Our Team

Chief Executive 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.

Executive Officer Emeritus

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.

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.

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’

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 .

Program operations & Outreach Coordinator

Maria has a B.S. in Forestry, a B.S. in Natural Resource Management, and a graduate certificate in nonprofit administration 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 spends much of her time with COCO as the operations coordinator for the AIM program.

WildFire Mitigation Specialist

Originally hailing from Minnesota, Mitch values contribution and work ethic learned on the Midwest farms of his youth, and holds a deep fascination with tribal and agricultural prescribed fire practices. He holds a Master’s of Conservation Leadership from CSU – Fort Collins, and could not dream up greater alignment with COCO’s vision of helping people and the planet. When he’s not pushing the ball forward for wildfire mitigation, he’s likely to be mountain biking, skiing, meditating, wandering around in the woods, cooking in an air fryer, dancing to the music, connecting with friends, and/or playing with dogs.

Special Projects Director

Wendie is the Science and Monitoring Coordinator for the Coalition for the Upper South Platte. She is currently focused on abandoned mines and water quality within the Upper South Platte but spent several years working on the field crew doing burn restoration, green forest health and helping run volunteer projects within the watershed. Wendie is a member of the AIM team, developing the Mitigation Best Practices virtual classroom and assisting with mapping and data collection.

Staff Forester

Adrian is a Colorado Native. He graduated from Western State Colorado University with a Bachelors’ Degree in environmental biology & Ecology. When not busy working Adrian loves hiking with his dogs.

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.

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.

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.  

Watershed Coordinator, Purgatoire Watershed Partnership

Julie has a PhD from Colorado State University in Restoration Ecology and a Masters degree in Resource Conservation from University of Montana. She has lived and worked in Colorado for more than 20 years, working for non-profits, federal agencies, academic research institutes and consulting firms as a biologist, soil scientist, botanist, hydrologist, weed manager, wildlife technician and restoration ecologist. Through her previous work she also has extensive experience developing educational workshops and training events and conducting a host of outreach efforts in support of watershed management and restoration. Julie currently serves as the Watershed Coordinator for the Purgatoire Watershed Partnership.

Our Board

Mike Smith

Chair of the Board

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

Jen Kovecses

Vice Chair

Jen is Program Director for the Salazar Center at Colorado State University.

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.

Mary Dawson

Director

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

Mark Shea

Director

Mark is the Board Chair for Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative