Legal, Financial and Political Considerations of Building Cities
A Denver native, James Mejía defines commitment and dedication. Whether it is running more than 55 marathons (including 14 in 14 months); bringing in a major Denver construction project on time and on budget (the new $425 Million Justice Center); or building the citizen-approved Denver Preschool Program from the ground up (this program has already helped 20,000 children attend preschool), James’ passion, energy and skill are always apparent.
It is this passion and dedication that led James to run for Mayor of Denver in 2011. He narrowly lost the election in the closest mayoral race in Denver history.
Denver Mayors John Hickenlooper and Wellington Webb recruited him to lead and manage some of the City’s most important, complex and challenging agencies and capital projects. The voters of Denver overwhelmingly elected James as an At-Large School Board Member and James was named founding CEO of the Denver Preschool Program. He is currently the CEO of Mejía Associates, a business consulting firm.
As one of Denver’s most recognized and respected civic leaders, James regularly volunteers his time as a leader on some of Denver’s most important nonprofits. His contributions led to being named 2009 Community Leader of the Year by 9News and the Denver Chamber Leadership Foundation.
The ninth of thirteen children born to David and Ophelia Mejía, his father was a well-known and respected educator at Denver’s West High School while hundreds of young Denverites attended his mother’s Park Hill day care. James attended Park Hill Elementary, Blessed Sacrament Elementary, Gove Junior High and graduated from East High School.
James earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame, a Master’s in Business Administration from Arizona State University, where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma national honor society, and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, where he studied policy issues at the municipal, state and federal levels.
James was named an American Marshall Memorial Fellow through the German Marshall Fund and was twice invited to participate in the International Career Advancement Program at the Aspen Institute. James was also a Gates Family Foundation Fellow at Harvard University’s program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.
James is married to Dr. Heather Riley, who also grew up in Denver attending DPS schools. A Wesleyan graduate, she also holds a Master’s and PhD in Education from Colorado University. She is a 26-time marathoner and holds the family record for the fastest marathon.
James and Heather have three girls; 9 year-old “twins by marriage”, Moya, who enjoys reading, writing, music and art, and Alexandra, fully bilingual with English and Spanish, and quite a swimmer, and 3 year-old Riley who runs the household!