Board Members

Erik-Nielsen

Erik Nielsen - Chair, Board of Directors
Senior Attorney
Leprino Foods Company

Erik Nielsen is a senior attorney at Leprino Foods Company, one of the largest dairy-products companies in the world. Erik’s work focuses on resolving complex environmental, land-use, construction, and other related legal issues for Leprino.  Before joining Leprino, Erik worked as an attorney in the Commercial Litigation group of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. and held a clerkship on the Colorado Court of Appeals. Prior to relocating to Colorado in 2014, Erik worked as an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, clerked for a Justice on the Vermont Supreme Court, and spent two years in a boutique-regulatory firm in Vermont. Erik has a B.A. from Rutgers in Urban Planning and Public Policy, and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Erik lives in Sunnyside, Denver with his beagle mix, Charlie, and spends nearly all of his free time exercising outside.

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Ashton Blaha
Talent Management
Bank of the West

Ashton Blaha is a Talent Management professional at Bank of the West.  Ashton’s work focuses on succession planning, performance management and creating leadership programs.  Before joining Bank of the West, Ashton worked in the staffing industry for high volume customer service and higher education collegiate recruiting.  She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Management with a specialization in HR.  Ashton has been an advocate for sustainability around urban gardening and in her spare time enjoys hiking outdoors and rock climbing.

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Susan Bonsall Rosenberry
Community Leader

Susan Bonsall Rosenberry is a Community Leader who serves on numerous non-profit boards in Denver and Larimer County that focus on environmental issues, social justice, education, and community service.  Susan has been the Director of Leading Learning Communities, a top management consulting firm; Executive Director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition; Executive Director of Earth Day USA; Regional Director of the Stewardship Community; Regional Director of Renaissance Business Associates; and a Marketing and Communications Specialist at Rutgers University. She received her B.A. from the University of Colorado and her M.A. from Rutgers University. Susan plays her flute in three groups, is an oil painter and is a Master Gardener with Larimer County.

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Megan Burke - Board Secretary
Project Architect
Tryba Architects in Denver

Megan is a Project Architect at Tryba Architects in Denver. She has over a decade of experience managing a variety of project types, delivering creative, sustainable buildings on-time and on-budget. Megan is passionate about bringing people together through the built environment, building spaces that help encourage community involvement and engagement. Her creative thinking, understanding of the building industry, and overall positive demeanor makes her a valuable asset to the Board to help progress Groundwork Denver’s mission and community goals. Megan received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona. She is originally from Boise, Idaho and her love for the outdoors brought her to Colorado. Megan enjoys hiking, traveling, and exploring all that Colorado has to offer.

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Tracy Coppola (she/her)
Colorado Senior Program Manager
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)

Tracy Coppola is based in Denver and serves as the Colorado Senior Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). She is proud to have the opportunity to advocate for her state's incredible parks and people and to also enact progressive change by creating parks, like the new Amache National Historic Site, that tell a fuller and more inclusive story of America.

Prior to NPCA, Tracy was at Earthjustice where she served as Senior Legislative Counsel on public lands policy and worked on campaigns to defend bedrock environmental laws. Her other nonprofit roles include serving as Director of Wildlife Protection for the Humane Society of the U.S. and as a campaigns officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Tracy earned JD and a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School and an undergraduate degree from Yale University. Tracy loves exploring the outdoors with her spouse, Patrick, and her pup, Griffin.

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Makalah Emanuel
Marketing and Event Planning Professional

Makalah is a marketing professional who currently works as a Media Relations Assistant for the Denver Nuggets and Marketing Manager for the outsourced nonprofit accounting firm, NFP Partners. Makalah also serves as an associate for the Leadership for Educational Equity. For eight years, Makalah was employed by Groundwork Denver, first working as a Green Team member and supervisor then as the nonprofit’s Volunteer Outreach and Communications Coordinator. Her love for the outdoors and environmental justice began on her first day with Groundwork Denver and has only grown since. Along with a deep passion for Groundwork Denver’s mission, Makalah brings years of marketing and event planning experience to GWD’s Board. Makalah graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and advertising and double minor with psychology and Africana studies. The Denver native loves to travel, visit small coffee shops, and watch professional basketball.

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Tyler Evans
Staff Research Engineer
Tesla, Inc.

Tyler works at Tesla on a team developing future electric vehicle battery chemistries. Before joining Tesla, Tyler worked on Li-ion batteries as co-founder and CTO at SiILion, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering/Materials Science from the University of Colorado. Aside from working on batteries and renewable energy, Tyler likes to connect with the environment by skiing and rock climbing.

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Carishma Gokhale-Welch - Board Vice-President
Project Leader
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Carishma is a Project Leader at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. With nearly two decades of work experience in the U.S. and abroad, her work focuses on providing technical assistance to developing country governments with clean energy planning and strategy. Carishma also supports renewable energy and microgrid projects, power sector transformation activities, energy resilience planning, and assists communities with energy transitions. Before coming to NREL, her work involved overseeing activities ranging from strategic planning, building partnerships and new initiatives, to outdoor stewardship, mine reclamation and watershed management. Raised in India, she was educated at the University of Mumbai and at Yale University, where she earned a Master’s in Environmental Management. She loves playing outdoors in Colorado, traveling with her husband, and looking for bugs in the backyard with her kids.

Jocelyn Hittle, Colorado State University System

Jocelyn Hittle - Board Treasurer
Senior Director, Sustainability and Denver Programs
Colorado State University System

Jocelyn is primarily focused on helping to create Colorado State University’s new Spur campus at the National Western Center, and on supporting campus sustainability goals across CSU’s campuses. Jocelyn sits on the Denver Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Council, on the Advisory Committee for the Coors Western Art Show, and is a technical advisor for the AASHE STARS program. Prior to joining CSU, Jocelyn was the Associate Director of PlaceMatters, a national urban planning think tank, and worked for the Orton Family Foundation. She has a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Jocelyn grew up in Colorado, and spends her free time in the mountains or exploring Denver.

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Daniel Stange
Grant Manager & Peer Specialist
Sisters of Color United for Education

Danny is a Denver Native born of mixed parents – a Chicana mother from Denver and an Irish father from the east coast. He became involved with traditional Native American Aztec Dancing in 1994. His Chicano family has held deep roots in the Denver area since the 1920’s, and through matrilineal connections is well known to an extensive family that continues to be important within Denver at all levels of society.

Danny is a Grant Manager and Peer Specialist that works with Sisters of Color United for Education (SOCUE), a partner of Groundwork Denver. As the Director of Mobilization, he manages collaboration efforts and helps people in the community get treatment services for substance misuse issues. He also coordinates cultural activities and ceremonies and provides philosophy and Indigenous worldview education. Danny is bilingual (Spanish/English) and represents his community on a variety of boards and committees that work to improve the engagement in civic processes and provide essential services to people with the greatest barriers. Some of these include Sheridan School Board District 2, Kaizen Food Rescue, Denver Fire Keepers Circle, Teocalli Tepeyolotlan, and Danza Azteca Grupo Huitzilopochtli.

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Chris Yuan-Farrell
Senior Program Officer
Great Outdoors Colorado

Chris works to preserve, enhance, and restore Colorado’s parks, open spaces, wildlife habitat, rivers, and trails as a senior program officer with Great Outdoors Colorado. His decade-long involvement in conservation began as an undergraduate ecology major and researcher at Santa Clara University. As a landscape ecologist with The Nature Conservancy, he published several peer-reviewed articles on various conservation topics. He is a former Doris Duke Conservation Fellow and Colorado Open Lands Conservation Fellow and received a master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. Outside of the office, Chris is an avid mountain biker always looking for new places to explore on his singlespeed.