The Blog

BLOG: New Full Stack+ Web & Mobile Development Program Launches at ELEVATE


·             Opportunity for Locals to Double, Triple their Salary with a New Career in Tech

·             Open House for the Full Stack+ Program Will be Held 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19

FRISCO, Colo. – April, 2016 – A new career path in tech could help locals in Summit County double or triple their salary.

A new Full Stack+ web and mobile development program could be the solution, say Amy Kemp and Wendy Basey of ELEVATE coworking space in Frisco.

The ELEVATE team has partnered with Regis University to launch the first Full Stack+ web and mobile development program in the mountains. The 16-week accelerated software engineering and web development graduate-level program will begin in August and offers more than just the typical full stack program of back-end and front-end web development. In addition, the program will include web visualizations and mobile development.

Full stack developers, sometimes called the “Jack of all trades for developers,” are in demand by tech companies and startups around the world and typically make $89,000+ in the U.S.( That compares to Summit County’s per capita income of $33,052. (Northwest Council of Governments)

“There’s no question that we need to diversify our economy in Summit County and create higher paying jobs,” says long-time local Kemp. “We’re too reliant on tourism, construction and real estate. We have one of the most highly educated communities in the state, but we have one of the lowest per capita incomes. We are shockingly underemployed and underpaid. It’s time to change that.”

According to Kemp and Basey, creating more tech jobs would give Summit County locals an opportunity to afford to live here and to contribute to an even more vibrant community.

“It’s time for us to forge our own future and build a hub for innovation and creativity right here in Summit County,” adds Kemp.

The Full Stack+ program is an opportunity to create a high tech workforce of remote workers or local startup founders or skilled employees to be hired by local tech companies like Dave Knell’s TeleNg and Fathom VR (virtual reality). Knell is a Breck-based entrepreneur and programmer who has struggled with hiring talented, experienced developers and programmers in Summit County.

He recently partnered with Kemp and fellow entrepreneur James Lee to open ELEVATE Breck, ELEVATE coworking’s second location in Breckenridge. ELEVATE Breck is set to open this spring.

“I’ve been surprised at how small the pool of developer talent is in Summit County,” says Knell. “As a result, I’ve become an effective outsourcer. I would much rather employ people here – it’s easier for me to work with someone in the same office rather than on a different continent and I’d prefer to keep money in this neck of the woods.  Elevate’s Full Stack+ program has the potential to make a real difference to its graduates, to local employers and to our community, and I’m excited to see it happening here.”

The 16-week Full Stack+ program aims to teach people to code and develop the “full stack” of back-end and front-end web and mobile skills.

It’s more than the typical full stack program, that’s why we’re calling it Full Stack+, says Rob Sjodin, lead instructor for the Full Stack+ program with Regis University. It includes four modules:

·             MSSE 661, Web Software Development

·             MSSE 663, Web Frameworks

·             MSSE 665, Web Visualization Frameworks

·             MSSE 667, Web Mobile Frameworks

Each module is four weeks and in-person classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. at ELEVATE Frisco. At the end of the 16 weeks, students will receive a graduate-level certificate in web development and have 12 credit hours that can be applied towards a Master of Science in Software Engineering degree.

It’s an accelerated program that offers more than just the standard full stack web development program, says Sjodin. This Full Stack+ program offers twice as much content as most of the other full stack programs at half the cost.

Tuition start at $8,700-ish for the 16-week program that starts in August, 2016. An open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19 at ELEVATE Frisco to educate the community about the program and to help them with financial aid and the application process.

In tech, it’s more important to have the skills and the portfolio vs. a degree. The Full Stack+ program does that.

The Full Stack+ program is designed for anyone who is interested in learning to build and develop web and mobile. A fundamental knowledge of HTML and CSS is preferred and students should have a bachelor’s degree.

The Full Stack+ Program open house is set for 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19 at ELEVATE Frisco. Representatives from Regis University’s admissions program and Full Stack instructors wil be on hand to answer questions.

For more information, visit or contact 970-368-6139.

BLOG: What is Your Purpose?

By Claudine Norden

Have you seen Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, Hugo?  It is about an orphaned boy who embarks on a quest to solve the mystery of the automaton clock and find a place he can call home. I was inspired by the deep message of the quest for purpose.


Hugo: Everything has a purpose, even machines. Clocks tell the time, trains take you places. They do what they’re meant to do, like Monsieur Labisse. Maybe that’s why broken machines make me so sad, they can’t do what they’re meant to do. Maybe it’s the same with people. If you lose your purpose, it’s like you’re broken.

[Hugo takes Isabelle to the back of the giant train station clock where they watch the beauty of Paris at night]

Hugo: Right after my father died, I would come up here a lot. I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.

In my line of work as a LifePlan™ Facilitator, people are inspired to come to me because they are at a period of life transition, life is out of balance in some way or they are searching for a greater sense of purpose and meaning.  I invite them to reflect and dream.

Dreams give us vitality.  The pursuit of dreams creates passion and energy.  At different points in our life journey, we get caught up in surviving versus thriving.  Purpose is living the life you were meant to live.  Dreaming starts the journey.

I invite you to dream and begin the journey of self-exploration with us at Elevate CoSpace on Tuesday, April 19 from Noon-1:00pm for a brown bag Dream Workshop.


Claudine Norden

Certified LifePlan™ Facilitator, Ascent Planning, LLC

Our Team is Growing!

I’m beyond thrilled to announce that Shamus Lahman is joining the ELEVATE team as our brand-new community cultivator. He’s a badass and we’re so excited to have him on board. Here’s a welcome note from Shamus, himself:

I’m proud to announce that I’ll be the newest member of this amazing team here at ELEVATE coSpace in Frisco. My expertise in digital marketing, content creation, and creativity will bring new energy and a new flavor to the coworking community. Ever since I was introduced to the tech community here in Summit County last year, I knew this was the place I wanted to be with fellow entrepreneurs, innovators and forward-thinking people.

I’ve been living in Summit County for the better part of four years now but originally from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Right out of high school, I pursued a career in golf course management and tournament operations. My first job out of college was as an Assistant Golf Professional doing everything needed to keep the daily golf course operations running smoothly. During this time I picked up my first DSLR camera and found out I had a knack for photography and videography.

At the golf course I took on various marketing responsibilities as time went on. After more than four years with the same umbrella company, I was promoted and gained responsibilities of running seven different social media accounts including weddings and events, involved with marketing activities, and still working the Assistant position.

Getting burnt out on the golf life, I began to pursue freelancing opportunities, gaining experience in all aspects of digital marketing and teaching myself to be knowledgable with design programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and Lightroom to name a few. I also taught myself HTML and CSS as well as WordPress for website development. Much of which I still use everyday for various projects.

In a short time I’ve had a client base of over a dozen companies ranging from night clubs, restaurants to lawyers and everything in between. Needing a change of pace from the flat landscapes of New Jersey, I decided to embark on a journey to wonderful Colorado, where I now call home.

When I’m not community cultivating here at Elevate or helping companies create their digital presence, I’m usually working on my mobile app, Fish Conserve which got 3rd place at the recent StartUp Weekend event here at ELEVATE. I’m also an avid snowboarder trying to find the freshest powder lines, or fly fishing on Colorado’s finest rivers trying to catch that state record fish.

BLOG: A Love Letter to Our ELEVATE Tribe


Dear ELEVATE tribe –

I believe in you. More importantly, I believe in us.

I love that we’re making shit happen, shaking things up and doing it in a place that we all love.

I love that we’re building a community of innovation, tech and creativity right here in Summit County. I love that we’re growing in numbers and in collaborations. I can feel the energy building every day at ELEVATE. I love that we’re expanding to a second location in Breck and, most of all, I love that through ELEVATE I’ve met some of the most dynamic, inspiring, badass entrepreneurs, developers, designers, coaches, skiers, snowboarders and people.

Two years ago I thought I was brave and had grit.

Like all entrepreneurs, I took that scary but exhilarating leap with oodles of confidence and unbounded optimism. I love that despite the bumps and bruises, I’m still optimistic and still believe we can make our community – and our world – a more progressive, vibrant, awesome place.

Now, I know what true grit is. I know what being courageous is. I know that passion only gets you so far. I’ve re-learned that it’s not just what you do but also how you do it.

You’ve been there for the ups and downs, the highs and lows.

For that, I say thank you. And, for that, I love you and love us. Our tribe.

I love that we’re a diverse, hard-charging group of badasses who can rock long work days, climb mountains AND who can shake it at a dance party (or two or three) and celebrate in the back of a pickup truck at Ullr Fest.

I love that every day I can have real conversations with other entrepreneurs like Holly Resignolo, Shawna Henderson and Jaime Harmon about the sacrifices, the intense hours and the terrifying moments of the startup world. That I have the support of business coaches like Kathryn Grohusky, Katie Hardy and Katie Collins who ask the right questions and give insightful feedback. That I can be challenged to expand my horizons and mind by innovators like Mark Mulrooney, Sarah Stillings and Chris McMahon. That I can be inspired to keep learning from role models Michele Camilio and Mary Gessner. That I can collaborate with dynamic and smart people like James Lee and Jill Benbow. And that I can raise a glass, grab some lunch and shake my booty with friends like Kirk Barrell, Channing Nuss, Courtney Hampton and our entire ELEVATE crew.

Thanks to all of you. For believing in me, in ELEVATE and in our mission to create a better – more elevated way to work, live and play. I love you all for that. Keep being badasses and shaking things up (and your booty).

Love, Amy

NEWS: Tips for your taxes

ELEVATE member and accountant, Kimberly Swank, is here to save the day … and a few dollars or more on your taxes. Here are her Top 10 tax tips and ways to save with deductions.

Swank is also teaching a Quickbooks online class on Friday, Feb. 12 at ELEVATE. 


Top 10 Tax tips and deductions

1.          Document, Document, Document

a.           Envelopes are your friend

b.          Receipts – Take Letter sized envelopes and write the month and year on the front , put your receipts in them. Scan receipts in a pdf and make sure it is legible after the month is complete. If you do not want to scan the receipts then store them in a safe place. If you get audited you now have all your receipts. You only need to keep the receipts for the items that are included on the tax return.

c.           Tax Documents – get a large 81/2 x 11 manila envelope and place all your tax documents in the envelope when you receive them. Print online tax documents and place in folder. When you have collected all the tax documents hand the envelope to your CPA.

2.          Charity

a.           When you drop off donated good make sure you get a receipt. You can deduct a fair value of the goods but you need your receipt for back-up. Also mileage to events can be deducted as well.

3.          Home Office

a.           If you are a small business owner, you may be able to deduct a portion of your utilities, security, trash and snow removal, cleaning, supplies, maintenance and repairs etc.

4.          Medical and Dental expenses

a.           Travel to the doctors office, You can include most medical and dental costs that you paid for yourself, your spouse and your dependents. Exceptions and special rules apply. Costs reimbursed by insurance or other sources do not qualify for a deduction.

b.          This deduction has an AGI threshold – You include all the qualified medical costs that you paid for during the year. However, you can only deduct the amount that is more than 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. If you or your spouse is age 65 or older, the AGI threshold is 7.5 percent of your AGI. This exception applies through Dec. 31, 2016.

c.           Expenses that qualify.  You can include the costs of diagnosing, treating, easing or preventing disease. The costs you pay for prescription drugs and insulin qualify. The costs you pay for insurance premiums for policies that cover medical care qualify. Some long-term care insurance costs also qualify. For more examples of costs you can and can’t deduct, see IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses. You can get it on anytime.

d.          Travel costs count.  You may be able to claim travel costs you pay for medical care. This includes costs such as public transportation, ambulance service, tolls and parking fees. If you use your car, you can deduct either the actual costs or the standard mileage rate for medical travel. The rate is 23.5 cents per mile for 2014.

e.           No double benefit.  You can’t claim a tax deduction for medical expenses you paid for with funds from your Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Arrangements. Amounts paid with funds from those plans are usually tax-free. This rule prevents two tax benefits for the same expense.

5.          Health Savings Account (HSA)

a.           Contributions to an HSA are tax deductible

b.          No income limits for making a contribution like there can be for IRAs.

c.            If an individual or family is covered under what is considered a high-deductible health plan by the IRS then contributions up to $3,350 (single) and $6,650 (family) can be made on a tax deductible basis in 2015.

d.          Those qualified distributions from the HSA are not taxed, not even the earnings.

6.          Retirement Funds

a.           You can contribute a maximum of $17,500 ($23,000 if you’re 50 or older) to 401(k) plans and $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re 50 or older) to an IRA for the 2014 tax year. For example, if you earn $60,000 a year and contribute the full $17,500 to your 401(k), your taxable income would drop to $42,500 (excluding other deductions or tax credits).

b.          Keeping your finances healthy also could land you a healthy tax deduction. Tax planning and investment expenses can be deducted if you itemize and the costs exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income. Investment expenses could include phone calls to your broker or even subscriptions to financial publications like Forbes and Fortune.

7.          Moving Cost

a.           If you moved due to a change in your job or business location, or because you started a new job or business, you may be able to deduct your reasonable moving expenses but not any expenses for meals. You can deduct your moving expenses if you meet all three of the following requirements:

b.          Your move closely relates to the start of work

c.           You meet the distance test- Your new workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job location was from your old home. If you had no previous workplace, your new job location must be at least 50 miles from your old home.

d.          You meet the time test- If you are an employee, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months immediately following your arrival in the general area of your new job location. If you are self-employed, you must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months and for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months immediately following your arrival in the general area of your new work location. There are exceptions to the time test in case of death, disability, and involuntary separation, among other things. See Publication 521 for these exceptions.

8.          Energy Friendly Systems

a.           If you purchased any energy-friendly systems, you may qualify for business energy investment tax credits, which are set to expire at the end of 2016. With the tax credit, you can save up to 30% of the cost of solar, fuel cells, small wind and PTC-eligible technologies or 10% the cost of geothermal, microturbines and combined heat and power (CHP).

b.          Also, if you own or rent a commercial space, you can also receive a tax credit for reducing your energy usage under section 179D. If you can reduce energy and power costs by 16⅔ percent, you can deduct $0.60 per square foot of building floor area. If you reduce energy by at least 50 percent, you can deduct as much as $1.80 per square foot.

9.          Work related Expenses

a.           Educators, including K-12 teachers, teacher aides, instructors or principals, can get an above-the-line tax deduction for materials they buy for use in classrooms. Because it’s an above-the-line deduction, itemizing isn’t required for this deduction.

b.          Uniforms and other types of work related expenses can be itemized as deductions.

10.    Childcare

a.           Parents who work and leave their children with a caregiver are eligible for a tax credit to offset the cost of a baby sitter, day care, nursery school or preschool. Limitations on the credit include the age of the child and the percentage of the credit.

BLOG: Focus on Improving Your Photography

Are you ready to take your digital photography skills to a new level in 2016? Did you recently get a new D-SLR or a new digital camera and you’re already overwhelmed by it?

While advanced cameras are not as simple as pointing your iPhone, they can help you take your photography quality and vision to new levels. The key is learning which functions you need to focus on to make a difference.

Let’s start with why you’ve picked up the camera in the first place. You are likely a visual person, you really look at the world around you and want to capture what you’re seeing and experiencing.

Based on this, the first part of learning is discovering the three main controls which affect creative outcome. Doing this from the creative concept makes learning easier. Instead of being overwhelmed by the numbers, learn what the controls do and how you use these to further your creative vision.

Simply stated, learn what your creative options are with the camera and which controls to use to accomplishing them.

After you’ve learned what settings give you a particular creative control, learn how the numbers applied to the controls work. Learn how the settings work together affecting your creative outcomes.

Once you’ve learned these basics – which, by the way, have not changed from the days of shooting film – you will be ready to learn more advanced settings on your camera including Auto Focus modes (an important learning curve!), basics about color balance settings and other goodies waiting for you to learn.

Additionally, moving beyond the basics means learning information specific to digital photography,  including understanding how sensors work, what resolution means, which file formats are best and more.

Remember! The basics of photography have not changed from the days of film. Learning to take control of your camera means learning how not to be overwhelmed by it. That means learn which controls you need for any given situation and ignore the rest! Once you simplify your use of the camera you’ll find adding new controls, setting and techniques to be less intimidating. And that means you’ll have more fun creating photographs with your camera.

~ Matt Lit

For more information on classes at Elevate with award-winning photographer Matt Lit visit–course.html

Contact Matt at:


NEWS: ELEVATE Expands to Breckenridge


A lot can change in a year. Just ask the founders of ELEVATE coSPACE. The area’s first coworking space and innovation center opened on Oct. 1, 2014.  

Since then, ELEVATE has hosted 109 meetups and events ranging from the Startup Ski Summit to Startup Weekend, helped to launch more than seven businesses and been a home for hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners, creatives, remote workers, tech industry leaders and outdoor industry innovators. Now, ELEVATE is expanding into Breckenridge thanks to a partnership with Hub Breckenridge, a full-service technology boutique. In addition, ELEVATE has launched the new ELEVATE Digital Arts program this month with plans to expand its educational offerings and programs in both Frisco and Breckenridge.

“At ELEVATE, we’re building a hub of innovation for entrepreneurs, business owners and anyone who dares to think differently and wants to elevate their work, life and play,” says Kemp who also owns her own digital agency, Mountaintop Media.

 As a long-time local with experience in the ski industry and with tech projects like Epic Mix, Kemp has made it her mission to galvanize the Summit County community and to catalyze entrepreneurship, innovation and tech with a focus on the tourism and outdoor industries. It started with the opening of ELEVATE coSPACE in Frisco at 711 Granite Street. And now will continue with the expansion to Breckenridge in Main Street Station this winter.

“Breck is one of the most creative, forward-thinking and progressive mountain towns,” Kemp says. “We’re not just bringing coworking to Breck, we’re also bringing new opportunities to launch ideas, ‘elevate’ existing businesses and diversify our economy. And, it’s an opportunity to position Breck and Summit County as the epicenter for outdoor industry innovation.”

Coworking isn’t just about a flexible workspace or renting a cool desk or an office, she adds. “Coworking is all about collaboration and community. Our new partnership exemplifies that. I’m thrilled to be working with James and the Hub team. They’re some of the most creative, dynamic and brilliant entrepreneurs in the Rockies.”

According to James Lee, founder of Hub Breckenridge and an entrepreneur who owns four other businesses including Fathom VR (virtual reality), the partnership with ELEVATE and his full-service technology boutique, Hub Breckenridge, is a natural extension of the services he offers and an opportunity to bring the coworking model and energy to his hometown of Breck.

“Coworking is an integral part of a thriving startup community,” Lee says. “The partnership between ELEVATE and Hub Breckenridge will make Breck an even more amazing place to start a new business or grow a business. As a serial entrepreneur, I know it’s important to have the support of experienced business owners, as well as to have the energy of collaboration and new ideas. This partnership will bring a new mindset and new tools and support systems for entrepreneurs in Breck.”

ELEVATE plans to open in Hub Breckenridge’s new ski-in, ski-out Main Street Station location in December. ELEVATE at Hub Breck will offer day passes, part-time memberships and full-time memberships. ELEVATE coSPACE in Frisco – at 711 Granite Street – will remain the flagship ELEVATE coworking space and will continue to be home to ELEVATE Digital Arts. 

BLOG: Startup Weekend Returns Nov. 13-15

Ever wondered “what if?” What if I took a chance? What if I followed my dream? What if I pitched an idea?

Now here’s your chance to turn your “what if” into action. Stop talking about it. And start doing it. Summit County Startup Weekend returns to Frisco, Colorado Nov. 13-15.

What the heck is Startup Weekend?

It’s one of the coolest events I’ve attended. It’s 54 hours to take an idea and bring it to life. You can launch a business in one weekend. YES. One weekend.

Why pitch an idea?

Why not – is the better question. If you have an idea … and c’mon, everyone, everyone has ideas … pitch it and see what happens.

How does it work?

First, you sign up for the weekend. Do it here. Do it now.

Then, you come on Friday night to Startup Weekend. Grab some food, grab a drink and network a bit. Then, we’ll sit down and the pitches will start. Pitch an idea or listen to others pitch ideas. We all vote on the ideas and then start to form teams right then and there. The teams will split up between ELEVATE coSPACE (our Frisco coworking space) and evo3 workspace (another coworking space that’s located in Frisco, just across the parking lot) and get to work. Teams will work Friday, Saturday and all morning Sunday right up until the Sunday night pitch event. Coaches and mentors are available to coach and guide teams. Then, the teams gather for the final pitch before a panel of judges on Sunday night. The winners will receive prizes and high fives, of course.

What if I don’t want to pitch an idea?

No biggie. You should still come to the Friday night pitch event and the Sunday night judging event. AND, you should/could still plan to stick around for the weekend. You could join a team and learn a TON about how to launch a business and work as a team. It’s an AWESOME experience.

Is food provided? And is it any good?

Yes and yes. We’re working with some amazing restaurants and caterers. If you have dietary requirements or needs, let us know!

Do I really need to be there all weekend?

If you commit to being on a team and helping that team, yes – you need to be there to help the team. If you’re not sure about your commitment or your interest, come on Friday night and check it out!

How much?

Tickets for the Friday night pitch are only $25 and include dinner. Tickets for the Sunday night judging panel are only $25 and include dinner!

Tickets for the whole weekend are $75 if you buy them before Oct. 30. And $99 for last-minute tickets. Get ’em here.

Student discounts are available. Holler:

If you have any other questions, holler. We’re happy to help.

See you Nov. 13-15. #summitcountysw

BLOG: Get Off of Auto Mode with Your Camera. Take a Photography Class

In the age of selfies and snaps, it seems as if we attempt to capture every moment in time from our beautiful latte served up at our favorite coffee shop to a selfie of ourselves with 20 of our new, best friends. 

But, how many times do you look back and think – hmmm. That photo wasn’t quite Instagram worthy or Pinterest quality? I do, a lot. 

The reason? I tend to use my iphone for almost everything these days. Granted, the iphone has come a LONG way and it is much easier and lighter to bring your iphone on a bike ride or hike than lug around a DSLR camera. Still, even when I pull out the big mack daddy camera, I’m guilty of not using it to its fullest capabilities. That’s right I’m a lazy auto camera operator, a wanna-be photographer. 

I dabble with ISO and shutter speeds but I usually revert back to auto mode. 

If you’re like me, it’s time. To learn to use your camera and “elevate” your photography.

Now is your chance. Pro photographer and photography educator, Matt Lit, is offering a 4-week course in photography at ELEVATE. 

Sessions will meet 1 night a week for 4 weeks (2-hour class each week) with an additional field trip (to be scheduled for either a Friday, Saturday or Sunday). You’ll learn the basics of photography – ISO, composition, editing software (Lightroom, Photoshop and Bridge) and digital asset management. Includes class materials. 

Oct. 5: 6:30-8:30 pm

Oct. 12: 6:30-8:30 pm

Oct. 19: 6:30-8:30 pm

Oct. 26: 6:30-8:30 pm

And a field trip (to be scheduled)

For a supply list or more information, visit


Contact Matt with more questions: 

Or, contact to register or with questions. 



Entrepreneurship is booming in Summit and in the US

According to this story in the Biz Journals, there’s a record number of Americans involved in starting or running a new business. 

The report by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor stated that “24 million Americans are engaged in startup business activity. Another 14 million are running established businesses.” 

And the future looks bright – 51 percent of Americans are hoping to start a business. In Summit County, we’re seeing more businesses start and more business owners and startups seek out opportunities to grow, enhance and “elevate” their business.

To find out more and to join a community of innovators, entrepreneurs, problem solvers and business owners, contact us:

Read more: