Intermountain Impact, Resilience and Recovery


With many rural communities still recovering from the last Great Financial Crisis, COVID-19 has compounded these challenges and poses a serious threat to rural solvency throughout the nation. Rural economies tend to have fewer sources of capital, are more reliant on single industries/sectors (e.g. mining, tourism etc.), and host an aging workforce. 


However, the very nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health crisis paired with an unprecedented economic downturn, has fundamentally challenged many assumptions about how to build and maintain a robust and resilient economy. This has created the space and opportunity to rethink how we collectively conceive economic resilience, through firmly placing equitable recovery first. 


This session will convene investors, economic development specialists, and communities from across rural Utah and Colorado to discuss their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each group will provide an overview of how they are adjusting to the new normal we have been thrust into, discuss examples of best practice, and uncover opportunities around how to mobilize coordinated communities and investment for recovery.


The session will be delivered in partnership with Four Points Funding, the Utah Association of Counties and Sorenson Impact Center.

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Intended Outcomes

  • Convene key stakeholders from rural Utah and Colorado.

  • Create a forum to discuss and share best practices in response to COVID-19.

  • Explore opportunities for economic recovery in rural communities. 

  • Discuss lessons learned from rural OZ development and how these might be applied in
    the current context.


Wednesday 3 June, 2020
10:00 - 11:30 MST

10:00 - 10:05  MST

Introduction of Session
Grant Baskerville, Manager, Sorenson Impact Center

10:05 - 10:20 AM MST

Angela Martinez, Director, Economic Development Administration
Overview of how the EDA is responding to covid-19 in the Intermountain Region.

10:20 - 10:40 AM MST

Panelist Presentations​

10:40 - 11:30 AM MST

Detailed Q&A with panel


Special Presentation

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Angela Belden Martinez
Regional Director, U.S. Economic Development Administration
  • Angela serves as the Regional Director for the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Denver Regional Office. EDA is a bureau responsible for leading the federal economic development agenda within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Angela joined the Denver office in 2016 after serving for more than six years as EDA’s Director of External Affairs in Washington, DC where she advised the Assistant Secretary on strategic policy issues and managed both the legislative and public affairs work of the agency.

  • As part of her work at EDA, Angela has helped shape and launch several multi-agency initiatives, including the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership and EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program.

Moderated by

Grant Baskerville
Manager, Sorenson Impact Center
  • Grant's focus at the Sorenson Impact Center is supporting economic development. This includes the Center's work in promoting and supporting rural opportunity zones Utah and the delivery of the Forbes OZ 20, a national competition to elevate and celebrate best practices among communities and OZ Funds.

  • Prior to joining the Center, Grant served in senior communications, policy and public affairs positions in a number of sectors: renewable energy, not-for-profit, and community capacity building. He previously served as a trustee of an environmentally focused charity based in the UK and on the boards of two key renewable energy industry organizations.


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Ann Lichter
Director, Center on Rural Innovation
  • Ann is leading the Rural Innovation Initiative, a new project to bridge the opportunity gap in rural America by helping communities build the capacity to create resilient, innovation-based jobs and businesses and fully participate in the digital economy.

  • Ann has led multiple efforts to design, implement, and scale new programs at the national level. As an executive at the U.S. Department of Labor, Ann piloted new approaches to promote labor law compliance, including expanding the use of data to drive strategic and operational decision-making. She has broad experience managing partnerships, communications, and intergovernmental relations. As an attorney at Hogan Lovells, she advised clients on managing their federal research grants and contracts.

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Shawn Bertini
Partner, Four Points Funding
  • As a cofounder of Four Points Funding, Shawn has been focused on building the startup ecosystem and community across rural Colorado. He worked to organize a network of over 100 angel investors that continues to grow rapidly. Prior to Four Points Funding, Shawn launched a career in technology by founding Quickstream Software, one of the first online document management and workflow systems, leading teams across the globe in Vietnam, India, and the UK.

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Patrick Mullen
Director, Utah Association of Counties
  • As Opportunity Zone and Financial Incentives Director, Patrick, works to manage the State of Utah’s Opportunity Zone program in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Sorenson Impact at the University of Utah. Prior to this role, Patrick was the Executive Director of Impact Investing at Sorenson Impact where he worked on over $250mm of private investments, including with the Sorenson Impact Foundation where he worked to help build its portfolio across four continents and various philanthropic, debt, and equity structures.

  • During his tenure at Sorenson, he was also a part of launching several new business units, including the firm’s pay-for-success practice with initial funding from President Obama’s White House Office of Social Innovation. Prior to Sorenson, Patrick was a Senior Associate with the University Venture Fund (UVF) and started his career as an Analyst with The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. working in their Global Securities Division.

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Kelly Watters
CEO and Founder, Western Rise
  • Kelly is a 4th generation entrepreneur. She earned her Masters Degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and has over 10 years of experience in operations, logistics, finance, team building, and general management at both non-profit and for-profit business.

  • In 2014 Kelly founded Western Rise with her husband Will Watters. Over the years she has held almost every position at the company. Today she oversees a fast-growing venture-backed business with triple-digit growth, a supply chain across four continents and distribution to over 37 countries.