Thea Chase, House District 54
Thea Chase has been working to launch, support and guide small businesses on Colorado’s Western Slope for over 25 years. A city council member in Palisade, educator, mother, and community volunteer, Thea is a fiercely independent leader.
She is passionate about working with entrepreneurs building her community through active service; she is currently the Director of the Southwest Innovation Corridor.
About Thea Chase
Thea is the Director of the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC), a foundation that works with community stakeholders - Universities, Governments, Businesses, Chambers and Agencies regionally and nationally - to facilitate collaboration, resource and program development, moving the 8-county rural southwest region of Colorado towards a healthy balanced economy with a greater emphasis on innovation-based businesses. She also serves her local community as a Town Trustee in Palisade, CO.
For the prior 3 years, Thea was the Director of the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA). The momentum gained in building innovation-based companies in Telluride led to the successful award of 900k in federal, state and private funds to launch the SWIC initiative in 2016.
Prior to her work with the Telluride Foundation, Thea was the founding Director at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Center for Innovation, led the development of the Entrepreneurship concentration at Colorado Mesa University 2006-10 and was the Executive Director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, CO from 1993-2006, a 5-time National Business Incubation Association (INBIA) award winning program.
Thea has gained extensive experience working with smaller communities to build on their unique qualities to create sustainable economies including internationally in entrepreneurial eco-system building in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Thea’s passion is working with entrepreneurs and building community. She has coached and mentored thousands of entrepreneurs and teams from diverse industry sectors in designing sustainable business models and building quality companies, and worked with numerous communities interested in engaging these entrepreneurs through developing supportive eco-systems.
Thea is the proud mother of two millennials and has served and is serving on numerous boards and committees and as a volunteer in her community.