Coalitions & Collaboratives, Inc.

Our Team

Chief Executive Officer

Carol is COCO Inc’s founder and CEO. She holds a Civil Engineering Degree from the UC Denver and has decades of experience in governmental and nonprofit management. Carol is a freelance writer and the author of nine books, including Small-Scale Livestock Farming: A Grass-based Approach for Health, Sustainability, and Profit, and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. Her articles have appeared in regional and national magazines including Green Builder, Mother Earth News, Western Horseman, and The Writer. She lives with her husband, Ken Woodard, and their farm menagerie near Cripple Creek.

Chief Operations Officer

Jonathan has a Masters in Public Administration from University of Colorado and graduated from the Executive Leadership program at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has worked closely with communities on forest health initiatives aimed at creating resilient forests and safer communities, as well as working to restore lands impacted from recent wildfires and natural disasters. With over 20 years within emergency services, as a safety officer for a search and rescue team and as a wildland fire fighter, he continues to work at the intersection of emergency response and community preparedness.

Deputy Director 

Chris coordinates grants, projects and programs;  develops and maintains schedules (for people and equipment); and makes sure that safety protocols are implemented with all projects. Water/watershed issues have been of particular interest to Chris as a resident of South Park and former special water district board member.  An Oklahoma University graduate, still practicing architecture and running her antique business, Chris  grabs every opportunity to check out her favorite place, ‘the road less traveled’

Outreach & Development Director

Jane is a native of Colorado. Her work experience includes the National Park Service and Teller County Community Development Services construction plans examiner and senior planner. Jane was the long-time face of the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co. as the Community Relations Manager. While with CC&V she was involved with many community organizations in the local area, as well as state-wide outreach and educational organizations. Before joining the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, she worked as the Special Projects Director for the City of Woodland Park. Jane has made Teller County her home for over 35 years.

CUSP, COCO and ARWC share field staff to accomplish the goals of each organization. Our staff have years of collective experience and have honed their skills on numerous natural resource projects with CUSP .

Recovery Coordinator

Theresa’s post fire recovery expertise expanded rapidly after the Hayman Fire. With a background in agriculture and range management, Theresa brings a unique perspective to land management, post-fire recovery and weather behavior. Her experience proved invaluable to the Colorado Springs and El Paso County communities that were impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire.

GIS Coordinator

Kat started with CUSP as a volunteer GIS intern.  Her diverse background includes GIS services in local government. Her talents and expertise expanded during the Waldo Canyon Fire. Often, the day to day story of fire impacts and post-fire flooding  is told in maps. A number of  small, local governments impacted by the fire had no GIS departments, CUSP was able to provide invaluable mapping services to these communities. Among other things, the maps that Kat generates shows what has been done, by whom and what still needs to be done.

Andy Lerch

Mitigation Specialist

Andy has bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of Missouri and master’s degrees in forestry and entomology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His career has focused on forest and ecosystem restoration using forest management to encourage forests that are resilient to wildfire, climate change, and outbreaks of insects and disease.  He recently joins us from Oregon, where he worked on collaborative restoration projects with Federal, local, and NGO partnerships to develop and implement landscape-scale projects to reduce the threats of severe wildfire on forests, watersheds, and communities. Andy is excited to work with Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative on forest treatments that promote watershed function.  

Lerch (1)

Wildfire Program Manager

Alison has a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Missouri. Her career has focused on community wildfire resilience in North Carolina, Utah and Oregon, where she was the Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator for Ashland Fire and Rescue. With a diverse background working for a state agency and fire department, Alison provides an open and respectful platform when working with communities. Alison is the 2019 Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Golden Sparky recipient, as well as the 2010 Community Outreach awardee for the Utah Department of Natural Resources. She is excited to join the Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc. team and continue her career in beautiful Colorado.

Maria Petkash

Outreach & Development Associate

Maria has a B.S. in Forestry and a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from CSU Fort Collins. She’s built her career in education, outreach and field experience working for The National Park Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and El Paso County Nature Centers. Maria works partly with our field crew on mitigation projects and with volunteers. She also spends a great deal of time working with COCO’s Action, Implementation and Mitigation Grant Program (AIM). Maria is thrilled to be apart of the COCO family and is excited to begin building relationships with the local community and with AIM partners.

Chelsey Nutter

ARWC Executive Director

Our Board

Mary Dawson

Chair of the Board

Mary is the Senior Environmental Education & Outreach Specialist at City of Aurora and she also sits on the CUSP board. 

Mike Smith

Vice Chair

Mike is the Managing Director and founder of RenewWest, one of COCO’s Strategic Partners. 

Lisa McVicker

Board Secretary

Lisa is the Director and President Emeritus of Center of Colorado Water Conservation District.

Garald Barber

Board Treasurer

Gary is active with Arkansas River restoration and preservation.

Eric Howell

Director

Eric is the Forest Program Manager for Colorado Springs Utilities and also sits on the CUSP board.

Jim Idema

Director

Jim is a retired banker and sits on the board for the Coalition for the Upper South Platte.

Jen Kovecses

Director

Jen is the Executive Director of our affiliate the Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed.

Al Tucker

Director

Al is a retired engineer also sits on the board for Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative.

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