DENVER - Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 — Governor John Hickenlooper today announced the remaining recipients of the 2018 Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medals (the Medal). Joining Dana Crawford, the Vanguard Legacy Medal recipient, the 2018 recipients will be inducted during a special evening with Governor Hickenlooper, former Governor Bill Owens, and Quarterly Forum (QF).
Created by Executive Order in 2015 and supported by all living Colorado Governors, the Medal is one of the highest honors bestowed upon citizens and organizations of Colorado for their significant contributions to communities across the state. The Medals will be presented at the nearly sold-out The Event: Colorado Governor’s Leadership Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, at the History Colorado Center.
“The Governor’s Citizenship Medal was created with my predecessors to recognize the remarkable leaders in Colorado for their impact on their community, and to honor their legacy,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “I am honored to award the 2018 Medals to some of our state’s most extraordinary citizens.”
The 2018 Medal categories and recipients are:
1. Emerging Community Leader: Sara Gebretsadik, Denver – In 2018, this award recognizes a young community leader who has strong excellence and positive impact on his or her school and community and serves as an example for future generations.
Sara Gebretsadik came to the United States when she was 10 years old from Ethiopia. Leaving her life for one she knew nothing about was the greatest risk she has ever taken so far in her life. Transitioning to the American lifestyle, while still trying to hold on to her beloved culture was extremely difficult, especially when she began high school. Now a proud alumna of Denver South High School, a school that celebrates diversity and culture of all kinds, Sara shaped communities for the betterment of those around her.
Sara co-founded the Rising Rebels club dedicated to increasing students of color in AP honors and concurrent enrollment classes, a club she aims to extend to the collegiate level at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she has enrolled this Fall. Sara also become Co-President of a club her sister founded, with an aim to spread self-love and positivity. Sara competed at the varsity level in Track & Cross Country, and spent significant time giving back to her school through a mentorship program, the Black Student Alliance, Minds Matter and student government. She is also heavily involved in her community through volunteering with the Special Olympics, Balarat, and the Denver Club of Humanities.
Now a freshman at CU-Boulder, Sara is pursuing a degree in business with a passion to continue supporting her community and her school.
2. Growth & Innovation: Paul Major, President & CEO, Telluride Foundation, Telluride - This award is given to an entrepreneur or business leader who has led with exceptional ingenuity and growth while inspiring and creating new possibilities for others.
Paul Major has served as the President and CEO of the Telluride Foundation since its inception in June 2000. Major leads the Foundation’s multi-million-dollar development, grantmaking, capacity building, initiatives and investment efforts.
Prior to the Telluride Foundation, Major worked as the Director of Business Development for Booth Creek Ski Holdings six resorts. Major's ski industry experience began in 1984 with the U.S. Ski Team in Park City, UT. He served as the Vice President of Athletics and Alpine Olympic ski coach, directing and managed all athletic aspects of the six Olympic sports of the U.S. Ski Team including 200 athletes, 60 staff and 50,000 members.
Major is a board member of the Caring for Colorado Foundation and EPIC (Executive Partnering for Investment in Children), Founding Member of the Entrepreneurship Funders Network, Co-Founder of the Telluride Venture Accelerator, and a general partner of the Telluride Venture Fund LP. He is formally a Board member of Mobile Accord Inc., Colorado Association of Funders, and the Council on Foundations’ Community Foundation Committee and chaired the Technology Task Force.
Major holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, studies towards a master in Mechanical Engineering and letterman athlete, alpine skiing, University of Colorado. Major lives in Telluride, Colorado with his wife, Lois Whitesel Major, J.D. They have three college age children.
3. Public & Community Service: Russell George, President Emeritus, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Rifle - This award is given to a government or community leader who serves the public with innovation, operational excellence and progressive vision.
A strong leader who has served in numerous elected and appointed positions in Colorado, Russell George represents what it means to be a public official. Russell George served as President of Colorado Northwestern Community College, with campuses in Rangely and Craig, from 2010 to 2017. Russ served in Cabinet positions for two Governors as executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation for Gov. Bill Ritter from 2007-2011, and Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources for Gov. Bill Owens, appointed in 2004.
From 2000 to 2004, Russ served as director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. He was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1992 and was elected by his peers to serve as speaker of the House in 1999. Prior to elected office, from 1976 to 2000 Russ practiced law with Stuver and George, P.C., a law firm in the western Colorado city of Rifle that handled water, real estate, oil and gas, business, and other legal matters.
Russ is a fourth generation western Coloradoan and a graduate of Rifle High School, Colorado State University – where he was a Boettcher Scholar – and Harvard Law School.
Russ is currently the Chairman of the Boettcher Foundation Board of Trustees, and an alumnus of the Boettcher Foundation’s scholarship program. He is currently on the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Western Colorado Community Foundation board.
4. Corporate Citizenship: GE Johnson Construction Company, Colorado Springs - This award recognizes a Colorado based company that has made a significant positive impact in the community.
For more than half a century, GE Johnson has been dedicated to enriching communities by leading and building projects with the best people and ideas. A commercial contractor dedicated to delivering unmatched results and a remarkable project experience, GE Johnson is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has five regional offices. Having completed more than $8 billion in construction projects across 12 states to date, the company embraces the power of ingenuity and trusting relationships, and value integrity, safety, collaboration, and excellence.
Founded upon a legacy of giving back, GE Johnson invests its time and talent in the communities where they work, forming lasting bonds. The company supports the arts, education, environment, health and human services, and sports and recreation through volunteerism, community engagement, and other contributions. Each year, GE Johnson supports hundreds of charities and causes, and invests thousands of hours of employee volunteer time. The organization takes great pride in investing in the. community and making it a better place to work and live. Among the many non-profits and charities GE Johnson has supported in its history are some of the most visible and impactful organizations in the community. Proud of the involvement with these organizations, the company strives to provide organizations the support they need to continue improving quality of life.
“The 2018 Medal recipients are shining examples of citizenship for all of us in Colorado,” says Erik Mitisek, Co-Chairman of QF and Colorado’s Chief Innovation Officer. “QF is dedicated to shaping the best community leaders in the state of Colorado. To showcase these great leaders and their accomplishments, we are thrilled to partner with the State, Governor Hickenlooper, and former Governors to continue the Governor’s Leadership Celebration tradition.”
Following the formal Medal Ceremony, Big Head Todd & the Monsters will headline a special performance for attendees. More information on this performance will be released soon.
The Event: Colorado Governor’s Leadership Celebration is generously sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co., EKS&H, ArrowMark Partners with a special VIP reception courtesy of JetLinx. Special thanks also to Breckenridge Distillery, MillerCoors, Tito’s Vodka, and Suerte Tequila.
About Quarterly Forum
Quarterly Forum (QF) is a Colorado-based community leadership organization that connects, educates and inspires the state’s current and next generation of leaders. With a nearly 20-year history of providing a place for executives to dream more, learn more, do more and become more while fostering stronger ties among the business, government and nonprofit sectors in Colorado.