Our Board

Robin Knox

Robin Knox

President and Board Chair | Evergreen

Robin Knox, a Colorado resident for 35 years, recently retired after 42 years of work in the fisheries and aquatic resource management arena. He was the Coordinator for the Western Native Trout Initiative, a National Fish Habitat Partnership, for 8 years after 27 years as a fishery biologist and the assistant chief of fisheries for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Robin was actively involved with the sport-fishing industry for over 15 years, serving on the government affairs committee of both the American Sport-fishing Association and the American Fly Fishing Trades Association which are the fishing tackle manufacturers trade associations.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Illinois, and a Master's degree in Fishery Science from the University of Missouri. He lives in the beautiful foothills of Colorado west of Denver with his wife Laurel, and loves to fish from his Hobie kayak.

Georgina Miller

Georgina Miller

Vice President, Director | Golden

Georgina joined the CWF board in 2022 to lend her marketing expertise to the organization. She is an independent marketing consultant with her own business, Crabapple Communications, which helps businesses reach their next level of growth through strategic marketing. A transplant from the UK, Georgina moved to Colorado because she wanted to spend more time in the mountains. An avid hiker, biker, cross-country skier, runner, she spends as much of her free time as possible outdoors exploring. Since arriving in Colorado in 2015, she has spent time living at 10,000 feet in Leadville and in Colorado's Front Range, giving her a new understanding of just how many kinds of snow there are. This love of the outdoors makes her value the wildlife that makes up such an important part of Colorado's ecosystem.

Makayla Byrnes

Secretary, Director| Denver

Makayla is a passionate outdoor enthusiast that believes in providing equal access to our parks and protected areas. She values innovation, collaboration, and dynamic environments. She aspires to help increase outdoor recreation for under-represented groups such as women and people of color. She is also passionate about sustainable food systems and bridging the gap between consumer and producer.

Lauren (Klamm) Weller

Director and our Colorado Affiliate Representative to NWF | Fort Collins

A fourth-generation Colorado native, Lauren is passionate about protecting Colorado's habitats, wildlife, and public land access. She also enjoys building inclusive communities for female outdoorswomen.

Lauren currently works at the Colorado State University Spur Campus as the Assistant Director of International Agriculture and supports her team through project management, public relations, and strategic planning. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in agricultural science, both from Colorado State University.

In her free time, she enjoys fishing, hiking, camping, and skiing. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and daughter.

John Smeltzer

John Smeltzer

Director & Former Board Chair | Fort Collins and Iowa

John joined the CWF Board in 2005 following his retirement as Public Services Manager (Asst. Director – Field Operations) for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW). John's early professional career includes 3 years as a science teacher in Iowa, his home state. While working for the CDOW, John served as a wildlife researcher; a staff specialist in the Law Enforcement Unit; regulations manager, and Human Dimensions section manager in addition to role as Asst. Director.

John is a biology graduate of Westmar College, LeMars, Iowa and Colorado State University, Fort Collins. He is married (Marsha) and has two adult children (David and Katie). He belongs to a variety of hunting, fishing and conservation organizations. John joined the CWF Board in 2005.

Lew Carpenter

Lew Carpenter

NWF Regional Representative | Colorado

Lew Carpenter, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Director of Conservation Partnerships in the Rocky Mountain region works directly with NWF affiliates in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nebraska. He also maintains a moderate role working with NWF's Austin office on restoring Louisiana wetlands. Carpenter was born and raised in Greeley, Colorado, and prior to NWF worked as wire service reporter, Editor for Western Outdoors Magazine and Hunting TV producer.

Jack Castellano

Director

Jack is a District Executive for the Greater Colorado Council at Denver Boy Scouts. He loves hiking, camping, and shooting. Jack lives in Denver and is originally from New Orleans.

Tim Emery

Director | Highlands Ranch

Tim Emery is a passionate fly fishing and bass fishing enthusiast and Colorado Native. He was actively involved with organizations such as Denver Trout Unlimited and helped create The South Platte Pro-Am Carp Slam. Tim also served on the Colorado Wildlife Council from 2012-2020 as the East Slope Fishing Representative helping to educate the general public about the benefits of hunting and fishing in Colorado. Tim loves to fish with his teenage son, daughter and yellow lab Moose!

Walt Graul

CO-Chair of Issues Committee

Mike Hora

Mike Hora

Director at Large | Lyons

Michael Hora is a native of Illinois who enjoys living in Colorado. A long time business executive, he now spends much of his time honoring the land and learning about all things wild in Colorado.

Michael seeks a responsible balance between the interests of those who own land and those for whom outdoor pursuits in the future depend upon good decisions today.

Brent Miller

Brent Miller

Director | Arvada

Suzanne O'Neill

Suzanne O'Neill

Executive Director

Suzanne is a former practicing lawyer and consultant to professional services firms. She received her law degree at University of Texas School of Law and master degree in Environmental Policy and Management from University of Denver. Suzanne is an avid wildlife photographer and also enjoys fishing, her sheep and llamas, and gardening.

Ryan Ricci

Director | Fort Collins

Originally from Upstate New York, Ryan moved to Colorado in 2014 to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. He has been an avid hunter for over twenty years and enjoys helping to mentor newcomers. He belongs to and supports a number of conservation groups. In his free time, he enjoys traveling to new places, exploring restaurants, and spending time with friends and family.

Joshua Torrez

Director | Denver & Idaho

Joshua is a native Coloradoan who specializes in technology staffing and sales. He has supported several Hispanic nonprofits as well as others in fundraising and public speaking. He enjoys fly fishing in Colorado and in Idaho and cares deeply about safeguarding wildlife habitats on public lands.

Vicki Vargas-Madrid

Director | Denver

Vicki works at Denver Parks and Recreation as an Education and Wildlife Management Program Manager. She enjoys hiking, birding, spending time at her cabin in the mountains, and canning various food.

Jeremy Vesbach

Region 10 Director | NWF Board of Directors

Jeremy Vesbach has long loved the outdoors. He grew up hunting, fishing, hiking, and more and he intimately understood how much better his life was a result of his time spent in nature. This love of the
outdoors cemented his desire to preserve these lands so that they could be passed on to future generations. With a focus on state-level policy, Vesbach works with coalitions, community groups,
and conservation organizations to protect lands through three key drivers: shielding wild lands from development, restoring and safeguarding the health of vital wildlife habitats, and guaranteeing equitable access to public lands for outdoor recreation opportunities. He was elected (by all 52 state and territory affiliates) to the NWF Board of directors representing Region 10 (CO, NM, AZ, UT).

Lucas Watson

Director | Denver

Lucas is the owner and operator of the Meat Cleaver in Denver. He enjoys hunting, fly fishing, and rock climbing, but his favorite hobby is collecting hobbies.

Anna Zak

Event and Marketing Coordinator | Denver

Anna was born and raised in Castle Rock, Colorado and recently moved to Denver after graduating from Aurora University in Illinois where she played NCAA Ice Hockey and earned a BS in Human-Animal Studies and a BA in Environmental Sustainability. She enjoys hiking, paddleboarding, camping and skiing and is passionate about protecting Colorado's wildlife and their habitats. In addition to the outdoor activities that she enjoys in her free time, she also coaches a local youth girls ice hockey team and loves reading, going to concerts, and watching and playing sports or any sort of game!

Directors Emeritus

  • Dennis Buechler
  • Colleen Gadd
  • Jim Goddard
  • Walt Graul
  • Kent Ingram
  • John Rold

Past Presidents

  • 1952 – 1954 Herb Hockstrasser
  • 1955 – 1957 William H. Corlett
  • 1958 – 1959 H. Ray Macht
  • 1960 B.K. Linder
  • 1961 Harry G. Sims
  • 1962 Ross Russell
  • 1963 Douglas L. Gilbert
  • 1964 – 1966 A.J. Christiansen
  • 1967 – 1968 Robert F. Gantnier
  • 1969 Ralph R. Hill
  • 1970 Gilbert N. Hunter
  • 1971 – 1972 Hans W. von Barby
  • 1973 Robert F. Gantnier
  • 1974 Ed Merrick
  • 1975 – 1976 Lt. Col. Clifford A. Baker
  • 1977 – 1978 David G. Merrifield
  • 1979 – 1980 Delwin E. Benson
  • 1981 William H. Miller
  • 1982 John Cross
  • 1983 – 1984 Bob Black
  • 1985 Wayne Sandfort
  • 1986 Wally Gallegher
  • 1987 Gordon Woelfle
  • 1988 John Volker
  • 1989 Steve Flannagan
  • 1990 Eric Kelly
  • 1991 – 1992 Chuck Olmstead
  • 1993 – 1996 Peter F. Michaelson
  • 1997 – 1999 Dennis Buechler
  • 2000 Michael Dowling
  • 2001 Dennis Buechler
  • 2002 – 2005 Suzanne O'Neill
  • 2006 – 2007 Kent Ingram
  • 2007-6/2013 John Smeltzer
  • 6/2013 – 6/2019 Kent Ingram