Clay Tufly, Alpine Bank
2018 Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board

We are all about to get inundated with commercials in the media, mailers on our doorsteps and robocalls about the various qualifications and worthiness of candidates seeking public office. A key characteristic that I think we all look for in these candidates is that they are knowledgeable leaders. . . folks that are “in it” for the right reasons and can lead others in the direction that results in a better “place” for everyone.

Here at the Chamber, we believe leaders are not necessarily born but are instead nurtured. That is why over 25 years ago the Mesa County Leadership Program was launched. The board at that time, along with all of our directors including those serving on the 2018 board, recognized that there are many local business people with a true desire to make our community, our nonprofits and our state a better place. All they need to move forward is an understanding of our community framework, a roadmap of how to serve and a support system that cheers them on past the inevitable naysayers and nitpickers.

The Mesa County Leadership Program provides just that with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers in various industry sectors giving information and guidance on the many important aspects of our community. On September 6th our newest class of 25 diverse, enthusiastic individuals begin their journey with an overnight leadership training retreat on the Grand Mesa. Over the next ten months, they will learn about local and state government, water in the west, health care, economic development, education, public lands management and much more. Eventually, they will graduate with a working knowledge of our community and 24 new friends and cheerleaders that will help them achieve new leadership levels in their companies and in our Valley.

I want to congratulate each of our attendees as well as their respective employers who have given them the time and support to attend this important program.

I’d also like to give a special shout out to the all-volunteer Steering Committee that helps make this program so successful year after year. Thank you for helping nurture our leaders!

Joe Burtard, Committee Chair (Leadership Class Graduate)
Angela Christensen, District 51 Foundation
Derek Wagner, Colorado Mesa University
Jon Maraschin, Business Incubator Center
Dan Prinster, St. Mary’s Medical Center | SCL Health
Tawney Espinosa, Community Hospital
Julie Hinkson, United Way of Mesa County, Inc.
Michaelle Smith, Hilltop Community Resources, Inc.
Stephanie Reecy/Frank Whidden (Leadership Class Graduates)
Sam Rainguet/Greg Caton, City of Grand Junction
Katie Stevens, Bureau of Land Management
Susan Alvillar, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association

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