Telecommunications executive appointed economic development chief

An executive who’s worked in the telecommunications industry nearly three decades has been appointed executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Stephanie Copeland is expected to begin her new duties in January. She will succeed Fiona Arnold, who’s served in the role about two years.

“I am thrilled to become a part of such a talented team and build on the exciting economic momentum that has been built in Colorado,” Copeland said. “I look forward to collaborating with people and industries across the state to find even more innovative and creative ways to continue strengthening our economy in every part of Colorado.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he appointed Copeland in part because of her experience and knowledge, “Colorado is extremely lucky to have her expertise and know-how,” Hickenlooper said. “Stephanie’s leadership will enhance OEDIT’s ability to attract investment from both the international and national business communities as well as unlock new opportunities to accelerate the state’s job growth.”

Before her appointment, Copeland worked as president of the Zayo Group, a communications infrastructure services firm. She previously worked as chief operating officer at WildBlue, where she was responsible for the operations of the $500 million rural broadband business.

In the early 1990s, Copeland moved to Russia to take a management position with Cable and Wireless, establishing a joint venture to bring competitive telecommunications to the region.

Copeland moved back to the United States in 1994 as part of the team that started MFS International, a company that built some of the first competitive telecommunications networks in Europe.

Joining Level 3 Communications in 1997, Copeland developed and ran the first transport products for the company in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

In 2001, Qwest communications recruited Copeland to run pricing for the company, spanning the consumer, small and large business segments. She remained at Qwest for 10 years until the sale of the company to Centurylink, holding several leadership roles, including vice president of marketing and vice president of the small business segment.

Copeland is a Blackstone Entrepreneur and advocate and supporter of women in business, serving as a mentor to support women across the communications industry. She was named Fierce Telecom’s top women to watch in 2015.