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A Panel of Higher Education Leaders
Courtyard Denver Cherry Creek
1475 S Colorado Blvd, 11th Floor
Denver, Colorado 80222
Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM MDT
Category: Programs

SMPS Colorado invites you to a panel of prominent leaders from Colorado's top campuses. Discover the forefront needs and project priorities set for the upcoming years. Dive into the long-term objectives of universities and the evolving trends in design and construction on Higher Education Campuses. Our esteemed panelists will share invaluable insights into their procurement processes, offering strategies for firms to enhance their positioning for forthcoming opportunities. Don't miss this interactive session—an opportunity to engage with influential figures in education. Join SMPS Colorado for an enlightening discussion and forge connections with key influencers in the field.

Key Takeaways:

  • Insight into Campus Priorities: Gain a comprehensive understanding of the critical needs and project priorities for Colorado's leading higher education institutions. Learn what drives decision-making and strategic focus within these campuses.
  • Emerging Trends in Design and Construction: Explore the shifting landscape of design and construction within Higher Education Campuses. Identify the latest trends, innovations, and methodologies shaping the future of these environments.
  • Strategic Positioning and Procurement Opportunities: Acquire valuable guidance on how firms can strategically position themselves to capitalize on upcoming opportunities. Understand the nuances of procurement processes and discover actionable strategies to enhance your firm's readiness.


Mecayla Cobb
Principal, Higher Education Studio Leader

Mecayla Cobb, a licensed architect and principal at SmithGroup with 20 years of experience in higher education design, earned her degrees from the University of Kansas and Columbia University. Leading the Higher Education Studio in Denver, she opened the firm's Denver office five years ago. With a diverse background in New York City and St. Louis, Mecayla brings a broad perspective to her work, having completed 35+ projects (and counting) on campuses like CMU and UCCS. As the daughter of two educators, Mecayla lives by Maya Angelou’s quote – ‘when you learn, teach, and when you get, give.’ Giving back for Mecayla means volunteering while packing meals with Food for Thought, serving on the board of Dress for Success Denver, and mentoring students as an Industry Advisor to CU Boulder’s WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) group. Professionally, she serves as a board member on the Dean’s Advisory Board for KU’s School of Architecture + Design, her alma mater. She is frequently asked to serve as a critic for design studios at CU Denver, KU, and others. Mecayla’s passions, outside of her career and community service, are traveling, making jewelry and as a diehard KU Jayhawks basketball fan.

  • Julia Fitzpatrick, Director of Capital Construction, Arapahoe Community College
  • Michael W. Millsapps, CFM, Executive Director of Facilities & Operations, Aims Community College
  • Mike Turman, Director of Design and Construction, University of Colorado Boulder
  • André Vite, Assistant Vice Chancellor - Campus Architect, University of Colorado | Anschutz Medical Campus, Facilities Management - Office of Institutional Planning

More about the Speakers

Julia Fitzpatrick
Director of Capital Construction
Arapahoe Community College

Julia is a registered architect and construction management professional who has dedicated her career in employment that allows her to represent the Owner’s position in capital projects. She has seven years of experience in higher education with the Colorado Community College System. At Arapahoe Community College as Director of Capital Construction, she focused on their capital projects that include replacement of the major plant equipment at the Littleton Campus, adding fire sprinklers to their Main Building, and the renovation and expansion of the Annex to accommodate the Healthcare Integration program. And at Front Range Community College as Managing Architect she executed projects on all three of their campuses administering new construction, renovations, site development, and parking lot expansions all in continually occupied campuses. Between controlled maintenance and capital construction, she has worked on over $67M of work funded by Colorado appropriations.

Michael W. Millsapps, CFM
Executive Director of Facilities & Operations
Aims Community College

Michael Millsapps is the Executive Director of facilities and operations and an adjunct professor in the Construction Management program at Aims Community College. Michael didn’t follow the standard blueprint out of high school. Michael worked as a master service technician for General Motors, then for the City and County of Denver in many technical capacities, working in facilities operations at Mile High Stadium, McNichols Arena, Red Rocks, and other venues operated by the city. Finding that working in stadiums and arenas was fast-paced and rewarding, Michael spent the next 12 years working for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies full-time in Stadium Operations. Michael went on to work in city, state, and county facilities management roles before being introduced to higher education facilities management by a mentor. Michael started working for San Jose State University, managing their athletic facilities and operations and has never looked back. Michael has served on the executive board of the Rocky Mountain chapter of the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), Rocky Mountain chapter of the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) and is a founding board member of the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (COAPPA). Michael has been a subject matter expert for the Public Works Working Group (PWWG) for the federal government and most recently a subject matter expert on the rewrite of the certified facilities manager exam for IFMA.

Mike Turman
Director of Design and Construction
University of Colorado Boulder

Mike Turman oversees design and construction across all building types at the University of Colorado Boulder, aiming to maintain the institution's excellence in student experience and architectural quality. In his role as Director of Design and Construction, he is committed to fostering collaboration and innovation to support student success by creating spaces that facilitate connection and relationship-building. Prior to joining CU Boulder, Mike served as Director of Projects, Safety, and Security at the Auraria Higher Education Center, overseeing a substantial portfolio of projects and leading multiple operations departments. With extensive experience in various sectors, including k-12, higher education, healthcare, and government, Mike brings a wealth of knowledge to his role. He holds an MBA from the University of Colorado and a bachelor's degree in construction management from Colorado State University. Outside of work, Mike cherishes time with his wife and three children, enjoying activities like tennis, coaching, fly fishing, and camping with family and friends.

André Vite
Assistant Vice Chancellor - Campus Architect
University of Colorado | Anschutz Medical Campus, Facilities Management - Office of Institutional Planning

As Assistant Vice Chancellor and Campus Architect, André Vite provides professional guidance and leadership to the long-range planning of the physical environment and to the design of specific buildings and open spaces in support of the mission and strategic vision of the University of Colorado | Anschutz Medical Campus. André joined the University of Colorado | Anschutz Medical Campus, Office of Institutional Planning in September of 2012. With 30+ years of experience working as an architect and urban designer, André has had the opportunity to design and manage award-winning institutional projects throughout the United States totaling over three and a half million square feet in size and worth well over a billion dollars in construction cost. His career has been focused primarily on creating sustainable, innovative, technically sophisticated academic research facilities that integrate within, and enhance the fabric of, existing cities and campuses such as Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the Anschutz Medical Campus. He has held senior-level positions with Ellenzweig Associates in Cambridge Massachusetts as well as Fentress Architects in Denver. André holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University as well as a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado | Denver. He is a frequent presenter at national conferences and has served on numerous design review boards.­­


Ticket Prices
$80 Members
$110 Non-members


An Added Value for Large Groups Attending – Check out the Reserved Table option! 

SMPS is offering a reserved table opportunity at the March Higher Education panel luncheon. Bring together your team, partners, subcontractors and friends to reconnect and network at your reserved table! Receive Member Pricing for the entire table of eight, regardless of whether they are current SMPS members or not. Simply choose “Reserved Table" during registration. No need to provide all the names at the time of registration. We will reach out a week prior to the event so name tags can be printed.


CEUs Available: 1, 3 Client and Business Development

Note: Only SMPS Members may register at member pricing. All ticket prices increase $25 on March 9.
Finding it difficult to allocate funds for SMPS programming and/or membership? The Colorado Believes page program is rooted in our core values of learning, commitment, and community through charitable giving, membership sponsorships, scholarships, and industry engagement. This program is also part of our efforts to help diversify membership and help provide opportunities for BIPOC individuals and DBE, WBE, MBE, VBR, and LGBTBE firms to elevate their marketing efforts while helping your company save. Please email SMPS Colorado’s admin for reduced pricing and scholarship opportunities.

If you are a member of another SMPS Chapter and would like a member rate, please email the admin. Job seekers, students, and other new professionals, please visit our Colorado Believes page for details on our student membership programs and professional development scholarship opportunities. Refunds are available if submitted to the admin one week prior to the event.