Thea is the Director of the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC), a Telluride Foundation initiative, based in Telluride, CO. Working 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 currently services her local community as a town trustee in Palisade, CO.
For the past 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, Assistant Professor of Management at Colorado Mesa University, and from 1993-2006 Chase was the Executive Director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, CO, a 5 time award winner from the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA).
Thea has also gained extensive experience consulting internationally in entrepreneurial eco-system building including recent projects in the Middle East in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
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, while working with numerous communities interested in engaging these entrepreneurs through developing supportive eco-systems.