What we’re allAbout
Hello. We are the Colorado Innovation Network, but you can call us COIN. We are a catalyst for innovation. We are creating a physical and virtual network of global leaders that will encourage relationships to support the innovation ecosystem, grow companies, and create jobs.
What exactly is “innovation” anyway? We define innovation as a product, process, or service that generates new value in the market. Launched by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in November 2011, we are innovative down to our very core as startup within government – we are a privately funded organization that lives within the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
COIN understands the place that risk-taking holds in being able to drive ideas forward. This is something we embrace in our own programs and initiatives, which aim to leave a mark on the innovation ecosystem beyond the Rocky Mountains. We are dedicated to telling Colorado’s innovation story and are honored to be a part of building it.
Enough about COIN. Let’s talk about you. Whether you are the leader of an established company or the founder of a small business, a researcher or a university professor, if your goal is to make a difference COIN can help. We can introduce you to a network of great people to collaborate with and would love the opportunity to tell you more about the resources available to you in Colorado. We hope you’ll connect with us and let us know what you are working on.
OurMission & Vision
The Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) is a catalyst for economic prosperity through innovation by partnering with government, business and civil society to foster collaboration around global ideas, talent, capital and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Our vision is to help Colorado blossom into the most innovative state in the nation. With your help, we can make this vision a reality!
“If we can establish a reputation for a high quality of life and an environment that fosters innovation, we can rival any place in the world for economic investment, leading to job creation.”
– Governor John W. Hickenlooper, State of Colorado
Mark SirangeloChief Innovation Officer and Chairman of the Board; Corporate Vice President and Chairman,
Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems
Recently recognized as the best technology company to work for, Sierra Nevada Corporation is a multi-billion dollar US aerospace & technology company with over 2,800 employees across the US. As head of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems (SNC), Mark Sirangelo has helped to build and grow a product portfolio ranging from small satellites, to space technologies that have enabled over 420 planetary missions such as Curiosity, to the hybrid rocket motors that won the Ansari X-Prize and currently power Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Under a public-private partnership with NASA, SNC is also developing Dream Chaser®, an orbital space plane designed as an economical successor to the Space Shuttle which will transport humans to and from low earth orbit. Mr. Sirangelo was formerly the Chairman & CEO of a publicly traded company, SpaceDev, Inc., prior to its merging with SNC and has spent most of his professional life as an entrepreneur founding and leading several successful technology and communications companies.
Mr. Sirangelo is Chairman Emeritus of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, a member of the board of Governors of the Aerospace Industries Association and has been inducted as an Associate Fellow of the the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was named to the Defense Industry’s Fast Track 50, Deloitte’s Fast Track 500, selected as a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, included in Inc. Magazine’s top 200 companies and was inducted into the NASA/Space Foundation’s Technology Hall of Fame.
Mr. Sirangelo has, for over 20 years, been passionately working to make the world a safer place for children. He is a Board member and Trustee of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and also a founder, Vice Chairman, and Treasurer of the International Centre for Children. These Centers have resolved over 100,000 missing children cases and have created such nationally known programs as the Amber Alert and Code Adam.
In August 2013, recognizing his efforts to promote innovation, the Governor of Colorado appointed Mr. Sirangelo as Chairman of the Colorado Innovation Network and as the Chief Innovation Officer of the State of Colorado, a voluntary Cabinet position unique in the country. Additionally, Mr. Sirangelo is the founding and current Chairman of eSpace, the Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit that supports STEM education and the development of entrepreneurial space companies. Recently he became a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Board for the University of Colorado.
Mr. Sirangelo has served his country proudly and with distinction as a U.S. Army officer and has a multi-faceted personal background which includes being a long term licensed pilot. He holds a Bachelor of Science, an MBA and Doctorate degrees.
Michelle HadwigerInterim Director
Colorado Innovation Network; Director of Business Development
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
Michelle is the Interim Director of the Colorado Innovation Network. Additionally, Michelle is the director of business development, focusing on the recruitment of businesses specializing in Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace, Defense & Homeland Security, Electronics, Financial & Business Services, and Technology and Information.
Michelle leads a team of five Business Development Managers who all work to proactively recruit and retain companies within 14 key industries. In her tenure at OEDIT, Michelle has successfully recruited/ retained clients such as Visa, Woodward, Advanced Circuits, Avago Technologies, Charter Communications, and Surrey Satellites, representing more than 1400 net new jobs, with an average wage of $76,000.
Michelle’s extensive experience in economic development includes all segments of the field. Her previous experience includes work with the Denver South Economic Development Partnership (EDP), representing the Denver South corridor. While working at Denver South EDP, Michelle worked on the recruitment of Rio Tinto Minerals, Pro-Build Holdings, United Launch Alliance, and several other companies. She also worked on the integration of the TREX multi-modal $1.6 B transportation improvement project.
Upon leaving the Denver South EDP, Michelle’s experience continued as an Economic Development Specialist for Colorado’s 4th largest city, Lakewood. While at the City of Lakewood, she worked on several real estate development projects, land entitlement processes, development assistant teams and worked with property owners and the Regional Transportation District on the West Corridor Light Rail. While at Lakewood, Michelle recruited DaVita Clinical Research, Electro-Mechanical Products (EMP), Weston Solutions, and more.
Kelly UnderellDeputy Program Director
Colorado Innovation Network
Kelly Underell is the Deputy Program Director for the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. As Deputy Program Director, Kelly is responsible for the annual COIN Innovation Summit, which aims to bring together thought leaders on innovation from around the nation to share best practices and collaborate on new initiatives around innovation.
Kelly has more than seven years of experience in the public affairs industry, managing programs and events and assisting in outreach campaigns for leading non-profit and corporate organizations. Prior to her role at COIN, she served as the Public Affairs Manager for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, managing the day to day operations and program content for the Chamber’s Public Affairs committees, task forces, and annual policy events. Kelly was also responsible for assisting in the development and execution of the Chamber’s political and public policy strategies. Kelly is a proud graduate of the 2010 Colorado Business Committee for the Arts’ Leadership Arts and the 2011 Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation’s IMPACT Denver leadership programs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The members of the COIN Network make up Colorado's innovation ecosystem. Each are an important contributor to the innovative success stories in Colorado and collaboration among these group is key to that success.
COIN is public-private partnership,housed within the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and supported by our corporate and academic Sponsors.
Mark N.Chief Innovation Officer and Chairman of the Board; Corporate Vice President and Chairman
Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems
Mr. Sirangelo is the head of Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, a producer of satellites, space transportation vehicles, propulsion systems and space subsystems. SNC Space Systems over its 25 years of business has been engaged on over 400 space missions and has produced over 4,000 systems, subsystems and components for a wide variety of earth orbit and planetary missions. SNC is also the owner and prime developer of the Dream Chaser, a LEO orbital space vehicle transportation system currently being funded in partnership with NASA as a replacement for the Space Shuttle. Mr. Sirangelo was formerly the Chairman & CEO of SpaceDev, Inc., prior to its merging with SNC and has spent his career leading aeronautics, space and technology companies.
Mr. Sirangelo’s industry board memberships include being the Chairman Emeritus of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the founding and current Chairman of eSpace, The Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a Trustee for the Aeronautics Industries Association and a member of the board of the University of Colorado Engineering School. His charity boards include being a board member and trustee of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and a founder, Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the International Centre for Children. Corporate and personal awards include NASA/Space Foundation’s Technology Hall of Fame, the Defense Industry’s Fast Track 50, Deloitte’s Fast Track 500, a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and Inc. Magazine’s top 200 companies. Mr. Sirangelo is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow, and holds Doctorate, MBA and Bachelor of Science degrees. He has also been scientifically published, served as an officer in the US Military and is a licensed pilot.
KristinSecretary of Technology and Chief Information Officer
State of Colorado
Kristin D. Russell is a dynamic and innovative executive with more than fifteen years experience in operations leadership, IT, and organizational design and development. In February 2011, Kristin was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to serve as the state’s Secretary of Technology and Chief Information Officer. Kristin is responsible for leading the state’s technology economic development efforts and promoting Colorado as a headquarters location for new and relocating technology companies as well as for increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of government through the use of shared information and technology. She also chairs the Colorado Innovation Network Board of Advisors.
Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, she was the Vice President of Global IT Service Operations at Oracle where she was responsible for all data centers and computing operations worldwide. Preceding her affiliation with Oracle, Kristin held various leadership positions at Sun Microsystems, Inc. including serving as Vice President of IT Operations. She has also held roles in customer management, statistical process control analysis and employee training and development while at Citigroup and Southern Pacific Transportation Lines.
LarissaChairman and CEO
Ms. Larissa Herda took the helm of tw telecom inc., formerly Time Warner Telecom Inc., as CEO and President, on June 19, 1998. She was elected Chairman of the tw telecom inc. Board of Directors effective June 7, 2001, and currently holds the title of Chairman, CEO and President. Ms. Herda served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing from March 1, 1997 until her appointment as chief executive.
Under Ms. Herda’s direction, tw telecom grew from $26 million in revenue in 1996 to $1.4 Billion in 2011; expanded its broadband network footprint from 17 U.S. markets to 75; built a national IP backbone recognized as one of the top 10 most connected IP networks in the world; introduced comprehensive data, voice, Internet and national Ethernet products and made three acquisitions totaling over $1.2B -- a regional Internet service provider and two competitive local metro carriers. Ms. Herda has raised over $6 billion in the public and debt markets, including a $290 million IPO, since becoming tw telecom President and CEO.
JBFounding CEO and Chairman of the Board
JB Holston is an entrepreneur and investor who has been central to the development of numerous organizations at the intersection of media and technology over the last 25 years.
As founding CEO and Chairman of Denver-based Newsgator, he has led the company to become the pre-eminent provider of social business computing software, developing a 5 million-user installed base across 400 Global 2000 enterprise customers, government and non-governmental agencies, and national security organizations. The Colorado Technology Association named Holston Colorado’s Technology Executive of the Year in 2010.
Prior to joining NewsGator in 2004, Holston led a large number of organizations, including serving as President of Ziff Davis International, where he managed operations across more than 100 countries and launched Yahoo! Europe. He was part of the senior management team that led the successful LBO of ZD by Forstmann, Little, and subsequent sale to Softbank. Holston’s career has included senior roles with GE and NBC, including a strategic post on Jack Welch’s staff, and with the Boston Consulting Group. He holds a BA and MBA from Stanford.
Kelly Quann Bianucci has been developing and executing marketing, growth, and innovation strategies for media, technology, and non-profit organizations for over a decade. Within Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy and Operations practice and as an informal advisor to several new ventures, Ms. Quann Bianucci currently advises a diverse range of small to large companies within the media and technology industries. Recently, she served as the founding Executive Director of the Colorado Innovation Network, an organization created by Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado in November 2011 to foster collaboration across the private, public, and academic sectors for innovation.
Ms. Quann Bianucci holds an MBA concentrated in Finance and Innovation from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she remains an active member of the Kellogg Innovation Network. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she served as President of the Stern-Tisch Entertainment Business Association. She is also a member of the American Red Cross’s National Young Professionals Council.
Ms. Quann Bianucci and her partner, Dennis, live in Arvada, Colorado with their two children, Ryan (11) and Quinn (9). In their spare time, they enjoy road cycling, hiking, filmmaking and photography.
Bobi A.Deputy Laboratory Director, Strategic Programs & Partnerships
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
Bobi Garrett is a member of the executive leadership team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She has responsibility for strategic planning, program and partnership development and NREL’s public affairs, communications, and technology transfer functions. Additionally, she provides oversight of strategic energy analysis capabilities within NREL and the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis. Prior to joining NREL in 1998, Ms. Garrett held a variety of line management and program leadership positions at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington where she had the opportunity to lead research efforts in energy, environment, defense, and health care for both government and commercial customers
Ms. Garrett serves as a member of the CO-Labs board. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.
AdamDirector and Chief Animator
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
Adam Lerner is the Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver). In 2004, he founded The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar (The Lab) to explore the changing nature of art and museums. In 2009, The Lab merged with MCA Denver when Lerner took the helm of the museum. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Lerner’s work to engage audiences is “reshaping what has become a stale model for a contemporary art museum.” Lerner’s programs have been adopted by museums throughout North America. He is the author of a book about unauthenticated art forthcoming from Princeton Architectural Press. He co-organized with Elissa Auther the exhibition West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977, accompanied by a book of the same name published by the University of Minnesota Press.
Dr. AjayDean of the College of Business,
Colorado State University
As Dean of the College of Business, Ajay Menon provides strategic direction for the College of Business. His responsibilities include: providing leadership for the College of Business; developing and maintaining relationships with all external stakeholders of the College; obtaining financial resources for the College to achieve its vision for success; broad oversight of the senior management of the College.
Dr. Menon holds a Ph.D. in Marketing and has been on the Marketing Department faculty since 1991. His teaching and research expertise lie in the areas of International Marketing, New Product Development & Management and Strategic Market Planning. His research interests focus in the areas of customer loyalty, new product management, and strategy implementation. He has coordinated and participated in several discussion round-tables on these and related topics at national and international forums.
Dr. Menon’s research has appeared in the leading marketing and business journals. In addition, he has received several recognitions for his classroom teaching, including being named “Professor of the Year.” Dr. Menon has been a consultant to several leading companies in Colorado.
PeterSenor Fellow and Honary Co-Founder
Kellogg Innovation Network, Northwestern University
Peter Bryant, is a Partner at strategy consulting firm Clareo Partners (www.clareopartners.com) and a Senior Fellow at the Kellogg Innovation Network (www.kinglobal.org). Peter is an executive business strategist with more than 30 years of experience developing and driving high-growth strategies for companies in the US, Asia Pacific and Europe. He has advised executive teams at a range of enterprises, from emerging businesses to Global Fortune 500 companies. His expertise extends to myriad sectors including resources, energy, CPG and technology. He has held senior leadership roles, such as CEO and COO, at global companies, including General Electric and Computer Associates.
In addition to his corporate experience, Mr. Bryant is a serial entrepreneur, having been CEO/President for two emerging technology companies, Co-Founder of an enterprise software services company and continues to be an active advisor to startups and a mentor for accelerators Clean Launch, Founders and Innovation Pavilions.
He speaks often on how organizations can achieve growth through innovation and sustainability in the resources industry
PhilDean, Law School
University of Colorado Boulder
Dean Phil Weiser is the Dean of the Law School, Thompson Professor of Law, and Executive Director and Founder of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado. Dean Weiser re-joined the Colorado faculty in June, 2011. From April 2010-June 2011, he served as the Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation to the National Economic Council Director at the White House. From July 2009-April 2010, he served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
Since first joining the CU faculty in 1999, Dean Weiser has worked to establish a national center of excellence in telecommunications and technology law, founding the Journal on Telecommunications & High Technology Law and the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship as well as writing and teaching in the areas of competition policy, innovation policy, and Internet policy. Over the last ten years, Weiser has co-authored three books (The Jury and Democracy: How Jury Deliberation Promotes Civic Engagement and Political Participation (Oxford University Press 2010), Telecommunications Law and Policy (Carolina Academic Press 2006), and Digital Crossroads: American Telecommunications Policy in the Internet Age (MIT Press 2005), written numerous articles (in both law journals and publications such as the Washington Post and Foreign Affairs), and testified before both houses of Congress. He also remained engaged in public service, arguing a number of pro bono cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, co-chairing the Colorado Innovation Council, and serving as the lead agency reviewer for the Federal Trade Commission as part of the 2008 Presidential Transition.
MonishaSenior Advisor, Business Affairs
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet's Office
Monisha Merchant is Senator Michael Bennet's Senior Advisor for Business Affairs. Previously, Monisha was a Senior Director of Product Management at Level 3 Communications, a Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and a Senior Engineer at Lucent Technologies. She has advised senior leaders at the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, NSF, NIH, and FDA. She has worked on projects in Indonesia, China, Brazil, Japan, Germany and Nigeria. She has degrees in electrical engineering and political science from MIT and an MBA from Yale School of Management. Monisha served as Regent for the University of Colorado, representing Congressional District 7.
Colorado Technology Association
Erik Mitisek is the CEO of the Colorado Technology Association (CTA) and represents Colorado’s technology industry through key public policy and legislative efforts, economic development and industry relations to ensure Colorado is one of the best technology markets in the United States.
Throughout his career, Erik has been dedicated to building companies and communities in Colorado for 14 years in the online software, luxury, consumer mobile, and online real estate industries.
In 2010, he co-founded his most recent company, Next Great Place, a premium online travel network backed by Trinity Ventures, to help online travelers easily book complex online vacations.
Prior to Next Great Place, as CEO of an online software company Claremont Information Systems, Erik led firm-wide business development and strategic relationships for Exclusive Resorts (a Revolution Company) and helped build XACT Radio, a world-class personalized online music company early in the 2000s.
Erik has been involved in and helping to build the Denver startup community since 1999. Erik was on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Technology Association, is a Founder Institute mentor, an Advisory Board member for the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship, Chairman of Built In Denver, Leadership Denver alumni, and is Co-Chair of Startup Colorado.
In 2012, as one of the founders and co-chair, Erik led the successful organization and production of Denver Startup Week, which was the first and largest event of its kind celebrating entrepreneurship in Denver.
MattChief Executive Officer
Mercury Payment Systems
Matt Taylor is Chief Executive Officer of Mercury Payment Systems, the industry's leader in integrated transaction processing services to small and medium sized businesses. Mercury integrates its payment processing technologies into hundreds of third party point-of-sale (POS) software products, which are marketed to millions of merchants across the U.S. and Canada. Over the last 10 years, Mercury has been one of the fastest growing payment processors in the U.S. and is ranked as the 25th largest merchant acquirer in the world.
After six years with Mercury, Matt became CEO in 2009 and has led an aggressive growth strategy focused on increasing the company's distribution footprint and product offerings. During this time, the company's merchant base grew 46 percent to approximately 70,000 installations processing over $22 billion in annual transaction volume. Additionally, the company's product portfolio has expanded beyond core processing services to include a diverse set of security-focused products, gift card, and loyalty technologies. Since Matt took the helm, revenues and earnings have doubled, and the company has earned numerous accolades from industry associations, including the Retail Solutions Providers Association Top Vendor Award consecutively in 2010 and 2011, and a Top 5 Companies to Work for in Colorado award in 2010.
BarbaraCEO and Founder
Barbara Mowry currently serves as CEO and founder of GoreCreek Advisors a management consulting firm focused on working with CEOs and boards of directors on business strategy and innovation.
Her prior experience includes serving as Senior Vice President of the Data Integration Division of Oracle Corporation. She joined Oracle as a result of the successful acquisition by Oracle of Silver Creek Systems the leader in product data integration and data mastering solutions where she served as President and CEO. Her extensive executive experience includes roles as an officer in 3 Fortune 500 companies as well as CEO of 4 entrepreneurial ventures. She has founded companies, raised significant venture capital resulting in the successful sale of three of the companies. She has lead both business to business as well as business to consumer companies including positions as Chairman and CEO at Requisite Technology, as a senior officer for both Comcast (TCI) and United Airlines, and as an entrepreneur.
Jon was Ernst & Young as Entrepreneur of the Year for the Rocky Mountain Region in 2003, five years after founding eBags.com where he served as CEO until mid-2008. eBags grew revenues profitably at a 34% compound annual growth rate between 2000-2008, to more than $100 million gross annual sales. Over those years, eBags shipped nearly 10 million bags, maintained a negative cash conversion cycle, and accumulated 1.4 million consumer-written product reviews, while operating commerce sites in the USA, UK, Germany and Japan. Today, Jon is CEO of UsingMiles.com which addresses ways to use 20 trillion unspent Reward points. A tech startup advocate, Jon is an advisor/investor to young companies like Nuzzel.com, Runa.com, Turnto.com, Clearhead.com, RedTricycle.com, EgoBoom.com, BlogMutt.com and uMix.tv. Jon is magna cum laude graduate from Boulder's University of Colorado.
MitraUS Innovation Leader
Mitra M. Best is the U.S. Innovation Leader at PwC, leading the disciplined approach to inspire, evaluate and implement innovative ideas across the organization with the critical mission to support the development of new services and market opportunities across industries. Mitra influences and advises PwC senior leaders on new ideas and approaches to organizational strategy, works with clients and third parties to foster open innovation, and promotes the PwC brand as an innovative leader in the marketplace.
Mitra joined PwC in April 1999 in the Office of Global CIO, as marketer, technologist and strategist. Before being appointed as the Innovation Leader for the U.S firm, Mitra served at the Technology Leader for the PwC Knowledge Services Organization and Business Strategy Leader for the PwC Center for Advanced Research.
Annette Quintana is the CEO of Istonish Holding Company, a privately held, information technology solutions and services company. Specifically, Istonish provides managed infrastructure support services, consulting, technical staffing and hosted integrated voice response (IVR) services. All services and solutions are provided in a manner that considers the environment and incorporates ‘green concepts’ in everything we do. As co- founder and co-owner of Istonish, Annette is involved in directing the day to day operations in support of customers. Istonish supports clients in the health care, state and federal government and the private sector.
Istonish has employees delivering business and IT consulting services in 6 states and has employed as many as 1000 people in the US and Canada. Current branch offices for sales and delivery of IT Services are located in Denver, Colorado; Dallas, Texas and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Annette is a Colorado native who was raised in Colorado Springs. Her ethnic heritage is Native American and Hispanic. She attended Colorado State University and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering. Annette is married and has two daughters ages 18 and 20.
John DavidExecutive Vice President,
Global Operations and Technology,
Chief Information Officer
As Executive Vice President, Global Operations and Chief Information Officer, John “David” Thompson is responsible for building and developing the IT infrastructure to support the next generation of payment products and services. He also is responsible for maximizing efficiency, quality and customer delivery for the company’s global Agent network of more than 510,000 locations in 200 countries and territories. He is based in Englewood, Colo., at Western Union’s global headquarters.
Thompson has more than 20 years of experience in the high-technology industry, most recently as Group President, Services and Support and Global CIO of Symantec Corporation. Prior to this role, he served as Symantec’s Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer and, during his six years at the company, led an organization that offered expert solutions and support in information security, technology, availability and storage.
Earlier in his career, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Oracle Corporation and Vice President of Services and Chief Information Officer at PeopleSoft, Inc. Thompson is a director of CoreSite Realty Corporation.
Thompson studied at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. and American University in Washington, D.C.