Aurora Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Staff

Naomi Colwell
Interim President/CEO

Naomi Colwell has worked in many roles within Chambers in the metro area for more than 20 years. From event management, sales, and sponsorships at the Aurora Chamber, to the President and CEO of the Brighton, Colorado Chamber, she has developed and rebuilt programs and relationships with local businesses.

As of July 1, 2023, the Chamber Board named her Interim President/CEO of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.

With strong community connections, Naomi is also the Executive Director of the Aurora Police Foundation, on the Board for the Open Space Advisory Board for the City of Centennial, and served on the Cycle of Hope Exec team working with Trish Downing in efforts those with disabilities to pursuing fulfilling lives.

Rene Simard
Executive Vice President and Chief of Military Affairs

As Executive Vice President and Chief of Military Affairs at The Chamber, Rene is Director of Leadership Aurora, and staff liaison for the Defense Council.

Before joining the Chamber, Rene was Director of Advising Services at the Community College of Aurora, and had retired from the United States Air Force in 2006 with more than 28 years of service. His last military assignment was as the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 460th Space Wing at Buckley AFB.

Kevin Hougen
Chamber Advisor and Past President/CEO

Kevin joined The Aurora Chamber of Commerce in 1996 as vice president of sales, and became president and CEO in 1999. He is a strong advocate for ethical business growth – and his energy and enthusiasm enables him to positively influence business and political reforms to benefit the community.

Kevin’s reputation has earned him a number of honors and awards, and he serves on numerous boards and committees. His knowledge and commitment to business and community make him a valuable advisor to key leaders.

After 28 years with The Chamber, Kevin is retiring at the end of August 2023. Thanks to Kevin for his dedication to the business community of the Eastern Metro Area. And gratitude for his efforts – and success – in making The Chamber strong and continuing to move forward over the past three decades.


  • Denver Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO (2018)
  • Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, Chief Executive of the Year (2013)
  • Aurora Public Schools, Pacesetter Award (2013)
  • Community Hero of Buckley AFB (2011)
  • City of Aurora Circle of Life Award (2005)


  • Mile High United Way, Chair of Government Affairs
  • Community College of Aurora
  • Rotary Club of Aurora, President
  • Aurora Education Foundation
  • Vista Aurora
  • Colorado Chamber of Commerce Executives, President
  • Western Association of Chamber Executives
  • United States Air Force Space Command, 460th Wing
  • Colorado Thirty Group
  • Community College Advisory Board, Chair

Steve Phillips
Director, Membership Development

As the Director of Membership Development, Steve meets with potential members, listening to their questions and helping them understand the value and “return on involvement” that Chamber membership offers. Steve is also the staff liaison for the Ambassador Team, Tips and Leads 1, and Lead by Example tips and leads groups.

Alicia Rose
Director, Business Development

Alicia’s primary responsibilities as Director of Business Development for The Chamber include the working with the Young Professionals, and working on social media campaigns and posts. Alicia is also the staff liaison for the Positive Business Partners tips and leads group.

Mitzi Schindler
Senior Director of Communications

Mitzi’s primary focus is to keep the lines of communication open and flowing between The Chamber and its membership.

Mitzi is the primary writer and editor of the Chamber’s Impact Newsletter, weekly email updates, and the Chamber’s Website. She serves as the Assistant Director for the Leadership Aurora and Emerging Leaders Programs and is staff liaison for the Arts + Business Connection and Transportation,  committees.

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