2022 Judging Panel
Colorado Companies to Watch was born out of a unique partnership with the State of Colorado and the private sector who understood the importance of recognizing the valuable contribution of 2nd Stage Companies. Today this strong relationship continues. We are honored to have the particpation of these State and Industry Professionals in selecting our 2022 Finalists and Winners.
Interim Director of the Business Support Division
Nikki Maloney is interim Director of the Business Support Division at the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) which focuses on supporting Colorado small businesses through the Small Business Development Center, the Minority Business Office, the Employee Ownership Office and the Cannabis Business Office. Nikki was recognized as the Public Servant of the year by Governor Polis in 2022 for her work assisting businesses during COVID 19. Prior to joining OEDIT, Nikki was a small business owner for 8 years. She understands the stresses and sacrifices business owners face. Nikki also worked at the Denver Office of Economic Development & International and CH2M Hill where she created and managed the Colorado Environmental Business Alliance and the StEPP Foundation. Nikki is a graduate of the University of Denver, School of Public Policy.
Stephanie Veck serves as a Project Director for Industry Engagement & Work-Based Learning and supports Maher’s technical assistance work. Stephanie joined Maher & Maher in 2018, bringing over 30 years of business, education, economic and workforce development experience to the Maher team. Prior to joining Maher, Stephanie served as managing director of the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC) where she was responsible for coalition building to create an integrated talent development system that met the needs of students, jobseekers, workers, and businesses. This work to align education, training, workforce, and economic development efforts with the needs of the industry, helped ensure that every person has access to education and training, and a path to a good job, great career and successful life. While at the CWDC she co-chaired the Governor’s Workforce and Education Cabinet, and led the establishment of TalentFOUND Colorado’s integrated talent development network, the Colorado model for Sector Partnerships, industry-led Career Pathways, and a statewide commitment to integrating a work-based learning continuum into education for youth and adult learners.
Cilia is a 10-year veteran in economic development and place marketing. She is currently transitioning from Grand Junction Economic Partnership to serve as the digital marketing manager for Development Counsellors International. Cilia has developed and implemented marketing efforts to support business and talent recruitment in Mesa County. She also has to consult one-on-one with new and expanding businesses on their growth marketing strategies. Prior to GJEP, Cilia has had a rich and diverse marketing and communications career, from fashion PR in New York, to leading a marketing team at Regis University in Denver and serving clients all around the country at leading place marketing agency Development Counsellors International. Cilia has earned a Bachelor of Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a Master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She currently lives on the #westslopebestslope with her husband and two children.
Pam Peccolo serves as Director of Partnerships for Rockies Venture Club, a Denver-based nonprofit that educates and connects entrepreneurs and investors. RVC also is the longest running angel investing group in the U.S. On behalf of RVC, Pam builds and maintains reciprocal business relationships with corporations, nonprofits and government entities. An innovation "evangelist," Pam co-founded and served as the first executive director of Prime Health, Colorado's community of health care innovators. When not working, she is usually reading books about science, practicing speaking Italian and looking for the best cannolis in town.
Jeremy has had the privilege to work with the majority of state agencies and maintains close connections to many political and policy groups. His extensive experience leading public policy initiatives and legislative strategy for a variety of organizations with distinctive agendas has produced a 95% success rate at the Capitol. Jeremy is passionate about building relationships and evoking the values of the stakeholders he represents. He is active in his community, serving in consultative and advisory roles for various organizations and teaches at Regis University. In his spare time, Jeremy is an avid cyclist, and loves exploring Colorado from his bike.
Derek Taniguchi is an experienced growth-oriented leader who specializes in solving complex business challenges, implementing operational frameworks, and developing high-performing and high-functioning teams. His exemplary problem-solving skills have allowed him to translate strategic vision into a clear, realistic, and effective action plan for multiple early and growth-stage companies.
Armed with his life-long passion for continuous growth and improvement, Derek developed the Employee Development Plan (EDP) in 2013 which provides team members with a specific action plan to take their professional and personal lives to the next level. His unmatched ability to align his team and execute on strategy led him to be the serving Chief Operating Officer for two separate Colorado Companies to Watch (CCTW) winners and Outside Magazine’s #30 out of 100 Best Places to Work (2017).
A Colorado native, Derek spends his free time with his beloved family and friends or partaking in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) competitions.
Sara Zervos is co-founder of Pao (say “pow!”), a mobile application that helps people find and share the world’s best places to eat, play or stay. At Pao, she is COO and CFO and heads data analytics.
She transitioned to Pao after 20 years in the finance industry, where she most recently managed over $20 billion in international fixed income assets as Head of the Global Debt team at OppenheimerFunds. Sara also launched BizzyChicks, a venture aiming to improve financial literacy among young women and entice them into careers in the business world.
She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester, and a B.A. in Economics from Arizona State University. She has held seats on the Federal Reserve’s sub-committee on Foreign Exchange, the UBS Research Advisory Board, and the Emerging Market Trading Association Board. Sara has been a contributing writer for Forbes.com and HuffingtonPost.com. She has traveled to 58 countries (and counting), loves the outdoors and spending time with her two children, two dogs, and three cats.