Month: June 2021

Leah Chmielewski

Leah Chmielewski leverages her 15+ years of research and development, technology, strategy, and government experience to provide program management, business development, lead generation, competitive analysis, and bids and proposal support to small businesses to help grow businesses and win contracts and grants, such as SBIRs and STTRs. She has helped win over $40 million in defense government contracts and has managed customer relationships for both hardware and software research and development efforts, from bids and pipeline planning through test and evaluation to procurement. She previously served over 10 years as a federal employee for the Department of Defense in strategic planning, contingency planning, program management, international liaison, and operations, to include assignments in Afghanistan and US Embassy Berlin. She is a board member of Michigan Ross School of Business Alumni Club Denver, fluent German speaker, tech innovation enthusiast, and loves making connections – whether ideas, people, companies, opportunities, or ways forward.


Thea Chase

Thea Chase is a consultant, mentor and board member for high growth companies and communities and is a highly regarded business incubation professionals in the USA. Over the past twenty-five years Ms. Chase has started and run regional eco-system building programs, Accelerators, University Entrepreneurship Centers, Co-working spaces, Incubators, Small Business Development Centers and University Entrepreneurship curriculum and programming. Notably, Ms. Chase recently directed the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC), moving the 8-county rural southwest region of Colorado towards a healthy balanced economy with a greater emphasis on innovation-based businesses. For the prior 3 years, Ms. Chase was the Director of the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), a seed Accelerator where Ms. Chase organized curriculum, programming, 120+ world-class mentor group and significant investor community. Prior to her work with the Telluride Foundation, Thea was the founding Director at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and award winning Small Business Development Center for Innovation from 2010-13; led the development of the Entrepreneurship concentration at Colorado Mesa University 2006-10; and was the Executive Director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, CO from 1993-2006, a 5-time National Business Incubation Association (inBIA) award winning program. Thea has gained extensive experience working with communities and regions to build on their unique qualities to create sustainable economies, including internationally. Thea’s passion is working with entrepreneurs (1000+) and building communities interested in engaging entrepreneurs through developing supportive eco-systems. Thea believes in collaboration and efficient use of resources to build the greatest impact and has worked extensively with diverse groups of stakeholders to drive successful projects. Her international work includes projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand and St. Lucia. Thea is the proud mother of two millennials and serves as Town Trustee in Palisade, CO and on several non-profit and startup Boards.

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