Hickenlooper Announces All-Star Team
Safety, Fiscal and Airport Teams Gather at Pre-Inaugural Picnic
(DENVER) Mayor-elect John Hickenlooper announced his mayoral appointments for the city’s safety and fiscal teams, who joined the airport team appointees announced on Friday, during a pre-Inaugural picnic and press conference Sunday at James A. Bible Park.
“Our public safety and fiscal health are two of the most important issues to Denver citizens,” Hickenlooper said. “The leadership teams we have assembled to take on these issues and lead these agencies are experienced and energized. I am truly honored to serve with this ‘all-star team.’”
Manager of Public Safety: Alvin J. LaCabe, Jr.
Al LaCabe brings over two decades of law enforcement and legal experience to his new role as the City of Denver’s Manager of Public Safety.
LaCabe has spent the past five years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, a position he held previously for two years before joining the Denver-based law firm of Davis, Graham and Stubbs. An experienced litigator, LaCabe also served as the Deputy District Attorney and Chief Deputy District Attorney for the Denver District Attorney’s Office from 1983 to 1994.
LaCabe’s extensive law enforcement experience includes serving as an agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, as a criminal investigator for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, and as a patrol officer and detective for the New Orleans Police Department.
LaCabe received his bachelor’s degree with honors from Loyola University and his law degree from the University of Denver College of Law. He served in the United States Marine Corps for four years at various duty stations in both the United States and Asia.
Fire Chief: Larry Trujillo
Having served as a Denver firefighter for 21 years, Larry Trujillo embodies the values of experience, community service and dedication.
For the past 16 months, Trujillo has served as Assistant Fire Chief and Public Information Officer for the Denver Fire Department. He knows the Fire Department inside and out, having spent two decades working his way up the ranks.
After nine years with the department, Trujillo was promoted to Lieutenant, where he assisted with the transition of the new Computer Aided Dispatch system. As a Captain, Trujillo achieved the rank of Red Lead, or incident commander, at Denver International Airport and later served as a House Captain.
Trujillo is a member of the Mayor’s Diversity Advisory Committee, Citizen Survey Committee, and the Denver Firefighter Museum’s public education initiative. He is an active member of Firefighters International for Racial Equality (F.I.R.E.) and serves on the board of the Mark Langvardt Memorial Tournament for Mt. St. Vincent Home.
Trujillo attended the University of Northern Colorado and Metro State College. He is bilingual and certified in hazardous materials, dive and river rescue, conflict resolution, risk management, and maintains a current status on his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.
Acting Police Chief: Gerald Whitman
Hickenlooper announced that current Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman will serve as Acting Police Chief until the transition’s police committee concludes its process. Hickenlooper emphasized that Whitman remains in charge, with ongoing support from City Hall, and acknowledged that Whitman is actively being considered for the permanent position.
Manager of Revenue and Deputy Mayor: Cheryl Cohen-Vader
With 24 years of broad public- and private-sector experience in financial management, investment/commercial banking, and real estate finance, Cheryl Cohen-Vader will remain the City’s Manager of Revenue, a position she has held since 1996. In this capacity, she has managed a $16 million budget, a $1.8 billion investment portfolio, a $5 billion debt portfolio, and all banking relationships for the City. Hickenlooper also named Cohen-Vader as his deputy mayor.
Before joining the City of Denver, Cohen-Vader was the Assistant Vice President for Kirkpatrick Pettis, a regional investment brokerage company; and served in the position of Vice President at Lewis Sims & Letterman, a start-up investment banking firm specializing in municipal finance; Weldon Sullivan Carmichael & Company, and Citicorp Securities Markets.
Cohen-Vader received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, her MBA from Columbia University, and a certificate in the State and Local Government program from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Finance Director: Margaret Browne
Bringing institutional knowledge and two decades of proven experience in policy, management and financial analysis to bear in these difficult fiscal times, Margaret Browne will retain her position as the City’s Finance Director, a position she has held since 1999. In this capacity, she improved the city’s bond rating, increased non-tax revenue by $19 million in less than two years, and created a Risk Management Office.
Browne has worked for the City and County of Denver for 24 years in numerous positions including serving as Budget Director from 1992 - 1999, during which time she received the Government Finance Officer’s Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award every year.
Browne received her bachelor’s degree in sociology with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her master’s in public administration with a focus on urban affairs from the University of Colorado. She was also the Gates Fellowship recipient to the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Clerk and Recorder: Wayne Vaden
An experienced Denver attorney, Wayne Vaden is of counsel to Baker & Hostetler, where has had a corporate, real estate and litigation practice. Prior to joining Baker & Hostetler, Vaden spent three years as a partner at the firm of Vaden & Evans and three years as a senior assistant city attorney in the Denver City Attorney’s office. He also has been an assistant attorney general for the State of Colorado.
He has law degrees from University of Denver College of Law, Graduate Tax Program, and Arizona State University College of Law. He has a bachelor of art’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Vaden is active in a number of Denver volunteer organizations and is the head track coach for the Lady Warriors of Montbello High School. He was named All-Colorado Coach of the Year in 2003.
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Co-Managers of Aviation: Turner West and Vicki Braunagel
On Friday, Hickenlooper announced that Turner West and Vicki Braunagel will be taking the helm at Denver International Airport as co-managers of aviation, bringing with them a combined total of 50 years of airport and aviation experience.
Turner West, DIA’s current Deputy Manager of Aviation for maintenance and engineering, has worked for the Denver airport system for 18 years. He previously spent 18 years working for Frontier, Texas International and Braniff International airlines in various maintenance and engineering management capacities. He also worked in sales for Otis Engineering, a Halliburton Company. West received a bachelor of science degree from the University of North Texas.
Vicki Braunagel has worked for the Denver airport system for 14 years, serving as DIA’s Deputy Manager of business and technologies for the past decade, and previously as the Chief Legal Counsel for the airport system. Prior to joining the airport, she was a partner with the Denver-based law firm of Gorsuch, Kirgis, Campbell, Walker and Grover, and was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado, serving as chief counsel to what is now the Colorado Department of Transportation. Braunagel served as the past chair of both the Economic Committee and Legal Committee for Airport Council International - North America and as the past board president of the Conflict Center in Northwest Denver. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Idaho State University and her law degree from the University of Colorado.