SCAPE centers around a group of startup veterans who lend their skills and experience to the selected ventures. Their backgrounds are immense, but we have tried our best to capture some of their experience here.
Suzanne Cartier Bowker
Kristin Carpenter Ogden
Gary Masner has a very broad and diverse professional background. He has worked with everything from start-ups to billion dollar corporations. He is currently serving as CEO of Advanced Mobile Propulsion Testing.
In his years in business Masner has made some of his own mistakes, so he knows what works and what doesn’t work.
“I think my core strength is business and finance strategy. I can help companies get off the ground, as well as formalizing exit strategies for people who want to sell their business” he explains.
Masner earned a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY prior to his MBA from Stanford University. He credits his work with McKinsey and Company, international consultants as providing the valuable experience he gained in working on business strategy with companies in various industries. Additional experience includes running a computer company, 10 years in venture capital and starting and selling two companies.
“It’s really an honor to work with all these talented people who really care and who want to help these businesses be successful.”
Jim Mackay (co-founder)
Jim Mackay’s experience in business-to-business software development spans over 25 years, starting on the engineering side and eventually migrating to sales and marketing. He has founded or co-founded four companies, one which had a successful exit in 2011 and two which are still active. He has lived and worked in Canada and Texas, eventually moving to Durango in 2002. He has flown over 2 million miles during his career and now only travels on vacation.
He co-founded Durango Tech, a local group of more than 350 people interested in technology and its application. The group meets regularly and is involved in the promotion and avocation of technology related careers in the area.
Jim spends all his time outside, on his bike or his skis or his raft. He recently rode across the USA along the Continental Divide, and is undoubtedly plotting his next adventure as you read this.
Barbara Heinrich is a former corporate executive who guides start-up and established companies in setting and implementing strategic marketing directions. She is a recognized thought leader for establishing and building brands, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and social networking. As a co-founder of Braxis Consulting, Ms. Heinrich has served as an advisor to a broad range of consumer product and service concerns.
Previously, Ms. Heinrich has held Chief Marketing Officer positions with iOwn, a leading Internet mortgage provider acquired by Citibank, Beverages and More, a venture funded multi-state retailer of wines and spirits and Charles Schwab & Co., the leading retail brokerage firm. She has also been the Director of Business Development for Williams-Sonoma, Director of Corporate Planning for Transamerica as well as holding various positions with Cresap, McCormick and Paget, Levi Strauss and Co. and the First National Bank of Chicago. Ms. Heinrich was instrumental in the public offerings of Williams-Sonoma and Charles Schwab & Co.
Ms. Heinrich holds an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business where she was a Bettendorf Fellow. She also holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated summa cum laude.
Bill Johnsen has spent the bulk of his career in the post-acute healthcare arena. He currently owns and operates several home healthcare companies. He is also involved in several other ventures in bio-tech and technology. Bill is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a dropout of the MBA program at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. Raised in Minnesota, he currently divides his time between Durango and Phoenix.
Bill Smith is Managing Director of E7 Systems LLC. Over the last 13 years E7 has developed the technology behind over 20 startups. E7 has developed web and mobile applications in the areas of entertainment, engineering, social marketing, auctions and real estate. E7 Systems built the technology that powers Audioair and created the original BuzzTown social marketing network.
Bill is also a founding partner of the Ironwood Advisory business consulting network. Prior to founding E7 Systems, bill was manager of Research and Development for Optimark Technologies, a Durango startup that challenged the NYSE with a friction free crossing network.
As a mentor with SCAPE Bill is privileged to share his knowledge of lean business development, Internet marketing and social software development with engaged entrepreneurs. Bill thrives on the energy and uncertainty of startups.
Mr. Skowlund has 17 years of executive management and business development experience in the technology industry. As Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Syndicom, John is responsible for marketing strategy and sales growth.
Previously John was the CEO of Avilar, Inc., a provider of workforce performance management and e-learning software and services. Avilar serves corporate and government clients around the world including Xerox, GM, Ameriquest, US Army, DISA and the Government of Mexico. In 2005, Avilar was selected to Deloitte’s Fast 50 for its rapid growth over 3 years. Earlier in his career, John was founder and COO of Re-route Corporation, the provider of switching services for consumers changing Internet providers. Re-route provided the service to clients including Microsoft, America Online, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Comcast.
John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Cornell University, where he won the Entrepreneurial Award at Cornell’s Johnson School of Management for his employment referral software business. He is married to Dr. Dawn Mulhern, a Fort Lewis College professor, and they have two sons.
Sarah understands not only the complexity of a start-up, but also the thrill of it: “I love coaching people and teaching the steps to take, in the right order, so they can save time and money and shorten their learning curve, which means they can stay focused on the creativity and fun of being an entreprenette,” says Sarah.
Sarah’s visual sense and creative talents showed themselves early: she studied costume design at Bennington College and the University of California, Berkeley and then moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a costume supervisor for film and TV. In 1998, she developed a very successful line of handbags that were embraced by celebrities and sold in over 1200 boutiques and major department stores throughout the US. Within a year Sarah Shaw Handbags could be found on the pages of InStyle, Oprah, People, Lucky and Marie Claire magazines.
When Sarah realized that her flare for design and conceptualization translated easily into ideas for home and lifestyle products, she created her patented Handy Hold All® and launched Simply Sarah, an e-commerce website that is committed to providing beautiful and practical products for the home.
The innovative designer and entrepreneur was also behind the successful, made-to-order costume company, Raggs to Order, which they manufactured costumes for Matrix 2, Matrix 3, Ocean’s 11 and Star Trek 8, among many others.
Sarah currently resides in Durango, CO. When she isn’t designing or helping to guide new businesses, she enjoys entertaining, gardening, and doing crafts with her five-year-old twin daughters in the hopes that they will come up with her next great invention.
Richard is a technology strategist and start-up veteran with over 20 years experience in all aspects of building B2B software companies and launching new products into emerging markets. Schooled in electrical engineering at CU Boulder, Richard’s career in product management, marketing and sales has focused on securing venture financing and growing 5 companies and a dozen product families from $0 revenue.
Richard is currently Chief Marketing Officer at AlchemyAPI (recently acquired by IBM Watson), a creator of artificial intelligence web services for natural language understanding and computer vision. Prior to AlchemyAPI, Richard was the EVP of Worldwide Marketing at Rally Software (NYSE: RALY) where he helped the company grow from eight people through its successful IPO in 2013. In 2002, Richard was VP Product Management for Insightful Corp (Tibco), and earlier in his career Richard left Hewlett Packard’s test and measurement group to become a co-founder and founding executive at three Colorado start-ups including Mobilize, Requisite (IBM Rational) and Software Edge (Serena).
Jasper Welch is married (Susie Louis, 1975), with two children (Corrie & Aaron) and four grandchildren. He has been a resident of Durango, CO since 1976. Educated at the University of Colorado [B.S, 1975], Jasper has earned certifications in NxLevel®, PDP ProScan®, Growth Wheel® and Marketing for Smarties™ . As a life-long entrepreneur, Mr. Welch has worked in the printing, office products, marketing, business incubation, coworking and management consulting fields. He has previously served as an independent director on the Stoneage, Inc (water blast tools); Fast Track Communications (telecommunications) company Boards. Jasper presently serves on the Board of WSI, Inc (oil & gas field services) and Data West Corporation (utility billing systems).
For 23 years, Jasper has operated his management-consulting firm, Four Corners Management Systems. Mr. Welch has provided management advisory services to businesses, individuals, government agencies and non-profit organizations. Jasper’s depth and breadth of management and leadership experience uniquely qualifies him for a variety of client work and projects. In the pursuit of community service, Jasper has served as a local Chamber executive, including being a twice-elected Council member on the Durango, CO City Council (1991-1999) including two one-year terms as Mayor.
In February 2011, Mr. Welch & Nancy Wharton cofounded DurangoSpace , a full service coworking facility located in downtown Durango. Since 2013, Jasper is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the SW Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE).
From 1999 to 2011, Jasper worked at San Juan College as the director of the Enterprise Center (a business incubator located in Farmington, NM. During 2013 and 2014, Jasper served as the President & CEO at the National Business Incubation Association during the Association transition and subsequent move to Orlando, FL. He is recognized as a subject matter expert on start-ups, entrepreneurial support organizations and business incubation. Jasper has presented at NBIA, CABI, EBN and IEDC conferences on various panels, including co-presenting for NBIA’s Serving Client Companies workshop.
John Witchel is currently the Chief Technology Officer for SendMe, an innovative mobile entertainment company based in San Francisco. Additionally, Mr. Witchel co-founded one of the most innovative companies of the Web 2.0 wave, Prosper Marketplace. Prosper was the first people-to-people lending marketplace and the company that launched the P2P lending industry. An active software designer, Mr. Witchel was the architect and lead developer of Prosper. Prosper raised over $75M from such top venture firms as Benchmark, Accel, and Fidelity Ventures. Mr. Witchel served on the board of directors.
Mr. Witchel is a veteran entrepreneur whose expertise in massively scalable architectures and high-performance computing helped spawn a number of successful start-up companies.
As a technology visionary, he was responsible for the breakthrough phenomenon of FlashMob Supercomputing, a massive computing collaboration designed to make supercomputing available to the masses.
Prior to co-founding Prosper, Mr. Witchel developed BrowserCam, a patented online tool for testing the cross-browser compatibility of websites. BrowserCam was acquired in 2007 by Compuware. During that time he also developed EmailReach.com an innovative counter-anti-spam tool for marketing professionals. EmailReach was sold to the current management and continues today as a successful ongoing company.
In 1999, Mr. Witchel was the CEO and co-founder of Red Gorilla, a pioneer in online application syndication. Prior to Red Gorilla, he founded XCom Corporation, a leading web consultancy that was acquired by USWeb/CKS, where Mr. Witchel served as a managing partner.
John currently sits on the Board of Directors of Shopatron, UserTesting and Animas High School.
He holds a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. in political science from Stanford University. He is a former American record holder and NCAA champion in swimming and an avid Baja 1000 off-road racer.
John Wolgamott is the Chairman and co-founder of StoneAge Inc. He has served on its board of directors from the beginning in 1979 and is still active in helping guide company strategy and management. StoneAge is 100% employee owned, and has grown to become the leading manufacturer of waterblast tools worldwide. They have over 150 active distributors in 40 countries, with more than 50% of sales outside the US.
John graduated from the University of Colorado’s School of Engineering and did graduate work at the Colorado School of Mines. John has served on various local and national governing boards.
John is a major owner of Girard Properties LLC, a local commercial real estate firm. He is also part owner and managing member of Peak Brewing LLC which operates two local restaurants.
The Durango atmosphere appeals to John’s active nature and love of the outdoors. He enjoys the skiing, hiking, biking, and camping, right out the back door. He has rafted many rivers, bike toured in dozens of countries around the world, and sailed in warm waters during the winter. He’s lucky to have his wife Angie join him in these activities and spending time with their four daughters and three grandchildren.
Tom Barney has a long history in the outdoor industry, board leadership and philanthropy organizations. For 16 years, Tom served as sales and marketing director for Royal Robbins (RR) and then as CEO. Later he joined Osprey Packs as CEO. These two industry experiences have provided a complementary challenge in both the soft goods and equipment categories.
Tom has led teams of committed outdoor professionals at both RR and Osprey resulting in significant sales and employment growth, plus the ability to give back to our industry.
Over the years, Tom has served on several philanthropic boards including Modesto Rotary, the Modesto Rotary Foundation, Kids Works, University YMCA, and Trails 2000 in Durango, CO.
Tom received a bachelor of arts from Lawrence University in Economics and Geology and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.
Suzanne Cartier Bowker
Suzanne Cartier Bowker is currently a Managing Member of Durango Urgent Care and Aztec Urgent Care and Office of Medical Management. As a business owner Suzanne wears many hats, but her primary focus is financial oversight, marketing, and business development.
A 20 year resident of Durango, Suzanne spent several years as a mortgage broker opening Southwest Mortgage in 1998. In addition, she was a founding member of The Bank of the San Juans, holding the position of Executive Vice-President and served on the Board of Directors.
With a penchant for startup’s, Suzanne is honored to work with the SCAPE group and is committed to empowering others in achieving their greater potential.
With a Caribbean soul she can barely control, Suzanne’s passions are sailing, flying, and skiing.
Mark is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Character.Org (aka, Character Education Partnership (CEP) (www.character.org), a non-profit advocacy and resource group dedicated to improving our society by teaching what it means to be a person of moral and performance character and by providing the resources to corporations, parents and teachers to achieve this improvement.
Mark actively performs in a semi-professional bluegrass band, The Badly Bent. He has recently had the honor to be a member of Michael Martin Murphey and the Rio Grande Band at several shows.
Mark’s term expired in July 2013 as President/Vice-President of the Board of Directors and co-founder of Mountain Middle School, a start-up charter middle school in Durango which opened in August 2011.
He owned Canyon Music from January 2000 to January 2008, a full service acoustic instrument store based in Durango.
Mark was co-founder and principal consultant with Utility Graphics Consultants, which became UGC Consulting, which became Convergent Group, which was ultimately sold to Schlumberger. During the 15 years with Convergent Group, he was in a variety of roles from Principal Consultant, President, to President and CEO of Graphic Data Systems, a Convergent Group member company. Along with a long-time friend and college associate, they grew Convergent Group from a two person start-up to a firm with over 450 employees and $130 million in annual revenue.
Mark’s expertise is in startup and management consulting, including organizational adaptation to technology, cost-benefit analyses, strategic planning, and multi-organizational coordination and cooperation.
Mark also plays a lot of banjo.
Tim Wheeler has 18 years experience in various engineering and management positions in the high-technology industry in the USA and in Asia. In 1994 Tim left his position as Director of Marketing with Apple Computer Asia based in Hong Kong to move his family to Durango. At Apple Computer he led the development of Chinese, Thai, and Korean Mac systems, including a Chinese desktop publishing suite of products that allowed Apple to initially break into the Chinese computer market. After moving to Durango he operated his small-business consulting firm for 10 years before purchasing the Durango Coffee Company retail store in 2004 and creating the Durango Compost Company in 2008, both of which he currently owns and operates. He also is collaborating with another local entrepreneur to develop a Resource Recovery Park in La Plata County, that envisages utilizing recyclable resources from our local waste stream to develop value added products in a themed business park setting.
Over his career Tim developed a passion for connecting his love of a wholesome outdoors/environment with the need to harness the positive parts of our capitalist economy towards an environmentally and economically sustainable future. To this end Tim has been bringing this perspective to his involvment in many local Durango area organizations and activities. He is a Leadership La Plata Graduate (1996-97), served on the board of Durango Natural Foods, the Durango Business Improvement District, Sunrise Credit Union, and has been a founding board member of the Southwest Colorado Chapter of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society, 4CORE, Local First, and participated in a number of other economic development activities over his 20+ years as a resident in La Plata county.
He has received an Advanced Management Certificate from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and an Electronics Diploma from DeVry Institute of Technology, and lives in La Plata county with his wife of 31 years, Ann and has two grown children, Luke and Alexandra.
Steve Ruddell’s 35-year career includes public and private forest resource management, forest policy, forest economic & market research, manufacturing management, and supply chain management. Steve has lead the start-up of five organizations including four US-based for-profit companies/business units, and one international not-for-profit nongovernmental organization.
Steve is currently the Founder and Principal at CarbonVerde, a bio-carbon project and policy consulting firm with headquarters in Durango, Colorado. Over the past 18 years Mr. Ruddell has lead several private sector companies and organizations in investing in forest conservation and sustainability initiatives using market-based mechanisms that include carbon asset management strategies for trading emission reduction credits, and investing in sustainable forest management domestically and internationally. Mr. Ruddell’s international work spans 20 countries.
Working in voluntary and compliance forest carbon markets since 2003, Mr. Ruddell has influenced the development of sustainability standards, and US and regional forest-climate policies through his involvement and leadership in; the Forest Climate Working Group, the Society of American Foresters Climate Change Task Force, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative forest management standard, the Chicago Climate Exchange’s forest offsets protocols, and the North American Forest Carbon Standards Committee. In 2009 Mr. Ruddell provided testimony before the House Agriculture Committee on pending climate change legislation, and briefed Senate and House Agriculture Committee staff as part of a panel on the role of forests and forest offsets in US climate legislation.
Steve holds a BS in Forest Management from Utah State University, an MS in Forestry and MBA in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University, and has completed three years of post-graduate work towards a PhD in natural resource economics.
Kristin Carpenter Ogden
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden is founder and CEO of Verde Brand Communications, one of the leading agencies in the active outdoor lifestyle markets of bike, outdoor, snow, endurance and travel. For the past 15 years, Kristin’s lead strategy for Verde and develops new solutions for Verde’s clients to connect, engage and activate their audiences, fans, followers and customers.
She’s also is the founder of the Intrepid Entrepreneur, her community and coaching business dedicated to supporting passion-driven entrepreneurs in these markets as they grow their brands and businesses. At Intrepid, Kristin creates free weekly content for passion-driven entrepreneurs and offers a weekly podcast also called the Intrepid Entrepreneur.
A competitive amateur cyclist, boulderer, ice climber and sometimes mountaineer – Kristin’s a consummate outdoor sport aficionado whose built her dream life in the small Colorado mountain town of Durango. She’s married to Jared Ogden and has two kids: Tobin and Bella.
Stew Mosberg retired to Colorado in 2001. He was formerly the Senior Vice President, Managing Director of the New York office of Lipson Alport Glass & Associates and has more than 30 years of branding, corporate identity, package design, and product development programs to his credit.
Stew guided many international corporate clients in their branding efforts: including such well-known consumer brands as: Colgate-Palmolive, M&M Mars, Ocean Spray, Perrier, and Pepsi-Cola.
He was a past President of the Package Design Council, Int’l and has lectured internationally, appeared on radio and television and has been published in books and journals throughout the world. He created and taught courses at the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design in New York and is the author or two books on design.
Stew is also a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and is a past advisor to the U.S. Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment on designing for the environment. He continues to consult on marketing and design and is an active author and journalist.
After 17 years in the motion picture industry, Tim and his wife, Petra, left Los Angeles and moved to Durango in 2013. While not intending to continue his professional career in Durango, Tim joined software company Data West as their general manager. After reorganizing the company and shoring up the financials, Data West was successfully sold to Constellation Software, a Canadian public company.
In Los Angeles, Tim worked for the world’s largest post production companies, Technicolor and Deluxe. At Technicolor, Tim looked after sales, technology and lead several large divisions as president. After 10 years at Technicolor, Tim joined Deluxe where he lead world-wide administration with responsibility for accounting, human resources, legal, real estate, engineering and information technology. Additionally, Tim had M&A responsibilities at Technicolor and Deluxe. Prior to working for Technicolor and Deluxe, Tim acquired and operated Nova Lighting, a 40 employee lighting manufacturer located in Southern California.
Tim earned an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA and is on the board of FastTrack, a Durango based provider of high speed internet and voice communication solutions.
When Tim’s not spending time with Petra and their standard poodle, Ivy, he’s riding or wrenching on one of his motorcycles.
Jeff is co-founder of Tailwind Nutrition, along with his wife Jenny. Tailwind helps endurance athletes reach their goals with nutrition products that overcome the challenges of multi-hour events, coupled with support to maximize performance. Tailwind started as a small kitchen experiment to solve Jeff’s nutrition-related challenges racing the Leadville 100 and is now a growing brand fueled by enthusiastic customers and sold online, in over 500 retail shops, and internationally in Europe, Asia, and Australia-Pacific regions. Jeff and Jenny enjoy sharing their experiences growing Tailwind with SCAPE participants.
Prior to founding Tailwind, Jeff was involved in a number of startups, including River Sombrero (shade systems for river rafts), as VP Product Development for Syndicom (HIPAA-compliant online case collaboration for surgeons and trauma physicians), restoration phase project manager and first board president of what is today the Powerhouse Science Center, and co-founder of KivaNet (wireless ISP serving rural areas of La Plata County, sold to Brainstorm). Jeff started his career as a Program Manager at Microsoft responsible for design and project management of Word and Visual Basic product releases. In addition to the Powerhouse Science Center, Jeff has participated in numerous community projects, including the Liberty School, Mountain Middle School, and serving as past Chair of the La Plata County Planning Commission.
Jeff holds a B.S. with Honors and Distinction in Values, Technology, Science, and Society from Stanford University. He is an avid mountain biker, having completed 1000 miles of the Leadville 100 and enjoys the Durango outdoor lifestyle with his wife and two daughters.
Dr. Alicia Robb is a Senior Fellow with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She is the Founder and CEO of Next Wave Ventures, which has launched two angel funds and training programs in the United States and Europe that are focused on bringing more women into angel investing. She is also a Visiting Scholar with the University of California in Berkeley and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is the Founder and past Executive Director and Board Chair of the Foundation for Sustainable Development, an international development organization working in Latin America, Africa, and India. (www.fsdinternational.org).
Dr. Robb received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has previously worked with the Office of Economic Research in the Small Business Administration and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She is also a prolific author on the topic of entrepreneurship.
In addition to numerous journal articles and book chapters, she is the co-author of Race and Entrepreneurial Success published by MIT Press and A Rising Tide: Financing Strategies for Women-Owned Businesses and The Next Wave by Stanford University Press. She serves on the Board of the National Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprise, the Advisory Board for Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Deming Center Venture Fund, and is a guest contributor to outlets such as Huffington Post and Forbes.
Desert rat, dreamer, and Senior Test Engineer at Mozilla ~ Happily surfing test automation challenges and escaping into the world for dad-like adventures.
Betsy Fitzpatrick is the Director of Human Resources at StoneAge Tools. She has spent 15+ years in the human resources field, and holds senior certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management. Betsy received an English Literature degree from UC Berkeley and then happily misspent her early twenties working non-career-oriented jobs to fund her passion for long, solo bicycle tours. On one of these—a 3-month tour of the Southwest—she discovered Durango and moved here a year later, in 1991. Her positions in Durango have included an 8-year stint at Yeti Cycles, 9 years at Trigon Engineering, and 6 years (and counting) at StoneAge. In both 2014 and 2016, StoneAge made Outside Magazine’s list of “Best Places To Work,” which reflects StoneAge’s unique culture, great benefits, and employee-ownership structure.
Betsy’s passion for HR stems from a strong desire to be of service and to make the workplace the best it can be so employees can flourish. She geeks out on topics like employment law, benefits, and performance management, but also identifies ways to make humor, fun, camaraderie, and community support an integral part of the workplace. Her latest project is partnering with her colleagues to introduce improved change management initiatives in the organization.
Bob Stewart has worked in product design, development and engineering management for the past 40+ years, primarily with startup and emerging growth companies. Most recently he was the engineering technical director for a global manufacturer of visual and electronic animal identification products used in livestock, wildlife and companion animal applications.
Bob has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) degree from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Chicago. He has several issued patents and a few pending applications. Having sued and having been sued for patent infringement, Bob is an experienced novice in intellectual property matters.
As a recovering shop tool addict, Bob struggles daily with the divestiture of his duplicate power tools. He is also a recent recipient of the prestigious Paul Bunyan “What was I thinking when I bought a 40-acre forest?” award. Bob began plotting his escape from Boulder 15 years ago, choosing as his destination southwestern Colorado for its proximity-to-nowhere appeal. Recently retired, Bob now lives as an emancipated front-range refugee in the Mancos area with his wife Debra and their pound-puppy wonder-dog Macky.
Geoff Wolf founded two businesses in Durango. A Unicorn’s Garden remained a regional brand and the Back In The Saddle catalog competed successfully in the national marketplace. After successfully selling both businesses he became a Partner in a consulting firm based in the San Francisco area that specialized in catalog marketing. A decade later, after the marketing company was acquired by a larger database firm, he joined J.Schmid, a national direct marketing agency, as Executive Vice President of Marketing. Geoff also maintains his own consulting practice based here in Durango.
Geoff has lived in Durango since 1982 when was hired by Purgatory to open a new restaurant at the base of the ski area. He spent the following 5 years as Food and Beverage Director at the ski area before joining Kraft Foods as a Territory Manager. He credits his time with Kraft brand for his initial immersion into brand marketing.
“The resource that SCAPE offers today did not exist when I started my businesses in Durango. In 1986 entrepreneurs such as myself were truly on our own. I was able to start a small retail business just off Main Street, add a second direct marketing business from the hallways of the Graden building and eventually execute a plan to sell the catalog to a larger company in Boston. SCAPE offers an opportunity for me to share my experience with those who dare to take the entrepreneurial path.”
Geoff’s strength is his experience in building brands, telling a successful story and deploying business models that will stand the test of national competition.
Howard Mulcahey has broad and diverse professional experience. Over the past 37 years, he has served as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, other senior management roles as well as profit and loss management and economics/valuation consultant. Howard has worked with a broad and diverse set of businesses, from start-ups and small entrepreneurial companies to billion dollar multi-national corporations.
As a new resident of Durango, Howard is looking forward to sharing his experiences from building companies, managing in large companies, as well as a consultant, coach, and mentor to new college graduates.
“My core strength is financial management, analysis, business planning and research. I can help companies research and plan new businesses, establish valuations, raise funding, and optimize operationally.”
Howard earned a Bachelor’s degree from Hobart College in Geneva, NY then an MBA in Finance from the University of Rochester’s Simon School.
When not working on home improvements, motorcycle riding, or at the gym, he enjoys reading and learning new finance and analysis skills.
Laura E. Hokanson is a CPA who has used her combination of over two decades and of public accounting and teaching experience to provide new and growing small businesses with a broad variety of creative and practical accounting, consulting and tax services. Laura is also a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and has worked with a variety of other accounting software packages, including not-for-profit and construction specific packages, which allows her to provide her clients with a variety of accounting software consulting services.
Laura works toward improving her client’s operating efficiency and effectiveness by systematically identifying, assessing, and providing the consulting, accounting, and business service needs of her clients. Calling upon her two decades of experience in the church, faith-based, not-for-profit and construction and other small business industries, Laura tailors her business solutions to meet the unique and frequently changing needs of new and growing businesses.
Rich Lindblad taught entrepreneur workshops on the East Coast at the undergraduate and graduate level for 15 years. His interest in small businesses led him to launch, run and sell several small businesses himself, including a Christmas tree farm in New Jersey, where picking out hand-trimmed trees was a festive experience, not just an errand.
Rich currently teaches the Next Level Leading Edge program in Pagosa Springs and, as a business advisor, spends a fair amount of time with “business owners and people who think they want to go into business but are not sure,” he says. “It’s a coaching exercise, and if you can do it right, you can help lots of people.”
He describes his advising areas as having “no limit.” “You never know what you’re getting into when you provide advice to people – restaurants, cafes, retail stores, private businesses. To be able to turn them around and have them see what they don’t see – that is my job,” Lindblad states. He also offers what he terms as “an environmental scan” of a business. “If you trust me long enough to let me come and hang out with you, I’ll notice things about your retail establishment that customers see that you don’t see because you are too close to it. That is the fun part.” Rich also enjoys working on financials and sharing the concept of utilization.
A self-proclaimed “wannabe chef” who has taken close to 40 cooking classes, Lindblad gives cooking classes in the winter for seniors at the Pagosa Community Center. His favorite cuisine to cook? “Southwestern – not too hot but with a lot of unusual flavors.”
Jim is a startup growth strategist and technology coach. Over the years, Jim has assisted hundreds of organizations with getting, keeping and growing customers. Now his focus is on helping startups.
With experience in customer development, designing and implementing growth, digital marketing and CRM technology strategies, Jim and his team at LaunchHawk Marketing offer a comprehensive range of services designed specifically to help startups successfully scale their businesses.
Jim is an active member of the Telluride community. He currently serves on the Board of KOTO-fm Community Radio. Jim also volunteers his time generously to many other local non-profits, is a mentor for the Telluride Venture Accelerator and with Techstars Startup Weekend and StartupNEXT programs and is “DJ Jimmy Jazz” on KOTO-fm in Telluride.
Joe Bishop started his career an architect in the ‘70s and transitioned out of architecture into a career in commercial real estate development, interacting along the way with numerous small businesses – both as a landlord, and for some, as an investor/advisor. Joe received his Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Texas in 1976. He started his own architectural firm in 1979 that later morphed into real estate development and construction company in Houston. He then started Bishop Development Company in Atlanta in the 90s. Along the way he formed in excess of 30 partnerships and ventures in 7 states.
Joe relocated to Durango in 2007 and enjoys all that SW Colorado has to offer. He is a business advisor at the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College. From 2008 until 2013 he served as the Program Director of the Durango program of SOS Outreach, a mentoring program for at-risk youth, and presently serves on the SOS local advisory board. He has also serves on the board of The Animas Water Company and recently served on the board of The iAM Music Institute.
Liz Ross is Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Ross provides one-on-one business counseling to existing and start-up businesses in the five (5) county area of Region 9 in southwestern Colorado. Ross, formerly the Director of Rural Outreach and Development for Alaska had been a small business owner, retired CEO of an Alaska Native Corporation, and has done extensive training and consulting with small business in the area of planning and economic development. Ross is one of 64 Alaska Natives with a doctorate and the only documented (so far) Alaska Native with a doctorate in Business. Ross has experience in both academia and small business.
Dorian Rader is the Executive Director and co-founder of New Mexico Start-Up Factory, a technology transfer organization, paired with an investment fund that licenses innovations from research institutions to create investable high-tech companies. An experienced water entrepreneur herself, Dorian has launched 13 high-tech companies, including EcoPesticides International and Zocere Pharmaceuticals. With a background in finance and operations, she has a proven track record of taking companies from idea to industry, while ensuring the formation of a stable and fiscally responsible corporate infrastructure.
She is also currently serves as the Vice President of the New Mexico Angels, where she works to source high growth investment opportunities, while performing due diligence and managing the investment portfolio after an equity deal has been made. Rader is also a General Partner with Rio Vista Growth Capital, a New Mexico mezzanine fund where she manages the operations and financials of the fund’s investments. Additionally, she has worked with the University of New Mexico patent office, was the Angel in Residence at Sandia National Laboratories, and served as Senior Associate at national VC firm, Village Capital. Dorian advises and coaches entrepreneurs on equity investments across many different organizations in New Mexico and Colorado. She earned a B.A. from the University of New Mexico in Entrepreneurial Studies.