Vanecia Kerr, Chair
Vanecia Kerr is the Chief Impact Officer at the Mile High United Way. In her role, she is responsible for developing, leading and implementing the Mile High United Way’s program strategy that advances the mission and creates sustainable community impact. This includes overseeing the portfolio of programs, grants and related services while engaging with community, government and business leaders to ensure continuous evaluation, learning and effectiveness.
Sarah Kendall Hughes, Vice Chair
Sarah Kendall Hughes brings more than a decade of education and political leadership to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and she currently owns her own consulting firm.
Prior to starting her own firm, Commissioner Hughes was Senator Bennet’s Deputy Chief of Staff for nearly a decade, responsible for the development and strategic implementation of a statewide agenda, day-to-day operations, communications strategy, and oversight of all staff. She also managed constituent outreach and stakeholder engagement across Colorado with business, government, education, and community leaders.
Passionate about quality public school education, Hughes has spent her professional and volunteer capacity working to improve public education for all students. Commissioner Hughes served as Chief of Staff at Denver Public Schools (DPS) from 2005 to 2009. Among many accomplishments, she helped create and implement a reform agenda to help turn the district around after years of budget cuts and falling test scores. She also worked with then-Superintendent Bennet and the executive team to transform the administrative hub of DPS from a one-size- fits-all, centralized enterprise to a central office that worked in support of schools, principals, and teachers by attempting to push decision-making to principals and schools themselves. She is also the President of the Board of Directors of a local Charter school and has worked as a classroom teacher at various points in her career. Hughes has been committed to public service throughout her career. She served as Deputy Chief of Staff for then-Mayor John Hickenlooper’s first mayoral term in the City and County of Denver. She was involved in all aspects of Hickenlooper’s reform agenda to bring common sense solutions to the challenges facing the city. She also helped run Mayor Hickenlooper’s Transition team having served as its Deputy Director.
Commissioner Hughes earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Franklin and Marshall College. She now lives in Edwards, Colorado with her husband and three children. She was appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve through July 1, 2023 as a Democratic resident from the 3rd Congressional District.
Berrick Abramson is the Senior Policy Director at the non-partisan, non-profit Keystone Policy Center, where he leads Keystone's education practice and workforce development initiatives. He joined Keystone in 2017 bringing a diverse background in public policy, education, technology and finance. His policy work has included policy research, development, advancement and implementation in states across the country. Drawing on his time in both the private and public sectors, he also leads a variety of projects at Keystone with local and state governments and government agencies with a focus on operational efficiencies and consensus building strategies.
Commissioner Abramson is a nationally respected thought leader with more than two decades of experience in public policy and education issues and he is frequently sought to speak at national conferences on issues relating to P-20 education and workforce development. Before focusing on education issues, Commissioner Abramson worked in public policy and politics at the local, state and federal level in California and Colorado, where he focused on issues relating to education, economic development and the future of the American workforce. Prior to his work in public policy, Berrick worked in finance and technology in San Francisco. He was co-founder and Managing Partner of TPGI Ventures, a boutique venture capital, corporate finance and consulting firm for whom he now serves as a Senior Advisor.
Commissioner Abramson holds a bachelor’s degree in U.S. History from University of California Santa Barbara. He lives in Jefferson County with his fiancée Carrie, where he has helped raise two step children, one who recently graduated high school and one now in high school. They share their home with their two Australian Shepherds, one St. Bernard-Bernese Mountain Dog and spend as much time as possible camping and playing outdoors. In his spare time, Commissioner Abramson is an avid skydiver, home chef and gardener.
Commissioner Abramson was appointed to the Commission by Gov. Polis through July 1, 2023 as an unaffiliated resident of the 7th Congressional District.
Lone Tree, Colorado
Commissioner Colon is the current Chief Development Officer for Mile High United Way. Mr. Colon began his career in 1989 with Eli Lilly and Company as a chemical engineer, supporting day-to-day operations of chemical manufacturing plants and directing large renovations of manufacturing facilities. After completing his master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Cambridge (England) and his MBA from the University of Michigan Business School, Mr. Colon joined A.T. Kearney, a leading management consulting firm. He later served as a corporate strategy and e-business consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and then became part of the executive management team at Source One Management.
In 2003, Commissioner Colon joined Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's Cabinet as the Manager of the Department of General Services. His success in that position inspired him to start his own company, Colón Construction Services, a construction solutions company focusing on sustainable construction. He also managed the Western U.S. operations for the CSA Group, a full-service architectural and engineering project delivery company with headquarters in Miami, Florida. He is now part of Xcelente Global’s senior team, where he focuses on consulting with clients on international business strategy and logistics.
Mr. Colon received the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s 2000 Brillante Award, the organization’s highest award, and also received fellowships from the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, the William Davidson Institute, Astra-Zeneca, and Air Products and Chemicals. Mr. Colon was selected as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award recipients and also received the prestigious Gates Family Foundation fellowship to attend the Harvard Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. He currently holds or has held seats on the Board of Trustees of both the Iliff School of Theology and Mesa State College, the Board of Directors of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross, Teach for America-Colorado and the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, among many others. He also serves on the Colorado Community Advisory board of U.S. Bank.
Mr. Colon was born and raised in Puerto Rico and he resides with his wife Toti and three children in Lone Tree. He was appointed to the Commission by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2013 to serve through June 2021 as a Republican resident of the 4th Congressional District.
Teresa Kostenbauer leads University Relations at Arrow Electronics in North America where she has created a best in class program attracting the next generation of talent. Teresa is known for her ability to create strategic partnerships, foster global connections, and promote a diverse work environment.
She is the creator of Arrow Diversity Day, DU Inclusive Excellence Case Competition, and the Colorado Multicultural Career Fair. Commissioner Kostenbauer has a bachelor of science in business administration, marketing and master of science, counseling, both from the University of Wyoming.
A lifelong learner, Commissioner Kostenbauer is a first-generation college graduate and passionate about mentoring young people. She was appointed by Gov. Jared Polis to serve through July 1, 2024 as an Unaffiliated resident from the 4th Congressional District.
Tom McGimpsey is Executive Vice President -- General Counsel, Government Affairs and Corporate Secretary of Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ “AEIS”) (“Advanced Energy”), a global leader in the design and manufacturing of highly engineered, precision power conversion, measurement and control products. At Advanced Energy, Mr. McGimpsey has also served as its Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Development (M&A) Officer and VP of Information Technology.
Prior to joining Advanced Energy, Commissioner McGimpsey held the position of Vice President of Operations for First Data Corporation, Executive Vice President of Business Development & Chief Legal Officer at McDATA Corporation (NASDAQ “MCDTA”), Senior Corporate Attorney at US WEST, Inc. (NYSE “USW”), was in private practice at several national law firms, and a Senior Engineer at Software Technology, Inc.
Commissioner McGimpsey received his MBA from Colorado State University (with distinction), his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Colorado, and his BS degree in Computer Science (with a minor in electrical systems) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Mr. McGimpsey is on the board of directors of CPP, Inc., a leading wind and air quality engineering company and is also on the boards of several international companies affiliated with Advanced Energy. Commissioner McGimpsey was appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper in 2015 as a Republican resident of the 2nd Congressional District.
Grand Junction, Colorado
A third generation Colorado native, Steve Meyer was born and raised in Greeley where he still has strong family roots. He attended the United States Navel Academy before transferring to Stanford University where he received a B.S. in civil engineering. After graduation, he worked for several large construction companies, both domestically and overseas, before returning to Colorado to join a home building firm with operations in Western Colorado.
Commissioner Meyer joined Shaw Construction (then only a Denver based company) as a project manager and established its Western Slope Division in Grand Junction. He worked his way up through the company and became President and majority owner in 1995. Since 1995 Shaw Construction has grown to be one of the leading construction companies in the region with offices in Denver, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City and Jackson, Wyoming. It is ranked in the top 400 nationally and employs over 250 individuals. Commissioner Meyer currently serves as CEO.
Commissioner Meyer is active in the community, having served on a variety of committees and boards. He is currently a Director of the University of Colorado Hospital. Previously he was a trustee for Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University), a board member of Rocky Mountain PBS, a member of the Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau, chairman of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, chairman of School District 51 Foundation and a member of the Colorado Forum.
Commissioner Meyer is an active private pilot holding a multi-engine instrument rating and an avid biker and mountain climber. He and his wife Anne have three children: Sam a business graduate now president of Shaw Construction, Grand Junction office, Caroline a veterinarian in private practice in Colorado Springs and Will a mechanical engineer working for Shaw Construction in Denver. Commissioner Meyer was appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve through July 1, 2024 as an Unaffiliated resident from the 3rd Congressional District.
Charlotte Olena serves as the advocacy director at New Era Colorado, where she has made a career out of challenging the status quo. In fewer than three years, Commissioner Olena has transformed advocacy work at New Era to mature as an $800,000 program and driven the conversation on student debt at the state legislature.
This past legislative session, Commissioner Olena worked tirelessly with students, graduates, organizations and legislators to pass critical legislation to help level the playing field for student borrowers—the strongest legislation of its kind in the nation. She works directly with the students the commission serves every single day, getting their feedback on policy proposals and mobilizing them to raise their voices and trust that they matter.
Before joining New Era, Commissioner Olena served as assistant organizing director for Green Corps, where she developed and executed eight local, state and national environmental grassroots campaigns.
Commissioner Olena earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Colby College. She was appointed by Gov. Polis in July 2019 to serve through July 1, 2023 as a Democratic resident from the 1st Congressional District.
Brittany Stich is the co-founder and Vice President of Learning at Work at Guild Education, a company whose mission is to unlock opportunity for America’s workforce through education. In partnership with universities around the country, Guild helps those who have yet to earn a degree access education through their employer's tuition benefits.
At Guild, Commissioner Stich has led work around college pathways, credit for workplace training, and innovations in student support. She has years of experience in public/private partnerships, curriculum development, instruction and career and academic advising in the K-12 and higher education sectors, both as an educator and operator. She believes deeply in the power of education as a first-generation college student herself.
Prior to founding Guild, Commissioner Stich started her career as a middle school and elementary school teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School and is a Teach for America alum. She spent multiple years leading student services and program operations, building honors programs in community colleges across the country. She and Guild Education have received multiple accolades including Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies List, Forbes 30 under 30, and EBN’s Top Benefit Technology Innovator. She is an alumna of Stanford, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Stanford Graduate School of Education.
Commissioner Stich was appointed by Gov. Polis in July 2019 to serve through July 1, 2022 as a Democratic resident from the 1st Congressional District.
As President & Chief Executive Officer of the Pueblo Latino Chamber, Steven Trujillo is responsible for the organization’s day-to-day operations, public relations and community representation. Under his leadership, the Latino Chamber continues to grow and advance, while staying focused on the small business community of southern Colorado.
In addition to CCHE, Commissioner Trujillo currently serves on the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, the President’s Leadership Program Advisory Board and the Pueblo Community College CETD Advisory Board. He is a member of the Chavez-Huerta Board of Directors and a member of the El Pueblo Interdevelopment Corporation (EPIC) Board of Directors among many others.
Commissioner Trujillo was a member of the Presidents Leadership Program at CSU-Pueblo and served on the Scholars Board for the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, advocating and representing students from CSU-Pueblo since 2010. In 2009 Commissioner Trujillo received the 2009 Colorado State University-Pueblo Campus Leader of the Year Award, presented by the Boettcher Foundation, and was a 2009 Nominee for “Colorado Student Leader of the Year.”
A native of Pueblo, Steven is a 2007 graduate of Dolores Huerta Preparatory High School. He holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree in general studies from Pueblo Community College, a bachelor’s of science in business administration from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a minor in leadership studies, and a master’s degree in business administration, also from Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Commissioner Trujillo enjoys volunteering his time with groups that work toward the enhancement of the Pueblo Community, and spending time with his family and friends in the beautiful Colorado outdoors.
Commissioner Trujillo was appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in July 2019 to serve through July 1, 2023 as a Democratic resident from the 3rd Congressional District.
Eric Tucker, Ph.D.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Eric Tucker, Ph.D., serves as the Director of Consulting and Assistant Professor of Management at the United States Air Force Academy (USAF). A proven team player, Commissioner Tucker is a goal-driven leader and experienced problem solver who focuses on data-driven decision making for continuous improvement. He is experienced in human resources, scheduling, training, budgeting and operational execution.
Commissioner Tucker has taught at USAF Academy since 2004. In his teaching, he challenges his students to use the tools and techniques to solve ill-defined problems. He incorporates real-word illustrations to demonstrate that operations management, project management and various analytic techniques are applicable across many domains.
In his research, Commissioner Tucker focuses on the improvement of Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management Systems. He has published several academic articles, earned many grants and fellowships, presented at more than a dozen conferences and is writing a forthcoming book.
Commissioner Tucker earned a bachelor’s of science from the USAF Academy in aeronautical engineering, a master’s in science in engineering and technology management, a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport and Rhode Island, and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering in Industrial Engineering from University of Central Florida.
Commissioner Tucker was appointed by Gov. Jared Polis in July 2019 to serve through July 1, 2023 as an unaffiliated resident from the 5th Congressional District.