2019 Medal Recipients

 
 
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Vanguard Legacy Medal Winner

Tim Gill

American software entrepreneur and philanthropist Tim Gill founded the Gill Foundation in 1994. Today, the foundation is one of the nation’s leading funders of efforts to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Since its inception, the Gill Foundation has invested more than $357 million in programs and nonprofit organizations around the nation, substantially contributing to many of the country’s watershed victories for LGBT equality. Gill currently serves as the co-chair of the foundation’s board of directors.

A longtime advocate for equality, Gill is also a strong supporter of social justice organizations and educational institutions. Gill was one of the first major contributors to the Colorado AIDS Project and has long supported local public radio and television through program underwriting. Additionally, Gill has provided financial support to numerous organizations that serve the general public, including support for the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs and SmartLabs in several schools in the Denver-metro area.

In 2015, Gill co-founded the smart home technology start-up JStar LLC. Gill is the chief technology officer of the company, which is developing Josh.ai, a voice-controlled home automation system using its own innovative AI technology platform.

Gill is also the founder and former chair of Quark, Inc., which he launched in 1981 with a $2,000 loan from his parents. He is recognized for revolutionizing the publishing industry with innovative and affordable page-layout software.

Gill and his husband, Scott Miller, live in Denver, Colorado.


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Colorado Mountain Leader Medal Winner

Pat Bowlen

Pat Bowlen, a 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame selection who owned the Denver Broncos from 1984 until his death on June 13, 2019, guided the Broncos during his 35-year ownership with a simple phrase: “I want to be No. 1 in everything.” He was introduced as majority owner of the Broncos on March 23, 1984, and made it clear throughout his ownership that he wanted the organization to be focused on winning and making a difference in the community. No NFL owner during the last 35 seasons had more winning seasons (21) and playoff berths (18) than Mr. Bowlen, who presided over seven Super Bowl appearances and three World Championships (1997, 1998, 2015). With his immeasurable impact on the Broncos, the NFL and the community, Mr. Bowlen firmly established himself as one of the greatest contributors in professional football history.

 

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Public & Community Service Medal Winner

Barbara O’Brien

Barbara spent her whole career advocating for children, in one way or another. In the 1990s/2000s, she built up the Colorado Childrens' Campaign into a (or the) major advocacy force in the state, for positive education action and reform.  CCC brought early childhood education into the forefront of discussions.  Governor Bill Ritter asked her to run as his Lieutenant Governor - she sometimes calls herself the "accidental LG" - because she was not really seeking to run for elected office.  She used the role of LG to play a major role in advocating for kids, but more importantly, in running education reform for Governor Ritter, which included Race to the Top, the P-20 Commission and many successful reform efforts. After leaving office, she became President of Get Smart (later named Catapult) Schools, which identified and trained new school leaders, to create great new schools. Then, she ran for DPS school board.  This is a volunteer job, yet essentially full time, with no pay, lots of headaches, but critical to advocating for kids and accelerating reforms.  Data show that DPS' reforms, partly under Barbara's leadership, have improved student performance substantially, and more than almost any other Colorado or American school district.

Barbara has demonstrated considerable innovation and progressive vision in education policy and advocacy.  She is passionate to eliminate achievement gaps, but she realizes this goal requires change, including new school models and new policies - the status quo is not working or improving fast enough.  She has used her vision to advocate for kids, in all venues, with very smart tactics.  In the P-20 commission, for example, she employed Lean process improvement techniques, to try to help the state get better at hiring and evaluating teachers.  More generally, she has utilized her emotional intelligence, determination, resilience, and empathy to find politically meaningful ways to improve Colorado for all kids, but especially kids from low income backgrounds. Barbara also has a very calm and positive demeanor that she uses effectively.  She campaigned very successfully, for LG and also for DPS school board, even though she is a self-described introvert.  She is able to easily connect with people from various backgrounds. Overall, her career has personified public and community service.

Barbara has done it all.  She has built and run several successful nonprofits, and she built a reputation for hiring top people (at the Childrens' Campaign - Van Schoales, Cary Kennedy, and others).   She has won all of her elected office positions, including LG and DPS board. Barbara grew up in California but has spent most of her adult life in Colorado, making the state a better place to live, especially for children.

 

David Brown

David Brown

David Cohen

David Cohen

Growth & Innovation Medal Winner

David Brown & David Cohen

David Brown is a founder and co-CEO of Techstars. David is a serial entrepreneur who has founded three startups and been involved with two others. David is a serial entrepreneur who has founded three startups and been involved with two others. He is one of the original founders of Pinpoint Technologies, Inc. which is now part of ZOLL Medical Corporation and provides solutions to the emergency medical services market. He was President of the company from founding through over $50M per year in revenue and over 250 people.

David co-founded Techstars along with David Cohen, Brad Feld, and Jared Polis. He has been an investor and advisor to Techstars since inception. In 2013, he joined Techstars in a more active role, overseeing global operations. David has a B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. As a ski instructor in the past, David still enjoys hitting the slopes on a good powder day. 

David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars. David has been an entrepreneur and investor for his entire life. He has only had one job interview in his career, successfully got that job but then quit shortly thereafter to start his first company. Since then, he has founded several companies and has invested in hundreds of startups such as Uber, Twilio, SendGrid, FullContact, and Sphero. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value. Prior to Techstars, David was a co-founder of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation (NASDAQ: ZOLL) in 1999. You can read about it in No Vision, All Drive. Later, David was the founder and CEO of earFeeder, a music service that was sold to SonicSwap. He also had what he likes to think of as a “graceful failure” in between.

David is the co-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup. David also enjoys reading non-fiction books and playing tennis. He is married to the coolest girl he’s ever met and has three amazing kids who always seem to be teaching him something new.

 

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Emerging Community Leader Medal Winner

Kylee Cisneros-Gomez

Kylee Gomez was born and raised in Antonito, CO. She is currently a senior attending Antonito High School. Kylee has demonstrated leadership within her school by tutoring younger high school and middle school students in reading and math, while also being her high school varsity volleyball and basketball team captain and leading both teams to the regional finals. 

Kylee was also apart of the cheer leading squad and National Honor Society, where within those clubs she hosted a food drive collecting over a 1,000 cans for the homeless within our community. 

Kylee was apart of the school districts Substance Use Prevention Collaborative team where she acted as a student leader/voice, helping promote healthier living within the school and community. With her role, she surveyed students and their families on what their wants and needs were for the school and worked with the district to make those wants and needs happen for this upcoming school year. She believes in giving back to the school that has given so much to her. 

Kylee has demonstrated community impact by creating a young advocacy group called A.K.A.S.A. (Antontio Kids Against Substance Abuse) where a group of students from Antontio go to different schools across the San Luis Valley too show support and demonstrate coping skills for other students who come from drug/alcohol abuse homes that are similar to the ones they live in. Kylee also uses this group as a way to promote community clean up. Meaning picking up trash around town and the railroad tracks to help create a safer and welcoming environment. 

Through both in-school and extra-curricular activities, Kylee has sought new avenues towards ending drug addiction within her small town. By sharing stories, creating documentaries, and working with community groups - she uses every opportunity to advocate for positive change. Upon graduation, Kylee plans to attend college at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and pursue a degree in nursing with a minor in psychology. Through this degree, she hopes to return to her community and continue to make an impact.  


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Corporate Citizenship Medal Winner

Aspen Skiing Company

Aspen Skiing Company is located in Aspen, Colorado. They are a values-driven company, owned and operated by people who share a common appreciation and respect for the pristine environment in which they live and fully embrace the Aspen Idea centered around the renewal of Mind, Body, and Spirit.

They have a collective responsibility to ensure that the company is a rewarding place to work and the community a desirable place to live. They respect and nurture the delicate balance between “resort” and “community” that makes them unique. The combination of a values-based company with unparalleled mountain sports, community, history, culture and environment gives them a unique market niche. They are successful because they live the values and principles expressed here.

Mike Kaplan will be accepting this year’s medal on behalf of Aspen Skiing Company. Mike is President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Company, which includes oversight of the four mountains of Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, as well as the Little Nell Hotel Group. Mike started with the company in 1993 after earning an MBA at the University of Denver. After six years in management of the Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass, Mike was promoted to VP of ski operations in 1999, chief operating officer in 2005, and to CEO in November of 2006. Mike learned the ski business under the tutelage of the Blake Family, Jean Mayer, and the rest of the crew in Taos, New Mexico, where he worked from 1986-1992. He grew up outside of Chicago and spent his youth as a ski racer on the Wilmot Junior Race Team, and graduated high school from Stratton Mountain School and college from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a BA in International Affairs. Mike is very active in the community as Treasurer of Aspen Community Foundation and is a member of the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) Foundation Board of Trustees.