EDC Board of Directors

EDC Board of Directors

Carrie Schiff – Chairman

Carrie Schiff is a business lawyer specializing in corporate and transactional matters. As both a seasoned business executive and outside counsel, Carrie has participated in the development and execution of commercialization strategies for a range of companies, from global multinational companies to start-ups, in industries ranging from telecommunications to organic food. Prior to co-founding Sage Law Group, Carrie was Chief Legal and Risk Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of MWH Global, Inc., a leading multinational, employee-owned civil engineering and construction firm based in Broomfield. Before joining MWH, Carrie served as SVP, general Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Flextronics International, Ltd. (Nasdaq:FLEX), a leading global electronics manufacturing services company. Carrie’s past in-house experience also includes serving as SVP, Corporate Development and General Counsel at USA.NET, Inc. in Colorado Springs.

Carrie came to Boulder to open the Colorado practice of Cooley LLP in 1993. Carrie was a member of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and was a recipient of the Legends in Law Burton Award in 2008.

Karen Blumenstein – Board Member

Karen Blumenstein is the principal at Flower & Stone, Ltd. and leads the development of commercial real estate projects, including power centers and grocery anchored shopping centers with national tenants such as Cabelas, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target and Kohl’s. In addition, she represents private and governmental entities in meeting their development goals with an emphasis on public-private partnerships (P3s).

Prior to founding Flower & Stone, she was a developer with THF Realty, Inc. Karen has received numerous accolades for her real estate development work, including the CREW Women of Influence 2013 Dealmaker Award and the Denver Business Journal 2014 and 2012 Power Book Finalist.

Blumenstein is a past Board Member of Urban Peak and currently serves on the board of Afrika Tikkun. She graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Business and Sociology and received her law degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University.

Denise Brown – Board Member

Denise Brown’s career spans over 35 years working in both the public and private sectors in Colorado. Before retiring in 2012, she served as the Interim Executive Director of the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority, which is the developer of a bioscience business park affiliated with the University of Colorado. Prior to this appointment she spent three years as a consultant working with clients such as the University of Colorado, the Colorado BioScience Association, the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, the Boettcher Foundation and the Fitzsimons Redevelopment.

Denise served as the first Executive Director of the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA). During her tenure, the CBSA expanded to 400 members and evolved into an organization that provides over 60 programs annually for the industry. CBSA initiatives over the last three years resulted in over $30 million of new state-supported programs for early stage bioscience technologies and companies.

Denise also served in senior administrative positions for 20 years at the University of Colorado including Executive Assistant to the President of the University, Chief Planning Officer for the CU Health Sciences Center, and Assistant Director of the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology. Prior to this, Denise worked for the House Majority Office at the Colorado General Assembly for two years (1975-1977). From 1977 through 1984, she worked for the Governor of Colorado as Assistant to the Governor for Human Services, Director of the Governor’s Job Training Office, and in the Office of Appointments to Boards and Commissions.

Denise attended the University of Denver and received a B.A. in political science.

Rob Brown – Board Member

Rob Brown is the executive director for Fremont Economic Development Corporation located in Cañon City, Colorado and is using his experience and capabilities to build economic capacity for rural southern Colorado.  Rob is an accomplished entrepreneur, team builder, facilitator and corporate problem solver.  His specific areas of professional focus are automotive repair information systems, new business development, computer aided design concepts and factory automation strategies.

Rob is a four generation Colorado native and takes a great deal of pride in continuing his family’s legacy in the state.  His family first settled in Elbert County in 1868 and has been active in enhancing the quality of life in Colorado through their various endeavors, since that time.  Rob is a pioneer in spirit and routinely encourages inventors and entrepreneurs from outside the state to bring their innovative ideas and concepts to Colorado to secure their individual legacies as well.

Rob is a past national standing committee chairman for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), an Eagle Scout and a recent North Star Award winner, the highest award given to a civilian by the Boy Scouts of America.  As a dedicated community leader and volunteer, Rob has worked in numerous capacities with local government, civic boards and not for profit organizations during his career.

Tom Clark – Board Member

Tom Clark is CEO of Collaborative Economic Development, LLC, an economic development consulting company for major metro regions in the U.S. and Canada.

Clark is recently retired from 35 years of economic development programs in Colorado. Over 25 of those years were as an employee of the Metro Denver Chamber and its Economic Development organizations. Clark is nationally known for his role in Metro Denver’s successful collaborative economic development systems that resulted in the creation and growth of one of the most metropolitan regions in the U.S. An Clark is an often sought after speaker on issues related to economic strategies, marketing and public relations and the management of regional economic development programs.

Benita Duran – Board Member

Benita Duran is a 5th generation Colorado native raised in Pueblo and currently living in Boulder. She has extensive professional expertise in community engagement and organizational capacity building, government affairs and workforce development arenas throughout the southwest.

Early in her public sector career Benita was an aide to Denver Mayor Federico Peña, where she was responsible for city employee programs, neighborhood outreach and the construction employment efforts in the building of DIA. Her municipal management interests prompted her move from Denver to Boulder for a position in the City Manager’s Office. She served as Assistant City Manager of Boulder for over eight years. Recently, Benita directed the outreach and engagement program for the Denver Public Schools (DPS) 2008 and 2012 general obligation construction bond program. She also served as the government liaison between DPS and the City and County of Denver. Prior to this, she was the Vice President and Director of Southwest Regional Government Affairs at CH2M Hill.

Duran is an active member of the community and has served on over 15 nonprofit organizations’ board of directors in Denver and Boulder. She is a past chair of the Mi Casa Resource Center Board of Directors, as well as past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. Duran also served on the International City and County Management Association (ICMA) Board of Directors as the Mountain Plains Vice President, a professional association of city/county public sector managers. She is presently on the Board of Directors of Boulder Community Health, the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and National History Day Colorado. She is a member of the Colorado Women’s Forum and the International Women’s Forum.

Duran graduated from the University of Denver with degrees in Economics and Public Affairs. She earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Chris Franz – Board Member

Chris Franz is the managing director of Pioneer Fund.  Chris has over 20 years of experience in building and scaling high technology, high growth companies. Chris has founded more than 10 startups focusing on emerging technology, data analytics, SaaS software and data center systems. He has built companies funded by venture capital, angel capital and bootstrapping. He is a respected mentor, board member and leader of the startup movement in Colorado. Chris has run technology organizations with budgets from nearly nothing to $3.5B and enjoyed all of them. He has managed multiple investment funds focused on Colorado start-ups and has served on numerous start-up and non-profit boards to drive the entrepreneurial ecosystem including the boards of Startup Colorado and Peak Startup. Chris holds a Masters degree from Stanford University and a Bachelors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Chris is passionate about driving economic opportunity and diversity through startups. Plus, he just loves Colorado.

Tara Marshall – Board Member

Tara is the Community Development Director for the City of Trinidad and heads up the City’s development services as well as assisting in many of the City’s economic development and community revitalization efforts. In her time in Trinidad, Tara has worked to establish the Corazon de Trinidad Creative District, Trinidad Historic Main Street, and Trinidad Urban Renewal Authority. She leads the Trinidad City Council in all policy discussion related to land use and was responsible for updating the City’s comprehensive and strategic plan. Prior to her time in local government, Tara lived in Dallas, Texas and worked in the wine industry. As the Texas State Marketing Manager for Glazer’s Wholesale Domaines and Estates division, she managed a fine wine portfolio of primarily imported and high end domestic wines and was recognized for significantly improving profit margins, increasing sales, strategically managing relationships with key wineries and implementing best practices.

Tara has a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and is pursuing a Master’s Degree from University of Colorado Denver. Tara is a Board Member of Downtown Colorado Inc. and serves on the Colorado State Main Street Advisory Board and the Colorado Tourism Destination Development Committee.

Robert Price – Board Member

Robert Price currently serves as Chairman and CEO for Highlands Natural Resources (Highlands), a publicly traded London Stock Exchange listed company, located in Denver, Colorado. Highlands’ primary focus is developing oil and gas horizontal wells in the Denver-Julesburg Basin of Colorado.

Robert grew up in Colorado and received a Bachelors of Arts Degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. Before relocating back to his native state of Colorado, he lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma for more than two decades and received a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Tulsa. During his time in Oklahoma, Robert had assembled and managed a series of companies, including energy, real estate, and manufacturing, employing at times over a thousand people in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Mexico.

Robert has also served on numerous other state and local civic boards and commissions, including Family and Children Service, The Oklahoma Centennial Commission, Tulsa Hospital Authority and the Mental Health Association of Tulsa and served as an elected member of the Tulsa Technology Center governing board, which provides workforce training to thousands of Oklahomans. Price also volunteers on the Colorado based Daniels Scholarship Selection Committee.

Lisa Reeves – Board Member

Lisa Reeves is SVP of Product at Zenefits, where she is responsible for the development, management and execution of the product vision. Prior to joining Zenefits, Lisa was VP of corporate strategy at Workday, where she collaborated with customers and internal business leaders to develop and implement strategies to build sustainable, long term value. Lisa was previously co-founder and CEO of GridCraft, a data analytics company acquired by Workday in 2015. Prior to founding GridCraft, Lisa was the VP/GM at Citrix SaaS division when she held full P&L responsibility for the remote access solution, GoToMyPC. Before Citrix she spent 14 years at SAP in both operational and strategic roles, including heading up SAP Ventures, the corporate venture investing arm of SAP AG. She was also a General Partner at Vista Ventures, an early stage IT venture fund.

Lisa is a Blackstone Entrepreneur with the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network Colorado (BENCO) and serves on the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board for the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado. She is a mentor at Techstars, the world-wide startup accelerator, that was founded in Boulder, Colorado. In August 2017 she was appointed by the Colorado House of Representatives as a Commissioner to the Colorado Economic Development Commission.

Jay Seaton – Board Member

Jay Seaton is the publisher of The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colorado. Jay also oversees several local publications in western Colorado.

Prior to his arrival at the Sentinel in August 2009, Jay was a corporate and commercial litigation partner at the law firm of Lewis Rice & Fingersh in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to his position at Lewis Rice & Fingersh, Jay worked in toxic tort litigation at the law firm of Shook Hardy & Bacon.

Jay is former chair of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and serves on the boards of the Riverside Education Center, the Saccomanno Higher Educatin Foundation, St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation and Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Jay is also a member of The Colorado Forum. Jay holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and received his juris doctorate from Kasas University in 1996.

Betsy Markey – Executive Director, OEDIT

Betsy Markey was appointed by Governor Jared Polis to his cabinet as Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade in January 2019. She has over 30 years of leadership experience in government and the private sector. She has served as a Member of Congress, a senior federal executive, and the co-founder and CFO of a high tech company.

Betsy was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) based in Denver in 2016. In this capacity she oversaw the delivery of the agency’s small business programs and services in Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

In 2011, she was appointed by the President to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington DC. She facilitated the direct line of communication between the department and governors and mayors across the country on all DHS mission areas, including cyber security, terrorism prevention, transportation security, immigration enforcement, border security and disaster assistance.

Betsy was elected to serve as a Member of Congress in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District in 2008, and represented over 700,000 constituents in one of the country’s largest congressional districts in the 111th Congress. She served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Agriculture.

EDC Board of Directors