COVID-19 Response: Great Western Remains Committed to Communities Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

January 2021 – Denver, CO

At Great Western, we believe in taking care of the people in the communities in which we operate. While 2020 brought many challenges, our commitment to employees and communities remained steady. We have made it a priority to live out our values, even when times are tough: Stewardship, Teamwork, Excellence, People, Growth and Resilience.

As a global pandemic has upheaved much of our economy and some of our day-to-day operations, we knew that our communities needed support. In addition to the more than 50 Colorado nonprofits that we work with annually, in 2020, we dedicated resources, volunteer time and funding to struggling organizations and nonprofits as part of our COVID-19 relief program. Read more about how the following organizations put donations to use to support families and kids.

Great Western also supported the northern Colorado fire relief to help combat the wildfires in Colorado.

Together, we have helped build homes for our neighbors, uplifted students with tutoring resources and renovations, aided fire relief efforts, supported suicide prevention awareness – and that’s only a snapshot of how our team has supported our communities this year. We look forward to the future where our employees can get back in the community and continue supporting nonprofits and organizations in-person.

Our People: Great Western’s Susan Fakharzadeh Wins 2020 GRIT Award

January 2021 – Denver, CO

Great Western supports, empowers, and truly values our employees because they are the foundation of our business – and we have been lucky to employ the best of the best. It’s through our core values that we uplift our amazing talent behind the desk and in the field. We are proud to recognize our vice president of corporate communications and government affairs, Susan Fakharzadeh, who received a 2020 GRIT Award in the executive category!

The GRIT Award winners were chosen from hundreds of applicants, encompassing oil and gas, utilities, alternative energy, academia, and non-government organizations from around the world. Each winner showcases a commitment to GRIT – growth, resilience, innovation and transition – within the industry.

“Susan’s innovative work and masterful demeanor doesn’t go unnoticed at Great Western,” said Rich Frommer, CEO of Great Western. “We are proud to recognize her hard-earned efforts as she continually highlights and lives by our core values. Through her initiatives and goals, Susan pushes our organization forward every day, further solidifying Great Western as a leader in the oil and natural gas industry. For that, we are extremely grateful.”

As an influential leader in the business community, a mentor in the oil and gas industry, and a fierce proponent of women pursuing leadership opportunities inside and outside of the workplace, it’s no wonder Susan was selected among hundreds of candidates for her extraordinary leadership skills.

Susan has spent the last 11 years of her career dedicated to political engagement, policy work, outreach, and education in the oil and gas industry across North America. As the first female to be promoted into a vice present role at Great Western, Susan’s leadership has moved the organization into new directions while setting examples at every level.

Susan is a champion of Great Western’s core values; she continuously showcases exceptional stewardship by leading community partner initiatives. Susan passionately cares about Great Western’s contributions to the environment and the surrounding communities, as well as her own dedication to serving the nonprofit sector.

Under Susan’s direction, Great Western’s influence has grown exponentially at a local, state and federal level through established relationships with elected and appointed officials and increased community partnerships. In 2019, Susan’s leadership and forward-thinking action propelled the community investment program, which led to the support more than 53 Colorado nonprofits. In 2020, despite the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19 and the oil market crash, Susan has worked to not only maintain, but increase, Great Western’s community investment by 50% over 2019. Additionally, she leads the way in supporting major fundraising and community initiatives in local education, family services, food banks, health care and military organizations. Susan organized and led Great Western employees in preparing 5,000 meal boxes for Adams County schools, serving 45,000 meals to Food Bank of the Rockies and Weld County Foodbank, and building a new home for a single mother of four children with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity.

Along with having “GRIT,” this award is well-deserved as Susan excels in a male-dominated field and assumes leadership in an industry that is constantly scrutinized. Susan’s constant creativity, advocacy, and positivity empowers her team and the natural gas and oil industry, ultimately setting her apart not only in Colorado’s energy industry, but its business circles at large.

With a seasoned career in natural gas and oil, Susan is highly respected in the industry and fights on behalf of energy operations in the face of any challenge. Susan stands for compassion, safety, and community, which is the face of oil and gas that the industry needs. Susan is a huge asset to our team and we’re ecstatic to see her efforts recognized!

The GRIT Awards were created by Katie Mehnert, CEO and founder of ALLY by Pink Petro, with this year’s awards sponsored by Gibson Dunn, Marathon Global and NES Global Talent. See the full list of GRIT Award winners at this link.

Paving the Way for Environmental, Social and Governance Frameworks in the Energy Industry

January 2021—DENVER, CO

Over the past several years, Great Western has been committed to leading the way in developing a new corporate social responsibility framework in accordance with standards defined as environmental, social and governance (ESG). In today’s energy industry, strong ESG policies make lives better for external stakeholders, as well as set the conditions for financial success, employee happiness, and a cohesive sense of purpose for the entire organization. 

​At Great Western, our mission is to produce energy in a safe and responsible manner so we can improve people’s lives. A strong and evolving ESG framework has helped us live up to our goal.

While all three pillars of an ESG strategy are important, in our industry, environmental matters often take center stage. We have maintained a laser focus on how we impact the environment that we operate in and are continually looking for ways to be better stewards of our irreplaceable resource.


Technological innovation is an important way that members of the energy industry can make a significant environmental impact. For example, water management has been one focus of our ESG policy. Recently, we began deploying technologies to reduce the amount of fresh water used in operations and reuse water as often as we safely can. We also have worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through technological innovations and operational efficiencies, allowing us to produce the cleanest barrel of oil. Since 2015, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 48% while our operations grew by 700%. With the total environmental, health and safety inspections in 2019 across 122 sites, each site averaged 425 EHS inspections that year. Through these aggressive environmental initiatives, Great Western continues to be a leader in the natural gas and oil industry in Colorado and beyond.  

Away from the work site, our company supports sustainability and environmental restoration in our surrounding areas. One way we do this is though our partnership with the Butterfly Pavilion in Broomfield, Colorado, to study and determine the pollinators on this land to plant long-term landscaping on our facility berms that benefit the species and pollinators as part of the reclamation process. This project, to our knowledge, is the first of its kind in the nation and is something of which we are incredibly proud.


By focusing on the betterment of employees, supplier relationships, stakeholders, and how interactions are handled with local communities where energy is developed, we have created positive relationships with our communities and our stakeholders at the base of our social policies.

Those policies include our commitment to creating a positive culture where most workplace injuries can be prevented. Some ways we do this is through the use of continuous monitoring devices at field locations, strict compliance and conducting thousands of hours of training each year to create awareness of safety risks and to prevent accidents. Cumulatively, Great Western employees receive over 1,000 hours of safety training annually including industry-specific best practices, OSHA requirements, and hazard identification and control. This has led to Great Western employees working over 500,000 hours without an OSHA recordable injury or lost time incident. In addition, Great Western implements a robust safety incentive program for its employees that encourages and rewards the practice of freely sharing ideas for safety improvements.

Another element of our social focus is our commitment to the communities in which we operate. In 2019, our employees spent more than 500 hours volunteering in their communities, and we supported 53 non-profits and civic organizations. Our employees also served more than 45,000 meals at foodbanks through the Great Western Holiday Giving Campaign. We upped our stewardship budget by 50% for the year 2020, and these resources have been directed to projects in the diverse communities in which we operate. In one instance, Great Western’s dedication to inclusivity helped shape brilliant young minds in a partnership with the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES), a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging African Americans and other underrepresented youth to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. In the face of the unanticipated COVID crisis, our social investment team identified areas of critical support through food banks, energy assistance programs, and family services groups to answer the unprecedented needs our communities have faced.


Our ESG framework is further strengthened with an improved corporate governance structure that includes a renewed focus on avoiding conflicts of interest, strict oversight responsibility assigned to senior leaders, and the maintenance of positive relationships with regulators and lawmakers.

Within that corporate governance structure, we have a diverse and experienced leadership team; in fact, over 40% of managers in our organization are women. Not only does promoting women increase diverse perspectives at the top of the decision-making chain, but several studies, including the Credit Suisse 3000, demonstrate that the higher the percentage of women in top management, the greater the returns are for shareholders. Our diverse experience at senior levels allows us to see issues from different perspectives and arrive at solutions that are good for the company, investors and a multitude of external stakeholders. One example being the expansion of Great Western’s community investment program led by our vice president of corporate communications and government affairs, Susan Fakharzadeh.

To further solidify the governance piece of our ESG framework, we create memoranda of understanding with local governments that ensure our work is compatible with the future use of the places where we operate. We are also members of state trade associations, including the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, which help guide our internal governance policies and allows us to influence other market participants and stakeholders. We hold leadership positions within organizations that foster economic development and influence within the broader business community, both to represent and establish a critical voice for the energy industry within the communities where we operate.

ESG forms the basis for operations at Great Western, and each year, we continue to drill deeper into each pillar. Our board and management team share a commitment to ESG, and that dedication has resulted in a strong company with a healthy work environment, thriving communities, and a high level of stakeholder engagement. For more details on our ESG efforts, visit our environment, social and governance pages.

Meet Kamilah Beasley in Great Western’s Employee Profile Series

December 2020—DENVER, CO

In a continuing effort to celebrate our inclusive culture and honor the talented and amazing Great Western employees, the second edition employee profile has been released! 

Meet Kamilah Beasley, Great Western’s senior financial analyst. In her profile, Kamilah shares her favorite community involvement opportunities brought on by Great Western’s core values which include Stewardship, Teamwork, Excellence, People, Growth and Resilience. Kamilah enjoys working with the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES) and appreciates what it means to her to work at Great Western. Watch to hear how Great Western has helped shaped her career. 

Learn more on our employee profiles and watch the first profile video here

Ivey Pad Brings Excellence to Oil and Gas Industry in Adams County

December 2020—DENVER, CO

Great Western is excited to welcome the start of operations at its very first Platinum GREEN facility, the Ivey Pad in Adams County.

“The permits granted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) marks a significant success for Great Western and the Ivey Pad,” said Susan Fakharzadeh, VP of corporate communications and government affairs at Great Western. “As a Platinum GREEN facility, the Ivey Pad will operate efficiently and as an operator of choice in Adams County. With this location, Great Western is setting the standard of excellence for which we hope our future sites will operate, and we hope that this location also sets the standard for natural gas and oil operations in the state and the industry as a whole.”

While the operation of the Ivey Pad has been long-awaited, Great Western’s efforts to exceed expectations for the COGCC, address local concerns, and operate transparently with local regulators and elected officials, have proven exceptional accountability and allowed for the Ivey Pad to move forward.

“It’s gratifying to receive recognition for our ability to surpass new standards set by the COGCC, and we were able to do that implementing various best management practices (BMPs) and distinguished criteria set within Great Western’s new GREEN Initiative,” said Jason Lowrey, Great Western mineral landman. “We reduced the well count and analyzed traffic routes, school zones and the calendar timing of the project to alleviate public and parental concerns. In addition, we made it possible to reduce disturbance times by spending less time at the pad. We’re excited these accomplishments were recognized and supported by the COGCC in its approval of Ivey’s development.”

Since the completion of construction of the Ivey Pad in summer 2019, Great Western has continued to go above and beyond to ensure good faith collaboration with local communities, regulators and elected officials on the Ivey Pad as an operator of choice in Adams County and the state of Colorado.

The Ivey Pad will operate as Great Western’s site of excellence. Ivey will set the example of how natural gas and oil operations should be executed as the industry shifts and transforms over time.

The site of excellence will be achieved through proactive environmental, health and safety (EHS) initiatives, as well as adherence to Great Western’s stewardship values. Additionally, Great Western’s GREEN efforts and BMPs to identify and improve sustainable progress on-site will drive the Ivey Pad’s excellence further, demonstrating Great Western’s determination to exceed expectations as a leader in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. Great Western has committed to or completed the following for the Ivey Pad:

  • Installed a turn lane at no cost to the country or state to ensure the safety of the community and comply with permit requirements.
  • Held quarterly townhall meetings since May 2019 welcoming questions and conversation. To keep the community informed, and comply with the permit requirements, Great Western has held quarterly townhall meetings since May 2019. Great Western has gone to great lengths to have meaningful dialogue, resources, and subject matter experts regarding all aspects of this project at these townhall meetings.
  • Averaged 425 EHS inspections across 112 sites in 2019 and the Ivey location will receive the same environmental, health, and safety (EHS) practices as part of Great Western’s EHS practices.
  • Submitted a sundry to the Ivey Pad Form 2A with best management practices for this location, which include continuous air monitoring, enhanced noise and odor mitigation, enhanced dust mitigation, emergency shutdown capabilities, and leak mitigation and prevention.
  • Addressed community concerns and worked diligently with the COGCC on questions related to the public comments and inquiries about this project as part of Great Western’s best management practices and conditions of approval. 
  • Creates a safer and more sustainable environment by decreasing emissions and creating a cleaner community through reduced truck traffic and utilizing pipelines to transport products and materials.
  • Served more than 45,000 meals in partnership with food banks across the state; and Great Western employees spent more than 500 hours volunteering with the 53 nonprofit and community organizations.

The Ivey Pad will bring jobs, environmental restoration and economic benefits to our community at a critical time. Mineral and royalty owners will reap the financial benefits from a pad that is in alignment with future industry standards as well as even higher standards Great Western continues to set. Another benefit of the Ivey Pad is that it is estimated to produce energy to power approximately 75,476 homes for approximately 20 years.

In addition, Great Western has partnered with the Butterfly Pavilion, a nonprofit invertebrate zoo and conservation leader, to implement environmental restoration at the Ivey Pad. As part of Great Wester’s dedication to environmental sustainability, the Colorado Pollinator Project further drives our goal of producing the cleanest natural resources in our state and country. 

The Ivey Pad is much more than an oil and natural gas site, and Great Western is excited to share the positive impacts it will bring to Colorado.  

Stay tuned to Great Western’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages, as well as for more updates. Sign up for our monthly newsletter at this link.

Questions? To ensure transparency and open communication, Great Western has put together this FAQ sheet to answer your questions and concerns.

Great Western’s CEO Wins 2020 Most Admired CEO Award!

December 2020—DENVER, CO

In the wild and unpredictable year 2020 has been, we’re excited to share great news: Great Western’s CEO Rich Frommer was chosen as one of Denver Business Journal’s (DBJ) 2020 Most Admired CEOs!

Hard work, innovation and stewardship are keys for success in this industry; it’s no surprise Rich’s character, experience and thought leadership led him to the admirable CEO he is today. The 2020 Most Admired CEO program honors top-ranking executives who are guiding their companies through the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and whose past success is evident in the enduring strength of the companies they lead. In an interview with DBJ, Rich shares his industry expertise and advice while exhibiting strength, innovation, charitability and leadership.

In the last eight years under Rich’s leadership, Great Western has produced some of the cleanest natural gas and oil with the smallest footprint in Colorado. His leadership has led employees to view their position as a fulfilling career with a culture of positivity and commitment. At the height of pandemic, Rich ensured transparency and resilience for the Great Western staff through emails and virtual town halls to connect with others.

His accomplishments over the last year helped set the course for DBJ’s recognition; Rich led the charge to deter Senate Bill 181, which would’ve banned natural gas and oil operations in Colorado. He spearheaded a continuous air emissions monitoring pilot program, enabling clean and safe operations and supporting Great Western’s stewardship and sustainability efforts. And Rich doesn’t give up; his work in developing Great Western’s core values and adding the latest value – resilience – helped guide the executive team and staff through operational and financial challenges presented by COVID-19.

DBJ predicates its Most Admired CEO class on the ability to think swiftly and move efficiently with tangible results, and innovations for the future. Rich has surpassed those expectations.

DBJ posed the question of how Rich and Great Western has had to pivot operations during the pandemic. He answered:  

“While global oil and gas demand has been reduced during the pandemic, we’ve continued operations to provide domestic energy to ensure that Coloradans can rely on resources such as home networks to telecommute and continue about their daily lives, even if in new and different ways.

“Ultimately, safety is integral to our business — everything starts with safety — and we’ve adapted to make personal safety in the workplace just another element of what we do every day to keep our communities, our workplace, our worksites and our employees and their families safe.”

Rich – or should we say Flash – focuses on integrity, inspiration and positivity at Great Western, and this inherent trait is just one of the many things that makes him an excellent CEO. As Rich ensured Great Western’s operations be conducted with integrity, we’re proud that his visionary values and intentions have been suitably recognized. Thank you for being a great role model for everyone at Great Western and to those who support us, Rich.


Read the full article below and watch the video here.

Denver Business Journal, Most Admired CEO Rich Frommer’s decades of experience lead to industry advocacy (Video)

By: Jonathan Rose

Great Western Petroleum CEO Rich Frommer is a professional geologist with more than 35 years as a leader in the natural gas and oil industry. He joined Great Western in 2013 after growing Samson Oil and Gas from a five-person company to a $7 billion enterprise. He has since been named chairman of Colorado Oil & Gas Association and grown Great Western to a top-five oil producer.

His nonprofit partner for this program is Make-A-Wish Colorado.

This Q&A has been edited for style.

You’re leading within an industry that’s been hit with a triple-whammy: the oil price wars and resulting stock market ramifications, new oil and gas regulations in Colorado and now Covid. How are those challenges informing the work that you do at Great Western Petroleum, and how have you adjusted? Having spent 35 years in the natural gas and oil industry, I’ve learned to be agile and to navigate the peaks and troughs of the industry. However, the challenges presented in 2020 have forced everyone to make compromises. I’ve worked extensively with my executive team to find solutions to maintain as many positions we could, and we continue to work on this each day as we face more challenges.

Our team remains positive, hopeful and looks forward to continuing to produce the cleanest barrel of oil in Colorado and setting the standard for how natural gas and oil operations should be done throughout the United States.

As a private company, you likely have more agility and room to maneuver than companies that answer to stockholders. Has that been a help or hindrance for you? You are correct that Great Western is a private company and thus has more agility to maneuver; however, we are still a company dependent upon investors and I do have an advisory board, executive leadership team and 150 employees I am committed to. Having an advisory board and executive leadership team has been an asset to me in brainstorming how to navigate the challenges Great Western has faced this year.

How else have you had to pivot due to the pandemic? The reality is, as an essential business, not a lot has changed in our day-to-day. While global oil and gas demand has been reduced during the pandemic, we’ve continued operations to provide domestic energy to ensure that Coloradans can rely on resources such as home networks to telecommute and continue about their daily lives, even if in new and different ways.

Ultimately, safety is integral to our business — everything starts with safety — and we’ve adapted to make personal safety in the workplace just another element of what we do every day to keep our communities, our workplace, our worksites and our employees and their families safe.

You helped lead the charge against Senate Bill 181, which many saw as potentially detrimental to your sector. What are the top lessons you walked away with from that experience? The version of the bill that passed ensured a cleaner and safer production of natural gas and oil in Colorado. My first takeaway is that as natural gas and oil production moves forward, people outside of the industry want to know that oil and gas is produced in a clean, safe and responsible manner, which is exactly how we operate at Great Western, and has been my mission since beginning work in the industry.

The second lesson is education. It is ever more critical that people, including our legislators and regulators, understand the science behind our business. The way we produce natural resources at Great Western to protect the air, water and environment, and manage our operations, is innovative, and it’s critical that those making policies to regulate understand what is available today and what we’re innovating toward in the future.

Great Western takes great pride in our commitment to producing the cleanest barrel of natural gas and oil in the U.S., and we look forward to shifting the conversation from politics to science-based dialogue.

Your nominator told us about your focus on integrity, inspiration and positivity. Tell us about their importance. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to instill these values into our business and our industry. When our team hires for these traits, we are able to be better innovators and we’re able to focus on positive change for the industry as a whole. I enjoy working with the team we have assembled at Great Western as every team member has these values ingrained in who they are and the work they produce.

Why did you choose Make-A-Wish Colorado as your philanthropy partner in this awards program, and how do their values align with the work you do? Part of Great Western’s mission has been to focus on giving back to the communities where we live and operate in ways that reflect our core values as a company. Currently, Great Western partners with more than 50 nonprofits in Colorado. In 2019, Great Western employees spent more than 500 hours volunteering and served more than 100 households in Colorado.

Make-A-Wish Colorado has been a partner of Great Western’s for several years. Its dedication to making miracles happen for Colorado families is important to our team. Their program supports an entire family in crisis when one member is facing a medical challenge.

For our employees, our relationship with Make-A-Wish is very personal. We are a family-owned business, and our employees frequently describe our culture as a family. We work together like family, and take care of each other like family. Having a partner in the community that supports Colorado families in times of crisis, and does so in such meaningful, creative ways, is something we are all exceptionally proud of.

What’s next for Great Western Petroleum? Like everyone, we are looking to recover from 2020, but most importantly we are looking ahead and preparing our business and industry to being a part of the much-needed economic recovery for our state and nation. There is not a member of the community that has not been impacted in some significant way by this pandemic.

And as we look forward to a post-pandemic world, we are prepared to have our team and operations back at 100% to support our communities and fellow Coloradans.

Our royalty and mineral owners are counting on that production to support their families. The municipalities, schools and fire districts where we operate will be reliant on these revenues as they look to return to the new definition of “normal.” We have all proven what resilience looks like as we have weathered these challenges — let’s take that resilience and leap forward into the next phase.

Real-life superhero: Robert Iger, CEO of Disney — a pivotal changemaker

If you could be any superhero: The Flash: able to respond and move on a dime.

Super-achievement of past year: Retaining an excellent team of people who are dedicated to moving the natural gas and oil industry forward

Advice for young execs: A leader’s beliefs are reflected by those who follow them.

Keeping the Lights On: Dozens of Homes Receive Affordable Energy with Great Western’s Help

December 2020—DENVER, CO

Great Western is committed to responsibly serving the communities in which our employees live and work and protecting the environment for generations to come. In an effort to provide and offer affordable energy, Great Western joined Energy Outreach Colorado’s (EOC) fundraising efforts in the 2020 “The Heat Is On” golf tournament with a $10,000 sponsorship. The donation directly supports the Colorado Affordable Residential Energy (CARE) program designed to provide energy efficiency upgrades to help lower overall energy costs for households.

“This has been a tough year for everyone,” said Susan Fakharzadeh, VP of corporate communications and government affairs at Great Western. “Through this partnership with Energy Outreach Colorado, Great Western was able to support hundreds of Colorado homes with energy efficiency, and help with keeping the lights on and the heat and air conditioner on for many struggling residents.”

Great Western’s donation directly benefits Colorado’s vulnerable residents through EOC’s crisis intervention program, CARE program, bill payment assistance, and the affordable housing weatherization program.

Great Western’s impact includes:

  • 14 households equipped with complete energy efficiency measures from CARE
  • More than 130 households supported with bill payment assistance
  • Six households saved from a heating emergency by receiving a furnace or furnace repair through the crisis intervention program
  • 13 affordable housing units impacted with weatherization services in the affordable housing weatherization program

“Great Western’s gift truly made a big difference in the lives of our vulnerable neighbors – especially during this unprecedented year where the need for assistance has increased exponentially,” said Jennifer Gremmert, executive director of Energy Outreach Colorado. “Our programs help break down barriers preventing Coloradans from accessing their homes’ most vital resources, and with a donation like Great Western’s, we’re able to reach more residents and create a bigger impact.”

“It’s important to Great Western employees and leadership that we support people in the communities we live and operate. Seeing these tangible results and ways to supply energy beyond our day-to-day operations allows our team members to give back,” Fakharzadeh said. “To know how Great Western is distinctly impacting hundreds of vulnerable households this winter is rewarding for our team and for us as a business. We hope our impact will help Coloradans stay warm and recover from this dreadful year.”

To help keep Colorado families warm this winter, make a donation to EOC today at this link.

Great Western Launches the Colorado Pollinator Project in Adams County in Partnership with Butterfly Pavilion

December 2020—DENVER, CO

Great Western has partnered with Butterfly Pavilion, a nonprofit invertebrate zoo and conservation leader, to launch Great Western’s Colorado Pollinator Project, an environmental reclamation of the Ivey Pad, by transforming the land into a native prairie.

“This partnership magnified an opportunity to champion two of Great Western’s values, stewardship and growth by committing to environmental stewardship and sustainability in of Adams County,” said Susan Fakharzadeh, VP of corporate communications and government affairs at Great Western. “Great Western’s Colorado Pollinator Project, to our knowledge, is one of the first of its kind. As we work with the Butterfly Pavilion to reclaim this land for pollinators, we look forward to the sustainable effects of our commitments in action.”

The land surrounding the Ivey Pad was a native prairie nearly 100 years ago. The goal of Great Western’s Colorado Pollinator Project in partnership with the Butterfly Pavilion is to create greater biodiversity, the variety of life in a habitat, and transform the project site into a thriving, short-grass prairie as it was 100 years ago. This process will include attracting more pollinators, such as native bees and butterflies, more plant species and more bird diversity to the surrounding land, as well as reestablishing habitat connectivity and wildlife movement.

“This area has significant promise for our conservation efforts to greatly impact the ecosystem in a sustainable way,” said Amy Yarger, director of horticulture at Butterfly Pavilion. “We’re excited to start this journey with Great Western and guide this project to support our mission in invertebrate conservation.”

The Butterfly Pavilion exists to foster an appreciation of invertebrates by educating the public about the need to protect and care for threatened habitats globally, while conducting research for solutions in invertebrate conservation. As part of this work, Butterfly Pavilion Habitat Restoration provides consulting and expertise for organizations looking to reclaim habitat for invertebrate populations.

Butterfly Pavilion scientists have conducted surveys on the different species of plants and animals at the Ivey Pad to monitor the restoration process and see measurable increases in vegetation and various invertebrate animal species. This process will continue throughout the duration of the Ivey Pad to analyze the transformation of the open space. Overall, the restoration project, which started in March 2020, is estimated to last a minimum of three years for a completed restoration date in 2023.

As part of Great Western’s dedication to environmental sustainability, Great Western’s Colorado Pollinator Projects further drives its goal of producing the cleanest natural resources in our state and country. 

To learn more about the Ivey Pad, please visit

Great Western Embraces Home Building Amid Challenging Year for Volunteers with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity Partnership

December 2020—DENVER, CO

Through Great Western’s commitment to the communities in which we live and work, partnerships with organizations such as the Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity have been able to flourish, even during this challenging year.

“The pandemic has drastically impacted the level of people opting to volunteer,” said Cheri Witt-Brown, executive director for Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity. “Through partnerships with companies like Great Western, we’re able to continue pushing our mission forward to build affordable homes for families and community members in need.”

With the support of Great Western and other members of the community, Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity has secured 200,000 volunteer hours and built 150 homes locally over the course of their operation. Great Western’s employees helped construct Habitat homes and support at-risk high school students who have underperformed academically.

“We value the partnership with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity as we are supporting people in the communities in which our employees live,” said Susan Fakharzadeh, VP of corporate communications and government affairs at Great Western. “Not only do we have dedication and a commitment to helping the communities in which we live and work, but by partnering with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity, we know our contribution can help assist at-risk youth and end poverty cycles, on top of building affordable housing right here, in Colorado. And that is a tremendous achievement for our employees to be part of.”

In the charitable journey with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity, awe-inspiring stories have come to fruition. Most recently, a local caregiver was able to find two of her patients’ homes.

Thomas Spratte and Jackie Wildenberg were both involved in separate car accidents that left them with quadriplegia. While in rehabilitation care, the two shared experiences and became close friends. After finding their living situations weren’t as accommodating to their mobility restrictions, their caregiver, Margaret Doran, learned about Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity and the opportunity for Tom and Jackie to become homeowners. Not only did both Tom and Jackie apply for a Habitat home, both were accepted and subsequently matched as neighbors in a new, upcoming subdivision in Evans, Colorado. 

“Both Tom and Jackie were unique applicants for our program,” said Theresa Myers, vice president of Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity. “They deserve homes that accommodate their needs and we’re excited to make that a reality for them.”

Their homes are being built in a subdivision with 27 other homes meant for Habitat families. The subdivision is part of a collective effort to rebuild the community of Evans after it was ravaged by floods in 2013.

Learn more about Tom and Jackie’s journey by watching this video.

With every minute of volunteering and every dollar donated, companies such as Great Western help build organizations to have incredible impacts. Great Western’s commitment to the community provided volunteer hours for the Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity to build the overall framing and dry wall stages for both Tom’s and Jackie’s homes.  

“It’s community partners such as Great Western that are the building blocks of our mission – literally and figuratively,” Witt-Brown said. “To see Great Western employees who are touched by our cause and their hard work makes our partnership even more gratifying. We look forward to working with Great Western again and watching our partnership truly prosper.”

“We are grateful to be part of a great cause that truly changes the lives of people in the communities in which our employees live and Great Western operates,” Fakharzadeh said. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity and continuing to help individuals and families achieve strength, stability, and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.”

Great Western Supports Tutoring for Minority STEM Students in Partnership with CABPES

November 2020—DENVER, CO

Great Western helps shape brilliant young minds in a partnership with the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES), a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging African Americans and other underrepresented youth to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. The partnership with CABPES became a perfect opportunity to advance Great Western’s dedication to inclusivity and partnerships that support the communities in which we work and live. With our donation, young, aspiring scientists and engineers were able to continue their tutoring without interruption.

“CABPES is a remarkable organization highlighting career paths and industries with minority underrepresentation that will ultimately shape the innovators and stewards of our energy future,” said Susan Fakharzadeh, VP of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs at Great Western. “It’s exciting to see students get involved in the STEM field as it’s important to the innovation and transformation of various industries – including energy.”

Great Western’s donation has directly impacted CABPES’ work with students and structure. Due to COVID-19, CABPES had to navigate the execution of a virtual programming platform. With the help of Great Western, the nonprofit was able to resume several programs such as the Junior Engineers Tomorrow’s Scientists (JETS) program, Math Enrichment Program (MEP), SAT/ACT college preparatory program, and individual and group tutoring through subscriptions to applications like Moodle, IXL, and other communication platforms, without interruption to the students.

“We are in the business of developing future scientists and engineers,” said Dewey F. Brigham, Jr., Ph.D., president and executive director of CABPES. “Our outreach and operational efforts can reach more students with the help and generosity of organizations like Great Western. We are fortunate to continue supporting students in the program during COVID-19.”

A portion of the donation went to CABPES marketing and strategy efforts for intentional recruitment and volunteer appreciation.

“Many of our volunteers have been with us for nearly 30 years, and we were happy to show our appreciation and the students’ appreciation, to these volunteers, especially during the pandemic,” Brigham said. “We are intentional when recruiting volunteers to support future STEM professionals, and providing incentives allows us to continue retaining volunteers for many years.”

There are around 150 students in grades 5-12 participating in the CABPES program, depending on the time of year and type of program, and the organization continues to grow. The 2020 summer enrollment numbers reached ten states. Participating students can work with real, industry professionals through CABPES; nearly all teachers and volunteers are current or retired scientists and engineers, creating role models and allowing students to learn real-world applications. 

“These students get to see professionals who resemble themselves working in technology and scientific areas,” Brigham said. “This helps inspire what and who they will become.”

“In the energy industry, we understand how diversity, inclusion, and representation are important to our operations and our work environment,” Fakharzadeh said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to support an organization that’s vital to the growth and development of future generations and a staple to minority representation in the STEM industry as part of Great Western’s post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

Great Western continues to make a difference in various communities in which our employees live and work and looks forward to the progress and impacts of CABPES in our communities.