Welcome Wagon 2022 Cohort

MEET YOUR WRANGLERS

CHANDLER SMITH
Lead Wrangler
Co-Founder | Outside Events

Chandler thinks he’s a cowboy but in reality he’s all hat and no saddle… Truth is Chandler rides bikes, not horses. Chandler has worked in the cycling industry for nearly 20 years and is one of the original founders of Roll Massif (now Outside Events), Colorado’s premier bicycle event company specializing in road, gravel and mountain bike experiences. Here in the valley he directs Wild Horse Gravel, Tour de Vineyards and Tour of the Moon. A Colorado native, Chandler is both an avid outdoorsman and music junkie. You’ll often find him on Colorado’s streams and slopes or exploring artists at a number of his favorite music venues; this of course when he is not with his amazing wife, Renee, and beautiful baby daughter, Charlie Harper!

Selena Sanchez
Wrangler
Director of Marketing & Communications | GJEP

Selena is a Grand Junction native whose roots run deep here as her family has been in Colorado since before it was even a state! Selena is the Director of Marketing for GJEP and outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her partner and their dog. She is also involved with the local art scene and often participates in art markets showcasing her handmade jewelry and paintings.

say hi to the locals

LOUISE GOODMAN
GJ Branch President | Timberline Bank

Louise and her husband moved to the Grand Valley from the Front Range to get their young kids away from city-living. 18 years later, they are settled in Fruita with one child at CMU and the other married with a young one on the way. When Louise isn’t running the beautiful Timberline Bank branch in Grand Junction, she enjoys hiking and took up golf just last year. She is also an avid cook and baker – unsurprisingly, one of her favorite TV shows in Master Chef!

DEVON BALET
Photographer | Devon Balet Media

Devon has only been in Grand Junction for seven years, but he is a lifelong Coloradoan and grew up in nearby Montrose. Unsurprisingly, he is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys mountain biking, hiking, rafting, paddleboarding and camping, often accompanied by his wife Shelby and their pup Frankie (pictured!). Devon was first introduced to photography at a very young age and “never looked back.” Devon beautifully captures the western slope in his work, which can be seen everywhere from local publications like Spoke+Blossom to major bike rags and ad campaigns.

TAMARA KRIZMAN
Dir. Process Improvement | Colorado Mesa University

Tamara was born and raised in the Grand Valley. A bona fide Mav, she earned her degree at CMU and now she works there! She is also an active member of the local volunteer community, as a board member at STRIVE and Community Impact Council volunteer. Tamara and her husband welcomed a daughter nearly two years ago and are enjoying raising her in the same place where her family goes back generations.

NICOLE ALLEN
Executive Assistant to the President| Colorado Mesa University

Nicole is a lifelong Grand Junctionite and a CMU alumna. A former GJEP employee, Nicole was an original Welcome Wagon wrangler. Nowadays she works closely with our community in her role at CMU. Nicole was recently married to fellow “local”, Matt, and together they love to explore all that the Grand Valley has to offer. Nicole says she loves TV and she doesn’t just stop at watching favorite shows like Yellowstone, Lucifer and The Office… she’s got her own channel on YouTube – check it out!

BRIAN WATSON
Owner | Alt Space Coworking

Brian is a CMU graduate and has spent *most* of his life in the Grand Valley. He and his wife moved to Telluride for a few years but recently moved back to Grand Junction and are now expecting their first child! Brian is not only the owner of Alt Space Coworking but has been a prime catalyst for the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the West Slope. When Brian isn’t working, you can find him on the trails or on the pickle ball courts. And, if you’re in need of a business book recommendation, Brian is your guy!

KATE MACDONALD
COO | Phoenix Haus

Kate moved here four years ago when her brother (and coworker) relocated Phoenix Haus from Detroit, MI, to Grand Junction. Although she hasn’t been here as long as most of our locals, Kate has quickly embraced the Grand Valley lifestyle, from crossfit to hiking, biking, SUP and riding horses. When it comes to music, she likes a variety of genres, but when it comes to food, she prefers Indian. Ask her about her favorite local Indian restaurant – or for a Netflix show recommendation!

MATT ALLEN
Assistant GM | GJ Rockies

Matt moved here to attend CMU 10 years ago and never left. As Assistant General Manager for the GJ Rockies, he has possibly one of the coolest jobs in the Valley. Matt is an avid fisherman and hunter – perhaps that’s why one of his favorite meals is steak and veggies. He and his wife, fellow “local” Nicole (pictured!) , recently adopted a hunting dog, Sprig. When he’s not out catching dinner, you might find him taking in a country music concert at Warehouse 2565.

LIBBY OLSON
Owner | GROWL Agency

Libby moved here five years ago to enjoy the #westslopebestslope lifestyle. Her and her husband, fellow “local” Greg, run a successful and fast-growing marketing agency, GROWL Agency, that keeps her extremely busy. She is also on the board for Downtown Grand Junction. When she does get some free time, you’ll catch her at the Thursday Night Concert Series, a Fruita festival or taking in the local music scene.

TOM BENTON
Director | Maverick Innovation Center

Tom moved to the Grand Valley four decades ago for work. Today, he runs the Maverick Innovation Center at CMU and is active in several local organizations, including the airport, Grand Junction Area Chamber and St. Mary’s Hospital. In his spare time, Tom embraces Grand Valley living; he rides bikes, hikes, fishes, farms, and skis. In his own words, Tom also likes to “build things”.

GREG OLSON
CEO | GROWL Agency

Greg has lived in the Grand Valley his whole life (mentally) – (physically) he and his wife Libby moved here with their marketing and technology company, GROWL Agency, about five years ago. Greg’s business is his hobby – the only thing he might love more are dogs (GROWL Agency… Hint hint). When he’s not whipping up creative campaigns, you can find him enjoying live music, hiking, RV camping, fishing, and cooking specialties from Asian to Italian food.  

Nina has lived a combined three decades in Grand Junction and was raised just east of here, in Craig. Alongside running Express Employment Professionals, Nina is very active throughout the community, working with the three chambers, workforce center, community college and more. When she’s not working, Nina enjoys spending time with her husband on their farm in Craig, traveling and doing DIY home projects. Not that she has much time off these days – Nina is currently running for House District 45!

KYLE GARDNER 
Dir. of Rehabilitation | Community Hospital

Kyle moved here 12 years ago for a job and fell in love with the western slope. He moved away for a few years, but he and his wife jumped at the chance to come back here and raise a family – they’ve got a toddler (Reagan, pictured!), a pup, and a baby on the way! When he’s not working, Kyle enjoys all the things the “best slope” has to offer: time on the river, biking, hiking, hunting, live music downtown, and grabbing a beer at Ramblebine brewery.

DONNIE ALEXANDER
Facilitator, Klemmer & Associates

Donnie , a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, made his way out west 13 years ago for his wife, fellow “local”, Barbara. He’s a fan of our four seasons and the proximity to everything outdoors – in particular hiking, camping and travel. He’s into baseball too – so ask him his favorite team!

BARBARA TRAYLOR SMITH
Independent Wealth Advisor | Retirement Outfitters

A graduate of Southwest Texas U, Barbara moved to Grand Junction 17 years ago. She’s a former GJEP board member – and former Mayor of Grand Junction! In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, golf, hiking, camping, fishing, reading , dining out, cooking, gather with friends and family, and her church group. 

welcome the newbies

CRAIG OWENS
Data Architect | Datasource Consulting

The Western Slope welcomes yet another Colorado Front Ranger, Craig! Although a data wiz by trade, Craig is a proud biker, hiker, and true classic rocker. Craig is a CU Denver grad who joins the 2022 Cohort with hopes to become imbedded in a strong business community where remote workers are like the rest…the best of the west!

JENN HUNSICKER
Product Manager | Dell

Jenn left the Golden (CO) trails for those that are Grand (get it?). Although in the tech space, Jenn (and her husband) relocated here for what the Grand Valley can offer naturally, access to the great outdoors. She is a trail runner and she looks forward to digging deep into the community and becoming involved as much as possible.

SHANNON ROWLAND
Chief of Staff | Legacy Venture

Shannon is originally from California and recently joined her husband Kyle in the Redlands. They decided to move to Grand Junction to get closer to family and to be able to enjoy the outdoor life. Shannon recently joined the Giving Club, volunteered with Colorado Discover Abilities, and started volunteering with Make a Wish Foundation. Shannon hopes to be able to meet professionals in the community and be able to become more involved in all things local!

EMMA DAHLIN
Account Manager | Willis Towers Watson

Emma is from Denver and graduated from Ohio State University. She just recently moved to Fruita with her partner and puppy. She loves to hike, ski, as well as going to restaurants and reading. Her favorite dish is pizza, so the Hot Tomato probably just earned another regular… Emma hopes to be able to meet new people, make connections and explore the area of Grand Junction more.

DENNY TRAN
VP Solution Architecture | LTN Global

Denny left Las Vegas with his wife and two daughters to move to Grand Junction to be able to work remotely and be close to world class recreation. He enjoys mountain biking, grilling and “tinkering” with technology. He’s got an eclectic taste for music, from SOJA and Dirty Guv-Nahs to Chris Stapleton.

BETH VAGLE
ADHD Coach, Owner | Attention Matters

Beth moved to Grand Junction from Denver with her husband, fellow “newbie” Wade, to explore the Grand Valley and work remotely. She enjoys to mountain-biking and hiking, especially in the desert. In her own words, she’s always planning a road trip, always reading a book, and almost always “wandering down some random rabbit hole of new information.”

ROBIN PHILLIPS
Executive Assistant | Bureau of Land Management 

Robin is from Austin, TX, but recently relocated to Fruita and works in the outdoor recreation industry. Although new to the area, she is already involved in the Audubon Society, Colorado Canyons Association, the Ronald McDonald House, and is an advocate for pet rescue. Robin is hoping to meet new friends, explore and learn about local interest groups.

SARAH MCCALL &
JASON VAN HOUTEN
Tour Guides | Grand Valley Grapes & Grains Adventures

Sarah and Jason are our most “veteran” newbies. They moved to the Grand Valley from the Front Range in 2019 to get closer to family. Sarah attended the University of Wisconsin and Jason attended the University of Southern California. They have been involved with Colorado Canyons Association, and would love to meet new people and learn more about the area. Bonus: they run a local beer & wine tour company!

MATT MANGAN
Director of Field Operations | Charter Communications

Matt, originally from Billings, MT, moved to Fruita with his girlfriend for his job. He attended Washington University in St. Louis, and during his free time he enjoys hiking and snowboarding. Matt is excited to get to know the area better as well as meet new Grand Valley locals. If you’ve got a tip for a local seafood place, he’d probably appreciate it!

CHRIS SILVERBERG
Principal | Solution Cube

Chris moved from the Bay Area to take care of his parents and enjoy the quality of life here in Grand Junction with his wife Porcia, who’s also on the Welcome Wagon this year. Chris enjoys road cycling, exercising, snowboarding and also the occasional nap! Chris hopes to meet like-minded professionals and make this the best year ever at GJEP’s Welcome Wagon.

WADE WAGLE
Data Scientist/Trader | Hedge Fund

Wade, a graduate from Michigan State University, moved from Denver to Grand Junction for the unique lifestyle and nature that the Grand Valley provides. Wade moved with his wife Beth, and his two college boys love to come visit. He loves mountain biking, hiking as well as exploring nature. Wade is looking forward to getting to know the town better from a local’s perspective!

PORCIA CHEN SILVERBERG
Founding Principal, Soul Centering Consultants

Porcia is a self-professed reinventor. She has been a nonprofit leader, TV show host, leadership coach, healing circle founder, and authored Gatherings for Greatness in 2019. She recently moved to Grand Junction with her husband, fellow “newbie”, Chris, and is looking forward to connecting with her new community and sharing her latest venture, Soul Centering Consultants.

KURTIS MINDER
CEO | GroupSense

Kurtis is working on getting us bio info. In the meantime, you can get the scoop from The Daily Sentinel