The Most Powerful People In Denver

Our list of the movers and shakers who are shaping the Mile High City—now. 

April 2014


redarrow 41. RON WILLIAMS

 Chairman, the National Western Association (new)

williamsSince 2012, Ron Williams has run the stock show with all the professionalism and aplomb of his esteemed predecessor, Jerry McMorris. But now that the event and its grounds are becoming more of a centerpiece amid the redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhoods (Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea), how well Williams adapts the formerly limited event and its facilities to more of a year-round, multifaceted operation will be crucial in determining North Denver’s future direction.




 General Manager and CEO, RTD (new)

washingtonRTD’s continued expansion must go hand in hand with Denver’s development to ensure it doesn’t become another car-clogged Los Angeles. Phillip Washington (left)—who in 2013 was named outstanding transportation manager by the American Public Transportation Association—is the gatekeeper responsible for expanding the system throughout the Denver metro area while still keeping costs in check, hitting construction deadlines, and securing compromises on route planning from a wide variety of competing interest groups.



redarrow 43. JACK FINLAW

 Governor's Chief Legal Counsel (new)

finlawAs the governor’s chief legal counsel, Jack Finlaw tells the administration what it can and can’t do, and he’s one of the primary overseers and administrators (and occasional rewriters) of laws relating to all aspects of life in Colorado.





redarrow 44. STEPHEN JORDAN

 President, Metro State University (new)

jordanStephen Jordan’s quest to make his school the top urban institution of its type in the country is right on schedule. It wasn’t long ago that Metro State was just another middling city college. But under Jordan’s guidance, the campus has expanded its physical footprint and academic offerings—recent additions include teacher education, accounting, and social work programs, and a $40 million aerospace facility might be next—while reshaping the Auraria Campus. Jordan also was one of the few Colorado higher ed officials who openly supported granting in-state tuition to students brought to the United States illegally by their families. Honorary mention: University of Colorado president Bruce
is still a master fund-raiser and has helped keep CU Boulder’s reputation intact during a tough time for higher ed.

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