Colorado Springs' Great Outdoors: Links to Quality of Life and Economic Vitality Symposium 

The Heritage Series celebrates and raises awareness of the natural assets of the Pikes Peak Region by hosting discussions, forums and other events to encourage collaboration among champions of our natural outdoor assets.

The Links to Quality of Life and Economic Vitality Symposium on October 19th was one such event, hosted in conjunction with Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, and the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. This event focused on the outdoor recreation and natural resources of the Pikes Peak Region as well as current opportunities and challenges related to leveraging these assets to enhance our quality of life. Panelists from different economic sectors gathered to discuss how their industry is currently highlighting the outdoors and Colorado Springs’ unique quality of life to attract employees to work, play and stay in the Pikes Peak Region.

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October 19, 2018 (1:00-5:00 PM) 

Welcome R. Thayer Tutt, Jr., Mayor John Suthers, and Walt Hecox 

Introduction to the history of Marketing the Pikes Peak Region

Keynote Address How Colorado and select cities leverage their natural assets to attract and retain employers and key economic sectors 

Overview of how Colorado Springs is attracting and retaining employees and businesses Dirk Draper 

Colorado Springs’ Destination Masterplan Doug Price

Panel of Industry Representatives

Engagement Opportunities Becky Leinweber


Reception Hosted by El Pomar

Keynote Speaker

Over the course of a decade, Luis Benitez has quietly emerged amongst a growing field of inspirational adventurers as one of the more experienced, respected and busiest professional guides and leadership development consultants in the world.

Early in his career, Benitez was hired by the well-established leadership development school Outward Bound Professional in Colorado, and was responsible for conducting courses in various mountaineering/climbing/skiing techniques. He has led expeditions and was Director of Operations USA for Adventure Consultants (AC), a highly respected New Zealand-based expedition firm with a long and storied history of leading trips on Mt. Everest. Benitez also manages and leads an annual critical thinking / leadership development seminar in Ecuador and Chile for the Wharton School of Business, and volunteers his time as a guide for the non-profit; Trekking for Kids.
As a motivational speaker who hosts leadership seminars, Benitez applies the lessons learned in the mountains to daily life and business. His Endeavor Consulting firm works to train executives with experiential leadership programs.

In addition to his outdoor recreation pursuits, Benitez has also served as a town Councilman in Eagle, CO.

Luis Benitez

Director, Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Industry Leaders Panel 

In May 2018 Chris Liedel was named CEO of the United States Olympic Museum. Prior to this position, Liedel served for nearly six years as president of Smithsonian Enterprises, the revenue-producing arm of the Smithsonian Institution. Before that, he was with National Geographic for 16 years, becoming the executive vice president and chief financial officer. During his tenure with Smithsonian Enterprises, the organization saw significant growth in revenue and earnings performance.

His board affiliations have included the Nobel Prize Education Fund; the National Philanthropic Trust, which he chaired from 2005 to 2008; EdWeek Magazine; and the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research Foundation. He currently serves on the board of the PGA of America, and previously served on the executive committee of the United States Golf Association, where he was chair of the museum committee.

Chris Liedel

CEO, United States Olympic Museum

Margaret Sabin served as the President & CEO of Penrose-St. Francis Health Services at Centura from 2008 to 2018. In 2009 she was also named president of Centura’s South State Operating Group, overseeing operations at all Centura hospitals in southern Colorado. She also served as chair of Centura’s Trauma Council, leading the first integrated health care network nationally to establish a trauma system linked to its own facilities and services with 20 facilities and a variety of essential services. Prior to joining Centura, Margaret was the CEO of Sutter Health Partners and Vice President of New Product Development in Sacramento, CA.

Margaret Sabin

Former President & CEO, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services at Centura

Mike Juran is the CEO and co-founder of Altia. He sets the vision and is involved in key strategic decisions driving the company’s growth, market position and product development.

Prior to co-founding Altia, Mike was a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, then later at AT&T Microelectronics Europe in Munich, Germany. In both positions Mike contributed as a microprocessor and computer hardware designer, then as a product marketing manager. He continued his career as a software developer and user interface design expert for electronic design automation products at Hewlett Packard in Colorado.

Mike earned a B.S. in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mike Juran

President & CEO, Altia, Inc.

Mr. Brown's career spans over 30 years in the hospitality industry. Most recently, Mr. Brown was Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for KSL Resorts where he oversaw Hotel del Coronado, Beach Village at The Del, and La Costa Resort and Spa. Prior to his role on the KSL leadership team, Mr. Brown was the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Hotel Del Coronado. Previously, Mr. Brown held senior sales and marketing positions at renowned properties such as Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa, Marco Beach Ocean Resort, The Registry Resort-Naples, and The Ritz-Carlton Company.

Mr. Brown was awarded "Resort Marketer of the Year" in 2011 and recognized as one of the "Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing" in 2009. He has also served as past chair of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International's Resort Special Interest Group and Best Practices Committee.

Barry Brown

Vice President of Sales and Marketing, The Broadmoor Hotel

Kaczmarek formed Borealis Fat Bikes in 2013 by utilizing his track record of successful start-ups to implement operational procedures that drove the Colorado Springs-based company through exponential growth during the first two years.

Steve is an avid outdoorsman and grew up in the competitive sailing arena where the lightest, fastest designs and products were demanded. After moving to Colorado where large bodies of water are hard to find, Steve identified mountain biking as his preferred activity. Just following Steve’s first Fatbike ride, he was able to combine mountain biking with his extreme understanding of carbon fiber and exotic materials from sailing into what is now recognized as the World Leader in Fatbike Technology.

Steve Kaczmarek

Owner, Borealis Fat Bike

Julian serves as the Chief of Staff and Special Projects for FoodMaven-an online marketplace bringing flexibility to the U.S. food system. In this role he acts as in-house entrepreneur validating innovation, developing new markets for expansion and managing the Office of the CEO. Prior to joining FoodMaven, Julian built companies in the fields of education, outdoor recreation, technology and media. In 2013 Julian started GetOutfitted, inspiring and equipping people to step outside with the world’s outdoor gear closet. Before GetOutfitted, Julian was the co-founder and managing director of a charter school for low-income students called Atlas Preparatory School. Julian and his teammates grew the school from 50 5th graders the first year to more than 800 students across the middle and high school today. He earned his BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

Julian Flores

Chief of Staff & Special Projects, FoodMaven

Additional Speakers

Prior to heading the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, Draper served as the vice president of the Springs office of global engineering firm CH2M Hill Inc.

Additionally, Draper served on the board of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. and chaired the board of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. The two groups merged in 2012 to form the Business Alliance. Draper also served on the board of Memorial Health System.

Dirk Draper

President and CEO, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC

Becky has served as the Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance since 2017. In this role, Becky works to unite, grow, and strengthen the outdoor industry in the Pikes Peak Region, while advocating for better access and stewardship. Becky also co-owns Angler’s Covey Fly Fishing in Colorado Springs with her husband, David, where she instructs women’s classes and camps and founded and co-leads Pikes Peak Women Anglers, a local fly fishing club.

Becky Leinweber

Executive Director, Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance

With more than 40 years of experience as an executive with Marriott, public speaker, published author, professional development executive for Destination Marketing Association International and President & CEO of Visit Colorado Springs, Doug Price has a unique and broad perspective on travel and tourism marketing, sales, customer service and advocacy.

Doug Price

President and CEO, Visit Colorado Springs