Denver Office1800 Grant Street
Denver, Colorado 80203
Washington, DC Office1101 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
FEDERAL RELATIONS TEAM
Natalie Barry, Director of Federal Relations and Operations
Natalie Barry is the Director of Federal Relations and Operations. She has been with the University of Colorado since 2011, and supports a broad range of administrative, research, writing, and analytical duties that are designed to support CU’s federal relations efforts. Barry works closely with staff for the Colorado congressional delegation, federal elected officials, military officials, and other offices to schedule outreach meetings, campus tours, and events with congressional members and staff, federal elected officials, and military officials (in Colorado, Washington, D.C, and virtually). She also acts as the point of contact with congressional schedulers for events, coordination with university staff and faculty, constituent matters, etc. for all campuses and the CU System offices. In addition, Barry manages the overall office budget for the Denver office and manages operations for the Washington, DC office, including office budgets, contracts, and travel. Barry also manages the Colorado Capital Conference for the University, in cooperation with external and CU campus partners.
Natalie received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from University of Nevada, Las Vegas and an AAS in Business Management from Community College of Southern Nevada. She and her husband Tyler enjoy living in Colorado with their dogs and traveling as much as possible.
Heather Bené, Associate Vice President of Research and Federal Policy
Heather Bené is the Associate Vice President of Research and Federal Policy for the University of Colorado and represents CU in Washington, DC. Bené represents the university with federal officials, national organizations and government entities on funding and policy issues related to higher education and scientific research.
Bené has served in numerous national leadership roles, including as President of The Science Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of more than 50 of the nation's leading research universities dedicated to sustaining federal investment in fundamental scientific research. She has served on the leadership boards for the Association of American Universities' (AAU) Council on Federal Relations and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' (APLU) Council on Governmental Affairs. Bené is the 2020 recipient of AAU's "Ripple Effect" Impact Award, which recognizes her public service and mentorship contributions both within AAU and across the higher education community.
Prior to joining CU in 2014, Bené worked in the Government Relations Office at Oregon State University on state and federal policy. Bené is a graduate of Oregon State University with Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Political Science and a Master's Degree in Public Policy.
Kathleen Drew, Federal Relations Associate
Kathleen Drew serves as Federal Relations Associate for the University of Colorado System’s Office of Government Relations, representing CU in Washington, DC. Kathleen has worked in both higher education and electoral politics, having worked as an intern in the Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and as both intern and staff for numerous campaigns, including races for the House of Representatives, Senate, Michigan House of Representatives, and Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer. During her tenure at APLU, Kathleen maintained a policy portfolio including workforce development, science and technology, and higher education. As a campaign staffer, Kathleen worked on campaign communications, fundraising, and policy, with specific focuses on higher education, climate change, and health care. Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in political science and communications.
Brett Roude, Assistant Vice President of Federal Relations and Health Policy
Brett Roude is the Assistant Vice President of Federal Relations and Health Policy for the University of Colorado and represents CU in Washington, DC. He represents the university with federal officials, national organizations, and government entities on health policy issues, medical research and public health funding, health workforce development, and coverage issues. Prior to joining CU in early 2022, Brett worked for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), where he focused on health equity, workforce development, and issues impacting students. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, and earned his Master’s in Political Management from the George Washington University. A native New Yorker, Brett currently resides in Washington, D.C.
STATE RELATIONS TEAM
Patricia Garber, State Relations Coordinator
Patricia Garber is the State Relations Coordinator for the University of Colorado’s Office of Government Relations, Outreach & Engagement team. She serves the state relations department which is responsible for CU’s advocacy efforts at the state, including budget and capital requests, legislation of impact and representing all four campuses at the capitol. She will assist the State Relations Director in analyzing and tracking legislation during the state session, as well as preparing legislator bios and assisting the lobby team with coverage of committee hearings and stakeholder meetings.
Patricia has a dual Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in Interdisciplinary Sciences and Professional Writing. She has worked in politics since 2014, starting at the Michigan State Capitol and spending the last three years working for the Colorado House of Representatives. She currently resides in Denver with her Great Dane, Eli.
Aaron Greco, Senior Advisor for State Relations and Public Policy
Aaron Greco is a Senior Advisor for State Relations and Public Policy for the Office of Government Relations at the University of Colorado. He is a part of the state relations team, which is responsible for CU’s advocacy efforts at the state, including budget and capital requests, legislation of impact and representing all four campuses at the capitol. As a registered lobbyist for the University, he develops, coordinates, and maintains necessary relationships on the campuses as well as develops strategy to assist in attaining the University’s legislative priorities. Aaron has spent his career working across Colorado and in Washington, DC negotiating public policy relevant to our state.
Aaron lives with his wife and two children in Denver’s historic Baker Neighborhood.
Rebecca Massey, Senior Advisor for State Relations & Public Policy
Rebecca Massey is a Senior Advisor for State Relations and Public Policy for the Office of Government Relations at the University of Colorado. She is a part of the state relations team, which is responsible for CU’s advocacy efforts at the state, including budget and capital requests, legislation of impact and representing all four campuses at the capitol. As a registered lobbyist for the University, she develops, coordinates, and maintains necessary relationships on the campuses as well as develops strategy to assist in attaining the University’s legislative priorities.
Prior to coming to CU, Rebecca worked at the Colorado Department of Higher Education as a Lead Finance Analyst. Originally from Salida, Rebecca’s family’s roots are in Texas-prompting her to study at Baylor (Sic ‘em Bears!). Rebecca is also active with Junior League of Denver where she focuses on public policy around housing, food access, and women’s issues.
Angela Rennick, Director of State Relations
Angela Rennick is the Director of State Relations on the University of Colorado’s Office of Government Relations, Outreach & Engagement team. She serves on the state relations team which is responsible for CU’s advocacy efforts at the state, including budget and capital requests, legislation of impact and representing all four campuses at the capitol. She is responsible for analyzing and tracking legislation during the state session, as well as preparing fact sheets for use with legislators and assisting the lobby team with coverage of committee hearings and stakeholder meetings. Additionally, she helps prepare correspondence and updates to the university community on legislation. Angela also works with the offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor and state legislators on constituent issues and organizing tours and events throughout Colorado.
Angela has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Colorado State University and a Master in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs. She resides in Denver with her husband Alex and their dog Ginny.
Heather Retzko, Senior Associate Vice President of State Relations
Heather Retzko serves as the Senior Associate Vice President of State Relations. With over fifteen years of experience in both government relations and higher education, she is an accomplished lobbyist and public policy influencer. She leads the University of Colorado’s State Government Relations team, which represents all four campuses at the capitol. The office is responsible for CU’s advocacy efforts at the state, including budget and capital requests and legislation of impact. Through building critical relationships with members of the legislature and executive branch, her team works to translate the value of the University and its distinctive campuses to state leaders so that they in turn remain committed higher education partners.
Heather’s unique background in these sectors has given her an extensive understanding of the interplay between policy and the higher education landscape. She takes special interest in issues related to operations management, Title IX, research, academic affairs and role and mission as well as removing barriers to access for students in Colorado. She recently led advocacy efforts to eliminate the state requirement for prospective college students to submit national assessment scores during the admissions process. Heather is a trusted thought partner and strategist, both to political and higher education leaders alike. She plays a pivotal role driving higher education policy in the State of Colorado. Prior to her work on state issues, Heather also worked on CU’s Federal Relations team on critical research and policy areas.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs. Heather was a fellow in the CU’s Excellence in Leaders Program, a President’s Employee of the Year nominee and serves on the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Board of Directors. Born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, she resides in Denver, with her husband Jay and their two children Ryker and Mila. She enjoys camping in Colorado’s great outdoors, is an avid cycler/Pelotoner and a lifelong Bronco fan.
OUTREACH & ENGAGEMENT TEAM
Christina Beck, Program Director of Outreach & Engagement
Tony Salazar, Assistant Vice President of Engagement
Tony Salazar is the Assistant Vice President of Engagement, leading the Office of Engagement, for the President’s Office at the University of Colorado. Tony is responsible for leading initial outreach and continued engagement efforts that strategically build and sustain relationships with key constituents in communities across Colorado and beyond.
Tony is an experienced non-profit and for-profit C-suite executive. Tony served as the Chief Affiliate Officer for the NEA Member Benefits Corporation, an affinity marketing company based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Tony also served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Education Association (CEA), the state’s largest labor union with over 38,000 members at the time.
Tony began his career as a Policy Analyst at Colorado Legislative Council, a non-partisan support office for the Colorado state legislature. Later in his career, Tony served as an education lobbyist for CEA, where he also managed successful ballot issue and candidate campaigns.
Tony is the Board President of the Latin American Educational Foundation, a 72-year-old, Denver-based scholarship organization for Latino youth. Tony also serves on the board of directors for the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, and the Fitzsimons Innovation Community. In addition, Tony serves on the board of advisors for the CU Denver Business School. Prior to taking his current role at CU, Tony was on the University of Northern Colorado’s Board of Trustees for two terms as a gubernatorial appointee.
Tony is a northwest Denver native and fifth-generation Coloradan. Tony received a full scholarship to attend the University of Denver, as a first-generation college student, where he graduated with Honors. Tony is also a 2018 graduate of the Latino Leadership Institute Fellowship and a 2021 graduate of Leadership Denver.
Hear Tony discuss how CU Engagement Builds Relationships that Meet the State’s Needs with CU on the Air Podcast here.