Board of Directors
The Denver MBDA Business Center works in partnership with minority business enterprises (MBEs) across the US to grow their businesses and realize new opportunities.
United Parcel Service
Project Engineering Manager
Robert Gonzalez is a Project Engineering Manager at United Parcel Service, responsible for managing the construction of new facilities, expansion of existing facilities and implementation of new technology including automation of sorting operations. Robert is currently managing the construction of two new Hub Automation facilities in Portland Oregon. His areas of responsibilities include Project and Construction Management of General Contractors and Conveyor Systems Integrators. Robert works closely with various contractors ranging from site development to engineering technology development, including systems testing and integration processing. He is currently overseeing $150 Million in new construction projects. Robert maintains strategic partnerships with small and large businesses across the country.
Robert Kunze is a senior supply chain leader with broad experience in multiple industries and rapidly changing environments. He is an expert in strategic sourcing and category management transformations and a driver of continuous improvement culture and alignment with top level organizational goals.
Faison Office Products
What better way to transition to a new millennium than to realize your dream of business ownership. That is just what Jared D. Casey, Jr. accomplished after retiring from a successful career in purchasing management. In February of 2000, Jared D. Casey Jr. launched the next phase of his professional career with the purchase of Faison Office Products Company, a small minority business with a proven track record and even greater future potential. Under Jared Casey’s astute leadership role as President/CEO of Faison Office Products, Inc., this small certified MBE Corporation has grown to be the parent company of Piedmont Office Suppliers in Greensboro, NC; Southwest Business Machines in Dickinson, ND and Gaffaney’s Total Office Source in Williston, ND.
Faison has furthered their reach for opportunities through becoming a member of the NMSDC Corporate Plus Program. Faison Office Products, Inc. is a single source solution for office products, furniture, computer supplies/peripherals, IT infrastructure; copier equipment/service; janitorial products and many specialty items to a prestigious list of customers nationally and internationally. Jared Casey’s goal for Faison Office Products, Inc. is to expand their global presence through growth and acquisition.
Melissa Heimbaugh is a Senior Manager, Procurement at Charter Communications – the second largest cable operator, which offers services to consumers and businesses under the Spectrum brand. She joined Charter and moved to Colorado in March of 2014, now calling Centennial home.
Melissa has 9+ years of experience in various supply chain management and sourcing roles. She began her career in Procurement at Abbott Laboratories, where she completed their ‘Operations Professional Development Program’. She also spent time working for Health Care Services Corporation in Chicago, IL in the Strategic Sourcing organization. Currently, at Charter she is responsible for supporting Charter’s Network Operations organization, with an emphasis on the core and backbone business.
Melissa graduated from Michigan State University in 2009 with a degree in Supply Chain Management. In May 2017, she completed the Half the Sky Leadership Institute, a program for emerging women leaders and is also a member of the WICT Rocky Mountain Chapter. In her free time Melissa enjoys spending time outdoors exploring the Colorado Mountains, trying new restaurants around Denver and traveling with her husband.
Mountain Plains MSDC
Stan Sena is President & CEO of the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council, a 501c(3) corporate member organization that certifies Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), provides access to certified MBEs to its corporate members, and provides contracting opportunities to its certified MBEs from its corporate members within Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Western Missouri.
Mr. Sena was previously Executive Vice President and COO of Americold Corporation, the leading third-party supplier of supply chain solutions in the consumer packaged goods industry. Americold, with 117 locations in North America, enjoyed sales of over $800 million and an employee base of over 6500. In his capacity with Americold, Mr. Sena was responsible for the growth of the organization-an LBO from Beatrice Companies-starting with 30 locations nationally and $65 million in sales to an international organization with over 100 locations and $800 million in sales.
Denver Public Schools
Murugan Palani is a native of Denver, Colorado proudly graduating from George Washington H.S. in 1995 and from the University of Colorado with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems. He completed his M.B.A. at Webster University in 2011 and earned a Masters in Human Resource Management in 2012.
Murugan served in the Colorado National Guard his last two years in college and served 6 years as an Officer in the Army upon obtaining his Business degree.
Upon completing his service to the United States Army, Murugan accepted a position with Xcel Energy as its Manager of Supplier Diversity in April of 2009. Murugan is a strong proponent of small business and believes that helping small businesses grow and succeed is the key to growing our economy and our community. His passion for small businesses is evident with his involvement in and leadership roles in several of the local Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations.
Jim O’Rourke is the Chief Procurement Officer at Conagra Brands. Conagra is an $8.4 billion food company with over 50 iconic brands sold in 30 countries. His team is responsible for the strategic sourcing of $3.6 billion across ingredients, packaging, commodities and professional services to support Conagra’s manufacturing sites and headquarters. Jim’s team consists of 120 people located across the US, Mexico and Canada and includes buyers, supply chain, finance, legal, HR and business systems professionals.
Mr. O’Rourke’s previous roles include: Vice President of Integration & Optimization for the J.M. Smucker Company, Vice President Corporate Purchasing, Purchasing Director, Folgers Coffee Company; VP Supply Chain at Printpack; Procter and Gamble in various roles in Mechelen Belgium, China, the Jackson, Tennessee Pringles Plant, Boston at the Gillette Headquarters and the Global Headquarters in Cincinnati His positions included Sourcing; Global Technology; Quality Assurance; Materials Management, and as an R&D Engineer for Pharmaceuticals.
Prior to joining P&G, Mr. O’Rourke served in the U.S. Army as a Captain in the Army Corps of Engineers, with deployments to Korea, Haiti, Honduras, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Panama. Leadership positions included Platoon Leader, Company Commander, and Detachment Commander with 7th Special Forces. He was authorized to wear the Master Parachutist badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Sapper Tab. He was the Distinguished Military Graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BS in Chemical Engineering and a minor in environmental science.
Mr. O’Rourke lives in Bath Township, Ohio with his wife Dawn and daughters Caitlin and Ashley. He is a graduate of Leadership Akron class 31 (we get it done), nationally licensed soccer coach and has been active in volunteer roles at the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, St. Hilary Church Pastor’s Council, Leadership Akron Women’s Leadership Academy lecturer, Co-Chair of JLA Business and Technology Day.
Warren Elbeck is a Certified Supplier Diversity Professional with over twenty years of Supply Chain Management experience. Including Auditing, Material Estimating, Negotiations and Subcontracts Administration. Vast knowledge and experience with FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations), CASB (Cost Accounting Standards), DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) and Interpreting Laws and Regulatory requirements. He has experience in the development of Supplier Diversity programs, coaching of diversified small business and the growth of small business advocates within Supply Chain Management. He also has vast knowledge of financial analysis, material estimating, subcontracts cost analysis, and development/implementation of SCM policy and procedures.
Ronald Schnur is Vice President, Procurement for Global Indirects for MolsonCoors Brewing Company. In this position he is responsible for strategic sourcing and supplier management for Global Indirect categories including Commercial, Contract Manufacturing, G&A and IT. Ron manages a team of 50 people responsible for over $2.2 billion annually in support of all MolsonCoors Business Units globally.
Prior to joining MolsonCoors, Ron was Vice President, Industrialization and Contract Manufacturing at Danone North America. In that role, his team managed over 100 projects annually working with over 50 3rd Party Contract Manufacturers focused on New Product Innovation, Network Optimization and Productivity. Ron held several other senior level procurement and supply chain leadership positions at Whitewave Foods prior to its acquisition by Danone in 2017.
During his career, Ron has held various senior level procurement and supply chain leadership positions at Sears Holding Management Corporation, Coors Brewing Company and Eaton Corporation. Ron started his career at Chrysler Corporation where he held a variety of positions in its procurement & supply department.
Ron received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University — Bloomington and his MBA degree from Penn State University. He currently serves on the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Services Board of Directors; and also on the UC – Denver Center for Commodities Advisory Council. Ron is a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) awarded by the Institute of Supply Management.
Ron has served as a board member of the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), and the National Minority Supplier Development Council. In addition, he has served on the Conference Board Procurement Council, Purchasing Roundtable and the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Ron is the 2006 recipient of the Robert Pashek award from Penn State for contributions made to enhancing the logistics and supply chain management profession.
UMB Financial Corporation
Pete Burney is Vice-President of Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance at JE Dunn Construction Company. In this role, he is responsible for strategies and plans supporting the company’s commitment to diversity, along with business processes to comply with project requirements across the country.
Prior to joining JE Dunn in August of 2017, Pete was Senior Vice-President of Supply Chain and Business Enablement at Hallmark Cards. He was responsible for manufacturing, quality, logistics, global procurement, demand and inventory management and information technology. He also oversaw the company’s supplier diversity program. Pete was with Hallmark for 25 years, retiring in 2016 to provide family caregiver support.
Pete served four years as a communications systems officer in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne division prior to joining Hallmark.
He holds a B.S. degree in secondary education from Louisiana State University and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
During his career, he has served on several non-profit boards, including the Mountain-Plains Minority Supplier Development Council, United Way of the Pioneer Valley (Massachusetts), Junior Achievement of Middle America, Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center Foundation, Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Helzberg School of Management at Rockhurst University.
Pete and his wife, Roslyn, live in Kansas City, Missouri.
Wes Hutcherson is the Senior Director of Strategic Sourcing in Union Pacific’s Supply Chain Department where he is responsible for leading supply chain and sourcing management activities for mechanical (locomotive and freight car), IT, and vehicle fleet. In addition, he is responsible for the design and oversight of category sourcing waves designed to drive process improvements and achieve savings. He’s responsible for a portfolio of ~$2 billion of spend annually
Prior to his current role, he led the strategic sourcing team for engineering and contract services where he was responsible for an annual portfolio spend of ~$4 billion. He also led UP’s Benefits group in HR where he was responsible for the design, implementation and ongoing evaluation of a national benefits plan for approximately 12,000 non-union employees and retirees. In addition, he was responsible for thrift and life insurance benefits for approximately 40,000 union employees. Further, he oversaw the design of other benefit plans including short and long term disability, day care center operations, employee relocation, long-term care insurance, and human resources compliance.
A Senior Executive and Business Leader with a proven record of guiding organizations through complex business transformation and change.
Extensive accomplishments across diverse functional areas and in challenging turnaround and rapid growth environments.
Leverages a deep skill set and experience across finance/operations management, supply chain, accounting, organizational development, risk management, M&A, P&L, procurement, and board relations to strengthen revenue, profit, and competitive market position.
Zeroes in on issues, establishes strategic direction and structures the roadmap to streamline operations, improve processes and reduce costs.
Employs thought leadership and best practices, as well as a solid understanding of key business drivers to define objectives aligned with the goals of all stakeholders and overarching corporate strategy.
Recognized as a trusted advisor to boards, C-level decision makers, executive colleagues, management teams, strategic partners, regulatory authorities, and other stakeholders in effectively mitigating and minimizing risk while ensuring performance in alignment with strategic objectives.
Morrill & Janes Bank and Trust Co
13 years of experience in Commercial Payments including Treasury Management
At Morrill & Janes Bank Deborah serves on the Leadership Board and as a strategic partner to clients in planning and executing a best in class accounts payables strategy. Working with companies of all sizes Deborah’s expertise in commercial card and treasury management allows her to advise clients on how to pay, who to pay, and when to pay while keeping the companies best interest top of mind. Deborah is passionate about making sure clients are aware of what is happening in the payments industry including, shifts to electronic payments, fraud prevention and technology enchantment. She is relationship focused and values working with great clients. Deborah has participated in Junior Achievement, and enjoys volunteering with kids as a Baseball mom and a Girl Scout troop leader.
Deborah received her education from Graceland University, after joining the U.S. Army for both Active and Reserve Duty serving her country for 8 years. Before transitioning to Morrill & Janes Bank she rose through the ranks to hold senior business strategy and treasury sales positions at UMB and BMO Harris Bank. With her husband Christian, (who is also an Army Veteran) they have made a longtime home in Kansas City with their three kids.
Deborah’s commitment to her community is reflected throughout her career, and is passionate about that obligation leading and guiding her career through the duration.
Gena Fitzgerald is a global procurement director at Hallmark, responsible for leading the procurement strategies for direct materials, indirect goods and services and procurement operations support. In this role, Gena is focused on excellence in strategic business partnering, evolving the digital capabilities of procurement and driving high value strategies through Hallmark’s extensive supply base. Under her leadership, the procurement division is implementing new SAP Ariba procurement capabilities and has recently completed an organization redesign which includes the development of an innovative buy desk.
Gena has spent her entire career leading and driving results throughout the supply chain at Hallmark Cards. Her experience is diverse, with over 25 years of leadership in 3 disciplines of the supply chain and over 12 different assignments throughout her career, including order distribution, global procurement, inventory management and Lean/continuous improvement.
She currently resides in Liberty, MO, with her husband, Barry, and two daughters, Mikayla and Madisyn.
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