The Colorado Forum was established in 1978 to create an informed, objective voice on critical public policy issues facing the state.  Our 77 members are recognized leaders in the business, education, health care, media, legal, real estate, agriculture, financial, energy, consulting, tourism, construction, and non-profit communities and represent disparate parts of the state.  Forum membership is politically diverse; we are a nonpartisan organization that operates by 100% consensus. Read More.



WATCH: Our members discuss their experiences with The Colorado Forum here.



Samuel Gary

Chairman - The Gary-Williams Company

Samuel Gary is Chairman of the Board of The Gary-Williams Company. Mr. Gary was born in New York City on November 1, 1926. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Syracuse University. After a stint in the U.S. Coast Guard, Mr. Gary moved to Denver and, in 1953, joined Ryan Oil Company. In 1956, he formed Samuel Gary Oil Producer. In June of 1967, Mr. Gary discovered the Bell Creek Field in Southeastern Montana, the 84th largest oil field in the United States. His staff merged into Webb Resources in 1969, and he became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He resigned from Webb in 1977 to again pursue business interests as Samuel Gary Oil Producer, Inc. In late 1983, the company’s name was changed to Gary-Williams Oil Producer, Inc. and, in April 1989, was subsequently changed to The Gary-Williams Company.

In 1976, Mr. Gary established The Piton Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation located in Denver, Colorado. In 1992, Piton became an operating foundation. Mr. Gary is an active member of the Denver community and, in addition to serving as the Foundation’s Chairman of the Board, he serves as a member of the Colorado Forum and as a Board member of The Stapleton Foundation, among others. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his civic and philanthropic contributions including: The Colorado Harvard Business School Club Business Statesman of the Year in 1984; the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse, “C. Henry Kempe Award” in 1985; the Governor’s Distinguished Service Award in 1986; The Denver Partnership’s 1989 Person of the Year; and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Del Hock Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in February 1999 and he and his wife, Nancy, received the 2002 Community Service Award for Lifetime Achievement awarded by the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. In 2005, Mr. Gary was presented with Urban Peak’s Maverick Thinker Award and he and his wife received El Pomar’s Russell Tutt Leadership Award. Mr. Gary was also elected to the All-American Wildcatters in 1968 and was honored as the Denver Petroleum Club Man of the Year in 1968 and the IPAMS Wildcatter of the Year in 1984.


Tom Stokes

President (Retired), Gates Capital Management, LLC

Tom Stokes graduated from the University of Colorado in 1956 and began a 36 year career in commercial banking that ended when he retired as President of Central Banks (now U.S. Bank) in 1992.

He then became Executive Director of Gates Family Foundation, a private foundation that is focused on Colorado.  In 1996 he became the first Chief Executive Officer of Gates Capital Management LLC, a private investment company. He retired from that position in 2008.

He is a Director of First National of Nebraska, a multi-state regional bank holding company, and a member of the Board of Managers of Hat Creek Energy, a privately held oil and gas exploration and production company.

Throughout his career, he has been active in a variety of community organizations and remains so today. He is currently on the Investment Advisory Committee of the Gates Family Foundation and a member emeritus of the Colorado Forum.


Steve Parker

Principal, PDA Consulting

Steve Parker served as President and CEO of Burns National Bank of Durango from 1980-2000.  He continued to serve as President of Bank of Colorado in Durango and Pagosa Springs until January of 2001 as a result of an acquisition.  He progressed to President Emeritus and was involved with the bank through its community board.  In Durango, he is a Past President of the Durango Chamber of Commerce and Durango Industrial Development Foundation.

In Colorado, he is a past Chairman of the Colorado Bankers Association, served as an elected Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka and currently serves on the Board of Alpine Banks of Colorado.  He served as a Commissioner for SW Colorado on the Colorado Transportation Commission and as Chairman. He has chaired the Colorado Tolling Enterprise and the Strategic Transit Task Force.  He also served the Transportation Commission on the Audit Review and Transit and Intermodal Committees.  Parker has special interests in transportation, banking and economic development.  He is currently the principal of PDA Consulting, headquartered in Durango, and serves on the Durango, La Plata County Airport Commission.

Parker gained his initial banking experience in his hometown of Monroe, LA and later, in Dallas, TX.  He has taught Economics on the community college level and assisted in small business consulting for the SBA in the early 1970’s.  His education includes a B. S in 1968 from Louisiana Tech in Ruston LA as well as an MBA in 1973 from SMU in Dallas

He moved to Colorado in January 1975 and was in the banking business in Aurora with two banks, Peoples Bank & Trust and SE State Bank of Aurora as VP in commercial lending and EVP & President of those banks respectively.  Parker gleaned the basic knowledge for R/E lending in Dallas and honed those skills while working in Aurora.  He served on the Board of Aurora Community Development and was a member of the Class of 1980 for Leadership Denver.  He has been a member of the Colorado Forum since 1984.

Parker was a member of Sheshunoff High Performance Banking program as well as the CEO Network at different times over the 1990-2000 time frame.  Also, Parker served on the board of the Western State School of Banking for several years and participated in the organization of the annual Directors Symposiums put on by the organization. 

Continuing his interest in banking has been a pleasure serving on the Board of Alpine Bank where he has served on the Audit Committee as well as a rotating member of the Alpine Bank Loan Committee.  While active in the CBA, he participated on the Legislative Committee for several years and was awarded the Del & Doris Scott award for being the Outstanding Community Banker for 1999.