2012-2013 Board of Directors
The volunteer Alumni Association Board of Directors is comprised of alumni members, plus campus representatives.
All Directors of the Alumni Association Board are graduates of Metropolitan State University of Denver; bios indicate their major and year of graduation.
Judy George (President) – Management, 2001
Judy is Vice President and co-owner of Kirby Company of Denver, family owned and operated since 1950. Judy is also co-owner of Appraisals “By George” automotive appraisals. Judy serves on the Board’s Scholarship Committee and the 2010 Plain and Fancy Ball Committee. In 2007, she received the Outstanding Alumni Award for “Making A Difference,” recognizing her work with Foothills Animal Shelter Foundation, where she has served on the Board of Directors since 2001, including three terms as Board President. Judy has been an active member of the Association board since 2008, and has served as the Board Treasurer since 2010.
Jim Garrison (Immediate Past President) – Economics, 1980
Jim is Business Manager at Rocky Mountain Microfilm and Imaging, a small Colorado technology company and scanning service bureau. A member of the Alumni Board since 2005, Jim is currently Board President. During his tenure on the Board, Jim has served as Treasurer and Vice-President, and has chaired several committees, including the Alumni Action Task Force and the 2006 Plain and Fancy Ball PR Committee. He was a Mentor in the Apprentice Challenge program in 2008. Additionally, Jim was a Director of the National Pedigreed Livestock Council from 1999-2003, serving as NPLC President from 2001-2003, and a Director of the Arabian Jockey Club from 2000-2004.
Victoria Hannu (Secretary) – Computer Management Systems, 1984
As an entrepreneur and a life/business coach, Victoria is a results-oriented leader, facilitator, coach and business strategist. She assists companies and organizations to increase revenue and bring their marketing and operations systems into alignment. Victoria brings a wealth and depth of experience to improve and enhance the business culture and increase productivity and profitability. During her time on the Alumni Association Board she has served as chair and facilitator of the annual Board retreat. Victoria has served as the Board Secretary since 2010.
Scott Applegate – Finance, 1996
Scott is Vice President, Commercial Lending, AMG National Trust Bank. He graduated summa cum laude from MSU Denver. While at MSU Denver, he was on the National Dean's List, was a member of Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society, and of Golden Key International Honor Society. Scott joined the Alumni Board in 2010, occupies a chair on the MSU Denver Foundation Board, and is also on the Advisory Board of Shiloh House. Scott’s post-graduate work includes a Certificate of Completion from Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington (2004), and an Executive MBA from CWU (2009).
Piper Billups – Marketing, 1999
Piper grew up in Denver and graduated from George Washington High School. She founded the Spread Her Wings Foundation in 2009, a program aimed at 6th and 7th grade girls, teaching them to build their self-esteem, while encouraging academic excellence and community service. Piper joined the Board in 2010.
Matt Brinton (Council of Administrators Representative) – Assistant Director of Student Activities
Matt is an adopted Roadrunner. After receiving his BS in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado, he switched to the higher education field in 2006. Matt earned a MA in Higher Education from the University of Denver in 2010. Matt oversees a team that hosts many campus programs and events and supervises a graphics design team through his role in the Student Activities Office. On campus, Matt serves as the President of the Council of Administrators, is a member of a variety of campus committees and am a METROLEADS Alum.
Jeff Forrest (Faculty Senate Representative) – Aviation, 1991
Dr. Jeff Forrest is Chair of the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is past owner of Forrest Educational Services, an instructional and research development firm. Dr. Forrest has been involved with designing and managing educational and research oriented projects within the domains of aviation, aerospace, and Earth science for over the past 25 years. Jeff has held a commercial pilot certificate for over 30 years, and has a variety of FAA pilot certifications and ratings. Since beginning his career and earning multiple graduate degrees in aviation management and aerospace systems management, Jeff has served as a commercial pilot flying in glider, seaplane, and corporate jet operations. His activities in aviation also include developing an air charter service and Flight Discovery, and aviation-training program for K-12 students.
Danyette Hardin – Management, 2007
Dany is currently researching and writing a business plan to start a nonprofit for a children's community for foster children. Dany has a strong sense of community service and has volunteered over the past twenty years with activities such as raising service dogs, mentoring foster children, teaching soccer to kids, and co-organizing summer camps. Dany was active as a student with MSU Denver and continues to participate in events as an alumnae. She is a recent recipient of the 2010 MSU Denver Alumni Pride Award, and joined the Board in 2010.
Cassandra Johnson – Management, 2004
Cassandra began her career at the Hope Center over 14 years ago, where she currently serves as the Business Manager. Cassandra earned her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. As a part-time business consultant she assists new-start small business ventures. She brings to the Board her volunteer experience from chairing the 2010 Plain & Fancy Ball People of the Year Committee and 2006 Plain & Fancy Ball Silent Auction Committee, which she co-chaired, as well as eight years of fundraising experience. Cassandra joined the Board in 2008, served as the Board Secretary for 2009-10 and has served as the Board Vice-President since 2010.
Tony Antonio (Tony) Ledesma – English, 1972
Dr. Ledesma holds master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology and Clinical Social Work, as well as a doctorate in Human Communication. Teaching courses in mental health counseling theory and practice, couples therapy, multicultural issues in human services, psychopathology, and interpersonal conflict resolution interventions in the Human Services department, he has entered his twenty-second having taught both on the undergraduate level at MSU Denver and on the graduate level at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. His clinical work focuses on facilitating men’s groups where he assists men to create more fulfilling interpersonal relationships with the women and children in their lives. His scholarship interests are in interpersonal conflict interventions and multicultural education.
Axé Charmaine – Individualized Degree Program, 2002
Axé is the owner and Artistic Director of Sol Vida Dance Studio + Community Space for the Arts in Denver. She was recently appointed to the Colorado Governor's Board for Physical Fitness. In college, Axé served as the President of the Black Student Alliance, was on the committee for Stop the Hate, worked as a STAR (Student Tour and Admissions Representative, Peer Educator, and Student Activities Coordinator. Since college, she has been commissioned for several artist in residencies, special projects and workshops.
Chris Melonakis – Economics, 1974
Judge Melonakis is currently assigned to the Juvenile Division with the 17th Judicial District in Colorado. He has done two-year rotations in the Civil Division, the Criminal Division, and the Domestic Relations Division. Judge Melonakis was appointed to the Seventeenth Judicial District bench in 1998. Prior to his appointment, he was in private law general practice. He has served on numerous committees including: the Public Access Committee, Court Improvement Committee, and Judicial Conference Planning Committee. He was named the Colorado CASA Judge of the Year in 2003 and the Adams / Broomfield CASA Judge of the year in 2003, 2004, and 2005. He has also been designated as a National Model Court and National Model Court Lead Judge by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Angelo Miller – Mechanical Engineering Technology, 2006
As a sales engineer for Sulzer, Angelo provides innovative pumping solutions primarily for the Oil & Gas and Power Generation markets. As a student, he was awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Outstanding Student Achievement Award for being a key member in resurrecting MSU Denver’s ASME student chapter. More recently, he as focused his efforts volunteering with the MSU Denver Recent Alumni Network and as a member of the Colorado Mechanical Engineering Technology Advisory Board.
Rob Morrill – Political Science, 1997
Rob Morrill is a partner with the Denver law firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. Rob holds a law degree from the University of Michigan cum laude. He was an associate with a private law firm in Chicago for five years. Since returning to Denver, Morrill has enjoyed re-engaging with MSU Denver; he established the MSU Denver Pre-Law Scholarship Endowment and has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors since 2008. He was recognized by Colorado Super Lawyers magazine as one of Colorado's 2010 "Rising Stars."
Chuck Moss – Finance, 1988
Chuck is a Product Manager, Corp System, for CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business. The bulk of Chuck’s 15 years with CCH was as a member of the Training and Consulting team. As the Corporate Software Consultant, his main responsibility was providing accounting related best practices consulting and product training services to corporate market clients. Chuck spent the majority of his Public Accounting career in tax with Arthur Andersen’s Denver office. Before joining CCH, Chuck worked for the Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group in Los Angeles. He joined the Board in 2010.
Laura Noe (Student Government Representative) – Behavioral Science, 2014
As a transfer student, Laura came to MSU Denver looking for a different experience than her previous institution provided. Over the past year, she has become a true Roadrunner and believer in the high quality and affordable education that MSU Denver offers. She strongly believes that MSU Denver offers a unique experience where people from all walks of life can come together with the common goal of achieving a college education and build a community. As the current student body president, Laura strives to create community, ensuring those that choose to, can share their voice.
James Olejniczak – Finance, 2011
James has accomplished many things both as a student and alum of MSU Denver. As a student, James was selected as one of three students to represent the institution at a financial planning competition hosted by the Financial Planning Association. During the same time, James was beginning his career as a financial consultant. He holds many insurance licenses as well as both the Series 7 and 66 securities licenses. James will continue to further his career goals after sitting the CFP examination in November to become a certified financial planner. James bleeds blue and red. He would like to serve on the Alumni Association Board and bring fresh ideas, ask critical questions when necessary to give back to the organization that made such a difference in his life.
Anne O'Neill – Hospitality Management and Event Planning, 2007
As an Account Manager at The Meeting Edge®, Anne has over 20 years of diverse business experience in sales, marketing and accounting for large corporations, political campaigns, small business and nonprofit associations. This experience includes the full spectrum of non-profit management, including event management, sponsorship development and membership. Anne serves as Sponsorship Director of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Professional Convention Management Association; is National Chair of the Convene Magazine Task Force; and is a member of Colorado Society of Association Executives. Anne returns to campus often as a guest lecturer, panel participant, and student mentor. She joined the Board in 2010.
Wendy Petersen – Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration, 1989
Wendy is the Director, Global Field Sales Support, for Sage Hospitality. She started her tenure with Marriott Hotels and Resorts while attending MSU Denver’s HRTA program. Wendy joined Sage Hospitality in 1994 as their Director of Sales & Marketing for the historic Oxford Hotel. She has held management positions for Sage both locally and nationally throughout her tenure. Currently Wendy is responsible for creating and strengthening sales processes throughout the Sage portfolio of hotels and establishing networks to further strengthen the connection between Sage, the greater Denver community and beyond. Wendy joined the Board in 2008.
Joe Rice – History, 1989
In addition to holding the position as Director of Government Relations for Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Joe also is a Colonel in the Army Reserve with five combat tours of duty in Iraq and one peacekeeping tour in Bosina. Joe is also an adjunct professor of history, government, and public administration at the Colorado Campus of the University of Phoenix. He is a former member of the Colorado State of Representatives, and a former mayor of the City of Glendale. His wife of 21 years, Kendall, is also a MSU graduate and they met at Metro. Joe is a past recipient of the MSU Denver Alumni Association Community Service Award.
Joe Sanchez – Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET), 2006
Joe has been employed at Northrop Grumman Corp, in Aurora, Colorado for 15 years as a Mechanical Engineer. He gives great credit for his employer because his entire education was paid for by Northrop Grumman. He knows that his education at Metropolitan State University of Denver greatly benefitted in his advancing his career. He is currently in the process of completing a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering and Architecting from the Stevens Institute of Technology located in Hoboken, New Jersey. When Joe was a student he received the Stephen M. Hay Leadership Award that is awarded to the outstanding student who creates meaningful changes in the lives of other students at the University.
Metza M. Templeton (Classified Staff Council Representative) – Management, 2007
In Metza’s position as the Tuition Classification Officer in the Registrar’s Office at MSU Denver, she serves as the Board’s liaison to the Classified Staff Council. While she was working on her degree, Metza was a member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society for management majors.
Elisa Varela – Speech Communication, 2010
Elisa graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors from MSU Denver in the spring of 2010. Currently, Elisa is a graduate master’s student at Colorado State University (CSU) on full scholarship through a graduate teaching assistantship, where she teaches Public Speaking. In addition to attending MSU Denver, before attending CSU, Elisa also worked in the position of family liaison in a highly diverse and low-income neighborhood. Her work involved constructing and implementing teaching programs for educators and parents of elementary school students. This opportunity revolved around teaching the best communication practices in the educational setting between parents and teachers. Her long-term goals involve earning a Ph.D. and teaching as a college professor. In her spare time, Elisa volunteers for organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and the 9 Health Fair.
David Vaughan – Land Use, 1993
David holds his master’s in Organization Leadership from Regis University and currently is a Career Transition and Leadership Consultant specializing in helping individuals manage their career change, and small companies create efficiencies through leadership training and organization development. As a firm believer in environment being a guiding influence on the decisions that people make, David helps individuals make positive improvements in their own workplace though leadership training and by instilling effective change management practices, and with assisting people who aspire to move on to greater career opportunities – whether it be due to unemployment, being underemployed, or simply for those who desire upward mobility within a current company. In addition to running his own small business, David is also active in the Colorado Youth Soccer scene, and is the Director of the University of Colorado’s Men’s Club Soccer program.
April M. Washington – Journalism, 1993
In September 2005, April became the first African-American assigned full-time to cover the Colorado General Assembly, where her coverage for the Rocky Mountain News centered on the governor’s office, the legislature and state government agencies. The Colorado Association of Black Journalists named April as the 2005 Print Journalist of the Year for her groundbreaking City Hall coverage. Since the Rocky’s closing last year, April has published a book and speaks throughout the country. April joined the Board in 2008.
Note: The Council of Administrators, Faculty and Student Representatives are appointed to the Alumni Association Board with full voting rights.