At Metro State just short of a year, General Counsel Loretta P. Martinez says that she is still deepening her understanding of the College in order to provide the best counsel to the campus community. Yet, to date, her office has helped lead the College through new frontiers.
In collaboration with Vice President for Administration, Finance and Facilities Natalie Lutes and Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Foundation Executive Director Carrie Besnette Hauser, Martinez’s office has been instrumental in the progression of the Hotel/Hospitality Learning Center (HLC), consuming much of her time over the last six months, she says. The hotel and HLC is one of the projects in the development of the Metro State neighborhood, to be dedicated entirely to the College.
In creating the legal structure for the hotel and HLC, Martinez has worked on more than your traditional P3 (public-private partnership). She has, along with outside counsel, negotiated the obligations and responsibilities of what she calls the “P9,” consisting of Metro State, the Metro State Foundation, Auraria, Mortenson Construction, RNL, Sage Hospitality, Marriott International and the special purpose corporation HLC @ Metro, Inc., as well as the Roadrunner Finance Authority, the issuer of the bonds.
The recent sale of the bonds for the hotel and HLC has been one of the latest milestones for the College on the road to building a fully functioning flagged hotel and a learning laboratory for hospitality, tourism and events management students. Appreciating the College’s many successes, she says, “It has been a great year. There is a lot happening that’s vital to Metro State’s future.”
Now that the “lion’s share of the negotiations have come to a conclusion” for the hotel and HLC, Martinez is turning more of her attention to daily operations, including reviewing College policies, personnel matters, student issues, regulatory compliance and litigation. All along a balancing act, she says the office benefitted from the addition of Nicole Taylor, paralegal/assistant, in April 2010.
Enriching her duties, the general counsel was also elected Board Secretary at the Nov. 3 Board of Trustees meeting. “The new set of responsibilities is very related to the legal office. In the next few months, I’ll be making recommendations regarding board infrastructure and compliance with laws on records management,” says Martinez, who brings a rich working history in Colorado higher education to the College.
Referencing the College’s independent governance since its separation from the Trustees of The State Colleges in Colorado in July 2002, she adds, “Metro State needs an infrastructure that fits its current independent status and its needs for the future.”
In preparation for the 2011 legislative session, Martinez joins a team of College leaders to help tell Metro State’s story, including Lutes, Besnette Hauser, Associate Vice President of Communications and Advancement Cathy Lucas and the Capstone Group, LLC, the College’s lobbying firm.
“We all believe the legislative season will be more active and more complex than ever,” says Martinez, who worked closely with President Stephen Jordan to staff committee meetings during Gov. Bill Ritter’s Higher Education Strategic Planning (HESP) process, which produced the plan, “The Degree Dividend: Building our economy and preserving our quality of life.”
Martinez “anticipates lots of legal and policy work” with the new state government administration coming on board as a result of the Nov. 2 midterm elections.
This month she was voted onto the Board of Directors for the Latin American Educational Foundation, dedicated to “providing access to higher education for Hispanics in Colorado.”
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