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The MSU Denver Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 governed by a volunteer board of directors. These men and women are committed to the ongoing support and advocacy of MSU Denver, each serving a renewable 3-year term of service.
Partner at Law Firm of Butler Snow
Dawn P. Bookhardt was elected Vice Chair of the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in February 2014 and elected Chair in 2023. Dawn was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2008 and reappointed in 2012.
She served as the Vice Chair for the Presidential Evaluation Committee and serves as the MSU Denver representative to the Auraria Board of Directors. She has recently joined the MSU Denver Foundation Board of Directors.
Dawn was a founding partner in the law firm of Bookhardt & O’Toole, and has recently become a partner with the law firm of Butler Snow, a Mississippi-based law firm with over 300 attorneys across the country and in London. Dawn specializes in complex municipal bond financing and transactions. Three of Dawn’s noteworthy achievements include representation of Forest City in the development of the former Stapleton Airport site; representation of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray and UBS PaineWeber as underwriters for the Denver Convention Center Hotel; and representation as General Counsel to the Denver Union Station Project Authority for the enormously successful redevelopment project at Union Station in Denver. Bookhardt is the founder and owner of Odd Tale Books, a retail book store. Among the numerous awards she has received are the National Leadership Award from the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Business Advisory Council and the Woman of Distinction Award from the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. She holds degrees from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., and the University of Denver School of Law.
Executive Director of the IMA Foundation | Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications
Ruth Rohs is the senior vice president of corporate communications and executive director of the IMA Foundation for the IMA Financial Group. In this position, Ruth oversees internal communications, public relations, and corporate social responsibility for IMA and its 2,000 associates across the U.S. Prior to joining IMA in May 2011, Ruth was the manager of community relations for Comcast Mile High Region. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has a Master’s degree from Chapman University. She also received a certificate in corporate community involvement management from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.
Ruth currently serves as Vice-Chair of the MSU Denver Foundation board of directors, and also serves on the boards of the Denver Public Schools Foundation, National Sports Center for the Disabled, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado and the University of Alabama College of Communications & Information Sciences. She is past chair of the board of the Denver Chamber Leadership Foundation and the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter. Ruth completed the Colorado Governor’s Fellowship Program in 2018, is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Denver and a 2012 graduate of the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership Program. In 2007, she was selected as one of Denver’s Forty Under 40 by the Denver Business Journal. In 2022, Ruth was honored as a Top Woman in Communications by Ragan Communications and in 2018 was named one of Colorado’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women by the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Why join the MSU Denver Foundation? “I am passionate about education and believe every student, no matter who they are or where they come from, deserves the chance to get one. MSU Denver serves an incredibly diverse student-body, giving many first-generation students the chance to earn a four-year degree. Our state will benefit from giving these students this opportunity.”
Director of Strategy, Stonebridge Companies
Ashley Dimond is the Director of Strategy at Stonebridge Companies, a hotel ownership and development company based in Denver. Ashley started at Stonebridge after graduating from business school at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in June 2021.
Prior to attending the Booth School of Business, Ashley completed her undergraduate degree at Cornell University at the School of Hotel Administration. While there, she pursued a minor in Real Estate and a concentration in food and beverage.
After graduating from Cornell, Ashley spent a year in Miami at Burger King Corporation, working on global procurement for non-food and paper items, after which she transitioned to Uber, focusing on driver and rider acquisition through local partnerships. From there, she served as a “launcher,” launching Uber in new cities and moving to India to launch new Uber products. She closed out her four years at Uber as chief of staff to the head of operations for Uber Eats.
Ashley is also a board member on the Cornell Hotel School Young Alumni Council, the Cornell Alumni Admissions Committee, The University of Chicago Booth Admissions Committee and the Dimond Family Foundation.
“My educational experiences have been transformative to the way I approach my personal and professional life, and I want the same opportunity to be available to those who choose it. I’m incredibly excited and honored to be a part of an organization that prides itself on the idea that every student should have an opportunity to better their lives through the highest quality of education at an affordable price.”
Retired Investment Banker, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Rus Heise had a professional career for more than 37 years with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and its predecessors. During his tenure as an investment banker, he financed infrastructure projects throughout the western United States. Major projects included airports, hospitals, universities, utilities, and municipal complexes. Within Colorado, he provided traditional and creative financings for major developments (Stapleton, Lowry, City and County of Broomfield, Belmar, and Ridgegate) as well as project financing for City and County of Denver, DURA, DHA, DPS and a range of cities and counties. In his capacity as Managing Director, he had responsibility over offices in several other states.
Rus has also been continuously active in a wide range of civic and non-profit organizations. He is a past Chairman of the Downtown Denver Partnership, past Chairman of Visit Denver, past Chairman of Denver Health and Hospital Authority, and past Chairman of the Urban Land Conservancy. He continues to be involved in most of these organizations and serves on the Park Creek Metropolitan District board. He has served on a wide variety of other community-focused committees and task forces.
Mr. Heise has a B.A. (English) and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Minnesota.
“I joined the MSU Foundation because of it’s commitment to provide affordable education opportunities and improve workforce development. MSU is a critical and growing part of the fabric of Denver and Colorado and MSU Foundation is focused and committed to supporting MSU in achieving its mission.”
Senior Vice President/Financial Advisor, Wealth Enhancement Group
Marti Awad has more than 25 years of experience working in the capital markets, first as a practicing tax attorney at one of the country’s top securities, mergers and acquisitions law firms and, for the past 17 years, as a private wealth advisor. Before that she worked in the tax consulting group of a national accounting firm. Her tax and legal background, coupled with her deep investment expertise, place her in a unique position to advise clients on virtually every aspect of their complex wealth management issues.
Marti specializes in holistic financial planning and works closely with our clients’ other advisors — attorneys, accountants and family office practitioners — to ensure that our collective advice is integrated. She is driven by a passion to assist our clients in defining and achieving their goals and, ultimately, creating a legacy for future generations.
Her earlier tenure as a practicing tax attorney affords Cardan clients and their families the advantage of her in-depth knowledge of the tax implications surrounding financial investment and tax minimization techniques.
Marti holds the internationally recognized postgraduate law degree LL.M. in Taxation from New York University; a J.D. from Southern Methodist University; and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds both the Chartered Financial Analyst® and Certified Financial Planner® designations and is a member of the Denver Society of Securities Analysts and the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts.
She is a dedicated member of the Denver civic and nonprofit community and has served on numerous boards and committees. Marti currently serves on the boards of Rose Community Foundation, Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation and was appointed by both Governors Hickenlooper and Polis to the Colorado State 529 Plan board. In 2015, she was one of ten people worldwide to receive the Merrill Lynch David Brady Award for exceptional service to clients, collaboration with colleagues and contributions to the community. Marti has been quoted in the Denver Business Journal, Financial Advisor IQ, Financial Planning Magazine, US News & World Report and was featured in the Wall Street Journal.
Marti strongly believes that MSU Denver is one of the most important resources in our city and state. She says, “the hallmarks of MSU are our cutting edge approach to private public partnerships, keen focus on Denver/Colorado workforce development and a commitment to providing a transformational educational opportunity for our students.” She is proud of the fact that close to half of the students are the first in their family to attend college and that the University is changing the trajectory of their lives and their families lives.
Senior Director of Investor Relations, Xcel Energy
Roopesh Aggarwal is Senior Director, Investor Relations at Xcel Energy where he is responsible for management of shareholder and investment community relationships for the multi-state electric and gas utility. In previous roles at the Company, he was Senior Director, Business Innovation, leading several transformative customer and operating initiatives.
Roopesh has over 25 years of experience working with growth-oriented operating companies to successfully address critical strategic, financial, operating, and marketing priorities. His expertise stretches across the energy value chain, including regulated utilities, oil and gas exploration and production, gas processing and pipelines, coal production and processing, fuel terminals, renewable technologies, and service providers.
Roopesh has an MBA with High Distinction from the University of Michigan and MS and BA with Honors in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors and member of the Endowment Board of Central City Opera.
“I’ve long believed that access to a world-class education is one of the most important factors in elevating people’s lives. MSU Denver has set the stage for the education model of the future….today. As a proud parent of an MSU Denver student, the chance to give back to this amazing institution and to help expand its mission is truly an amazing opportunity.”
President, L.C. Fulenwider, Inc.
Ferd Belz is President for L.C. Fulenwider, Inc. Prior to joining Fulenwider, Mr. Belz was the President of Cherokee Denver, LLC, the entity that owned the 50-acre redevelopment of the former Gates Tire & Rubber Factory in Denver. As President, he managed all aspects of the development, entitlements, public financing and environmental remediation for this transit oriented, mixed-use project. The project is entitled for more than 7 million square feet of mixed commercial and residential uses and is approved for more than $126 million of public financing.
Mr. Belz is also a co-founder of REGen, LLC, a real estate services and development company. REGen was the re-developer of the Mercy Hospital at 17th and Fillmore in Denver that is now the City Park South project. REGen also redeveloped the former Children’s Hospital site and sold it to St. Joseph’s Hospital where they are building their new hospital addition. During his long real estate career, Mr. Belz has developed more than $1 billion of hotel and resort real estate nationally and internationally as well as numerous commercial, residential, retail, and senior housing projects. The projects include several Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, the Pepsi Center in Denver and Tabor Center in Denver. He is currently a partner in the redevelopment of the historic Denver Union Station into a mixed use, retail, hotel and transit center project. Mr. Belz holds cum laude degrees in both architecture and engineering from the University of Kansas and he began his career as a licensed architect.
He is the past Chair of the Downtown Denver Partnership, is current Chair of the Board of the Auraria Foundation, is treasurer and on the Board of the Civic Center Conservancy and is on the Board of the MSU Denver Foundation.
Retired Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo
Before she retired from Wells Fargo at the beginning of January 2020, Pat Cortez served as senior vice president for Wells Fargo’s public relations and government relations in Colorado. Under Pat’s leadership, Wells Fargo has received community service awards from the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, Museo de las Americas and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In 2004, Pat was awarded the prestigious “Woman of Distinction” award by the Girl Scouts of Colorado.
Pat oversees Wells Fargo’s charitable contributions in Colorado. In 2008, Wells Fargo awarded nearly $4.4 million to more than 900 Colorado nonprofit organizations.
A Colorado native, Pat has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, all of it with Wells Fargo and its predecessors. She has held several positions within the company. Prior to her current position, she managed Wells Fargo’s business development efforts among emerging markets, including the African-American, Asian, Latino and women’s markets, with responsibility for nearly $1 billion in consumer assets.
Pat is actively involved in the Denver community, where she was a founding member and past chair of the Colorado Scholarship Coalition. She previously served as a trustee of the Denver Public Library, a mayoral appointee to the Planning Board for the City and County of Denver, and director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver.
Pat currently serves on the board of directors of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Latin American Educational Foundation, the National Sports Center for the Disabled, and Visit Denver, the travel and visitor bureau for Denver, Colorado.
“I am committed to MSU Denver because of the University’s dedication to the communities it serves – particularly communities of color. MSU Denver is the most diverse organization of higher education in the state, with diversity that extends beyond the student body to the faculty and support teams. I am honored to serve on the Foundation Board, with its strong leadership and extremely committed board member.”
(Ex-Officio) President, MSU Denver
The ninth president of MSU Denver, Janine Davidson, Ph.D., is a compelling leader with extensive experience guiding large and complex organizations. Prior to joining the University, Davidson served as the 32nd undersecretary of the United States Navy, where she managed all Department of the Navy affairs including Navy and Marine Corps integration, acquisition, finance, personnel, legislative affairs, research and development. In that role, she was responsible for the health and well-being of nearly 900,000 sailors, marines, civilians and their families.
Davidson has nearly 30 years of experience in military operations, national security policy and academic research. As an analyst and academic, Davidson was a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she is a lifetime member. She has taught national security policy and political science at Georgetown University, George Mason University and Davidson College.
She holds a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s of science degree in architectural engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. She was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Squadron Officer School and was the first woman to fly the Air Force’s tactical C-130.
Davidson became president of MSU Denver on July 24, 2017. Her primary focus is on student retention and graduation – better serving the nearly 20,000 current students that call the University home and preparing them to launch into the workforce. While MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans through programs relevant to the state’s economy, Davidson aims to build the institution’s reputation both nationally and internationally.
Founder, Western Industrial Contractors Inc.
Former MSU Denver Board of Trustee
Barbara Grogan was the founder and CEO of Western Industrial Contractors, Inc., a nationally recognized firm specializing in the design and installation of industrial systems and equipment throughout the U.S. She sold her business to financial buyers in 2004 and the company still prospers. Barbara was the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch and the first female chair of the Denver Chamber of Commerce and served on the Board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Barbara served on three corporate boards and many non-profit boards in Colorado and nationally.
Barbara is currently a community volunteer, activist, and philanthropist focused primarily on education. She has been recognized for her contributions by many organizations, including United Way, Volunteers of America, the U.S. Small Business Administration among many others, and was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame. Barbara has been deeply involved in the MSU Denver serving for eight years on the Board of Trustees, two as chair. She now continues her commitment to MSU and serves as Trustee of the MSU Foundation.
“I have had the great honor to serve for eight years as a member of the Board of Trustees of our beloved MSU. To my shock I learned that Colorado ranks 49 in the nation for our funding of higher education. I saw up close how the lack of adequate funding impacted our great university and I watched our dedicated faculty and staff work tirelessly to meet the needs of our extraordinary students without proper funding. As my term expired on the Board this past December, I asked if I could continue to serve MSU as a member of the Board of Trustees of our Foundation. Lucky for me they said yes. So now I will continue to serve MSU, and help raise very needed funds that are so vitally important to support our fabulous students reach their goals and graduate as proud Roadrunners who go out and make this world a better place.”
Founding Partner, HCM Strategists
(Ex-Officio) Board of Trustees Representative
Kristin Hultquist was appointed to the MSU Denver Board of Trustees in December 2019 and elected Vice-Chair of the Board in January 2022.
Kristin Hultquist is a founding partner of HCM Strategists (HCM), a public policy and advocacy consulting firm founded in 2008. She is an expert in higher education policy and strategy development at the state and federal levels across the firm’s higher education clients, which include several major US philanthropies, including Ascendium, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, Lumina Foundation and Strada, as well as major national higher education associations, regional higher education compacts, state higher education agencies and systems, the College Board and the George W. Bush Center. Kristin’s policy leadership with experts, states, foundations, and organizations includes providing expert testimony three times to the US Congress, authoring opinion editorials appearing in the New York Times and USA Today, and securing regulatory and statutory changes that have simplified federal financial aid to serve millions more students.
Kristin’s belief in the transformative power of higher education opportunity is a direct result of her own educational experience. Prior to forming HCM Strategists, Kristin served as senior advisor to the U.S. Undersecretary of Education where she helped develop the Secretary’s action plan in response to the Spellings Commission report. She previously served as the program director of the education division of the National Governor’s Association and directed the Washington, D.C., office of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. A Pell Grant recipient and the first college graduate in her family, Kristin earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Kristin also serves on the board of the Institute for Higher Education Policy and has assisted section of the Scholarship America Dream Award since 2019. She and her husband, Brent, share four children and live in Parker, Colorado.
Office Managing Partner, Husch Blackwell, LLP
Kevin Kelley, a partner with Husch Blackwell, LLP, advises clients on commercial real estate – from acquisition and development to financing, operation and disposition of multi-family, industrial, office, and retail properties, hotels and resorts and self-storage facilities. Kevin previously chaired the firm’s Investment Real Estate and Housing groups and served as the managing partner of the firm’s Denver office. Kevin specializes in helping clients navigate complex mixed-use and re-use development projects, exemplified by his representation of Denver’s Regional Transportation District in the redevelopment of Denver’s historic Union Station and his representation of a national developer in spearheading development of Fox Park, a new 41-acre master planned mixed-use community on the site of The Denver Post’s former printing plant.
Beyond traditional real estate law, Kevin regularly advises clients on NBA, MLB and NFL sports facility deals. Highlights of his representations include development of the Milwaukee Bucks Fiserv Forum, Golden 1 Arena for the Sacramento Kings and potential new waterfront ballpark for the Oakland A’s; significant renovations of the Phoenix Suns’ and Charlotte Hornets’ arenas; use agreements for the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Mariners, and Milwaukee Brewers; and the sale of the city-owned Angel Stadium to an Angels owner affiliate. Kevin’s deep roots in Denver include having worked with Paul Jacobs to bring the Rockies to Colorado.
Prior to joining Husch Blackwell in 2011, Kevin was a founding partner of Jacobs Chase Frick Kleinkopf & Kelley, where he led representation of Intrawest Resorts in its development of resort communities across the continent, from concept through delivery and disposition.
In addition to serving on the MSU Denver Foundation Board of Directors, Kevin serves on the board of the Downtown Denver Partnership and is the immediate past chair of the Junior Achievement, Rocky Mountain board of directors. Kevin has also served as a director on the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce board.
President, Alpine Bank – Denver Tech Center
Charlie Kercheval is a proud, native Coloradoan, originally born and raised on the Western Slope, prior to graduating from CU Boulder in 1988. For the past 25 years, he has lived with his wife and two sons in Parker, CO, enjoying over three decades as a community banker and now currently serving as President of Alpine Bank’s Denver Tech Center market. During his banking career, he has been fortunate to hold numerous leadership positions in the Denver Tech Center, Douglas County, and Cherry Creek area. Success as a business leader is important to him. However, of equal importance is demonstrating his commitment to service and encouraging a spirit of giving among his family, colleagues, and community.
As a young adult, Mr. Kercheval was encouraged to participate in a variety of service projects within his community of Grand Junction, Colorado and throughout the world. His career path as a banker has since enabled him to engage in board leadership, supporting many impactful organizations including: CollegeInvest, Colorado Succeeds, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the CU South Denver Advisory Board, the Denver Public Schools Foundation, the Public Education and Business Coalition, the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, the Cherry Creek Area Business Alliance, the CU Boulder Alumni Association, and the Douglas County Educational Foundation.
“I am also a proud parent of a Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) Roadrunner. At MSU, our son is pursuing his perfect major, in a highly diverse student community, located at the heart of one of the most dynamic and desirable cities in the country. His instructors are engaged (and engaging), and with the outstanding, personalized support that MSU provides for his particular learning style, he is succeeding, thriving, and loving every minute! More importantly, MSU is providing this educational opportunity in an accessible manner, to students who simply may not have other realistic alternatives. Generations of families are being changed by MSU’s first-class education which emphasizes inclusion and commitment while embracing each students’ unique circumstances. This model is relevant, critical, and the future of higher education. This is why I have chosen to be part of the MSU Denver Foundation Board of Directors.”
EVP/COO, Co-Owner, RK Industries, LLC
Jon is the EVP/COO and a co-owner of RK Industries, LLC. Jon has a passion for education and workforce development that is evident in his community involvement. RK Industries, LLC is one of the region’s largest suppliers of construction, manufacturing and service solutions. RK Industries, LLC, the company’s most established unit, has installed mechanical systems in prominent commercial construction projects that define the Colorado skyline. RK Industries, LLC operates seven business units that provide integrated products and services for construction, commercial and industrial customers. RK Industries, LLC is a second-generation, family-owned Colorado-based firm that is recognized for giving to our community through the RK Industries, LLC Foundation. Jon has an MBA from the University of Denver and a BSBA degree in Finance and Real Estate from Colorado State University.
“MSU Denver is the workforce development institution for the Denver region. By investing my time on the MSU Foundation Board, I can make a meaningful impact towards ensuring our region has a strong workforce of tomorrow today. MSU Denver is a true partner in our community, serving both the students and businesses.”
Shareholder, Recht Kornfeld
Rick Kornfeld, founding shareholder of Recht Kornfeld, P.C., is a seasoned litigator and advocate who has tried numerous cases in state and federal courts. A former federal prosecutor, Rick specializes in white collar criminal defense, corporate compliance and internal investigations. Rick is a frequent legal commentator, and has provided commentary for Bloomberg News, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, MSNBC, The L.A. Times and Colorado media outlets. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and the University of Michigan Law School, Rick is active in the Denver legal and nonprofit communities. As a fourth-generation Coloradan, Rick joined the MSU Foundation Board to help facilitate MSU’s mission to educate Coloradans for Colorado, and to foster MSU’s commitment to first generation college students and immigrants, two communities he is particularly passionate about.
“MSU Denver is a game-changer for the State of Colorado. The University provides a first-class education to thousands of Coloradans each year, including non-traditional and first generation students. In the process, MSU Denver provides both the students and Colorado businesses and industries with employees who are ready to contribute to the workforce, and to our communities, from day one. I’m honored to help facilitate the mission of MSU Denver.”
President, Queen Anne Pillow Company, ValetAds and Law Father
Travis Luther is the Founder of Luther Media, LLC whose companies include Law Father, ValetAds, Queen Anne Pillow Company, and TrialLine. Luther is the current Entrepreneur in Residence for the University of Colorado Denver and a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Metropolitan State University’s College of Business. He is also a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and the Director for EO Colorado’s Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards (GSEA) Program. He sits on the Executive Board of Scholars Unlimited, a Denver non-profit focused on improving child literacy among low-income and at-risk grade school children and founded their kid’s computer coding program, CodeSpire. He is a frequent lecturer and author. In his free time, he plays guitar and enjoys international travel.
Retired, Regional President, Wells Fargo Bank
Prior to his retirement from Wells Fargo at the end of 2010, Don Marshall served as Denver Metro regional president. There, he managed a team of more than 1,700 financial services professionals at 80 stores. Together, they helped individuals and small-to-medium-sized businesses reach their financial goals. Wells Fargo was the largest financial services organization in the Denver Metro area with approximately 23 percent deposit market share – according to the 6/30/09 FDIC report. Marshall’s team was responsible for $10 billion in consumer and business deposits.
A native of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies, Marshall began his banking career with Citibank in Trinidad. After completing an honors finance undergraduate degree, as well as graduate work in finance and international business at the University of Texas at Austin, he joined First City National Bank of Houston. Marshall handled managerial assignments in international, energy and minerals, and corporate banking over the next 16 years, including managing the Denver loan production office. He joined Norwest Bank Colorado (a Wells Fargo predecessor) in 1992.
Marshall was named regional president for Denver Metro Business Banking and Specialized Industries in 2000. He was promoted to regional president in July 2006.
Marshall currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation. “I care deeply about the mission of MSU Denver,” he says. “As a workforce-oriented university with the lowest public university tuition rates (but excellent teaching) in Colorado and a large first generation student population, MSU Denver can have a transformative impact on people, families and communities in this region. The more time I spend thinking about effective philanthropy, I can’t find a more powerful leverage point for giving back than at MSU Denver.”
(Ex-Officio) Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation, MSU Denver
Christine Márquez-Hudson is the Vice President of University Advancement and the Executive Director of the MSU Denver Foundation responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for Metro State University (MSU) Denver’s fundraising efforts. In this role, Christine oversees a team of more than 30 staff members working to advance the University’s fundraising, alumni engagement, and donor relations. She also serves as the primary liaison with the Foundation Board of Directors and oversees the effective stewardship and distribution of MSU Denver Foundation’s assets.
Prior to joining MSU Denver, Christine was president and chief executive officer of The Denver Foundation, the largest and most experienced community foundation in the Rocky Mountain West. Her 30-year career includes serving as CEO of Mi Casa Resource Center and several years as a nonprofit consultant, direct service provider, and teacher.
Christine has won numerous community awards for her leadership, including 9News Leader of the Year, LatinasFirst Trailblazer Award, the Colorado Women’s Chamber’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women, and Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction. She has served on many community boards, commissions and committees. Currently, she is a Colorado Trust trustee, a Denver Museum of Nature and Science board member, and a member of The Women’s Forum of Colorado.
Retired, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, UMB Financial Corporation
Heather joined UMB Financial Corporation in 2002 and was executive vice president and chief marketing officer for more than 20 years. She was responsible for all marketing strategies for both B2B and B2C channels, as well as oversaw all internal and external communication programs for the company.
Prior to joining UMB, she was employed at Genesis, Inc., a brand identity firm, where she worked on a variety of clients in the financial services and beverage industries. She began her career in Chicago at Golin/Harris Communication and then worked at Helene Curtis, a consumer products company. After moving to Colorado in 1995, Heather worked at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo as the director of marketing.
Heather currently serves on the board of Central City Opera, as vice chair of the Project Angel Heart board and is a past member of the Coors Western Art advisory board. She also served for six years on the board of trustees for Colorado Academy, a PK-12 private school in Denver, as well as a former board member for the Denver Botanic Gardens. She also served on the board of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and is past chair for the Denver Art Museum Uncorked fundraising event.
Heather participated in the 2008 Leadership Denver Class and she was awarded the Outstanding Woman in Business Award in 2008. In 2014, Heather was awarded Chief Marketing Officer of the Year by the Denver Business Journal.
Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Principia College, as well as a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Northwestern University.
Senior Vice President, Private Wealth Advisor
As a Private Wealth Advisor, Brian is responsible for providing comprehensive wealth management strategies tailored to his clients’ specific needs. These strategies encompass Investment Management, Private Banking, Trust and Estate Services, and Wealth Planning. Brian takes the time to understand his clients’ unique needs and directs teams of specialists —often working closely with other client advisors, such as attorneys and accountants —to provide services that help his clients work toward their goals.
Brian began his career in the banking and financial services industry in 1995. Prior to joining U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management, Brian worked as an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. His professional background includes extensive experience with strategic financial and estate planning. He also has a deep knowledge exit strategies for business owners.
An active member of his community, Brian currently serves as Board President for Laradon Foundation and is also a member of the Board of Directors for the MSU Denver Foundation.
Brian resides in Highland Ranch. When he is not at work, he enjoys golf, skiing, gardening and supporting his daughters by attending their sports activities.
“MSU Denver is very similar school to the as where I received my undergraduate degree, where many of the students were first-generation college attendees, as well as a large portion of the student body was concurrently working full-time. I have volunteered as a mentor with students in the upper division finance classes for the past several years, sharing ideas on how to network and navigate their new professional endeavors, and it is an honor and privilege to be asked to serve on the Board at this juncture of my career.”
Executive Director ESG & Social Impact, CSGI
Cindy is the executive director of environmental, social & governance and social impact for CSGI. In this role, she guides the company’s ESG reporting and disclosure process, policy development and communications. She is also responsible for developing strategic social impact programs designed to drive innovative approaches to inclusive and sustainable impact programs that benefit the community and preserve the planet. She also leads CSGI’s global employee volunteer and matching gift programs.
Prior to CSGI, Cindy served as the vice president of market planning and strategy for Comcast. In this position, she was responsible for identifying opportunities offered by a connected world for cities across the Comcast footprint. She worked with local leadership to collaborate with people, companies, not-for-profits, and government leaders to bring big ideas to life and unleash the innovation economy. Her team enabled forward-thinking cities populated with big thinkers to innovate and enable breakthroughs in business, the arts, healthcare, and education through sustained partnerships, working with city leaders to catalyze innovation and accelerate economic growth.
Prior to this role, Cindy served as the VP of Community Impact for Comcast’s West Division and in her previous role as VP of External Affairs for Comcast’s Mile High Region, Cindy has demonstrated success in creating and sustaining deep relationships with key influencers; including media, business leaders, government officials, the non-profit sector and the growing and evolving entrepreneurial and start up communities.
She currently serves on the Visit Denver Board (Chair 2013) and Metropolitan State University Foundation Board and previously served on the Downtown Denver Partnership, Denver Civic Ventures Board and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado Board among others in Colorado. She is an active member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Foundation (Chair 2010), the Metro Economic Development Corporation, WICT, CTAM and CTPAA. Cindy is a graduate of the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s 2006 Leadership Denver program, served on the Downtown Denver Partnership awards jury in 2005 and chaired the jury in 2007/2008 and again in 2016.
SVP of Network Engineering and Technology, Charter Communications
Shane Portfolio is SVP of Network Services for Comcast. In this role he and his team are responsible for the health and reliability of Comcast’s network that provides fast internet speeds for our increasingly connected customers. Shane is also responsible for Change Management, Deployment and Capacity Planning, and the company-wide OneNetwork Initiative which is working to achieve sameness across engineering functions in processes, tools, functions, roles and responsibilities.
Previously, Shane served as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and Engineering for the Comcast West Division, with responsibility for engineering, technical operations and advanced services for approximately 8.6 million customers. Shane oversees the Division’s fiber network and IP-based infrastructure and is instrumental in overseeing testing and deployment of new technologies and resources to assist the Division’s technical operations and engineering teams in delivering a reliable network and customer experience, with innovative new products and services.
Prior to joining the West Division team, Shane was Vice President, Engineering for the California Region, where he was responsible for the oversight, guidance, direction and vision for all Technical Engineering aspects throughout the Comcast California footprint.
Shane served as the Vice President of Engineering and XOC in Comcast’s Central Division before moving to California. In that role, Shane was responsible for a team of 350 employees. Prior to that, Shane was the Sr. Director of Network Operations for Comcast’s EPS organization. He has also served as Comcast’s Director of IP Operations. Shane began his career in cable as a Comcast Account Executive answering technical phone calls.
Shane holds a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University and has completed master’s degrees in organizational leadership from Regis University and telecommunications from Denver University, as well as audited master’s courses in engineering at Stanford University. He is now in his PhD program focused on diversity and inclusion in the technology industry, with an expected completion in 2022.
He is on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado, Metropolitan State University Denver, National Technical Diversity Council and The Difference Engine. Shane also serves as a National Member of Technical and Engineering Advisors – SCTE, as well as a Technical Advisor for Cisco, Juniper, Ciena, Nokia and CommScope, and an executive consultant at Georgia Tech University.
Shane is a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Army where he was a former Platoon Sergeant and Leadership Instructor and successfully completed the Army’s Primary Leadership Course, Officer Candidate School, and Senior Leadership Course.
“I chose to be a part of the board to pay it forward for what MSU provided me, which was a great foundation to start my career. Without it I am convinced I would not have been able to be as successful… I believe it is now my responsibility to help others achieve success as well…”
Director of State and Local Government Relations | Lockheed Martin
Joe Rice is the Director of State and Local Government Relations for Lockheed Martin Space. Joe works at the state and local level across the country including in Alabama, California, Colorado, and Florida, among other states. He is a Colonel in the Retired Reserve with five combat tours of duty in Iraq and one peacekeeping tour in Bosnia. He is a former member of the Colorado State House of Representatives, and a former mayor of the City of Glendale. His wife, Dr. Kendall Rice, is also a MSU Denver graduate. Joe is a past recipient of the MSU Denver Alumni Association Community Service Award.
On Sabbatical from Public Finance Investment Banking
Trini has held leadership positions during his nearly 25 year career in public finance investment banking including most recently running a national higher education practice as Senior Vice President and Managing Director at D.A. Davidson. He is currently on sabbatical, exploring a range of personal, professional and entrepreneurial interests. Currently his community leadership is focused as a member of the Governor’s Revenue Estimating Advisory Committee, a trustee for Rose Community Foundation where he chaired the former education committee and board development committee and serves on the Policy and Advocacy Committee and the past chair of the Colorado Fiscal Institute. Trini has served on a number of other boards and in several leadership positions, including the chairman of the Downtown Denver Partnership, chairman of Denver Housing Authority, Vice President of the Winter Park Recreation Association, and board member of Urban Peak. He lives in Denver near where he grew up with his wife, a physician, and two dogs. His daughter has begun her college studies in Sydney, Australia.
Retired, President of FirstBank Holding Company
Ron Tilton, the former president of FirstBank, retired after a nearly 36-year career with the organization. Tilton started his career with FirstBank – Colorado’s largest bank and the third-largest privately held bank in the nation – in 1985 and held several positions through his tenure.
Tilton spent much of his career managing larger commercial real estate relationships and was mainly responsible for facilitating FirstBank’s most complex client relationships and financing projects: Wynkoop Brewing (1992), the Denver Dry (1993), The Palace Lofts (1996), Union Station (2012), the Denver Pavilions (2008) and Maryland Creek Ranch (2016). He managed a team that included the president of credit, the president of mortgage & consumer lending, the president of business banking and three regional presidents who oversee the 21 markets located in Colorado, Arizona and California.
Currently, Tilton’s commitment to community involvement is as a member of the MSU Denver Foundation Board. His past public service includes the Metro Denver Economic Corporation Board, the Colorado Hall of Fame Selection Committee and the Colorado State Banking Board. Tilton also served on the board of Junior Achievement Rocky Mountain and, in 2013, received the Junior Achievement National Gold Leadership Award for his service to the organization.
Tilton holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Kansas State University and is a graduate of the Bank Compliance School in Norman, Oklahoma, and the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle, Washington.
Previous Community Involvement
“I was drawn to the mission of MSU Denver several years ago primarily as a place where we (FirstBank) could recruit talented, diverse, Colorado-based employees. The more I became involved, the more I realized the transformative impact the University has on the students it serves and the entire community. MSU Denver is an essential contributor to the very fabric of our state, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
President, Citiventure Associates, LLC
Marilee Utter is President and founder of Citiventure Associates, LLC, a real estate advisory firm focused on development strategy, and offering particular expertise in Public-Private Partnerships (P3s), Transit-Oriented Developments (TOD), and transformational real estate.
Previously, she was Executive Vice President of the Urban Land Institute, a Washington DC-based global non-profit of 40,000+ members known for real estate best practices and cutting-edge thinking. Her responsibilities included oversight of staff, operations, and local impact for offices in 75 cities around the world.
Prior to that, Marilee’s experience included Managing Partner for P3 West LLC, Regional Vice President with Trillium Corporation managing the land development revitalization of Denver’s Central Platte Valley rail yards, Mayoral–appointee Director of the Office of Asset Management for the City and County of Denver, first manager of Department of Transit-Oriented Development for the (Denver) Regional Transit District, Vice President with (now) Wells Fargo Bank, and secondary math teacher.
With this unique background, Marilee has become a nationally known speaker, writer, and advisor on innovative approaches to community redevelopment and urban issues.
Marilee holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School, a certificate in State and Local Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a designation from the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) where she is global Chair-elect. She is adjunct faculty at University of Colorado Denver, national Trustee for the Urban Land Institute and past Chair of the Colorado District Council. Currently, she is Chair for the Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation Board, serves on National Charrette Institute Board of Directors, and is a member of the International Women’s Forum.
“I have long been passionate about MSU Denver because of its incredibly important mission, the high quality education, and experience our students receive. As a first generation graduate myself, I have experienced how profoundly education changes lives. As a student of cities and economics, I believe there is nothing as important to the future competitiveness of Denver as the quality of the education we offer our residents. This is MSU Denver’s sweet spot and I am proud to be able to contribute.”
Chief Relations Officer, Well Advised
Charlie Walling is Chief Relations Officer of Well Advised, a new Healthcare Technology company based in San Francisco. The Artificial Intelligence Technology company’s initial focus is helping Medicare consumers find the right healthcare coverage through a simple and quick web application process.
Charlie has extensive management and entrepreneurship experience in the consumer-packaged goods Industry. With roles including general manager of Robinson Dairy, a $95 million division of Dean Foods that packaged and distributed a diverse non-organic and organic dairy product line. In addition to his Robinson Dairy chief executive position, he served as Chief Operating Officer of Froozer; a healthy frozen fruit snack brand and managed an $85 million dairy distribution center in Houston. Charlie was recipient of the 2010 Colorado Ethics in Business award, appointed to two Colorado Governor’s Agricultural Commission transition teams, as well as serving on the nine member Colorado Milk Marketing Board.
Charlie currently serves on the board of Denver Health Hospital Foundation and Metro State University of Denver Foundation. He is past chair of the Denver Metro Leadership Foundation board, past board member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation, Denver Athletic Club, Denver Metro Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and a graduate of Leadership Denver. He is a Texas Tech alumnus and currently lives in Ken Caryl Valley.
“I chose to join Metropolitan State University of Denver as a board member because I admire the University for being an affordable higher education option that opens doors for those individuals who otherwise would not be financially able to attend college. As a business owner, I have a special interest in workforce development and know the critical part it plays in the strength of Colorado’s economy. MSU Denver has a proven record of being at the forefront of successful workforce partnerships throughout the Denver Metro area and the state that will encourage continued growth. I am honored and privileged to know that through my work on the Foundation Board of Directors, I am supporting Colorado’s future workforce leaders at the grassroots level.”