Fort Collins Staff
Joan joined DRS in 2017 as Executive Director.
Joan has lived with her disability since the age of five. She credits her advocacy skills to her mother, who was an advocate extraordinaire…way before we knew what that was…okay, not way before. It was Joan’s mother who taught her to let nothing stand in her way of her dreams and to help others achieve their dreams. She has more than 35 years (both as a youth and an adult) within the disability movement.
Professionally, Joan was one of the founding members that began The Disability Network in Flint Michigan and as chair of the grant committee assisted with the application for their incorporation as a Center for Independent Living.
Since that time Joan has had almost every position within Centers for Independent Living (CIL) across the country. In particular, she has focused on oversight and expansion of programs, which included ensuring quality assurance and meeting regulations for a CIL for a variety of funding sources.
Nationally, Joan has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living. She co-facilitated planning their national conference for several years. She has also served on a variety of committees for the National Council on Independent Living.
Most recently she was part of the Administration on Community review team that selected the new SILC and CIL Technical Assistant Centers.
Director of Development and Marketing
Dave joined DRS in 2012 as the agency’s first full time development director. Since beginning his fundraising career in 1989, he has worked in development offices at a community hospital, a community college and a museum district. This well-rounded background has given him experience in most areas of development (and marketing). His extensive fundraising experience is complimented by his experience as a volunteer for a variety of community-oriented non-profits. Dave is a graduate of Colorado State University and in 2004 achieved CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) certification from CFRE International.
Lead Independent Living Specialist
Katie joined DRS in late 2016. She is an active intergenerational Independent Living specialist with education and experience that spans across a lifetime. Katie has a Bachelor’s of Science from CU Boulder and a Masters of Art, Gerontology from UNC, Greeley CO. She has studied and taught grief, loss, and its effects on individuals with disabilities. With over six years of experience working in Centers for Independence Living, Katie has developed a strong passion for the ILC philosophy and is a strong advocate for individual positive change and personal choice.
Employment and Independent Living Specialist
Rick believes everyone deserves to have a shot of happiness and a good life. A long-time member of the community, he is passionate about helping people be the best they can be and seeing them smile. Prior to joining Disabled Resource Services, Rick was a Resident Manager for the Fort Collins Housing Authority. His professional experience includes serving as a Director at Base Camp, a before and after school enrichment program, and as a Paraprofessional for Poudre R-1 School District (Early Head start). Rick is a fluent in Spanish and is currently studying Sociology at Front Range Community College. His future plans include transferring to Colorado State University or the University of Northern Colorado to complete his Bachelor’s degree.
Vision Matters Manager
Elizabeth comes to us with a longevity of working with older adults with disabilities. She has her undergraduate in Psychology and her Master’s Degree in Gerontology. She always had a passion for working with seniors since high school days which ultimately lead to pursuit of her degree in Gerontology. She is very excited to be onboard with the team at Disabled Resource Services, and eager to assist those who are blind or low-vision throughout Larimer and Jackson counties.
Specialist for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Jenny has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and an Associate’s degree in interpreting. She has worked for DRS for over 10 years and has been an ASL interpreter for over 20 years. Her specialties include mental health, legal, and vocational rehabilitation. She is a member of the Colorado Association of the Deaf and the Colorado Registry for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Marketing & Development Assistant
Mel has been in marketing and communications for over 15 years. She has worked in various industries including consumer, government, and non-profit. Mel has partnered with a variety of clients to focus on effective message delivery & fundraising tactics and the past several years focused on social media.
Administrative Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator
Terry came to DRS through an internship and liked us so much, she ended up staying! Terry does a variety of things in her work at DRS. She is the main ‘voice’ of the DRS Fort Collins office answering phones and greeting people as they come in to our office. Additionally, she manages the Fort Collins loan closet, coordinates volunteers and completes many other tasks as needed.
Independent Living Specialist
Evan came to DRS with both handyman and customer service experience. He was excited about working at DRS and sharing his skills with us. He started working for us by maintaining the durable medical equipment we rent from our loan closet. He had been a youth peer support for our center and in Spring 2020 accepted a position with us as our newest Independent Living Specialist focusing on Vision Matters. He is also a strong representative for our center in the state’s Youth Leadership Forum.
Loveland Program Manager
Denise has been with DRS since 2011, starting as a volunteer before being hired in 2013.
Denise has a Master’s of Science degree in Psychology and a Master’s of Science degree in Administration of Justice and Security. Denise is the Lead Independent Living Specialist in our Loveland Office. She has been working with people with disabilities for most of her career. She works with individuals with all types of disabilities who want to live more independently. Denise often works with individuals who wish to apply for SSI/SSDI, Food Stamps, and Aid to Needy and Disabled and more. In addition to working on benefits application, she advocates for people with disabilities for many reasons such as, but not limited to, landlord or employment disputes and service/companion animal related issues. She also runs the Loveland loan closet, provides information and referral and conducts community outreach in the community.
Independent Living Specialist
Vicki has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse; both from Washburn University. She is passionate about championing for people disabilities and raising awareness with a human rights approach to advocacy. Her mission is to empower those with disabilities so that they are able to lead more autonomous lives. Prior to joining DRS, Vicki worked with and advocated for the dual-diagnosis, homeless population who are involved in the Criminal Justice System.
Disability Benefits Manager
Brian has worked with a variety of individuals – adults and adolescents with disabilities, those in addiction(s) recovery, and couples looking to rekindle the love in their relationships. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology focusing on social psychology and relationship dynamics. One of Brian’s greatest joys is being able to put his education and life experience to use helping others. In his free time, Brian is an avid board, card, and video gamer; even traveling the country to play in competitive tournaments! One of his favorite foods is Chicago-style deep dish pizza…is there any other kind?!
Valerie has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Education and Human Resource Studies.
Valerie is experienced in working with people from diverse backgrounds to explore their needs to live an independent life at a level they have not thought possible. Valerie believes in encouragement, respect, inspiration and working together.
Loan Closet Technician
Paul Comes to DRS with exceptional customer service skills and mechanical knowledge, along with many years of equipment, inventory, and parts-tool room management. He maintains and repairs Loan Closet equipment at the DRS Loveland office. Paul’s hobbies include restoring his ‘56 Oldsmobile, fishing and attending car shows.