Damon Sasso, Vice President, Operations
Damon Sasso is Vice President of Operations and Creative Labs Producer at Independence Institute. Damon's decades of work experience started under the indentured servitude of his father's (Ken Sasso) many family businesses. Damon often describes his talents likened to that of a Swiss Army Knife; he has all of the tools but they just don't work very well.
His management experience and willingness to get his hands dirty, makes him the perfect person to oversee the important day-to-day operations at II. When Damon isn't plunging the toilets, you can find him in Creative Labs producing II's latest Freedom Minute in the video and podcasting studios he designed.
Damon loves to talk but won't boast about his endless degrees, honors received, or the boards he has served on; because there are none. Fittingly, he owns a news and sports talk radio station 1310 KFKA in Greeley Colorado. Damon's dream of becoming a Disney Imagineer lead to his other company Surefire Engineering, specializing in building broadcast studios, event production, and automated robotic systems.
When Damon isn't working, you can find him skiing down or pedaling up Colorado's front range.
Jon Caldara, CEO/Executive Director
Start Date: 1998
Jon Caldara is the President of the Independence Institute, Colorado's free-market think tank in Denver, Colorado. He also hosts a radio talk show on 630 KHOW. His current affairs television program, Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara, airs on Colorado Public Television Channel 12, Friday nights at 8:30. Caldara also writes about the latest Independence Institute efforts at the Cauldron, by Caldara.
Jon Caldara started his political career in 1994 when he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Regional Transportation District, one of the largest governments in Colorado. He later became Chairman of that board. For four years Caldara was a columnist for the Boulder Daily Camera. He has been a radio broadcaster on 850 KOA and 630 KHOW since 1998.
Caldara is a veteran of many political battles, running campaigns against tax and debt increases and for freedom-based reforms. On behalf of taxpayers he has fought: the 1997 Guide the Ride transit tax increase; 1998 Referendum B, a billion statewide tax increase; 2000 Amendment 23, the unfunded spending mandate for K-12 schools; 2001 spending on a monorail system; 2005 Colorado's attack on the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, Referenda C and D; and in 2006 RTD's Fastracks tax increase. In 2008 he lead the effort for a ban on deducting union dues from public paychecks, Amendment 49. And in 2010 he championed Amendment 63 the Health Care Freedom Act.
Among his many recognitions, 5280 Magazine twice named him one of the top 10 most influential men in Denver. Westword awarded Caldara Denver's Best Media Manipulator. The Denver Post put Caldara on their list of people to watch. The State Policy Network honored him with the Thomas Roe Award. The Colorado Jaycees named him Outstanding Young Coloradoan.
Jon's greatest pride is being father of three amazing children; daughter Parker, who died of cancer in 2001, daughter Piper who came along to save him in 2002, and wild-man Chance born in 2004, who despite his Down Syndrome, is the frat brother Jon never had.
Eric Broughton, Chief Operating Officer
Start Date: 2020
Eric Broughton is Chief Operating Officer at Independence Institute. Eric is focused on continuously improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Institute's efforts. Leveraging his extensive leadership experience, Eric is committed to helping II realize its vision through people leadership, organizational planning, and project management.
A former civil engineer (but self-described "poor excuse for one"), Eric discovered his passion for people development and building great teams during his time as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer. Upon separation from the Navy, Eric joined Stryker Corporation, a Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer, where he held numerous roles of increasing responsibility in both operations and human resources.
Immediately prior to joining II, Eric led Stryker Sports Medicine's Human Resources function. His passion for people and results contributed to both tremendous growth and employee engagement, culminating in Stryker being recognized as #1 in Denver Business Journal's 2019 "Best Places to Work" (Large Business category).
Eric is an avid University of Michigan sports fan (Go Blue!) and less-avid cyclist and runner. He and his wife, Laura, love living in the great state of Colorado. Eric is grateful that his role with II gives him the opportunity to positively impact the lives of his fellow Coloradans.