San Luis Valley Region

Counties:  Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache

Cities:  Alamosa, Creede, Del Norte, Monte Vista

In an effort to increase the number of medical professionals in the region and create jobs, the San Luis Valley Regional Council seized an opportunity in 2012 to partner with Adams State University (ASU) to provide nursing scholarships to residents pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing, nurse practitioner, master’s in nursing education, and physician’s assistant degrees.  The objective of the program is to improve the retention and increase the quantity of medical specialists in the area. Since beginning its partnership with Adams State, the Council has awarded over $400,000 in scholarships.

In September, the Council and local community members gathered for a reception to celebrate the accomplishments and successes of the scholarship recipients.  For the 2015-2016 school year, there are 16 scholarship recipients pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Grant Highlight The San Luis Valley is a geographically defined region in south-central Colorado covering nearly 8,200 square miles. The population is just over 46,000. Agriculture is the region’s main economic driver and accounts for over 28% of the region’s economy, according to the Colorado State Demography Office 2010 Base Economic Analysis. The same analysis indicates agriculture accounts for 4,687 jobs, 27% of the region’s total employment. Effective use of surface and ground water for irrigation is critical to the success of agriculture in the Valley. Prolonged drought conditions over the last decade have reduced the annual water flow from natural runoff, including the Rio Grande and other streams that formerly replenished the aquifers. In the spring of 2015, the Council recommended a $7,500 grant to the San Luis Valley Development Resource Group to initiate a study of the effects a significant reduction in irrigated acres could have on the regional economy of the San Luis Valley.
Council Member Log In SLV- Sand Dunes.jpg

Meet Our Regional Council Members

William J. Hybl is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of El Pomar Foundation. Hybl has also been engaged in a variety of public service activities. He is Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (Senior). In 2008, Hybl was confirmed by the United States Senate as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Public Diplomacy, a position he was appointed to by President George W. Bush. He was reappointed by President Barack Obama on June 1, 2011.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Hybl as U.S. Representative to the 56th General Assembly of the United Nations. In addition, Hybl was Chairman of the Board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) from 2003-2009 and currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee Chairman. He is President Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, having served as President during four Olympic Games. He was named Citizen of the West by the National Western Stock Show of Denver in 2003. William is a Graduate of Colorado College and earned his juris doctor at the University of Colorado School of Law. He was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1972 and was Special Counsel to President Ronald Reagan in 1981. He is married to Kathleen Horrigan and they have two sons, B.J and Kyle, and six grandchildren.

William J. Hybl

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, El Pomar Foundation

Andrea Aragon is the President/CEO of the United Way of Pueblo County. Andrea was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter to serve on the Caring for Colorado Board of Trustees and was reappointed for a second term by Governor John Hickenlooper. Prior to this service, she was appointed by Governor Owens to serve on the College Invest Board. Andrea has received honors for her community involvement by the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation, the YWCA, and the Pueblo City/County Library. Andrea received the 2015 Charles W. Crews Business Leader of the Year Award from the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, and in 2016 Andrea was presented with the President’s Medallion for Distinguished Alumni Achievement from Colorado State University – Pueblo. She is a member of the US Bank Pueblo Community Advisory Board, the GCC Rio Grande Corporate Advisory Board, the Colorado Nonprofit Association Board, and was recently named to the Colorado State University – Pueblo President’s Advisory Board.

Andrea Aragon


Melanie Bravo worked at El Pomar Foundation as a member of the senior leadership team prior to becoming the President/Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Club of Pueblo County. As a director of programs and deputy director of El Pomar’s Fellowship Program, Melanie worked in a number of areas including regional grant making, leadership development, and nonprofit capacity building. Melanie also led the Foundation’s youth-focused initiatives and worked closely with Boys & Girls Club leadership in Colorado on El Pomar’s Youth Development Fund. Melanie began her career as the Director of Operations for the Agora Crisis Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from the University of New Mexico. Melanie is involved in a variety of nonprofit and civic groups including the Pueblo Opportunity Fund, One Community Coalition, and the Pueblo Gang Task Force.

Melanie Bravo

President and CEO, Boys and Girls Club of Pueblo County

Keith Cerny is the publisher of the Valley Courier, a daily newspaper covering the entire San Luis Valley. In addition to serving on El Pomar’s San Luis Valley Regional Council, Keith is a division manager for News Media Corporation and personally oversees a total of eight newspapers in Colorado. He is also involved with the Adams State University Foundation Board, Adams State University Grizzly Club Board, Alamosa County Economic Development Council, Rotary Club, and is president for the Colorado Press Association Board.

Keith Cerny

Publisher, Valley Courier

Tom Gilmore is a former president of Adams State University. In addition to serving on the San Luis Valley Regional Council, he is Emeritus Director of the board for the San Luis Valley Federal Bank and board member of Tu Casa. Born in Alamosa, Tom obtained his Bachelor of Arts in business administration and master’s degree in economics and cultural environment from Adams State University. He also has a Doctor of Philosophy in economics.

Tom Gilmore

Former President, Adams State University

Kathy Rogers is the former mayor for the City of Alamosa. Having served on Alamosa City Council for 2 terms prior to being elected as mayor, she chose not to run for re-election in 2013 in order to explore other opportunities. After serving as the Director of Development and Outreach at San Luis Valley Health for 14 years, Kathy is now the VP and Director of Marketing at Rio Grande Savings & Loan. Kathy continues to be active in the community serving on boards and committees including the 12th Judicial District Victims Compensation Board, the Advisory Board for Trinidad State Junior College and Foundation, and the Alamosa Economic Development Corporation. She also serves as Vice Chairman of the board at Rio Grande Savings and Loan Association and most recently, Kathy was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to serve as a trustee for Adams State University, also serving as trustee representative to the ASU Foundation Board.

Kathy Rogers

Vice President and Director of Marketing, Rio Grande Savings & Loan

Karla Shriver is serving her third term as a Rio Grande County Commissioner. She is a Colorado native, and earned her bachelor’s degree in agriculture business at Colorado State University. She has a background in agriculture finance, farm/ranch real estate brokerage, and farming. Shriver raises over 900 acres of potatoes, small grains, and hay. She also oversees the management of a ranch along the Rio Grande River. She has served on numerous state and local business and civic boards including Great Outdoors Colorado, San Luis Valley Federal Bank, and numerous water related boards including San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration, Commonwealth Irrigation Board, and the legislative representative to the Rio Grande Basin Road Table. She is on the Core Team of the Rio Grande Water Shed Emergency Action Team (REACT) which was born out of the 2013 West Fork Fire and is a collaborative work-in-progress with those counties impacted by the fire. She also serves at the Chair of the Economic Committee for REACT.

Karla Shriver

County Commissioner, Rio Grande County

Edward Vigil was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2008, representing House District 62. He is chair of the Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources, and Capital Development House Committees. Edward graduated from Adams State University with a degree in business administration and sociology. He has served as a Costilla County Commissioner, an investigator for the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and as a detoxification specialist and outpatient substance abuse counselor for San Luis Valley Mental Health Center. Edward is a sixth generation native of the San Luis Valley, and he owns Sangre de Cristo Laboratory.

The Honorable Edward Vigil

Colorado State Representative, House District 62

Senior Staff, San Luis Valley Regional Council

Contact Cathy:

Cathy Robbins

Senior Vice President and Director of Regional Partnerships, El Pomar Foundation

Mari Tanabe joined El Pomar Foundation as a member of the 2015 Fellowship class. As a Fellow, Mari works on the Communications team, the Empty Stocking Fund, ACYPL, and the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, in addition to working in the San Luis Valley region.

Contact Mari:

Mari Tanabe

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Melissa Wills

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation