Larry Ambrose: Executive Director
Born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from CU, a Masters In Business Administration Degree from UCLA in Arts Administration and Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Denver, Larry Ambrose has made the business of management an art and craft.Larry began his career in the entertainment industry as a cabaret manager in Hollywood and produced numerous special events and concerts, pioneering big-name entertainment concerts at CU Boulder.He spent a number of years as a successful artists’ manager, booking agent, and restaurant/cabaret manager and owner. Spending one year under the tutelage of his Uncle, Al Ambrose, owner of Cherry Creek Liquors, he became a wine expert at the regions largest purveyor of imported wine.
Hired to write the policies on community use of space at the Auraria Campus shortly after the campus opened, he was to later serve as Director of Community Relations for the Auraria Campus and Executive Director of the Auraria Foundation. In his role at Auraria, he was responsible for oversight and production of hundreds of special events, including a major jazz festival and Auraria’s first outdoor concerts. He was primarily responsible for saving, moving and restoring the Historic Golda Meir House to Auraria’s 9th Street Historic Park.
As General Manager of the Pueblo Convention Center, Colorado’s 2nd largest conference venue, he oversaw a $1.2 million food and beverage operation and initiated on summer shows, concerts, cooking classes, and unique special events. A business owner and consultant, has been a professor teaching hospitality management at Pueblo Community College managed a successful campaign for the Colorado State House of Representatives and restored two historic buildings in Pueblo’s Union Avenue Historic District. As Affiliate Faculty in the Metropolitan State University of Denver, Hospitality Tourism and Events Department for five years he taught Hospitality Law, Event Project Management, Trade Shows and Expositions, and Sales and Negotiations.
In July 2018, Larry became the Executive Director of the SouthWest Improvement Council (SWIC), and the SouthWest Neighborhood Housing Corporation. SWIC, founded in 1987, operates the Westwood Community Center, addresses youth recreation, elder wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention; minority outreach programs targeting populations of greatest need including people of color living with low incomes in challenged communities including the neighborhoods, of Westwood, Villa Park, Valverde, Barnum West, Barnum, Athmar Park, Mar Lee and Ruby Hill. SWIC’s housing counseling programs serve all of Metro Denver. The Neighborhood Housing Corporation owns and manages nineteen affordable housing units and is planning the development of
affordable housing on land that it owns in SW Denver.
Having founded four neighborhood organizations, Larry has been responsible for saving historic buildings in Denver’s Highlands, creating the Viking Park entryway into NW Denver, burying powers lines through the West 32nd Avenue Highland’s Square business district and helping to establish Denver’s system of dog parks. Having been involved in Denver civic affairs for more than 40 years, he has been a campaign consultant for local, state and national political campaigns. Having served on the Board of the association more than 100 of Denver Registered NeighborhoodOrganizations, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) he served as its President from 2012 to 2016 and built a reputation for the organization of strong advocacy for Denver’s neighborhoods. Currently the Vice President of the Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association. He has twice been awarded the Morris E. Adlestein Award for Humanitarian Service and in January 2011, received the Walt Kembel Award from INC.
Along with his wife Jane, Larry has been involved in the kite retailing and manufacturing industry and is an avid kite flier and enthusiast, having participated in international kite festivals in many countries around the world. Along with Jane he helped to found and serves on the Board of the Annual One Sky One World International Kite Fly for Peace (www.oneskyoneworld.org) taking place all around the world (http://subvision.net/sky/osow/) on the
second Sunday every October.
Jenny Nguyen: Accountant/Program Coordinator
Jenny joined Southwest Improvement Council in April 1998 after receiving her associate degree in accounting from the Community College of Denver. In May of 2000 she received her bachelor’s degree in accounting and business from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has spent 15 years dedicated to providing the best possible service to the SWIC clientele. Jenny is fluent in Vietnamese and enjoys exercising and fine Vietnamese food during her free time.
Lance Guanella: Deputy Executive Director & Lead Housing Counselor
Lance is a graduate of Colorado State University and has been in Real Estate and Retail management for over 12 years. After obtaining his paralegal certificate in 2011, he volunteered at Colorado Legal Services before joining Southwest Improvement Council in May of 2012. Since becoming the Deputy Executive Director at SWIC, Lance has obtained certification for housing counseling and foreclosure intervention and homebuyer education by attending national training’s in Cincinnati, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, and Minneapolis. A native of Colorado he and his dog Leo live in Denver.