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 a 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 June 1, 2011, and currently serves as vice chairman. 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 chairman emeritus. He is chairman of the United States Olympic Endowment 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.

Hybl 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 and Chief Executive Officer, El Pomar Foundation

Andrea Aragon is President and Chief Executive Officer 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 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 is Director of Emerging Markets and Solutions for Boys & Girls Club of America. Melanie worked at El Pomar Foundation first, as a Fellow, and subsequently as a member of the senior leadership team prior to becoming president and chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Club of Pueblo County. Melanie began her career as the director of operations for the Agora Crisis Center in Albuquerque, 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 earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from the University of New Mexico.

Melanie Bravo

Director of Organizational Development, Boys and Girls Clubs of America

Keith Cerny is 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 eight newspapers in Colorado. He also serves on 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 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

Dr. Beverlee J. McClure is President of Adams State University. Previously, Beverlee was the president and chief executive officer of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry, New Mexico's first cabinet secretary of higher education, and president of Clovis Community College. She is the chair of the board for YES Housing and serves on the board of the First Southwest Community Fund and as a community key leader for the Alamosa County Prevention Coalition. She is the former chair of the New Mexico Early Childhood Development Partnership Advisory Council, and former treasurer of the New Mexico Community Capital Board. She has been a member of the International Women’s Forum since 2000.

Beverlee holds a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M-Commerce.

Dr. Beverlee J. McClure

President, Adams State University

Kathy Rogers is the former Mayor for the City of Alamosa serving the community for 12 years as an elected official. She has served on many boards and commissions including the Colorado Municipal League Policy Board, Governors Rural Health Care Grants Council, American Red Cross (State and Local), Victims Compensation, and Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance. She currently serves on the Adams State University board of trustees as vice chairman and on its Foundation Board, Alamosa Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Committee for the San Luis Valley US Veterans Coalition. After previous service on the board of directors for RGS & L, Kathy was invited to succeed the president and chief executive officer. After spending a good part of her career in health care including nursing, and as a hospital administrator for San Luis Valley Health, Kathy now serves as the bank president and chief executive officer for Rio Grande Savings and Loan serving the San Luis Valley and Pagosa Springs.

Kathy Rogers

President and CEO, Rio Grande Savings and Loan Association

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. Karla 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, the Commonwealth Irrigation Board, and as 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 as the chair of the economic committee for REACT.

Karla Shriver

County Commissioner, Rio Grande County

Larry Zaragoza is currently serving his second term as the Mayor for the Town of La Jara. He has been involved in civic government since 2007. Larry is a retired educator and after 32 years of teaching and coaching, he continues to coach at the high school level. He also serves as a substitute teacher for the Center and Alamosa School Districts. Larry serves on the Northerner’s senior citizen board and has been an active member of the La Jara Glory Day’s committee. For his service and dedication to the youth of the San Luis Valley, Larry was awarded the Colorado Education Association’s John and Gladys Bates Humanitarian Award in 1992. In 2003, Larry was inducted into the Adams State University Athletic Hall of Fame; in 2008, he was inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and most recently in 2016 into the Adams State University Educators Hall of Fame.

Charles (Larry) Zaragoza

Mayor, La Jara

Senior Staff, San Luis Valley Regional Council

Contact Cathy:

Cathy Robbins

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

Contact Melissa:

Melissa Wills

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation

Contact Antonio:

Antonio Huerta

Program Associate, El Pomar Foundation