Advisory Council

Agnes Talamantez

Agnes Talamantez Carroll is the President of Agnes Talamantez Carroll & Associates, LLC, (ATC & Associates). It is a firm that trains and consults bilingually, focusing on small business affairs, and bridges understanding between American and the socially and economically disadvantaged business cultures.

ATC & Associates offers educational and training services in multi-platform content. Formally organized in 2002, ATC & Associates is a minority, woman-owned, Denver-based training resource for small business, corporations, academic institutions, and government agencies. ATC & Associates provides analysis, curriculum research, development, and implementation of training programs and consulting. The niche that they fill is in the arena of education and training in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner.

Over the past 22 years, she has developed small business training curricula for adults and youth, and authored several workbooks. She was the first in the country to write a small business training curriculum in Spanish that is not just a translation, but written in a culturally significant manner.

From 2004 to 2010, her company was named a Technical Assistance Provider for The United States Small Business Association’s “Community Express Loan Program” through US Bank designed to provide loans to those who would not qualify for traditional bank loans. In 2006 and 2007, she was also contracted by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to provide outreach, technical assistance and loan packaging for the “Capital Program” for Latino US businesses. In 1997-98, while at Mi Casa Resource Center she replicated the Denver, SBA-funded, Women’s Business Center in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, Colorado which is written about in the Congressional Records.

In addition to her small business training qualifications, workforce development and leadership training experience, she has also been an authorized bilingual OSHA Construction Industry Outreach Trainer for the past 13 years.  Ms. Carroll has been a trainer for Region 8 OSHA Training Institute Outreach Program at the Rocky Mountain Education Center, Red Rocks Community College, in Lakewood, Colorado. Ms. Carroll is authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor. She has experience in vertical and horizontal construction and has done work for major projects such as TREX, and the Denver Transit Partners/ Constructors/ and RTD training partners and constructors in OSHA 10, 30 and Hazwoper classes. Additionally, she has worked in Safety and Health in the Renewable Energy Industry developing curriculum and training.

Ms. Carroll’s project of the past 8 years is a radio program, "¡Arriba Mi Negocio!" which airs 3 times per week on KJBD 1650AM, Radio Luz, where she is known as "Doña Inés."  It is a Spanish language program that provides training and advice for small business owners by interviewing successful role models and business experts.  ¡Arriba Mi Negocio! also provides small business training, consulting and workshops at Centro San Juan Diego, an educational resource center for immigrants.  Agnes offers consulting and technical assistance at no cost to these clients. She offers business classes in Spanish for the Aurora SBDC and also monthly workshops for business owners in different venues in the Metro Denver area.

She brings to her training and motivational speaking her experience and innovation, together with her passion for safety and other good business practices, as well as her personal mission to empower others.

Alan Ramirez

As Director of Lending, Alan works with our Director of Credit Quality to manage CEF loan production and supervises our lending team. He also consults with potential applicants about their business plans, performs credit analysis and loan underwriting, provides ongoing business advisory services to borrowers, and oversees loan activity in the Denver Metro area and other parts of the state. Prior to joining CEF in 2007, Alan worked as a loan consultant for Pulte Homes. He is fluent in Spanish.

Alejandra "Ale" Spray

With more than 20 years of construction and engineering experience, Ale is a marketing professional dedicated to the industry and community.  Ale currently serves as the Marketing Director for AMI Mechanical, Inc in Denver, Colorado. As marketing director, she is responsible for overseeing the company’s marketing and procurement strategies, objectives and goals.  However, Ale’s expertise extends beyond the A/E/C industry, as she is also responsible for AMI Mechanical’s community engagement, wellness program and outreach efforts.
 
Ale is a board member and President-Elect of HCC (Hispanic Contractors of Colorado), an organization she is been actively involved with for 14 years.  Her dedication and support for small and minority businesses has led to her appointment to the State of Colorado’s Minority Business Advisory Council where she continues her work promoting active engagement and solution-based dialogue with the business community. 
 
She enjoys the opportunity to volunteer with her kids’ school and at her church. She currently lives in Erie but was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

Barbara Myrick

Barbara Myrick is the principal of B&M Construction, a minority/veteran-owned company, specializing in; contracting services, general construction, electrical, furniture procurement, furniture installation and project management. Ms. Myrick has over twenty years of experience in all facets of construction management and has a proven track record for successful completion of multi-million dollar projects for both private and public sectors. She is well versed in design and blueprint review and analysis, preparation of construction documents, bidding, contract negotiations, material purchasing, site management, hiring and oversight of specialty trade contractors, quality control management and safety and compliance management.

Ms. Myrick effectively develops partnerships with architects, engineers, government officials, vendors and clients while formulating forward thinking solutions for win-win outcomes for all stakeholders.

Clarence Low

Clarence Low is the President/CEO of the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Denver, Colorado. He oversees the management of daily operations, programs and strategic partnerships of the organization.  His local AAPI business development and advocacy efforts has raised the Asian Chamber’s profile in the Denver Metropolitan region and has created fruitful relationships with national and international agencies. His passion for community partnerships has helped create the Asian Chamber’s Scholarship Fund, assisting 1st-generation Colorado students and spotlighting mental health challenges amongst the local AAPI community.

Mr. Low believes in the multiplicative power of partnerships, particularly reaching across various Asian ethic groups to strengthen alliances.  He recently participated in a delegation of U.S. AAPI business leaders hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, deepening diplomatic and cultural relationships.  He has also worked with national business and advocacy organizations to give voice to the growing economic strength of the Asian community in the U.S.

In addition to his role at the Asian Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Low is a small business owner and respected community advocate whose leadership is making an impact on future generations of leaders and young professionals in the Rocky Mountains. For his efforts, Mr. Low has received recognition from community organizations. He has been recognized as an Asian American Hero of Colorado by the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network, and awarded the 2015 Rosa Parks Diversity Community Award by the University of Colorado, Denver for his outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion in the community.  Mr. Low lends his support to educational institutions, community organizations and various business groups. He served as Chair of the Denver Minority and Women’s Chamber Coalition, and currently is a commissioner on the Denver Asian Pacific American Commission. 

Mr. Low earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degree in marine sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dee Espinoza

Dee Ann Espinoza is the owner and CEO of Espinoza Consulting Services (ECS). ECS has been in operation for over six years providing environmental consulting services to federal, state, local, and tribal governments and a host of commercial clients. The company has been recognized by the Small Business Administration in the SBDC’s 2014 Annual Report as a growing business in the south-central Colorado region. ECS is also certified as a small, woman- and minority-owned disadvantaged business by the SBA (under the 8(a) Business Development, the Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business, and the HUBZone Programs). ECS currently employs 20 professionals and is headquartered in rural south-central Colorado in the San Luis Valley. Community-wise, Mrs. Espinoza is a Trustee for the Town of La Jara, Colorado. Through being a trustee, she participates in numerous volunteer events and is currently organizing the development of a 23-acre outdoor recreational park, to include a world-class bicycle motocross (BMX) track. The design grant has been funded through a grant by the Go Colorado Program (GOCO). Her goal is to increase economic development in her town, Conejos County, and in the overall San Luis Valley to provide well-paying and stable jobs in healthy, safe communities in beautiful rural Colorado.

Dennis Casey

Dennis Casey was born and raised in rural Iowa and shortly after graduating High School, enlisted in the Air Force. In the span of his 23 years with the Air Force Dennis performed logistics and purchasing duties across a broad spectrum at many locations to include California, United Kingdom, Nebraska, Colorado and Italy. Dennis’ last assignment was as an owner representative/outfitting manager on a new hospital construction project in Aviano, Italy. After retiring from the Air Force in 2006, Dennis spent several years with an Alaskan Native firm doing project management and business development on government projects. Dennis joined Colorado PTAC in December of 2009 as a Procurement Counselor, was promoted to Deputy Director in May of 2014, then to Executive Director in April of 2016. Dennis holds degrees in Business Administration and Logistics/Supply Chain Management, is a Master Trainer in the Federal Contractor Certification program and a Certified Counselor through the Department of Veteran Affairs Center for Verification and Education (CVE). Dennis is the immediate past President for the Pikes Peak Chapter of the National Contract Managers Association and a member of the Rocky Mountain Governmental Purchasing Association (RMGPA) as well as several other associations focusing on government procurement.

Grace Gillette

Grace Gillette is an enrolled Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Her Indian name is "WaHuux" which translates to Squash. Being a Denver resident for 43 years, she has been actively involved in the Denver Indian Community by serving on Boards of Directors, Speaker, Panelist, Emcee and Head Dancer. She still maintains close ties to her familial home in North Dakota by participating in traditional ceremonies and other events.

For her Denver March Powwow work, Gillette has earned recognition by being named in the Denver Business Journal's "Who's Who in Denver Business;" Strathmore's Who's Who; Denver's 150, a special  honor recognizing ordinary citizens who are making extraordinary contributions to the Mile High City commemorating Denver's 150th birthday; was honored to bestow a traditional blessing upon Mayor Hancock at his inauguration. Gillette was humbled when the American Indian College Fund named her "Elder of the Year." Most recently, she was inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame. Gillette is proud that under her directorship, the Denver March Powwow has permanent exhibits in the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Gillette will deliver the keynote address for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Award Luncheon and be a cultural presenter for the REACH Conference in June.

Professionally, she has more than 40 years of management experience which includes several years of conference coordination. She has been the Executive Director of the Denver March Powwow for the past 24 years and has held positions with prominent national organizations, e.g. Manager of Support Operations for the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT); Business Manager/Corporate Officer for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF); Office Manager, American Indian Commission on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Logistical Support Coordinator/Office Manager, Osoro & Associates. She graduated from Berca Foundation School, Berea, KY and Haskell Institute, Lawrence, KS.

Helga Grunerud

Helga Grunerud is the executive director of the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado (HCC). Since she started with the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado (HCC) in 2000, membership has more than tripled, and includes some of the largest contractors/professional services companies in the US, plus some of the smallest in Colorado. The association is focused on public construction and is a key advocate for the economic benefits public projects provide for small/minority/woman-owned companies in the construction industry. To that end, she is involved with a variety of committees that interface with public entities to develop programs geared towards opportunities for diverse companies and diverse workforce development.

Jose Beteta

Owner of Leaptech Solutions, an I.T Consulting company that works with the needs of small companies in all industries, Jose is a very energetic leader both in the Latino Chamber and his other endeavors. Besides Leaptech and the Chamber, Jose actively works to bring programs that enrich culture, education and values of community with wife, Tamil Maldonado with groups such as its co-creation Barrio E' and its cultural center, Barrio E' CENTRO.

Jose is working closely with his Board at the Latino Chamber to bring education, resources technology and visibility to the Latino community, working to bridge the gap that exists between Latino and non-Latino businesses and drawing membership by educating the general public about the stigmas that surround Latinos and their businesses.

He is also on the in the Boulder Chamber board, the City of Boulder Human Relation's Commission, the Longmont Economic Development Partnership, One Action Arts + Immigration Project and now on Governor John Hickenlooper's Minority Business Advisory Council for the State of Colorado.

His latest achievements include the reorganization of the Latino Chamber and its Colorado Latino Business Conference and the creation of the Colorado Latino Festival in June 2016.

Michelle Campbell

Michelle Campbell is VP Operations at Campbell Litigation, P.C., an employment defense litigation law firm.
 
Michelle has served as organization development advisor for 25 years, and focuses on organization effectiveness and employment policy matters. She is a trained engineer and counselor with national experience in developing effective operation and employee systems that impact productive work environments. Her practice areas have included: corporate systems analysis, workplace investigations, diversity cultural audits, operations assessments, mediation, executive coaching, and project implementation. She has successfully developed numerous corporate operations plans that involved transforming an organization’s employee policy and developing new strategies for organization effectiveness.
 
Michelle has written, facilitated, and served as senior advisor in various corporate organization transformation projects, which has gained her expertise in diversity and inclusion. Her publications, workshops, and, keynote addresses include topics on organization effectiveness, and incorporate the best practices in serving and establishing policies on the basis of race, gender, sexual harassment, disability and age.
 
Michelle is a thoughtful advisor that brings structure, organization and a practical approach to an organization’s challenging situation, and she has an ability to identify critical gaps and bring a human dynamic and experience that reaches across a diverse client base. In January 2016 Michelle was awarded The Colorado MLK Business Leaders Award by The Governors’ Office, and in September 2016 Awarded The MBE/Diversity Advocate of the Year Award.

Steven L. Trujillo, MBA

A native of Pueblo, Steven is a 2007 graduate of Dolores Huerta Preparatory High School. He holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree in general studies from Pueblo Community College, a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a minor in Leadership Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, also from Colorado State University-Pueblo.

As President & Chief Executive Officer, he is responsible for the organization’s day-to-day operations, public relations and community representation. He was a member of the Presidents Leadership Program at CSU-Pueblo and served on the Scholars Board for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, advocating and representing students from CSU-Pueblo since 2010. In 2009 Steven received the 2009 Colorado State University-Pueblo Campus Leader of the Year Award, presented by the Boettcher Foundation; and was the 2009 Nominee Colorado Student Leader, presented by the Boettcher Foundation. He currently serves on the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, the President’s Leadership Program Advisory Board, Pueblo Community College CETD Advisory Board. He is a member of the Chavez-Huerta Board of Directors; a member of the El Pueblo Interdevelopment Corporation (EPIC) Board of Directors; Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center Board of Trustees; Pueblo Economic Development Board of Directors.

Under his leadership, the Latino Chamber continues to grow and advance, while staying focused on the small business community of southern Colorado.

Steven enjoys volunteering his time with groups that work toward the enhancement of the Pueblo Community, and spending time with his family and friends in the beautiful Colorado outdoors.

Susan Welk de Valdez

Susan Welk de Valdez is the owner and editor of La Voz del Pueblo Spanish newspaper, and lives in Delta County, Colorado, with her husband, Martin Valdez Gonzalez. She is currently a board director with the Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce, and with CASA 7th Judicial District. Throughout her career, she has served and volunteered with numerous organizations in the United States and in Cozumel, Mexico, where she and her family lived for a number of years.