Kyle Hybl ’91, ’93 is the president and chief executive officer of the El Pomar Foundation and is a former member of the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado. Kyle has both a bachelor’s degree and J.D. from the University of Colorado. In 2019, Kyle received the TFAS Alumni Achievement Award for his dedication and service to TFAS. Kyle is a two-time TFAS alumnus, participating in the Public Policy + Economics program in 1991 and TFAS’s first-ever Prague program in 1993.
In this week’s Liberty and Leadership Podcast, Roger and Kyle discuss his experiences in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, his time in the Judge Advocate General Corps, being an elected member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, and his work on the behalf of all Coloradans leading the El Pomar Foundation.
The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.
Roger Ream [00:00:00] Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Ream and this is the Liberty and Leadership Podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni who are making a real impact in politics, public policy, government, business, philanthropy, law, and the media. Today, I’m excited to be joined by Kyle Hybl, the president and CEO of El Pomar Foundation and the recipient of the TFAS 2019 Alumni Achievement Award. Whether it’s the people of Colorado, his colleagues in the Air Force or members of TFAS, Kyle is dedicated to giving back to others. Kyle and I will chat today about his experience as a member of the TFAS first ever program in Prague in the Czech Republic, about his commitment to service, his work in many different capacities, not just with the help of our foundation, but as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado System with Junior Achievement and many other organizations. Kyle, thanks so much for joining me. I’m looking forward to catching up with you and having an interesting conversation.
Kyle Hybl [00:01:10] Thank you, Roger. It’s always great to see you.
Roger Ream [00:01:13] Good. Well, I think I first met you in my first year at The Fund for American Studies. I just joined as the executive vice president working for one of our founders, David Jones. And you were arriving in Georgetown’s campus in Washington as a student in our political and economic system. And your father was a good friend of David Jones and someone who has served on our board for many years. Tell me a little bit about your undergraduate at Colorado, but tell me a little bit about that summer experience at TFAS in ’91.
Kyle Hybl [00:01:52] Sure. So in 1991, I had the opportunity to participate in the program in Georgetown, now the Engalitcheff Institute. And when, as you know, you do classroom work and at that time, we were at Georgetown for the classroom work with professors such as George Vixen and who’s truly legendary and as a teacher and economist and God rest his soul. And we also had the opportunity to intern as the students currently do also. And the opportunity I had was to intern in vice president Dan Quayle’s office. And, you know, when you are an intern and coming up, often the experiences are unique. And my opportunity was to update his Rolodex, you know, back in the day when you had those spinning Rolodexes with numbers and names on them. And so I went through and would call each individual to make sure their information was up to date and accurate. And what I found is that on the phone, some people are very generous and kind and some are not.
Roger Ream [00:03:16] Yeah. Well, that must have been something interesting to be in the vice president’s office. You know, have the chance to see what’s going on in the White House, both socially as well as from a business and policy standpoint. And thanks for your shout out to Professor George Vixens. He taught for us for 34 summers and students always remember his greeting of it being a gracious good morning to you. And we miss him still in our programs, but we’ve continued to have a great connection to Latvia and bring Latvian students here every year and through a scholarship that was established in his name. I recall also one of the first things I got involved in when I was hired in 1991 was to establish a program that would respond to the fall of the Berlin Wall and then later the breakup of the Soviet Union. It wasn’t really something I anticipated when I was hired, but we were blessed to have money from John Engalitcheff, a name you mentioned who was a Russian immigrant to this country. He left us a generous gift in his estate and we use some of that to establish this program in Prague. And we selected ten Americans who are alumni of our program to represent the U.S. in Prague that summer. And you were one of those ten and you represented us very well. I was there for the program as well. It was back when, I think, Fossil called it the Wild, Wild East. It was a very interesting place to go. What do you remember from that summer and your impressions of that program? I think there were, what? 35 students, ten of whom were Americans.
Kyle Hybl [00:04:54] Correct. And that was an extraordinary opportunity and life changing, an eye-opening moment for me to have the opportunity as an individual from Colorado who spent little time in undergrad in Maine and then brief time in Washington, D.C. with The Fund. But being able to go to a former Eastern Bloc country and experience the culture and the people and the other students who were coming from all around Eastern Europe to come together. And you could actually feel the hunger that these students had to learn about democracy and free enterprise. And so the experience and the friendships that were made have truly been lasting, even though now I’m starting to think I’m out of touch now with Sonya and Vanya and MSJ and others. So whether it’s Montenegrins or Hungarians, but just that exchange and the human interaction and the humanizing of people who we maybe had and grew up more demonizing than appreciating. And so I think one of the strengths certainly is TFAS’s ability to teach about freedoms first principles of democracy and free enterprise. But it’s also that people to people, that human contact is critical. And as these students then enter into positions of leadership in their home countries, that is what is going to be a difference maker I think in on the world stage and is often in daily diplomacy.
Roger Ream [00:06:56] Yeah, that’s very well said and I think that is what we set out to do and I think we’re still accomplishing that. This summer you know, it’s particularly meaningful because we had five students from Ukraine in Prague and that was important, I think, to the interaction that took place there. Also interesting to note is that currently at the United Nations, the permanent representatives from both Poland and from the Czech Republic are graduates of our program. The Polish representative’s deputy is a graduate of our program. Both representatives cut videos that we showed one at orientation and one at the conclusion of the program, basically telling the students, you know, it’s experiences like this in life that lead you to the positions we have now of importance in the U.N.. And so I’ll add one thing, Kyle. You may not necessarily remember, but Charles University assigned a student assistant to us, Mark Rovda help run the program from their standpoint and our interaction with the university. And he is now the deputy foreign minister for the Czech Republic to the EU.
Kyle Hybl [00:08:08] Wow.
Roger Ream [00:08:09] These students we interacted with are in those positions of influence you mentioned. But I’d like to move on to talk about the positions of influence you’ve had in your life. I mean, it’s remarkable what you’ve accomplished, Kyle, in leadership in Colorado and beyond Colorado. So let’s start. You came out of college and chose to go into service for our country with the Air Force. Kind of what prompted that decision? I know you grew up near the Air Force Academy, so you had a lot of interaction probably with Air Force people. But we owe you our gratitude for that service in the Air Force. You were in the Judge Advocate Corps, a very important role in the Air Force. Could you explain a little bit about that?
Kyle Hybl [00:08:53] And thank you. I feel very fortunate to have had the number of opportunities that I’ve had throughout my career. And when I was in law school, I went straight into law school after undergrad. And toward my third year, I started to consider what do I want to do with my early legal career? And after having a number of conversations with individuals who had served in the military or were currently serving, I came to conclude that what an opportunity for me to get legal training and also serve my country at the same time. And if I were lucky, maybe end up in some interesting locations or locations. And it was an opportunity that I would not trade for anything, even though I’m glad I’m not moving every three years, although I’d probably be, I don’t know, retired by now in the military. But it was truly a wonderful opportunity. We were at Ramstein Air Force Base for three years in Germany and then we were at Andrews Air Force Base after that. And I recall when we were in Germany, not only to sort of things that stand out in my mind, I mean, we got to do trial work and legal aid work for service members and we do their wills and that sort of thing. But there were also these other interesting opportunities where I was on treaty compliance team, and so individuals from Russia would come in to make sure that we didn’t have nuclear weapons and they’d be able to explore any building that had a certain size door and that sort of thing. And so I remember being a young captain and having the opportunity to engage in these international opportunities. And I think that the exposure that I had through TFAS and Prague, was certainly helpful in that. Another memory I have from that time when I was at JAG in Germany, was I was in charge of the Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown. You know how his plane went down. I forget what year that was, but the wreckage was actually stored at Ramstein Air Force Base in a hardened aircraft shelter. And I was the person in charge of sort of limiting access and then giving tours to people who needed to see it for whatever reason. So that was an interesting sort of non-legal opportunity too.
Roger Ream [00:11:41] Yeah. Well that’s great. You hear about the JAG Corps, what you often don’t realize is that you even do things such as helping servicemen with their wills and with the legal aid they might need. It’s not all the court martial that gets the attention and a few good men or something like that.
Kyle Hybl [00:12:02] That also helped me decide to go into the military by the way. There was a great movie that came out before I went in.
Roger Ream [00:12:12] Yeah. I have a friend who likes to refer to the Miami Vice Syndrome. I’m dating myself because that show is pretty old. But that shows about cops who are in these cigar boats speeding around, you know, chasing drug dealers when 90% of what a policeman does is write parking tickets and direct traffic. But I’m sure the JAG Corps does a lot of great work with the servicemen that it works with. And I recall when you were back at Andrews because you live not far from us here in the D.C. area. Well, and then you got back to beautiful Colorado Springs where you are today, and took on another challenging legal job as the general counsel of the Broadmoor Hotel, one of the finest hotels in the country. Interesting experience. I’m sure they must handle a lot of interesting legal cases. I don’t expect you to go into them today, but that was probably a challenging but interesting experience for you, right?
Kyle Hybl [00:13:12] It was very challenging and very interesting. And I think that my experience in the military, where you’re an advisor to many different commanders who would come in seeking legal advice on non-judicial punishment and that sort of thing. And so it’s sort of like being a city attorney, I guess, in the civilian sense. And then when I came to the Broadmoor and I had, you know, there were 30 or so department heads who have, you know, whether it’s banquets or room service and that sort of thing, who have their area of responsibility. So that training was helpful in sort of having more than one client, if you will, or person you’re reporting to. The Broadmoor is an exceptional place. And it’s the longest running five star, five diamond resort in the world and was founded actually by Spencer and Julie Penrose, who founded El Pomar in 1937. The organization I work for now, and actually when I joined in the Broadmoor in 2,000, El Pomar was still a 20% owner of the Broadmoor at that time as the estate of Spencer and Julie Penrose. And so I was spending my time as general counsel for a private foundation and for a luxury resort hotel that also runs the Pikes Peak COG Railway and various other assets. And so it was a very busy, busy period.
Roger Ream [00:14:56] El Pomar Foundation has been a very important foundation to Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. I know at one point it was the largest foundation in the Rocky Mountain region, certainly in Colorado, and is still one of the largest with assets of more than half a million I know, approaching maybe even that’s probably old. So I haven’t looked at the stock market today to know whether you’re bigger or smaller than you were a few hours ago.
Kyle Hybl [00:15:25] Right, exactly.
Roger Ream [00:15:27] And it’s interesting because it’s a foundation that, at least from my perspective, has really stayed true to the intent of its founders to the extent I mean, they expressed an intent but to your mission. I’ll put it that way of really trying to help Colorado and be a foundation that spurs service and outreach to the community of Colorado and maybe to go beyond the borders of the state. But could you talk a little bit about the priority areas of El Pomar Foundation?
Kyle Hybl [00:15:57] Sure. And for your listeners, I’ll briefly step back. And because private foundations, I think there’s something along the lines of one and a half million public charities in the United States, and only about 150,000 of those are private foundations. So that sort of structure is not necessarily well known. The universities have foundations, but they’re public charities that raise money in the environment of a private foundation. Generally, what you have is a captain of industry, somebody, an entrepreneur who has made a significant sum of money through their efforts. And then they decide to leave some or all of their wealth to a private foundation. And then that private foundation’s main charge from the law and IRS rules is to pay out 5% of its net investment assets. And so for El Pomar Foundation, which has a corpus currently of about 640 million with last year being our 720 is our high watermark. We end up providing charitable donations to nonprofits, public charities and their government equivalent. And we do that through the lens of the intent of our donors and their history. And I mentioned Spencer and Julie Penrose, and so Spencer came here from Philadelphia in 1892, met with the childhood friend of his, Charlie Tutt. The two invested in a gold mine in Cripple Creek, which a crow flies probably 35 miles west of Colorado Springs, and they hit gold and made their initial money in gold. And then Spencer Penrose, his friend Charlie Tutt, passed away. Spencer Penrose invested in copper in Utah and owned a company that ultimately became Kennecott copper. And with their wealth they did a number of things. Spencer and Julie Penrose, they built the Broadmoor Hotel in 1918, started the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 1926, which does not receive any public support. So there’s no tax base for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. And Spencer Penrose, who was sort of a free economic guy, would appreciate that, I’m sure. Spencer and Julie in 1916 started the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which is the second oldest road race in the country, only behind the Indianapolis 500. And so they started some really extraordinary things. And they started the Broadmoor Art Academy and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. And then in 1937, they founded El Pomar Foundation and they charged Dale Pomar with the mission to enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado. Spencer Penrose died in 1939. So there’s some history of his giving. Julie Penrose then led the company and the foundation until her death in 1956. And so we have this very rich history of how they gave and what they gave to them, what they preferred and sort of their philosophy. And so in the grants we make, we try and honor their life and times as we enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado.
Roger Ream [00:19:51] Wow, that’s great background. Fascinating. There’s so many great stories of people like that who created wealth and did it through developing either great companies and producing things in the private sector, but then also were able to leave foundations that are doing so much good to this day. As you told their story, I was thinking of my grandfather who grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. The day he turned 18, he left for Colorado. He didn’t find gold or silver, but he did find a woman in Aspen, Colorado. He decided to marry and his grandson, my cousin was the general manager of the Kennecott Bingham Copper Mine in Salt Lake City for many years.
Kyle Hybl [00:20:34] Really?
Roger Ream [00:20:35] So that tracks a little bit with the story of the Penrose’s, but without the money.
Kyle Hybl [00:20:40] Right. You know, your reference to entrepreneurs who have attained wealth and then turn toward philanthropy. I’d encourage you to look at Philanthropy Roundtable. I’m forgetting the gentleman’s name who wrote an encyclopedia of Philanthropy. And you can see it on the Philanthropy Roundtable website, which, you know, speaks to Stanford and all these other sort of individuals who were all fallible and they were fallible, but they created this legacy that lives beyond them. And it’s important that in the world of foundations, that you honor that legacy as you move forward. And there’s a number of foundations out there who have not done that.
Roger Ream [00:21:31] Yeah, I’m familiar with that. Karl Zinsmeister, I think, was the author of that.
Kyle Hybl [00:21:36] Right. My apologies to Karl if he ever hears this.
Roger Ream [00:21:38] That’s a great resource, though. I will also recommend people look at that. We may get back to some of the work at El Pomar, but I do want to bring up your decision to run for office, which was for the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado. And it’s important for people to know that’s not something you got appointed to as a favor from a politician you supported, but you actually run by district and you were elected. And not only that, you were elected by the board as the chairman. And obviously, during difficult, challenging times, as they’ve been for the last 50 years, in higher education in very different ways. But your leadership really made a difference and you helped lead that board, as I think, you know, a really honorable leader, someone we like to say, a courageous and honorable leader. And I applaud you for that. How long did you serve?
Kyle Hybl [00:22:37] 12 years I was on the board, so they have six-year terms. And if you’re running for office, I recommend those. The University of Colorado is an important economic driver and institution to the state and currently has, I think, a $6 billion budget or something like that. It’s bigger now than when I was there.
Roger Ream [00:23:00] I think it’s the third largest employer in the state of Colorado and one of the largest. Talk a little bit about that.
Kyle Hybl [00:23:08] So, you know, I think that my own belief is and I think this is, I’m sure, the influence of my parents and my dad was in the state house in the early seventies before coming to, he’s currently chairman of El Pomar and as you know has been with TFAS for years and years. One of your founders or early members is my belief. And so I was brought up with this belief that we have an obligation to our communities to be in service to our communities. And we all have different parts of our communities. We have our church communities, our family, our school community. We have, you know, our broader city community or town community. And at any point in time, in every point in time, we need to be in service in some fashion to one or more of those communities, because that’s how we have, as in the United States, a healthy and vibrant society. And so leaving that at one point I thought there was an open House seat at that point. And I remember vividly thinking about running for that and then ultimately decided that well, before I get to that, you know, I remember going to Denver, the capital, and going to the capital and walking around it just to sort of like put it on as if it’s like a college campus tour or something. See how it feels, see if I could be there. So I did that and then ultimately determined that I couldn’t take on that full time effort with the young. My wife and I had four kids under nine at that time and couldn’t take that on for $32,000 a year and give up my two jobs as general counsel for the problem or in general counsel for El Pomar. So I moved away from that idea, even though I felt that was an important potential role or effort to try, because you have to, of course, be elected. And then there was an open seat at the Board of Regents. And so the regents of the University of Colorado are one of four states that are elected. Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Michigan, I believe, are the states that actually elect their regents. And so for the Board of Regents when I was on, there were two at large who had to run statewide as if they were running for Senate. And then there were seven congressional districts. And I ran in the fifth Congressional District and I cared about higher education and still do. I cared about being in service then actually, because nobody knows what a regent is. You know, you’d be on the campaign trail, what’s a regent? You know, and I remember talking with then Congressman Joel Hefley and he said so why do you want to do this? And my response to him was, one, I want to be in service, but I also want to have a seat in the room and in the room of how our state is being formed and politics is an important part of that. And I’ll tell you that I’m sort of soured on things right now, and I think we’re in a tough place as a democracy, and we hire our elected officials to actually engage in dialog and perhaps come up with something that neither side wants. But the fact that we’re unwilling to engage in dialog and we just demonize, it’s not healthy for a democracy. And my hope is that we can get to, you know, maybe olden days here, but maybe that’s just some nostalgia or something. I’m just glad we’re not dueling anymore. So that’s good.
Roger Ream [00:27:35] My recollection, Kyle, is shortly after you were elected, you had a big issue to handle on that board. And most people won’t remember. It was a professor named Ward Connerly who like Warren Churchill, rather. I’m sorry.
Kyle Hybl [00:27:52] No, no problem.
Roger Ream [00:27:54] Who said some controversial things about 9/11, was that it?
Kyle Hybl [00:27:59] That’s correct. And he actually fortunately, I think, at the end of the day. So that happened. He actually, the president at that time and this is when I was running for office and wasn’t on the board. And Hank Brown, former U.S. senator, was president of the University of Colorado at that time, who was an amazing president and leader and is. And at that time, it was recommended that, you know, Warren Churchill be fired. But they have a process you have to go through. And it turns out there were some 24 faculty members who reviewed his work and dossier and whatever he did and I forget the number, but it was determined that he lied, falsified and plagiarized, and which ultimately led to his firing, which led to him suing us at the University of Colorado. And we ultimately prevailed, but certainly had to jump through some hoops to get that result. Higher education is so important, not everybody needs to go to higher ed but it’s so important to the future of our society. And I appreciate TFAS and they’re standing in there to make sure that the opportunity to learn of freedom’s first principles of democracy and free enterprise is front and center. And through my experience in higher ed, that certainly happens but not as much as it should. And it’s mainly an issue of having allowing freedom of discussion and dialog and honoring people’s viewpoints and listening to understand, which is actually if they do that right, I think it would model the way for people who get elected and for civil society. And then we’d be able to engage in thought, discussion and thoughtful discussion without just turning people off to declare they’re a demon.
Roger Ream [00:30:32] Yeah. Well, you know, I like on these podcasts to talk with guests, especially accomplished TFAS alumni, about leadership and lessons of leadership and what it takes to be a courageous leader. And you’re bringing out several examples there, one of which is, you know, you’re running to help contribute to the improvement of the education system, a school, University of Colorado of which you had graduated from. And then suddenly there’s a big controversy breaking out about a professor there. And it wasn’t really what you were planning to spend focus on, but it shows you have to be. You were prepared, though, as a leader who worked his way through not only your education, your career, your service in the Air Force that you could handle. You didn’t have to know the issue would that hit you, but you got hit with a number of issues as chairman of the board at the university, and you dealt with them in a professional manner. You know, what are some basic things, advice you might give to a young person who, you know, wants to know? I mean, they say, you know, Kyle Hybl, I want to be a leader. You know, how do I prepare myself for leadership?
Kyle Hybl [00:31:42] Sure. You know, a couple of things I would say around that is, one, I think it’s important to focus on what the goal is and is the goal, for instance, the best interests of the students and honest dialog. I was at something the other day, so there’s a difference between and there’s a gentleman named Harry Nathan Gottlieb and he started Jackbox Games and actually has started a program called Unify America. And one of the things he said is, you know, if you can get with a group of people and determine what are your goals and then work with them on how you get to a goal, it’s going to yield better results. And he said, well, take, for instance, the world of health care. Everybody wants, you know, good, effective health care for people. But then if somebody puts Medicaid for all, that’s a tactic, not a goal. And so if you can, you know, focus on and work toward the bigger goal that everybody agrees is actually something worth pursuing, then we’re going to be better off. So I think one thing is keep your eye on the goal and try and bring along people who may not agree with you. That was one thing that we did regularly on the Board of Regents. There was a colleague of mine named Steve Ludwick, who was a Democrat. We went through program prioritization for instance because, you know, we were like, how do you determine what programs you keep and get rid of? And you know what happens there? So we worked toward finding a rubric through which one would determine, you know, these are programs you’ll keep and this is how, you know, you get rid of programs. And at first, you would think that we were trying to, you know, blow up the world or something, but then the two of us. And so it was a sort of a bipartisan or multi person because we were looking at what is the bigger goal there. So that’s important. And working with others to the extent you can is critically important in listening to them, because all of us are partly right. My daughter has a great phrase. When I say something and she maybe doesn’t agree, she’ll say, you know, dad, you’re not wrong. And so being able to listen to hear what sort of nugget of truth you can draw out of others is important rather than turning them up or tuning them out. And then another important thing is differentiating between that which matters and that which is just sort of white noise or a red herring, as you might say in the legal world because people will put things in front of you that are really attractive to address or attack or do something with. But it may not. You always have to think about, what if I get what I want for this, or what is there to win by engaging in this? I was in a conversation about something on the board at one point, and it was an issue where my Republican colleagues were like, we need to lean into this thing. And I said, well, it’s not going to you know, it’s not going to change the outcome. And it’s my policy not to throw myself into a woodchipper just to say I can. But another wise thing that Steve Ludwick shared with me once and the board is, you know, we’re not going to agree on everything. So if we have an issue we don’t agree on. Then let’s take a vote on it and move on rather than spending three meetings over an issue that we’re never going to agree on. So then once you take the vote and then whatever the five, four or whatever it is, is the will of the institution and the board. And you move on to issues that are important. And along those sort of a corollary to that is I’m a firm believer in enlightened self-interest and working with people. If we can both achieve 60 or 70 percent of what we want, it’s actually going to take our little pie and make it bigger for those who like Venn diagrams, you know, with that overlapping bit of circle to circle, no matter how big or small it is, focus your attention there to work toward something that is in the interest of both of you or the institution or society. And so when you can focus on that, which you agree on and really cultivate that, it can make for a more rich relationship and probably more trusting one, because then you can achieve something with someone.
Roger Ream [00:36:53] Excellent. I’m going to summarize what you said, not capture it all, but keep your eye on the prize. Stay focused on the goal. In a sense you were suggesting too, that people have to know you care before they care what you know. And, you know, find that area of agreement, that area of the Venn diagram where there’s overlap and focus on that, I think that’s great. And when there’s areas you disagree, you know, get past them as quickly as possible. So that’s great advice. I know we’re running short on time Kyle. I would want to ask now, between you and your brother, we’ve had another generation of Hybls do our programs. Perhaps they were all the overseas programs in Prague and Hong Kong. Not certain of that, but I think so.
Kyle Hybl [00:37:44] Correct.
Roger Ream [00:37:45] I hope that experience has been rewarding for them as well.
Kyle Hybl [00:37:51] It was truly rewarding. And they’ve learned some lifelong lessons, made some lifelong friends through that. So my oldest son was in Prague and then my niece was also in Prague this past summer. Our nephew was in the last, back when Hong Kong was a little more free, the last Hong Kong program. And as you recall, that was the time when I mean, talk about a formative experience. The protests were going on and, you know, the Chinese police were out in force and my nephew was in class or hearing from individuals who were democracy advocates, Hong Kong nationals. And I think even sadly, some of those individuals who are now not heard from is my understanding. And so what an amazing and sad in that instance thing that was to experience history really and they were there for that. And thanks to The Fund for American Studies for presenting opportunities like that.
Roger Ream [00:39:14] Well, you’re welcome. We had a dinner just recently in New York giving out our journalism awards. And one of the people we honored was Jimmy Lai, who was the chairman of Apple Daily and Next Corporation, large media company, and he’s now sitting in a jail in Hong Kong, has been there for two years. His trial in December is going to probably result in a guilty verdict. He could have left, but he decided to stay there. And with the young people who are also in jail for supporting democracy and the rule of law. And so it was sad that we had to leave Hong Kong. And I know your nephew, Jack was there when they were being told to get out of the streets, get inside. You know, the police were coming to knock heads and arrest people. So that must have been a great experience. And I will thank you, because three generations of Hybl’s now are supporters of our programs, contribute to our scholarship funds. And we welcome that and appreciate that very much. And I did want to mention one last thing. Thanks to the El Pomar Foundation and the people there like yourself and your father and others through the Air Force Foundation and the Air Force Academy, we’ve had Air Force cadets coming to our programs from Colorado since the mid 1980s. And they are just you know, it’s so important to have people who have chosen military service to be in our programs. You know, they’re such a great influence on other students who may not go that path. To understand what motivated them to take that route, it’s important that our international programs, they have that exposure to Air Force cadets. And I think it’s, you know, enhancing for the cadets themselves. I just recently recorded a podcast which will be released very soon right ahead of this one, I think, with Bryce Mitchell, who was an Air Force cadet from Texas, who did our program and is now in military service at the Pentagon. And he’s a remarkable young man who I think really is going to make a difference as a leader in the world. We’re proud to call him a TFAS alum as well, thanks to the support you and others give for that scholarship program at the Academy.
Kyle Hybl [00:41:33] Well, there was actually a cadet when I was in the Engalitcheff Program in ’91. And I think it’s true that it was valuable both for them and for us as a learning experience.
Roger Ream [00:41:50] Yeah. I remember in one of the early years, a young woman from University of Texas, saying, I’ve always been anti-military and felt that every dollar we spend in the defense budget is a waste of money. And then this summer, I met this young man from the Air Force Academy and we’ve been having discussions every night, not arguments, not heated exchanges but conversations. And it led her to realize that there is an important role for the military to play in keeping our nation secure. And that was one of the early examples in the program of why it’s so important to bring people together who might have very different viewpoints and different backgrounds for conversations, for exchanges. And that’s what we still aim to do at our program. So thank you for your support, Kyle. I really appreciate your being my guest today on the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Congratulations on all the great things you’re doing in your career for the people of Colorado and for this country and the world through your many co-curricular, extracurricular activities of service. So thanks so much.
Kyle Hybl [00:42:56] And I thank you, Roger and your team because, you know, you teach one and then these people are out, you know, populating the world. So that’s truly impactful. So thank you.
Roger Ream [00:43:11] It’s my pleasure. Thanks, Kyle. Thank you for listening to the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Please don’t forget to subscribe, download, like or share the show on Apple, Spotify or YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like this episode, I ask you to rate and review it, and if you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org. The Liberty and Leadership Podcast is produced at kglobal Studios in Washington, D.C. I’m your host Roger Ream and until next time show courage in things large and small.
About the Podcast
TFAS has reached more than 46,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.
Join TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 as he reconnects with these outstanding alumni to share experiences, swap career stories, and find out what makes their leadership journey unique. With prominent congressmen, judges and journalists among the mix, each episode is sure to excite your interest in what makes TFAS special.
If you have a comment or question for the show, please email podcast@TFAS.org.
View future episodes and subscribe at TFAS.org/podcast.