Board Members

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MAJ Diggs Brown (ret)

Bob Diggs Brown, Jr.:  Mr. Brown is the Founder of Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado, and continues to be the guiding light of the organization, providing direction and vision for its activities.  He holds an MBA from Colorado State University and his Bachelors in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Oklahoma State University.  Now retired, he is the former owner of a financial advisory firm in Fort Collins, CO, and has extensive experience in the banking industry.  Additionally, he has been active in community service, serving on the Fort Collins City Council and other civic activities.  Mr. Brown is a retired Major in the U.S. Army’s Special Forces and a combat veteran, having served in Afghanistan and Africa as well as many other deployment areas.  He is a noted keynote speaker and the author of the acclaimed book, Your Neighbor Went to War: Reality and the War on Terror. 



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Ssgt. James Hagerman

James H. Hagerman, President:  Mr. Hagerman is well known in the Fort Collins community.  He is a member of the Marine Corps League and very active within that organization.  In the civilian world he is one of the top producers for C3 Real Estate Solutions and a graduate of Bellevue University where he received a BS in Business Information Systems.


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Louise Creager

Louise Creager: is a recent addition to our board of directors. She also serves on the board of the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department. In 2015 she received the Presidents Award for my community involvement with our organization. Louise is furthermore, one of the founding members of Colorado Women of Influence, which is a group of successful women helping each other to move to their next level of business. As a business owner, her present position is as a Realtor in northern Colorado. In 2010, she received the Fort Collins Board of Realtors “Rookie of the Year” award.


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Cindy Bean

Cindy Bean comes to Veterans Plaza with 25 years of Development and Field Operations experience, most recently from the National MS Society. Currently, her full time employment is with No Barriers, a 501c3, which assists wounded veterans with transition to civilian life.

Cindy and her husband of 35 years are longtime residents of Fort Collins, Colorado, where they enjoy the mountains, the blue skies and all four seasons. Blake and Cindy have two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Cindy is a graduate of Colorado State University with a B.A. in Technical Journalism and Public Relations.


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Susan Pawlak

Susan Pawlak, Treasurer:  Ms. Pawlak has a long and prominent history of leadership in the Fort Collins community.  She background is focused on management and mentoring.  Currently, she is the Director of Career Services at Ecotech Institute and Adjunct Instructor at Front Range Community College.  Susan has served on numerous boards and was one of the founding members of the Veterans Plaza.  We welcome her insight and direction as the Veterans Plaza moves forward.


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Maggie Hall Walsh, Press Liaison:Ms. Walsh is currently the Director of Communications, University Advancement, at Colorado State University (CSU), overseeing the team that prepares advancement materials for the Campaign to raise money for scholarships, programs and facilities at CSU.  Her previous experience includes experience as a newspaper reporter, writer and editor.  She has many professional honors, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.  Ms. Walsh earned her BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona.


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MG Steven R. Abt (ret)

Major General Steven R.  Abt (ret):Major General (Ret.) Steven R. Abt served in the U.S. Army/Army Reserve from 1973 to 2011.  His assignments included Deputy Chief of Engineers, USACE HQ, Washington, D.C.; Deputy Commander, US Army Accessions Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Director of Operations and Deputy Director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office in the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, Iraq.  His awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with olc., Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with olc., and Iraq Campaign Medal.

Dr. Abt is an Emeritus Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, at Colorado State University.  He earned BCE, MS and Ph.D. degrees from Colorado State University.  Dr. Abt is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineering. He has over 42 years of general engineering experience to include working as a consulting water resource engineer, contract Research Station Facility Engineer for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and consultant to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency as a hydrologic and surface water hydraulic subject matter expert.  Dr. Abt is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


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SGT Gary Ricker

Gary Ricker:  Mr. Ricker received his Associate Arts degree from Northeastern Junior College, 1965-1967, and received his BA degree Business Marketing at Colorado State University, 1967-1969.  He has an extensive work background art production, beginning with the designing and silk screening of sportswear at the age of 13.  Since then, he has owned and operated various businesses in the silk screening industry, acquiring numerous patents for his designs.  His current  business is Designs by Ricker, Loveland, CO (with former offices in San Diego, CA and Long Beach, CA), which employs 15 people.   Mr. Ricker is also a veteran of the US Army (1969-1972, rank of Sergeant and Honorable Discharge), with combat experience in Vietnam and service in Germany.


Ssgt. John P. Jones

John P. Jones:  Mr. Jones was born March 12, 1977 and was raised in Enid, OK. He joined the United States Marine Corps in July 1995, and underwent recruit training at MCRD San Diego. He completed recruit training and was assigned to SOI west at Camp Pendleton, CA where he was assigned the MOS of 0331 Machine Gunner. After completion of his MOS School, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Company “G” Weapons Platoon, where he was deployed to Okinawa, Japan in 1996. Upon completion of his tour with 2/7, he then transferred to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Company “C” in 1997 where he deployed again to Okinawa, Japan in 1999 and held security for the G-8 Summit and participated in Cobra Gold 2000. He then transferred to Marine Corps Security Forces Training Company where he was a Cadre Instructor and Non-Lethal Weapons Instructor.

Sgt Jones is working for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, as a development officer and special projects. MCSF provides scholarships to the children of Marines and Navy personnel that have been killed in action, wounded in action, and for those that have served the US Marines and Navy Corpsmen whom are attached to the Marines.


CPT Billy M. Thornton

Dr. Billy M. Thornton, Advisor: Dr. Thornton is Emeritus Professor of Management, College of Business, Colorado State University (CSU), and retired from CSU in May, 2013.  Including CSU, he taught at the junior, senior and graduate level for 36 years and added 6 years to his university service as a IT consultant to the College of Business.  He is an accomplished actor and served on the boards of two theatrical companies in Fort Collins, CO.  Dr. Thornton is a Vietnam combat veteran (CPT, US Army, Artillery).