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Carbondale schools alum to be new financial director for Roaring Fork School District



Nathan Markham

A product of the Carbondale public schools is set to become the successor to longtime Roaring Fork School District finance chief Shannon Pelland, who is retiring next year.

Nathan Markham, a 1999 graduate of Roaring Fork High School, has been named as the new director of financial services for the district, which includes public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

Markham is a finance professional who is expected to bring experience in budget and strategic planning, risk management and team-building, according to a district news release.

Markham is set to start in the new position in September. The new school year begins Monday for students.

“The interview committee was struck by Nathan’s collaborative manner, deep understanding of budget and finance, and years of business experience,” Rob Stein, Roaring Fork Schools superintendent, said in the release. 

In addition to being a Roaring Fork High School graduate, Markham has deep family roots in the Roaring Fork Valley. Markham’s parents, Joe Markham and Cindy Nett, were both longtime teachers in the Carbondale schools before their retirement. They still reside in Carbondale.

“We are pleased to continue our tradition of hiring homegrown stewards of our financial resources, as Shannon also grew up in the valley and was a product of our schools,” Stein said.

Markham earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Colorado State University and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. He has worked for SM Energy Company for 15 years in various capacities, including director of finance, assistant treasurer and manager of financial planning and analysis.

“As the son of two RFSD teachers, I believe in public education and am looking to do my part,” Markham said in the release. “I am excited to move my family back to Carbondale to be close to family, enjoy the small-town life, and experience all the valley has to offer.”

Shannon Pelland

The director of financial services position was created after Pelland announced her intent to retire in March. Pelland intends to stay on through this coming school year until June 2020.

This will allow Markham to work alongside Pelland for the 2019-20 school year. 

“Most districts our size have at least two staff members to accomplish all that Shannon does,” Stein said. “Because of Shannon’s extensive role and institutional knowledge, we want the new director of financial services to have a year of overlap.”

That way, Pelland can spend time creating systems to ensure sustainability of her efforts after her retirement, Stein added.

Pelland has been with the school district for 24 years, and has filled two roles during that time — director of financial services and assistant superintendent.

The district decided when she made her decision not to hire a new assistant superintendent.

“The responsibilities of each position do not inherently overlap,” Stein said at that time, explaining that the assistant superintendent duties would be distributed among other district office executives.

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Lagarde Says U.S. Is at Risk of Losing Global Leader Role




Christine Lagarde,

the departing head of the International Monetary Fund who is set to take over as president of the European Central Bank, said in an interview that the U.S. risks diminishing its role as a global leader and warned of dire consequences of its trade war with China.

“I was brought up as a citizen of this world. The risk I see is that the United States is at risk of losing leadership. And that would be just a terrible development,” Ms. Lagarde said in a “60 Minutes” program that aired Sunday.

Ms. Lagarde also warned President Trump against pushing the Federal Reserve for lower interest rates because it could spur inflation. “When the unemployment rate is at 3.7%, you don’t want to accelerate that too much by lowering interest rates,” she said. “Because the risk you take is that then prices begin to go up. You have to be very careful. You know, it’s like navigating a plane.”

She said she would tell Mr. Trump: “Market stability should not be the subject of a tweet here or a tweet there. It requires consideration, thinking, quiet and measured and rational decisions.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ms. Lagarde, who made the comments in interviews in September, said the U.S. has been a force for good, fostering the principles of rule of law, democracy, free markets and respect for the individual.

She urged policy makers to work to end the trade war between the U.S. and China, which she said is seriously affecting the global economy. “If you shave off, you know, almost a percentage point of growth that means less investment, less jobs, more unemployment, reduced growth.”

Finance ministers and central bankers who gathered in Washington for the IMF’s fall meetings this past week said the biggest risks to the global economy are trade-related uncertainties. Global economic growth has shrunk this year to its slowest pace since the 2009 recession, the IMF said.

Ms. Lagarde, in the interview, lamented both the U.S. and the U.K.’s retreat from international ties, saying that the U.K.’s attempt to leave the European Union in particular has caused her “great sadness.”

“International trade, connections, movement of people and movement of capital has taken hundreds of millions out of poverty. Now, some people in the advanced economies might say, ‘Pooh. What do I care?’” she said.

She added: “What can walls do about pandemics? What can walls do about terrorism? What can walls do about climate change and destruction of the environment? This is not the answer to the global questions and issues that interconnect, whether we like it or not.”

Write to Kate O’Keeffe at

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Geoengineering Crop Losses & China's Substitution for Edible Oil (902)



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AI, digital marketing key skills to boost growth, IT News, ET CIO




New Delhi, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), digital marketing and design thinking are the top skills that organisations will need to focus on to drive future growth, according to a new study.

Despite the increased awareness around upskilling, the survey by ed-tech company Great Learning found that 47 per cent of the companies surveyed have still not assigned budgets for upskilling their workforce.

“The technology skill gap among employees is one of the biggest challenges that organisations in India are beset with,” Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great Learning, said in a statement.

“Skilled employees will continue to be the biggest asset for any organization going ahead and while options like lateral hiring and outsourcing may help in the short term, from a cost and effectiveness point of view, upskilling is the best way to stay competitive in the long run,” Nair said.

As per the survey, that involved more than 300 companies ranging from small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) to large organisations, 25 per cent of all companies believe AI and ML are the most crucial skills needed to ensure an organisation’s future growth.

Digital marketing emerged second with 19 per cent finding it most crucial. It was followed by design thinking, which 10 per cent of companies indicated as most important.

Apart from these, skills related to Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), and natural language processing/generation (NLP/NLG) emerged as important skills in responses from the surveyed organisations.


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