The Focus Team

Welcome to Focus NewsMagazine, an exclusive, advertiser driven magazine designed expressly for the readers of the Business Times. In every edition throughout the year, Focus Newsmagazine will present to our readers stories on specific topics. In order to gather information as it relates to those topics, the Business Times will reach out to its advertisers and strategic partners for their take on the subject matter of each Focus Newsmagazine. It is with pleasure that we introduce you to the first panel of Focus NewsMagazine.

Linda Smith has been the Executive Director of Western Colorado Contractors Association for the past 12 years. She is a native of the Grand Valley, raised in Palisade. Linda currently lives on acreage North West of Grand Junction with her husband Paul. Linda has a passion for the construction industry and is thrilled when WCCA’s members are awarded a project. She has been involved in a number of organizations through the years; her most recent being on the board of Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County that has been building homes for deserving hard working families, and on the board of the Western Slope Honor Flight send WWII Veterans to Washington D.C. to see their well-deserved Memorial.

Suzie Miller is the Business Services Manager at the Mesa County Workforce Center. While somewhat new in the position, she has been helping businesses recruit and job seekers find employment with the Workforce Center for over 5 years. After attending college in California and with the array of opportunities for work and play available in Mesa County, Suzie knew that the Grand Valley was the place she wanted to be. She has been very passionate about assisting businesses in hiring more effectively and efficiently while helping to grow a skilled and ready-to-perform workforce.

John Cassity joined the Einstein Bros. Bagels franchise family with nearly two decades of experience in commercial banking, providing him with a vivid picture of the type of entrepreneur it takes to own and operate multiple restaurant units. Based in Grand Junction, Colorado, JAC Development Corporation plans to open ten Einstein locations within the next five years in western Colorado, Ft. Collins and St. George, Utah. John along with his Wife Tisha Reed-Cassity have a son, Adyn and are expecting another Baby due end of March (A Girl), and reside in Grand Junction.

Chris Unfug has been Certified Financial Planner since 1993, and has been with Ameriprise Financial since 1988. He currently serves over 200 clients in his practice. Chris has been a Rotarian since 1990 and has served on various committees throughout his tenure, including 7 year serving in various board positions, including president for 2010-2011. Chris is also a member of a local folk group called the “King ’n Trio” that has donated just short of $200,000 to various local and international charitable causes. Chris is married to Teresa and they have two sons, Nicholas 21 and Jared 18.

Rob Griffin of Griffin Concepts, Inc. is passionate about Home design and construction. His company specializes in making the home construction experience personalized and enjoyable.  He strives to customize each home to fit the buyer’s needs, tastes, and requirements.  Together with his son, Dane, the duo pays specific attention to detail in a professional and workmanlike manner.  They know that designing and building a home is an exciting endeavor and we look forward to working with our new and return clients

Erika Jones is the Public Relations chair for Mesa County Womens Network.  She is also the owner and lead consultant for Synergy Marketing Consultants a Grand Junction based marketing firm.  She has been attending MCWN for 2 years now and enjoys networking and connecting with the future female leaders of our community.

Diane Schwenke has served since 1989 as president of the Grand Junction, Colorado, Area Chamber of Commerce, an organization with 1000 business members. She served on staff at the Greeley, CO Chamber of Commerce for one year and as CEO of the Beatrice NE Chamber for four years before coming to Grand Junction. Her volunteer activities include service on the El Pomar Foundation Northwest Regional Council, the Rocky Mountain Health Plans Board of Directors, a six year term on the Community Hospital Board, and various volunteer leadership posts with her church. She is married to Bruce Schwenke and is the mother of David (age 23) and Kate (age 20). 

Jamee Simons owns and operates Enstrom Candies with her husband Doug. Enstrom Candies remains a family business; Jamee and Doug oversee the operation of the “Candy Kitchen” and retail stores in Grand Junction, Colorado, where every batch of traditional almond toffee is still made by hand with only the finest, freshest ingredients. Jamee and Doug are also very proud that their sons Doug Jr. and Jim, have joined the company to become the fourth generation of the family business and are learning the art of what it takes to make world class confections.

Chris Allen is the principal in charge of accounting and auditing department at Dalby, Wendland and Co., PC and one of 6 board members of the Firm. He has over 12 years of experience specifically devoted to audit and attestation services. Chris provides audit and accounting services to a wide variety of clients in several industries including hospitality, property management, non-profit, governmental, insurance, employee benefit plans, construction, and manufacturing. Specialties include audit, review, compilation of financial reports, reporting requirements, planning and performing procedures, and general business consulting and strategic planning. Chris is current board member of the Grand Junction Lions Club.

Vikki Bell is a Commercial Insurance Agent for Colorado West Insurance Services.  Vikki’s previous experience includes being a Risk Manager and Vice President of Marsh, Inc.  She is a former Volunteer, Board Member and Past President of CASA of Mesa County and is a current member of the Board of Directors at Hilltop Community Resources. Vikki has been a proud Kiwanian since 2003 and is honored to serve as President during the 75th Anniversary of the Club. Vikki and the 2012 Board of Directors have lots of exciting events planned in celebration of this historic milestone.

LaVonne Gorsuch owns the State Farm Insurance Agency on the corner of Highway 50 and Unaweep. She has been in the insurance business for 24 years and self-employed for 18 of those years. LaVonne enjoys helping her clients plan for the future and protect their families from the unexpected each and every day. LaVonne and her team of 4 experienced customer service representatives work together to provide a remarkable experience for each of their clients. 

Mark Smith is the owner and operator of Main Street Bagels & Artisan Bakery Café for over 16 years. Mark loves to create an atmosphere where great food, great coffee & great people meet! Among Main Street’s award winning baked goods its bagels, authentic, hand-made artisan breads, pastries, the most decadent cinnamon rolls.