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Linda Alvarado '73 Heads Renovation Efforts for Democratic National Convention

Millions of people all over the world will be watching the results of her work, but Linda Alvarado ’73 isn’t fazed. As president and CEO of Alvarado Construction Inc., a Denver-based construction management firm that has worked on such big-budget projects as the Broncos’ Invesco Field, Alvarado is used to the spotlight.

This past year, though, her company, along with Turner Construction and HOK Sport, was given the tall task of renovating the Pepsi Center in preparation for the Democratic National Convention on August 25. Working since July 7, Alvarado’s crew has 49 days to turn the basketball arena/hockey rink into a multi-purpose convention center equipped to accommodate 50,000 guests, 15,000 members of the media and 40 miles of cables. “There was a lot of pre-construction planning and a very short window of time,” Alvarado says. “But I’m confident.”

Alvarado’s confidence is no surprise. She’s run her own company, Alvarado Construction, since 1976. In 1991, she successfully bid for co-ownership of the Colorado Rockies, becoming the first woman and the first Latino to own part of a Major League Baseball franchise. She was also one of the founders of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, served as Commissioner of the White House Initiative for Hispanic Excellence in Education, and has been recognized with several awards, including the United States Chamber of Commerce Business Woman of the Year, the Horatio Alger Award, and the Revlon Business Woman of the Year.

From as early as her days at Pomona, where she was an Economics major, Alvarado didn’t let her gender stop her from entering male-dominated fields. As a first-year looking for employment, Alvarado opted for landscaping instead of working at a more traditional desk job. When she applied for a position, the subcontractor said to her, “Boys do landscaping, girls do food services. Don’t you understand that you're going to be outside wearing Levis?" Alvarado was only further invigorated by that prospect--“Oh cool! I get to be out in the sun!” she thought--and says that those humble beginnings were essential to developing her career path.

Alvarado says the DNC project is “not about politics” for her, but she expressed pride about being part of such a historic moment in Denver: The last time the city hosted the DNC, exactly 100 years ago, marked the first time that women and people of color served as delegates. “We have an African American presidential candidate, and a woman leading the construction,” she says. “Who would have thought a girl like me would be doing this?”—By Adam Conner-Simons ‘08