DCED Board of Directors
DCED is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, who are committed to 
building a strong economy and community for Delta County

John Gavan, DCED Board President - In addition to DCED, John is a board member of Delta Montrose Electric Association and Tri-State Generation and Transmission. Until recently, John was the IT Manager for the Delta County Library District, where he brought nearly thirty years of general management and Information Technology experience to the Library District.  Under his tenure, the library’s public use computers, network and software systems were upgraded to improve service and reduce cost. Prior to joining the Library District, John was the Director of the Project Management Office at GXS Inc.  GXS is one of the largest B2B services companies in the world.  John was responsible for the management of key programs, integration of acquired businesses and the technical due diligence associated with an aggressive M&A program.  Before this, John was the IT Manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC on a multi-year contract administered by SAIC, Inc. For eighteen years, John was a system engineering and IT director at MCI Telecommunications Corp. and later WorldCom after its acquisition of MCI.  In this role John was responsible for leading software engineering teams in creating new products and services.  John led the team that developed MCI’s web portal, which was the one of the first B2B web platforms fielded in the telecommunications industry.  Prior to this, John was involved in the development of many of MCI’s enhanced services such as MCI Mail, one of the first public e-mail services as well as network fax, calling card and voice mail services. John received a BS degree in Engineering from the State University of NY Maritime College.  He served in the US Navy aboard a guided missile destroyer as an engineering and communications officer.  John also has an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business. John lives in the North Fork Valley where he is designing and building a new house that is striving to meet a near “Net Zero” energy use profile.  

LaDonna Gunn, DCED Board Vice-President - Delta County Libraries (Assistant District Director)- LaDonna loves to learn, is passionate about history, and enjoys interacting with people.  LaDonna grew up on a ranch in Rifle and graduated from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, with a BA and MA in history.  She and her husband, Tracy, who grew up in Fruita, have lived in several places in Colorado and Nevada due to Tracy’s mining career, but they have always returned to Western Colorado.  LaDonna has been involved in her community, serving on several boards related to libraries, local history, and historic preservation.  In addition to her “day job,” she has taught environmental history at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and American history at Colorado Mesa University, Montrose Campus. Thanks to a lifetime in Colorado, LaDonna has watched local economies change and develop significantly over the years.  She has a strong understanding of the way community needs reflect these changes and recognizes the important role that libraries play in helping to respond to those needs.  In Delta County, the Libraries offer our communities an incredible variety of valuable services, from summer reading programs for youth to ESL and basic education classes for adults.  Our seed library is one of many examples that reveals the ability of Delta County Libraries to respond to the changing needs of our residents.  Serving on the DCED board provides great opportunity for Delta County Libraries, through LaDonna, to participate in the development and enrichment of Delta County and its residents.

Phil Schmidt, DCED Board Treasurer, Phillips Machine Service (General Manager)- Phil Schmidt is the General Manager of Phillips Machine Service, Inc. “DCED was helpful in bringing Phillips Machine to Delta in 2008. Also, once Phillips committed to becoming a member of the Delta area business community, DCED  assisted our efforts as we established the business. Phil is a native to Western Colorado, born in Grand Junction.  Grew up in Salt Lake City.  Graduated from high school in 1976.  Graduated University of Utah in 1980 with BS in Mining Engineering. He returned to Colorado in 1990 and went to work for Colorado Westmoreland, worked there until 1988 in various positions and went to work for Coastal States Energy Skyline Mine, central Utah, in 1988 and worked there for 3 years. In 1991 he moved back to the North Fork Valley and went to work for Arco Coal as Project Manager at West Elk Mine.  Worked at West Elk Mine (under both Arco Coal and Arch Coal ownership) for 17 years.  Held a variety of assignments including engineering, maintenance, permitting, governmental affairs, process improvement, etc. 9 years ago Phillips Machine Service (headquarters in Beckley, WV) talked to Phil about opening a new business in Delta.  Phillips opened for business in Delta in late 2008. He is married a local girl, Christi, in 1982 and started a family.  Two children, Cara and Kyle, were both born in Delta. Christi runs her own business in Hotchkiss in addition to selling real estate on the western slope.  Hobbies include racquetball, golf, snowmobiling, boating at Lake Powell, hunting, fishing, traveling the world and spending time with friends and family.

Larry Traubel, DCED Board Secretary, Cropworx (Owner)- A native of Arizona Larry graduated from Glendale High in 1974.  The next step was a dual major in Agricultural business and Agronomy from the University of Arizona. He has spent his entire life involved in production agriculture.  His career trail started in Arizona, then Idaho and Washington, back to Arizona with the last move to Cedaredge Colorado in 1993. Along with his move to Cedaredge in 1993 came the purchase of an orchard.  This, combined with the position as a horticultural advisor at Hi Quality packing firmly established Larry in the Western Slope orchard industry. In 2000 a job offer from Grand Mesa Discount located in Eckert to be their orchard salesman set the stage for Larry to buy the business after six years of employment.  In late 2012 Larry changed the name of the business to Cropworx. Married to Angela in 1980, they have three children Lindsay, Brian and Whitney and so far, four grandchildren.  His favorite forms of therapy are fly-fishing, racquetball and traveling the world.

Brad Harding, First Colorado National Bank (President) - Brad is a fifth generation resident of Delta County, graduating from CSU with a B.S. in Fisheries Biology.  His entrepreneurial side took over in 1998 where he began a six year career in the investment and securities field.  Brad started his trek home to Western Colorado where he started work for US Bank in Aspen as the VP of Commercial Banking.  He was fortunate to return to Delta County as a member of the ownership group that purchased The First National Bank of Paonia-Delta in April, 2007. The bank was renamed to First Colorado National Bank where he serves as President.  Brad also serves as board member of Delta Montrose Electric Association Board and Elevate Fiber.  I love Delta County.  My natural interests in the recreational opportunities and the beauty of this area make it an ideal fit to call home.  I believe our local communities can be more than they currently are.  Having been a part of healthy businesses in the past and with my entrepreneurial nature, I believe I add value and insight into what is good for our community. The local background knowledge I’ve obtained by being a community banker, gives me further insight into our community.  I’m committed to doing what it takes in building a strong, thriving economy in Delta County.”

Ron Austin, City of Delta (City Council Representative - Mayor)  - Ron was elected to the City of Delta Council in April 2016, and elected Mayor in April 2018.  Ron is busy in the community, serving on the Delta County Airport Authority Board, and the Delta Urban Renewal Authority Board. For over 10 years he has served  on the Delta Montrose Community Concert Association board also. He is married with one daughter and several grandchildren, and great grandchild.  Ron served in the US Navy from 1968 to 1971, and as a Deputy Sheriff in San Diego County from 1973 - 2000. He has also been a business owner, and is an avid Corvette enthusiast. Ron's focus is the efficiency of government and the economy as a whole for the residents and business owners. "The vitality of Delta is dependent upon the support of business owners and the people who make Delta a true gem on the Western Slope. In the words of President Lincoln "the best way to predict the future is to create it." "

Jason Clecker, Delta County Memorial Hospital (CEO) - Jason Cleckler is the CEO for Delta County Memorial Hospital (DCMH). He received his BSN degree from California State University at Humboldt with a focus on rural healthcare. Throughout his career Jason worked in a variety of nursing positions to include inpatient psychiatry, ER/Trauma and ICU. He taught psychiatric nursing at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for a short time. He moved to Colorado in 1995 to Colorado Springs and then moved from Colorado Springs to the Western Slope in 2005. Jason began working at DCMH in 2008 as the Trauma Coordinator and moved from that position to being the ER Manager/Trauma Program Manager. He then assumed the role as the Chief Clinical Officer and as of October 2012 the CEO.  His interest outside of work include road and mountain biking, rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, fly fishing and skiing.

Caryn Gibson, Delta County School District (Superintendent)  - Caryn Gibson is a skilled educational leader with 26 years of experience in public education. Ms. Gibson became the Delta County School District Superintendent in 2012. She leads the District’s mission of “Caring, Challenging, Learning . . . Every Student, Every Day!”. Ms. Gibson oversees all aspects of the District, which includes over 5,000 students, 750 staff and a budget of over $35 million. She began her career in education as a high school business teacher and coach. Then she moved into administration where she was an Assistant Principal, Financial Aid Director and then Director of Delta Montrose Technical College. In 2010 she moved to the District Office for Delta County Schools where she has served as the Human Resource Director before accepting the position of Superintendent. Caryn joined the DCED Board in 2012.

Cheryl Hines, Farmer - Cheryl is a 4th generation resident of Delta County who was raised on a family peach and apple orchard in Delta County.  Cheryl and her husband Randy operate a multi-generational farm in Delta County.  The Hines are Independent Sales Reps for DuPont Pioneer Hi-bred and Certified Crop Advisors going on 34 years.  Cheryl and Randy raised two sons and have 2 daughter-in-law’s and 3 grandsons.  Cheryl has always been active in her community and church. Cheryl had this to say about economic development and agriculture, “I believe economic development is important to Delta County if we want to sustain a self-sufficient, healthy community while maintaining the quality of life that we enjoy so much.  My passion is agriculture.  To be able to have sustainable agriculture in Delta County so that it is a viable option for future generations.” 

Paul Larmer, High Country News (Executive Director and Publisher) - High Country News is an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers the American West and is based in Paonia, Colorado. 2018 saw circulation grow to more than 36,000.  In 2018 HCN opened an office in Gunnison, CO,  and now covers over 12 states and tribal nations.  At HCN, Paul is responsible for managing 29 employees, a $3.4 million dollar budget for a 19-member board of directors. Paul has been in Paonia since 1992 and has raised two children, Zoe and Zachary, who attended the Paonia and Hotchkiss schools and participated in numerous sports and 4-H programs. Paul holds a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan, and is deeply interested in how government, private industry and non-profits can work together to create vibrant rural economies. The primary reason Paul joined  DCED is to give something back to the community that has nurtured his family for the last 25 years. Paul says "It is an honor to work with DCED on projects that build on Delta County's incredible assets to create a more vibrant community."  Paul  brings a deep understanding of communication work in the non-profit realm to help DCED establish itself more firmly in the minds of Delta County citizens as a force for good. 

Darnell Place-Wise, Representing Delta Area Chamber of Commerce. Darnell’s ties to community of the Delta run deep, having grown up in Delta, “I want nothing but success for our area; whatever I can do to help ensure that, I am raising my hand to help make that happen!” Darnell said recently. “This is where we are choosing to raise our daughter; I’d like to help bring Delta County back to that which I remember growing up, where every single store front had a vibrant business behind it.  My role as Executive Director at the Chamber was complementary to Delta County Economic Development’s mission; it makes sense to create that continuity; I am excited about the potential!” 

Recently Darnell accepted a position with the County as Executive Assistant, Public Information Officer and Marketing Director. Many hats worn by a dynamic lady!

Don Suppes, Delta County (County Commissioner) - Commissioner Suppes began his term as Delta County Commissioner in January 2017. Prior to this he was a two-term mayor of Orchard City.  Don is married and has twin sons. He is also the owner of Suppes Heating and Cooling.

Scott Thomassen, Thomassen, LLC- Scott Thomassen was born in Pella, Iowa and grew up in Golden, CO.  He attended Western State College in Gunnison and worked on a geophysical crew for oil exploration in Pratt, KS.  In 1982, Scott moved to Cedaredge for the quality of life and outdoor opportunities, where he owned and operated a live fishing bait business for almost 10 years. He also worked for Skyland Food Co. until 1995 when they closed.  Together with his wife Gynee, they opened Classic Computers in Delta in 1995 which remained open until the end of 2016. Gynee and Scott have two daughters.  Scott joined the DCED Board in 2009.

Bert Sibley, Re/Max - elected to the Board in 2018. Bert grew up in South Florida, and along with wife Mary, longed to move to the mountains of Colorado. Bert and his wife are passionate about outdoor activities and love to try new things. With a lifetime of sales and skills knowledge learned from their commercial nursery business in South Florida, they moved to Cedaredge and became realtors with Re/Max Mountain West.  "We wanted to become part of a tight knit community and become involved in helping the community thrive." says Bert. Bert quickly engaged in community organizations; OCID Board Member, Secretary, Butte Ditch Board Member, Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President Abraham Connection 2012 - 217, currently volunteering, Board Member Delta County Board of Realtors, 2009- 2012, Delta Memorial Hospital - volunteer.

 Rob Turner, Bank of Colorado -  Rob was elected to the DCED Board in 2018 as the representative for the Bank of Colorado. Rob has a degree in Agricultural Economics and Business  with an emphasis in Agricultural Lending, from New Mexico State University. Rob has been a small town banker for 20 years, he recently moved from New Mexico where he was the Market President for a community bank for 6 years. Rob has been in Delta since 2017 and truly enjoys helping customers and being involved in community growth.  Outside of work Rob enjoys fishing, mountain biking and gardening.   

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