Teena Bergstrand

Teena Bergstrand and Nick Kitaeff are among the publication’s 40 Under 40 for 2022

There’s new proof Daniels College of Business graduates are making waves in the Denver business scene.

Daniels alumni Teena Morath Bergstrand (MS 2009) and Nick Kitaeff (BSBA 2010) have been selected for Denver Business Journal’s 2022 40 Under 40 awards program. The prestigious awards honor 40 outstanding local professionals under the age of 40 for their business success and involvement in the community. The honorees were recognized March 3 at the publication’s annual awards dinner.

Bergstrand is senior director of marketing strategy at Saunders Construction, a 50-year-old Denver construction firm. She handles corporate-wide marketing and communications, including business development, strategic growth, public relations, corporate social responsibility, and internal and external communications. Bergstrand studied integrated marketing communications at DU while working at Haselden Construction. She was hired at Saunders Construction in 2010, where she has worked since. In addition to enjoying working in marketing and communications, she said her favorite part of the job is working in an industry where she sees communities being formed.

“I enjoy watching the buildings start to take shape in the field. It is rewarding to see something tangible come to life that will ultimately benefit the community. This can be a place for learning, such as DU, or places where people heal, live and play,” said Bergstrand, who also serves on the board of American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming, Mile High Chapter.

“I am beyond humbled and grateful for this recognition,” she said of the DBJ honor. “The winners are all inspiring and passionate professionals, and I am confident that Denver will be in good hands in the coming decades.”

Nick Kitaeff

Bergstrand has been a contributing leader in the launch of Saunders’ corporate social responsibility program, which she said is one of her biggest professional accomplishments. “Eleven years later, the Saunders organization continues to look to how we can be better stewards of the environment, continue to be a top workplace, diversify our service offerings and give back to the communities in which we build.”

Kitaeff is senior development director of Confluent Development, a Denver-based real estate investment and development firm. He manages the entire development process through site identification, analysis, lease negotiation, financing, acquisition, entitlements, permitting and construction. Since he joined the firm in 2013, Kitaeff has developed projects in 12 states totaling over 1 million square feet with a total value in excess of $320 million.

“It is a huge honor to be named as one of DBJ’s 40 Under 40,” he said. “However, I really see this as a recognition that reflects the strength and support of the incredible team members who surround me at Confluent Development. I’m fortunate to work alongside extremely hard-working and talented professionals, and this accomplishment is a celebration of a collaborative culture that Confluent embraces to serve our clients and investors.”

Like Bergstrand, Kitaeff is passionate about building and city development.

“From project concept to completion, I love having the opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact on these communities where we do business,” he said. “Throughout the years, and with projects of any size or scale, my success can be attributed to my approach in collaborating with internal and external team members to solve project challenges and identify opportunities.”

Bergstrand and Kitaeff credit their experience at DU with helping them in building a solid foundation and helping them find their calling.

“The complexity of commercial real estate development requires communication with a broad array of team members, which requires consistent deployment of communication skills that I first learned while at DU,” Kitaeff said. “When I was in college, I developed skills that now help me create excitement and momentum around a shared project vision, and those formative years have shaped my ability to become a leader within the local Denver business community.”

For her part, Bergstrand said her experience at DU was “vital to opening my eyes to corporate social responsibility and ultimately jumpstarting my passion for it. Outside of the standard curriculum, I learned to effectively work with people from different cultures and manage my valuable time wisely as I worked full time while attending DU,” she said.