Steering Committee

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Jim Lyons (Co-Chair) Russ George Alan Salazar
Dick Monfort (Co-Chair) Theresa Pena Greg Stevinson
Ray Baker Jim Polsfut Don Elliman (Ex-Officio)
John Bliss Meg Porfido Rico Munn (Ex-Officio)
Terry Farina Jane Rawlings

LyonsJim Lyons (Co-Chair)
James M. Lyons is a senior partner in the Denver-based law firm of Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons LLP with offices in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Casper, Wyoming.  Mr. Lyons is the senior trial lawyer in the firm and also maintains an international business practice.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  Mr. Lyons served as the United States Observer to the International Fund for Ireland ("IFI") from 1993-2001.  He also served as Special Advisor to the President of the United States and Secretary of State for Economic Initiatives in Northern Ireland from 1997-2001.  He was appointed to this position by President Clinton and succeeded former Senator George Mitchell.  He was responsible for numerous economic initiatives in support of the peace process, including Aspire Micro Loans for Business, the first micro- enterprise loan fund in Western Europe. Mr. Lyons served on the Governing Boards of University of Northern Colorado (1995-1999) and Regis University (1999-2009). He was co-chair of the Governor's Jobs Cabinet and Executive Director of Transition for Governor-elect Ritter.


MonfortRichard (Dick) Lee Monfort (Co-Chair)
Dick Monfort earned his BA in Business Management from the University of Northern Colorado in 1976.  In 1981, Mr. Monfort became Group Vice-President of procurement and sales for Monfort of Colorado.  In 1987, Monfort of Colorado was purchased by ConAgra Foods. After the completion of the sale, Mr. Monfort was named President of Monfort, a subsidiary of ConAgra.  After another acquisition by ConAgra, he was named President of ConAgra Red Meats.  In 1995 Dick retired from ConAgra to pursue other businesses.  Those included the Hilltop Steak House in Boston; Hyatt Grand Champions in Indian Wells, California; Montera Cattle Company; and various real estate investments such as the Brett Farve Steak House in Green Bay Wisconsin.

In 1997, Mr. Monfort bought part ownership in the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club and was named Vice Chairman.  Today he, along with his brother Charlie, have controlling interest in the team.  In 1998 and 2004 he was the campaign chair for the United Way of Weld County.  He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of Northern Colorado, the Vice Chair of University Hospital in Denver, on the board of directors of the Denver Zoo, Chairman of the Economic Development Commission of Colorado,  and Treasurer of the Monfort Family Foundation, a charitable foundation with annual giving in excess of $4 million per year.

BakerRaymond Baker
Ray Baker is a resident of Jefferson County, native of Pueblo, Colorado and partner of Gold Crown Management Co, as well as the Co-Founder/Director of Gold Crown Foundation.  Mr. Baker is active in the community and is currently serving on the Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability Board, is chairman of both the Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District and the Metropolitan Football Stadium District.    Mr. Baker is the former chairman of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) and the CCHE Capital Development Committee.  He is a former member of the Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel (Gov. Romer), a former member and chairman, Colorado Economic Development Commission and is a current member of the Blue Ribbon Transportation Panel (Gov. Ritter).

BlissJohn Bliss
John Bliss has been the CFO for several higher education entities in Colorado including the State Colleges in Colorado, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), the Colorado State University System, and the University of Colorado System. Mr. Bliss has been involved in many of the major state higher education strategic planning efforts in Colorado between 1979 and 2005 including the planning efforts required in HB85-1187 and the 2002 Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Higher Education for the 21st Century.

FarinaTerry Farina
Terrance (Terry) Farina is a resident of Grand Junction, Colorado and a senior partner in law firm of Hoskin, Farina & Kampf, P.C. from 1990 to present. Mr. Farina is the former District Attorney for Mesa County (1973-1985), Chairman and CEO First National Bank/U.S. Bank – Grand Junction (1985-1990) and member of Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) (1999-2006).  Mr. Farina is active in community affairs and is presently a member of the Board of Directors of Alpine Banks of Colorado, Saccomanno Higher Education Foundation and others.

GeorgeRuss George
Russell George is a graduate of Colorado State University, where he was a Boettcher Scholar, and Harvard University Law School. After being admitted to the Colorado and Montana Bar Associations, he co-founded the Rifle, Colorado, law firm of Stuver & George, P.C., in 1976 and practiced law there until 2000. Mr. George was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter to serve as the Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) in January 2007.  In this position, Mr. George is charged with leading the Department in planning for and addressing Colorado’s transportation needs. Prior to his appointment with CDOT, he served as Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from January 2004 to January 2006 and served as the Director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.  Mr. George was a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1992 to 2000, serving as Speaker of the House in 1999 and 2000.  


PenaTheresa Peña
Theresa Peña was elected to the Denver Public School Board of Education as an at-large representative in November 2003 and was reelected in November 2007 for a second four-year term.  In November 2005, Ms. Peña was selected to serve as the Board President and reelected by her colleagues in November 2007 to serve in that capacity for two more years.  Ms. Peña is a Denver native and attended Pomona College where she received a BA in sociology and received her MBA with a concentration in finance and marketing from Cornell University.  She worked at IBM as a financial analyst and then began a decade long career at US WEST where she had a successful career in marketing, human resources, operations and finance.  She served on the Mayor’s Latino Advisory Council and is a board member of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, the Denver Public Schools Retirement System, and the Women for Education.  Ms. Peña serves on the executive committee for the Council of Great City Schools, a national coalition of the nation’s largest urban public school systems, and a member of the Colorado Governor’s P20 Council.

PolsfutJim Polsfut
Jim Polsfut is from Arvada, Colorado and earned his BA in government from Harvard University in 1983 and an MBA from Stanford University in 1989.  He currently serves as the president of the Cordillera Foundation, a 25-year-old 501c3 organization devoted to international grant-making to Mexico.  Previously, he was the chairman of Cordillera Asset Management and a general manager of GE Capital in Mexico and in the United States. He also serves on the board of the University of Denver Social Science Foundation and the Child and Family Development Committee of the Rose Community Foundation. In November of 2007, Mr. Polsfut ended two years of service as one of two founding co-chairs of Denver’s Road Home, a $50 million plan organized in metro-Denver to combat homelessness over a ten-year period.  Previously, he served as chairman of the board of the Urban Peak shelter for homeless and runaway youth and as chair of the Governor’s Council on Housing and the Homeless.  His community involvement also includes service as treasurer of the Mi Casa Resource Center for Women and as a board member of Open World Learning, the New America High School, the Latin American Educational Foundation, and the Arvada Council for the Arts and Humanities, among other organizations. Mr. Polsfut was appointed by Governor Ritter to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) in 2007 and currently serves as chairman.

PorfidoMeg Porfido
Meg Porfido has experience in the private and public sectors and is an attorney by profession.  She earned a BA, majoring in political science, from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, and a law degree from George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC.   From 1998 to 2008, she was a member of the management team at Level 3 Communications, a global communications company based in Broomfield, Colorado. Ms. Porfido worked for Governor Roy Romer for seven years (1991-1998), the last four as his Chief of Staff, where she oversaw the cabinet.   Prior to that position, she served as his general counsel, where she provided legal support to the Governor and cabinet, and as his legislative liaison, where she served as the lead lobbyist with the state legislature. Meg practiced law at the private law firms of Brownstein, Hyatt in Denver, Colorado, and Skadden, Arps in Washington, DC.  She began her career as a legislative assistant to Congressman Mike Synar in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC.  She currently serves on the State Board of Community Colleges and Occupational Education representing the Second Congressional District. She also serves on the board of directors of Global Education Fund, a non-profit based in Boulder, Colorado providing education-related support to orphans in developing areas of the world, with a current focus on Kenya.

RawlingsJane Rawlings
Jane Rawlings is the fourth generation family member to work at The Pueblo Chieftain.  She is currently Assistant Publisher and a member of the Editorial Board.  Having been born in Pueblo, Ms. Rawlings attended Colorado College and graduated with a BA in English.  For the next 30 years, she and her husband David Dill worked and lived all over the country from Colorado Springs to California and from New York State to Texas.  Since their return to Pueblo in 1996, Jane has been involved in Rotary, the Southern Colorado Community Foundation, Colorado College Board of Trustees, CSU-Pueblo’s Foundation Board among other community organizations.

SalazarAlan Salazar
Alan Salazar is a 5th generation Colorado native, born in Leadville, Colorado.  After earning a BA in history and political science at the  University of Colorado at Boulder in 1980, he earned a Juris Doctorate in Law from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1984.  Admitted to practice law in Colorado and the federal  courts, Mr. Salazar has served in various policy roles for former U.S. Senators Gary Hart and Tim Wirth and later as the Policy Director and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Roy Romer (1995-98).  Mr. Salazar was appointed to the State Colleges Board in 1998.  In the Romer Administration, Mr. Salazar  oversaw a number of education-related initiatives, including serving as Governor Romer’s liaison to the National Governor’s Association, the National  Education Goals Panel, and was the lead policy staff for Governor Romer’s involvement in the creation of the Western Governor’s University in 1997-98.  He served as a Public Interest Board Member for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka Board during the second Clinton Administration (1997-99) and is also a former member of the Board for Equality Colorado, an organization formed to advance equal rights for GLBT Coloradans.  In 1988-90, he served as a Member of the Advisory Board  for Vision Hispanica, an imitative designed to promote educational and civic achievement by Latino youth.   In 2001, Mr. Salazar was a “Colorado Voices” columnist for the Denver Post.  From 1999-08, he was Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Mark Udall.  In 2008 he served as a the Chairman for Senator Udall’s successful Senate campaign and since 2009 he has been based in the Senator’s Denver office where he serves as the Senator’s Chief Policy and Political Advisor.

StevinsonGreg Stevinson
President of Denver West Reality, Inc. and President of Denver West Management, Inc. Mr. Stevinson is in partnership with Mills Corp, and designed and built the Denver West Village retail center. He is actively involved in community and organization activities including Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee, and is a former Chairman of the Board of Craig Hospital, a member of the board of Red Rocks Community College Foundation and the West Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Stevinson graduated from Regis College.



EllimanDonald (Don) M. Elliman Jr. (Ex-Officio)
Don Elliman earned a BA in economics from Middlebury College in Vermont.  In June of 2009, Mr. Elliman was named Chief Operating Officer for Colorado. In that position he assists the Governor in the management of State agencies. He is also the Chair of the Colorado Recovery Accountability Board, established in March of 2009, with responsibilities for oversight of spending in Colorado under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Mr. Elliman was named Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade in March of 2007 by Governor Ritter.  He was President of Kroenke Sports Enterprises from 2000 -2004 and oversaw all business activities of the Company which include The Pepsi Center, The Denver Nuggets and The Colorado Avalanche. Prior to his time at Kroenke, Mr. Elliman worked at Time Warner for thirty-two years, retiring as an Executive Vice President of Time Inc.  He  serves on the Boards of The Children’s Hospital, Middlebury College, and The Gates Family Foundation.


MunnD. Rico Munn (Ex-Officio)
Rico Munn is the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.  Prior to his appointment by Governor Bill Ritter in November 2009, Mr. Munn served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies ("DORA"). Governor Ritter appointed Mr. Munn to the Cabinet in January 2007.  Mr. Munn holds a degree in Secondary Education and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  Prior to joining the Ritter administration, Mr. Munn was a corporate and commercial litigation partner with a national law firm.  In 2002, Mr. Munn was elected to represent Colorado's First Congressional District on the State Board of Education where he served until 2007.  Mr. Munn frequently presents seminars and publishes articles on topics ranging from legal ethics to current events.  He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Sturm College of Law.




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