Chamber Board and Staff

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meets the second Thursday of every month at 8:00 a.m. in the Board Room at the Third Street Center.  Due to COVID-19 health orders, the monthly Board of Directors meetings are being held virtually via Zoom for the time being. 

Click here to view the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Bylaws.

 

President: John Runne, Runne & Associates Inc.
John Runne is a seasoned business executive and advisor with over thirty years of engagements with Fortune 1000 companies working with CEOs, exec teams and boards on strategy, M&A, organizational structure and corporate planning. Mr. Runne’s experience includes engagements with a host of public and private companies where he served in executive positions and as Chairman of Strategic Advisory Councils and Boards devising and driving corporate strategic objectives. Mr. Runne has also been actively involved in events leading to acquisitions and sales of companies. He has guided organizations on their respective marketing, packaging, and positioning of brand products.

Mr. Runne’s deep and wide corporate experience at the CEO, executive, and board-level has provided the foundation for establishing significantly effective and unique solutions to short-term and long-ranging opportunities and challenges.

In between corporate engagements, Mr. Runne has painted professionally for three decades. He has created hundreds of original works and has published books, greeting cards, and lithographs for major national accounts. Mr. Runne has resided in Colorado since 1992 and along with his wife and grown children enjoys all it has to offer. He is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Business, Austin. You can find out more about him and his expertise at www.bzadvice.com and www.northcreekgallery.com.

“I support the Carbondale Chamber as its sole purpose is to benefit the Town and its people. The Chamber via its membership has a significant outreach that serves to both maintain and advance all of our daily lives in our special place in the Valley. Carbondale is facing growth, organic and otherwise, that an organization like the Chamber can help blend smoothly into our ever-increasing Town culture. “

Vice President: Steve Skadron, Colorado Mountain College

Treasurer: Erkko Alm, Alpine Bank
Erkko is originally from Finland, and his primary focus is lending. He went to school at the University of Colorado in Boulder and graduated with a degree in Marketing and International Business. He enjoys serving on the Chamber Board because he wants to be part of making Carbondale a successful and fun community, and believes the Chamber contributes to that goal.

Secretary: Brittney Rippy, White House Pizza
Born and raised in Glenwood Springs, Brittney Rippy is the day manager at White House Pizza.  She previously worked as the Kitchen Manager and Head of Catering at Bonfire Coffee for over four years and has 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry.  She also works as a personal trainer in the valley.  She is actively involved in the community throughout the fitness and restaurant scene.  Throughout her years of residency in the valley, Brittney has worked at several of the popular restaurants and has been involved as a coach for many of the local gyms. Brittney Rippy has a degree in the Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu and graduated at the top of her class from Mesa State University with a degree in Elementary Education.

“I am a member of the Carbondale Chamber because it allows me to be more involved and connected to the community I live in.”

Past President: Kelcey Nichols, Garfield & Hecht, P.C.
Kelcey grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and opened a law practice in Carbondale in 2012. She joined Garfield & Hecht, P.C. in 2020 to open the firm’s Carbondale office. Her practice focuses on providing sound legal advice to clients on real estate, business, and estate planning matters. Prior to practicing law, she worked at Backbone Media in Carbondale, and in publishing and website development in New York. Kelcey currently works with local property owners, businesses, and nonprofit corporations. In addition, she led a pro-bono project with the Acequia Project to help low-income community members in southern Colorado maintain their water rights. Kelcey is a graduate of the Roaring Fork Leadership program. She obtained her law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University. Kelcey joined the Chamber in order to help our local businesses prosper and see Carbondale continue to establish itself as a wonderful place to live and work, stepping up as a leader among Colorado towns.

Sandi Kister, At Large Representative
Sandi Kister is an attorney in the Roaring Fork Valley.  She relocated to Colorado in 2011 in order to work with the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, where she works as a Special Deputy District Attorney.  Since that time, she has also worked for the Garfield County Public Library District as the Executive Director and as a Special Assistant County Attorney for Garfield County.  With Masters degrees in both Library and Information Sciences and the Administration of Justice, as well as her law degree, Sandi has been involved in public service for most of her career.  

Originally from New England, Sandi is thrilled to live in a state with plenty of days of sunshine, which allow for bluebird ski days, whether uphilling or alpine.  She would cross country, too, if she could find equipment.  In the summer, she enjoys road biking, hiking, and rafting.  Sandi is married to a wonderful partner, Mark Kister, who has lived in the valley since 1978. Sandi is thrilled to be on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce in order to learn about the culture of our business community and in order to support our local businesses.

Sandi is thrilled to be on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce in order to learn about the culture of our business community and in order to support our local businesses

Brendan Matthias, FirstBank
Brendan Matthias is the Executive Vice President of the Roaring Fork Valley Market for FirstBank, and he has worked for the bank since 2005.  In this role, he has experience in many areas of real estate lending, including commercial projects in the multi-family, office, and retail sectors, plus construction and renovation. He relocated to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2012 in order to open and establish a new Market for FirstBank.  He previously worked at locations in Downtown Denver and the flagship in Lakewood.

Brendan currently serves on the board of Community Builders, and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, and is the President of the Mark Ross Montessori Foundation.  Prior involvement includes service on the boards of Windwalkers, Advocate Safehouse Project, Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Glenwood Springs Downtown Partnership, and Community Educational Outreach.

Brendan received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration in 2002 from the University of Colorado and his MBA with a concentration in Real Estate from the University of Denver in 2009. He also received his Graduate Banking Degree from the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin.

“I am a proud member of the Carbondale Chamber primarily to meet more motivated and committed individuals in the Carbondale community!  There is no better way to engage in the business community of Carbondale than through Chamber membership.”

Frank McSwain, Compass Real Estate
Frank and his wife, Rosie, have lived in the valley since 1999 and been an active and involved couple in the community and various organizations. Frank established and built the foundation for Valley View Hospital. He directed the efforts to raise the funds to build the Heart Center and the Calaway-Young Cancer Center. Frank has been in real estate here in the valley for 8 years and associated with Compass. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and received his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. Frank spent 5 years in the U.S. NAVY as an officer in the Supply Corps. Most of his business career was spent as a packaging industry executive.

Frank and Rose are fortunate to have all three of their children and their spouses here in Colorado plus 8 grandchildren that live here in the Roaring Fork Valley. For activities, Frank is committed to being fit and working out. He enjoys running, biking, skiing, and golf, but his first love is his wife, Rosie!

Frosty Merriott, J. Frost Merriott, Inc. CPA
Mr. Merriott received his B.S. in accounting from Louisiana Tech University in 1970. He has extensive experience in tax planning and compliance, Internal Revenue Service examinations and management advisory services. He gained valuable tax expertise as the Corporate Tax Manager for Country Pride Foods, Ltd; a multi-state food processing conglomerate, and subsequently became partner in charge of the tax department at Roberts, Cherry & Company, a large local CPA firm in Shreveport, Louisiana. Mr. Merriott coordinated the accounting services function in the Lakewood, Colorado office of Gordon, Hughes, and Banks, LLP before beginning the firm of J. Frost Merriott CPA in Basalt in March of 1998. He specializes in the areas of taxation, attestation and accounting services for closely-held companies in the industries of insurance, financial services, oil and gas, cannabis, real estate, construction and manufacturing.

Mr. Merriott is a member of the AICPA Institute, the Tax Section of the AICPA, the Colorado Society of CPAs and the QuickBooks Pro Advisor Program. Mr Merriott is presently licensed in Colorado (18114), Louisiana (16-15132), and Texas (TP1741-01).

Frosty, his wife Carly, and Golden Retriever, Bentley, live at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale where they are members of the Orchard Church. They have two daughters, Shiloh, who is an RN for SCL Health, and Heather Chambliss, PhD, FACSM, who is a medical writer at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Frosty was elected to 3 terms as a Trustee for the Town of Carbondale after he had served on Planning and Zoning Commission, the Town Tree Board, the Town Environmental Board, and the River Valley Ranch Executive Board. Frosty is presently serving on the Carbondale Chamber Executive Board, the Town Environmental Board, and the Carbondale Arts Planning Committee. Frosty was named as an Everyday Hero by the Colorado Society of CPA’s for the difference he makes in others’ lives.

“I attend Carbondale Chamber Events because the  first one I attended in 2008 I got a great tax client who has paid for my yearly memberships many times over.”

Kiko Pena, Sopris Liquor & Wine

Lauri Rubinstein, Step into Great
Over the last 30 years, Lauri Rubinstein’s uncommon approach and business strategies have led a generation of women entrepreneurs to make more money, play more, and have plenty of time for self-care. Her Coaching, programs, popular talks and presentations, share the exact skills women need to have a wildly profitable business they love, have more JOY in their life and time for themselves. Lauri helps female entrepreneurs in particular to overcome fear, uncertainty, undercharging, and self-sabotage so they can become confident action-takers, leaders, and expert communicators. After over 20 years of teaching sales and leadership to thousands of women and reaching the top 2% within a multibillion-dollar direct sales company, Lauri founded Step Into Great — a business coaching and consulting company that helps female entrepreneurs use their gifts in everything they do. Lauri earned her Professional Certified Coaching (PCC) designation through the International Coaching Federation and has a BBA in accounting.
Coach – Author – Speaker

 

Tourism Council of Carbondale Chair: Michelle Marlow, Ascent Events
Michelle was born a Buckeye and hails from Columbus, Ohio (and she bleeds scarlet and gray!). After traveling to Aspen/Snowmass during college and graduate school at The Ohio State University, she moved the the valley after she completed her degrees with longtime boyfriend Keith Marlow in 1997. Keith and Michelle married in the Ashcroft Valley in 2001. Michelle has been an event planner and consultant since college and originally moved to Aspen to complete an internship for her graduate program where she planned and managed a local event, Aspen The Spirit of Skiing. Soon after, Michelle was charged with opening and managing a destination management company in Aspen for Creative Event Marketing. In 2000 she became an owner/partner at Agenda West, a medical communications company with offices in New York City and a small satellite office in Carbondale. Agenda West’s primary client was Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Michelle worked with a variety of drug teams and traveled internationally for years planning and producing meetings and events. From large congresses to high-end advisory boards with the best doctors and scientists in the world – Michelle worked with drug team leads at Pfizer’s New York Headquarters and Pfizer’s country organizations for these meetings. A fun fact – Michelle has organized fireworks in 5 different countries!

In 2006 Michelle had her first child, Payton and by 2007 it was time to get off the road and enjoy time with her family. In 2008 Michelle had her second child – Bram. If keeping up with two young kids, several Labrador Retrievers and a horse wasn’t enough, Michelle continued to be involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors – primarily helping plan events for non-profit organizations. In 2015 Michelle helped her longtime friend and former business partner open Marble Distilling Co. & The Distillery Inn and was responsible for events, social media and public relations. After several years helping get the business up and running, Michelle continues to be an owner but is no longer involved with the daily operations of the business.

In 2019, Michelle went back full-time to her first love – special events – primarily for non-profit organizations (she does a handful of social and corporate events). In 2020 she opened Ascent Events. Michelle loves living in Carbondale and watching her family grow and thrive. She feels so lucky to be married to her college sweetheart and call this mountain town home. When she isn’t planning an event she can most likely be found at Strang Ranch – relishing her time with the animals, helping out her Colorado Family – The Strang Family, or watching her daughter ride.

 

Erica Sparhawk, Town of Carbondale Trustee/Liaison

Marty Silverstein, Town of Carbondale Trustee/Liaison

 

Chamber Staff

 

Andrea Stewart, Executive Director/Marketing & Tourism and Member Services

Andrea is the Executive Director of the Carbondale Chamber with 13+ years of Chamber experience.  She graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Communication and a minor in Marketing Communication.  Andrea also has an associate degree in Resort Management & Hospitality from Colorado Mountain College.  She specializes in member relations and communications, and proudly serves on a number of advisory councils and boards, including the Association of Colorado Chambers of Commerce as Chair-Elect.  In 2015, Andrea was recognized by the Small Business Development Center as an Emerging Business Leader and was named Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry’s Chief Executive Director of the Year in 2017.  Outside of the office, Andrea is an accomplished runner, and in 2015, ran the Boston Marathon.  She takes pride in family, and enjoys spending time outdoors, and cheering on the Wyoming Cowboys with her husband and their two boys!

Heather Beach, Bookkeeper

Heather Beach joins the Chamber staff with over 16 years of accounting and office management experience, having been the CFO of Beach Resource Management for 12 years before she and her husband sold the business in 2015. Heather also served as volunteer Treasurer for the Chamber for two years and has several years of volunteer experience as treasurer for other nonprofits, including her church, Snowmass Chapel. A native Texan (born and raised in Houston), Heather attended The University of Texas at Austin and graduated from UC Berkeley, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic society. She enjoys skiing, hiking, gardening, and reading fiction in her spare time. Heather’s 2 adult children live outside Colorado, and she resides in Castle Pines with her husband, Gary.

Katie Montie, Office Manager

Katie grew up visiting Carbondale throughout her childhood and quickly felt at home in the Roaring Fork Valley after moving from Michigan 10 years ago. She has been with the Carbondale Chamber for over 3 years and values the connectivity and involvement she has in supporting Chamber and visitor information needs. Katie has a degree in Applied Science Fitness Leadership from Henry Ford College and a certificate from the University of Nations (an entity of Youth with a Mission, YWAM) for completing Discipleship Training School in Mexico, after which she volunteered for two months hosting visiting student service groups and the Homes of Hope ministry. Before moving to Carbondale, Katie worked as a certified trainer at a personal training & performance fitness center. When she’s not in the office, Katie loves to get outside with her dog Phoebe to hike, camp, and stand-up paddleboard. She enjoys traveling to visit her family and to see new and faraway places. 

 

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