2024 Judging Panel

Meet Our 2024 Judges
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 2024 Finalists and Winners.
Erin Beckstein
Erin Beckstein
Judge Moderator
MelodieReagan
Melodie Reagan
Judge Facilitator
Finalist Judging
As a Senior Consultant for the Colorado Workforce Development Council office, Bob and his team are tasked with ensuring that the WorkForce Innovation Act funds are utilized quickly and effectively to support and enhance talent development efforts statewide. During his long career in the private sector, Bob held leadership roles within large and small companies in the manufacturing and service sectors. He also worked as a consultant providing strategic and tactical plans for start-ups and mid-sized companies. Bob holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in business from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. You can often find him hiking, cooking, reading, and supporting his beloved Badgers.
Bio Coming Soon.

Alison is a program manager at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). Specifically, she works with entrepreneurs and angel investors to administer the Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit - a program that incentivizes equity investing in Colorado companies with Colorado state income tax credits. Working at the intersection of access to capital and entrepreneurship, Alison has spent her time at OEDIT cultivating relationships to foster a strong, resilient, and diverse startup ecosystem throughout Colorado.

Alison has worked both in the private and public sector, focusing on consulting, strategic thinking, and project management. She has an academic background in international and economic development, receiving a master's degree from the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies in International Administration.

 
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Jennifer Pinsonneault

Economic Vitality Manager

City of Boulder

 
Bio Coming Soon.
 
Stephanie Veck
Stephanie Veck

Sr. Consultant, Business Development Lead WPA

American Institutes for Research

 

Experienced professional with a demonstrated history of collective results in business, government and nonprofit sectors. Skilled in collaboration building, entrepreneurship, vision and execution. Strong commitment to developing industry-led and customer-centered models. Genuine desire to find and develop innovative solutions to challenging problems.

Passionate about making things better for others, proud of rural Colorado roots, believes in working hard and playing harder.

Personal contribution statement: To create an environment based on trust and confidence, where it is safe to innovate policy, methods and processes to ensure that individuals have opportunities for career and life success and businesses have access to skilled talent.

CCTW 2024
    Winner Judging
    Colorado Companies to Watch seeks a diverse group of business leaders throughout the State of Colorado to join our panel of judges who offer unique perspectives to the confidential judging process.

Growing up I was inspired and motivated by my family of small business owners to make a difference in your community. As I ventured into the world of entrepreneurship myself, I realized the importance of having a strong network and community ties. That's when I became involved with my local chamber, the Douglas County (GA) Chamber.

My journey in the Chamber industry began as a membership and events director, connecting business owners with one another. I quickly fell in love with the energy and passion of chambers. I knew that I wanted to make a bigger impact and contribute in a more meaningful way. Moving to north Atlanta opened an opportunity for me to join a regional Chamber, Greater North Fulton Chamber (GA), serving six cities. As Vice President, I was able to collaborate with corporate and small businesses, develop a strong advocacy program and strengthen our presence in the region.

During my tenure in Chamber leadership and to further my knowledge and skills, I graduated from the US Chamber’s Institute for Organizational Management (IOM) program. This program provided valuable insight into chamber operations and gave me a deeper understanding of the industry. It also confirmed my desire to pursue a chamber CEO position.

After earning my IOM designation, I set my sights on attaining a chamber CEO position and was recruited to lead the Castle Rock Chamber. The vibrant community and dynamic business landscape of Castle Rock drew me in, and I knew it was the perfect fit for me. As an engaged member of the Chamber industry, I am dedicated to influencing change by advocating for policies and initiatives that benefit our local businesses and community. I believe in the power of collaboration, working together with chamber members, community and industry leaders, and other stakeholders to drive positive outcomes.

Tim Heaton is the President of the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association (CAMA). As the President of the Association, Tim has been responsible for working with the Board of Directors to develop the organization’s strategic vision as well as implement the plan of programs, events, and services to meet the needs of the CAMA’s manufacturing members. 

 Additionally, he works with the National Association of Manufacturers on national policy issues to make certain Colorado manufacturers’ voices are heard. Tim brings over twenty-five years of manufacturing experience, from proof-of-concept to institutional capital development, turnaround, and product development, along with his economic development and governmental affairs experience.

Mr. Heaton began his professional career in Washington, D.C., working for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Tim has served as a Sub-Center Director for the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center and as the Manager of the Small Business group for the Denver Chamber of Commerce. He has also received the Federal Laboratory to Industry Technology Transfer Award from the Colorado Technology Transfer Society.

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Stanley Hickory

Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CU Boulder

Among his duties is running CU Boulder’s flagship entrepreneurial competition, The New Venture Challenge – ranked as one of the top venture challenges in the country. Stan also runs the High School New Venture Challenge which offers entrepreneurial learning and collegiate scholarships for high school students across Colorado.

Stan is an agile leader with work experience in many different fields. A teacher with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Skilled in design thinking, emergency management, curriculum design, and educational technology. Stan is a skilled presenter, author, and public speaker. Stan has experience in the non-profit and for-profit world as well. Stan has founded and managed three companies: construction, adventure travel, and an educational travel non-profit.

Brandon Melton
Brandon Melton

Partner, Strategic Relationships

Chief of Chaos

A highly relational business professional with more than 18 years of increasing responsibility in design development, national account management, and business consultation, primarily in hospitality and retail environments. Solid reputation for passionate work in business development, networking, design and construction. Outstanding vendor and customer negotiation experience founded on mutually beneficial, meaningful relationships. Strong commitment to continuing education of state-of-the-art strategy and technology including AI and IoT. Focused on helping meaningful businesses succeed and supporting sustainable projects that enhance the built environment by creating remarkable physical and digital experiences through insightful design perspective, valuable personal experience and an expansive professional network.

RKS Design & Engineering LLC ( Started 2014 and grew company to a well known company in Wireless Tower Industry.)

Hey I Earned it!. (Started a rewards based app in 2021 that is currently in market and we are making progress on new features)

Hobbies: Snowboarding, Hiking, Running, Camping, Travelling.

 
Kelly Roark
Kelly Roark

Entrepreneurial Growth Leader and Innovation Evangelist

StrateSpheric

 

Kelly is an entrepreneurial growth leader and innovation evangelist who’s introduced and commercialized emerging tech and services into the market for brands like HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Trulia, Speedo and TYR. Her focus: inclusivity by creating value for stakeholders across an ecosystem, backed by thought leadership and industry keynotes at AdWeek, iMedia, etc. to build market familiarity with new tech and schools of thought.

Kelly is active in the startup ecosystem, most recently launching a strategic advisory to help innovative founders with their GTM and vision to reimagine how people live, connect and do business. She’s a Techstars All-Star Mentor involved with multiple accelerators, and a member of the CO OEDIT’s Advanced Industries (AI) grant review committee to evaluate proof of concept and early-stage capital and retention.

An avid hiker, snowboarder, and amateur photographer, Kelly divides her time between CO and NY.

Dawn Thilmany
Dr. Dawn Thilmany

USDA Retional Food Business Center Director

Colorado State University

Dawn Thilmany is a Professor of Agricultural Economics, Co-Director of the Regional Economic Development Institute and supports Engaged Research under the Office of Engagement and Extension at Colorado State University.  She has over 110 peer-reviewed publications and given over 500 industry, government and academic presentations on topics related to food systems and rural economic development, primarily focused on opportunities related to value-added food market supply chains, market access and financial viability of underserved food enterprises such as beginning farmers, food consumer behavior and economic diversification such as agritourism and entrepreneurship. She is on the Colorado Food System Advisory Council and collaborates with several Colorado state agencies, the EDA and USDA on programs and initiatives that support rural regions of the Western US.