Western Resource Advocates Staff
Karin P. Sheldon: President
Ms. Sheldon became Executive Director of WRA in 2007. For fourteen years prior, she was Professor of Law, Associate Dean for the Environmental Law Program, and Director of the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School. Her areas of specialty are natural resources and environmental law, in particular federal land management, wildlife conservation, water resources allocation, and watershed management and protection.
Before joining the faculty at Vermont Law School, Ms. Sheldon was President of the Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C., a staff attorney with EarthJustice in Colorado, a partner in a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C., and one of Ralph Nader's original "raiders." Her work included efforts on behalf of environmental organizations and Native American tribes on issues of mining and oil and gas development, endangered species protection, and federal reserved water rights.
Ms. Sheldon serves on the Board of Directors of Defenders of Wildlife, EarthWorks, and the Natural Resources Law Center of the University of Colorado School of Law. She has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute, and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation.
Ms. Sheldon received her AB in Political Science from Vassar College and her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law.
Western Resource Advocates Staff
Penny Anderson: Energy Program Assistant and IT Coordinator
Jason Bane: Communications Director
Drew Beckwith: Water Policy Manager
Laura Belanger: Water Resources & Environmental Engineer
David Berry: Chief of Policy Analysis, Energy Program
John Curl: Senior Policy Analyst, Energy Program
Richard Dougherty: Information Technology Manager
Rob Dubuc: Staff Attorney, Utah Office
Gwen Farnsworth: Senior Energy Policy Advisor
Jorge Figueroa: Water Policy Analyst
Gary Graham: Lands Program Director
Robert Harris: Staff Attorney
Michael Helmstetter: Individual Giving Officer
Kathryn Holm: Vice President of Finance and Administration
Pamela Johnson: Receptionist
Nancy Kelly: Senior Policy Advisor
Victoria Mandell: Senior Staff Attorney
Steven Michel: Chief Counsel, Energy Program
Bart Miller: Water Program Director
Joanna Nasar: Communications Coordinator
Regina M. Nichols: Office Administrator/Legal Assistant - Nevada Office
John Nielsen: Energy Program Director
Amelia Nuding: Water/Energy Analyst
Christine Quenroe: Bookkeeper, Accounting Assistant
Cynthia Schut: Paralegal
Anita Schwartz: Vice President of Development, Communications & Program Administration
Linda Stitzer: Arizona Senior Water Policy Advisor
Stacy Tellinghuisen: Senior Energy/Water Policy Analyst
Madeleine Tengler: Development Associate
Ms. Tengler joined WRA in February 2010, where her responsibilities include building individual giving, workplace giving, and supporting corporate giving. Prior to WRA, Ms. Tengler was the assistant membership coordinator at the YMCA of Boulder Valley, and a special events, fundraising, and development intern at the Denver Center for International Studies Foundation. Ms. Tengler has also been a volunteer coordinator at the Conference on World Affairs. She has a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a strong Spanish language component and a focus on community-based solutions to social and economic challenges.@mltengler
Nicole Theerasatiankul: Development and Communications Coordinator
Joro Walker: Senior Attorney and Utah Office Director
As Energy Program Assistant, Ms. Anderson provides administrative support for Energy staff in the Boulder office, especially with regard to WRA’s participation in dockets before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. She also spends part of her time assisting with information technology issues. She has been with WRA since 1998. Ms. Anderson was previously a volunteer with The Nature Conservancy and Thorne Ecological Institute in Boulder, and she worked at the Texas State Historical Association for ten years as an editor and network administrator. She has a B.A. in music and humanities from Augustana College in Illinois.
Mr. Bane joined WRA's Communications Department in October 2011. Previously he was a Program Manager at Western Conservation Foundation and a Senior Communications Specialist at SEIU International, both based in Denver. Mr. Bane is an award-winning journalist who has worked in every news medium, from newspapers and magazines to radio and television, and he has also directed the creation of several successful online news ventures. After 10 years as a journalist, Mr. Bane moved into the public policy realm and oversaw campaigns for a variety of politicians. He has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.
As WRA's water policy manager, Mr. Beckwith works closely with water utilities, state officials, and partner organizations around the region to find sustainable ways to meet human water needs. He is responsible for the Water Program's research, legislative, and policy initiatives that aim to advance water conservation efforts and non-traditional water supplies across the Interior West. His current work includes outreach on WRA’s Filling the Gap reports, working with Colorado Western Slope communities to use water conservation savings to boost stream flows (our Rushing Rivers Program), participating at the technical level on the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Study, and promoting the “90 by 20” urban water conservation campaign. Mr. Beckwith holds a Master of Environmental Science and Management degree from UC Santa Barbara and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology from Colorado College.
Laura Belanger is a water resources and environmental engineer who joined WRA in May 2011. Ms. Belanger is a licensed professional engineer in Colorado and brings her extensive professional and research experience to bear on a wide range of issues for WRA. Ms. Belanger focuses on evaluating proposed water supply projects for environmental and related impacts and developing alternative supply options that balance human needs while protecting healthy aquatic ecosystems. She also works collaboratively with partner organizations and state and federal agencies to protect and restore river flows. Prior to WRA, Ms. Belanger worked as a consultant. Most recently, she worked for the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, advancing water projects that provide flows to create and maintain habitat for threatened and endangered species. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. Ms. Belanger holds a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts.
Mr. Berry is an economist and planner specializing in natural resources, including land use, energy, outdoor recreation, and water policy. He joined WRA in 2001. Mr. Berry served as Chief of Economics and Research at the Arizona Corporation Commission for eleven years. In addition, he taught urban and regional planning at the University of Illinois and Boston University, and was an adjunct professor of geography at Arizona State University. Mr. Berry has a B.A. in geography from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Curl joined WRA's New Mexico office in 2009. For over 26 years, he worked with the New Mexico Public Utility Commission and the Public Regulation Commission as an economist and served as the utility division director. He has a Master of Business Administration with a finance concentration from the Robert O. Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of New Mexico, and a Bachelor of Arts with a sociology major and biology minor from the University of California, San Diego.
Mr. Dougherty became the Information Technology Manager of Western Resource Advocates in September 2010. He owns his own consulting firm, R & R Strategies, Inc., specializing in computer support for the small business and non-profit community in Denver. Previously, he worked as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy, managing the day to day operations of a large computer support organization. Earlier in his career, he was the Senior Technical lead for a large PC Support group for Atlantic Richfield Company in Dallas, TX. Rich has an MBA in Engineering and Total Quality Management from the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management, a Master of Science in Computer Science/Meteorology from the University of Maryland Institute of Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mathematics, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science/Meteorology from Rutgers University.
Mr. Dubuc joined Western Resource Advocates Salt Lake City office in August, 2009. Most recently, he was President/CEO of Aspen Homes Development, and a partner in Aspen Homes Real Estate. Mr. Dubuc had a distinguished career in the military, including several years as a Minuteman Missile combat crew commander and a Russian cryptologic linguist. He was also responsible for monitoring nuclear weapons production in the former Soviet Union to ensure compliance with arms reductions treaties. He completed his military service at the rank of major. Mr. Dubuc has a B.A. in Business Management from the University of Maryland, a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Montana, and his Juris Doctorate, Certificate in Environmental & Natural Resource Law, from the University of Utah, College of Law, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ms. Farnsworth develops and advocates for policies that reduce the environmental impact of energy generation and use in the interior western states, with a focus on accelerating the region's transition to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other clean energy strategies. She primarily supports WRA's work in Colorado by participating in regulatory, legislative, and other policy forums.
Prior to joining WRA in March 2011, she was an associate research director at E Source in Boulder, Colorado, where her research focused on energy efficiency and distributed energy program design, marketing, implementation, evaluation and regulatory policy. Ms. Farnsworth also previously worked as a research fellow at the RAND Corporation in California and as an intern at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria. She has a BA in Political Science and a BA in Russian Civilization from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MPh in Public Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, California.@EnergyGwen
Mr. Figueroa joined Western Resource Advocates in 2010 and has local and international project management and organizing experience in the United States, Central and South America, and India. He served as a Project Associate/Research Faculty Member for the Governors' Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. He was a Fulbright Scholar in India where he worked on wildlife, community governance systems, and climate change innovation with the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the India Institute of Science-Bengaluru. He was also an American Bar Association Environmental Law Fellow with the Urban Program of the National Resources Defense Council. Mr. Figueroa holds a Master's Degree in Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science, and a Juris Doctor with certificates in environmental law and international law from Pace University School of Law.
Dr. Graham joined WRA in November 2009. He has been the Executive Director of Audubon Colorado, Director as well as Chief of the Endangered Resources Branch of the Wildlife Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Gary was a project manager of the Texas Watchable Wildlife Project for Defenders of Wildlife and an associate science director at Bat Conservation International. He is the author of Golden Guide to Bats of the World and the Texas Wildlife Viewing Guide. Dr. Graham has a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico, an M.S. and B.S. from Louisiana State University. He seeks solutions to climate change and energy related threats to our iconic western landscapes.
Mr. Harris joined WRA in 2008 and works primarily in our Water Program dealing with federal permiting agencies and Colorado water law. He was as a legal clerk and contractor at WRA prior to joining the staff. Mr. Harris' relevant experience includes internships at Pace University School of Law's Environmental Litigation Clinic, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Valparaiso University, and his Juris Doctorate, Certificate in Environmental Law, from Pace University School of Law. Mr. Harris is a member of the Colorado Bar.
Michael Helmstetter joined WRA's Development Department as the Individual Giving Officer in June 2011. In this role, he strives to enhance the relationship between WRA and its individual donors, and to grow the organization’s base of support. His professional experience includes serving as the Development Director at the Longmont Humane Society in Longmont, Colorado, where he led a successful $8.2 million capital campaign for facility expansion. He has also served as Assistant Director of Development at Community Food Share, the food bank serving Boulder and Broomfield counties. His environmental background includes advocacy work with NJPIRG, volunteer work for the Nature Conservancy and the Izaak Walton League, and graduate study in the areas of public land conservation and wilderness preservation. Michael has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Kenyon College in Ohio.@MCHelmstetter
Ms. Holm joined WRA in 2008, bringing over twenty years of experience in non-profit administration. Previously, Ms. Holm was the Chief of Operations for a healthcare foundation, and COO of a non-profit social service agency. She has an MBA in finance from Franklin University, and BS in Business from Regis University. Ms. Holm’s professional development includes the Foundation Financial Officers’ Group, the Council on Foundations, and the Shambhala Authentic Leadership Program. She currently sits on the leadership team for Colorado Non-Profit Financial Peers. Ms. Holm’s areas of responsibility for Western Resource Advocates are finance, information technology, human resources and facilities.
Ms. Johnson joined WRA as a part time receptionist in March 2013. Previously, Ms. Johnson served for more than ten years as the box office manager for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder. She brings extensive experience in working with the public, event planning, and providing marketing, development and administrative support.
Ms. Kelly joined WRA in 2008, bringing with her significant advocacy and policy experience in energy-related matters. As a consultant, technical consultant, and utility economist with the Committee of Consumer Services (the group representing Utah small customer interests in energy and utility matters), Ms. Kelly focused primarily on regional electricity issues. In that capacity she was elected to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council Board of Directors in 2002 and continues to serve in that role. Prior to working on energy-related issues, Ms. Kelly was the staff economist for the Center for Business Research and Services at Idaho State University (ISU) and taught a number of courses at ISU, Westminster College, and the University of Utah. Ms. Kelly has a B.S. in economics from Idaho State University and an ABD from the University of Utah Department of Economics.
Ms. Mandell joined WRA in 2008 to focus on energy law, practicing before state public utility commissions. Prior to this, she was in-house regulatory counsel for Level 3 Communications for four years, and was a consultant in the energy industry with Platts Research and Consulting. Ms. Mandell served in the Regulatory Department of the Colorado Attorney General's office for ten years, representing a variety of boards and commissions, including the trial staff of the Colorado Public Utility Commission on energy and telecommunications matters. She has a B.S. in international political science from Georgetown University, and an MBA, with an emphasis in finance, and JD from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Mr. Michel joined WRA in 2007, bringing with him 25 years of experience in the energy industry. For 17 years, he served as general counsel for the New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers, and before that, worked five years as Assistant Attorney General in the New Mexico Attorney General's Consumer Division Energy Unit. Mr. Michel has donated countless hours of pro bono work and, as counsel for a coalition of Indian tribes and environmental groups in the 1990s, was instrumental in stopping the construction of a major utility transmission line through New Mexico's Jemez Mountains. In 1995, Mr. Michel was awarded the New Mexico State Bar's Robert H. LaFollette Pro Bono Award. He has served on many governmental task forces dealing with energy issues, and has helped develop and draft energy-related legislation in New Mexico. Mr. Michel received a B.A. degree in History and Economics from Northwestern University and received M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University.
Mr. Miller is Water Program Director at Western Resource Advocates. He manages an exceptional team of experts who protect river flows, improve water efficiency, recover endangered species, and draw the connection between water use, energy production, and climate change. He helps keep WRA at the cutting edge of western water policy by launching new research, reports, and tactics to regain balance in western rivers, so healthy flows can meet the needs of local communities, farms, anglers, boaters, and the environment. Prior to joining WRA in 2000, Bart spent 4 years in the Solicitor’s Office in Washington, DC, on the legal staff that advises the many agencies within the U. S. Department of the Interior; there he focused on natural resource issues in the Division of Indian Affairs. Mr. Miller is a graduate of the University of Colorado Law School and Dartmouth College.
Ms. Nasar joined WRA in June 2012 bringing with her extensive experience with multimedia production, online social media, marketing, videography and film editing, and writing. Her past projects have taken her to the natural gas rigs on the Roan Plateau, to Thailand to trace an endangered cat, and to the peaks of 14,000-foot mountains. She has worked as a teaching assistant, a digital media and communications specialist, and an editor and reporter. Ms. Nasar has an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Colorado with a Graduate Certificate in Environment, Policy and Society and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California in Santa Cruz.
Ms. Nichols joined WRA in 2006, to assist on electrical energy issues in Nevada. She worked as a Legal Research Assistant for the Public Utility Commission of Nevada and a paralegal/legal assistant with two private law firms in the areas of corporate law, probate, and estate planning. Ms. Nichols has an AA in Business and is a Certified Legal Assistant and certified Professional Legal Secretary..
Mr. Nielsen has worked at WRA as an economist and policy advisor since 1995, and has been the Energy Program Director since 2000. He is a leader in the western environmental community on the relationship between energy policy and air quality, and has served as an expert witness in regulatory proceedings around the region involving utility resource planning, electric industry restructuring, renewable energy, energy conservation, and green marketing. Mr. Nielsen holds a B.A in mathematics and economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and M.A. and M. Philosophy degrees in economics from Yale University.
Ms. Nuding joined WRA's Water Program in November 2010. As a water-energy analyst, she focuses on water and energy conservation programs, new water supply projects and creates GIS maps. She has worked at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and was a physics and chemistry teacher in New York City. She has a Masters in Water Resource Management from the Bren School at UCSB, and a BA in physics from Vassar College.
Prior to joining the WRA staff in 2002, Ms. Quenroe was the co-owner and office manager for a family owned firm specializing in museum exhibition design and installation. She also has worked in secondary education and academic librarianship. Ms. Quenroe received her undergraduate degree in Literature and Education from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and a Masters Degree in Library Science and Information Services from the University of Maryland.
Ms. Schut joined WRA’s Salt Lake City staff in July 2012. She has been a paralegal and medical assistant in Utah for a number of years, and has paralegal and medical assisting certificates. Ms. Schut is a paralegal and medical office adjunct instructor at the Davis Applied Technology College.
Before joining WRA in 2004, Ms. Schwartz worked at Environmental Defense where she managed fundraising efforts in a seven-state region. She has also worked at The Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder to transform an abandoned 40,000 square-foot dairy building into a multi-disciplinary community arts center. At the Dairy, she led a capital campaign and conducted marketing and media outreach, including hosting a live television program. Ms. Schwartz started her non-profit career at Conservation International in Washington, D.C. in 1990. Ms. Schwartz serves on the Board of Directors of The Dairy Center for the Arts and the First Congregational Church and its foundation. Ms. Schwartz also owns a small business that is ranked among the top 25 woman-owned businesses in Boulder County, and one of the top 50 minority-owned businesses in Colorado. She has a B.A. from American University in Washington, D.C., with a double major in literature and American studies. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, having secured an internationally-recognized professional credential for philanthropic fundraising executives.
Ms. Stitzer leads our Arizona efforts that aim to sustainably meet human water needs while also protecting healthy aquatic ecosystems. She works with local and regional water providers, governments, and policymakers to advance water planning, conservation, and efficiency programs across Arizona and to improve protection of Arizona rivers. Her current work is focused in the Verde and San Pedro River watersheds where she is assisting local conservation efforts like the Cochise Water Project and promoting the Domestic Well Study report to initiate conservation programs to thousands of domestic well users often located near rivers. She also participates in regional water resource planning efforts to incorporate sound water management including the Fourth Management Plan for the Prescott Active Management Area located in the Verde River headwaters region. Ms. Stitzer worked for the Arizona Department of Water Resources for 25 years in regional and statewide planning positions. Ms. Stitzer has a M.S. in Soil and Water Science from the University of Arizona and a B.S. in Biology/Environmental Science from Northern Arizona University. She is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Cochise Water Project and serves on the Arizona State Parks Natural Areas Program Advisory Committee.
Ms. Tellinghuisen joined WRA in 2008 to focus on the energy/water nexus. Before coming to Colorado, she was an energy/water analyst for the California Sustainability Alliance, where she researched the energy intensity of Southern California's water supplies. Ms. Tellinghuisen has also researched the energy, water, and greenhouse gas emissions of different landscapes, and worked on various water resources projects for the City of Moab, Utah. She has taught natural history to school groups in parks throughout California and Utah. Ms. Tellinghuisen has a Bachelor of Arts in Geology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a Master of Environmental Science and Management from the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Ms. Theerasatiankul started with WRA in 2007. Ms. Theerasatiankul manages corporate giving and supports foundation giving. She also carries out graphic design work and facilitates report publication. She has been a graduate teaching assistant and instructor at the University of Colorado, and taught English as a second language in Korea. Ms. Theerasatiankul has a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Business Administration from Colorado State University, and a Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Before joining Western Resource Advocates Salt Lake City office in 1999, Ms. Walker worked at a private civil rights law firm specializing in inmate and First Amendment rights litigation in federal court, and Utah constitutional and civil rights law before the state courts. She was associate director of the Wallace Stegner Center at the University of Utah College of Law. Ms. Walker was the 2005 U.S. winner of the Yves Rocher Foundation's "Women of the Earth" award. She attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Utah with Bachelor of Science and Masters of Arts degrees in philosophy, and received her law degree from the University of Utah.