielle, graduated from the University of Richmond this spring and is living in Raleigh, N.C., and his youngest, Sophia, is heading back to college this fall after recovering from her fourth and final shoulder surgery in less than 5 years. Marc is also a professionally certified tennis racquet stringer. Having strung thousands of racquets while his daughter was pursuing her passion on the tennis courts, he created Last Second Stringing, a purely philanthropic endeavor and donates all funds collected to a foundation that runs a school for children in Uganda.

Marc participates on EPIC’s Policy and Initiatives committees and his expertise and input is highly valued.

Laura Carlson

Vice President of Programs
Buell Foundation *

Laura Carlson is the Vice President of Programs at the Buell Foundation. As a member of the Foundation’s management team, she is responsible for overseeing grantmaking activities, development and oversight of special projects and initiatives, and supervision of the program staff.

Laura has a Master’s of Science in organizational leadership with a focus on change management and a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Colorado State University. The focus of her career has been on early childhood development. Prior to joining the Buell Foundation team in 2010, Laura worked for Invest in Kids as a fundraiser and program director for statewide implementation of The Incredible Years, an evidence-based social/emotional skill development program for preschool children and their caregivers. In addition, she was a lead teacher for several years at Children’s Creative Encounters, a preschool in Littleton that she attended as a young child. She currently sits as a representative on the Colorado Young Child Wellness Council and chairs the LAUNCH Together Advisory Team.

Laura spends her time away from the office enjoying time with her husband and two young sons. The arts play a prominent role in the Carlson household, and Laura spends much of her free time painting and crafting, making or listening to music, and enjoying area cultural attractions.

David Perez

Independent Board Member

With 40 years of executive leadership in medical device and health care services, David Perez serves as an independent board member and advisor to several corporations and non-profit organizations. His expertise encompasses growing highly regulated global businesses organically through R&D and innovation and inorganically through M&A, leading within a variety of foreign, public and private equity ownership structures, strategic planning, culture and talent development, succession planning, enterprise risk management, operations, compliance, and corporate governance.

Perez retired from his leadership role at Terumo BCT in March 2019 following a comprehensive 2-year succession and transition plan. During his more than 18 years serving as president and CEO, Terumo BCT grew from $160M in global revenue to $1B as an innovation driven biomedical company focused on unlocking the potential of blood and cell-based therapies in the blood banking, transfusion medicine and cell therapy/regenerative medicine sectors.

Beginning with COBE BCT in 1999, through Gambro BCT, CaridianBCT, and then Terumo BCT, Perez guided the company through several foreign ownership structures, leveraging his extensive experience leading complex, multinational businesses and diverse, cross-cultural organizations. Under his tenure, the company grew from a single manufacturing and R&D site to employing over 7000 associates at five regional headquarters, five R&D centers and six manufacturing plants located in the U.S., Ireland, Belgium, Japan, Vietnam and India. His strategic vision took the organization from two business units, focused on two product platforms, into global leadership positions in five business areas and 12 product categories serving customers and patients in 130 countries, with 70% of the company revenue coming from international customers.

As CEO of CaridianBCT, under the private equity ownership of EQT and Investor AB, Perez and his global team increased company value by 85% over 4.5 years, resulting in a $2.6B exit to Terumo Corporation (4543.T. Nikkei) in June 2011. Perez continued to lead the company for 8 more years, also serving on the Terumo Corporation Board of Directors until June 2019, where he was one of fewer than 300 non-Japanese board members of all publicly traded companies in Japan.

Amy Schwartz*

Executive Director
BuildStrong Education

Ms. Schwartz has been with BuildStrong Education (formerly the Foundation for Educational Excellence) since 2008. Before moving to Colorado in October of 2007, Ms. Schwartz lived and worked in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with her M.A. degree in Social Research Methodology, from the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies in June 2007. While in graduate school, Ms. Schwartz consulted with First 5 LA, the Los Angeles County Proposition 10 Commission, with their School Readiness Initiative which administered $134 million to 42 diverse communities within the county. Before attending graduate school, Ms. Schwartz spent three years as the School Readiness Program Director with a non-profit agency serving a densely populated Hispanic neighborhood in the Los Angeles metro area. Ms. Schwartz began her career in education and the non-profit field as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer in 1997.

In total, Ms. Schwartz has twenty years of experience working with various educational and family-support programs. Her work has centered on the goal of increasing student outcomes in low-income, low-performing schools through collaborative, family support and public-private partnerships.

Ms. Schwartz was a founding board member of the Lyons Valley Preschool which opened soon after the devastating floods of September 2013. She is also a founding board member of Steps to Success a non-profit created in 2016 with the mission to sustain youth violence prevention work in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver.

Brad Busse*

President
Busse Ventures
Emeritus Board Member
Past Board Chair

Brad Busse is President of Busse Ventures LLC. Busse Ventures is an entity Mr. Busse formed to manage his business interests and investments. Prior to forming Busse Ventures, Mr. Busse provided senior industry coverage across all industry groups for RBC Capital Markets, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada, from April 2012 to February 2014.

Previously, Mr. Busse was Co-Head of the Communications, Media & Entertainment (“CME”) Group for RBC Capital Markets from January 2007 to April 2012, where he was responsible for the management and strategic development of the CME Group’s business, which includes mergers & acquisitions, equity and debt capital formation and financial advisory engagements.

Mr. Busse joined Daniels & Associates in 1985 after receiving broad experience in finance and accounting. After briefly serving in the Cable Television Group, he took responsibility for building the Telecommunications Group, which completed more transactions in the wireline, wireless and telecom infrastructure sectors than any other investment bank during his tenure. Mr. Busse was President and one of two lead principals at Daniels & Associates when it was acquired by RBC Capital Markets in January 2007.

Mr. Busse began his professional career at Arthur Anderson & Co. in 1980 and, subsequently, became a financial manager for a $1 billion energy concern. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Denver and an MBA from Regis College.

Mr. Busse was appointed by Governor Bill Owens to serve on the Colorado Commission on Science & Technology (2000-2006). In 2010, he was appointed by Governor Ritter to the Colorado Commission on Early Childhood Leadership (reappointed by Governor Hickenlooper in 2012) and served until the commission completed its work in 2014. He also was appointed to the Board of Pinnacol Assurance by Governor Hickenlooper in November 2017, which was confirmed by the Colorado State Senate in January 2018, and served through August 2021.

Mr. Busse has served as a member of the Executive Advisory Board of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver which he chaired for three years (April 2009 – April 2012) since 1996 and became an Emeritus member in March 2022. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Mile High United Way since 1998 which he chaired for two years (July 2008 – June 2010) and currently serves as an Emeritus member. He also served as Chairman of the Million Dollar Roundtable Council for United Way Worldwide from 2002 to 2007.

Mr. Busse is a founding member and past Board Chair of the Executive Roundtable of EPIC (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children), a member of the Denver Chamber of Commerce and a member of Colorado Concern, which is a non-partisan association that addresses issues which impact Colorado’s economy and lifestyle and whose membership includes many of the top business executives in Colorado.

Mike Kehoe

Vice Chairman
VP Finance
PCL Construction

PCL Construction Enterprises, Inc., VP-Finance (2000-Present) PCL’s most senior finance professional in the U.S., responsible for the accounting, financial reporting, tax, investment, and treasury functions.  Member of PCL’s primary operating board of directors and its investment committee.  Secretary/Treasurer and Board Member for numerous PCL subsidiary companies in the U.S. KPMG, LLP, Audit Associate/Senior/Manager/Sr. Manager (1992-2000) Worked as an auditor with a primary focus on the construction, engineering, and real estate industries.  Early promotion to Audit Senior, Manager and Sr. Manager.

Education/Recognition University of Colorado-Boulder, MBA in Accounting, 1992. Treasurer of the Beta Alpha Psi accounting fraternity. University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. in Investment, Banking & Finance, 1987.  Member of the Finance Society. 2017 Denver Business Journal-Top Financial Executive Award Recipient 2019 Kate Waller Barrett Community Service Award Winner

Charitable/Not-for-Profit Experience Mile High United Way Board of Trustees Member (2016-2019), Alexis De Tocqueville Society Co-Chair (2019-2021). Former Board Chair-Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado (formerly Parent Pathways), a charitable organization that includes a high school in partnership with DPS and support services for pregnant and parenting teen mothers.  Successfully led capital campaign, campus redevelopment plan, and renewed public/private partnership with DPS (2009-2015). Former Board Member for the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)-Denver Chapter (2004-2012).  Active membership in the Denver Chapter. Served 19 Seasons as a youth sports coach in Golden, CO.

Geta Asfaw*

President
Addis & Company/Ababa & Company

Geta Asfaw is a native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He moved to the United States at age 18 to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He has earned three college and post-graduate degrees, including an A.A., B.A., and M.A. He has been married to his wife Janice for over 30 years and has three grown children named Elias, Desta and Abraham.

Today Geta is the owner of eight McDonald’s restaurants and has a number of real estate investments throughout the Denver metro area. He has sponsored a number of activities with schools and non-profit organizations. Geta is a member of the “Global Hunger Project,” which is an organization dedicated to ending world hunger. This organization is active in over 24 countries. His achievements have been highlighted in the Colorado Black Leadership Profiles, and he has been named as a “Who’s Who among Colorado’s Outstanding Leaders.”

Geta has recognized the need to help the community, the city and beyond. He created the Asfaw Family Foundation to serve as a vehicle to give back to the communities in which he has served for over the past 20 years. One of these programs is, the “Arches of Hope Bicycle Giveaway,” which provides over 300 new bicycles and helmets to worthy elementary school students every Christmas season. The Foundation also provides tuition and other important benefits to school children in East Africa. In addition, the “Aim High” scholarship program provides financial assistance to African American male students. This program is designed to help increase the number of African American males on college campuses. Geta always believes that it is the responsibility of every business person to be involved and give back to the community – A strong community means a strong business and a win-win result for everyone.

Geta has been honored to receive numerous awards and to be recognized by a variety of organizations. Some of these recognitions include:

  • The Colorado Council of Mediators and Mediations, “Peace in the Community” award.
  • The Denver NAACP, “Caring and Sharing” award.
  • The American Red Cross, “Volunteer in Foreign Language Interpreter” award.
  • The Denver City Council, “Outstanding Community Service” award.
  • The Urban Spectrum News, “An African American Who Makes a Difference” award.
  • 100 Black Men of America, “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.
  • The Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.

Geta has also lent his time to be involved with non-profit organizations, as well as board member and advisory positions. Some of these organizations include:

  • The Ronald McDonald’s House Charity
  • University of Colorado Boulder – Athletic Mentor Program
  • Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau
  • Denver Kids, Inc.
  • City Park Alliance
  • Urban Peak
  • The Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce

Suzy Jaeger

SVP, Chief Patient Experience & Access Officer
Children’s Hospital Colorado

Ms. Jaeger has been employed by Children’s Colorado since 1992.  She was named the Chief Patient Experience and Access Officer in September 2015.  Prior to that, she held the position of Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Services, and the Network Care, for three years.  Ms. Jaeger was named Vice President in 2003 after serving in several progressive managerial and director level roles in Ambulatory Services from 1992-2003.  In her current role, she serves as a member of the Senior Executive Leadership Team, providing operational oversight and strategic direction for the ambulatory clinical practice operations on the Anschutz campus, throughout the Children’s Colorado System of Care and across the seven-state region (including specialty care, primary care, dental care, therapy care and urgent care); and all services provided at the Children’s Colorado South Campus and North Campus hospital locations.  She provides Senior Leader leadership for a broad array of Family Support Services across the System of Care, under the broad categories of Clinical Social Work, Child Life, Patient-Family Experience and the Association of Volunteers. In addition, she provides leadership and direction for several Children’s Colorado’s strategic initiatives, including ACCESS (improving access to care across the entire care continuum and communication among team members, community provider partners and patients/families).  In 2022, her portfolio was expanded to include Senior Leader leadership responsibilities for the Community Health and Advocacy Division, as well as Corporate and Community Development.  Ms. Jaeger serves on the Boards of Directors for Reach Out and Read Colorado, Brent’s Place, EPIC (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children) and Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Association of Volunteers. In 2021, she he was nominated by the Denver Business Journal as one of the “Outstanding Women in Business”, and in 2022 and again in 2023, she was recognized by Becker’s Healthcare as one of the “Outstanding Chief Experience Officers.”

 

Ms. Jaeger received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of South Dakota in 1985.  She is married and has three children and two grandchildren.

Sue Renner*

Executive Director
David and Laura Merage Foundation

Sue E. Renner directs a consortium of private foundations representing three generations of the David and Laura Merage family in Greenwood Village, Colorado. The Merage Foundations invest in, and take risks with, innovative social entrepreneurs to achieve significant community impact in the United States and Israel. In addition to overseeing grantmaking and operations, Sue is spearheading the development of the Foundations’ Early Learning Ventures initiative to increase the stability and productivity of Colorado’s ECE sector through market-based interventions.

Prior to joining the Merage organization in 2006, Sue was the Executive Director of Early Childhood Connections, a non-profit corporation providing early intervention supports and services to over 1,000 infants and toddlers and their families each year in the Denver-metro region. Sue also worked as a Senior Program Manger with the Colorado Office of Resource and Referral Agencies where she was responsible for launching Colorado’s T.E.A.C.H. program, a public-private venture to provide early care and education professionals with college scholarships.

Sue’s experience includes volunteer leadership roles with several community development, family support and early care and education organizations. In her tenure as President of the Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council she established several new initiatives including the Developmental Surveillance Project, a successful venture to engage pediatricians and parents in the early identification of developmental delays. Ms. Renner received her BS in Human Development from California Polytechnic University, and her MS in Child and Family Development from Colorado State University.

Colin Stewart

Founder and CEO
STEM Child Care

Colin is the Founder & CEO of STEM Child Care, Inc., an educational start-up focused on offering a center-based STEM curriculum to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Investing in early education and the next generation of leaders is important to him because he is a product of a STEM-focused early education, so he is humbled and excited to be developing a platform that promotes the acquisition of STEM knowledge and problem-solving skills through individualized learning experiences. Colin has the utmost respect for education as a vehicle for knowledge acquisition and as a foundation for climbing the socioeconomic ladder. For that reason, he could not pass up the opportunity to reinvent the large child care center model with the mission of helping scholars at his preschools reach their full potential.

Due to Colin’s early exposure to STEM education and diligent work ethic, he has excelled in his academic and professional careers; Colin earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, MPH from Columbia University, and MBA from Dartmouth College, and has worked for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, UnitedHealth Group, and DaVita as an investment banker and leader of revenue-generating business units. Colin is grateful for the opportunity to join EPIC, to expand his professional network with like-minded individuals, and to meaningfully contribute new ideas that support the creation of family-friendly work environments and increase access to quality, affordable early education in our community.

Pat Hamill*

Chairman and CEO
Oakwood Homes
Emeritus Board Member

Patrick Hamill received his BSBA in the School of Real Estate and Construction Management from the University of Denver in 1981. In 1991, he founded Oakwood Homes, LLC. His company’s commitment is and always has been, to listen to the customer, focus on their needs and provide a rewarding buying experience. Currently Oakwood Homes is the largest private builder in the Denver metropolitan area and is ranked third in the market share. Oakwood homes celebrated their 20th year in the home building business in 2011, as well as building their 10,000th home. Aside from the sales figures, Oakwood Homes, under the direction of Mr. Hamill, is a company committed to the growth and development of the Denver area beyond housing.

He is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Oakwood Homes, LLC. In addition to Oakwood Homes, Mr. Hamill’s other business affiliations include: Town and Country Title and Insurance, Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, Precision Building Systems and PKK Investments. He is a Past Chairman and a member emeritus of the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Trustee of the University of Denver, Chairman of the Colorado Open Golf Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Colorado Concern and serves on the board of HealthOne. He is also serving on the Governor’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission.

In an effort to not only build a master-planned community in the Denver area, but also support the community in and around it, Mr. Hamill co-founded two community development organizations in the greater Denver area: The Foundation for Educational Excellence and the 21st Century High Tech Academy.

His creation of the “Home for Good” program where Oakwood Homes, along with affiliated trade contractors, built and donated a home valued over $300,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. This program raised in excess of $700,000 for the Clubs. In 2012 Oakwood, and its affiliated trade contractors, built and donated the Dream Home for St. Jude’s Hospital, which netted them $1,200,000 for research and the hospital. In 2013 Oakwood completed their second Dream Home for St. Jude’s.

Mr. Hamill has received the “Professional Achievement Award” through the University of Denver Founders’ Day in 1999 and in 2007 was awarded the Boys & Girls Clubs Champion of Youth Award.

Akash Bhalla

Treasurer
Partner
Ernst & Young LLP

Coming soon…

Christine Benero*

President and CEO
Mile High United Way

Christine Benero is President and Chief Executive Officer of Mile High United Way, which just celebrated its 125th Anniversary as the first United Way in the country. Mile High United Way works to advance the common good of the community by investing and focusing on the issues of School Readiness, Youth Success and Adult Self-Sufficiency. Last year, Mile High United Way invested over $30 million in the Denver metro area.

Christine is the former Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter, in Denver, Colorado. Prior to joining the American Red Cross, Christine was the Director of the Office of Public Liaison for the Corporation for National Service in Washington, DC. She served in two Presidential administrations working for both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Christine has served as Vice President of the National Civic League, and as a Community Affairs Corporate Program Officer for Target Stores in Minneapolis, MN.

Christine serves on the Boards of HealthOne, the National Civic League, Community Wealth Partners, Colorado Society of CPA Board of Director’s, City Year Denver and EPIC. She was appointed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to the Denver Education Compact Board and currently serves on the National Professional Council for United Way Worldwide. Christine was named the 9News Leader of the Year in 2007 and in 2009 received the Community Leader Award by Goodwill Industries and was named by both the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post as one of “Nine to Watch in 2009.” In 2010 she was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of Colorado and in 2011 received the “Las Madrinas” award from Centro San Juan Diego. In 2012, Christine was honored nationally by Girl Scouts of America as one of “One Hundred Distinguished Alumni” in honor of Girl Scouts 100th birthday. In 2013, she was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and presented with the Urban League’s “McKinley Harris Distinguished Warrior” award.

Christine is a past President of the Association of Junior Leagues International, a past chairman of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Coalition for America’s Children and the Kiwanis International’s Young Children: Priority One Advisory Board. She was a delegate both to the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in 1997 and to the NGO Forum at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Christine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Boston University, a Masters in Education from Harvard University, Graduate School of Education and was selected as a 2007 Gates Fellow for the Senior Executive Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Stacie Packard

President
Delwest Management Corp.

Stacie has been in the affordable housing community since 1993 and brings more than two decades of experience serving as the Vice President of the Ross Management Group, one of the nation’s leading affordable housing property management firms. Her experience includes a 15-year term on the Board of Directors of Affordable Housing Management Association, including two years as President of the Board.  Stacie is an alumni of the Denver’s Community Leadership Foundation. During the pandemic, residents at Delwest’s properties were facing adversity of sending their children to school online. Some residents could not afford computers or even internet. Stacie and her team came up with the solution to have Educational families so that teachers could go to the properties every day to manage children’s online educational needs including purchasing computers and paying for internet. The next goal for Stacie is to provide low or no cost child care in their affordable housing developments.  

Stacie is in charge of supervising all management staff while maintaining their building assets at Delwest Management. 

Dave Rogers

Partner Government & Public Services (Retired)
Deloitte & Touche LLP

Dave was a Partner in Deloitte’s Government & Public Services (GPS) practice prior to his retirement from Deloitte in May 2020. From February 2017 to May 2020, Dave served as the GPS Geographic Hyper-Growth leader for Colorado and, in that role, was responsible for leading the expansion of the GPS Defense, Security & Justice, Civil Government and Health sectors in Colorado. Dave also served as the GPS Risk & Financial Advisory Geography Champion for the Pacific & West Geographies. Dave has over 40 years of experience consulting with a diverse group of federal and state government and commercial organizations on a broad range of internal control, corporate governance, business process, financial, operational and regulatory issues, and had a specialty in helping clients address their Sarbanes-Oxley and financial reporting internal control challenges. Dave was the Lead Client Services Partner for the National Institutes of Health from 2015-2017, the Lead Advisory Partner for the US Postal Service from 2007-2015, and the lead Federal Advisory Practice Quality Risk Manager from 2007-2017. Dave is a Certified Public Accountant and served as an Audit partner in the Deloitte & Touche commercial audit practice from 1993-2001.

Dave received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a native of Colorado (Colorado Springs). Dave enjoys skiing, biking and running, and he and his wife, Pam, enjoy traveling and spending time in Boston with their two daughters and their families, including two granddaughters and a grandson.

Greg Anton*

Partner
BDO USA
Emeritus Board Member
Past Board Chair

Greg Anton is a founding partner of Anton Collins Mitchell LLP (ACM), a Denver, Colorado based CPA firm with offices in Boulder, Denver and Greeley. ACM has been distinguished for both its rapid growth over the past decade and the creation of a desirable work environment. The 100+ member firm has been recognized as a 2010-2014 Best Accounting Firm to Work for by Accounting Today, a 2011-2015 Best Company to Work for in Colorado and a two time Fastest Growing Private Company.

Greg served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) (2011-2012). He is the recipient of the AICPA’s 2015 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service, the highest award granted by the AICPA and is given to CPAs who have made major contributions to the CPA profession. Greg is the founder of the AICPA’s What’s at Stake? The CPA Profession on Federal Fiscal Responsibility initiative which offers non-partisan guidance on how the U.S. government’s financial statements can be used for greater understanding of the nation’s fiscal health and clear analysis into why the financial statements provide a different perspective compared to the annual federal budget. Accounting Today has recognized Greg as one of the Top Most Influential People in Accounting. He has also been named one of The Top 25 Thought Leaders in public accounting technology by CPA Practice Advisor magazine.

During his career Greg has provided accounting and auditing services to private, public and multinational businesses. He has consulted on debt and equity offerings and various IPO’s. Greg’s defining characteristics are the long-term relationships he fosters with his clients, and his dedication to their total business needs which go beyond traditional accounting and auditing services.

Greg served as Chair of the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants (COCPA) Board of Directors during its Centennial year, is past President of the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) Alumni Association and past chair of the UNC School of Accountancy Advisory Board. Greg also co-chaired the COCPA Foundation’s Centennial Scholarship Campaign which successfully raised over $1.0 million for college accounting scholarships. Greg is a recipient of the Honored Alumni Award from UNC for his contributions to business and has been recognized as a top business news maker by the Denver Business Journal.

Greg and his wife Julie have two children, Cameron and Jacob. He enjoys spending time with his family including skiing, mountain biking, boating and fishing.

Professional Affiliations:
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Board of Directors (2006-2009, 2010-2013), Chairman (2011-2012)
International Federation of Accountants, Nominating Committee
National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, Chairman
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, Past Board Member
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Council Member (2011-2013)
Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC), Chairman
Mile High United Way, Board of Trustees
Junior Achievement, Board of Directors
Colorado Concern, Member
Wish of a Lifetime, Board Member
Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants, Real Estate Committee (1995-1999), Board of Directors (1999-2005), Chairman (2004-2005)
Governor’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC), Past Member
Colorado Concern, Member
Colorado License 0013767

Education:
BS Accounting, University of Northern Colorado

Daniel Ritchie*

Chancellor Emeritus
University of Denver
Emeritus Board Member
Past Board Chair

Daniel Ritchie is EPIC’s founding board chairman and has a wiki profile here.

* Founding members/organizations

Executive

MEMBERS

Dan Ball

Senior Managing Director – Complex Director
RBC Wealth Management

Coming soon…

Roberto Cota

Managing Director
Deloitte

Roberto is a Managing Director in Deloitte’s Digital Customer practice, focusing on State & Local and Federal government agencies. He has over 23 years of experience in the implementation, development, and project management of large-scale enterprise systems in the Health and Human Services practice. He currently oversees the maintenance and enhancement of multiple systems at the Colorado Department of Early Childhood, which provide a broad range of programs and services to Colorado’s youngest children.

Roberto also leads a Child Support modernization program in Missouri and the modernization of California’s water rights management system. Other key clients have included multiple government agencies in Texas, Michigan, and the CDC. In addition, he has served as project advisor to dozens of Deloitte teams serving our government clients across the U.S.

Celia Dietrich

Executive Chair & Founder
Dietrich Partners

After building geographies and consulting practices for other firms, Celia founded Dietrich Partners in 2014 to fill what she perceived was a client experience and innovation gap in the professional services industry.  Today, Dietrich employs consultants across the country to provide advisory services working with clients to maximize the value of transactions, deliver key strategic programs, and optimize overall operational and financial performance.  Dietrich’s client roster encompasses the public sector, private equity firms, and privately held organizations, ranging in size from middle market to Fortune 100 companies, and serving industries including healthcare, financial services, government, utilities, real estate development and construction, manufacturing, hydroponics, and hospitality.  Proud to be a certified woman-owned business, Dietrich Partners is an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company, a 2021 Colorado Company to Watch, and is officially recognized as a Great Place to Work. 

Celia received her BS in Accounting from Metropolitan State College of Denver, earned her paralegal certificate from the University of Denver, holds an MBA from the University of Colorado and is an inactive State of Colorado CPA (in good standing).  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Judicial Institute, Saint Joseph’s Hospital Foundation (now part of Intermountain Health), and Pinnacol Assurance.  Celia is an advisory board member for Vectra Bank of Colorado, WaterCard, and Johnson Financial / JFG Wealth Management Group. 

In addition to her professional commitments, Celia is actively engaged in the community through Colorado Concern, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Technology Association, the National Western Stock Show, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Aya Society, Mile High United Way United for Families, and a Founder of The Union Club (a 140 plus C-level group of women). 

Wes Gardner

CEO
Prime Trailer

Wes Gardner is the founder and CEO of Prime Trailer, a semi-tractor-trailer dealership with an emphasis on rental and leasing. Prime has operations in Colorado, Utah and Nevada. Wes is a successful entrepreneur with a strong faith which he integrates into his businesses and the marketplace. He has an ardent desire to give back to his employees and his community. Wes believes that a “Good Job” is the best way to fight poverty which is why he founded The Gardner Family Foundation which provides grants to nonprofits that focus on education, job training and sustainable self-sufficiency programs for single moms. Wes sits on several boards including CityUnite and Activate Workforce Solutions. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Allyson, and has two children and 6 grandkids that he calls his “True North!”

Antoinette Gawin

President and CEO
Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies

Antoinette Gawin is President and Chief Executive Officer of Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, a mission-driven medical device company that is focused on unlocking the potential of blood and cell-based therapies. The innovative company strives to advance healthcare, broaden treatment options and improve patient outcomes through its technologies within the sectors of blood banking, transfusion medicine and regenerative medicine.

Antoinette focuses on how the company will continue to evolve with healthcare’s rapid changes to meet more patients’ needs globally. She believes medical device manufacturers must change and go beyond equipment to think about services, data management and new geographies where people do not yet have access to the technologies that can advance their health and lives. Antoinette is ensuring that Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies continues to focus on service and helping our customers solve problems — enabling them to better serve patients.

She has nearly 30 years of experience directing diverse global teams and transformational change. Building from a foundation in finance, operations and customer service, Antoinette has led joint ventures and acquisitions, as well as all aspects of marketing, strategic planning and commercial operations for divisions of companies in the healthcare, information technology and energy sectors.

Antoinette joined the company in 2016 and previously served as Executive Vice President, Global Commercial. She was responsible for leading the company’s global sales, services, marketing and commercial teams.

In her past leadership roles at Baxter Healthcare, she oversaw global market access and commercial excellence, strategy and commercial operations. For more than 20 years prior, Antoinette worked at GE Corporate and a number of subsidiaries, including GE Healthcare Technologies, GE Industrial and Power Systems and GE Information Services.

She is a member of the AdvaMed Board of Directors and serves as the chair of the AdvaMed Ethics and Compliance Committee.

Antoinette is involved in many civic organizations, including American Friends of Watershed Trust Organization, a nonprofit focused on sustainable access to clean water in India. She lives with her family in Colorado, where they enjoy the outdoors and the performing arts.

Karla Grazier

President & CEO
Goodwill of Colorado

Karla Grazier became president and CEO of Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado in August 2010, and of Goodwill of Colorado in May 2019, reflecting the expanded scope of the merged Colorado Springs and Denver Goodwill organizations. The merger is the largest in the history of the Goodwill network with    a   budget of over $195 million. The organization is a unique combination of social enterprises and mission programs and serves over 127,000 people on an annual basis. 

Prior to her role at Goodwill, Ms. Grazier had a varied career as an entrepreneur starting, building, and buying companies as well as a consultant and corporate banker. She was co-owner and CEO of a B-to-B catalog company later sold to a Houston based catalog consolidator; Founder and COO of a snack food manufacturing company in New York, later sold to a French food conglomerate and an analyst in the Corporate Finance Group of Touche Ross, performing valuations and M & A work. Ms. Grazier began her career in corporate banking at Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco and New York City, specializing in leveraged buyouts and bond issue support. 

In addition to her role as President and CEO of Goodwill of Colorado, Karla has served on many community, state, and national boards including Colorado Springs Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Board, the Pikes Peak Workforce Investment Board, the Governors State Workforce Council, Lead Independent Director and Audit Committee Chair of the  Board of Directors of 5Star Bank and on the Colorado Springs School Board of Trustees. 

She currently serves on the Board of the Employers Council and as Chair of its Investment Committee, a 4-state organization that advises thousands of organizations on employment law, and as a founding member, member of the board of directors, and the audit chair of GoodwillFinds Ecommerce, Inc., a nationwide ecommerce platform. Ms. Grazier is a member of the Executive Committee of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation Board. 

In 2013, Karla was elected to the board of directors for Goodwill Industries International (GII), a $7. 5 billion international organization, first serving as Treasurer, then as Vice Chair, and then as Board Chair in 2018-2019. During her term as Board Chair, she led the transition to a new CEO for that organization. In 2016, Karla received both GII’s Matthews Entrepreneurial Award and the Watkins Award for Mission Advancement and was the 2019 recipient of GII’s Kenneth K. King Outstanding Management Award for Executive Excellence, presented to a Goodwill CEO who demonstrates outstanding leadership and accomplishments. In 2019, Karla was given the Athena Award, presented to an outstanding businessperson who inspires others through her professional accomplishments, mentorship and community service and has been named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts and a Woman of Influence by the Colorado Springs Business Journal. In 2023, The Colorado Springs Leadership Institute awarded her the Cathy O. Robbins Excellence in Leadership Award. 

Karla holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Indiana University and served   as an adjunct lecturer in the graduate schools of Yale University and New York University for eight years. She also served on the National Advisory Council of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, reviewing and choosing grant recipients.   

David Hammond

Retired Partner
Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
Past Board Chair

After specializing in complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels throughout the western United States for 35 years, David Hammond retired from the practice of law in January 2015. For his entire career, including 30 years as a partner, Davis Graham & Stubbs was his professional home.
David now devotes more time to his community activities. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mile High United Way since 2001. He has participated in several strategic planning efforts for the United Way, including the decision to move from a model providing for the annual funding of established partners to a competitive request for proposals process. Three times, he chaired the Board’s committee that selected winning proposals for multi-year grants. He led the Board’s task force for two major revisions of the United Way’s bylaws.
David is Chairman of the Board of Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC). For EPIC, David has written several newspaper guest columns, served on several of the Board’s committees, participated in the successful effort to extend Colorado’s Child Care Contribution Tax Credit, and promoted the collaborative use of the tax credit.
In 2017, David joined the Board of the Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance, which works with Colorado’s local Early Childhood Councils to improve young children’s access to quality services and supports.
David and his wife, Mary Mead Hammond (universally known as “Mooey”), have three grown children, an art dealer, a physicist, and doctor. Mooey and David enjoy travelling and gardening together. In addition, David is an avid cyclist and backpacker.
David graduated from Dartmouth College and from Harvard Law School.

Jena Hausmann

President and CEO
Children’s Hospital

With nearly 20 years of experience in healthcare administration, Jena Hausmann is one of the leading womenin healthcare in the US. As President and Chief Executive Officer for Children’s Hospital Colorado, she oversees an integrated healthcare system for children, which is affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

With 700,000 patient visits annually and 593 licensed beds, Children’s Hospital Colorado has consistently ranked in the top ten children’s hospitals in the nation. Jena oversees the Children’s Hospital Colorado at the Anschutz Medical campus, the Children’s Hospital Colorado network of care in 17 locations in the metropolitan Denver area, the Children’s Hospital Colorado pediatric services at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, and the newly opened Children’s Hospital Colorado South Campus, a full service generally licensed hospital in south Denver.

During her tenure, unprecedented increases in patient volume have been achieved. With employees now numbering over 5,000, Jena is proudest that Children’s Hospital Colorado continues its focus on the precious children and families it serves through a culture of intimacy, connection and purpose. In a reaffirmation of the values inherent in Children’s Hospital’s child and family focused culture, the scores for patient satisfaction and employee engagement rank among the highest in the US.

Jena joined Children’s Hospital Colorado in 2004 as the Vice President of Strategic Planning and Network of Care Operations and assumed the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2008. In May of 2015, Jena was named President and Chief Executive Officer.

She was motivated to become a healthcare administrator after watching a loved one go through the system in their final moments of life. After earning a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1996, Jena completed an administrative fellowship at the Fairview Health System in Minneapolis, MN. There, she helped redesign the care delivery and financing models for nursing home residents through a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant.

Following the fellowship, she served as the Director of Provider Relations at The University of Minnesota Medical Center, an organization consisting of a then recently-merged 500 bed community hospital and a 500 bed academic medical center. After 11 months in the role, she joined the senior management team and remained there for the next six years providing leadership over a large number of operational areas as well as planning and business development activities. The cultural and operational challenges in this merger of two large entities into a comprehensive, integrated health system prepared Jena for her executive role at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

In 2008, Modern Healthcare featured Jena as one of 12 “rising healthcare management stars.” Jena currently serves on the board of directors for the Metro North Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, she served as the March of Dimes’ March for Babies revenue chair and she served on the YMCA Metro Denver board from 2009-2012.

As a leading woman in healthcare, she annually mentors as many as 30 individual women at the CU School of Medicine as well as throughout the Children’s organization to help them understand their roles and opportunities and to demonstrate personally and professionally the ability of women to succeed in executive roles in healthcare.

Jena, her husband Kevin, and three children, Ellie, Andrew and Carson, find their life’s purpose is to provide much love and laughter each day.

Adeeb Khan

Co-Chair
Early Childhood Leadership Commission

Adeeb is the Executive Director of Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. He was previously senior director of corporate social responsibility at TIAA, senior director of volunteer engagement at Mile High United Way, and regional director of health & safety and community services at American Red Cross. He holds an MBA from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver and a BA in communications and media studies from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  He is currently serving on the board of College Track, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, and B:CIVIC.

Mark Lumsden

Tax Principal
BDO USA

Mark Lumsden is a tax principal in the Boulder office of BDO.  He began his accounting career in 2005 after graduating with bachelor’s degrees in business and economics from the University of Colorado Boulder.   Mark’s practice focuses on small-and mid-sized businesses, including closely held, startup, and venture capital- and private equity-backed companies.  He has clients in a wide range of industries, such as technology, manufacturing, real estate, construction, and professional services.  Mark also loves teaching and is involved in BDO’s training and mentoring programs.

Originally from Baltimore, Mark relocated to Colorado with his family during high school and has been a Coloradan ever since… despite not being a big skier or snowboarder.  He is still a huge Orioles fan, but prefers the Broncos to the Ravens.  Mark enjoys hiking, going to CU women’s basketball games, and taking in a weekend movie with his wife, daughter and son.  In addition to his involvement with EPIC, Mark also serves as the treasurer of the Boulder Valley Rotary Club.

Paul Major

President and CEO
Telluride Foundation

Paul Major has served as the President and CEO of the Telluride Foundation since its inception in June 2000. Major leads the Foundation’s multi-million dollar development, grantmaking, capacity building and initiative efforts.
Prior to the Telluride Foundation, Major worked as the Director of Business Development for Booth Creek Ski Holdings six resorts. Major’s ski industry experience began in 1984 with the U.S. Ski Team in Park City, UT. He served as the Vice President of Athletics and Alpine Olympic ski coach, directing and managed all athletic aspects of the 6 Olympic sports of the U.S. Ski Team including 200 athletes, 60 staff and 50,000 members.

Major is a board member of the Mobile Accord, Bright Futures for Early Childhood and Families, EPIC (Executive Partnering for Investment in Children) and formally Colorado Association of Funders, and the Council on Foundation Community Foundation Leadership Team and chaired the Technology Task Force.

Major holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder and studies towards a master in Mechanical Engineering. Major lives in Telluride, Colorado with his wife, Lois Whitesel Major, J.D.. They have three children, Victor currently at Williams College, Naomi currently at St. Michaels College and Malcolm at Telluride High School.

Rob McDaniel

President
Metrix IQ

Rob founded Metrix Companies in 2009 to help state and local governments achieve their program and policy objectives. Metrix Companies has successfully executed large-scale projects in diverse fields ranging from education to aviation.

Metrix Inspection Group is a Denver-based MBE, DBE, and SBE certified construction inspection company that began operations in 2015. Rob currently serves as the President of Metrix Inspection Group. In this role, Rob oversees business development activities and all administrative functions for the talented team of construction inspection professionals at Metrix Inspection Group.

Prior to founding Metrix Companies in 2009, Rob was Vice President of Corporate Growth at Policy Studies Incorporated, a leading provider of outsourced services to state and local governments. In this role, Rob held executive oversight for business activities totaling more than $200 million in revenue. Rob’s diverse background includes financial leadership roles with Trimble Navigation and Hewlett-Packard, where he worked on the divestiture and subsequent IPO of Agilent Technologies. Early is his career, Rob also worked as an economic developer for the State of Colorado.

Rob is a Colorado native and earned his bachelor degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was a GTE Scholar, and his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a CGSM Fellowship.

Rob lives in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood with his wife and two sons.

David Merage*

Chairman and CEO
Consolidated Investment Group LLC

Until its sale to Nestle in September 2002, David Merage was co-owner and co-founder of Chef America, Inc., a national frozen food manufacturer. Chef America, Inc. products are sold in supermarkets, club stores, and other institutional operations throughout the United States under brand names such as Hot Pockets, Lean Pockets, Croissant Pockets, etc. In 2002, Chef America, Inc. sales were approximately $750 million and had 1,800 employees.

Prior to founding Chef America, Inc., David was involved in real estate investments and continues to be active in this area. David is currently Principal of Consolidated Investment Group (CIG), an investment management company specializing in Wall Street and real estate investments for a select group of private clients. The company’s Wall Street investment group allocates capital through opportunistic and value-oriented strategies to preserve capital while maximizing returns. CIG’s Real Estate Division seeks optimal returns through creative partnership structures, asset repositioning, and other innovative techniques. CIG has been actively investing in value added real estate since 2003 and is building a diverse portfolio. Real estate is acquired in multiple US and International markets through operating partners, direct investment, and opportunistic funds. Target asset types include residential, multifamily, office, industrial, retail, mixed use and land.

In addition to the CIG operations, Mr. Merage also provides leadership to three philanthropic foundations: David and Laura Merage Foundation, Andre and Katherine Merage Foundation, and Merage Foundations – Israel. The operational platform of the foundations was modeled on Mr. Merage’s successful business ventures, and his entrepreneurial spirit and management expertise provide a clear road-map for the social investment strategy. The foundations have a focus on venture philanthropy, and the investment process is highly interactive to ensure grantee partners have programs with measurable outcomes and significant community impact. One of these projects, Early Learning Ventures, was founded by the David and Laura Merage Foundation in 2009.

David was born in Tehran, Iran. At the age of fifteen he traveled to England to pursue his studies. Later, he moved to the United States where he continued his education. David received his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from California State University. David is married to Laura Merage. Laura was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to Los Angeles at the age of fifteen. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California and her Masters Degree in Art from New York University. Laura is an artist/photographer with works in public and private collections nationally and internationally.

Dick Monfort

Owner/Chairman and CEO
Colorado Rockies

Dick Monfort enters his 26th season with the Rockies franchise in 2023 and 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 enterprise in the Rocky Mountain Region in both sports and business. This organization’s impact can be seen in its many contributions to the community, whether through benevolent outreach in the areas of youth sports and health, or in the development of young sports-minded professionals.

Brothers Dick and Charlie Monfort have done extensive community outreach through their family directed Monfort Family Foundation. In September 2004, the Monfort Family Foundation gifted $10 million to Children’s Hospital Colorado for the construction of a new medical facility. The oncology floor of the new hospital is named in memory of Rick Wilson, a cousin of the Monfort family. The foundation is a longtime provider of funding and endorsement for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Metro Denver and Weld County. Also active in higher education, the Monfort family supports the Monfort School of Business at the University of Northern Colorado and the Monfort Excellence Fund at Colorado State University; both impact students, faculty and the Northern Colorado community through scholarships for exceptional students and support of outstanding faculty. Other organizations that have benefited from the Monfort family’s years of philanthropic work include CU Cancer Center, Craig Hospital, United Way, the Denver Art Museum and Habitat for Humanity.

Individually, Monfort was the 2008 recipient of the United Way of Weld County Humanitarian of the Year Award—an award his father, Kenny Monfort, received twenty years earlier. Monfort is currently the Chairman of the University of Northern Colorado Board of Trustees and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of University of Colorado Health.

Monfort spent 25 years in the cattle business, primarily with his family’s company. In 1987, he was named president of Monfort of Colorado, Inc., a subsidiary of ConAgra, and in 1991 became president and CEO of ConAgra Red Meats.

More recent ventures include McGregor Square, 655,000 square feet of residential and commercial space located adjacent to Coors Field in historic lower downtown Denver (LoDo). McGregor Square connects the ballpark to a neighborhood that has developed dramatically over the past 25 years with direct access to Union Station and RiNo District and is a vibrant year-round complement to Coors Field. The new Colorado Rockies Hall of Fame experience and public gathering spaces combined with retail and restaurants, food hall, multi-family residential development, hotel, and office spaces creates a robust environment. But beyond baseball, it will serve as a new and fresh year-round destination that can host neighborhood concerts, festivals, and other public activities for both visitors and the LoDo community alike.

A 1976 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Monfort has a bachelor’s degree in business management. In May 2012, Colorado State University President Tony Frank awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Monfort in recognition of his significant contributions to Colorado industry and higher education. Additionally, he has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship by Johnson & Wales University in May 2014 and Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in December 2021 from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Monfort has three children: daughter Dr. Lyndsey Grae M.D., eldest son Walker (wife Lauren, daughter Maren Lee) a VP, Corporate Partnerships and son Sterling is Director, Pro Scouts. Dick currently resides in McGregor Square Residence with his wife Karen.

Daniel Richards

Partner
Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP

Prior to relocating to Denver and joining DGS, Mr. Richards practiced for more than six years at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Mr. Richards is admitted to practice in Colorado and New York, as well as in the U.S. District Courts for the District of Colorado, Southern District of New York, and Eastern District of New York.

Mr. Richards is a member of the American, Colorado, and Denver Bar Associations, and is a member of the Denver Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee. He is a graduate of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s Impact Denver program and the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Leadership Program.

Mr. Richards received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, where he was the managing editor of the Fordham Law Review. He attended Miami University and received a B.S. in Finance.

Mr. Richards was named among the Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch” in the area of Commercial Litigation.

John Richardson

Pastor
Word of Faith Christian Center

Pastor John W. Richardson, Jr. is a submissive vessel fashioned by God to empower and save the lost through the teaching and preaching of His Word. He is married to Dana Gullage Richardson who supports and serves with him in ministry. They have been blessed with three beautiful and gifted, musically inclined children that serve in the ministry; Christian Marcen, John Richardson, III, and Devon Richardson, and are truly blessed to have a wonderful son-in-love Michael Marcen and 2 daughters-in-love Vanessa Richardson and JaQuale Richardson and 6 Grandchildren JaKirah Bowman, Victor  Richardson, Leila Marcen, Irene Richardson, JaKaya Richardson and Londen Marcen.

Pastor John W. Richardson, Jr. born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Oakland, California was saved at an early age and received the legacy of ministry teaching and  guidance under the pastoral leadership of his father and mother – Rev. John W. Richardson, Sr. and Mrs. Delores B. Richardson at White Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Pastor John W. Richardson Jr. is a devoted man who plays an important role to many and while the roles may differ, he remains the same in all, with unconditional love and care. Aside from every responsibility two of the most important priorities in his life are God and his family.

Pastor John, called to preach the Word of God as a teenager, suppressed the call for many years. Due to a speech impediment he substituted his gift of music for his call to the ministry of preaching. In March of 2001, Pastor John and his family were called and relocated to Colorado to serve and fulfill his destiny as staff at Heritage Christian Center. Not only would his music continue to inspire others but the miraculous move of God through his submission to obey the call of preaching would be an evident manifestation of his purpose. Just as Moses, once he said yes to the Lord, his stammering tongue was loosed to proclaim and fulfill God’s true purpose for his life.

In March of 2003, he was ordained to the ministry under the administration of Pastor Richard A. Hazard of By Faith Christian Fellowship in Aurora, CO and the Late Pastor James McMearn of New Jerusalem Baptist Church of Fountain, CO. He became Senior Pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church of Pueblo, CO. Being led by God he later established Word of Faith Christian Center in Pueblo, CO, a strong, growing multicultural outreach ministry that is founded on Acts 2:42.  Pastor Richardson who has a willing heart to serve God and go where God may lead him, humbly accepted the call to Pastor the Greater St. John Baptist Church in Denver, CO in February 2013. He humbly serves Colorado and the southern area of Wyoming as Dean of Christian Education for the Western States Baptist Convention. He is the CEO of Life Center Academy (A Christian state licensed childcare/preschool/headstart educational program) with 2 Locations with a 3rd location in partnership with Pueblo Community College inside St. Mary Corwin Hospital Pueblo, founder of JWR Ministries, CEO of Center Beauty College in Pueblo, Colorado, and The Family Life Resource Center of Pueblo, a member of the Baptist Minister’s Conference,Vice-President of EPIC (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children of Pueblo, CO), Executive Team Member of EPIC Colorado, Moderator of the Colorado Baptist Southern District Association, the Author of “Living In Faith Everyday” as well as Pastor John is continuing his education and pursuing a Doctorate of Divinity. Understanding the call on his life and the expansion of what God was doing in the ministry in January of 2022 Pastor Richardson installed Pastor Harry Jesse Jr as site Pastor of Word of Faith Christian Center. Pastor Richardson has been gifted and afforded the privilege of a strong minstrel background that has been shared throughout the world both nationally and internationally as a Bassist. This journey has presented opportunities to serve ministries abroad and experience another phase of ministry under the administration of several renowned Musical Artist, Pastors and Bishops. Pastor Richardson is currently in the studio recording with his family with 1 release out currently with his son John Richardson III (Jthree) entitled “Already There” with other singles to come individually and collectively as a family. Out of all the things God has entrusted in his hand, Pastor John is saved and his life is evidence of it, he loves God and has the passion to empower the people of God to live Victorious in Christ.

Rachel Romer

CEO and Co-Founder
Guild

Prior to founding Guild, Rachel was the CEO of Student Blueprint, led student services at American Honors, and worked for the 2008 Obama campaign before serving in the Obama White House. She and her co-founder, Brittany, were previously selected for Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, and The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce named Guild as the 2017 Top Woman-Owned Business of the Year. Rachel holds an M.B.A. from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business as well as an M.A. in Education and B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University. Rachel lives in Denver with her husband, David, and their twin girls, Lily Grace and Magnolia Bea.

Lisa Steven

Founder and Executive Director
Hope House Colorado

Lisa Steven has more than 25 years of experience working with teen moms. In 2003, she co-founded Hope House Colorado and has served as the founder & executive director ever since. Under Lisa’s leadership, Hope House has reached new levels and growth that, with a budget of over $2.6 million, puts the organization in the top 10 percent of nonprofits in the United States. Under her leadership, Hope House also received the Governor’s Service Award for Outstanding Nonprofit Organization in Colorado in 2015 and was named the Arvada Nonprofit Organization of the Year in 2018. Lisa is also a co-founder of the Colorado Teen Parent Collaborative (TPC) and serves on the Board for the Arvada Chamber. In 2013, Lisa was named the Arvada Woman of the Year for her contributions to the community. Lisa co-authored the Teen MOPS Handbook and worked with MOPS International on their strategic plan for expanding the ministry of Teen MOPS. A former teen mom, Lisa is committed to empowering teen moms in her community and across the world.

Cori Streetman

Co-Founder and CEO
Barefoot PR

Cori Streetman (she/her/hers) is Barefoot PR’s co-founder and chief executive in charge of making the dream work. Cori has been learning through life experience since she left home to travel the world at 19. From teaching English in Peru to studying cultural anthropology in West Africa, Cori has a knack for relating to and understanding people. 

Cori’s sense of adventure led her to build a company where heart is valued alongside expertise, and where we are all in together. Cori manages Barefoot PR’s operations and leads the team in turning strategy into reality for clients. Cool under pressure, Cori is skilled at helping clients navigate difficult situations. She is also an expert matchmaker, helping clients connect purpose with passion through nonprofit and civic board service. 

Cori continues to travel the world with her husband, Tyler, and two kiddos, Brayden and Jacob. You can also find her dancing to Widespread Panic and sharing her passion for creating a better Denver through volunteer board service. 

Linda Weise

President
Colorado Springs Community Cultural Collective at City Auditorium

Linda Weise is the President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Community Cultural Collective, a 501C3 dedicated solely to the preservation and revitalization of the historic Colorado Springs City Auditorium. She has dedicated her life to providing access to quality arts and cultural experiences and learning to young and old alike. The Cultural Collective is a $80+ million dollar adaptive reuse project that will ultimately provide access to cultural events, performances, classes and conferences to thousands of daily users.

Linda is also the creator of the nationally acclaimed PBS early childhood music and literacy program, Simple Gift Series. Created at the onset of COVID, she and six Colorado Springs Conservatory alumni were able to bring essential and creative learning to young children across Colorado and the rest of the nation. In 2020 Linda’s Early Childhood programming work and the Simple Gift Series team was awarded the Edward Zigler Innovation Award from National Head Start Association.

She is the founder of the Colorado Springs Conservatory (CSC). She established the Conservatory in 1994 to bring world-class performing arts education to the region and state. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory in piano and vocal performance, she continued her post-graduate work at the Juilliard School for
Opera Studies. Both Linda and the CSC have been recognized throughout the state and across the country with numerous awards to include the National Guild of Community Music Schools Milestone Achievement award and the coveted William Funk Award from the Colorado Non-Profit Association. Accolades for
providing and making accessible to all who are interested in outstanding arts immersion studies, the Conservatory has been changing lives for nearly 29 years now.

Linda is an active community advocate who serves or has served on a number of boards of directors to include Vice Chair Colorado Springs Leadership Institute (CSLI), Citizens Soldier Connection, committee for the annual Range Riders Street Breakfast, Regional Advisory Council for Central City Opera, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Fountain Fund, and PILLAR Institute for Lifelong Learning. She has also served as Governor’s
appointee for the State Board of Colorado Humanities, On a rather fun note, Linda has been recognized as a 6 time winner of Best of the Gazette as “Community Mover and Shaker”. The civic and artistic partnerships she has created have lasted decades and have forged new ways to bring the arts to many who would otherwise go without. Linda is a graduate of both Colorado Leadership Institute and Leadership Pikes Peak. She is currently a finalist for a fellowship for Devos Institute for Global Cultural Leadership. Linda has resided in Colorado Springs since 1992 where she currently lives with her husband Keith Wells and daughters, Christina and Kelsy.

* Founding members/organizations

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    Managing Partner
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    CEO, Owner & President
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    Founder
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    Shareholder
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  • Rebecca O’Hearn
    Senior Controller
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  • Greg Osborn
    Partner
    RubinBrown
  • Nim Patel 
    Chief Strategy Officer
    Colorado Enterprise Fund
  • Teresa Roche
    Chief Human Resources Officer
    City of Fort Collins
  • Todd Roebken
    Executive Managing Director
    Savills-Studley
  • Simone Ross
    Chief Executive Officer
    Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce
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    Senior Counsel
    Husch Blackwell
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    Senior Vice President, Retired
    Ball Corp
  • Susan Schorer
    Strategic Account Representative
    School Specialty
  • Rick Simms
    Founder/Owner
    Rick Simms LLC
  • Susan Steele*
    Retired President and CEO
    Buell Foundation
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    Senior Partner, US Business Leader
    RHR International
  • Jill Wright
    Founder
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EPIC TEAM

Nicole Riehl

President and CEO

Nicole joined Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) as President & CEO in September of 2019. Her experience spans across the private and non-profit sectors, with her career beginning as an early childhood teacher at an on-site corporate child care program. After working in the financial sector on behalf of a large national homebuilder for several years, Nicole returned to early childhood and supported the quality ratings and onboarding of over 200 child care programs participating in the Denver Preschool Program after it was authorized by Denver voters in 2006.  Her work grew to include the management of quality improvement initiatives and grant contracts at Qualistar Colorado, which sparked her passion for non-profit leadership and management.

Most recently, Nicole held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Denver’s Early Childhood Council, where she helped build a team of 30 staff and an organizational operating budget of $5.5 million over the course of 8 years.

Nicole earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Colorado at Denver and a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management and Leadership from Duke University.  She is also an alumna of several leadership development programs and stays active within the community as a volunteer and supporter of several organizations.

Nicole is a Colorado native and enjoys traveling, cycling, skiing, and staying active with her husband and Kindergarten daughter in her free time.

Marianne Hodge

Director of Operations

Marianne joined EPIC in December of 2019 and on the very same day, she and her family moved into their first mountain home in Bailey, Colorado. Formally, an east coaster, Marianne grew up in Upstate Ny in the Adirondack mountains. After, obtaining a B.S. in Finance at Siena College, she decided to seek out a business career in Washington, DC. After a couple years in the business sector, Marianne followed her heart and switched paths into education. She worked as a paraprofessional, until she found her calling as Lead Teacher, in the Child Development Center at Sidwell Friends. There she learned the value and importance of a child’s most formative years from zero to three, and there she learned of her desire to shout it from the roof tops! While happy with her purpose in life, the mountains were calling her name, except this time it was the Rocky Mountains. She knew she needed to be around like-minded individuals who not only cared about the importance of early care and education but also cared about it from 5,280 feet. She picked up and moved to cap hill in Denver, where she could walk to Warren Village and teach her students and their parents in a full circle operation about how the brain develops, and how important “windows of opportunity” can impact a child’s future success.

Prior to EPIC, Marianne served as a Quality Navigator at Denver’s Early Childhood Council, where she helped over 45 child care providers with business administration, PDIS, and navigating the QRIS system to effectively use QI funding.

Marianne has collectively 10 years’ experience as an Early Childhood Educator and home provider, while she stayed home with her now 6 year old son for his formative years until he was ready for preschool.

When she is not busy maintaining EPIC’s daily operations and supporting EPIC’s President & CEO, advocating for early care and education, she is spending time with her friends and family enjoying the outdoors of colorful Colorado.

Cassie Leyva

Senior Director of Business Development and Communications

Cassie joined the Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) team as the Senior Director of Business Development and Communications in October of 2023. She brings 15 years of nonprofit management, communications, and fundraising experience to her role. Her early career in banking gave her a strong foundation to start her own microfinance and education nonprofit in Tanzania, East Africa which she managed for over 6 years. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Law & Global Studies from Winona State University, Cassie moved to Denver where she met her husband and continued her career in the Denver Metro area.  

While working for The Center on Colfax, Cassie grew her donor management experience and developed key interests in the business community’s involvement in complex challenges facing the Colfax community. This is where her passion for Colorado’s social and economic issues grew, which she further cultivated working with philanthropists at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. 

Most recently, Cassie worked on state and federal early care and education policy with the David & Laura Merage Foundation. There she managed the only center-right national policy reform and advocacy campaign on affordable and accessible child care. Her passion for young children continues as she serves on an executive board for an organization that supports children with developmental disabilities in Tanzania. In her free time, Cassie enjoys traveling, camping, and gardening.

Alethea Gomez

Director of Programs and Initiatives

Alethea has worked in both early education and business for more than 15 years. Her undergraduate studies focused on Business Administration, Early Cognition and Development, and she completed her Masters in Life and Developmental Sciences at CU Denver’s Department of Human Development. She also holds several licensures in Colorado, and continues to pursue opportunities to deepen her experience and knowledge of the field.

Alethea has extensive experience overseeing large educational institutions in both leadership and administrative capacities, working privately and professionally with families, and creating vision, structure and growth in the departments she has led. This has honed both her ability to support the needs and goals of complex projects, and make direct connections to the incredible benefit of the integration of family and business needs.

Her past tenures included work with UCLA, Harvard University, Pixar, Facebook, and Bright Horizons Family Solutions – specifically supporting the needs of children and families – and equipping her with a unique ability to understand and represent the needs and support structures for business owners, educators and families. She is thrilled to continue this work supporting the goals and expanding the influence of EPIC across Colorado and beyond.

Angela Ervin

Operations Coordinator

Angela has worked in early childhood education and with children and families for the last 8 years in a variety of settings. She started her career in different preschool environments as well as worked with the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Butte County in Chico, CA. After obtaining her B.A. in Child Development with a minor in Family Relations from California State University, Chico, she went into the Early Intervention Field working with children under the age of three with developmental delays. There she learned the importance and just how crucial the birth to age three years truly are. She was able to meet the child where they were at developmentally, support families, and aid children and families to meet goals and developmental milestones. 2 years later, she became a Program Manager in Early Intervention and was able to manage her caseload of children’s programs, supervise others, as well as gain experience and knowledge about Autism Spectrum Disorder, IEP meetings, and much more.

Once COVID hit, Angela began exploring options and moved to Colorado in October 2020. That’s when she began her Montessori teaching career as an Assistant Guide in a Toddler environment. Shortly after she began, she received a sponsorship to get her AMI Montessori Training from birth to age three and became a Lead Guide in a Toddler environment while in her training. She finished her AMI Montessori training in August of 2022. Overall, Angela is thrilled to join the EPIC team and to be a part of advocating for early care and education.

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