PPAB members

Photo of Melissa Kirr

Melissa Kirr
Chair
Melissa Kirr is the Senior Programs Director of Sustainability at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, CO. She currently works at a local, regional and global level on a variety of sustainability initiatives. In her role at Walking Mountains, she is responsible for the oversight of sustainability-focused programs and projects that include Energy, Climate Action, Actively Green Sustainable Business Training and Certification, Waste Diversion and Zero Waste programs, and Mountain IDEAL Sustainable Destination. She has spent the past 17 years working in the non-profit sector, specifically the environmental and sustainability realms. She holds degrees in Forest Resource Management from Penn State University and the University of Montana. She also volunteers her time to food equity projects, serves on the board of Cloud City Conservation Center, and has spent the last five years serving as a PPAB Assistance Committee member.
Photo of Susan Williams

Susan Williams
Vice-Chair
Ms. Williams is the Principal of Pro Rolloff, LLC in Denver. In this capacity, her 100% women-owned company provides construction waste management solutions for the General Contractor industry in Metro Denver. Ms. Williams brings ten years of experience in LEED waste management, C&D diversion, construction logistics, and hauling operations management to the PPAB. She has actively participated with the Association of General Contractors and the Colorado Association for Recycling. Her goal is to help the expansion of businesses that will process C&D waste materials for future use and reuse.
Emily Backus

Emily Backus
As Commitment to Zero Program Manager for Vail Resorts, Emily Backus drives ambitious sustainability goals across a network of 41 resorts in 4 countries. Emily coordinates with teams throughout the company working to achieve the company’s goals of zero net emissions, zero waste to landfill, and zero net impact on forests and habitat – all by 2030. She also leads communications on Vail Resorts' sustainability programs, including the annual EpicPromise Progress Report. She previously worked for the City and County of Denver supporting businesses on energy and waste, and consulted for the National Park Service. Emily is a graduate of Cornell University.

Cameron Bowen

Cameron Bowen
Cameron Bowen is the Facilities Coordinator for Arapahoe Libraries. She has over 10 years of experience in project management and facility operations. In her role, she initiates and implements sustainability and equity efforts for the library district, including comprehensive recycling and waste diversion programs, the Love My Air program, and the distribution of Aunt Flow products. Under her leadership, the library district has received BOMA’s The Outstanding Building of the Year Award and has been recognized as a Silver Member in the Environmental Leadership and Green Business Network programs. Cameron is an avid gardener and friend of the bees. She participates in a neighborhood gardening club and Zero Waste group.

Jane Fraser

Jane Fraser
Retired after 40 years as a Professor of Engineering, Jane M. Fraser is active in various civic groups in Pueblo, CO. She serves as a treasurer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County and of the Southern Colorado Economic Development District, convenes local makers in the Pueblo Makes group, and leads the Mothers out Front group Clean Air Pueblo which is seeking to increase data on air quality in Pueblo. She is a member of the Engineering Accreditation Board of ABET, serving as a team chair for engineering accreditation visits across the country. She has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Swarthmore College, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of California-Berkeley.

Conner Gerken

Conner Gerken
Conner Gerken is a Senior Environmental Health Specialist for the Northeast Colorado Health Department and currently serves Morgan County. He is a generalist inspector that does retail food, childcare, septic, and body art inspections and has been in his current role for slightly longer than five years. Conner received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Colorado Mesa University in 2016. Conner also is the acting president for the Colorado Environmental Health Association for the 2022-2023 term. Conner is passionate about providing his rural community with environmental health services to help keep the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the food they eat safe.

Jennifer Hale

Jennifer Hale
Jennifer Hale is an environmental sustainability professional with over 20 years of experience related to sustainability program development; operational resiliency planning; community engagement; environmental, health, and safety compliance (EH&S); and development of ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 certified programs for private companies and nonprofit organizations. Using her skills in systems thinking and strategic planning, she works collaboratively with stakeholders to develop and evaluate innovative strategies that align to an organization’s values and support long term improvement in social, environmental, and economic performance. Jennifer has spent the last 12 years of her professional career developing the vision and strategies for Denver Zoo’s award-winning sustainability programs. She joined Pinyon Environmental, Inc. in 2022 as Technical Lead for Sustainability and Resiliency, helping to build Pinyon's sustainability and resiliency service offerings by utilizing internationally recognized frameworks to guide development of site-specific tools and resources tailored to help any organization or project meet their goals.

Marguerite Harden

Marguerite Harden
Marguerite Harden is the Local Resiliency Manager at the Colorado Resiliency Office within the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Prior to her current role, she spent over a decade working in climate change mitigation and adaptation as a consultant and nonprofit founder and director. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Yale School of the Environment. Marguerite crewed on a 15-day sail that went through the Pacific Garbage Patch in 2012. She is a hobbyist potter and outdoor enthusiast.
Photo of Doug Hargrave

Doug Hargrave
Doug Hargrave is the President of Iconergy, an energy management and sustainability firm that is based in Denver with additional offices in Boulder and Chicago. Doug has over 25 years of resource conservation, renewable energy, and water and energy efficiency experience with the vast majority of those years dedicated to designing and constructing better buildings. Through his work on public policy, government and utility programs, as well as individual projects, Doug has experience in all facets of energy management and sustainability as it applies to the commercial and industrial sectors.
Photo of Julie Hendricksen

Julie Hendricksen
A licensed Landscape Architect with 20 years of experience in residential, commercial and community master planning. Julie brings a wide range of experience including design-build, staff management and strong connections in the industry. Julie is involved with food equity and as an avid beekeeper, supporting pollinator habitat.
Tom Herrod

Tom Herrod
Tom Herrod is a Senior Program Officer for ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability in Denver, CO. Tom has over 20 years of experience working in local, state, tribal, and federal environmental programs, including 5 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General. Tom received his Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. Tom’s other interests include applying wetland restoration and regenerative agriculture practices at a family ranch in western Nebraska.

Photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson
Laurie Johnson is the founder and CEO of Circular Colorado, a nonprofit working on waste diversion, recycling, and end market creation in Colorado. She is also currently the Community Development Director for Iconergy. Prior to this, Laurie was the Chief Operating Officer for 5280 Waste and Recycling Solutions and served as the Executive Director for Recycle Colorado from 2017-2020. She worked to advance recycling across the country as the VP of Client Services for Recyclebank from 2013 - 2017. She serves on multiple boards in Colorado including being the Board Chair for the Front Range Waste Diversion Board. Laurie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs and an MBA in Sustainable Business.
Photo of Byron Kominek

Byron Kominek
Byron Kominek is the owner and manager of Jack's Solar Garden, a 1.2 MW agrivoltaics community solar garden in Boulder County. He is a former U.S. diplomat having served with the U.S. Agency for International Development on projects related to forestry and wildlife conservation in southern Africa. He has over 12 years of experience working in international development related to natural resource management and speaks French and Portuguese. He holds a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina. Byron also through-hiked the Appalachian Trail with his dog in 2016 and has a penchant for dry-cured meats.

Derek Lopez

Derek Lopez
Dr. Derek Lopez is the Associate Vice President of Operations and Advancement at Colorado State University Pueblo. He earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University with a focus on Educational Psychology, and has taught for over 20 years in higher education. Dr. Lopez has secured over $20 million dollars in grant funding for his community, and has worked in various school settings from preschool to graduate level. Born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, he is delighted to have returned to his home and has become highly engaged in his community. He currently serves as the President of the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation and the Secretary of the Global Advantage school board. In his leisure time, he enjoys spending time outdoors paddle boarding, mountain biking, and river surfing.

Briana Rothrock

Briana Rothrock
Briana Rothrock is an Environmental Health Specialist with El Paso County Public Health and a current resident of Pueblo. Sha has been working in local government for almost 5 years and is an expert in food safety. Briana received her Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University in Nutritional Sciences and is passionate about reducing food waste, as well as localizing the food supply to increase the nutritional value of our food while decreasing pollution.
Rachel Roussel-Diamond

Rachel Roussel-Diamond
Rachel Roussel-Diamond is the Sustainability Unit Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and oversees a variety of cross-media, voluntary environmental programs including the department’s recycling grant and rebate programs. She was first appointed by Governor Hickenlooper in 2015 to represent the department on the Pollution Prevention Advisory Board. She is also a founding member of the Front Range Waste Diversion Enterprise Board of Directors.

Aaron Watson

Aaron Watson
Aaron serves as the Board Chair for the International Dark-sky Association - Colorado chapter, and is the Enrollment and Admissions Specialist at Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colorado. Prior to these roles in solar energy education and nocturnal environment conservation, he worked as a climate scientist, measuring atmospheric greenhouse gases for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a certified Holistic Nutritionist and Health and Wellness Coach. He loves spending time in nature, especially under Colorado’s dark and starry night skies.