Join Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) and Citizen-Powered Media for Patrons of Influence: Military Veterans in El Paso County as we celebrate patrons who are providing positive influences in the areas of culture, business, and leadership in our community. A panel of local leaders will discuss their shared interest and experiences with the ways that diverse voices strengthen organizations and communities.
A question and answer session will follow the panel discussion.
Registration for the in-person event is not required but strongly recommended.
You must register for the Livestream event in order to receive the access link. You will receive the link to the Livestream after registering.
Wed., Nov. 15 from 10 – 11 a.m. — East Library
Bethann Richards, U.S. Army Signal Corps, retired
Bethann Richards is a retired Army veteran who worked within the U.S. Army Signal Corps and is currently a senior systems engineer at Jacobs Engineering Group. She has worked in engineering roles with Jacobs and Lockheed Martin over the last eight years where she was part of a team that supported the U.S. National Security Agency and received an award for her contributions. Fun fact about Richards, she has more take-offs in airplanes and helicopters than she does landings.
Colonel Mark Dickerson, U.S. Air Force, retired
Colonel Mark Dickerson retired from the Air Force with over 4,500 hours in over 40 types of aircraft. He is a graduate and former deputy commandant of the USAF Test Pilot School and spent seven years as a NASA research project manager where he was the only African American research pilot at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. Dickerson holds a B.S. in engineering physics, an M.S. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, and an M.B.A. He published his second book WARNING: This Book May Get You Killed, and has received the Noel Parrish Award, the most prestigious award presented by the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. where he was the former president of the Denver chapter.
Chief Petty Officer Chris Ortiz, Navy, retired
Chris Ortiz is a retired Navy chief petty officer who served 28 years of combined active duty and reserve service in many different positions from being a class instructor to senior enlisted advisor for a gun boat platoon in the coastal riverine squadrons. He has been employed at Colorado Springs Utilities for the last 25 years. These two paths have provided Ortiz with many opportunities to grow as a leader, mentor, and as a person who always takes care of the careers and personal growth of his soldiers, sailors, marines, and employees regardless of gender, culture, or ethnicity.
Marsilino ‘Lino’ Calica, U.S. Army, retired
Marsilino ‘Lino’ Calica retired from the U.S. Army after being stationed all over the world. Like many Native Hawaiians adjusting to a changing island, Calica, eight of his siblings, and many family members joined the military in pursuit of greater opportunities. His time in Germany, Honduras, and Korea let him cultivate the leadership skills that he uses in his current position as network systems analyst at Pikes Peak Library District. Calica has championed military personnel and their families through his work with his American Legion Post 209, even serving as the commander. His time is fondly spent with Susanna, his wife of 47 years, and being silly with his family.
Colonel Cynthia Aki, Air Force Veteran, retired
Cynthia Chung Aki retired as colonel from the U.S. Air Force after 30 years of service. She began working in public health and administration health services while giving back as a volunteer on numerous boards and committees. In 2022, Aki launched the Golden Lotus Foundation. This nonprofit advocacy group provides intergenerational opportunities for people to experience Asian heritage and traditions, and hosts an annual Chinese New Year celebration. Aki, who is of Chinese descent, has become an informal spokesperson for the Asian community in Colorado Springs and has set ambitious goals for the future of her foundation.
First Sergeant Carlos V. Gonzalez, Jr., U.S. Army, retired
Carlos Gonzalez served in the U.S. Army for 26 years and retired as a first sergeant. He is the current president of the Widefield School District 3 Board of Education and owner/agent of the local Carlos Gonzalez State Farm Agency. He applies his 30 years of leadership experience as founder/director of the non-profit True North Empowerment Services, Inc., which mentors both adults and youth and is owner of Leadership 360, a leadership training company. Gonzalez holds an M.A. in human resource management and was awarded the Army Bronze Star, five Army meritorious service medals, and a Joint Service Achievement Medal from his service which included tours in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.