Staff, Officers, Board & Liaisons

FACO Staffing

Executive Director Rebecca (Becca) Samulski joined Fire Adapted Colorado as the contracted Director in fall 2018 after seven years of growing the Neighborhood Ambassador and other local support programs with Wildfire Adapted Partnership in southwest Colorado. She has a BA in Anthropology from Fort Lewis College and got her initial wildland firefighter training when working as a seasonal Archaeologist for the San Juan National Forest and Mesa Verde National Park. Becca also engaged in community development and land use planning during an intern program associated with her Master’s degree in Political Science from CU Denver.

Don’t be fooled by the firefighter photo. Becca has done very little firefighting, but once you get into Fire Adapted Communities work, the pull is strong to learn about fire as a tool and all aspects of fire management. Becca enjoys working with communities to help them live more safely with wildfire. With a broader Cohesive Strategy perspective on wildfire, she launched the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest (DWRF) Collaborative in 2015 to create a more resilient 667,000 Upper Dolores River Watershed. Now her focus is on helping to connect the Fire Adapted Communities leaders around the state with the knowledge and support they need to be successful with their communities.

When Becca is not FACOing, or volunteering for the DWRF Collaborative, School, or Fire Department, she enjoys spending time playing, hiking, and gardening, with her husband, two sons, and two dogs on their piñon-juniper woodland property near Dolores, Colorado.

Communications & Operations Specialist Cindy Howard, joined Fire Adapted Colorado in September of 2021, after summer deployments on the Tamarack and the Woods Creek, Balsinger, and American Fork Fires, as a PIO2. Prior to working as a Public Information Officer, Cindy served as the Custer County Emergency Manager from 2016 through June of 2019. During her EM tenure, the south-central region was impacted by the Hayden Pass, Beulah Hills, Junkins and Spring Creek fires, leading her away from all-hazards, to a focus on wildfire risk-reduction, alert and warning, and evacuation planning in her community. Cindy has also been a volunteer member of Custer County Search & Rescue since 2007 and a member of the Deer Mountain FPD Wildland Team, since 2019. She has a BA in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance, from Regis University.

When not working remotely from her mountain home near Westcliffe, Cindy deploys as a PIO, responds and trains with Custer County SAR, and enjoys hunting, hiking and climbing in the Pike San Isabel National Forest and Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

 

Board of Directors

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(FACO CHAIR) Eric Lovgren, a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with Eagle County, works to reduce wildfire risk through thoughtful planning and permitting. Eric interacts with homeowners, developers, fire districts, land management agencies, and numerous citizen and environmental groups. Eric is also responsible for the design, implementation, and oversight of all county-led hazardous fuel reduction and forest health projects. Eric maintains numerous professional certifications including Wildland Fire Fighter. He  facilitates the Eagle County Wildfire Council and Ready! Set! Go! program, and is active  managing wildfires in Eagle County. Eric joined FACO  to engage with other wildfire professionals throughout the state, sharing knowledge and best practices aimed at creating fire adapted communities. Eric spends his winters skiing as much as possible, and summers floating down the Colorado River. Eric is also a bluegrass addict, and banjo player. Wanna talk music or wildfire? He’s your guy.

(FACO VICE-CHAIR) Ellis Thompson-Ellis is a Community Outreach Specialist for the Grand Junction Fire Department, Founder and Co-Chair of the Two Rivers Wildfire Coalition, and a National Fire Academy Instructor for Community Risk Reduction. Ellis provides public information, outreach, and data analysis for the Grand Junction Fire Department. With the Wildfire Coalition, Ellis brings organizations together to educate, empower, and provide strategic resources to support a wildfire resilient community. She is passionate about Community Risk Reduction, and data-driven decisions with people-focused solutions. Ellis lives in Grand Junction with her husband where they enjoy activities in the mountains, rivers, and canyons. 

(FACO TREASURER) Paul Cada is the Wildland Program Administrator for Vail Fire and Emergency Services.  In this role he is responsible for the department and Town’s preparedness and response to wildland fires.  Paul works closely with Town staff, community partners and cooperating agencies to build a more fire adapted community in the popular resort town.  The Town of Vail is committed to reducing it risk to wildfire and providing its citizens with world class services.  The numerous wildfire prevention, mitigation and response programs the town supports all work to build a “Fire Adapted Vail”.  Prior to joining Vail Fire Paul held the position of Assistant District Forester for the Colorado State Forest Service, Granby District where he worked on many projects to measurably reduce wildfire risks to mountain communities in Grand, Summit and Eagle Counties as well as create more healthy and resilient forests.  Paul holds a BS in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University and is also an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist.

(FACO SECRETARY) Ashley Downing, Executive Director of Wildfire Adapted Partnership, joined the Fire Adapted Colorado Board of Directors as a voting member in June, 2019. Ashley brings wildland fire knowledge, experience with nonprofit management including fiscal management, and a passion for working to build fire adapted communities with a southwest Colorado perspective. Wildfire Adapted Partnership works closely with residents and agency partners to help residents understand their wildfire risk and actions they can take to reduce that risk in the five counties of southwest Colorado.

(FACO BOARD MEMBERS)

Pam Wilson served as the Director for FireWise of Southwest Colorado (now known as Wildfire Adapted Partnership) from October 2008 to December 2018. Pam is a 2015 recipient of a Wildfire Mitigation Award.

Pam retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 2007 after 23 years of service, most recently on the San Juan National Forest in Durango as a Public Affairs Specialist for the fire and fuels program. She also serves as a Type 1 Public Information Officer, a member of Community Mitigation Assistance Teams, and a consultant with Coalitions and Collaboratives on the Action & Implementation or Mitigation program. When not busy with FireWise, Pam and her husband Thurman spend their free time with their dogs exploring the red rock county of Utah or hiking in Colorado’s mountains.

Jim Webster works for Boulder County. Jim designed and leads Wildfire Partners, a nationally recognized, public-private partnership to help homeowners prepare for wildfire. He also wrote the county’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan.  Jim has designed and implemented innovative partnerships for more than 30 years. He has worked for organizations such as Trees Water & People, World Wildfire Fund, US Forest Service and Peace Corps. Jim received his Master’s in Environmental Management from Duke University.

Bill Hahnenberg retired in January of 2021 after a career of 47 and a half years with the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. For the last three and a half years of his career, he served as the Deputy Director for Fire and Aviation Management in the Forest Service National Office. During his distinguished career, Bill has served as a type 1 & 2 Incident Commander and  has managed 35-40 complex fires. An advocate of the Cohesive Strategy and its tenet to create fire adapted communities, Bill joined the Fire Adapted Colorado Board of Directors in 2022.

Bill is thankful for a long, interesting and challenging career with more than 40 years of fire experience. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1973 with majors in Forestry and Soil Science. He enjoys living in Grand Junction and recreating in the outdoors with his wife Liz. 

 Fire Adapted Colorado Liaisons

Daniel Beveridge is the Wildfire Mitigation Program Specialist for the Colorado State Forest Service. He manages a variety of statewide programs that promote forest health, community fire adaptation, and awareness of fire’s role in ecosystems. Daniel spent the majority of his professional career to date as a wildland firefighter with local, state, and federal agencies in Arizona and Colorado. He values the important role learning networks play in promoting wildfire resilience.

Daniel maintains numerous National Wildfire Coordinating Group operational and planning qualifications, is an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, and holds a Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Stewardship with a Forest Science concentration from Colorado State University – Fort Collins.

Jonathan Bruno is the Chief Operations Officer for both the the National non-profit Coalitions & Collaboratives (CoCo). He was a founding board member of Fire Adapted Colorado and served as a Chair of the organization, moving into a liaison role as his work has transitioned more to the national scale. Jonathan is also a National lead for Community Mitigation Assistance Teams.

Jonathan began his career with Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) as a field technician, leading volunteer events in the Hayman Fire area and beginning a fledgling forestry program in the upper south platte watershed. As COO for CUSP, Jonathan worked to build a robust forestry program managing two slash sites, a biomass facility, and operated a fuels reduction program treating approximately 1,000 acres annually, led an eight-person wildland fire team, and developed and led numerous CWPPs and initiatives.

Jonathan is excited about the opportunity to connect with other groups that are working to protect their homes, forests and communities through Fire Adapted Colorado. He has received numerous awards for his work including, the White House Champion of Change Award and the 2015 Wildfire Mitigation Award. Jonathan holds a Masters Degree from the University of Colorado with an emphasis on Environmental Management, Policy and Law. Jonathan, his wife Jennifer currently live in the South Denver area, and enjoy playing in the wonderful Front Range Forests and being grandparents.

Michelle Medley-Daniel is the Director of the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network (FAC Net). Michelle’s previous fire adapted communities experience includes working directly in her community on CWPP development, building local capacity to implement prescribed fire projects, and collaborative landscape management. Michelle is a liaison for FAC Net—providing support and connections to network members across the US. In particular, Michelle’s focus is in working with State and regional sub-networks to design and operate effective network-based approaches to wildfire resilience. Michelle has over fifteen years of experience in coordinating networks and providing communications and development services to non-profits. Michelle loves working with people who are passionate about their communities’ relationship to fire. We are at such an important crossroads in the way we relate to wildfire. These are high stakes, and with climate change impacts and WUI development adding to the pressure, it can be daunting work. Michelle is continually inspired by the individuals, organizations and agencies out there that are working toward a better wildfire future. Michelle enjoys backpacking, kayaking and local history.

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Kirk A. Will is Unit Chief of Prescribed Fire and Fuels with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. Kirk works on planning, implementation, and administration of prescribed fire and hazardous fuels reduction projects on State of Colorado lands.  Kirk also administers the Colorado Certified Burner Program. Kirk joined FACO to work with the citizens and fire cooperators of the State of  Colorado promoting safe, fire adapted forests for everybody to enjoy. Kirk loves spending time in the forests and outdoors of Colorado camping, hunting, hiking and fishing with my family every chance he gets.

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Scott Morrill, Emergency Manager for Gunnison County since 2004 represents the Colorado Emergency Management Association on the FACO Board. Prior to serving as Emergency Manager, Scott was a Dispatcher in the Gunnison Regional Dispatch Center for 16 years. Scott has been involved with local and regional wildfire mitigation and planning efforts since 2004, and he has been a member of the West Region Wildfire Council since its inception in 2007 including serving on their Board of Directors. Scott fully embraces the role of Emergency Management in place-based wildfire resilience emphasizing the cornerstones of life safety and personal preparedness and responsibility.

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