Meshach Rhoades_Katy Raffensperger.jpg

Crowell & Moring recently opened a Denver office, with Managing Partner Meshach Rhoades (left) and Katy Raffensperger, partner. 

Welcome to the Denver Gazette’s Metro Moves. You’ll get the latest metro Denver openings, closings, hiring and promotion briefs here. To submit your company’s news, drop an email to


Twenty-three-year Colorado aviation veteran and drone expert Michael Fronapfel took over as executive director of Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority, which operates Centennial Airport, the Authority announced.

Fronapfel started at Centennial Airport in 1998 as an operations intern, and became its first noise officer. He’s a longtime speaker on airport planning, development and has been called a pioneer “in the use of drones for on-airport inspections” and the first to be recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to a release. He’s a Metro State University graduate.

“I am truly honored to follow in the footsteps of director Robert Olislagers,” Fronapfel said in a release. “He has brought so much, not only to this airport, but to the entire aviation industry. I look forward to the opportunity to lead Centennial Airport and to continue the very successful legacy that Robert leaves behind.”

The Authority’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on the appointment, following interviews and an extensive review and recommendation by ADK, an executive search firm specializing in airport and aerospace executive recruitment and placement.

Olislagers has been at the airport for 21 years, and will serve as an advisor to the board and staff until January 15, 2022, “assisting in the transition and several on-going real estate projects,” according to the release.

“Mike’s extensive knowledge of the airport, its history, development and tenants, as well as working with the surrounding communities, make him the most qualified candidate for this position.” said Olislagers in a statement. “We’ve worked very hard over the years to build longstanding relationships both on and off the airport, and Mike will help ensure a stable and smooth leadership transition.”

Now open/new hires

Washington D.C.-based law firm Crowell & Moring opened a Denver office with four new hires joining an existing staff of three specializing in commercial and regulatory litigation, according to the firm.

The four new lawyers joining the firm in Denver include partners Meshach Rhoades, the new managing partner formerly with Armstrong Teasdale, and Katy Raffensperger, a health care industry specialist from Hogan Lovells. The group includes two corporate and health care lawyers Laura Martinez and Melissa Moravec, both from Hogan Lovells. They will join three lawyers already based in Denver: Betsy Derwinski, a senior counsel, Suzanne Walts, counsel in the firm’s Technology and Intellectual Property Department, as well as Sarah Rippy, an associate in the firm’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Group. More hires are on the way.

The firm also recently opened offices in Chicago and Indianapolis.

“We are delighted to welcome this talented and diverse group of lawyers to Crowell & Moring as we open in Denver,” said Philip T. Inglima, chair of Crowell & Moring, in a statement. “Denver is a dynamic city with business strengths that align well with our platform, including in sectors such as aerospace, health care, financial services, infrastructure, energy, technology, and life sciences. Our new office will deepen our capabilities in litigation, including regulatory litigation, corporate and transactional, and health care.”

“Meshach has an impressive breadth of experience that complements the capabilities of our Litigation and Torts Groups,” said Jennifer Romano, co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Group, in a statement. “She also brings charismatic leadership skills, which will be of great benefit as we focus on serving the broad needs of our clients and growing our team in Colorado.”