Meet The #FoCoFoodie


Fort Collins is slowly emerging on the food scene in Colorado. Like everything that happens around here, a #FoCoFoodie has a very distinct nature. From food trucks to food distributors and all that lies in between, food startups are all around. Learn more about three speakers Taylor Smith, Trish O’Neill, and Tim Solley.

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith

Founder & Owner, The Gold Leaf Collective

Fort Collins, CO

Speaking on: So You Want To Start A Food Business? Jesse Doerffel • Callie Koch • Elizabeth Mozer • Trish O’Neill • Josie Sexton • Taylor Smith, Thursday, March 2 @ 1:30pm

After 3 wildly successful years of his first food truck, The Silver Seed, Taylor Smith has taken a small start-up and grown it into an incredibly multi-faceted and diverse company. His second food truck, The Silver Seed, Too, began operations in 2016, and his new Fort Collins restaurant, The Gold Leaf Collective, is slated to open in 2017. The Gold Leaf will be the hub for The Silver Seed(s) as well as Leaf Seed Catering, and Laurel St. Bakery. Taylor’s passion for enabling and supporting his community has been his top priority from the start, and with the support of both his unparalleled team and Fort Collins’ progressive community, The Gold Leaf Collective is having a significant impact in food culture. Their mission is simple: to show the world that sustainably-sourced, ethical food can be insanely delicious.

I moved to Fort Collins January 1st, 2014 with the idea of opening a new kind of food truck. Despite all odds, I opened The Silver Seed on May 23rd, and since then, the roots of The Silver Seed have grown deep within this community. Since then, I’ve opened a second food truck, The Silver Seed, Too, and am now constructing the culmination of these roots in my first restaurant, The Gold Leaf Collective. My work with The FoCo Food Truck Alliance and Fort Collins’ City Council led to the crafting of food truck law that promotes a free market for food trucks to thrive. In 2016, I was in charge of the Food Truck Rally Series in City Park. I spent every Tuesday guiding 15 food trucks, live music, and over 2000 people together to enjoy one of the cities best weekly gatherings of families, friends, and food. Fort Collins’ spirit of entrepreneurship has been my guiding force throughout my time here. This is one of the only places I’ve ever lived where a good idea has potential to implemented- and fast. I intend to stay for a long time and contribute wholeheartedly to the growth of our wonderful community. Fort Collins’ is my home, and where my future will bloom.

If there is one person that understands the power of hearing the right words at the right time, it’s myself. My true hope is that there will be one person in the audience that is thinking about getting involved in our food movement, and if I can be even the smallest catalyst in helping that person commit to commencing, I’ll feel as accomplished as I ever could.

Don’t try to impress anyone. People sense that.

I plan to extended my network of passionate, dedicated, hard-working people that are involved – or planning to be involved – with our incredibly diverse start-up culture.,

Fort Collins’ will be iconic. Our city will serve as a prime example of a truly locally sourced infrastructure. We will resist corporate buyouts, and in 10 years have proven the overwhelming viability of locally-owned and operated businesses.

Trish O'Neill

Trish O’Neill

Founder & Owner, The Cooking Studio

Old Town Fort Collins

Speaking on:

Creative Team-Building Tactics w/ Ron Baker • James Lopez • Brad Modesitt • Trish O’Neill • Kaarina Robson, Monday, February 27 @ 11:00am

So You Want To Start A Food Business? w/ Josie Sexton • Ashley Colpaart • Jesse Doerffel • Callie Koch • Elizabeth Mozer • Trish O’Neill • Taylor Smith, Thursday, March 2 @ 1:30PM

Trish O’Neill is the Founder & Owner of The Cooking Studio, a recreational cooking school in Old Town Fort Collins. The Cooking Studio was founded in 2015 and has hosted over 1500 amateur cooks since opening. Chefs from all over Northern Colorado work as Chef Instructors. Programs offered include team building, private parties, culinary skills classes, international cuisines, date nights, baking and much more. Kids classes & camps were started in the summer of 2016 and are offered every week and on school holidays.

I was living in Boulder and doing a lot of business travel for a previous job, so when I decided to put down roots and open a cooking school it HAD to be Fort Collins! I moved here 3 years ago and love, love, love it.

I’m doing 2 events: Starting a food business and team building. Starting a Food Business: People should come away from this session secure in the knowledge that they are not alone! The food business community in Fort Collins will help. There are a lot of regulations around the food industry on top of what it takes to be a start-up. It’s hard, or even impossible, to know everything you need to know to get started. Don’t leave Startup Week without at least one contact you can call with questions.

Team Building: It’s not easy to assemble and manage a high functioning team, especially when the pressure is on. Functioning teams require communication, project management, time management & delegation skills as well as helping each other out in a pinch. Successful companies use team building activities to help teams practice working together without the pressure. And it can be a lot of fun. Team cooking requires team members to use all their collaborative skills to successfully create a 4-course meal, but in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. And the outcomes are obvious and delicious!

Get what you need from the sessions, but don’t get overwhelmed. Have fun! Meet other entrepreneurs.

Fort Collins will be one of the 5 top Startup Weeks in the US.

Tim Solley

Tim Solley

Rebel Leader, Rebel Popcorn

Fort Collins, Colorado

Speaking on: Hands On: How to Website Tim Solley, Tuesday, February 28 @ 4:30pm

Tim Solley has been working with startups for nearly 20 years. He got his start during the dot-com boom of the 90s, founding one of the web’s early e-commerce retail companies. Since then, he’s been a technology leader with several startup companies large and small.

His latest effort is a founder and owner of Rebel Popcorn, Fort Collins’ newest and hottest gourmet snack company. Though he wears many hats as an owner, his primary focus is on Rebel Popcorn’s marketing and technology efforts. He’s bringing high-tech to a decidedly low-tech industry.

In addition to Rebel Popcorn, Tim is the Practice Head of Cloud and DevOps Services at Xpanxion, a software engineering company with over 850 employees and seven offices worldwide, including one in Fort Collins. In this role, he leads all company efforts in the cloud engineering space, from pre-sales to delivery. Clients are primarily Fortune 500 companies such as Anthem, Sony, and The Weather Channel.

I moved to Fort Collins nine years ago to be with family, enjoy everything Colorado has to offer, and be a part of a vibrant, thriving community. I had no idea I’d find heaven on Earth and never want to leave. There’s so much to do, and I enjoy fly fishing, mountain biking, camping, exploring Colorado with my family, and hanging out with the awesome people of FoCo.

I want people to leave the event with the confidence that they can harness technology and bend it to their will, without breaking the budget. As a startup, you often need to wear many hats, and that includes technology. They just need to know how to get started.

Talk to other attendees! Get to know people, and don’t just “network”. Networking is traditionally selfish and transactional in nature. Get to know people, what their needs are, and find a way to help them, even if it’s just a simple tip. Give first. You’ll surely reap the rewards with interest. Events like Startup Week are valuable in what you’ll learn, but they can be equally valuable in who you will meet!

I want to deliver value to people in all walks of life and in all stages in their professional careers. Hopefully I’ll meet some really awesome people out of it. Usually the most valued connections I make are the ones I least expect or planned on.

I would love to see our community become a red hot nucleus of innovation. I want to see that paired with a culture of work/life balance and the excitement of experimentation.

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