Latest News2022-02-02T22:41:02+00:00
2705, 2022

Michael Robinson

By |May 27th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Starting a business is a huge amount of hard work... You had better enjoy it."- Richard Branson Michael Robinson possesses a rich history of global executive leadership in telecom infrastructure operations and engineering, technology innovation, corporate security and fraud detection, banking and business risk management. He was a pioneer in the deployment of land and sea based fiber optic systems, where he collaborated on the development and [...]

1805, 2022

Ascent Startup Summit 2022 RECAP

By |May 18th, 2022|Categories: Ascent News|

Peek behind the curtain of every successful event and you'll find an A-team of planners, partners, and volunteers who are dedicated and driven. Look deeper and you'll find supportive sponsors with an aligned audience championing and elevating the experience. Last month's Ascent Startup Summit was no exception. Today we're shining a little light on this sold-out inaugural event with a recap blog post. We wanted to share the highlights, the [...]

1005, 2022

Will Sarni

By |May 10th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”– Robert Swann Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry a water strategy consultancy. He is also the CEO of the Colorado River Basin Fund, the first placed-based water technology venture fund in the United States. He has been a sustainability and water strategy advisor to multinationals, water technology [...]

2704, 2022

Todd Stockbauer

By |April 27th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Todd Stockbauer started Stockbauer & Associates in late 2008 to provide financial, operational and administrative/cultural guidance and expertise to early stage and less mature brands.  He operates as a CFO, COO, strategist, advisor and partner to brands in the sports (apparel and hard goods), retail, alcohol beverage and food industries.  Prior to commencing Stockbauer & [...]

2704, 2022

DENVER BUSINESS JOURNAL FEATURE: Coming to Chaffee County: Denver mentors and financiers for growing businesses

By |April 27th, 2022|Categories: Ascent News|Tags: , , |

We are so thrilled that the business community of Denver is interested in the moves we are making here in Chaffee County to support entrepreneurialism, innovation, and job growth! Check out this article published yesterday in the Denver Business Journal.   By Ed Sealover – Senior Reporter, Denver Business Journal 6 hours ago Chaffee County and Denver may be separated by 130 miles, but metro-area leaders are playing a significant [...]

704, 2022

Elizabeth Marsh

By |April 7th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

Elizabeth Marsh is a Fort Lewis College Business Administration graduate. She has an extensive understanding of the region’s resources for economic growth and the experience necessary to leverage these resources for new business development. She has overseen the creation of 31 new businesses in Southwest Colorado and has built the SCAPE accelerator program into an award-winning, results-oriented engine for innovation and growth. [...]

704, 2022

Robbie Vitrano

By |April 7th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

75% of a company's footprint is in its supply chain. Roughly 2 billion people stuffed on unhealthy food while a billion are starved for basic nutrition. The promise of regenerative agriculture to heal the soil, sequester carbon, cool the earth, and restore balance and connection. Greta. Things that cannot be unseen. Let's get to work. I am fundamentally a designer. My hometown of New Orleans taught [...]

604, 2022

Lorena Cantarovici

By |April 6th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

Lorena Cantarovici is the CEO & Founder of Maria Empanada: a Denver-based restaurant chain that earned national recognition as the leading brand of artisan empanadas in only six years. She developed an on-trend, differentiated, and highly scalable craft casual food concept, and currently has 50 employees. Lorena is the force behind Maria Empanada, originally coming to Denver from Argentina with $300 in her pocket and not [...]

604, 2022

Charlie Chupp

By |April 6th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

Charlie is an energetic team builder, driven to do good in the world. He believes in bold action, challenging norms, and tackling big problems. As founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fading West Development, he leads design, development, manufacturing, and construction teams into a single LEAN value stream. Bringing over 20 years of experience in manufacturing to the construction and development industries, Charlie drives innovation, efficiency, [...]

2702, 2022

Nathan T. Lawrence

By |February 27th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”― Jeff Bezos Nathan Lawrence provides solutions for innovative small businesses and startups. Nathan uses his years of experience as a business owner to help entrepreneurs use the law as a tool to realize their goals. Nathan’s practice focuses on helping his clients to form and organize their businesses, [...]

2602, 2022

Oli Sanidas

By |February 26th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.”― Amy Poehler Oli Sanidas, Executive Director Arapahoe Libraries, Co-Founder of The OAK Journal MethodOli is very experienced in supporting entrepreneurs, especially when working with local governments and the public [...]

2602, 2022

Drew Elder

By |February 26th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Life is best spent outside, experiencing healthy, connected, and fulfilling lives. Outside inspires people to discover why.” - Outside Inc. Drew Elder is the Chief Experience Officer at Outside, where he and his team focus on deeply understanding the client and driving memorable live, offline, and online experiences that create member loyalty, brand affinity, and measurable results. Over one million people a year take part in [...]

1102, 2022

John Vandewalle

By |February 11th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas Edison John Vandewalle MD MBA BSc (Hons) has held numerous executive positions and is currently a serial entrepreneur and investor. He has several companies including Lumen Touch, iNTouch Consulting, Living Arts Space and Blue Apple Trends. He also sits on the boards of several for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. John began his [...]

202, 2022

Central Mountain Ascent Launch Event Recap

By |February 2nd, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|

Last Friday we hosted our Central Mountain Ascent launch party to introduce the ten businesses who have been accepted into our new accelerator program. You can get to know the 2022 Cohort HERE! We'd like to send a HUGE shoutout to our presenting sponsor Collegiate Peaks Bank for believing in our organization and these purpose-driven businesses that are making a big impact in our community. We'd also like to [...]

2701, 2022

Wes Anderson

By |January 27th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” - Theodore Roosevelt As a CFO, Wes Anderson is passionate about helping start-ups make sense of their numbers and prepare for the future. Wes currently [...]

2701, 2022

Christy Doon

By |January 27th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Follow your passion — and if you don’t know what it is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.” —Oprah Winfrey Christy Doon is the Regional Manager for the Department of Local Affairs for South Central Colorado.  She has worked for the State since 2006, first as program staff for the Conservation Trust Fund, Community Services and Community Development Block [...]

2601, 2022

Ashlie Arnold

By |January 26th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

"Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them." - Marissa Meyer As the Rural Empowerment Programs Manager at Pax8, Ashlie oversees projects and programs that utilize innovative technology to enable economic growth throughout rural Colorado. With a data-driven and strategic approach, she connects Pax8 to unique talent pools throughout the state, increasing diversity within the company and technology industry. Ashlie co-chaired the Upper [...]

901, 2022

Sumer Sorensen-Bain

By |January 9th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

"Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them." - Marissa Meyer Sumer Sorensen-Bain has over 25 years of direct MEP management with 25 years in manufacturing consulting. Sumer is the CEO of an international consulting firm that focuses on consulting the MEP national network and local companies called the Business Excellence Group. Their clients range from manufacturing, healthcare, service industry, and government and [...]

801, 2022

Pete Kinser

By |January 8th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Well done is better than well said.” — Benjamin Franklin Pete Kinser is the Co-Founder of the Strategic Design firm ThinkWyn. The firm’s focus is to serve as the connector for innovation, leadership, and strategy. He partners with Startups and Fortune 500 leaders to build skilled teams, scalable processes, and systems rooted in design-led innovation. As an executive coach and guide, Pete currently supports innovation leaders [...]

801, 2022

Wendell Pryor

By |January 8th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein Wendell Pryor retired as the Director of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation on June 30, 2021 after 12 years. He has been an Adjunct Professor/Lecturer with the University of Colorado School Of Public Affairs for over 20 years, and Senior Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion. He also taught in the Graduate [...]

601, 2022

Brian Rose

By |January 6th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill Brian joined Region 9 Economic Development District of SW CO, Inc. in early 2018, after spending the previous fifteen years as a commercial lender in community banking in Chaffee and La Plata Counties. Joining a non-profit lender was a natural transition as the mission was in [...]

601, 2022

Jamie Billesbach

By |January 6th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” - Oprah Winfrey Jamie Billesbach, Center Director of the Central Mountain SBDC has years of experience in business and brand development, marketing vision/creation, merchandising, graphic design, training programs and special event planning and implementation. For 19 years Jamie ran her own consulting business Creative [...]

601, 2022

Chuck Sullivan

By |January 6th, 2022|Categories: CME Mentors|

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” - Henry Ford A Colorado-based nonprofit organization, The Wright helps shape the economic and cultural vitality of our western communities by bringing together place-makers and innovators to awaken ideas, unlock new partnerships, and celebrate the wins. At the helm of The Wright, Chuck’s best days [...]

2912, 2021

Josef Scarantino

By |December 29th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

"When companies fail, or fail to grow, it’s almost always because they don’t invest in the people, the systems, and the processes they need."- Howard Schultz Josef Scarantino is a self-described empathic founder coach, trusted advisor, and early-stage investor with extensive experience as a 3x founder, mentor, educator, and program director. While currently at HubSpot Ventures, he previously ran a global fintech accelerator for Techstars. When [...]

1112, 2021

Michael Gellman

By |December 11th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

"I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."-Steve Jobs Michael Gellman is Executive Chairman at Kin + Carta, which acquired Spire Digital, the digital transformation firm he founded and operated since 1998. In addition to his work supporting K+C, he is an active investor, advisor, author, and indie rock dadfluencer. At Spire, Gellman helped lay the foundation for [...]

1012, 2021

Koel Thomae

By |December 10th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

"I knew I was going to have to work hard and I wasn't afraid of that. I think it was the intersection of all these things and timing, and that's something you can't predict. But it's amazing what you can do when you find these things and are willing to work hard. If you're willing to work hard, she says, no matter your food startup idea, you [...]

612, 2021

Tim Martinez

By |December 6th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."-Winston Churchill Over the last couple of decades, Tim Martinez has actively supported Colorado's economic development initiatives, most recently at the City and County of Denver.  He has helped recruit some of the state’s largest corporate headquarter relocations, traveled on Governor/Mayor international trade delegations, co-founded a statewide outdoor brands association, helped launch [...]

612, 2021

Kelly Jean Brough

By |December 6th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” -Eleanor Roosevelt Kelly Brough is the former President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3,000 businesses and 400,000 employees in Colorado. In her career, she has worked to advance Coloradans through multiple capacities in the private sector, higher [...]

612, 2021

Rachel Dixon

By |December 6th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Follow your passion — and if you don’t know what it is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.”-Oprah Winfrey Rachel is an energetic leader, community builder, innovation enthusiast, telemedicine whiz, and public health nerd. In addition to her role as President and Executive Director of Prime Health, a nationally-leading health innovation ecosystem and nonprofit, she is proud to serve as a [...]

512, 2021

Sumanth Channabasappa

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

”Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.” -Thomas Edison Sumanth is an executive, entrepreneur & venture investor. He has ~20 years of combined experience with incubating impactful technologies, products, and services, few that are used globally with multi-billion dollar returns. His experiences have spanned mobile and internet technologies, telecom, cloud, cybersecurity, internet of things (IoT,) healthcare, and smart cities.  His current affiliations include Embodied Labs (strategy and tech [...]

512, 2021

Adrian Reif, Serial Entrepreneur

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill Adrian is a serial entrepreneur with 13 years of business-building experience. His first company, Yumbutter, became a leading socially conscious food brand in the US. Adrian’s work focuses on regenerative business & building a better world. He and his wife live in Salida, CO, and love spending time on bikes, skis, and SUPs [...]

512, 2021

Taylor Grande, Director, Startup Colorado

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“I want every little girl who’s been told she’s bossy to be told again she has leadership skills.” - Sheryl Sandberg Taylor Grande currently serves as the Director of Partnerships & Ecosystem Development for Startup Colorado, an organization dedicated to ensuring rural Colorado founders, entrepreneurs and startups have access to the resources they need to start and scale businesses in the places they call home. Prior to [...]

512, 2021

Thomas Knoll, Founder and CEO, The Innovators CoLab

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough." -Elon Musk Thomas Knoll is an entrepreneur and business professional with a track record of success in diverse environments.  He has international business experience across multiple industries including corporate innovation management and consulting, technology, e-commerce, outdoor and sports equipment, apparel, sustainable and technical hard goods, and importing and distribution. Thomas is currently [...]

512, 2021

Tricia Meyer, Founder, Meyer Law

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear. It’s about getting up one more time than we fall down.” -Arianna Huffington Tricia Meyer is the Founder + Managing Attorney of Meyer Law, one of the fastest-growing law firms in the United States. Meyer helps entrepreneurs and technology companies from startups to large corporations with day-to-day matters and notable clients include companies that [...]

512, 2021

Tyler Svitak, Executive Director, Colorado Smart Cities Alliance

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”- Albert Einstein Tyler Svitak has built his career solving problems at the intersection of technology, urbanism and partnership. Tyler has held strategic roles advancing electric, connected, and automated mobility initiatives bringing new technologies to market at the City and County of Denver, Colorado Department of Transportation, and American Lung Association in Colorado, where he [...]

512, 2021

Jake Rishavy, Executive Director, Chaffee County EDC

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” John Lennon Jake Rishavy is a Co-Founder and Executive Committee member of the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance. He has led economic development organizations and initiatives in Colorado for more than a decade, including co-founding the Denver-based nonprofit Prime Health, aimed at facilitating the growth of Colorado-based health tech companies. [...]

512, 2021

Cory Finney, Co-Founder, Greater Colorado Venture Fund

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently."- Warren Buffett Cory Finney is a 6th generation Coloradan from Durango.  He started his first company, SnowGate, while completing his undergraduate degree at CU Boulder.  After selling that company, he spent several years as Entrepreneur in Residence at a Boulder-based accelerator.  In 2017, Cory [...]

512, 2021

Eric Byington, Entrepreneur/Ecosystem Builder

By |December 5th, 2021|Categories: CME Mentors|

"Failure is success in progress." - Albert Einstein Eric Byington has worked with a wide variety of economic development projects and startup initiatives across various industries throughout his career. He spent nearly 10 years working on international economic development projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America, specifically focusing on education and healthcare initiatives and impact investment projects in water and sanitation. Eric spent time as [...]

1503, 2016

Peter Adams, Managing Director, Rockies Venture Fund

By |March 15th, 2016|Categories: CME Mentors|

"It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." - Bill Gates Peter Adams serves as the Managing Director of the Rockies Venture Fund, an early-stage venture capital co-investment fund and as Executive Director of the Rockies Venture Club, the longest-running angel investing group in the U.S.  RVC is a non-profit organization furthering economic development in Colorado by connecting [...]

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