Mayor's Young Leader Awards

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The Mayor's Young Leader Awards highlight the outstanding achievements of young professionals (ages 40 and under) who live or work in Colorado Springs. Five individuals are recognized each year for the extraordinary efforts in their field while making a positive impact in our community. 

2018 Winners

  • Community and Economic Impact: Jeff Finn, Norwood Development Group
  • Creative Industry: Aisha Ahmad-Post, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • Education: Erik Huffman, Handshake Leadership
  • Sports and Wellness: Ian Ratz, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (College of Business)
  • Technology: Erin Miller, Center for Technology Research and Commercialization


The finalists, who all live or work in Colorado Springs, are as follows:

  • Community and Economic Impact
    • Stephanie Adams, The Apartment Association of Southern Colorado
    • Max Cupp, Council of Neighbors and Organizations
    • Jake Eichengreen, Quad Innovation Partnership
    • Jeff Finn, Norwood Development Group
    • Chelise Foster, Waldo Waldo 5K, Inc.
    • Seth W. Gross, CloudSense Inc.
    • Amanda Metcalfe, Quality Life Counseling; United States Air Force Academy; University of Colorado Colorado Springs
    • Tyler Peoples, Mission Catering
  • Creative Industry
    • Aisha Ahmad-Post, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
    • Jesse Clark, Hellscream Entertainment
    • Matthew Hiner, Hiner Landscapes
    • Melodie Jordahl, Black Tie Beverages
    • Katie Weckerly, SSPR Public Relations Agency
  • Education
    • Heather Cassidy, University of Colorado School of Medicine; Kaiser Permanente
    • Erik Huffman, Handshake Leadership
    • Rachel Laufer, Harrison School District 2
    • Brinkley Myers, Colorado Springs School District 11
    • Konrad Schlarbaum, Pikes Peak Community College
  • Sports and Wellness
    • Jason Cahill, Freedom Chiropractic
    • Zac Chapman,  Colorado Springs Food Rescue; El Paso County Food Policy Advisory Board
    • Timothy Corner, Man to Machine
    • Fara Gorsi, International Cricket Council
    • Ian Ratz, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (College of Business)
  • Technology
    • Seth Harvey, Bluestaq
    • Erin Miller, Center for Technology Research and Commercialization


To sponsor or for more information on sponsorship, please contact Donna Nelson at


Individuals were nominated in one of the five categories:


  • Uses creative, non-traditional approaches to improve education.
  • An educator that is helping foster the future generations of innovative thinkers.

Creative Industry

  • An individual that is using creative methods/systems to transform their given industry.
  • Demonstrates the power of art and business working together to make a positive impact.

Sports and Wellness

  • Individual who has implemented compelling new ideas to deliver better sports/health and wellness initiatives in the community through their business/events.


  • Individual who provides enhancements in technology that advance productivity, improve efficiency, increase performance or provide innovative results.

Community & Economic Impact

  • An individual that has measurably impacted the community or local economy through their business, community involvement or events.
  • The community impact should have a tangible, measurable effect on the community. That impact might be the result of any number of activities, such as job creation, workforce development, volunteer efforts, board service or innovative business models that promote social goals.
  • Outstanding contributions to the economy in terms of job growth or events having a significant economic impact.