Northwest Region

Counties:  Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt

Cities:  Craig, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs

The Northwest Council has maintained its focus on workforce development and continues to effectively support the distinct sub-regions of the area.  The Council’s Garfield County grantee partners, Youthentity and Access AfterSchool, have continued to provide connections for students to post-secondary pathways. The pilot program for soft skill development training between Mesa Workforce Center and Colorado Mesa University is in its final stages of development. The Council has taken a unique approach in Moffat County through the creation of a strategic roadmap in response to the transition away from the coal industry in Craig.

Council Member Log In Routt National Forest Steamboat Springs.jpg

Meet Our Regional Council Members

Dave Palenchar was raised in southern California and first came to Colorado to attend the United States Air Force Academy. After a career in the Air Force, he returned to Colorado and joined the El Pomar program staff. In 2007, Dave was recognized as the Colorado Springs Business Citizen of the Year by the (then) Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He retired as El Pomar’s Chief Operating Officer in 2013.

He currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Broadmoor World Arena and the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, Chairman of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, President of the Air Force Academy Foundation and is a Board Member for the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame.

Dave Palenchar

Trustee, El Pomar Foundation

Dr. Carrie Besnette Hauser is President and CEO of Colorado Mountain College. She has been a Senior Executive at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the Daniels Fund. Carrie has held gubernatorial appointments to Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and currently serves on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission and Great Outdoors Colorado. She is also a member of the Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce and the American Rivers Boards of Directors.

Carrie earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona, master’s and doctorate degrees from UCLA, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of Business. An avid outdoorswoman, she has trekked to the Mt. Everest Basecamp, summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, and is nearing completion of Colorado’s “14ers.”

Carrie Besnette Hauser, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Colorado Mountain College

Lori Buck is Mayor Pro Tem of Fruita, Colorado. She was born and raised in the Lower Valley and is a fourth generation resident. Prior to seeking an elected position, she worked in Urban Forestry and Community Development. She has served on the City Council from 2006 until today. For four of those years she served as Mayor Pro Tem. In 2012, she became the first female Mayor of Fruita, and served until 2018. A graduate of Colorado State University, she is on the Grand Junction Economic Partnership Board and a small business owner.

Lori Buck

Mayor Pro Tem, City of Fruita

Dana Duran is Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado, serving Craig and Steamboat Springs. Dana’s background includes working with underrepresented populations, decreasing barriers to access in afterschool and summer programming and previously in college admissions. Dana sits on the Board for Rise Above Colorado and the State Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs and previously served as on the State Judicial Nomination Commission. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Regis University, and is a graduate of the advanced leadership program through Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program through El Pomar Foundation.

Dana Duran

CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado

Tim Foster has served as the 10th President of Colorado Mesa University since March 2004, when he was appointed by the Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees. A former member of Colorado Governor Bill Owens's cabinet, Tim has served as the Executive Director for the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. He was initially appointed to the position by Governor Owens in 1999 and reappointed in 2003. Mr. Foster also served as head of the Department of Higher Education, which includes the Colorado Historical Society and the Colorado Council on the Arts, and served on the boards of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the Denver Chamber of Commerce and its Committee on Science and Technology. Tim was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1988 and served as the majority leader from 1993 to 1996. A Grand Junction native, his numerous community activities include service on the Board of Governors of the Colorado Bar Association, the Board of Powderhorn Ski Area, as Chairman of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

Tim earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Kenyon College, completed the coursework for a master’s degree in mineral economics from the Colorado School of Mines and a juris doctorate from the University of Denver College Of Law.

Tim Foster

President, Colorado Mesa University

Tom Kenning is the Chief Administration Officer of Alpine Bank. He served as the Chairman of Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley and remains on the Board, he sat on the Investment Committee of Rocky Mountain PBS, was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to the State Securities Board which he is now Chairman of and is a Director of YouthEntity. Tom has been involved in many other public service organizations including: Ouray Board of Education, Ouray Regional Service Authority, Ouray Performing Arts Guild and the Imogene Pass Run.

Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Colorado State University and graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Washington.

Tom Kenning

Chief Administrative Officer, Alpine Bank

Bob Rankin was elected in 2012 to serve in the Colorado House of Representatives and served until January 2019 when he was appointed to the State Senate representing District 8. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army Security Agency, Bob worked for Ford Aerospace Corporation, the defense and aerospace subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, for 22 years where he served as Vice President and General Manager of the division. Bob has also lived in Colorado Springs and served as Vice President of Development for the Colorado Springs Symphony and Chairman of the Engineering Advisory Committee for the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. During his first term in office, Bob served on the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, the House Local Government Committee, the Joint Technology Committee and as a member of the Board of the Colorado Tourism Office and the Board of the State Internet Portal Authority.

Bob graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in electrical engineering.

The Honorable Bob Rankin

Colorado State Senator, District 8

Gregg Rippy is President of Grand River Construction in Glenwood Springs. Gregg also served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 2000-2004, as the Executive Director of the Colorado Statewide Internet Portal Authority from 2004-2009 and is the Founder and Managing Director of Rocky Mountain Ready Mix. Gregg is a former member of the Western State Colorado University Board of Trustees, and is currently Chairman of the Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District.

Gregg graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Gregg Rippy

President, Grand River Construction

Senior Staff, Northwest Regional Council

Contact Joan:

Joan Shields

Senior Vice President of Leadership & Director of the Fellowship, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Danielle:

Danielle Hendrix

Program Director, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Elliott:

Elliott Williams

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation