Ben McConnell is co-founder and CEO of Blue Parable, a Loveland based software start-up focused on bringing elegant, intuitive software solutions to businesses big and small.
In addition to running Blue Parable, Ben serves as Manager of Ecommerce and Digital Marketing for Cloz LLC, a Loveland based boutique retailer owned by his fiancée Anna Gutierrez and her mother Penne Sperry. Cloz operates two brick and mortar retail stores in downtown Loveland, each with an accompanying ecommerce site.
Ben began his career as an intern for the Thompson School District’s IT department at age 16. Throughout his career, he has held various technical and leadership positions in a number of industries including public education, building material manufacturing, car rental, and retail; ranging from small businesses to some of the world’s largest privately and publicly owned companies. As a certified Enterprise Architect, Ben has a passion for business architecture. He’s well versed in a myriad of business analysis and modeling techniques that enable process centric design of business solutions. He loves sharing these tools with business leaders and helping them improve their existing products and services, or create new ones.
Ben’s expertise includes software development, product management, project management, business architecture, process engineering, IT architecture, team management, service management, ecommerce, and digital marketing.
Bob practiced large animal veterinary medicine for over 40 years. Graduating from Iowa State University in 1972 he spent several years in rural farm and ranch practice in Iowa and Colorado. In the early 1990’s, while in practice in rural Iowa, Bob received seed capital from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to start up a specialized veterinary diagnostic and service company specifically aimed at improving health in cattle and swine – (Veterinary Biological Systems Analysis, Inc.). VBSA, Inc. started as an entrepreneurial company offering consultation and laboratory services in the area of nutrition and nutritional physiology related to livestock production. In 1987 Bob acquired a U.S. Patent for his invention of a Mobile Livestock Intensive Care Unit (U.S. Patent #4,657,004). During the last 15 years of active practice he did the practice and financial management for a 6 veterinarian large animal practice in west central Nebraska. During this period the practice experienced double digit growth in 10 of the 12 years through detailed financial management and marketing. Additionally, Bob assisted in the technology management of a 45,000 head cattle feedlot allowing for extensive experience in information technology and data acquisition. He also was responsible for developing and implementing the FDA Compliance Program for the feedlot. At the end of 2012 Bob retired from active practice and has shared his life experiences by being a guest lecturer at CSU, third year veterinary students, and also volunteering with local business development centers in the area of financial management and spending time with companies providing financial analysis.
Charity is a co-owner of TechKnow. TechKnow is a Loveland based business helping people to get to KNOW technology. She works to help local businesses develop and build their websites and connect with their customers through digital marketing including Email Marketing Campaigns and Social Media such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more. Charity is a passionate “momtrepenuer” and business owner. She is a student of all things business and is a great communicator. Charity is also a volunteer in Thompson Schools with over 100 hours of volunteer time logged.
Dixie Daly is the Business/Membership Director for the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. In this position, she creates and organizes many groups and event such as leadership Loveland, Early Birds lead group, Business Before and After Hours, Golf Tournaments, Corn Roast and Sweetheart Festival, Lunch Connections, Lunch N Learn, Annual Dinner, Valentine Stamping, Ambassador and Miss Valentine Programs.
Dixie combines her entrepreneurial energy with a lifelong passion for helping others. She generously shares her passion, innovation leadership, intense business savvy and extensive network of contacts to encourage others, both as individuals and as new entrepreneurs. Dixie has appeared on Denver’s ABC and NBC, promoting inventions and the creation of new ideas. She is well known for taking an idea from scribbled notes to a world-wide market. She grasps the value and impact of solid mentoring, networking, inspiring and encouraging other entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and reach their goals.
Dixie began her successful fundraising experience as a volunteer in Loveland’s Thompson R2J School District. For the past 35 years she has provided fundraising expertise and top Sales awards with companies like Time Warner, Reader’s Digest, Graber Window Blinds and Colorado Rockies Baseball Team. Throughout her years as an entrepreneur, Dixie has received numerous awards such as eWomen Network’s International Business Match-Maker, Biz West ‘Women of Distinction,’ Colorado Women of Influence Vision and the Colorado Women of Influence Inspirational award and is an award-winning poet. She is a Board Member with Colorado Women of Influence and President of her local ESA Sigma Rho Sorority Chapter and was a Committee Member for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Dr. Kathryn Plummer
Dr. Kathryn Plummer is a Colorado native. After receiving her undergraduate degree in biology in Colorado Springs, Dr. Plummer explored various avenues in the biology field, realizing in fairly short order that she wanted to apply more of her people skills, and less science-nerd skills. She attended the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado in Denver, graduating with a certificate in massage therapy and a letter of high honors. Her two-year massage practice led her to recognize she wanted to combine her biology and health interests, so back to school she went and graduated in 2002 from National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR as a naturopathic doctor. She has practiced ever since at Sage Holistic Health in Loveland, successfully utilizing both the healing power of touch and the science of medicine in the balancing act that is the Healing Arts.
Franklin helps creatives in the process of business planning, audience development, and professional direction. In addition to his music career, Franklin has owned several small businesses, and he continues to explore new business opportunities. His interests in the past few years have included online course production, content marketing, conferencing technology, and social media storytelling. Franklin is an in demand speaker and presenter, and he facilitates Full Reset renewal retreats for individuals and groups in Northern Colorado.
Frederick J. (“Fred”) Burmont, is a semi-retired former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and former Colorado-licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with more than 40 years’ financial management experience. Since 2014 he has provided his services as a Certified Business Consultant for the Larimer SBDC. As of 10/31/18 he had conducted 729 consulting sessions for 474 clients.
He has 25 years’ experience as a corporate finance officer including 15 years as part-owner and Financial Vice President of Chaparral Industries, Inc. a metal products manufacturing company headquartered in Denver. He served as the CFO, responsible for all financial, strategic planning, accounting, budgeting and cash management functions. The company grew from 10 employees and $1 million in annual sales to 93 employees and $14 million in sales over the 15 years.
For 6 years he served as Senior Business Manager/Division Controller for Knowledge Interact, a division of Soft Bank Group/Comdex, and for 4 years as Vice President of Finance & Administration for Staodynamics, a publicly-held (NASDAQ National Market) manufacturer of FDA-approved transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation medical devices.
A native of Colorado, born and raised in Denver, he is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a BS degree in Business, majoring in Accounting and Finance, and the University of Denver, Graduate School of Business Administration, with a Certificate in Marketing Research.
Jim McWilliams graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor’s in Business. He worked for Goodyear in various positions for over 19 years. Positions included managing retail stores, Division Sales Training Manager supervising up to 20 retail stores and Franchise Business Manager. Jim owned up to four retail Goodyear Stores in Fort Collins, Loveland and Cheyenne during a 24 year period. He sold the business in October 2007. Also, during this period, Jim owned a Duds and Suds laundry mat franchise and Mail Boxes Etc. franchise.
A Colorado native, having grown up on a farm west of Ault, Colorado…Received her BA in Communications and an MA in Organizational Behavior. 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, including a corporate regional position as Vice President of Operations for a six-state area with over 450 employees. Past co-owner of 3 Painted Ladies, a recycle paint business. Responsible for all financial activity; including sales projections, budgeting, monthly financial reports and year end reports. As one of three owners, collaborated in collecting paint, processing paint and the selling of recycled paint.
Kevin is married with two grown children. He moved to Colorado in 2013 as a partner in a local service company. Kevin works with a number of local non-profit organizations in a support role and is on the Board of Directors with the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. He also represents his industry from a local to national level to advocate for small businesses.
Kevin has been in the service industry for over 25 years. Working his way up from the front line, through management and finally into ownership. Over the years, has helped to develop leaders and grow companies in different markets. From the small 5 person company to the National Corporation. His expertise has been in fiscal management, operations, hiring and development of personnel.
“I wanted to get involved with the SBDC to give back some of the knowledge that so many others have poured into me”
Lee Porter’s background in Sales and Marketing includes non-profit, media, marketing and advertising.
She’s worked at the hyper-local and the national corporate levels implementing programs and teaching sales and market development. She has extensive experience in sales management, hiring and firing, territory development and sales plan execution.
Currently, she’s on a startup adventure with an online news publication called InnovatioNews.com as publisher, serves as president of the Larimer County Boys & Girls Clubs and is organizer of NoCo 1 Million Cups. She’s also a general and specialty (marketing) counselor at the Larimer SBDC, and a certified NxLevel instructor.
Lisa Leveillee is Senior Business Advisor with First National Bank. She has been in banking for 9 years and was recruited to the team based on her experience in personal banking, small business banking as well as commercial banking.
In addition to 19 years in the restaurant industry, she has successfully started, owned and operated several businesses and in her current role as a Senior Business Advisor, she helps business owners gain access to capital and advise them on business financial matters by working closely with them to understand short and long term goals.
Her networking skills have been extremely effective in helping business owners connect with the resources they need to thrive. In addition to being an ambassador to the Fort Collins and Loveland Chambers of Commerce, she is also on the NoCo Manufacturing Trade Show Planning Committee, Citizen Advisory Committee of the Climate Action Plan for the City of Fort Collins as well as a member of the Loveland Downtown Partnership Business Alliance and a graduate of the Leadership Loveland Class of 2019.