John S. Fleck

 John began what would become his 31 year membership with Sheet Metal Workers International Association #9 in 1982.   He became a Union sheet metal apprentice; where he was asked to sit on the SMW Local #9 Organizing committee, John eventually graduated the apprenticeship program while working as a salted organizer for the local.  From 1986 to 1993 John worked as a Union Journeyman and in 1991 through 1998 he taught in the Apprenticeship program 2nd and 4th year apprentices through SMWIA #9.

In 1991, John was elected to executive board of the Local Union representing the Denver area.  In 1993, he was appointed as an Organizer for Sheet Metal Workers Local #9.  John was appointed to the local Joint apprenticeship program during the fall of 1995 and around the same time he was appointed to the Denver Area Labor Federation as a delegate.  In 1997, John was elected to Represent Sheet Metal workers and later held the position of Financial Secretary Treasurer.  John held the office of President of the Denver Labor Area Labor Federation from December 2007 until July 2012.

Following his Presidency at the Denver Area Labor Federation, John returned home to Sheet Metal Workers Local #9 as Training Director in July 2012.  John is committed to bringing more members of underrepresented groups, including women and people of color, to the trades.


Carol Hedges

Carol serves as Director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute and has been an important part of the research, policy and advocacy community in Colorado for over 15 years.  Born and raised in Kansas, Carol and her family moved to Colorado in 1996, from Washington DC, to be a part of the Romer administration.  A passionate immigrant to Colorado, Carol has become a recognized expert on the TABOR amendment and related constitutional provisions as well as an advocate for an adequate, sustainable and equitable revenue system that supports widespread prosperity in the state.


Ron Ruggiero

Ron has more than 20 years’ experience in the labor movement. In 1997 Ruggiero was awarded the SEIU Western Region Organizer of the Year. After organizing thousands of workers across the country, he began representing workers and negotiating contracts, including unique partnership efforts between labor and management within Kaiser Permanente. Six of those years were focused on re-organizing SEIU Local 49 in Portland into a vibrant and energetic organization where member engagement and development were the focus. This member led philosophy helped grow union membership from 6,500 to 10,000. The past few years have been dedicated to developing member leaders throughout the country through the International union’s Member Leadership in Action (MLA) program.

Ron moved to Denver in 2013 with his wife, Cindy, and their two teenage sons, Justus and Zade. He is now the president of SEIU local 105, an organization of more than 6,000 health care and property service workers in Colorado.


Raja Raghunath

Raja is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where he has taught in the Civil Litigation Clinic since 2009. The Clinic gives law students the opportunity to represent real clients in court under his supervision, and it was this work representing wage claimants that first brought Raja into contact with FRESC. He began his legal career as a union-side labor lawyer in California, and joined the Board of Directors of FRESC to re-connect with those engaged in improving the lot of workers in the modern American economy. Raja is a New Yorker by birth and upbringing, and though he has not lost his loyalty to his hometown sports teams, he is proud to call Colorado his home now, raise his family here, and work with others to help improve the lives of working people and communities across the Front Range.


Sharon Whitehair

Sharon is a single mother who raised two sons in a low-income neighborhood in unincorporated Adams County. Because of her children, she was inspired to represent low income communities to address the basic needs of the families and to empower them to speak out for themselves. She has served on numerous boards and committees over the last 18 years regarding health, food security, transportation, and housing. Sharon currently serves as the District Manager for Berkeley Water and Sanitation District


Jason L. Wardrip

Jason has been the Business Agent of the Sheet Metal Workers Local #9 for over 8 years and became a Journeyman in June 2000.  He and his family relocated to Denver from Fleming Colorado in 1980, but he frequently visited his family in Fleming and spent many summers working on the family farm.  In his work with the Sheet Metal Workers Jason has been asked to sit on many boards including a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, the Denver Area Labor Federation Board, and Building Trades Council.  Jason is also the President of the Board of the Colorado AFL-CIO.  He is honored and humbled by the request to be on the board of FRESC and hopes to keep up the standards and work ethic that FRESC has strived to have thus far.