ENGAGE delta county

In an effort to foster economic activity, diversify the local economy, and enhance the existing agriculture, education, and energy clusters, Technical College of the Rockies (TCR), is administrating this ENGAGE initiative funded by the EDA.  This initiative is done in partnership with Delta County Economic Development Corporation (DCED), Delta County, Delta County School District (DCSD) – who governs DMTC, Small Business Resource Center (SBRC) of Region 10 EDD and the Southwest Innovation Corridor (SWIC). The ENGAGE Project is a multifaceted initiative that supports, leverages, and creates the resources necessary for an innovative and entrepreneurial community.

our team

Shawn Gardner

Shawn Gardner is the Director of the ENGAGE Initiative at the Technical College of the Rockies. He develops programs, resources, and relationships to build the entrepreneurial community in Delta County and connect it to regional and statewide ecosystems.

While working with communities in Mozambique, Shawn developed a passion for empowering entrepreneurs. There he created a national association comprised of business, government, and community leaders that ran an education center, connected communities to microfinance training, and helped develop an agricultural apprenticeship. Following his community development experience Shawn got an MBA in International Development and went on to be the Director of an international Christian organization with staff and operations in Central Asia and also worked as a program manager in a premiere study abroad company before taking on ENGAGE.

Shawn has a passion for strengthening local economies as well as networking people and inspiring them to engage in enterprises that serve both social and economic good. With his experience and passion, he is helping Delta County develop entrepreneurial networks, startup and innovation events, business support services, and organizational strategy to sustain these programs into the future.

Barry Pennell

Born the son of a chef and then marrying a chef, Barry has been immersed in the food business his whole life. Starting early in high school Barry worked weekends and summers at a Unilever food manufacturing facility that made butter and syrup and then held every job from a dish washer to GM in restaurants to pay his way through college. Upon graduation from KU Barry dove into the beer industry and helped launch multiple brewpubs, restaurants and a microbrewery. Barry also worked for Coors managing special events and a regional sales team covering Summit County and the Vail Valley.

After moving to the Western Slope, Barry and his wife Megan started NoFo Food and ran a farm to table catering business, restaurant, Granola Bar Company and created various cottage food products. Barry possesses a combined twenty plus years of food and beverage knowledge in restaurants, breweries, catering and manufactured food production.

our partners


Elyse Ackerman Casselberry

Delta County Community & Economic Development Director

Nancy Murphy

Region 10 Small Business Development Director

Trish Thibodo

Region 10 Small Business Development Director

Cultivating the resources necessary for an innovative and entrepreneurial community.




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