Annual Meeting Speaker Bios
When an industry is experiencing remarkable change, due to many unpredictable and uncontrollable factors, what actions and strategies can executives implement to excel? Dan Thurmon, author of Off Balance On Purpose, shares insights from his work with travel executives and other industries and provides valuable insights to help you stay proactive during uncertain times.
Dan’s philosophy can be summarized by the title of his book, Off Balance On Purpose. He believes that we will never achieve “perfect balance” and should, instead, learn to embrace uncertainty and initiate positive changes that lead to growth. Also, we should go beyond the pursuit of “success” and enhance our life experiences and professional endeavors with purposeful, positive contributions.
Dan Thurmon is the author of two books, a renowned speaker, and a recognized expert in delivering peak performances – on stage and in the workplace. As president of Motivation Works, Inc., he has worked with hundreds of clients and delivered thousands of presentations worldwide.
He began his performance career at eleven years old, crafting a one-man-show incorporating comedy, juggling and acrobatics. This enabled him to, at a very early age, develop a strong work ethic and learn fundamental lessons about performance excellence. Dan graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Marketing and Management. He has also extensively studied Personal Development and developed a unique methodology he teaches to audiences and clients.
A recent inductee to the prestigious “Speakers Hall of Fame,” Dan Thurmon delivers experiences that go beyond motivation, teaching concepts and skills in a highly engaging and entertaining manner. He incorporates his lifelong performance skills to create high impact events. His programs have educated and uplifted Fortune 500 companies, young audiences, and even the troops on the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Jeffrey Dachis is the founder, chairman and CEO of Dachis Group, and the quintessential American entrepreneur. He formerly co-founded Razorfish, the world’s largest digital marketing solutions firm, and served as the company’s chairman and CEO at the time.
Dachis Group is a social marketing optimization software solutions company that has become the world’s leading social business solutions group. Jeffrey’s company helps the world’s largest brands optimize their social marketing and Engage@Scale with their customers.
Dachis Group delivers powerful insights by tracking, monitoring and helping manage conversations and content across 30,000 brands, 100 million social accounts, and an aggregate audience of 5.2 billion followers, fans, subscribers and contributors from 233 countries across dozens of the largest social platforms. The company serves many of the world’s leading brand marketers including Disney, Estée Lauder, US Cellular, Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Nestlé, and Nokia.
John Hickenlooper calls himself a recovering geologist who once owned a brewpub and was goaded into running for mayor of Denver in 2003. He spent nearly eight years at City Hall before he became Governor of Colorado in 2011.
Hickenlooper and his team at the state Capitol are working hard to restore faith in good government and leading Colorado out of the nationwide recession. Governor Hickenlooper will speak to Annual Meeting Attendees about his efforts in support of economic development and tourism in Colorado, and about what role Colorado’s mountain and skiing heritage play in his vision for our state.
Sage Brennan is co-founder of China Luxury Advisors, a boutique consultancy that helps luxury brands and retailers to develop China-related strategies, ranging from market entry to social media to attracting, converting, and retaining Chinese tourists. Sage first visited China in 1987, and has worked in China as a researcher, investor, entrepreneur, journalist, and advisor, with a specialization in digital, mobile, tourism and strategy.
Judy Dorsey, PE, Leed-AP, CEM, is the founding President and Principal Engineer at Brendle Group. She is a valued collaborator offering 21 years of executive leadership in sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Her specialties include district-scale and community-scale planning in climate and energy, clean energy, sustainable economic development, organizational development, and net zero energy and water initiatives. She has led the completion of more than 200 sustainability projects for more than 100 clients across 15 states, including more than a dozen energy plans for some of the nation’s most progressive communities and major cities. She utilizes Brendle Group’s LEED Gold headquarters as a replicable business model for cost-effective deep green renovations and an active test bed for innovations in sustainability. She resides with her family in Colorado’s first LEED-certified home.
Cara McDonald, MA, is a writer and magazine editor specializing in regional, health, and lifestyle publications and resort markets. She led the editorial team at 5280, Denver’s Magazine for several years before co-founding Breckenridge Magazine and Fort Collins Magazine. As the co-owner of Evergreen Custom Media, she also does public relations and custom content consulting, and creates custom publications for clients such as Winter Park Resort.
Jason Cormier is a co-founding partner of Room 214, an award winning digital marketing and social media agency founded in 2004. In Marketing Automation, Jason will provide an overview of marketing automation and its impact on strategy, messaging, tactics and ROI. The opportunities are numerous. For any successful organization that relies on the Internet for leads and sales, marketing automation stands to increase efficiencies and revenues.
General Session Panel - Forging the Future: Keystones to Sustainability
Ralf Garrison, Advisory Group Inc.
Ralf Garrison’s Advisory Group Inc. is the overarching destination travel marketing services company from which Garrison has launched a family of destination travel-related businesses, including founding the Mountain Travel Symposium, launching the new ASSEMBLY, and founding and currently operating MTRiP - the Mountain Travel Research Program, and CRADR - the Central Reservation Association of Destination Resorts.
Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Company
Prior to working for Ski Corp., Auden previously worked at Rocky Mountain Institute. Auden has testified to Congress on the impacts of climate change, and speaks widely about meaningful solutions to climate change. His writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, the L.A. Times, Slate, Scientific American, Orion, Huffington Post and other media. His book Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution was called “an antidote to greenwash” by NASA climatologist James Hansen.
Nate Fristoe, RCC Associates
Nate has pioneered the development and refinement of a variety of snow sports related research projects for the industry, with a special emphasis on early identification of trends that could impact the long-term health of downhill snow sports in both the U.S. and Canada. In addition to his work for national and regional associations, he has worked individually with more than 100 resorts. He is a regular featured speaker and panelist at many national and regional travel and tourism conferences and seminars. Nate did his undergraduate work at Washington University and graduate work at Georgia Tech.
As the Chief Financial Officer of East West Partners, Andy Gunion helps manage all aspects of the development process including, acquisition, zoning and entitlements, financial analysis, financing, project design, marketing, construction, owner relations and operations/asset management. Andy joined East West Partners to pursue his entrepreneurial spirit, after previously serving as project manager for the Westin Riverfront and for the design phase of the Penthouses at Manor Vail. Andy has an MBA and an MRED (Master of Real Estate Development) from the University of Southern California and a BA in Business Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Legal Update Panel
Dave Byrd, NSAA
Dave Byrd is the Director of Risk and Regulatory Affairs for the National Ski Areas Association, based in Lakewood, Colorado. Dave is a former defense attorney and litigator defending corporate clients, as well as a former journalist. Dave handles risk management issues and regulatory and compliance issues affecting the ski industry. A Kansas native, Dave learned to ski at Winter Park with school and church groups.
David Clark, Aspen Skiing Company
David spent 15 years working inside the insurance industry before assuming his current role at Aspen Skiing Company in 2007. His responsibilities at Aspen Skiing Company include general litigation, construction, risk management, intellectual property and workers compensation. David’s pastimes include skiing, rock and ice climbing, road and mountain biking, paragliding, kayaking, and throwing flies to hungry trout.
John Maas, Intrawest
John Maas is internal counsel for Intrawest resident at Steamboat. He has practiced in the areas of corporate, transactional and M&A law as well as corporate restructurings in and out of bankruptcy. He attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, for both undergraduate and law school. He worked in the ski industry during his undergrad years and prior to attending law school, including stints in Aspen and Durango/Purgatory. He learned to ski in the early 1960s at Mt. Spokane and was fortunate enough to recently celebrate his childhood hero’s birthday with him, famed Olympic skier Billy Kidd.
Kimberly Viergever, Rietz Firm
In 2001, Kimberly joined the Rietz Firm, where she has successfully tried numerous cases. Kimberly represents clients in general liability, automobile, construction defect, products liability, sports and recreation, and commercial matters.
Kimberly has vast trial experience at the state, and federal levels. She has also been published in ski and sports industry periodicals. She is a member of the Colorado and Utah Bar Associations, a member of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association Legal Task Force, a member of DRI, a board member and Past President of the Association of Ski Defense Attorneys.
Billy Kidd grew up in Stowe, Vermont and raced internationally for nine years on the U.S. Ski Team. While racing, he studied at the University of Colorado and graduated in 1969 with a degree in economics. After establishing his prominence in the ski world in the 1964 Olympics –becoming the first American man to win Olympic medal in skiing – Billy marked yet another “first” for American men by becoming the first person to win both Amateur and Pro World Championships in a single year in 1970.
Billy has made his home Steamboat Springs since 1970 and spends the winter as Director of Skiing at the Steamboat Ski Area and running the Billy Kidd Race Camp. Billy has hosted a free ski clinic at Steamboat nearly every day sharing his love of the sport with others.
Please forward all questions to Jennifer Rudolph at Jennifer@ColoradoSki.com or 303-837-0793.