Future and current business leaders meet at CMU benefit event

Phil Castle, The Business Times: 

Jake Jabs

A group of Colorado Mesa University students aspiring to become future business leaders hosts an event each year featuring current business leaders.

While serving primarily as a fund-raiser, the Distinguished Executive Program Dinner also offers a chance for students, as well as others, to talk with invited guests about their experiences in running successful enterprises.

“We just feel like it’s a really good opportunity to meet and interact with those people in our community,” said Brittney Garcia, a senior who serves as vice president of marketing for the CMU chapter of Future Business Leaders of America- Phi Beta Lambda.

The upcoming dinner will feature Jake Jabs, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado-based American Furniture Warehouse; Jon Labrum, owner of ProVelocity Computers as well as Jimmy John Sandwiches franchises on the Western Slope; and Chris Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Community Hospital in Grand Junction.

Jon Labrum

The Distinguished Executive Program Dinner is set for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 24 in the ballroom of the Colorado Mesa University Center, located near 12th and Elm streets in Grand Junction. Admission is $40 per person, $350 for a table for 10. For tickets or information, call Aleya Bell-Jones at 623-9938 or Deb Parman at 248-1170.

The Distinguished Executive Program Dinner constitutes the biggest fund-raiser of the year for the CMU chapter — which, with 60 members, is the largest in Colorado — Garcia said.

Proceeds from the dinners help pay to send students to state and national academic competitions, she said. Last year, members of the CMU chapter won 19 national awards, the most of any in Colorado, in competitions testing their knowledge and skills in a range of business areas.

Chris Thomas

At the same time, though, featured speakers at the dinners offer valuable information not only to students, but also others interested in business, Garcia said.

The speakers discuss their careers, their experiences in running successful operations and how what students learn at CMU will apply to their work following graduation. “It’s an inspiration to hear these people,” Garcia said.