Bighorn Leadership Program - Colorado's Energy Future

If you are interested in applying for our next leadership program, please click here to be notified of our next cohort beginning in Winter of 2018. If you would to know more about the criteria, curriculum and the overall structure of the program, please refer to the current application.

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The Bighorn Leadership Program allows group of diverse Colorado leaders the opportunity to learn and explore together the complexities of energy development and sustainability in Colorado, so that they can participate and lead effectively in the policymaking process.

Founded in 2001 as part of the Bighorn Center for Public Policy, the purpose of the Bighorn Leadership Development Program is to ensure that strong, practical leadership is available to Colorado over both the short and long term. The program identifies potential and current leaders and invites them to explore a major policy area in-depth. Engaged Public’s Brenda Morrison and Chris Adams, the creators of the program continue to guide each Bighorn Program and while the Bighorn Center for Public Policy closed in 2006, the Leadership Program has continued under diverse sponsorship such as the Colorado Trust, Colorado State University’s Office of Engagement, and the Colorado Health Foundation. Historically, Colorado has been known for a relatively balanced approach to government, and with an underlying civility. It’s important that dialogue and access to balanced information inform the public policy process in our state. Over the years, Bighorn has tackled some of the state’s most pressing policy issues including health care, economic development, and natural resource sustainability. Currently, energy policy continues to be a contentious issue on both the national and state public policy stages. It is critical that both current and new leaders can learn, discuss, and question the complexities of energy policy as it affects the global community, the United States, and Colorado. At this critical juncture, it is essential that our state’s civic and elected leadership be engaged in this issue.

2017 Class


Meet Our Staff

David Hiller was the Executive Director of the Colorado Energy Collaboratory from 2007-2017. The Colorado Energy Collaboratory is just that: a collaboration between  The Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder and the U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Through 2015, the Collaboratory expended $8M of state funds, generating $193 million in economic activity for Colorado. Even more importantly, Collaboratory funds supported many new collaborations and many scientific and engineering breakthroughs. Prior to his work with the Collaboratory, David served as State Issues Counsel for Senator Salazar from 2005 to 2007 where he primarily focused on energy, natural resources and environmental policy issues.  Hiller previously served as Policy Director for Senator Salazar’s 2004 campaign and, from 1980 to 2003, he practiced law at the Denver firms of Davis, Graham & Stubbs, and Don, Hiller & Galleher. P.C.

Jim Marchiori is Executive Director of the Global Energy Management (GEM) program at the University of Colorado Denver Business School. GEM is an innovative, 18-month program, leading to a Master of Science degree focused entirely on managing the world’s energy portfolio. GEM is delivered in a unique hybrid in-person/online format that allows students to live and work anywhere in the world without sacrificing face-to-face contact with faculty and their peers. As Executive Director of GEM, Mr. Marchiori is a passionate advocate for meeting the world’s demand for energy in all its forms, and is working to help construct a framework that combines profitability with concerns for the environment and people. Jim’s career spans nearly 30 years developing talent in oil and gas, where he worked with companies such as DCP Midstream, Scimitar Oils Limited, S.A. (Dubai Natural Gas Company), and International Human Resources Development Corporation (IHRDC). He has consulted to clients all over the world, including all major US and European oil and gas companies, Petronas, Pertamina, Kuwait Oil Company, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Qatar Petroleum, Egypt General Petroleum Company, Kazakhcaspishelf/Kazakhoil, the Bangladesh Ministry of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, USAID, and the World Bank. Jim has a B.A. in Political Science/International Relations from Michigan State University, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Brenda is best known for her role in creating several of Colorado’s state-wide public engagement campaigns on complex public policy issues for clients such as The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, TBD Colorado, and Colorado’s Future. She brings extensive experience in public policy development and implementation both on the state and local levels given her experience with community development organizations, as the Associate Director of the Bighorn Center for Public Policy, and as the founder of the Bighorn Leadership Development Program. Brenda is a sought-after trainer in public engagement and has taught workshops in such locations as Jordan and Tunisia. In addition, she has extensive expertise in the non-profit sector having spent 15 years in the non-profit sector. Brenda, a graduate of the University of Colorado and he University of Denver, has published several articles on women’s history, social movements that demonstrate the intersection of Colorado history and public policy.