Colorado Technical University Board of Trustees

Diane Auer Jones, VP External and Regulatory Affairs, Career Education Corp.
Charles K. Dempster, Chairman and CEO of Aquila Energy Corporation (Retired)
Ron Frieson, Chief Public Policy Officer, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Vicky Gordon, Ph.D., CEO, The Gordon Group
Mark Handler, EVP, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company (Retired)
Andrew Hurst, President, Colorado Technical University
Connie Johnson, Ed.D., Chief Academic Officer, Colorado Technical University
Stanley P. Mengel, President, Missouri Council on Economic Education (Retired)
Michael Zawalski, Group President, Marlin Equity Partners

Diane Auer Jones

Diane Auer Jones is the Vice President of External and Regulatory Affairs for Career Education Corporation (CEC). Ms. Auer Jones served as assistant secretary for post-secondary education in the U.S. Department of Education from 2007 to 2008 during the administration of President George W. Bush. She joined CEC from Washington Campus, a non-profit organization that educates business leaders about the federal policy-making process. Originally trained as a molecular biologist, Auer Jones began her career as a laboratory director and community college biology professor. She has worked for the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and also served as Princeton University’s director of government affairs.

Ms. Auer Jones' diverse post-secondary education has supported her similarly diverse work history, which includes careers in academia, public policy, and health and wellness. She now uses her wide-ranging experience to help open dialog with education and governmental leaders on how career-focused private sector education is critical to our success as a nation.

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Charles K. Dempster

Charles K. Dempster has more than thirty years of experience in the oil and natural gas sector. Presently, he serves on the board of Mark West Energy, a public NYSE company where he chaired the compensation committee and currently serves on the finance and compensation committees. He previously served on both the audit and conflicts committees of the board.

Dempster served as the chairman & CEO of Aquila Energy Corporation, a pipeline and energy trading company that ranked among the top five North American energy marketers. Prior to this, he held the same position for the company’s European division in London as well as the title of president for Aquila Energy Corporation. Dempster also held various management and executive positions at Nicor Oil and Gas Corporation and Northern Natural Gas Company.

He attended the University of Nebraska Omaha Graduate School of Business and earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Houston.

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Ron Frieson

Ron Frieson is the Chief Public Policy Officer at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. In this role, he focuses on expanding and developing new opportunities within our broad vision of leading legislative, marketing, public relations and community outreach functions. He also leads the Children’s child wellness initiatives within the community.

Well known throughout Georgia for his leadership, he served in several key positions for AT&T, including President of Georgia Operations and the organization’s first Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer. Frieson also served in an interim role as President of the Atlanta Urban League.

Frieson is active within the community, serving as a board member for several organizations, including American InterContinental University, Colorado Technical University, SunTrust Bank-Atlanta and 100 Black Men of DeKalb County Inc.  Frieson is also the National Trustee Chair of the American Kidney Fund.

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Vicky Gordon, Ph.D.

Dr. Vicky Gordon, Founder and CEO of the Gordon Group, is a national authority on leadership and organizational development. She has over 20 years of experience coaching senior executives on how to lead their organizations to reach new levels of business success at such leading companies as Dell, CNA Insurance, Johnson Controls and PepsiCo.

Dr. Gordon is a prolific researcher, author and speaker. Her most recent groundbreaking research involves identifying the challenges facing the next generation of CEOs. She is currently writing a book on what it takes to be an inspiring and influential leader in the 21st century based on the CEO research findings. She has served as a contributing author of several leadership books and her leadership advice has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Woman's World and the Harvard Management Update.

Prior to launching the firm in 1985, Dr. Gordon was an assistant professor at Loyola University in Chicago. She also served as a virtual team coach for the Masters of Science in Technology Commercialization at the University of Texas at Austin's IC2 Institute. She received her M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Mark Handler

Mark Handler has over thirty years of diversified global experience in the media sector. He has held leadership and key management roles and participated on several senior level boards.

Mark spent 25 years with The Walt Disney Company and retired in 2009 as Executive Vice President/  Managing Director, International, for the Walt Disney Internet Group in Burbank, CA, a position he held starting in 2000. Mark was previously President of Disney TeleVentures, 1995-2000, and Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, Disney Channel 1984-1995. From 1978 to 1984 Mark worked in executive roles for Cox Communications.

Mark currently serves on the boards of DeskSite, a digital media entertainment company and Colorado Technical University, a for-profit, bricks and mortar/online university. He is also a member of the strategic advisory board for Genesis Biosugars Ltd., a London-based green producer of sugar solutions from biomass, and is on the finance committee for two non-profits: the Los Angeles Library Foundation Endowment and Hope House for the Multiple-Handicapped, Inc.

During his long and varied career, Mark spearheaded domestic and international expansion programs, developed several innovative business models, and grew start-ups into nine figure revenue bases. He has hired and developed cutting edge talent in major international and domestic territories. Mark was also responsible for the strategic divestiture of Infoseek Japan as well as several digital acquisitions.

Mark has a B.S. in Finance from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. from Florida Atlantic University.

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Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst is President of Colorado Technical University. An education executive and innovator for the past 30 years, Andrew has significant operational and academic experience within higher education, both within the non-profit and for-profit sectors. He has been a contributor to the development of distance education in higher education since the online modality emerged in the 1990s. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Andrew’s leadership experience spans marketing and admissions operations, student success initiatives, new program development and efficacy, faculty recruitment and development, student success and retention initiatives that drive a successful student experience and positive academic outcomes.

Prior to joining Colorado Technical University, Andrew served in various executive leadership roles at Education Management Corporation (EDMC). Most recently he served as Vice Chancellor for Online and Strategic Operations for South University, where he oversaw all online operational aspects of the university, including marketing and admissions, student retention, faculty recruitment, student affairs, new program development, academic technology, program portfolio and assessment, academic strategy as well as research and development.

Beyond his role at South University, Andrew also served for three years as Chair of EDMC’s Education Innovation Council tasked with key strategic projects including designing the EDMC’s online “classroom of the future”, defining its mobile strategy, and leading development of its first competency-based program and platform. During the nine years prior to his role at South, he served as Vice President of Academic Operations for EDMC Online Higher Education, Vice President – Online for South University and Vice President – Online for Argosy University.

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Connie Johnson, Ed.D.

Dr. Connie Johnson is Colorado Technical University's Chief Academic Officer, working with both online and ground degree programs. She has oversight of academic and student affairs, including faculty, curriculum, student advising, registrar’s office, prior learning assessment and learning center.

Dr. Johnson has worked in academics for over 20 years, including the roles of faculty (ground and online), program chair, vice president of academic affairs, and vice president of student affairs. Dr. Johnson is a trained peer evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission, is participating in the ACE Chief Academic Officer program, and is a member of the CTU Board of Trustees.

Prior to joining the world of higher education, she was a licensed stockbroker for ten years. Her first career out of college was as a probation officer in South Florida.

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Stanley P. Mengel

Stanley Mengel retired after serving 11 years as President and CEO of the Missouri Council on Economic Education and as a member of the Economics Department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Previously, Mengel was Manager of Public Affairs at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In Ohio, Mengel was Vice President for Training with Northwestern Mutual Life. Mengel was the Ervin Pietz Professor of Economic Education at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Director of the National Center of Economic Education for Children. At the University of Akron, Mengel held the Firestone Chair and was Director of the Center for Economic Education and while at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Mengel was Assistant Professor of Economics and later President of the Ohio Council on Economic Education. Mengel was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a Stanford-Wilson Fellow at Stanford University in the Economics Department earning an M.A. and Ab.D. in Economics. Mengel's undergraduate work was at the University of Missouri-Columbia where he graduated with General Honors and Departmental Honors in both Economics and in Political Science.

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Michael Zawalski

Mr. Zawalski is focused on investment opportunities across multiple sectors, and brings to Marlin a wealth of executive management and operations experience. Mr. Zawalski's primary responsibilities include providing due diligence, operational support and oversight to Marlin portfolio companies. Mr. Zawalski's industry experience is broad based including; manufacturing, distribution, services, technology and consumer-based companies.

Prior to Marlin, Mr.Zawalski was President and CEO of Workflow One an $850 million print management, technology and services provider in North America. Prior joining Workflow, he was Group President at Gores Technology Group, a private equity firm, responsible for due diligence and running portfolio companies in North America. Prior to thereto, Mike has held senior executive positions at Mail-Well, Inc, Ryder, The Coleman Company, Quaker Oats, Heller Financial and Arthur Andersen.

Mr. Zawalski has been a CEO, COO and a CFO and has broad expertise in leading turnarounds, driving new growth, operational restructuring, acquisitions and divestitures, financial management, management team revitalization and supply chain optimization.

Mr. Zawalski has a Masters of Management from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration at Illinois State University. Mr. Zawalski is also a Certified Public Accountant.

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