Western Pathways Conference 

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Biographies received prior to the Conference are listed below.

Thursday, May 11

Plenary Sessions

Welcoming Remarks

  • Jeff Wasden, President, Colorado Business Roundtable -
  • Honorable John Hickenlooper, Governor, Colorado - John Hickenlooper is a lifetime entrepreneur who ran as a "dark horse" to become Mayor of Denver in 2003. In 2005 TIME Magazine named him as one of the five top big-city mayors in America. When he was inaugurated Governor of Colorado in 2011, having run on his history of collaboration for community good, he became the first Denver mayor to be elected governor in 150 years. He also became the first geologist to become a governor in the history of the nation, and the first brewer since Sam Adams in 1792. Governor Hickenlooper's goal is to create the most pro-business state government, but with the highest environmental and ethical standards. His administration created the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) and provided Advanced Manufacturing Grants to accelerate start-ups and early stage technology businesses. They are building an integrated workforce training system, in conjunction with the Markle Foundation and LinkedIn, that will create a single, seamless continuum for education and workforce preparation, from childhood to old age.Governor Hickenlooper applied his passion to create good government on a national level as well. His 2015 “Chair’s Initiative” at the National Governors Association, focusing on hiring, appropriate creation and implementation of regulations, and continuous improvement, was a bipartisan success. He is a great believer that governors, far more than Congress, can revive American democracy.
  • Stacy Muanya, National High School President, Skills USA - Stacey Muanya is a senior in the health services program at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School in Upton, Mass. Recent accolades include being awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award, receiving a national statesman award and serving as the state secretary of SkillsUSA Massachusetts. In addition, she has meet with Sen. Elizabeth Warren to discuss the benefit of Perkins funding to students in Career Technical Education. Muanya currently serves as high school president for SkillsUSA. As the oldest of six children in her family and as a certified nursing assistant, she has learned compassion, empathy and leadership first hand. Through her leadership and service in SkillsUSA, her community and at home, she hopes to better the lives of others. Upon graduation in 2017, she plans to pursue a higher education to become a doctor of plastic surgery. In addition she aspires to build a hospital in Cameroon through the Muanya Foundation.
  • Honorable Steve Bullock, Governor, Montana; Chair, Education Commission of the States - Steve Bullock, Montana's former attorney general, was elected Montana's 24th governor on November 6, 2012. Bullock has made better jobs, better education and a more effective government his top priorities. As part of his efforts to bring better jobs to the state, Bullock launched the Main Street Montana Project. This plan aims to leverage the state’s strengths to help businesses expand and increase wages. Like all Montanans, Bullock understands the importance of equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. This is why he created the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force to identify and fix the causes of pay inequity in the state. In his first legislative session, Bullock was able to secure a tuition freeze at Montana colleges and universities, preventing the tax of higher tuition from hitting working Montana families. In addition, Bullock has secured historic levels of funding for the state’s elementary, middle and high schools. But Governor Bullock recognizes that learning doesn’t start when a child enters kindergarten; it starts when they enter the world. This is why he is pushing for Montana to join the 42 other states that have made meaningful investments in early childhood programs. In his efforts to make state government more effective and transparent, during his first month in office, Bullock put the state’s checkbook online, so Montana residents can see how their tax dollars are being spent. He also helped to fix the state’s ailing employee pension system, without raising taxes on Montanans. Bullock was born in Missoula and raised in Helena. He attended public schools in Helena and graduated from Helena High School in 1984. He received his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College and his law degree with honors from Columbia University Law School in New York. Bullock and his wife Lisa have three children: Caroline, Alexandria and Cameron.

Conference Overview

  • William Symonds, Director, Global Pathways Institute at Arizona State University - Bill Symonds is Director of the Global Pathways Institute (GPI) and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. Previously he served as Director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 2008- 2013. Prior to that, he spent nearly 25 years as a senior correspondent and bureau chief for Business Week Magazine. During his career at Business Week, he covered business in the U.S. and abroad, and led bureaus in Pittsburgh, Denver, Boston, Toronto and Rome, Italy. He also served as Business Week’s chief education correspondent for many years, and wrote extensively about the role of U.S. business in school reform.

The Evolving Labor Market - Findings from Recent Research

  • Matt Sigelman, Chief Executive Officer, Burning Glass Technologies - Matthew Sigelman is CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market analytics firm. For more than a decade, he has led Burning Glass in harnessing the power of data to deliver artificial intelligence technologies that have helped fill millions of jobs. Burning Glass data drives initiatives for more than a dozen state and national governments, as well as educational institutions and major employers. Matt is consulted frequently by national media, by researchers, and the White House. He served previously with McKinsey & Company and Capital One. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Roundtable Response: How Can Business and Education Meet Emerging Needs?

  • Steve Barkanic, Chief Program Officer, Business Higher-Education Forum - Stephen Barkanic, BHEF’s senior vice president and chief program officer, joined the organization in 2011. In this role, Barkanic provides overall leadership for BHEF’s National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative aimed at bridging industry and higher education to increase the persistence and diversity of students who go on to earn degrees or credentials in key emerging fields, and align undergraduate education with workforce needs. He also provides leadership in BHEF’s work in Deeper Learning, or 21st century workforce skills and competencies that focuses on the business need for such skills as critical thinking, creative problem solving, and teamwork in the workforce of the future, and advocating for the importance of those skills on a national level. Prior to joining BHEF, Barkanic was senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where his work encompassed an array of policy and programmatic areas focused on improving student readiness and success in college. He is former director of undergraduate science education and grants management at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where he led the design and implementation of grants programs in STEM higher education, particularly in the biological sciences. He was program officer and director of grants management at the Charles A. Dana Foundation. Barkanic has served as chair of Grantmakers for Education, a national philanthropic affinity group; was a member of the CBE-Life Sciences Education editorial board, and was a member of the Maryland Governor’s STEM Task Force.
  • Michael Cartney, President, Lake Area Technical Institute, South Dakota - Michael Cartney has been president of Lake Area Tech since 2014, before which he was Vice President. Cartney earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the Air Force Academy in 1981, an Organizational Leadership Certification from Squadron Officer School in 1984, a Master of Science degree in Numerical Analysis for EDP from Purdue University in 1986, a Senior Leadership Certification from International Command and Staff College in 1994, and was a National Fellow to Harvard University in 2000. During his time at the Air Force Academy, Cartney taught and was aide-de-camp. While completing his fellowship at Harvard University, he was an associate professor and also wrote a Harvard Press publication, “The Art of Balancing Information Sharing and Security.” Cartney’s last military assignment was as liaison for the Air Force Academy to the White House and Congress. He is highly decorated for duty from the Cold War, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Desert Fox, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Global War on Terrorism, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle.
  • Michael Gifford, President, Association of General Contractors, Colorado
  • Walter Isenberg, Chief Executive Officer, SAGE Hospitality - Walter Isenberg started Sage more than 30 years ago with partner Zack Neumeyer. As CEO of Sage Hospitality, he directs all company operations including management, real estate investment and brand development, with an emphasis on community giving and teaching the next generation of great leaders. Results driven and creative, Walter is a member of the Union Station Alliance, the group responsible for revitalizing Denver Union Station and creating the high-performing Crawford Hotel. He created Sage’s art program which provides locally curated art in newly built or renovated hotels. Setting the trend for Cornell University graduates at Sage, Walter graduated from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in a year that he refuses to disclose. He is a member of Marriott International’s Owner Advisory Board American Hotel Lodging Association Government Affairs Committee as well as a board member of Visit Denver, who inducted him into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame in 2010. In Denver his community impact is prominent as co-creator of Amp the Cause, the Downtown Denver Partnership, The Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Metropolitan State University Denver Board of Trustees.

Colorado Welcome

  • Becky Takeda-Tinker, President, Colorado State University - Global Campus - Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker blends her passion for education with her experience in nonprofit governance and over 20 years of business leadership as the president of Colorado State University-Global Campus, first and only 100% online, independently accredited, state, nonprofit university. In her role, Dr. Takeda-Tinker champions data-driven and technology-based solutions to facilitate adult student educational success and graduate workplace employment. Opened to students in 2008, CSU-Global currently provides access, affordability, and flexibility to over 17,000 adult learners located in every U.S. state and territory and 54 countries. Dr. Takeda-Tinker currently serves on the National Advisory Board for the Office of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), the Governor of Colorado’s Small Business Council, and as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. She has served as a board member for the Global Leadership Foundation of the International Women’s Forum, as a member of the District Accountability Committee for the Douglas County PK-12 School District, and as a board member of the South Metro Denver Chamber. She also participates on local and state boards that seek to enhance the quality of life in the U.S. and abroad, including Vital for Colorado and the Women’s Forum of Colorado. She holds a Ph.D. in organization and management with a specialization in leadership from Capella University, an M.B.A. in finance from Santa Clara University, a post-graduate certificate in marketing management from UC Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from UCLA.

Anyone with a Smartphone Should Have a Smart Career

  • Zoë Baird, Chief Executive Officer and President, Markle Foundation - Zoë Baird is Chief Executive Officer and President of the Markle Foundation, which focuses on realizing the potential of information technology to address challenging issues in national security, health care, and the economy. She currently leads Rework America, a Markle initiative of more than 50 diverse national leaders focused on creating more paths to opportunity for all Americans in the digital economy. She wrote the preface to the group’s collectively authored book, America’s Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age, and led the national partnership to create Skillful, a skills-based labor market. Ms. Baird previously led Markle’s efforts to reform the intelligence community and convened The Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. The Task Force reports reframed the role of intelligence in protecting the nation while preserving civil liberties. Ms. Baird also spearheaded Markle’s efforts to catalyze improvements in health care, helping drive changes that enabled information to be shared securely and privately. Prior to Markle, she served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Aetna; Counselor and Staff Executive at GE; partner at O’Melveny & Myers; Associate Counsel to President Carter; and as Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice. Ms. Baird is founding co-chair of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Board of Advisors, an Honorary Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the board of the New York City Ballet, a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, and a member of the Defense Policy Board. Ms. Baird holds an A.B. Phi Beta Kappa and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Future of Work

  • Allen Blue, Co-Founder, LinkedIn - Allen is one of the Co-founders of LinkedIn and Vice President of Product Management. Currently he manages the Content and Communities division, covering LinkedIn's Groups, News, Influencer, Stream and Communication products. Before joining LinkedIn, Allen designed exploratory products and marketing programs at PayPal. And he was an early employee, Director of Product Design, at SocialNet.com, a first-generation social site supporting dating, recreational and professional activities. Before entering technology, Allen lectured on Theatrical Design at Stanford University.

Roundtable Response

  • Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor, The University of Denver - Rebecca Chopp, PhD, has been chancellor of the University of Denver since September 2014. Informed by a planning process that consulted thousands of community members, she developed the DU IMPACT 2025 strategic plan, focused on the 21st-century transformation of knowledge, the holistic education of students, and the University’s engagement in local and global organizations and communities. Previously, Chopp was president of Swarthmore College and Colgate University. She also served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University and as a dean at Yale University. Chopp is a widely published author and editor. Her six books include Remaking College: Innovation and the Liberal Arts (2013), which she co-edited with Haverford College President Dan Weiss. She has published more than 50 articles. Chopp serves on the governing board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and is the immediate past chair of the Centennial Conference President's Council. Previously, she was on the board of the National Survey of Student Engagement. Chopp has also served as a member of the executive committee of the Annapolis Group and the board of trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching and president of the American Academy of Religion. A native of Kansas, Chopp received a BA from Kansas Wesleyan University, a MDiv from St. Paul School of Theology, and a PhD from the University of Chicago. Each of her alma maters has honored her with distinguished awards, and she has received six honorary doctorates from other colleges and universities. Chopp is married to Frederick Thibodeau and they have three sons.
  • Naguib Attia, Vice President, Global University Programs, IBM - Naguib Attia is the VP of Global University Programs at IBM. In this role, he is responsible for setting up IBM’s academic relations strategy, creating next generation global technical training programs in collaboration with universities and research institutions, and managing the overall award programs budgets. Previously, he was the VP and CTO of IBM Middle East and Africa, responsible for inventing and leading technical solutions for MEA as well as leading the Africa Skills Initiative. With more than 25 years of industry, manufacturing, research, and academic experience, Attia has contributed to the development of IBM’s intellectual capital, industry insights, and overall solution portfolio.
  • Allen Blue, Co-Founder, LinkedIn - Allen is one of the Co-founders of LinkedIn and Vice President of Product Management. Currently he manages the Content and Communities division, covering LinkedIn's Groups, News, Influencer, Stream and Communication products. Before joining LinkedIn, Allen designed exploratory products and marketing programs at PayPal. And he was an early employee, Director of Product Design, at SocialNet.com, a first-generation social site supporting dating, recreational and professional activities. Before entering technology, Allen lectured on Theatrical Design at Stanford University.
  • Denise Peppard, Chief Human Resource Officer, Northrup Grumman Corporation - Denise Peppard is corporate vice president and chief human resources officer for Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leader in global security. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of Northrop Grumman’s human resources strategy and programs. Her responsibilities include strategy, organization effectiveness, change leadership, performance management, talent development and acquisition, succession planning, executive development, training, labor and employee relations, and compensation and benefits including the company’s international operations. She is also a member of the company’s corporate policy council. Peppard has more than 20 years of business experience in the computer, pharmaceutical, biotech and financial services industries. She joins Northrop Grumman from CSC, where she was vice president and chief human resources officer. Prior to joining CSC, she was senior vice president, human resources at Wyeth, with responsibility for global HR strategy. Prior to Wyeth, Peppard served as vice president, management and organization development at Liberty Financial Companies, Inc. and vice president, HR at CytoTherapeutics. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration, with concentrations in finance and organization behavior from the University of Michigan.
  • David Scott, Senior Vice President for Talent and Organizational Effectiveness, Walmart

Friday, May 12

Plenary Sessions

  • Dan Jesse, Senior Research Associate, RMC Research - Dan Jesse, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate at RMC Research Corporation in Denver, Colorado. He is the Principal Investigator of the Native American Education Research Alliance at REL Central, where he works with regional stakeholders to improve American Indian/Alaska Native achievement. Dr. Jesse is the associate Director of the West Comprehensive Center at WestEd where he participates in the Indian Education Initiative and principal evaluation projects with the Arizona, Colorado, and Utah state education agencies (SEAs). He has authored numerous evaluation reports and articles, conducted hundreds of classroom and school visits, and has been involved in a number of school improvement efforts. Dr. Jesse worked with SEAs to develop or refine State Systems of Support (SSTs), Title I Compliance Monitoring Systems, Migrant Education Program Monitoring, Needs Assessment, and Educator Effectiveness. He was the project director of the Arizona Migrant Education Program needs assessment, the Colorado Consortium for Data-Driven Decisions (C2D3) evaluation, the Western State College Rural Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant evaluation, three Philadelphia Character Education evaluation projects, and the Washoe County School District School Improvement project in Reno, Nevada. He also served as the co-director of the New Mexico Reading Excellence Act evaluation, and directed evaluation activities for two regional Equity Assistance Centers. Dr. Jesse earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation at the University of Colorado Denver, his MA in experimental psychology at New Mexico State University, and his BA in psychology and recreation at Metropolitan State College in Denver.

Roundtable Response

  • Jim Larimore, Chief Officer, Center for Equity in Learning, ACT - Jim Larimore is Chief Officer for the Advancement of Underserved Learners at ACT, where he leads development of programs and partnerships to improve college and career readiness for underserved learners. Jim’s career in higher education focused on college access and student success. He served as deputy director for student success at the Gates Foundation, and as a student affairs leader at campuses including Stanford, Dartmouth, and NYU Abu Dhabi. Jim has served on the Gates Millennium Scholars Advisory Council, and now serves on the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions Advisory Council, and as an Affiliate of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education.
  • Monique Rizer, Executive Director, Opportunity Nation - Monique Rizer was appointed Opportunity Nation’s Executive Director in September 2015. Prior to this role, Monique served as Be The Change, Inc.’s Chief of Staff, and brings an organization-wide understanding of BTC’s three bipartisan, issue-based campaigns: ServiceNation, Opportunity Nation and Got Your 6, which are focused on national service, economic mobility and veteran empowerment, respectively. Monique is a first-generation college graduate and lives with her two sons, Gabriel and Asher, in the Washington, D.C. area. Previously, Monique served as deputy director of military spouse programs for the Military Officers Association of America, where she conceived and built Keeping a Career on the Move®. That program earned the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE) ‘Power of A’ Silver Award, was featured multiple times by the White House and continues today, having tripled in growth since its launch. Monique was recruited to direct communications for Child Care Aware of America, elevating the role that quality, affordable child care plays in early education and the workforce. She began her career as a marketer for a Top 100 accounting and consulting firm and served as a contributing editor to multiple publications focused on careers. Monique attended community college in her home state of Washington and was part of the first class of Gates Millennium Scholars, a full scholarship that enabled her to attain her bachelor’s degree with distinction in journalism from Gonzaga University and a master’s in information management from Syracuse University.
  • Brian Sponsler, Vice President, Policy; Director, Postsecondary & Workforce Development Institute, Education Commission of the States - Brian A. Sponsler, Ed.D. is the Director for the Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute at the Education Commission of the States (ECS) in Denver, Colorado. Previously, Brian served as the Vice President for Research and Policy at NASPA, the leading professional association for the field of student affairs. As a member of NASPA’s executive team, he oversaw the association’s research portfolio and worked to cultivate and maintain relationships with institutional partners, higher education researchers, and policy leaders. Prior to joining NASPA, he worked at a leading higher education think tank and has held several campus-based positions in academic advising and athletics administration. He holds a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University. Brian’s research interests include college access for disenfranchised student populations, student development and success, college rankings, structural/ geographic impediments to college-going, and policy adoption theory. His policy research work has been financially supported by the Lumina Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation, among others. Brian has published policy research briefs with the Institute for Higher Education Policy, The Center for American Progress, and Excelencia in Education, and has presented at major policy gatherings and academic conferences. He serves as an elected member of ASHE’s Council on Public Policy in Higher Education Executive Committee and is an active member of several professional higher education and policy research associations.
  • Tim Taylor, Executive Director, America Succeeds - Tim Taylor is the co-founder and Executive Director of America Succeeds, bringing a unique back¬ground of executive, non-profit and public policy experience to the organization. Prior to launching America Succeeds, he served as the founding President of Colorado Succeeds. Tim began his career on Capitol Hill as an assistant to Congressman Richard Burr (NC) and advanced to serve as the Senior Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Saxby Chambliss (GA). After re-locating to Colorado in 1998, he served as an independent political consultant, Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for the Colorado Health Care Association and founder of Open Fairways, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk and underprivileged children through the game of golf and its core values of honor, etiquette and respect. Tim is a founding board member of the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network and serves on the board of Highline Academy Charter School. He is the founder and co-chairman of the Coca-Cola Politics & Pros charity golf tournament in Washington, DC featuring Members of Congress and PGA Tour professionals which benefits America’s Promise Alliance and The First Tee. Tim is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, studied at the Goethe-Institute in Bonn, Germany and earned a Masters degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Clare, son Macon, daughter Ellie and a Boykin Spaniel.

Why We Need Multiple Pathways to Success

  • Joe Garcia, President, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education - Joe Garcia assumed the presidency of WICHE in June 2016. Garcia left his dual role as Colorado lieutenant governor and executive director of the state’s Department of Higher Education and will be the seventh president of WICHE since its founding 62 years ago. Before his inauguration as lieutenant governor in 2011 and re-election in 2015, Garcia was president of Colorado State University-Pueblo. Previously, he was president of Colorado’s second-largest community college, Pikes Peak Community College, overseeing three campuses serving more than 16,000 students a year. Garcia, who earned a business degree from the University of Colorado and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, began his career in 1983 with Holme Roberts & Owen, where he went on to become the first Hispanic partner in the 100-year history of the storied Denver law firm. In 1993, he joined former Gov. Roy Romer’s cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, a position he held until his appointment in 1999 as the U.S. Department of Housing and Development’s regional director for the Rocky Mountain states. Throughout his career, Garcia has been actively involved as a board member for numerous civic, educational, and cultural nonprofit organizations, including the YMCAs of Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver; Pikes Peak Legal Aid; economic development agencies in Pueblo and Colorado Springs; the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority; Pikes Peak Child Nursery Centers; and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. He served nine years on the WICHE Commission, and was its chair in 2012.

Canada's Innovation and Skill Plan

  • Honorable Navdeep Bains, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development - Navdeep Bains was a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management and holds an MBA with a specialization in Finance. As a Certified Management Accountant, he has worked several years in accounting and financial analysis for the Ford Motor Company of Canada. Navdeep is a long-time resident of both Mississauga and Brampton and has strong ties to the social and cultural associations of Mississauga–Malton. Navdeep has been active in a variety of community organizations, as a board member for the Mississauga Food Bank, having worked with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation, as well as having served as an Ontario board member with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He is the recipient of a number of awards recognizing his work in promoting diversity within his community. Having served as the Member of Parliament for Mississauga–Brampton South from 2004 to 2011, Navdeep gained extensive experience as the Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Paul Martin and as the Critic for Public Works and Government Services, the Treasury Board, International Trade, Natural Resources, and Small Business and Tourism.

High-Quality Career Development: The Essential Foundation

  • Scott Solberg, Professor, School of Education, Boston University - Scott Solberg, PhD is a Professor at Boston University's School of Education. Past experiences include development of Success Highways, a resiliency curriculum used in schools throughout the country, directing an online career information system (WisCareers) and leading an effort to localize it for Singapore (ecgcareers). In collaboration with the Rennie Center on Education Research and Policy, MassINC, and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Solberg has launched the Massachusetts Institute for College and Career Readiness that is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Science. Dr. Solberg is leads a range of college and career readiness research, practice and policy efforts in collaboration with the National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability for Youth that is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
  • Rich Feller, Former President, National Career Development Association; Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University - Helping others maximize their talent and promoting life role choices within work, learning and community is where Rich finds encouragement. Inspired by lifelong learners, those working in career and technical education, and those who intentionally manage their career, he tries to honor others, promote access to learning, and foster hope in changing times. As an elementary, junior high, vocational school and admissions counselor he taught parent education, ACT’s Decide program and was an athletic coach. Having completed training with Albert Ellis and Carl Rogers he learned to appreciate the value of rational thinking and the power of reflection. One of the early graduates of Richard Bolles’ two-week Parachute workshops he appreciates the value of self-inventory, skills analysis, strength identification, and positive psychology. While on the faculty at Northern Illinois University he was mentored by David Tiedeman and came to appreciate the utility of career information systems, and designing one’s career. Within Colorado State University’s Counseling and Career Development program he promoted career counselor industry immersion programs following the Boston University-General Electric model. Fortunate to have received numerous teaching awards, as one of twelve Colorado State University’s Distinguished Teaching Scholars he teaches courses in career development counseling, and organizational performance and change. Having completed projects and presentations on six continents and 49 U.S. states he’s consulted with groups ranging from NASA, NSF, and the United Nations to the Asian Development Bank, Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs, and Peru’s First Lady. His publications include three books: Career Transitions in Turbulent Times (with Garry Walz), Knowledge Nomads and the Nervously Employed (with Judy Whichard), and A Counselors Guide to Career Assessment Instruments (with Ed Whitfield and Chris Wood) ; three film series, A Better Way, Tour of Your Tomorrow and Making the Most of Your Abilities (all with Joe Vasos); and the Harrington-O’Shea Career Decision Making System and www.CDMInternet.com (with Arthur O’Shea) used by over 14 million users, and www.stemcareer.com a website or those seeking and promoting STEM careers. A Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), Nationally Certified Career Counselor (NCCC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado he’s an NCDA Fellow and recipient of the NCDA Eminent Career Award. He and Barbara, a physical therapist, are the lucky parents of Chris, a college sophomore.
  • Jack Kosakowski, President and Chief Executive Officer, Junior Achievement USA - Jack is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Junior Achievement USA. Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Today, JA reaches 4.8 million students per year in 109 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.2 million students served by operations in 100 other countries worldwide. Starting as a student in the Junior Achievement program in Toledo, Ohio, he attended the University of Toledo on a Junior Achievement scholarship and has since served in a variety of staff positions with increasing levels of responsibility over the past 40 years. He was named President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA in 2007. Jack was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve a two-year term on the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy in January 2008. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Achievement Foundation, is a past member of the United States Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and serves on the Council on Competitiveness' Learn to Compete Commission. Kosakowski was also named a Trustee of America's Promise Alliance.
  • Cheryl Oldham, Senior Vice President, Center for Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation - Cheryl A. Oldham is vice president of education policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is also senior vice president of the education and workforce program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Through events, publications, and policy initiatives—and drawing upon the Chamber’s extensive network of members—the education and workforce program connects the best minds in American business with the most innovative thinkers in education and training, helping them work together to preserve the strength of America’s greatest economic resource, its workforce. Oldham has 20 years of experience in public policy development and implementation as well as in project management and government relations. Her previous experience includes serving for 8 years in President George W. Bush’s administration. In July 2008, the president designated Oldham as acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education while also serving as chief of staff to the under secretary of education. As chief of staff, Oldham was the senior adviser on policy and strategy and oversaw the coordination of the programs and policies for which the office was responsible. These included vocational and adult education, postsecondary education, and federal student aid.
  • Melody Schopp, Secretary of Education, South Dakota; President, Council of Chief State School Officers - Secretary of Education Melody Schopp is a lifelong educator with 23 years of classroom teaching prior to coming to the Department of Education in 2000. She served as a school board member for nine years in Lemmon, SD following her departure from teaching. Schopp worked in a number of different roles in the Department to include Deputy Secretary and was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for education since 2011. Secretary Schopp is passionate about assuring that students are well prepared for careers and post-secondary after leaving the K12 education system. She works closely with the technical institutes and the Board of Regents to align the work for a seamless transition for students after graduation from high school. Schopp received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Mary and a PhD in Educational Studies and Higher Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although Schopp grew up in and graduated from Greeley, Colorado, she lists South Dakota as home after living here her entire adult life. Schopp’s husband, Arnie, farms in the Meadow area. They have two children. Schopp enjoys remodeling/building as well as yard work in the summers.

Creating an Effective State System: The Colorado Model

  • Stephanie Veck, Director, Colorado Workforce Development Council - Stephanie Veck is the Director of the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC), a dynamic public-private partnership that is a Governor appointed, business-led, coalition of industry, state agencies and their local system partners. This coalition works to create an integrated talent development system that meets the needs of students, job-seekers, workers and businesses by aligning education, training, workforce and economic development efforts with the needs of industry. Stephanie serves on the Governors Business Experiential Learning Commission, the Denver Public Schools Career Connect Board, and the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance Board; and is an Executive Board Member of the Colorado STEM Champion’s. She was the founding program director of Colorado Companies to Watch and continues to serve on its Legacy Board. She has become known as a national leader in cross-agency and public-private partnerships, sharing Colorado’s work with national audiences through a variety of outlets. A Colorado native and entrepreneur, Stephanie earned her business degree from Adams State University and experienced the practical, day-to-day realities of managing a business first by running a rapidly expanding company in three states, and then by starting, and operating two businesses in Colorado. Prior to leading the CWDC, she worked for the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade. Stephanie balances her busy professional life with the motto “work hard, play harder”, and enjoys the great outdoors with her husband Bill, friends and family including two grandchildren.
  • Noel Ginsberg, President and Founder, Intertech Plastics and Chief Executive Officer, CareerWise Colorado - In 1980, while still in his senior year at the University of Denver, Ginsburg founded Intertech Plastics. Intertech is a custom injection molding business, manufacturing products for the consumer, packaging, industrial and medical device markets. In addition to his business, Noel is the proud husband to Leslie Ginsburg and father of two children. Throughout his career, Ginsburg has been active in many community organizations, and was the founding chair of the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA). In addition, Ginsburg is a member of the State Economic Development Commission and the Colorado Workforce Development Council, a board member of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Denver Public Schools College and Career Pathways council, and was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to lead the Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission for the State of Colorado. Ginsburg served as the board chair and general campaign chair of the Mile High United Way and the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, served as president of the Denver Public Schools Foundation, and was founding co-chair of The Leadership Initiative and member of the US Youth Employment Action Network at the Clinton Global Initiative. Ginsburg was among the founding board members and is a past president of the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation. Along with his wife Leslie, Ginsburg sponsored 42 inner-city children in the first class of “Dreamers” in the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation. Their commitment continued through the children’s graduation from high school and beyond, spanning over 10 years and resulting in a graduation rate nine times the neighborhood average. In addition, Ginsburg received the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Business Award in 1995, the Daniel L. Ritchie Award for Ethics in Business in 1998, the 2001 Leadership Denver Outstanding Alumnus Award, the 2012 Goodwill Community Leader Award and the Anti-Defamation League’s 2016 Civil Rights Award. Continuing his civic-minded leadership, he is founding Executive Chair of the Board for CareerWise Colorado, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to building the middle class by closing the skills gap through experiential learning. CareerWise Colorado is building a system of youth apprenticeships across a variety of industries to ensure businesses have a capable workforce and all students have a clear and sustainable career path.
  • Ellen Golombek, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment - Ellen Golombek has a history of accomplishments through coalition building with statewide and national organizations. She has led reorganization and restructuring efforts and developed public policy through grassroots, legislative and electoral networks. In January 2011 Governor Hickenlooper appointed Ellen Golombek as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Ellen brings more than 18 years of leadership and management to the department. Prior to joining the Hickenlooper Administration, she served as the state director for America Votes in Colorado, a nonprofit organization that coordinates voter education with more than 30 partners. Prior to that, Ellen served as Planned Parenthood’s Vice President for External Affairs in the New York office and as the organization’s National Political and Field Director in the Washington, D.C. office. Ellen’s career highlights include being the first woman elected as president of the Colorado AFL-CIO and a decade of successful lobbying and legislative efforts for the Colorado labor movement. She spent four years with the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union, where she served as the assistant to the secretary-treasurer and director of government affairs. Ellen serves as Vice Chair of the Information Technology Steering Committee, a national board which sets priorities, facilitates the sharing of best practices and educates State Department’s of Labor around technology improvements and modernization. She also serves on the Executive Board of the National Association of Government Labor Officials, is a member of the Executive Committee of the Colorado Workforce Development Council, serves on the Lieutenant Governor’s Education Leadership Council, and serves on the board of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

Session Reflections

  • Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director, Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board

Education for Life and Work

  • Kim Clark, Commissioner of Church Education for the Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints; former Dean, Harvard Business School; former President, BYU- Idaho - Elder Kim B. Clark was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2015. At the time of his call he had been serving as the president of Brigham Young University–Idaho since 2005. He served as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy, Idaho Area, from 2007 to 2014. He is currently serving as the Church Commissioner of Education. Elder Clark received a bachelor of arts, a master of arts, and a PhD, all in economics, from Harvard University. He became a faculty member at the Harvard Business School in 1978 and was named dean of that school in 1995. He served in that capacity until the summer of 2005, when he was named the president of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Elder Clark has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in the South German Mission, elders quorum president, ward executive secretary, counselor in a bishopric, bishop, high councilor, and counselor in a stake mission presidency. Kim Bryce Clark was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 20, 1949. He married Sue Lorraine Hunt in June 1971. They are the parents of seven children.

Western Governors' Executive Remarks

  • Jim Ogsbury, Executive Director, Western Governors’ Association - Jim was hired by the Governors in November 2012. He has o twenty years experience creating and implementing public policy, as well as designing successful lobbying, communications and public affairs strategies. Prior to coming to WGA, Jim was the legislative director at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, a voluntary association of all ninety-one municipalities in the State of Arizona. There he was responsible for development and execution of comprehensive political strategies concerning state legislation affecting cities and towns. Jim also worked as Managing Principal, Washington Office Triadvocates, an Arizona based public affairs firm, for Jones Walker as government relations counsel emphasizing federal appropriations and as subcommittee chief-of-staff on the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations.
  • Honorable Dennis Daugaard, Governor, South Dakota; incoming Chair, Western Governors’ Association - Dennis Daugaard is the 32nd Governor of South Dakota. Governor Daugaard has emphasized job creation, sound fiscal management, and efficient government operation. Days after taking office, Daugaard proposed and the Legislature passed a state budget that eliminated a $127 million structural deficit, without raising taxes. Daugaard joined with the Chief Justice and legislative leaders to conduct inter-branch, bipartisan studies of the state’s adult and juvenile criminal justice and corrections systems. This led to bipartisan passage of comprehensive reform legislation for both systems. In 2015, Governor Daugaard assembled the Blue Ribbon Task Force to propose solutions to improve education in South Dakota. The task force put forth recommendations which Daugaard then brought as legislation the following session. The package of bills raised new revenue for teacher pay, provided for property tax relief, reformed the school funding formula, and included measures to create efficiencies and retain teachers. As a result of the Governor’s proposals, South Dakota’s average teacher salary increased by 11.9 percent for the 2016-2017 school year. The Governor has prioritized sound stewardship of the state’s resources, including adequate funding of transportation infrastructure, prudent management of the state pension plan, and maintenance and preservation of state buildings. In the fall of 2011 Daugaard launched the Better Government Initiative to improve efficiency and openness in state government. Daugaard opened the Governor’s Mansion to the public, released invitation lists of Governor’s events, and partnered with state agencies to move many government services online. Following graduation from Dell Rapids High School in 1971, Daugaard attended the University of South Dakota. He worked his way through school by washing dishes, waiting tables, welding on the Load King assembly line, and sandblasting and painting water towers for Maguire Iron. Daugaard graduated from USD in 1975 with a B.S. in government and minors in mathematics and psychology. Following graduation, Daugaard attended law school at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Daugaard moved back to South Dakota in 1981 to marry his high school girlfriend, Linda Schmidt. Their children Laura, Sara, and Chris are the fourth generation of Daugaards to live on the family farm. Dennis and Linda also have five grandchildren, Henry, Stella, Elizabeth, Greta, and Madeleine. Daugaard worked for what is now US Bank in Sioux Falls, served as Development Director of the Children's Home Foundation, became Executive Director of Children's Home Society of South Dakota.
  • Mike Fenlon, Chief People Officer, PwC - Mike Fenlon leads the people strategy and organization for PwC US, part of a network with over 200,000 people in 158 countries. He is an experienced global leader in strategy, leadership development, learning, innovation, culture, and performance. Fast Company magazine recognized Mike as one of the 100 most creative business leaders in the world in 2016. Mike is passionate about diversity and creating an inclusive workplace, and believes this is a key to innovation and competiveness in the 21st century. Mike founded “Aspire to Lead: PwC’s Series on Leadership and Gender Equality,” a global, university based forum (www.pwc.com/aspire), and co-sponsors PwC’s global impact partnership with United Nations - HeForShe. Mike was a faculty member of the Columbia Business School executive education team ranked #1 in the world by The Financial Times. As Associate Dean at Columbia Business School, he led EMBA programs and partnerships with London Business School and UC-Berkeley, and taught a popular course on Executive Leadership. He directed The Fundamentals of Management: Highlights of the MBA, and the Columbia Senior Executive Program. He consulted in the non-profit and government sectors and served in Executive Programs at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. Publications include articles on leadership, people strategy and innovation. He has been featured in The Financial Times, HR Magazine, Wharton Business Radio, Fox Television Business News, Big Think, and many other outlets. Mike resides in New York, where he and his wife Dana are raising four children and a yellow lab. He is a runner and is active in his community. He was educated at Columbia University where he received three master’s degrees and a Ph.D.

Breakout Sessions - 1

Providing High-Quality Career Development at the State and District Level

  • Scott Solberg, Professor, School of Education, Boston University - Scott Solberg, PhD is a Professor at Boston University's School of Education. Past experiences include development of Success Highways, a resiliency curriculum used in schools throughout the country, directing an online career information system (WisCareers) and leading an effort to localize it for Singapore (ecgcareers). In collaboration with the Rennie Center on Education Research and Policy, MassINC, and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Solberg has launched the Massachusetts Institute for College and Career Readiness that is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Science. Dr. Solberg is leads a range of college and career readiness research, practice and policy efforts in collaboration with the National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability for Youth that is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
  • Robin Kroyer-Kubicek, Career Pathways Education Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction - Robin is a currently certified, grade 6-12 science teacher, who has worked at Wisconsin’s DPI since 2013. She previously wrote the curriculum to update and develop new Youth Apprenticeship programs for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and originally comes from the healthcare industry and pharmaceutical manufacturing. As the DPI Career Pathways Education Consultant, Robin co-leads the Academic and Career Planning project promoting quality business-education partnerships and high school to post-secondary career programs and transitions.
  • Samantha Haviland, Director of Counseling Support Services, Denver Public Schools
  • Robin Russel, Graduation Guidelines Manager, Colorado Department of Education - Robin Russel is the Graduation Guidelines Manager at the Colorado Department of Education. She has had the privilege of working with students, families, and communities in almost every realm of the education arena - from French teacher, to fund-raiser, to scholarship administrator and community liaison, and to career and college advisor. In her current role, Robin works with district administrators and schools to interpret legislation for Graduation Guidelines and for the Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP), and to collect and share implementation strategies, resources, and promising practices.
  • Traci Sanchez, School Based Learning, DPS CareerConnect, Denver Public Schools - Traci Sanchez is a CTE Curriculum Coordinator for Denver Public Schools CareerConnect. Traci is responsible for developing CareerConnect pathways in schools and supporting school personnel in running quality programs. Traci has worked with ICAP since 2009 and has been a PWR / ICAP Facilitator for CDE and the Colorado Community Colleges System for the last two years. Prior to Denver Public Schools, Traci wore many hats as a school counselor while she was a serving on her school’s administrative leadership team. Traci has a Master of Arts in Educational Counseling and a Specialist in Education in Educational Leadership.

Strategies for Unlocking the Potential of Opportunity Youth

  • Melanie Anderson, Director of External and Government Affairs, Opportunity Nation
  • Jackie Coppola, Director of GED Program, Emily Griffith High School, Denver
  • Israel (I$REAL) Juarez, Youth Engagement Strategist, Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative - Israel Juarez, better known as I$REAL, is a true poet dedicated to change in the community through his influential music, positive lyrics, and creative mindset. Born and bred in the Baker neighborhood of Denver. I$REAL has seen Denver’s Westside change dramatically, but he’s not afraid, and is looking forward to taking advantage of what is going on in the gentrifying city. I$REAL’s musical influences include Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Drake, Miles Davis and local KingDom. I$REAL recently re-enrolled in school and is due to graduate in Spring 2017. In the meantime, he’s an intern, friend, and family of Youth on Record and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Opportunity Youth Initiative. He has performed all over town (most recently at a sold-out Marquis Theatre show), in front of the Mayor, business leaders and stakeholders. I$REAL is striving to create the Denver hip hop sound. In his words, the Denver scene will be diverse, full of “lyrical skill, poetry, and a crazy methodology for creation.” Currently the scene is lacking the drive to put Denver on the map. I$REAL and his mentors believe that he will be the voice of the city and influence millions with his craft, talent, and soul.
  • Steve Patrick, Executive Director, Aspen Forum for Community Solutions, the Aspen Institute - Stephen Patrick became the Executive Director of the AFCS at the Aspen Institute in 2012. As VP and ED he oversees work that focuses on building the collective impact field, launching and implementing the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, while lifting up successful stories of civic engagement and community change. Prior to joining the Institute, Steve served as a Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where he managed a portfolio of grants focused on supporting disconnected youth on pathways to and through postsecondary education, along with work focused on adult education populations and education for justice involved individuals. Steve has also served as a VP at the Daniels Fund, as Director of Youth and Emerging Initiatives at the New Mexico Community Foundation, and in 2008, served on the Obama Transition Committee focused on Social Innovation and Civil Society. He is the Co-Founder of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, leads youth programs for the San Juan Pueblo Tribe, was a Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow, and was appointed by Governor Richardson to serve as the Co-Chair of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism (AmeriCorps). He lives on Bainbridge Island with his wife, Suzanne and sons, Jackson and Will.
  • Lorena Zimmer, Director, Talent Pipeline, Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce - Lorena Zimmer has been serving as the project lead for the Denver Opportunity Youth Initiative since 2014 originally with Spark Policy Institute and now in an expanded role at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. Lorena brings almost two decades of experience working with communities, foundations, non-profit and government partners. Lorena got her start in public health and worked on addressing health equity through organizational and policy change at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She has developed a nationally recognized Health Equity Model and worked on policy and legislation to reduce barriers for all populations. Lorena has M.A. in Medical/Applied Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Denver. She is fluent in Spanish and loves her work and adventuring.

Developing State Policies that Drive Career Readiness

  • Jeremy Anderson, President, Education Commission of the States - Jeremy Anderson is the president of Education Commission of the States, a national education policy organization that serves as a partner to state policymakers. In his role, Anderson works with all state education leaders, from governors to chief state school officers – from both political parties – to provide unbiased information, personalized support and opportunities for collaboration. Jeremy is in airports more than the office, traveling frequently to visit with Education Commission of the States Commissioners and deliver key note presentations around the country. Prior to joining the organization in 2012, Jeremy built a strong public service record working with officials in Washington, D.C., with many governors and legislators in states and with education policy organizations around the country. Jeremy has served in multiple policy and governmental affairs roles for governors on state and national education initiatives and was directly involved in brokering the bipartisan passage of the largest K-12 funding investment in Kansas history to avert a shutdown of Kansas schools. Jeremy’s passion for education runs deep; he was raised by two amazing teachers in Kansas and his wife is an early learning teacher in Colorado where they currently reside with their three children.
  • Susan Bonilla, State Director for California, Council for a Strong America; former member of the California Assembly - Susan Bonilla joined Council for a Strong America as California Director upon completing six years in the California State Assembly. Susan began her advocacy for young people as a high school English teacher and continued to be a champion of education while serving 14 years in public office. As Education Budget Chair, she led the legislative effort to pass the Local Control Funding Formula which rebalanced funding to concentrate on low income students. Making education relevant to students through career pathways and career technical education has been one of her major focuses. Bonilla continues her advocacy in California as she coordinates Council for a Strong America's mobilization of law enforcement, business, and military leaders to be strong voices on behalf of early education, after school programs, and preparing young people for the workforce.
  • Lowell Matthews, Policy Director, Next Generation, ExcelinEd - Lowell is the Director of College and Career Pathways for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. He previously served as Staff Director for the Florida Legislature’s Senate Committees on Education Pre-K-12 and Higher Education, which oversee all aspects of education in Florida. Lowell is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University Law School. He also served in the U.S. Army.
  • Rich McKeon, Program Director, Career Readiness, Council of Chief State School Officers - Rich McKeon is the Director of Career Readiness at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In this role, he leads the Council’s national work to support states interested in ensuring all students have opportunities that prepare them for high quality, high-demand careers. By aligning academic and technical skills with employer needs, CCSSO hopes to support states in their efforts to align the passion and interest of students with high-quality career pathways. Prior to his current role, Rich was the Program Director of Education for the Helmsley Charitable Trust where he led a team to strategically program and manage an annual portfolio of $30 million in grants supporting K-12 and postsecondary education with the ultimate goal of providing high-quality educational options for all students, especially economically disadvantaged and minority students. Rich received his M.B.A. from Fordham University and his B.A. from Fairfield University. He also attended Harvard University’s Educational Grantmakers’ Institute. Rich has been quoted on education issues in Fortune, The New York Times and Education Week, among other publications.
  • Karla Phillips, Policy Director, Competency-Based Education, ExcelinEd - Karla is the Policy Director for Competency Based Education at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Previously, she served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent of Policy and Programs at the Arizona Department of Education. Karla also served as the Education Policy Advisor for Governor Brewer and as the Vice-Chair of Arizona’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. Her experience includes serving as Director of State Government Relations for Arizona State University (ASU) and as a senior policy advisor for Arizona’s House of Representatives. Karla received her B.A. from Indiana University and an M.P.A from Arizona State University.

Addressing the Needs of Rural and Reservation Youth

  • Shelley Billig, Vice President, RMC Research Corp.
  • Sara Jones, Co-Founder Women Tech Council, Utah, “SheTech in rural Utah”
  • Rich Katt, CTE Director, Nebraska
  • Sharon Nelson-Barber, Senior Program Director, Culture & Language in Education, West-Ed

Identifying Credentials With Real Value to Employers

  • Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director, Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board
  • Scott Cheney, Executive Director, Credential Engine
  • Leo Reddy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturing Skill Standards Council - Mr. Reddy is the Chairman and CEO of the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC). An industry-led non-profit, MSSC is the national leader in preparing individuals with the core technical competencies needed in today’s economy for front-line work in advanced manufacturing and distribution-logistics. MSSC offers Certified Production Technician (CPT) and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) training and certification programs. An American institution, MSSC has a delivery system of 1000+ MSSC-authorized test sites and over 1800 MSSC-trained instructors, most at community colleges and high schools, in 49 states and D.C. MSSC is the only national certification body to be accredited under ISO 17024 (Personnel Certification) and endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers for both manufacturing and logistics.
  • Thomas Hartman, Talent Development Coordinator, Colorado

Innovative and Effective CTE Programs

  • Sarah Heath, Colorado CTE Director and former President, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
  • Aaron Ball, Director, College and Career Pathways, Center for the Future of Arizona, “Pathways to Prosperity Network” - Aaron Ball started his career as an Agriscience High School Teacher. After five years of teaching he moved to school administration and spent two years as a high school assistant principal and two years as an elementary principal. Ball served as the Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer for nearly seven years with the Pima County Joint Technical Education District. In that role, he worked to build partnerships with business, K-12, postsecondary institutions and community based organizations to build effective Career and Technical Education programs serving high school students. He is currently the Director of College and Career Pathways at the Center for the Future of Arizona and leads the Arizona Pathways to Prosperity Initiative. Ball holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and a Master’s degree in Agriculture Education, both from the University of Arizona. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.
  • Bill Gilmore, District STEM Coordinator, Englewood School District, Colorado - Mr. Gilmore is the District STEM Coordinator for Englewood School District in Englewood Colorado. He has designed and implemented a district-wide comprehensive K-12 STEM program which includes three career pathways based on the economic needs of Colorado. Prior to becoming an educator Mr. Gilmore spent 15 years as an environmental geologist, including seven years with Raytheon Polar Services as the Environmental Manager where he oversaw operational and scientific projects for the United States Antarctic Program. He currently holds a professional teaching license with an endorsement in secondary science, a career and technical education license with a STEM endorsement, and will have his superintendents license in June 2017. He currently lives in Centennial, Colorado with his wife and three children.
  • Ray Johnson, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager for Colorado and other Western states, “P-Tech”
  • Michael Voss, Dean, CTE Programs, Maricopa Community Colleges, Arizona - Michael Voss serves as the Dean of Career and Technical Education at Mesa Community College (MCC) in Mesa, AZ. MCC is the largest of ten community colleges within the Maricopa County Community College District, which is one of the largest providers of higher education in the United States. The CTE programs at MCC were recognized by the League for Innovation in Community College in March 2017 for their use of 5 Scale-able Strategies for High Performance CTE Programs. Michael enjoys family time, whether it is a movie night at home, taking the kids to swimming, or packing up the family for a road trip in search of fun adventures. A little known fact about Michael is that he is scared of birds, especially when they are indoors! He is an unashamed karaoke singer and a less than adequate dancer. That being said, he loves cooking breakfast, writing biographies, and is really looking forward to meeting all of you at the Western Pathways Conference!

Breakout Sessions - 2

Scaling Work-Based Learning

  • Gretchen Morgan, Chief Learning Officer, Colorado’s CareerWise Youth Apprenticeship Program
  • Linda Black, Targeted Industry/Talent Manager, Nebraska Department of Economic Development - As Targeted Industry/Talent Manager for the NE Department of Economic Development, Linda Black has facilitated and worked with industry councils statewide, working to align business needs and support. Black’s work is focused on industries remaining strong and competitive and, as a result, Nebraska communities as well. She also serves as the administrator for the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative which is intended to promote exposure and interest in 7th and 8th grade students in the fields of manufacturing and IT through collaborations between private industry and public schools.
  • Rich Katt, CTE Director, Nebraska
  • Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director, Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board
  • Bob Rugar, Mechanical Technical Manager, Mikron

Pathways to Promising Careers in High-Employment Sectors

  • Scott Fast, Director, Colorado Operations, Innovate + Educate
  • Erika Andersen, Construction Recruiter, Association of General Contractors of Colorado
  • Dan Belcher, Director of Workforce Development, NCCER
  • Joshua Phair, Director for Public Affairs and State & Local Government Relations, Colorado, Walmart
  • Christa Sheehan, Deputy Director, Hope Builders, Santa Ana, California

The Role of Technology in Quality Career Development

  • Rich Feller, Former President, National Career Development Association; Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University
  • Eric Eilertsen, Chief Executive Officer, Experience Matters
  • Philip Hardin, Chief Executive Officer, YouScience
  • Annie Mais, Director of Curriculum Development, Roadtrip Nation - Annie Mais is the Sr. Education Product Manager at Roadtrip Nation and co-author of the New York Time’s Best Selling book, Roadmap: the Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do With Your Life. She spent 6 years teaching history at the high school level, and has additional curriculum development experience at Shell Educational Publishing, as well as networking experience at Discovery Communications. Annie received her B.A. in History from UC Davis and also holds a Master’s degree in Social and Multicultural/International Foundations of Education from California State University, Long Beach.
  • Michael Simpson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Pairind - As a son of educators, and serial intrapreneur turned entrepreneur, Michael learned to uncover hidden gems in people and products. His passion for helping people reach their potential was fueled by his own rise from poverty to international recognition as a strategist working closely with CEOs and executives in startup to multi-billion-dollar corporations. At Pairin, he works to bridge the opportunity gap for future generations by making education more relevant for students and their future employers through the development of attitudes, motivations and behavioral proficiencies. Michael has contributed to books on Knowledge Management (KM), Identity and Networking, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). His background in strategy and marketing for all identity, security and management products while at Novell, Inc. contributes to Pairin’s unwavering commitment to digital personal privacy. He is an avid cyclist; fly fisherman; and award winning chocolatier.

Next Generation Sector Partnerships

  • Wendy Brors, Assistant Director, Colorado Workforce Development Council
  • Shalee Hodgson, System Alignment Manager, Oregon Employment Department
  • Trevor Stokes, Workforce Program Manager, Office of Economic Opportunity, Arizona

A New Way to Hire: A Hands-On Session on Skills-based Employment Practices Hosted by Skillful

  • Andi Rugg, Executive Director, Skillful Colorado
  • Adam Crowe, Business Services Manager, Larimer County Workforce Center, Colorado
  • Jon Kinning, Chief Operating Office and Executive Vice President, RK Mechanical, Colorado
  • Alexandra Peterson, Consultant, CareerWise Colorado

Zap the Gap: Strategies for Identifying and Eliminating Skills Gaps in the Technology Sector

  • Alan Rowland, Director, Business Development, CompTIA Academy
  • Nyika Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Mexico Technology Council
  • David Greer, Senior Vice President and Chief Programs Officer, Project Lead the Way
  • Randy Gross, Chief Information Officer, CompTIA
  • Ed Rios, Chief Executive Officer, National Cybersecurity Center
  • David H. Tobey, Director of Research and Assessments, National CyberWatch Center

Saturday, May 13

Plenary Sessions

Framing of the Day

  • Alison Griffin, Senior Vice President, External & Government Relations, Strada Education Network - Alison R. Griffin has more than 15 years of experience in higher education policy. As senior vice president, External and Government Relations, she manages external affairs and thought leadership events for Strada Education NetworkSM and its companies. She coordinates government relations activities at the national level and builds and maintains key relationships with higher education stakeholders. Griffin also is project manager for the Education Consumer Pulse™ by Gallup and Strada Education Network. Griffin’s work at Strada Education advances proposals and ideas that support Completion With a Purpose®, enhancing student success in college — or other postsecondary programs — and connecting graduates to rewarding careers and fulfilling lives. She joined Strada Education, then known as USA Funds®, as vice president, Policy Research, in January 2014. Previously, Griffin was the founder and principal of Miles Above Strategies, a Denver-based higher education policy and government relations practice. She has served as the higher education policy adviser to the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce; guided state policy development for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; and supported higher education clients as senior associate with HCM Strategists, a Washington, D.C., public policy and advocacy consulting firm. Griffin serves on several national and local nonprofit boards, including those for Southern Methodist University Simmons School of Education and Peak to Peak K-12 Charter School. Griffin is the co-founder of Radio Higher Ed, a podcast series focused on higher education policy. She holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and in organizational behavior and business policy from SMU. Griffin has a master’s degree in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia.

Equipping All Graduates for the Hybrid Economy

  • Jeffrey D. Armstrong, President, California Polytechnic State University - Jeffrey Armstrong, President, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Jeffrey Armstrong started his tenure as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's ninth president in 2011. Prior to joining Cal Poly, he served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of animal science at Michigan State University, beginning in 2001. Armstrong served as chair of the United Egg Producers Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and advised McDonald's Corporation in animal welfare, as well as broader issues related to corporate social responsibility. He served as chair of the APLU Board of Agriculture Assembly Farm Bill Committee and co-chair of CREATE-21, and contributed to significant changes in the most recent Congressional Farm Bill. Armstrong also served on the USDA Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Committee and recently served on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Seventh District Advisory Council on Small Business, Labor and Agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in Physiology Interdisciplinary from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in Physiology Biochemistry from North Carolina State University and a B.S. in Animal Science Biology from Murray State University.

Roundtable Response

  • Robert Lytle, Managing Director, Co-Head of Education, Parthenon-EY - Robert is a managing director of Parthenon-EY based in the Boston office and is co-head of Parthenon’s Education group. Robert was with Parthenon for 15 years before its combination with EY in August 2014. For more than 15 years, he has led client engagements on general strategy, performance improvement and investment due diligence across a broad spectrum of educational organizations. His clients include high-growth companies, publicly listed global 100 companies, nonprofit institutions, financial investors and international governments. In addition, Robert has participated in numerous high-profile corporate turnarounds, mergers, divestitures and privatizations in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Robert is a frequent speaker at leading global forums in the education sector. Prior to joining Parthenon, Robert was with Bain & Company and served as a US Army aviator. He holds a BSE in Economics from the Wharton School of Business and an MBA with high distinction from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
  • Jeffrey D. Armstrong, President, California Polytechnic State University - Jeffrey Armstrong, President, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Jeffrey Armstrong started his tenure as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's ninth president in 2011. Prior to joining Cal Poly, he served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of animal science at Michigan State University, beginning in 2001. Armstrong served as chair of the United Egg Producers Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and advised McDonald's Corporation in animal welfare, as well as broader issues related to corporate social responsibility. He served as chair of the APLU Board of Agriculture Assembly Farm Bill Committee and co-chair of CREATE-21, and contributed to significant changes in the most recent Congressional Farm Bill. Armstrong also served on the USDA Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Committee and recently served on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Seventh District Advisory Council on Small Business, Labor and Agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in Physiology Interdisciplinary from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in Physiology Biochemistry from North Carolina State University and a B.S. in Animal Science Biology from Murray State University.
  • Scott Pulsipher, President, Western Governors University - Scott Pulsipher has served as president of nonprofit Western Governors University (WGU), the nation’s first and largest competency-based university, since April 2016, leading all academic, operational, and organizational functions. Pulsipher blends a personal drive for making a difference in the lives of individuals and families through education and a passion for technology-powered innovation. At WGU, he is driving continuous innovation to improve student outcomes by focusing on rapidly advancing curriculum quality, new faculty models, data-driven learning, and a different cost model. Before coming to WGU, Pulsipher had more than 20 years of leadership experience in technology-based, customer-focused businesses, including Amazon, Sterling Commerce (now part of IBM), and two successful startups that traverse retail, supply chain, banking, payments, and manufacturing sectors. Pulsipher holds a bachelor’s degree in Management from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Harvard University.
  • Jake Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer, General Assembly - Jake Schwartz is the cofounder and CEO of General Assembly, a technology and design training center for post-grads looking to attain more practical skills. He also founded Office Space Guys, an office-space real estate company.

The Value of College Career Services: the Gallup-Purdue Index

  • Jessi Gordon, Consultant, Education and Workforce, Gallup

2018 Western Pathways Conference

  • Benjamin Hart, Deputy Director, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Utah - Benjamin Hart is the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and has been involved in leading several statewide education alignment initiatives. Previously Hart served as the director of employer initiatives for the Department of Workforce Services where he oversaw the department’s business services portfolio of programs. Hart completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Utah.

Breakout Sessions - 3

Engaging Business in CTE and Computer-Science Education

  • Hans Meeder, President, National Center for College and Career Transitions - Hans Meeder is co-founder and President of the National Center for College and Career Transitions (NC3T), a mission driven organization with the purpose of fostering regional college-career pathway systems that are supported and led by alliances of educators, employers, and civic organizations. Mr. Meeder has an extensive and varied career in education and workforce policy and government leadership, with an emphasis on high school redesign, career and technical education, and workforce quality. Prior to founding NC3T and the Meeder Consulting Group, Meeder served as Executive Director of the 21st Century Leadership Initiative, an intensive leadership development program jointly sponsored by the International Center for Leadership in Education, the Association for Career and Technical Education, and the Successful Practices Network. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education. In this role, Meeder led the Department of Education’s High School Initiative and guided policy development for implementation of the Perkins Act and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. Mr. Meeder is the author of several books including his latest, The Power and Promise of Pathways.
  • Katherine Cecala, President, Junior Achievement of Arizona - Katherine Kemmeries Cecala serves as the President of Junior Achievement of Arizona, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Katherine has a diverse background in nonprofit leadership, healthcare administration, law, industrial engineering, utilities, and business. She has extensive knowledge of the nonprofit landscape and has served on numerous nonprofit boards. Her current boards include Arizona Humane Society; Children’s Museum of Phoenix; Vista College Prep; Maricopa Integrated Health System Finance, Audit & Compliance; Mountain Park Health Center; and Arizona Women’s Leadership Forum. A master’s level instructor of nonprofit leadership at Arizona State University, Katherine has a on inside back cover of the prograon inside back cover of the programegree in industrial engineering from LSU, a Master’s of Business Administration from Louisiana Tech and a law degree from the University of Arkansas. She is licensed to practice law in Arizona and Arkansas.
  • Caitlin Derr, Southwest Regional Manager, Microsoft TEALS - Caitlin has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology. She then joined Amazon and worked on the software that ensures your Amazon purchase is picked off the shelves both as efficiently as possible, and in time to get to you. While at Amazon, she volunteered with TEALS for the AP Computer Science A class at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle. She then joined the TEALS team full-time to build the program in the Southwest. As a TEALS Regional Manager, Caitlin works with educators and industry to form teaching teams and build high school computer science programs.
  • Carol Krugman, Chair, Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events, Metropolitan State University of Denver - Currently Chair of the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Professor Carol Krugman directs a department of over 550 students and 20 full and part time faculty. Prior to transitioning to academia, she held a variety of positions in the global meetings industry over 30 years, including corporate public relations and marketing manager, association executive, senior manager for two global communications agencies and president of her own international meeting management company. During her career as a professional practitioner, Professor Krugman successfully implemented a variety of meetings and taught continuing education programs throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East, as well as in the US and Canada. She has lived in France, Mexico and Brazil and is fluent in French, Spanish and Portuguese, with a working knowledge of Italian. A co-author of Global Meetings and Exhibitions, a textbook on international meeting planning published in both English and Mandarin, Professor Krugman remains highly active in industry professional associations, and has received Lifetime Achievement awards this past year from both the Events Industry Council and the Professional Convention Management Association.
  • Lou Pondolfino, CTE Director, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, Alaska - Acting CTE Director Lou Pondolfino is a 26 year educator with the Anchorage School District. Among his positions in the district, Lou was an assistant principal at East High, the principal of Service High, and for the past five years, he served as the principal of the King Career Center where he enjoyed partnerships with several business partner and apprenticeship programs. He also spent 10 years as a classroom teacher. Prior to entering the education profession, Lou worked as a laborer and carpenter in Nome, Alaska in the early to mid-1980s and worked as a carpenter for VECO during the Exxon-Valdez oil spill clean-up project in 1989.

Achieving Transformative Change at the State Level: Two Case Studies

  • Jana Hambruch, Vice President for Education, the Institute for Life-Long Learning & Workforce Education
  • Lowell Matthews, Policy Director, Next Generation, ExcelinEd - Lowell is the Director of College and Career Pathways for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. He previously served as Staff Director for the Florida Legislature’s Senate Committees on Education Pre-K-12 and Higher Education, which oversee all aspects of education in Florida. Lowell is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University Law School. He also served in the U.S. Army.
  • Joe Radding, Manager of the Trust, California Department of Education - Since June 2010, Dr. Joe Radding has served as Administrator of College Preparation and Postsecondary Programs at the California Department of Education (CDE). Since January 2014, Dr. Radding has managed the $500 million California Career Pathways Trust, the nation’s largest workforce-development-through-education initiative. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, Dr. Radding is overseeing the administration of California’s $200 million College Readiness Block Grant. Dr. Radding holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Policy degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Davis.

Growing the Talent Pipeline: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Efforts to Close the Skills Gap

  • Jaimie Francis, Director, Programs and Operations, Center for Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Sara Dunnigan, Executive Director, Virginia Board of Workforce Development
  • Jennifer Mellor, Vice President of Economic Development, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
  • Lisa Ventriss, President, Vermont Business Roundtable - Ms. Ventriss joined the Roundtable in 2002 as President and chief spokesperson. Since then, she has led the organization to become effective and respected business champions for public investments in and improvements to Vermont’s Birth-16 education system to bring equity, access, and quality of experience to all children, and to better align student preparation with employers’ needs. The Roundtable’s efforts have resulted in meaningful policy changes at the state level and have earned a national reputation and recognition for successful community building on these issues. Ms. Ventriss holds leadership positions in a number of Vermont and New England-based organizations. She earned a Master of Public Administration and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont.

Building Strategic Partnerships Between Industry and Higher Education in Emerging Fields

  • Debbie Hughes, Vice President, Higher Education & Workforce, Business-Higher Education Forum
  • Andrew R. Dorsey, President, Front Range Community College, Colorado - Andy Dorsey has been President of Front Range Community College since 2009, after serving fourteen years at the college as a faculty member, dean, and vice-president. He has led the college through significant expansions of training programs and facilities and implementation of the guided pathways model. Under his leadership the college has been noted for being one of 6 model transfer partnerships nationally (with Colorado State University), won a $24 million Department of Labor grant to improve manufacturing training in Colorado, and has played a key role in two sector partnerships in manufacturing and health care. Before joining FRCC, Dorsey served in management positions at two for-profit firms and a human services agency and as legislative director for an Ohio congressman. Mr. Dorsey has earned a BA in Economics from Harvard College, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MA from Lesley College.
  • Bob Linscheid, President’s Senior Advisor for Economic Development, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo - As the President's Senior Advisor for Economic Development at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Bob provides leadership on the creation and implementation of a coordinated regional economic development strategy into the President’s Cal Poly Vision 2022 and develops partnerships with innovative businesses investing in the Cal Poly Learn by Doing philosophy. Bob served on the CSU Board of Trustees for nine years; two years as Chair of the Board. Most recently served as President & CEO for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Bob earned his bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Public Administration from California State University, Chico and holds a Honorary Doctorate from San Francisco State University.
  • Diane Miller, Director, Global Cyber Education and Workforce Development Programs, Northrup Grumman
  • Jacqueline Smith, Associate Vice President and Executive Director, University Initiatives, Arizona State University - As associate vice president of university initiatives, Jacqueline provides operational and strategic leadership in support of Arizona State University’s charter and design aspirations. She has designed projects related to leadership development, student success, mindfulness and well-being, workforce innovation and online learning communities. She also cultivates early-career higher education professionals through a one-year university innovation fellowship. Jacqueline was a Cross Sector Leadership Fellow with the Presidio Institute in 2015. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics and law degree from Georgetown University.

Statewide Efforts to Advance Workforce Development

  • Lee Wheeler –Berliner, Assistant Director, Colorado Workforce Development Council
  • Gregg Christensen, Entrepreneurship and Work-Based Learning Specialist, Nebraska Department Of Education
  • Benjamin Hart, Deputy Director, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Utah - Benjamin Hart is the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and has been involved in leading several statewide education alignment initiatives. Previously Hart served as the director of employer initiatives for the Department of Workforce Services where he oversaw the department’s business services portfolio of programs. Hart completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Utah.
  • Jon Kerr, Director, Basic Education for Adults, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Closing Session

Reflections on What We’ve Learned and Call to Action

  • William Symonds, Director, Global Pathways Institute at Arizona State University - Bill Symonds is Director of the Global Pathways Institute (GPI) and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. Previously he served as Director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 2008- 2013. Prior to that, he spent nearly 25 years as a senior correspondent and bureau chief for Business Week Magazine. During his career at Business Week, he covered business in the U.S. and abroad, and led bureaus in Pittsburgh, Denver, Boston, Toronto and Rome, Italy. He also served as Business Week’s chief education correspondent for many years, and wrote extensively about the role of U.S. business in school reform.
  • Debbie Hughes, Vice President, Higher Education & Workforce, Business-Higher Education Forum - Debbie Hughes joined BHEF in 2011. Hughes oversees the development and implementation of numerous strategic areas of the National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative, including: programmatic activities in emerging fields, such as cybersecurity and data science and analytics; research on experiential learning; and validation of a process for strategic engagement between industry and higher education. Hughes also manages a National Science Foundation-funded project focused on measuring the impact that employers can have on students transferring from community colleges to four-year institutions and graduating with a degree in science, technology, engineering or math. Prior to joining BHEF, Hughes was the director of public/private partnerships for Project Lead the Way, leading the organization’s development of strategic relationships and a national STEM education agenda. Hughes was also a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists. In this position, she focused on creating opportunities for students and educators to participate in America's research enterprise as a means to improving the competitiveness of U.S. industry and overall scientific literacy. Hughes also served as the executive liaison to the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Science of Science Policy Interagency Task Group. Hughes received her master's degree in international science and technology policy from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and her bachelor's degree in business from the George Washington University School of Business.
  • Matt Jordan, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Education Commission of the States - Debbie Hughes joined BHEF in 2011. Hughes oversees the development and implementation of numerous strategic areas of the National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative, including: programmatic activities in emerging fields, such as cybersecurity and data science and analytics; research on experiential learning; and validation of a process for strategic engagement between industry and higher education. Hughes also manages a National Science Foundation-funded project focused on measuring the impact that employers can have on students transferring from community colleges to four-year institutions and graduating with a degree in science, technology, engineering or math. Prior to joining BHEF, Hughes was the director of public/private partnerships for Project Lead the Way, leading the organization’s development of strategic relationships and a national STEM education agenda. Hughes was also a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists. In this position, she focused on creating opportunities for students and educators to participate in America's research enterprise as a means to improving the competitiveness of U.S. industry and overall scientific literacy. Hughes also served as the executive liaison to the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Science of Science Policy Interagency Task Group. Hughes received her master's degree in international science and technology policy from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and her bachelor's degree in business from the George Washington University School of Business.
  • Stephanie Veck, Director, Colorado Workforce Development Council Stephanie Veck is the Director of the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC), a dynamic public-private partnership that is a Governor appointed, business-led, coalition of industry, state agencies and their local system partners. This coalition works to create an integrated talent development system that meets the needs of students, job-seekers, workers and businesses by aligning education, training, workforce and economic development efforts with the needs of industry. Stephanie serves on the Governors Business Experiential Learning Commission, the Denver Public Schools Career Connect Board, and the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance Board; and is an Executive Board Member of the Colorado STEM Champion’s. She was the founding program director of Colorado Companies to Watch and continues to serve on its Legacy Board. She has become known as a national leader in cross-agency and public-private partnerships, sharing Colorado’s work with national audiences through a variety of outlets. A Colorado native and entrepreneur, Stephanie earned her business degree from Adams State University and experienced the practical, day-to-day realities of managing a business first by running a rapidly expanding company in three states, and then by starting, and operating two businesses in Colorado. Prior to leading the CWDC, she worked for the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade. Stephanie balances her busy professional life with the motto “work hard, play harder”, and enjoys the great outdoors with her husband Bill, friends and family including two grandchildren.
  • Jeff Wasden, President, Colorado Business Roundtable