55th Annual Meeting - Speakers

JUNE 7, 2018


Gubernatorial Candidates

Democratic Candidates

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Mike Johnston

Mike grew up on the western slope of Colorado helping run the family business. He started his career as a teacher in one of the poorest schools in Mississippi.  After teaching there, Mike graduated from Yale Law School and came home to Colorado to become a school principal who took one of the toughest high schools in the state and turned it into the first high school where 100% of seniors were admitted to a 4-year college, prompting President Barack Obama to say, “We need a Mike Johnston in every school.”

Mike was a top policy advisor to President Obama and he was twice elected to the State Senate, where he achieved historic success, passing over 100 progressive bills with bipartisan support. Now he’s running for Governor, with big, bold plans to take Colorado into the future. 100% renewable energy by 2040. Debt-free tuition and job skills training for anyone willing to work for it. A public option to let Coloradans buy into Medicaid to make health care affordable.

He believes there’s never been a more important moment to stand firm in what we believe and to move confidently towards everything Colorado can become, showing the rest of the country what we can build together. More information can be found at www.mikejohnstonforcolorado.com

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Cary Kennedy

Cary grew up in Evergreen and Denver and graduated from Manual High School. Growing up, Cary had a large family with three brothers and sisters who joined her family through the foster care program and a sister who joined her family through her church. Cary saw what happens when kids don’t get the opportunities they need to succeed. This motivated Cary to start her career working to increase funding for public schools — so that all kids can have better opportunities to succeed. Cary and her husband Saurabh Mangalik raised their two children, Kyra and Kadin, here in Colorado. Cary herself was raised with the value of service and has passed that on to her kids. 

Cary served as Colorado State Treasurer and then as Denver’s Deputy Mayor and Chief Financial Officer. During volatile economic times, she put both the State and Denver on stronger financial footing. As State Treasurer, she ended risky Wall Street investments before the Great Recession, avoiding the losses that other states incurred. Cary is running for governor to make sure that Colorado's success reaches everyone. Cary has three priorities: making education Colorado’s top priority, making healthcare affordable and accessible, and protecting the Colorado we love in the face of growth. More information can be found at www.carykennedyforgovernor.com.

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Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne 

Donna Lynne is Colorado’s 49th Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer. She is widely respected as both a leader in the private sector, and an expert in public health. As Lt. Governor and Chief Operating Officer, she oversees the operations for Colorado's state government, which has a $28 billion budget and 30,000 employees. Donna is running for Governor because Colorado has made a lot of progress under John Hickenlooper, but there’s a lot more to be done to stay on the right track, and many of the challenges we must face are tough and complicated. But, that doesn’t scare her, because she’s been doing tough and complicated her whole life. More information can be found at www.lynneforcolorado.com.

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U.S. Congressman Jared Polis

Jared Polis has spent his career turning big ideas into real results for Colorado families. He is running for governor with a vision to bring free, full-day preschool and kindergarten to every community in Colorado, make our state energy independent and 100% renewable by 2040, and build an economy that works for everyone, not just top executives and special interests. More information can be found at www.PolisforColorado.com

Republican Candidates

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Greg Lopez

Greg Lopez grew up in Texas, the son of farm workers. His deep Christian faith and traditional values came from his hard-working parents.

Lopez, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was elected mayor of Parker at 27 years of age, the youngest mayor in Colorado at the time. Four years later, in 1996, he and his wife Lisa decided that he should step out of politics to raise their young family. He spent years helping small businesses and minority-owned businesses in Colorado.  He was President of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Later he was President of the Rocky Mountain Minority Supply Development Council, helping to put businesses together with minority-owned suppliers. He served six years as the Colorado Director of the US Small Business Administration, assisting small businesses in getting loans, grants and US contracts. Greg and his family own and operate two small businesses in the state.

Greg Lopez is a candidate for governor of Colorado. He surprised many in the state when his grassroots campaign catapulted him onto the primary ballot, one of only two who survived the seven-way race. More information can be found at www.lopezforgovernor.com

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Victor Mitchell

Victor Mitchell is a businessman who has, since the age of 13, always worked for himself, from being a newsboy to running a wireless company. Today, he heads Lead Funding, a major real estate lender.

From 2007 to 2009, Mitchell served in the Colorado House of Representatives. In 2011, he headed the organization Save Colorado Jobs that lead the defeat of Prop 103, a statewide ballot measure that would have raised income and sales taxes.

Mitchell, along with his wife of 27 years, Amy, have been active in numerous community organizations, including Meals on Wheels. They have three children, including a son at West Point. More information can be found at www.vic4gov.com.

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Doug Robinson

Doug Robinson is a Colorado businessman and community leader. Since moving with his wife, Diane, to Colorado more than 20 years ago, Doug has established himself as someone who can get things done. In 2004, Doug founded his own investment firm, St. Charles Capital, which he and his partners grew to become one of the leading corporate finance firms in the West. 

Through his work with technology firms, Doug recognized the growing digital divide within Colorado school districts, and worked with local technology leaders to found KidsTek, an organization that brings technology skills and education to Colorado's highest-need schools. Following the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado, Doug again recognized the need for someone to step up and protect Colorado's kids. He and Diane started SMART Colorado, a non-profit dedicated to educating and protecting Colorado's kids amidst the commercialization of marijuana. Through his work with SMART Colorado, Doug has helped push over a dozen pieces of common-sense legislation through the capitol. 

Doug and Diane have been married for 30 years, and have raised all five of their kids in Colorado. They reside in Englewood, where their youngest son is a sophomore in high school. More information can be found at www.dougforcolorado.com

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Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton

 Walker Stapleton is a 4th generation Coloradan, a family man and a businessman. He has spent the last 7 years serving as the State Treasurer of Colorado. Before ever running for public office, Walker served as CEO and CFO of several successful businesses, creating jobs and balancing budgets. He lives in Arapahoe county with his wife Jenna and his three children Craig, Coco and Olivia. Walker is running for Governor to build a better future for our state; for his children, and for the next generation of Coloradans. More information can be found at www.stapletonforcolorado.com.

Annual Meeting Speakers

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Rich Wobbekind
Executive Director of Business Research at the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business
Colorado’s Robust and Diversifying Economy: Recent Changes and Future Forecast

Richard L. Wobbekind is Associate Dean for Business and Government Relations, Associate Professor of Business Economics and Finance, and Executive Director of the Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He joined the faculty in the fall of 1985.

As Executive Director of the Business Research Division, Rich's responsibilities include developing an annual consensus forecast of the Colorado economy, which he has done since 1988. The Business Research Division also produces revenue forecasts for the University of Colorado and the Regional Transportation District (RTD). Rich also performs various strategic analyses and economic impact assessments of the Colorado economy.

Richard Wobbekind has lived in Colorado for over 40 years and has spent much of his time studying the development of the Colorado and regional economies. Rich and his wife Carol have raised three children.

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Kelly McDonald
Expert in Marketing, Customer Service and Consumer Trends
Values-Based Marketing: What Consumers Expect in 2018

Today consumers spend money on products they value and increasingly expect brands to embrace a value system and share it publicly, but how can companies effectively market their values without alienating customers? Kelly McDonald is a leading marketing expert who will address values based marketing and how to navigate this increasingly popular practice in 2018. 

Kelly has experience working with brands such as Toyota, Subaru, Kimberly-Clark, Nike, Harley-Davidson, Miller-Coors and Sherwin-Williams. She has been featured on CNBC, in Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company and CNNMoney.com. Kelly was named one of the “10 Most Booked Speakers in the U.S.” and was #1 on the list of “26 Hot Speakers” by Successful Meetings Magazine. 

She is the author of three bestselling books:  

  • “How to Market to People Not Like You”
  • “Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You”
  • “How to Work With & Lead People Not Like You”

Kelly lives in Denver and when she’s not on the road speaking, she enjoys hiking – and shopping for high heels.


Kelly Pawlak
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Ski Areas Association
Panel: Thought Leaders from Industry and Government on Challenges and Change in the Ski Industry and the U.S. Forest Service

After graduating from Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., Kelly Pawlak joined Mount Snow in 1985 and was named Mount Snow General Manager in 2005. She has 30 years of experience at Mount Snow and has managed a variety of departments, including Vice President of Brand Management and Vice President of Resort Operations. In November 2017, Kelly moved into the position of president/chief executive officer of NSAA. She now lives in Colorado with her husband, Dan, and has two children, Marley and Tanner.

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Brian Ferebee
Regional Forester, Rocky Mountain Region, U.S. Forest Service
Panel: Thought Leaders from Industry and Government on Challenges and Change in the Ski Industry and the U.S. Forest Service

On September 30, 2016, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell appointed agency veteran Brian Ferebee as the Regional Forester of the Rocky Mountain Region (R2).

Prior to this appointment, Brian was serving as the Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System, where he was responsible for the policy, oversight and direction of the natural resource programs for the 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands.

Brian has served in a variety of leadership positions, including Deputy Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region, Forest Supervisor on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests, Forest Supervisor on the Uinta National Forest, Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and the Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands and District Ranger on the Kamas and Logan Districts of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests.

Earlier assignments include the Emmett Ranger District of the Boise National Forest in Idaho, wildlife biologist and district ranger on the Salt Lake, Kamas and Logan Ranger Districts of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest and Wildlife Program Manager in the Intermountain Region’s Regional Office in Ogden, Utah.

Brian was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina and graduated from North Carolina State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource management.  He and his wife, Kate, enjoy outdoor experiences and international travel.

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Andy Daly
Owner, Powderhorn Resort
Moderator of Panel: Thought Leaders from Industry and Government on Challenges and Change in the Ski Industry and the U.S. Forest Service

Andy Daly has been a part of the Colorado ski industry since he took a job on the ski patrol at Aspen Highlands in 1970. From President and Chief Executive Officer of Vail Associates, now Vail Resorts, to involvement at top ski resorts including Copper Mountain, Beaver Creek, Eldora and now the owner of Powderhorn, he caps an outstanding career as an inspirational ski-sport builder who has brought international stature to Colorado skiing. Andy is currently serving on the Vail Valley Foundation, Vail Valley Medical Center, U.S. Ski Team Board of Directors and recently retired as Mayor of Vail. Andy is also a long-time member of the Colorado Ski Country Board of Trustees, having served two terms as Board Chairman. He is an avid skier and outdoor enthusiast.

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Don Dressler
Mountain Resort Program Manager, U.S. Forest Service
What’s New with NEPA: Meet the Mountain Resort Team

Don Dressler is the Mountain Resort Program Manager for the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service. Based in Lakewood, Colorado, he is responsible for the oversight and management of the 26 ski areas throughout Colorado and Wyoming operating on National Forest System lands under Special Use Permit.  

After spending 14 years on the White River National Forest, the last 9 of which as the Winter Sports Administrator for Vail and Beaver Creek Ski Areas, Don moved to the Regional Office in December of 2013. He oversees the Mountain Resort Team and provides policy direction, technical advice and compliance review for the 9 National Forests within the Rocky Mountain Region administering ski area permits. 

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Rachel Franchina 
What’s New with NEPA: Meet the Mountain Resort Team

Rachel Franchina started her career with the Forest Service in 2002 and has worked as a District Recreation Program Manager on the Dixie and Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests. She worked in the Enterprise Program as a recreation planner, recreation team lead, Recreation Service Line Manager. Rachel is also the President of the board of the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals. She has a B.S. in Recreation Management from the University of Montana and a M.S. in Natural Resource Recreation from Virginia Tech. 

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Lance Koch 
What’s New with NEPA: Meet the Mountain Resort Team

Lance Koch has served as a District Biologist and District Ranger with the Forest Service, and as a Wildlife Biologist and Refuge Manager with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Lance began his career with the Forest Service in 1992 by volunteering for almost a year on the Pecos-Las Vegas RD (Santa Fe NF), where he did everything from mowing the lawn to cleaning the horse stables. He paid his way through college, first as a seasonal biotech on the Santa Fe NF on Mexican spotted owl inventory and later on an engine and hotshot fire crew. 

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Isaac Sims
What’s New with NEPA: Meet the Mountain Resort Team

Isaac Sims most recently worked on the Eldorado National Forest. He has worked as a landscape architect in the Forest Service and the private industry for 13 years.  His work has encompassed design and planning from urban streetscapes, hospitals and museums, to campgrounds, ski areas, recreation planning and place-based design on National Forest System Lands. 

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Patrick Crawford
Co-Founder and Partner at Inkwell
Social Media Influencers: Are they right for your ski area?

Over nearly two decades, Patrick Crawford has worked in every aspect of outdoor sports media, from print to global digital media properties to corporate content strategy and influencer marketing. He is a Co-Founder and Partner at Inkwell, where he oversees content operations. Previously, Patrick was Global Content Director for Mountain News Corporation, the world’s largest snowsports media group. Patrick was a founding editor at Freeskier magazine, and he served as Editorial & Online Director for Storm Mountain Publishing, where he oversaw print and digital content for Freeskier and Snowboard magazines.