The Young Professionals Network of Mesa County is preparing for a new year of building connections throughout the Grand Valley. We met with the new YPN Board President, Hogan Peterson, to see what the group goals are for this year and how they are planning to continue their forward momentum.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: As a western slope native, I consider myself extremely fortunate to live in Mesa County. I attended CMU and spent the first six years of my career representing the western slope for members of Congress, where I have had some pretty incredible opportunities to meet a huge array of professionals from every walk of life. I recently began a role as state director for the Mule Deer Foundation, where I am excited to bring my passion for natural resources and public lands policy to the arena of conservation and sportsman’s advocacy. I spend my free time in the outdoors-hunting, trail running, and volunteering as a member of Mesa County Search and Rescue. I have been a YPN board member since 2019.

Q: As a Young Professional, why do you feel it is important to get involved in YPN?
A: Our society has become one in which people divide themselves into narrow professional and cultural silos, but we can (and should) choose not to participate in that trend. Those who don’t proactively work to develop as many relationships as possible stand to miss out on a great deal of what our community has to offer. The rise of remote work positions (my own included) creates the potential for younger generations to isolate themselves, but YPN provides a great chance to choose a better path.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge facing young professionals right now?
A: Those of us who are early in our careers experience the impacts of current economic trends more directly than many others. There is a lot of concern that things like home prices and the cost of living are increasing faster than our incomes, particularly on the western slope. So, finding ways to get ahead is at the forefront of our thoughts as we strive to build our lives here.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish as an organization in 2022?
A: I want our events to be something people look forward to. I hope to build on YPN’s strong, existing foundation to create an environment where young professionals from a wide array of backgrounds can consistently look forward to unique, engaging, and fun opportunities to learn more about each other and all that the western slope business community has to offer.

YPN Board Members pictured above (left to right): Andrea Lopez, Austin Kutcher, Kirstin Maska, Luke McLean, Hogan Peterson, Lindsay Woodrich, Austin Smith, Derek Irick, Ben Linzey, Chris Weaver. Not pictured: Sarah Glidden and Blake Mueller.

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