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Meet The Team

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Ben Snyder
Executive Director

Ben joined the team in Grand Junction in 2020 after spending the previous ten years working in the sport tourism and events industry. A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Ben spent five years in Colorado Springs prior to moving to the west slope and is very familiar with the natural beauty Colorado has to offer. Past experiences include sales and ticketing roles within Minor League Baseball, collegiate athletics, multisport events, and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.


A graduate of Messiah College (Harrisburg, PA), Ben received a Bachelor of Science in Economics where he also played four years of baseball. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA) and received his MBA and Master of Education in Sport Leadership in 2013. Ben also specializes in event operations and logistics from his roles with the World Police & Fire Games and the Corporate Games.


Away from the office, you will most likely find Ben out on a trail with his dogs Tuck and Samson. An avid hiker, he also enjoys cycling, basketball, tennis, and the occasional triathlon. Additionally, Ben referees high school basketball during the winter months. 


Ben has a passion for bringing people together through sport and his mission is to showcase the many incredible opportunities the Grand Junction community has to offer. With unrivaled natural resources, he knows the Grand Junction Sports Commission has a fun trail ahead.

Kate Ellyson
Marketing Coordinator

Kate joined the GJSC team in 2023 after graduating from the University of Arizona, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Marketing. A native of Palisade, Colorado, Kate is excited to be back in her hometown and expand the sporting opportunities in Mesa County. During her time at the University of Arizona, Kate worked in sports sponsorship with Arizona Athletics and developed her passion for sports business. In the past, Kate has worked with the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation and has seen firsthand how sports can make a positive impact on kids and the community. In her spare time, you can find Kate, teaching dance, exploring a national park, and spending time with her friends, family, and dog Addy. 

Sam Smith
Operations Coordinator

Sam joined the GJSC team in 2023 as an intern and joined the team full-time in 2024 after graduating from Colorado Mesa University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. Sam is from Black Hawk, CO where she grew up skiing, hiking, and running in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. In her role, Sam is excited to help ensure that each of our events is safe for all and runs as smoothly as possible. Sam is also excited about providing Mesa County with more opportunities to do the sports she is passionate about and helping participants have a great experience. In her spare time, you can find Sam hitting the slopes, running half marathons, and reading. 

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