Staff & Board
CAROL EKARIUS, COCO 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. CONTACT Carol
JONATHAN BRUNO, COCO 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. CONTACT Jonathan
Marv Fiala, COCO Chief Financial Officer
Marvin Fiala is a CPA with more than 37 years of experience. That experience includes tax, accounting, auditing and financial services for a wide range of organizations from Fortune 100 companies to small organizations with less than 5 employees. For the past 19 years, Marvin has spent most of his time working with nonprofit organizations that work on the environment, low income housing and other services for the poor. Marv started working with COCO in 2015. CONTACT Marv.
As Office Manager, Chris is the ‘keeper of the data stuff’, staying busy with database, bookkeeping, reporting, and admin support for the staff. 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’ CONTACT Chris
Helen has a strong background in nonprofit management and development. She has worked in both professional and volunteer capacities with local government as well as a number of Colorado-based nonprofits. She feels particularly fortunate to be working for COCO Inc., as it provides her the opportunity to directly serve emerging nonprofits while helping to develop a strong network of resource protection organizations. Helen loves cooking and entertaining, traveling and playing in the amazing “backyard” that is the Pikes Peak region. CONTACT Helen
COORDINATORS & FIELD TECHNICIANS
COCO, Inc., shares expert staff with CUSP . These are highly qualified professionals who have gained first hand experience working on post-fire recovery and flood mitigation projects after the 2002 Hayman Fire and/or the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire. The Hayman Fire burned ~ 137,000, largely wilderness acres, all within the Upper South Platte watershed. To this day, it remains the largest land-mass fire in Colorado history. Previous to the Hayman Fire, the largest Colorado Wildfire was the 1996 Buffalo Creek Fire that burned ~11,000 acres; also within the Upper South Platte watershed. The Hayman Burn scar has become a living laboratory for studying and understanding the effects and impacts of a new kind of high-intensity fire in the West. It has also become a proving ground for effective post-fire restoration applications and projects. The Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012, though smaller in size at ~18,000 acres, burned in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) where 346 homes were burned and one life lost in post fire flooding. Lessons learned from the Hayman Fire recovery, helped to effectively accelerate the recovery process after the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Theresa Springer, 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.
Jason Moore, Natural Resource Tech II Jason was managing the Flying W Ranch when the Waldo Canyon Fire struck. His quick thinking and tireless efforts during the fire, while the ranch was burning, saved lives and protected livestock. After working side-by-side with CUSP staff during post-fire recovery work at the ranch, Jason joined the CUSP and COCO, Inc. team. Along with being a certified sawyer, Jason is a recipient of the Staff Hero Award from the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau for his efforts during the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Kat Herrera, 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.
BETH NIELSEN, Program Coordinator Beth holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle and interned with the EPA and Americorps before joining the CUSP and COCO Inc., staff. She fills a myriad of roles in our office and out in the field and is a member of our Wildland Fire Team. As an avid hiker who has hiked across the country 3 times on the Appalachian, Pacific Crest & Continental Divide National Scenic Trails, she is extremely passionate about protecting natural landscapes for future generations.
Mary Dawson, Chair – City of Aurora & Coalition for the Upper South Platte
Eric Howell, Vice Chair – Colorado Springs Utilities & Coalition for the Upper South Platte
Lisa McVicker, Secretary – Center of Colorado Water Conservancy District
Jim Idema, Treasurer – Coalition for the Upper South Platte.
Dick Jeffries, Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed
Al Tucker, Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative
Mike Smith, Interested Individual, Business Owner- RenewWest