DESTINATION COLORADO

A great state for meetings… naturally.

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ABOUT US

Destination Colorado is a nonprofit organization designed to provide resources and information for meeting and event planners. Among our more than 130 members, you’ll discover the solutions to every requirement and planning challenge.

Our members represent the very best in amenities, activities and service that Colorado has to offer. Our mission — since Destination Colorado’s creation in 1993 — is to make the site selection and planning experience convenient and straightforward.

By combining our member resources through Destination Colorado, we can efficiently inform and update meeting planners and incentive buyers about one of America’s most beloved and desirable destinations. We accomplish this through our web site, major trade shows, a meeting planners guide, cooperative advertising programs, lead referrals, and strategic partnerships.

You’re invited to capture the “Spirit of Colorado” and visit our beautiful Rocky Mountain state. The fantastic variety and choices offered by Destination Colorado guarantees a fresh experience every time!

Destination Colorado Board of Directors - Executive Committee

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Kathy Reak

Visit Colorado Springs CVB

Board Past President

Kathy has over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry. Her background includes a wide range of duties in the industry, including Director of Catering and Sales Manager at the hotel level and most recently, Senior Director of Convention Sales at the Visit Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau where she has been for over 19 years. She has been a member of MPI for over 21 years and served as the VP of Finance for two years on the Rocky Mountain Chapter board. She also currently serves as the past president for the Southern Colorado HSMAI chapter. She was named into Colorado Meetings + Events’ Hall of Fame in 2009 as Supplier of the Year and received the Industry Legacy Award in honor of Sandy Gerety through the MPI Rocky Mountain Chapter in 2016.  Kathy can be reached at kathy@visitcos.com or at 719.685.7632.

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Ellen Collins, CMP

Vail Resorts Meetings & Events

2020-2021 Board President 

Ellen is Associate Director, National Group Sales Team representing Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek and Crested Butte resorts in Colorado for Vail Resorts Meetings & Events. She leads her sales team to best serve Colorado-based planners in fulfilling their meeting objectives and aspirational goals. This team will help secure ground transportation needs on Epic Mountain Express, hotel rooms, traditional and outdoor/ on mountain meeting space and dining, golf, skiing, lift tickets and much more. Ellen has been in hotel sales for twenty plus years. Her career started at Swissotel Boston, followed by sales at The Loews Anatole in Dallas, now a Hilton Hotel. In 1995, she moved to be Director of Sales and Marketing for the Loews Denver Hotel. In 2005, Ellen joined Vail Resorts and RockResorts in their Colorado national sales office. She is an active member of MPI, CSAE, PCMA and CWCC (Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce). Ellen is proud to have received the Industry Legacy Award in honor of Sandy Gerety through MPI’s Rocky Mountain Chapter in 2018. Ellen is honored to have been recognized by Colorado Meetings + Events magazine as their Lifetime Achievement recipient for 2020 and is equally honored to have received the 2019 Leadership Award from the Meetings Industry Council. She looks forward to connecting with you and can be reached at ecollins@vailresorts.com and 303.881.7167.

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Brady Johnson

C Lazy U Ranch

2020-2021 Board Vice President/President Elect

Brady Johnson is the Director of Sales and Marketing, making him responsible for all marketing and advertising efforts at the C Lazy U Ranch along with selling real estate, booking group events, and retreats.  On top of these efforts, you can always count on seeing him taking guests on guided mountain bike rides in the summer and skiing in the winter. C Lazy U Ranch is the perfect place for Brady as an avid outdoorsman because he gets to show guests a unique experience from the moment they find us online or through friends, to the day of their departure.

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Thad Carlson

Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa

2020 – 2021 Treasurer

Thad worked the operations side of hospitality for 4 years as Front Office Manager before moving into sales for the past 10 years and currently is the Senior Director of Sales Manager for Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa. During that time, he worked both sides of a wide variety of events. Thad’s experience has taught him both the planning process, execution of events and team leadership for a luxury mountain resort. Through benchmarking, industry events, and various hospitality associations, he has learned how properties of all different kinds operate. Thad’s passion for his career has created a unique understanding of the hospitality industry. Thad can be reached at 970-726-7011 or at tcarlson@devilsthumbranch.com.

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Meg Palumbo

The Steamboat Grand

2020-2021 Secretary

Meg is the National Sales Manager for The Steamboat Grand. The best part of her job is sharing her love of Steamboat & introducing meeting planners to this amazing destination. Her career started with Marriott International, which led her to working at Marriott Hotels in Denver, Chicago, Dallas & Minneapolis. Being a Colorado native, the mountains were calling her home and The Steamboat Grand was the perfect place to combine her passion for Steamboat and hotel sales. She enjoys tubing the Yampa River in the summer, skis every opportunity she has and loves spending time with her Family and Friends.  Meg can be reached at 970-871-5537 or at mpalumbo@steamboat.com.

Destination Colorado Board Members

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Lori Adis

Highline Vail, a DoubleTree by Hilton

2021 Board Member

Lori is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Highline Vail, a DoubleTree by Hilton. She has lived and worked in the Colorado mountains for most of her life and enjoys all that is offered, while raising 2 boys with her husband in Summit County. Having worked on both the resort side and lodging side for over 22 years, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the board. Lori has worked in some great destinations- Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Vail, and Winter Park. She has gained a wealth of industry knowledge about destination group travel in Colorado. Her experience includes many involvement with a number of travel industry boards. Lori plans to bring her marketing and sales experience to the Destination Board and hopes to continue to support the great work that has been happening for so many years.

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Chris Bierdeman

Visit Loveland

2020-2021 Board Member

Chris Bierdeman is the Tourism Group Sales Coordinator at Visit Loveland.

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Justin Clark

Visit Aurora

2020-2021 Board Member

Justin is the Director of Sales for Visit Aurora where he represents Aurora by serving on a number of community and industry organizations including the Board of Directors for Destination Colorado, Colorado Meetings + Events Editorial Advisory Board, and Colorado Freedom Memorial.  Clark develops and manages sales and marketing efforts for Visit Aurora and can be reached at justinclark@visitaurora.com.

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Dave Feller

Beaver Run Resort

2020-2021 Board Member

Dave is the Senior Sales Manager at Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center in Breckenridge. He worked at Beaver Run for several years in all areas of hospitality, eventually landing in sales which, according to him, is the best department! With a solid understanding of both sales and operations, Dave has an understanding of and appreciation for exceptional customer service.

During winter lunch breaks, you can find Dave on the slopes. In the summer, he’ll be on his bike or in his tent. Dave also enjoys giving back to his community; he’s on the Town of Breckenridge Events Committee and the Sustainable Events Task Force, and he volunteers in the community. You can reach Dave at dfeller@beaverrun.com.

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Lady Fuller

IGC - International Gifting Co

2021 Board Member

Lady Fuller is current CEO of IGC, before that she founded and ran a retail chain of 12 stores for 10 years. She is an experienced President with a demonstrated history of working in the events services industry. Skilled in Incentive Travel, Coaching, Retail, Sales, and Sales Management. Strong business development professional. MBA. Lady lives in Woody Creek, Colorado with her two kids, two dogs and two cats. Lady is also passionate about the environment and getting people out of their heads and into their hearts. She also speaks and works as a Suicide Prevention Advocate and Life Coach.

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John Hess

Denver Performing Arts Center

2021 Board Member

John is the current Event Sales and Business Manager for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He started his career over 14 years ago in sports and entertainment production and had the incredible opportunity to work across various sports and levels including: Major League Soccer, NHL, US Soccer, the World Series of Poker, and other large scale sporting events like the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. He recently left the sports industry to take on a new adventure overseeing business and sales for the Denver Center for Performing Arts Event Services team and the stunning Seawell Ballroom. His favorite part of his day to day job is seeing great and innovative event ideas come to life. As a Colorado native, he is happy to be back home with his partner and new lab-aussie mix, Lily, and is excited about the return of public events in Colorado as we recover from the effects of COVID-19. In his spare time you can find him singing with fellow board member Jason Lusk with the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus, traveling, camping, and enjoying events and festivals around the beautiful state of Colorado.

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Sarah Reynolds Lasser

Aspen Chamber Resort Association

2020-2021 Board Member

Sarah Reynolds Lasser is the Senior Director of Business Development at the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. joined the Aspen Chamber in 2010 after six years in hotel operations and catering and sales at The Ritz-Carlton Club Aspen Highlands and Hotel Jerome.  She first came to Aspen on a college spring break and soon returned to launch her career and enjoy Aspen’s glorious summer months and great skiing.  Sarah is a certified incentive specialist and member of Society for Incentive Travel Excellence and Meeting Professionals International. She enjoys traveling the world and lives Aspen’s mind, body and spirit idea. Sarah can be reached at sreynolds@aspenchamber.org or 970-920-7185.

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Jason Lusk

Visit Denver

2020-2021 Board Member

Jason is the Associate Vice President, Convention Sales at VISIT DENVER where his primary role is managing the citywide convention sales efforts. He started working for Denver in 2007 as the Washington, DC-based sales director and moved to Colorado in 2011. Prior to joining the Denver team, he worked for a conference center, as a meeting planner, for a DMC, and for Visit Baltimore. Jason is a member of PCMA and ASAE. He also serves on the Destinations International Sales and Marketing Committee and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine. Some of the most cherished aspects of his position are cultivating relationships and sharing the exciting story of Denver and Colorado as a guest speaker at MSU and various industry events. In his down time, you can find Jason singing with the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus or traveling. You can reach him at jlusk@visitdenver.com and 303-571-9424.

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Sara Mercado-Lawrason

Operation Altitude

2021 Board Member

Sara Mercado-Lawrason is Program and Account Manager for Operation Altitude. She moved from Arkansas to Colorado after college and never looked back. Her background is in hospitality, specifically restaurant and event management. She started with Operation Altitude in 2017 with roles in networking, marketing, sales, program development and management. Event production is her passion, and creating unforgettable experiences is her ultimate goal. Sara’s clients are primarily corporate groups specializing in conferences, retreats and incentive programs. In her free time, Sara enjoys weekend trips to the mountains, dining at all the incredible restaurants around Colorado and cuddling with her cats! Sara can be reached at 720-231-1722/ sara@opalt.com.

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Meredith Maaske

The Gant - Aspen

2021 Board Member

Meredith’s hospitality career began working front desk part-time in Aspen, Colorado at a small lodge in exchange for a ski pass. It was there that she fell in love with Colorado and working in the industry. Meeting people from all over the world and learning firsthand all the different roles within hotel operations and sales has been valuable professionally and personally. As Director of Sales at The Gant, Meredith focuses on group business working with a variety of domestic and international markets throughout the year. What she finds most rewarding is helping people create memorable experiences and building lifelong connections. She’s at her happiest when she’s outside hiking, running, skiing, après skiing, and doing all the above with friends and family. Meredith can be reached at 970-920-6072 or meredith.maaske@gantaspen.com.

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Leslie Milne

Monarch Casino Resort Spa

2021 Board Member

Leslie leads the Sales and Catering Team at the brand-new Monarch Casino Resort Spa located in Black Hawk, CO featuring 516 rooms, indoor and outdoor event space surrounded by Rocky Mountain views, and a roof top pool and world class spa. Leslie started her career in hospitality over 30 years ago with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts in banquets and has since held various roles in Catering, Conference Management, Destination Management, Revenue Management, and Hotel Sales. After arriving in Vail in 2001 from the Detroit area, she knew Colorado would be her new home. She is an active member of RMPCMA and CSAE. A wife and mother and soon to be foster mother, Leslie is also a huge animal lover with 4 dogs and 2 cats. With a passion for Colorado and all of year-round activities it offers, she loves to ski, paddle board, and cycle. Contact Leslie at lmilne@monarchblackhawk.com or 720-406-3840.

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Sharon Schoeffield

Vacasa Summit County

2020-2021 Board Member

Sharon Schoeffield has been involved in Destination Colorado since its beginning. She was part of the original group, meeting at El Rancho in Evergreen, when we desired to elevate Colorado as a premier group destination. Sharon has joined Vacasa as a Group Sales Manager in Breckenridge and Summit County and has over 25 years of experience in hospitality Colorado. Breckenridge is home, where she and her husband met and raised their two boys. Sharon has served on many civic and industry Boards and is a prior member of The CTO, Colorado Meetings and Events Advisory Board, CSAE, was President of Rocky Mtn MPI, and has received several awards for service. Outside of work, she and her husband enjoy skiing, boating on Lake Powell, hiking, and all things Colorado! Sharon can be reached at sharon.schoeffield@vacasa.com.

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Lauren Francis

Destination Colorado

Manager

Lauren has a background in sales & marketing, content creation and management, public relations, social media, advertising, budget management, event planning, research & development and company logistics & operations. She joined Destination Colorado in 2021. She is married with three kids and two dogs, is a Colorado native and a big Broncos fan, and spends as much time outdoors as possible.

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Kelly Layton

Destination Colorado

Executive Director

Kelly is a Colorado native and has been in the hospitality industry for nearly 20 years including Director of Marketing for the Vail Chamber and Tourism Bureau (now VVP) and Marketing Manager with the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail. Before joining Destination Colorado in 2021 as the Executive Director, she delivered exceptional group incentive experiences throughout the state and promoting Colorado as a group destination for meetings and events in her role with Operation Altitude, a Colorado destination management company.  Outside of work, she enjoys finding new ways to embarrass her teenagers, hiking with friends, developing her photography skills and riding her horse. She can be reached at 970-390-8334 or kelly@destinationcolorado.com.

Our partners

Destination Colorado has established strategic relationships with leading meeting publications, professional organizations, and sponsors to help us advance our mission to make your planning experience easier. Please visit their web sites for more information.

Colorado Meetings & Events magazine is a quarterly publication reaching meeting planners as well as all levels of professionals who plan meetings and events, from an administrative executive planning a board retreat to the vice president of marketing organizing a client golf outing. The magazine is specifically written and circulated within the state and throughout the surrounding region to expose readers to cultural events, service providers, venues and industry resources available in each market to assist in planning a meeting or creating the next extraordinary event. The magazine is available in print and digital and online at Visit www.meetingmags.com

The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) was created by the Colorado legislature to promote Colorado as a tourism and travel destination. The CTO oversees the Colorado Welcome Centers, advertising and public relations, promotional materials and customer response services including 1-800-COLORADO and www.Colorado.com. The Colorado Tourism Office is a Founding Partner of the Care for Colorado Coalition of which Destination Colorado is a proud partner. Learn more at https://www.colorado.com/CareForColorado.

Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the meeting and event industry’s largest and most vibrant global community, helps members thrive by providing human connections to knowledge and ideas, relationships and marketplaces. MPI membership is comprised of more than 24,000 members belonging to 71 chapters and clubs worldwide. For additional information Visit www.mpiweb.org

Northstar Meetings Group/Successful Meetings – Northstar Meetings Group is the premier online platform for business and sports event organizers, planners and incentive program professionals across all all sectors – corporate, association, third-party organizations/agencies, SMERF (social, military, education, religious and fraternal meetings) — providing critical news analysis and research, practical strategies, creative solutions and sourcing services. Wwith a monthly circulation over 70,000, Successful Meetings is written for meeting planners across all industries. Successful Meetings educates and provides resources for all levels of corporate, association and independent meeting managers and buyers about how to create and execute all types of meetings.

RightNow, Inc has been providing search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) services to the Destination Colorado website since 2004. Our specialty is creating a presence on the search engines so that people who are looking for what you offer can find you easily and readily when they search. Over 60% of our clients are part of the hospitality industry and many are located in Colorado specifically. As a member of Destination Colorado, you are invited to request a proposal from us to provide these same types of services for your organization. Visit www.rightnowinc.com

Past board presidents

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Tim Litherland, CMP

Visit Denver

Past President (2013-2014)

Tim serves as the Director of Sports and Specialty Markets for VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. Tim has been a member of the VISIT DENVER sales department since March 1995. He was previously employed at the Warwick Hotel Denver, where he spent eight years in their sales and marketing department. Tim has been active in many organizations, including board and committee positions with Denver Sports, Meeting Professionals International Rocky Mountain Chapter, Society of Government Meeting Professionals Rocky Mountain Chapter, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Mile High Chapter (and International Board of Directors for HSMAI), Colorado Society of Association Executives, Meetings Industry Council of Colorado, Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado State Travel Council, and the Kiwanis Club of Denver. Tim is a native of Colorado and lives in Lakewood with his wife, Cece, and has three children, and a grandson and granddaughter. Tim can be reached at tlitherland@visitdenver.com or at 303-571-9429.

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Lisa Lindgren

Past President

2015 & 2016 Board President

Lisa has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years. A Colorado native, Lisa began her hotel career in the Phoenix/Scottsdale market. After five years in the heat and desert, she relocated to northern California. Then back to Denver, then to Minneapolis and then back to Denver again where she plans stay, at least for a while. Lisa has worked at the property level and in regional capacities for hotel management companies with portfolios including various brands offering full-service, select service and extended stay hotels while overseeing top line revenues for up to 45 hotels at one time.

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Cindy Harder

Past President

2011 & 2012 Board President

Cindy joined Destination Colorado in 1995 and represented 3 properties through her membership until 2014 when she transitioned from Sales into Operations in the Winter Park Resort Lodging division. Cindy served on the board from 2003 through 2013 in various seats, and still works for Winter Park in Homeowner Services and Acquisitions.

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Mike Wolf

Past President

2009 & 2010 Board President 

At the time Mike was president, the world seemed to be falling apart!  Times where tough, no one had any budget to work with and Destination Colorado was just trying to hold everything together.  “What amazed me most about this organization was the way we all stuck together, believing in our mission statement and that Colorado was the best place in the world”  And still…

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Bruce Horii

Past President

2007 & 2008 Board President

Bruce is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Beaver Run Resort and has a very long history in the tourism industry in Colorado. Prior to Beaver Run, Bruce worked with the Sheraton at Steamboat. He has served on Destination Colorado’s Board of Directors for ten years and has played a large role in the development and promotion of the web site and our Destination Colorado Road Shows. He also serves as our liaison with the Colorado Tourism Office’s Promotions Committee and serves as an advocate for the promotion of meetings through the CTO. Bruce has served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Society of Association Executives. He is also very active in the Breckenridge community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Breckenridge Resort Chamber’s Central Reservations. Bruce has previously served as President of Destination Colorado and will remain an active board member.

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Patricia McNamara

Past President

– Present.  She lives and breathes Vail!

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Rob Henderson

Past President

2003 & 2004 Board President

Rob serves as the regional vice president of sales & marketingfor 3 full-service resorts with $100 million in total annual revenues: Vail Cascade Resort, Vail, CO; Resort at Squaw Creek, Squaw Creek, CA; and, Town & Country Resort, San Diego, CA. Additionally, provide regional sales and marketing support for the Destination Rental Management portfolio of vacation condos, homes and villas located in Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass, Park City and Hawaii, generating $85 million in total annual revenue.

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Jim Feldhaus

Past President

Past Board President

Jim’s dedication to his career in the hospitality industry led him and his family to the mountains of Colorado, where he enjoyed skiing Vail and Beaver Creek.

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Jim Steinbach

Past President

Past Board President, 1997-1998

Jim Steinbach has more than 35 years of resort and hotel sales and marketing experience.

Now the Owner of Questions to Answers; prior to that, Jim was the Vice President of Conference Sales at Vail Valley Tourism and Convention Bureau.

From 1988 to 2006, Jim Steinbach was the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. Under his direction, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek was awarded Hyatt Resort Marketing Team of the Year.

Jim began his Hyatt career at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, Nevada, shortly after his graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

He resides in Edwards with his wife, Janette Henry.

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Scott Gubrud

Past President

1995 & 1996 Board President

Scott currently serves as the Director of Sales & Marketing at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail.

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Pat Lee

Past President

1993 & 1994 Board President

For 41 years, since 1972, Pat Lee has been heavily involved in Colorado tourism. She was VP of Marketing for Aspen Airways/United Express, a regional air carrier in the West and then became Director of Destination Marketing for Continental Airlines. Pat was instrumental in the development of the American Rockies program, developing tourism to Colorado from Japan, Taiwan and Korea, raised funds to send the National Repretory Orchestra to Korea to represent the U.S. in the Olympics, and coordinated the opening of DIA for Continental Airlines, raising funds for the demised tourism industry plus the fundraiser for the International Pow Wow tradeshow held in Denver for the first time in 1991. Pat Lee was one of the key players in develoing Destination Colorado and it’s Front Range Tradeshow and she was the first President of Destination Colorado.

In 1997 she started her own business, Pat Lee & Associates which is contracted to do the tourism marketing or special events for Cherry Creek Shopping Center, the premier tourism attraction in Denver, Denver Theater & Arenas representing 9 theaters and Red Rocks Amphitheater, and the National Western Stock Show. She is also a Senior Tourism Consultant for the Shop America Alliance which represents 200 US shopping centers in international markets.

For 19 years, Pat has been on the Board of Visit Denver and currently serves on the International and Tourism Promotion Committee for the Colorado Tourism Board, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, National Western Stock Show and the Telluride Tourism Board.

Pat is the only recipient to have received the ‘Outstanding Tourism Individual of the Year” twice in the State of Colorado, once under Governor Romer in 1987 and then Governor Ritter in 2002. She was inducted into Colorado’s Tourism Hall of Fame in 2007.