Author: Carey Madsen

September Speaker: Jeff Weist, Lobbyist

Jeff Weist is a professional lobbyist who has spent 20 years assisting his clients in all aspects of government relations, including strategic planning, lobbying, political fundraising, coalition building, grassroots and communications.

Jeff believes he has the best job in the world, turning his passion for crafting public policy into a lifetime profession helping his clients navigate the often byzantine maze of government.   

Jeff has been interested in public policy since high school. He continued those pursuits in college at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he majored in Political Science, and acted as Managing Editor of the Georgetown Guardian newspaper.

During his tenure in Washington, DC, Jeff served as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Dan Schaefer (R-CO).  He advised the Congressman on economic, telecommunications, budget, utility, tax and banking issues and had the privilege of playing a leading role in the first major re-write of the nation’s telecommunications laws in 60 years, as well as crafting groundbreaking utility regulation and tax reform legislation.

After coming home to his native Colorado, Jeff was Director of State Government Affairs for AT&T Broadband, the nation’s largest cable television company, as well as its predecessor company, Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI). In that role, he oversaw legislative affairs and coordinated lobbying efforts region and nationwide.

From AT&T, he graduated to contract lobbying in 2002, and is proud to have cultivated more than decade-long relationships with many of his clients. From major corporations, medium and small businesses, trade associations to nonprofits, Jeff understands the needs of business owners and membership driven organizations alike.

Despite his passion for his work, Jeff tries hard to lead a balanced life that centers on his two teenage boys. Together, they enjoy a wide range of very fun hobbies, including: fly-fishing, shooting, skiing and high-powered rocketry.  Jeff is a Boy Scout Assistant Scoutmaster, and former Cub Scout Cubmaster.  Jeff has also volunteered on numerous boards including the Denver Art Museum Asian Art Association and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.

Amy Ford Shares CDOT’s Efforts to Keep Colorado Drivers Moving

Amy Ford DAB SpeakerIn April the Denver Advisory Board welcomed Amy Ford, communications director for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Ford helped put into context the essential role of transportation in our lives, in business, and the economy during her summary of congestion mitigation efforts on Colorado’s popular I-70 corridor. The numbers are overwhelming:

  • Backups on I-70 cost more than $1 billion dollars in lost time and productivity for commercial and passenger vehicles.
  • For every minute of roadway delay, it takes six to eight minutes for traffic to recover.
  • It’s common for congestion to slow traffic to such extremes that it takes two and a half hours to travel eight miles. For context, that’s 19 minutes per mile, and the average person can walk a mile in about 17 minutes!
  • Colorado’s population is expected to grow 50 percent by 2040, placing immense new strain on our transportation infrastructure.
  • Total future costs to manage I-70 congestion are estimated at $20 – $30 billion

But it wasn’t all bad news. CDOT is continually working on plans to minimize traffic congestion both along I-70 and on major thoroughfares across the state, with a combination of traffic-flow strategies and roadway improvements. A highlight of the work done to date includes the first major investment in the eastbound twin tunnels in 40 years, which re-opened in December 2013, and now generates 15 minutes of time savings during peak hours.

New Ways to Reduce Delays

Ford said the key to reduced delays is to keep everyone moving, and she outlined several upcoming plans, which, when complete, have the potential to reduce travel time by up to 40 percent:

  • A $50 million expansion to the westbound tunnel is beginning soon, which will increase it to three lanes. Drivers can expect regular 30-minute closures during the initial blasting.
  • In the fall of 2014, CDOT will implement a “peak period shoulder lane,” during peak hours, which will convert a newly-paved eastbound shoulder from Empire to the tunnels into a toll road.
  • When the snow flies next fall, “plow wave escorts” will precede traffic up to the tunnel, clearing roads along the way; and traction devices such as auto socks may be sold at roadside stations to get motorists with inadequate winter preparations back on the road.

Ford took the opportunity to remind DAB members that Colorado drivers have a responsibility to be prepared for winter driving, noting that 19 of 22 recently stranded vehicles had bald tires, and nearly all were locals.

She concluded the session by answering numerous questions about projects and problems around the metro area including the current construction on Highway 36, future plans for completion of the C470/E470 loop, Highway 285 as an alternate route to the slopes and much more. Ford encouraged DAB Members to use www.cotrip.org and the CDOT mobile app for the latest updates on statewide conditions and construction.

 

A Success: Peer Advisory Group, Facilitator Training

Training Date: March 26, 2014

Leader:  Bob Carrothers

Attendees:
Ruth Garcia, Steve Manhart, Tom Cordova, Colleen Belak, Karen Susman, John Jordan, Janet Boulter, Dave Johnson, and Gary Hawk

This was fun.  Everyone was an eager participant and worked hard.  We covered:

  • The role of the facilitator (leader)
  • Group Purpose
  • Group Operating Agreements
  • Establishing meaningful discussion topics
  • Dealing with challenging members
  • Time management
  • Member accountability
  • Types of facilitation

These topics led to a great deal of discussion and learning.  Gary Hawk, our very own DAB member, is a very experienced facilitator and his comments were great.  I will be interested in hearing the feedback from the Peer Advisory Group leaders after they have a chance to put some of the ideas into action.  The Peer Advisory Group membership is something you don’t want to miss out on.  It is a huge benefit of DAB membership.

Thank you for letting me do this.  I loved the experience.

Bob Carrothers, DAB Member

Spring Into Change

Spring is right around the corner. Although we’ve had our fair share of 60-degree days this winter, it seems that most of us are looking forward to the warmer weather.  With the warmer weather comes change and growth all around us.  The grass starts to turn green, the flowers begin to bloom and leaves on trees start to appear.

I think it’s ironic that most of the time change within organizations can be uncomfortable, yet the change in seasons in Colorado seems to be welcomed. Is it because it is inevitable and predictable?  Or is it because we enjoy a change of pace once in a while?  Have you noticed the changes going in within your business or within the organizations you are involved with?  Are they positive changes?

As people say, “Stop and smell the roses”, don’t forget to stop for a minute and take note of the progress that has been made or the changes that have taken place.  Sometimes we get so caught up in “what’s next” that we forget to celebrate and recognize what is happening right now.  I encourage you to take time to live in the moment and celebrate every success – even the small ones.

The DAB has grown in numbers. That growth gives us the opportunity to do an even better job of executing our mission of bringing business and community leaders together and providing an opportunity for you to build meaningful relationships.  I want to thank all of the board members and volunteers for committing time and energy to ensuring that as changes take place within the DAB, they will have a positive impact on our members.

Anthony Lambatos

DAB President

April 2014 Meeting Speaker: Crystal Morgan, CDOT’s Plans for the Busy 1-70 Corridor

We are excited to welcome our April speaker, Crystal Morgan, the Communications Manager for Region 1 of the Colorado Department of Transportation.  She will be speaking on the topic of “What the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is doing to deal with the severe pressure on the I-70 corridor between Denver and the Western Slope.”

Crystal Morgan is the Communications Manager for Region 1 of the Colorado Department Crystal Morgan I-70of Transportation.  Region 1 includes the Denver Metro Area and much of the I-70 mountain corridor.  Crystal is a Colorado native and an avid outdoors girl.  Crystal moved to Washington D.C. in 2009 to further her career in transportation.  While in D.C., she was the Public Relations Executive in charge of the $6.2 billion, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, a 23 mile extension of Washington D.C.’s underground and above ground transit system.  She also served on the executive communications team for the 495 and 95 Express Lanes team; major road expansions for two main interstates in and around the Washington D.C. area.  In July of last year, Crystal returned to Colorado to the position she holds now with the Colorado Department of Transportation.