The 5280 Fifty

We rank the 50 most powerful people in Denver.

December 2011

2012 Rising Stars

  • Steve Fenberg
    Founder and Executive Director, New Era Colorado
    Five years ago, as a new University of Colorado-Boulder grad, he started New Era Colorado to engage young voters. Has he ever. The group has registered thousands of new voters—who actually voted on Election Day—and plans to enlist another 20,000 in 2012. New Era’s quirky approach to politics is refreshing. The group’s MTV Cribs–style video of mayoral candidates’ homes this summer was the most intimate view Denver got of the potential mayors. And their Survivor-themed debate drew big crowds. Not bad for a newbie.
  • Cory Gardner
    U.S. Representative, 4th District
    The state GOP has been touting this guy seemingly forever, and he’s still only 37. After beating incumbent Betsy Markey in 2010, and with Republicans sure to remain energized at least through the 2012 elections, Gardner might soon win national recognition as Colorado’s most prominent conservative officeholder.
  • Susana Cordova
    Chief Academic Officer, Denver Public Schools
    This Abraham Lincoln High graduate is regarded as possible DPS superintendent material.
  • R.D. Sewald
    Legislative Operative
    A longtime Democratic fixer in the trenches, Sewald now works for the governor.
  • Ajay Menon
    Dean, Colorado State University’s Business School Menon is credited with dramatically improving the business school’s reputation—such that the governor installed him to head the state’s business innovation and incubation strategy.