Board of Advisers & Supporters

Empowering Colorado maintains a Board of Advisers made up of journalists and energy professionals.  The Board provides leadership and guidance and helps to build relationships between Empowering Colorado and its potential stakeholders.

While the board provides a level of support necessary for Empowering Colorado’s success, it does not function as a formal Board of Directors.  Empowering Colorado is currently applying for fiscal sponsorship as part of its effort to obtain 501(c)3 status.  Upon the completion of this administrative process, Empowering Colorado will constitute a formal Board of Directors which will likely include members of the current Board of Advisers.

In the meantime, Empowering Colorado is proud to present its Board of Advisers and Supporters who provide the Empowering Colorado Nonprofit Journalism Project with many of the essential resources necessary to ensure its ongoing success.

Board of Advisers

Doug Hock is an experienced communications professional in the Oil and Gas industry.  Serving as Manager of Media Relations for a large energy corporation, Doug is a well-known media spokesperson with a long history of providing the information and insight necessary to help energy journalists effectively cover the energy industry.

Mark Stutz works for large utility in Colorado and serves as its primary media spokesperson.  Mark has significant experience helping journalists understand the utility’s role in managing and distributing sources of energy throughout the western region.

George Douglas served as the Manager of Public Affairs for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.  Now retired, George worked to educate journalists and the public about the unique research projects underway at the laboratory and their potential impact on Colorado’s energy landscape.

Michael Kodus serves as Deputy Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado.  An award-winning photojournalist and reporter, Michael’s work has appeared in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Newsweek and The Denver Post.  Michael is the author of the bestselling book High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed.

John Pepperdine serves as Development Director for Empowering Colorado.  John has significant experience as a development coordinator and fundraiser for higher education institutions.  John has successfully provided fundraising support for nonprofit ventures and journalism projects.  John is a consultant the the firm MPW Strategies.

Mark Roberts serves as Publisher/Executive Director for Empowering Colorado.  Roberts is an experienced journalist and news manager.  Mark has served as a television reporter, anchor and news director and has worked in the technology division of the Associated Press where he consulted with numerous television stations about implementation technology applications to improve newsroom operations.  Mark serves as a local coordinator for the Online News Association.


Dr. John Trefny is President Emeritus with the Colorado School of Mines.  Trefny, a well-known figure in academic circles and supporter of numerous community causes and organizations, served as President of the Colorado School of Mines from 2000 through 2006. He also served as Mines’ Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty and Head of the Department of Physics.

Shehryar Akhtar is CEO of Cloutel — a world-class technology solutions company serving corporations and business.  A serial entrepreneur and an expert in international IT business management, Akhtar brings to the table a strong link between industry professionals and their audiences, international experience of navigating different foreign companies and cultures, deep understanding of critical business drivers in global markets, success in building relationships with decision makers and delivering on customer commitments. He has a knack for pushing startups to their full potential by predicting the emerging opportunit

Jim Crompton is an energy industry veteran, Colorado native, consultant who is an adjunct teaching faculty member of the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines.  Crompton teaches a course in Petroleum Data Analytics at Mines and serves as liaison between Cloutel and Empowering Colorado in the development of a data journalism projects.