The CPA board of directors election is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, April 21 at the Denver West Sheraton, during the annual member meeting of the 139th Annual CPA Convention.
Keith Cerny is leaving after completing his term as past president, and his position will be filled by current President Bart Smith.
While all the seats except one are up for a vote, two seats are currently vacant. The Nomination Committee — consisting of five past presidents — has reviewed the applications and recommends Lauren Gustus, executive editor, Coloradoan; and Susan Greene, editor and executive director, The Colorado Independent, to fill the vacant seats.
Voting CPA members may vote in person or by proxy at the annual meeting. If you would like to vote by proxy, contact the CPA office for instructions. To see the annual meeting agenda, click here.
The following slate of candidates will appear on the ballot during the annual board election:
President: Matt Lubich, executive editor and co-owner, The Johnstown Breeze; general manager, The Mirror
Matt is the executive editor and co-owner of The Johnstown Breeze and general manager of The UNC Mirror. He has co-owned The Breeze with his wife, Lesli Bangert, since 1997. The 108-year-old weekly newspaper has covered the communities of Johnstown and Milliken (Colo.) and surrounding Weld and Larimer counties since 1904. Matt grew up in Pueblo, Colo., where his first job in the business was driving a Sunday morning contract delivery route for the Pueblo Chieftain; filling racks and newsstands around town. A graduate in 1986 with a degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado, Lubich was voted the “Most Promising Freshman Journalism Student” and also was once introduced to someone by UNC J School professor Dave Anderson as “my most recalcitrant student.” Matt had to go home and look up recalcitrant. He worked at the Evans Star Press and for legendary Colorado editor Percy Conarroe at The Lafayette News in the late 1980s. Returning to Colorado in 1991 from New Mexico, he wandered into the Breeze one day looking for freelance work. He eventually became the paper’s editor, before he and his wife purchased it from Clyde and Ardis Briggs in 1997. In 2002, and again in 2005, The Breeze won the General Excellence Award for small weeklies from The Colorado Press Association. Lubich and Bangert have two daughters, Riley, a freshman at Montana State University in Bozeman, and Harper Lee, a junior at Roosevelt High School in Johnstown.
Vice President: Lisa Schlichtman, editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today
Lisa was named editor of the Steamboat Pilot & Today in July 2013. In addition to her passion for the newspaper industry, Lisa has been actively involved in a variety of community projects and organizations, serving in leadership roles for many. She is currently a member of the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club, is involved with the Leadership Steamboat program, and serves on the Yampa Valley Autism Program Advisory Board. During Lisa’s 25-year newspaper career, she has served in many capacities including: newspaper reporter, editor, owner and publisher of newspapers and magazines in Southwest Missouri. She is a native of St. Louis, Mo., and a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Lisa and her husband, Mike, owned the Cassville Democrat and Wheaton Journal weekly newspapers from 1995 to 2005, during which time Lisa served as editor and co-publisher of both publications. The Schlichtmans sold the newspapers to Rust Communications, and Lisa continued her career with the newspaper company. She helped oversee Rust’s acquisition of The Monett Times, being named editor and co-publisher of the four-day-a-week newspaper while retaining those same duties with the Cassville Democrat. During her tenure, the Cassville Democrat and Monett Times won numerous awards from the Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Lisa was also instrumental in launching a monthly regional lifestyles magazine (Connection) and a quarterly outdoors magazine (Ozarks Outdoors) for Rust, serving as editor of both publications. Lisa and Mike have two sons, Nicholas, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ryan, who lives in Denver. Lisa was elected to the CPA board of directors in February 2014.
Treasurer: Beecher Threatt, co-publisher, Ouray County Plaindealer
Beecher and her husband, Alan Todd, purchased the Plaindealer and Ridgway Sun in September 2010. Prior to purchasing the Ouray and Ridgway newspapers, Beecher served as a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives in 1981. She then practiced law as a partner in an Austin, Texas, from 1982-1991. From 1991-1996, Beacher served as executive editor of a legal non-prpofit and adjunct professor of law at University of Texas Law School. She became licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1997, and worked for Killian and Associates in Grand Junction as a research and writing attorney until 2004. Beecher was a columnist for Longview News-Journal in Texas from 2004-2008 and an adjunct professor at Kilgore College in Texas from 2007-2010. Beecher still works part-time as a senior research attorney for the Texas Lawyers for Children. Beecher was elected to the CPA Board of Directors in Feb. 2014.
Secretary: Mike Wiggins, managing editor, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Mike became the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction in 2013. He’s been at the Sentinel since 2001, working as a reporter for 11 years before being named city editor in 2012. Mike graduated from Mesa State College in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. He worked as a reporter at The Glenwood Post for two years before moving to Grand Junction. Wiggins serves on the board of directors for Kids Voting Mesa County, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that strives to encourage and engage students in voting and other forms of civic participation. He previously served on a group that worked to prevent suicide in the workplace in conjunction with the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation. A native of Aurora, Colorado, he lives in Grand Junction with his wife, Erin. Mike was appointed to the board in 2014 and officially elected by the membership in 2015.
Past President: Bart Smith, general manager, Greeley Publishing Co.
Bart became publisher of the Greeley Tribune in 2007, and soon after was named general manager of the newspaper group for Swift Communications that includes the weekly Windsor Now, and the Fence Post weekly agriculture publications and websites in Colorado and Nebraska, as well as two agriculture weeklies in South Dakota. After earning a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming just up the road from Greeley and stints in Rawlins and Lander, Wyo., Smith moved on to Whitefish, Mont., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Roseburg, Ore. in editor and publisher roles before circling back to the Rockies. Bart got hooked on newspapers as a young U.S. Army correspondent in Vietnam in 1971. He is past president of the Montana Press Association and chaired the News Education Committee of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. He is a former member of the National Press Photographers Association and the National Conference of Editorial Writers. Smith lives in Greeley with his wife and a daughter attending college. His oldest daughter is a reporter for the Summit Daily News in Frisco, Co.
Becky Justice-Hemmann, publisher, Berthoud Weekly Surveyor
Becky has been an entrepreneur all her life and owned several successful businesses in Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. Her background hasn’t primarily been newspapers, but in sales and marketing. She also currently owns another business, Media Innovations, which works with businesses and non-profits on their marketing, public relations, graphic design, websites and publishing. Hemmann and her son started The Surveyor in June of 2004. There was another newspaper in Berthoud at the time. She has served on the Berthoud Economic Resource Team and was president of the board of the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce.
Jill Farschman, publisher and co-owner, Denver Metro Media, and publisher of Life on Capitol Hill, Neighborhood Life and Washington Park Profile
Jill and her husband Jay began their journey in publishing by purchasing the Washington Park Profile in February 2015. In June 2016, they happened into an unexpected opportunity to purchase Life on Capitol Hill and Neighborhood Life. The latest acquisition created a contiguous Denver Metro footprint with a combined monthly circulation of 50,500. All three publications are monthly community newspapers. Jill's presence on the CPA Board gives voice to this vital branch of journalism.
Jay joined the organization as a full-time creative director and brings his more than 25 years of experience in leading-edge technologies to the digital agency side of the business. Haines Eason rounds out the leadership team and joined as editor in November, 2015. Although her mother was a newspaper editor, Jill took quite a circuitous route to this latest role. Her eclectic professional background includes several years as an adjunct college professor, stints as a non-profit executive director and nearly 20 years in organizational development, training and communications leadership roles for three high-growth companies. Before returning to college after pursuing several artistic endeavors, Jill worked at a San Francisco based arts and entertainment monthly as an advertising manager, later becoming calendar editor and publicist. Since most of Jill's career was spent in service-based enterprises, producing a tangible product that readers and clients value is extremely gratifying.
Jill earned BA and MA degrees in speech communication from San Francisco State University. Jill and Jay have a 4-year-old rescue Pomeranian named Comet who serves as company mascot.
Lauren Gustus, executive editor, Coloradoan
Lauren joined the Coloradoan as its executive editor in February 2014. In 2016, the Coloradoan was honored as the state’s most innovative paper for its unique membership program, for its use of metrics to drive the news decision-making process, and for subscriber growth. The Coloradoan has more subscribers in early 2017 than it did a year ago and digital subscribers are driving that growth. The Coloradoan also received statewide kudos as Colorado media’s Friend of the First in 2016 for its work in public records access. Coloradoan reporting led to the introduction of a bill in the Colorado Legislature to improve digital access to open records. Lauren worked for the Reno Gazette-Journal, also a Gannett property, prior to coming to Fort Collins. She was Reno’s first female sports editor, leading her team to top-10 honors in both print and online, per the Associated Press Sports Editors. While in Reno, Lauren also worked as features and business editor and ultimately as its deputy editor. Under her leadership, the organization was recognized nationally for its coverage of the housing crisis in Nevada. A graduate of Pepperdine University, Lauren joined the Los Angeles Daily News as a sports intern after school and worked for three years covering high school, college and pro sports. She moved to Salt Lake City to work as an assistant sports and features editor at the Salt Lake Tribune. From the Tribune, she joined the RGJ in Reno. Lauren is the mother of two young boys – Sam and Leo, ages 3 and 1 – and enjoys hiking with her husband and boys on weekends. She grew up just outside Boston, Massachusetts.
Susan Greene, editor and executive director, The Colorado Independent
Susan is the editor and executive director of The Colorado Independent, a statewide nonprofit news site. A recovering newspaper journalist, she has reported news since before the first web server was built, writing for daily newspapers in California, Nevada and Colorado (as well as a brief stint at Nature magazine in D.C.). She worked 13 years for The Denver Post as a Denver City Hall reporter, political reporter, national reporter and metro columnist. “Trashing the Truth,” a series she reported with Miles Moffeit, helped exonerate four men, prompted reforms on evidence preservation and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative journalism. Her 2012 project, “The Gray Box,” exposed the effects of long-term solitary confinement.
Brad Slater, general manager, Pueblo Chieftain
Brad is the general manager with The Pueblo Chieftain in Pueblo, CO. He started in the newspaper business as an advertising sales executive over 31 years ago in Rapid City, SD. Through his career, he has also been a classified advertising manager, retail advertising manager, advertising director as well as a publisher/general manager at newspapers in South Dakota, Missouri, and now in Pueblo. Brad has worked for several media companies including Cowles Media, Lee Enterprises, Gatehouse Media, NPG Newspapers and now the independently owned Pueblo Chieftain. Brad is actively involved in a variety of community organizations including the Pueblo Rotary Club and on the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Brad was born and raised in a small agricultural town in north central South Dakota, received a BS degree in Business Administration, is married and have two adult children. Brad and his wife Jennifer, enjoy going for long walks, hiking, golf, and biking. Their son Tyson, lives in Brooklyn, NY, and their daughter Kenzie, lives in Denver, CO.
Matt Sandberg, publisher of The Summit Daily News, The Summit County Journal, The Middle Park Times and The Sky Hi News
Matt started his newspaper carrier as a route carrier for the Ft. Collins Coloradoan in 1988. In high school he furthered his passion about the business as a staff reporter for Tiger Tracks, which was printed by the Summit Daily News, the newspaper where he now serves as publisher in Frisco, Colorado. Matt oversees Colorado Mountain News Media’s operations in Summit and Grand counties and is publisher of the Summit Daily News, the Summit County Journal, the Middle Park Times and the Sky Hi News, along with a variety of seasonal weeklies and magazines. Matt began his tenure with Swift Communications, the parent company of Colorado Mountain News Media and his operations, in June 2003 when he joined the Summit Daily as advertising account manager. In that time he has had roles as advertising sales manager and advertising director of the Summit Daily, director of sales for the Summit Daily and Vail Daily, and now his present role as Publisher. He is active in the community serving on the Summit Chamber of Commerce board, school organizations and is a member of Rotary. Matt and his wife Shannon have two young daughters, Madison (10) and Sarah (8) and a playful Bernese mountain dog, Apollo. As a family they spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors of Colorado. Sandberg was elected to the board in 2015.