Those who said goodbye in 2011

Filed under: Daily News,News,Print |

Here’s a look at a few of the people and organizations that bid farewell, in one form or another, this year.

Mike Kazmierski

Mike Kazmierski started as CEO of the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp in 2005. Before that, he was the organization’s COO. In May, he was out of the job.

Kazmierski’s ouster was part of an overall plan to merge the EDC and the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. Some board members had been at odds with Kazmierski about the EDC’s direction for some time.

Doug Quimby, chairman of the board and head of La Plata Development, has been acting CEO since Kazmierski left. A national search is under way for a leader for the combined chamber/EDC.

Late this year headlines that Kazmierski has taken an economic development job in Reno, Nev. hit the news.

Dick Celeste

Dick Celeste retired after serving as president of Colorado College for nine years. During his tenure, he added 20 faculty positions and increased the size of Colorado College’s applicant pool. He improved student retention and graduation rates and oversaw the construction of the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center.

Jill Tiefenthaler was named as his replacement.

Lionel Rivera

Although he still is a Colorado Springs resident and businessman, Lionel Rivera ended his two terms as mayor this year.

He was responsible for orchestrating a controversial deal to keep the U.S. Olympic Committee in the Springs, and was also instrumental in helping craft the plan for the Southern Delivery System. He spoke publicly in opposition to the city’s strong mayor plans, saying he favored the idea but not the city’s definition and planned division of power.

Matt Barrett

After five years as executive director of the Small Business Development Center, Matt Barrett left to work at Graham Advertising in Colorado Springs. During his tenure, he helped nearly 1,900 entrepreneurs and small-business owners get off the ground.

He also penned a weekly small business blog for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

B.J. Scott

B.J. Scott served as president and CEO of Peak Vista Community Health Clinics for 10 years. She left this year to head the Peak Vista Foundation.

During her tenure, the number of patients treated by Peak Vista grew from 37,000 in 2001 to 60,000 this year.

Marcella Hurley

Selected to replace Matt Barrett, Marcella Hurley took over as chief of the Small Business Development Center in June. However, it didn’t take long for her to make her exit. Six months later she was gone.

The SBDC, which is is part of the school of business at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, is looking for another — long term — director.

Mary Lou Makepeace

Community stalwart Mary Lou Makepeace oversaw the dismantling of the Colorado Springs office of the Gay and Lesbian Fund of Colorado late this year, which also meant the end of her job.

The Gill Foundation, which oversees the fund, plans to keep its Denver offices open, and Makepeace, former mayor of Colorado Springs, was offered a position as a “senior adviser.”


The local arts and education organization of 10 years closed down this year.

The organization, which assisted at-risk teens through the arts, cited a lack of funding and grants. The group stopped holding events earlier this year, and donated its remaining physical and financial assets to other arts nonprofits.

Pat Kelly

Pat Kelly, city attorney since the mid-1990s, retired this year. She had supervised the city’s legal operation of about 30 employees and 27 support staff. She was legal adviser for the city government, Colorado Springs Utilities and Memorial Health System.

However, she came under fire for her role in the troubled 2011 elections, and butted heads with Mayor Steve Bach by proposing city charter amendments to city council that would reduce some of the mayor’s authority.

Kathryn Young

City clerk for 28 years, Kathryn Young retired this year. Young had been criticized for her interpretation of state campaign finance laws and also for changing the date mail ballots would be sent. However, she earned the Colorado Municipal Clerk of the Year award in 2006 and was president of the Colorado Municipal Clerk’s Association in 2009.

Sue Skiffington-Blumberg

Longtime city mouthpiece Sue Skiffington-Blumberg was the first department-level employee asked to resign when Mayor Steve Bach took over the lead of the city in May.

She joined the department in 2001 and was responsible for growing SpringsTV into an award-winning cable program. Upon her exit, Skiffington-Blumberg said she didn’t think her ouster was personal.

Richard Myers

The forced retirement of Police Chief Richard Myers caused some friction between Mayor Steve Bach and city council.

Meyers said he was asked to leave, and noted that the mayor was “methodically creating his own team.” Myers started in the position in 2007. The job was his fifth top leadership position.