MEET OUR BOARD.
Our dedicated board represents varying industries and regions in Colorado and works tirelessly to serve the needs of small businesses in our state.
Kelly Healy oversees the operational management, strategic planning and financial planning of the Colorado SBDC Network, a $3.5 million federal- and state-funded program. Under Healy's leadership and ability to manage change, the Colorado SBDC has successfully increased the assistance of jobs created/retained by 800 percent; increased capital formation obtained by clients by 275 percent; and increased the return on investment by more than 50 percent, proving the successfulness of Healy's ability to align her continually changing goals with statewide strategies.
Since Healy started with the Colorado SBDC in 2000, she has successfully moved the SBDC network to a performance-based program while implementing numerous initiatives to assist the growing needs of small business entrepreneurs, including programs, conferences and training for veterans, women, emerging industries and creative businesses.
Healy attended New Hampshire College School of Business and obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration. She also holds a master's degree in communication with a certificate in dispute resolution from the University of Denver.
Alex Dempster is a Commercial Banking Relationship Manager at Commerce Bank. Commerce Bank’s commercial banking group works with middle market companies, nonprofits, and municipal entities throughout the central United States.
Prior to his work at Commerce Bank, Dempster worked for the Colorado Housing & Finance Authority (CHFA) where he was responsible for promoting CHFA's economic development loan products to Colorado businesses through a network of banking partners, nonprofit organizations, and economic developers.
Dempster has an MBA from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Denver.
Betsy Markey has over 35 years of experience as a Member of Congress, a senior federal government executive, the co-founder and CFO of a high tech company and a small retail store.
Most recently Betsy served as Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration based in Denver. In this capacity she oversaw the delivery of the agency’s small business programs and services in Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. In 2011, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Homeland Security. She facilitated the direct line of communication between the department and state and local elected officials on all DHS mission areas, including cyber security, terrorism prevention, transportation security, immigration enforcement, border security, human trafficking and disaster assistance.
Betsy was elected to serve as a Member of Congress in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District in 2008, and represented over 700,000 constituents in one of the country’s largest congressional districts in the 111th Congress. She served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Agriculture. Prior to being elected to Congress, she was the Regional Director in northern Colorado for U.S. Senator Ken Salazar. She worked closely with local elected officials, businesses, agricultural groups and non-profit groups.
In the late-1980’s, Betsy and her husband launched a successful technology company, Syscom Services, which was one of the first companies to market email, and subsequently expanded into the area of web design and web-based information management systems. The firm has been ranked in the Inc. 500 listing of America’s fastest-growing private companies. In the mid-1990’s, Betsy purchased a coffee/ice cream shop in Fort Collins called Huckleberry‘s. After making extensive changes, she sold the business four years later for double the purchase price.
Betsy worked for the U.S. Department of State as the Director of Information Systems Security Policy and Training, where she traveled extensively to our overseas Embassies and consulates conducting computer security threat and vulnerability analyses. She entered the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow in 1983, where she held positions as budget and program analyst in the Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Customs Service.
She has also served as President of the Board of Directors for the Larimer County Food Bank, Chair of its Capital Campaign, member of the Local Legislative Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, founder of the Northern Colorado Democratic Business Coalition and Chair of the Larimer County Democratic Party. She holds a bachelor degree in political science from the University of Florida and a master of public administration from American University.
Betsy is married to her husband of 33 years, Jim Kelly. They have three grown children.
Aikta Marcoulier joined the SBDC team as the director of the Pikes Peak center in May 2012. Prior to the SBDC, she was the director of partnership marketing with the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). In that role, Marcoulier managed a team which provided all aspects of sponsorship and account management.
Marcoulier first began her work within the Colorado Springs community with the Native American Sports Council, a community-based organization of the United State Olympics Committee, where she received the experience of acquiring grants and local support to meet broader goals of the organization.
She is currently a committee member for the Regional Business Alliances' Women in Business Committee and committee in support of the Economic Development Council of Colorado regional event. Aikta is involved in the El Pomar Emerging Leaders Program. She is an active board member of Women on the Move, Pikes Peak Workforce Development Board, Pikes Peak Community College Business Advisory Board, and the Better Business Bureau Foundation. She serves on numerous committees for the Colorado Springs Business Journal (Fastest Growing Business, Women of Influence, Southeast Business Plan Competition) as well as the El Paso County Economic Strength Strategic Planning Committee. Aikta serves on the Technology and Funding Committees for the Colorado SBDC Network.
Past memberships include board membership to the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women to Women Mentoring and the Executive Leadership Committee for the Leukemia Lymphoma Man/Women of the Year Gala.
Marcoulier received her MBA in global management from the University of Phoenix and undergraduate degrees in both economics and psychology from the University of Iowa. She was awarded the University of Iowa Leadership Award in 2011 and was named one of the Colorado Springs Business Journal's Rising Stars for 2013 and Women of Influence. Additionally, Aikta earned the Colorado State Star Award in 2013 and lead the Colorado Springs SBDC to earn the UCCS Deans Award, El Paso County Recognition Award, SBA Region VIII Award for Innovation and Excellence and the Pikes Peak Arts Council Arts Advocacy Award.
In the past 10 years, Sharon King and the Boulder SBDC have worked with over 5,000 entrepreneurs from startups through 2nd stage companies, from “Main Street” businesses through highly scalable manufacturing and Advanced Industries. Sharon’s first business was a vintage retail store – right out of college. Just before joining the SBDC in 2004, Sharon converted and re-branded a franchise hotel into the independent Boulder Outlook Hotel, in which she was an investor. In the 30 years between, Sharon has been an entrepreneur, marketing executive and consultant for small (and larger) businesses in many industries -- including hospitality, professional services, banking, consumer products, retail and manufacturing. She holds an MBA from Cornell University, is nationally-certified as an Economic Gardening Team Leader through the Edward Lowe Foundation and nationally certified to facilitate FastTrac NewVenture, GrowthVenture and TechVenture programs through the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship.
John Comunale is the President and Managing Partner of Comunale Properties and its affiliated companies. John is responsible for strategic planning, capital structuring, business development and all property and asset management operations for Comunale. He is also the founder and Managing Partner of the company’s investment affiliate, The J.Red Group, and serves as the Manager of all new investment partnerships. Under John’s leadership, Comunale has become a fully integrated multi-market real estate platform with more than 30 owned and managed assets.
Prior to Comunale, John was an investment banker focusing on debt and equity along with capital advisory assignments in the hotel industry. Before joining the business world, John was a competitive skier for more than a decade.
John is a graduate of the University of Denver with a BSBA in Real Estate. He is the founder and president of the Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation, which provides grants and complimentary programs to provide quality of life for families facing cancer.