Thea is the Director of the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC), a Telluride Foundation initiative. Working with community stakeholders – Universities, Governments, Businesses, Chambers and Agencies regionally and nationally to facilitate collaboration, resource and program development moving the 8 county southwest region of Colorado towards a healthy balanced economy with a greater emphasis on innovation-based businesses.
For the past 3 years, Thea was the Director of the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), also an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, in Telluride, CO. 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.
Prior to her work with the Telluride Foundation, Thea was the founding Director at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship where she led the establishment of the regional SBDC for Innovation and the HotHouse Accelerator, Incubator and co-working programs.
Chase was the Executive Director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, CO from 1993-2006 and led the development of the Entrepreneurship concentration at Colorado Mesa University as a full time tenure tract professor in Grand Junction, CO.
Thea has also gained extensive experience consulting internationally in entrepreneurial eco-system building including recent projects in the Middle East.
And she is currently a Town Trustee in Palisade, CO.
Thea’s passion is working with entrepreneurs and building programs to support them. 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.