Greg Lopez is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Colorado District Director. He is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of key economic initiatives and business development programs targeted to the Colorado small business community. A third generation Hispanic American, Greg is a native of Irving, Texas. Up until the age of five, Greg’s family was migrant workers. The family traveled from Weslaco, Texas up to Hartford, Michigan picking everything from oranges, cucumbers, cherries, grapes, lettuce, potatoes, and
cabbage. Greg and his brothers played and/or made a valiant effort to work along side his parents as they worked in the fields.
In 1969, Greg’s parents decided they wanted to offer their children a better life than that of migrant workers so they settled in Dallas in hopes that their children would be able to attend a public school on a regular basis and obtain an education. Times were tough for the family during this time primarily because Greg’s youngest brother was born severely mentally handicapped, blind and unable to speak and required extensive medical attention, and Greg’s father was not able to find a good paying job due to him not being able to acquire more than an 6th grade education.
After graduating from high school, Greg knew that he wanted to continue his education but recognized that his parents would not be able to pay for any college tuition; Greg decided to seek a nomination to the United States Air Force Academy from his US Senator. Greg’s dream was to
become a fighter pilot. While he was successful in being selected to attend a military academy, his disappointment was that he was selected to attend the US Naval Academy and not the Air Force Academy. This news was devastating to him because his knowledge of what opportunities lied ahead of him in attending the US Naval Academy were never outlined to him by anyone and his family had no knowledge of what this type of education was worth.
His disappointment led him to abandon his appointment to the US Naval Academy and Greg chose to enlist in the US Air Force. He served as a weapons specialist, programming and arming a wide range of ammunitions utilized by fighter aircrafts. While serving in the U.S. Air Force, Greg took advantage of the Veterans Education Assistance Program and earned his business degree. His tenure around jet engine noise left him with an 80% hearing loss in his right ear.
After leaving the military and marrying his wife, Lisa, Greg and Lisa moved to Colorado in 1988 and he started working for a major Wall Street investment firm offering financial services and products.
In 1992, at the young age of 27, Greg was elected Mayor of Parker, Colorado. The Town of Parker is located in Douglas County which at the time had a minority population of less than 1%. Greg had lived in the Parker area for little more than a year, and had no political contacts to speak of when he decided to enter the Mayoral race. Acting as his own campaign manager, with little money and considered an outsider with no real chance to win the election, Greg was able to mobilize the community on his behalf and beat the incumbent Mayor.
Greg’s victory made him not only the youngest sitting Mayor in the State of Colorado but also one of only a handful of Hispanic Mayors elected in the state as well. As the Mayor of Parker from 1992 – 1996, Greg’s role was that of the “strong mayor form of government” he was both the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, responsible
for preparing and administering the Town’s $10 million dollar budget, and dealt with numerous growth issues, i.e. economic development, transportation, parks, open space, water, air quality, and crime.
As Mayor, Greg sat on numerous boards: Governors Metro Water Forum, Douglas County Growth Task Force, E-470 Public Highway Authority Board of Directors, Arapahoe Community College Advisory Council, Douglas County School District Long Range Planning Committee, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Metro Mayor Caucus and Putting Americas Communities Together Forum.
Greg has served on the Denver Hispanic Chamber Board of Directors for the last five years. In that time he has served as the Treasurer, Chair-Elect and was appointed by the Board of Directors in 2004 to serve as the Interim President for the Hispanic Chamber for one year. Greg has launched successful communications programs for numerous corporate clients; and is particularly adept at strategically positioning clients in both the business and political arenas. His political, business and community contacts are extensive and have proven to be invaluable to his success both as a businessman and community leader.
Greg and his wife of 20 years, Lisa, have lived in Colorado since 1988 and have two children, Michael, age 17, and Christina, age 14.