Spur spotlight: Ashley Stiles

Ashley Stiles headshotName: Ashley Stiles

Role: Founder and CEO, Tribe Development. [On Spur, I’m working as a] development consultant, overseeing the placemaking and public engagement components of the project.

How you are connected to CSU Spur?

As a CSU alumna, I bleed Green and Gold. So, when the Spur team asked me to be part of this project, I couldn’t say no. I have extensive experience in helping businesses and organizations thoughtfully engage their communities with new developments, so it was a natural fit for me. This campus symbolizes the next frontier in higher education, and I’m extremely proud to be part of it.

When did you get involved with Spur and why is it important to you?

I first started working with Spur in 2019, and what a journey it’s already been. The question we posed at the onset of the project was, “How do we engage people in a higher education campus that doesn’t grant degrees?” As a first-generation college student, I understand the barriers people face when it comes to higher education. It feels out of touch and inaccessible to many in our communities. We’re figuring out ways to remedy that by building a campus that provides educational opportunities for all. Spur is designed to attract and interact with students early to introduce new ways of thinking. The exhibits are designed to show them a clear career path forward. I wish I had those kind of opportunities when I was a kid.

What outcomes have you seen or do you expect from work at Spur?

Spur is deploying a truly pioneering model to engage the surrounding communities in this project. We are essentially creating a blueprint for other university systems to follow. We want this campus to serve as a hub for the community, so the voice of the community has been an integral part of informing it – listening to what services they need and how they want to be a part of it. This ongoing community outreach has already helped shape many of the programs that will be available as well as exhibit content. We look forward to continually assessing and evaluating as needed once it opens.

What would you like others to know about Spur?

This is a place for everyone, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or background. It’s a unique way to interact with broad topics and walk away with thought-provoking lessons around food, water and health. This will be an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the surrounding communities and highlight the expertise that already exists here. I can’t wait for everyone to experience it.

TY SMITH

Director, Native American Cultural Center, Colorado State University

Ty A. Smith, MBA, was born and raised on the Navajo Nation. He is Tódích’íi’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for Ashiihi (Salt Clan). Ty received both his baccalaureate degree (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) and master’s degree (MBA) from Colorado State University. He was a practicing engineer in the energy industry prior to becoming director of the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) at Colorado State University in 2005. NACC’s mission is to ensure a successful educational experience for students by providing support and services related to recruitment, retention, graduation, and community outreach. The office embraces and encourages a supportive environment based on the traditions and cultures of Native American peoples. Ty resides in Fort Collins along with his wife, Jan, and their two boys, Ty Jr. and William.

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BECKY MITCHELL

Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board

As Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Becky carries out the policies and directives of the Board relating to the conservation, development and utilization of the state’s water resources, and works closely with the State Engineer, General Assembly, the Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources, and the Governor on water resource issues for the State of Colorado. The Director acts as the representative for the state on interstate and intrastate water issues, including issues relating to flood control, water conservation and drought planning, water information, river restoration and environmental aspects of water management. As Director, Becky is involved with federal and state legislation pertaining to water resources and represents the State of Colorado on commissions and entities such as the Arkansas River Compact Administration, the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum, the Western States Water Council, and the Missouri Basin States Association.

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JOHN ENTSMINGER

General Manager, Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority

John Entsminger is the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, which serves over 410,000 customer accounts, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is responsible for providing water to local agencies that collectively serve 2 million residents and 40 million annual visitors.  Prior to taking the helm of these agencies in early 2014, Entsminger was instrumental in the development of several groundbreaking regional and international water agreements. He has been appointed by Governor Sandoval to serve as Nevada’s lead negotiator on Colorado River matters.  Active in several national water associations, Entsminger is Vice President of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and is a trustee of the Water Research Foundation and the Desert Research Institute Foundation.

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ADEL HAGEKHALIL

General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

With over 32 years of public service experience in the management of water, environmental and infrastructure programs and initiatives, Adel is an award-winning transformational leader anchored in integration, innovation, and inclusion.  Adel is a registered civil engineer with the State of California and a national Board-Certified Environmental Engineer with specialty in water.  

Adel was appointed in June 2021 as the General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the nation’s largest drinking water provider.  Adel is responsible for leading Metropolitan’s daily and long-term operations and future planning, providing safe and reliable water for 19 million people in six Southern California counties spanning over 5,200-square-mile service area with an annual budget of $1.8 billion, 1,700 employees and 30 facilities.

Previously, Adel was appointed in 2018 by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Executive Director and General Manager of the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA).  Adel was responsible for managing, maintaining, and upgrading the City’s Street network including streets, sidewalks, trees, and bikeways with focus on safety, mobility, and sustainability. 

Prior to that, Adel was the Assistant General Manager for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation for 10 years where he was responsible for the wastewater collection system management, storm water and watershed protection program, and facilities and integrated water planning.  Under his direction, the City prepared an award winning 2040 One Water LA Plan “One Water.”

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JENNIFER PITT

Colorado River Program Director, National Audubon Society

Jennifer Pitt is the Colorado River Program Director for the National Audubon Society, where she works to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems in the Colorado River Basin. She leads the United States–Mexico collaboration to restore the long-desiccated Colorado River Delta and serves as the U.S. co-chair of the bi-national work group whose partners will, through 2026, implement existing treaty commitments providing environmental flows and habitat creation.

Prior to joining Audubon, Jennifer spent 17 years at the Environmental Defense Fund. With partners, she led the conservation community’s efforts to prioritize and implement restoration of the Colorado River Delta, and she worked with Colorado River stakeholders to develop the unprecedented Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study, the first federal assessment of climate change impacts in the basin and the first basin-wide evaluation of the impacts of river system operation on water supply reliability and river health.

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KIMBERLY LEMME

Director of Program Learning and Influence, Water for People

With 20 years experience in non-profit management in international development, microfinance, and global education, Kimberly joined Water For People a dozen years ago to collaborate with teams around the world to end the global water and sanitation crisis. Through her work at Water For People she loves to share with others the impact a system strengthening approach can have in WASH. Everyone Forever is a holistic model to reach sustainable service delivery – not only focused on pipes and pumps and toilets – but all the elements that make that hardware work over time. She has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, and Latin America throughout her career and misses the clear blue water of Southeast Asia the most. While not working, Kimberly loves to spend time unplugged and with her family in the mountains or at the beach.

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SYLVAIN FABI

Consul General for Canada

Sylvain Fabi (BBA, Bishop’s University, 1988) joined the Consulate General of Canada in Denver in October 2020. As Canada’s Consul General in the U.S. Mountain West Region, Mr. Fabi oversees a team of 17 people who work within Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to strengthen trade and economic ties; enhance political, academic and cultural links; and assist Canadians visiting or living in the five-state territory.  He is also Canada’s chief negotiator for the modernization of the Columbia River Treaty with the United States.

Mr. Fabi joined the Trade Commissioner Service of External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1992.  He worked in various geographic and trade policy divisions in Ottawa.  He was senior departmental adviser to the Minister of International Trade (2009 to 2010), Director for bilateral relations with South America and the Caribbean (2010 to 2013) and Executive Director of the North America Policy and Relations Division (2013 to 2015).

Mr. Fabi’s assignments abroad include trade commissioner at the embassy in Moscow (1995 to 1998), commercial counsellor at the embassy in Havana (2001 to 2005) and commercial counsellor at the embassy in Santiago (2005 to 2009). Mr. Fabi served as High Commissioner for Canada in Jamaica and the Bahamas (2015 to 2017). Before becoming Consul General in Denver, he was Executive Director, U.S. Transboundary Affairs Division (2017 to 2020). 

Mr. Fabi is married to Jany Joyal and has two children, Frédéric and Isabelle.

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JIM LOCHHEAD

CEO/Manager, Denver Water

Jim Lochhead was appointed Denver Water’s CEO/Manager in 2010. Lochhead leads nearly 1,100 employees at Denver Water overseeing work to provide a reliable water supply to the City of Denver and surrounding suburbs where Denver Water has service contracts. Lochhead also oversees the stewardship of a resilient collection, treatment and distribution system that includes 4,000 square miles of watershed land, 20 reservoirs, four treatment plants and more than 3,000 miles of pipe.

In 2014, Lochhead received the Wayne N. Aspinall “Water Leader of the Year” award from the Colorado Water Congress, presented annually to a Coloradan demonstrating courage, dedication, knowledge and leadership in the development, protection and preservation of Colorado water.

In 2015, Lochhead received the President’s Award from the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, given to a person with a history of doing meaningful work in the field of water.

Prior to Denver Water, Mr. Lochhead was in private law practice, dealing with natural resource issues throughout the United States and internationally. He was also executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Lochhead has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado and a law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.

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PHIL WEISER

Colorado Attorney General

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser was sworn in as the State’s 39th Attorney General on January 8, 2019. As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Weiser is committed to protecting the people of Colorado and building an innovative and collaborative organization that will address a range of statewide challenges, from addressing the opioid epidemic to reforming our criminal justice system to protecting our land, air, and water.

Attorney General Weiser has dedicated his life to the law, justice, and public service. Before running for office, Weiser served as the Hatfield Professor of Law and Dean of the University of Colorado Law School, where he founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship and co-chaired the Colorado Innovation Council.

Weiser served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice and as Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation in the Obama Administration’s National Economic Council. He served on President Obama’s Transition Team, overseeing the Federal Trade Commission and previously served in President Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice as senior counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, advising on telecommunications matters.

Before his appointment at the Justice Department, Weiser served as a law clerk to Justices Byron R. White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court and to Judge David Ebel at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.

The son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, Weiser is deeply committed to the American Dream and ensuring opportunity for all Coloradans. Weiser lives in Denver with his wife, Dr. Heidi Wald, and their two children.

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TANYA TRUJILLO

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior

Tanya Trujillo is a water lawyer with more than 20 years of experience working on complex natural resources management issues and interstate and transboundary water agreements. She most recently worked as a project director with the Colorado River Sustainability Campaign. Before then, she served as the Executive Director of the Colorado River Board of California. She has served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at Interior. A native New Mexican, Tanya attended Stanford University and the University of Iowa College of Law.

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ANDREW LEE

Acting General Manager, Seattle Public Utilities

Andrew Lee joined Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) in 2019 and is currently the Acting General Manager.  Andrew, who is a professional engineer (PE) and project management professional (PMP), has spent his entire 20-year career working on water, wastewater, and stormwater issues, with 15 of those years in local government for the cities of Seattle, San Francisco, and Bellevue.  Andrew is nationally recognized for his expertise in water/wastewater regulations, smart water technology, and asset management.  He is passionate about developing high performance organizations through an emphasis on shared leadership, employee engagement, diversity / equity / inclusion, and partnering with community.  Andrew is a member of the Project Management Institute and is involved in the Smart Water Advisory Network (SWAN), U.S. Water Alliance, National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and Water Agency Leaders Alliance (WALA).

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PERRY CABOT

Water Resources Specialist, CSU Extension and Western Colorado Research Center

Dr. Perry Cabot received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering and Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University. His research program focuses on innovative irrigation technologies, sustainable water resources management and crop consumptive use evaluation. He is the Lead Research Scientist at the WCRC-Grand Valley in its role as the western CSU campus unit focused on water resources, integrated cropping systems and climate-smart agriculture. He is also the Water Resources Specialist for the CSU Office of Extension and Engagement in the Western Region of Colorado.

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PAT O’TOOLE

President, Family Farm Alliance

Patrick O’Toole has served as the Family Farm Alliance’s President since March 2005. O’Toole is a cattle and sheep rancher and hay grower with strong backgrounds in irrigated agriculture and Wyoming politics. Pat is on the Board of Directors for Solutions from the Land, Partnerscapes/Partners for Conservation and a representative to the Intermountain West Joint Venture. He and his family live near Savery, Wyoming.

O’Toole and his wife, Sharon, live on a ranch that has been in her family since 1881. It straddles the Wyoming-Colorado border and has long afforded O’Toole the opportunity to view some unique water issues first hand. Carbon County, Wyoming holds the headwaters of the Little Snake River, a Colorado River tributary, and the North Platte River, a tributary of the Missouri.

The family has strived for generations to nurture a healthy landscape and sustainable production of food and fiber. Usually the practices which benefit the livestock also benefit the wildlife. The native hayfields are flood irrigated, which provides habitat for birds and recharges the aquifer so the stream runs year-round. Five miles of Battle Creek run through the Home Ranch, and has been recognized as an Audubon Bird Area. The Ladder Ranch is a 2014 Leopold Conservation Award winner.

O’Toole is chairman of the Intermountain West Joint Venture, which advocates for habitat for migratory birds. He is an Advisory Board member on AGree—an initiative that tackles long-term food, conservation and agriculture policy issues. Pat and his family members are active in other solution-based agriculture and conservation organizations.

Pat and Sharon have three children, including a daughter, a son and six grandchildren living on the ranch. Another daughter lives in Phoenix.

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KERRI WRIGHT PLATAIS

Special Advisor to the Chancellor & Director of International Agriculture, CSU Spur 

Kerri joined the Colorado State University System in 2018 and serves as Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Director of International Agriculture at the Spur Campus of the new National Western Center. The Center, opening in 2022, will focus on research outcomes and programs within the U.S. and internationally on the interface of food, water, and health (both human and animal) and serve as a place to gather, learn and encourage new agricultural innovations.

A thought leader in international agriculture development with more than 25 years of experience in the design, management, implementation, and scaling of innovative ideas, Kerri has a passion for formulating new ways to capture learning, share knowledge, and build effective partnerships and successful programs.

Her experience includes designing global policy dialogues, moving emerging technologies to market, and creating platforms for sustainable development and impact. Her partners and clients include groups such as The World Bank, The U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Crop Trust, The International Food Policy Research Institute and other Centers in the CGIAR.

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JENNIFER GIMBEL

Interim Director and Senior Water Policy Scholar, Colorado Water Center

Jennifer Gimbel is the Interim Director and Senior Water Policy Scholar at the Colorado Water Center. She is currently focused on Colorado River issues. Jennifer has experience in law and policy on national and state water issues. She was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water & Science at the Department of the Interior, overseeing the U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation. She also was Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation and Counselor to the Assistant Secretary. Jennifer was the Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the water policy agency for Colorado. As a water lawyer, she worked for the Attorney General’s Offices in Wyoming and Colorado. She has over 30 years of experience on water issues.

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BRAD UDALL

Senior Water and Climate Scientist & Scholar, Colorado Water Center

Brad Udall is a Senior Water and Climate Research Scientist / Scholar at Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Center. His expertise includes hydrology and related policy issues of the American West, with a focus on how climate change is impacting the Colorado River. Brad was a co-author of the 2009 and 2018 National Climate Assessments and a contributing author to the 2014 IPCC 5th Assessment.

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BIDTAH BECKER

Associate Attorney, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

Ms. Becker has dedicated her career to the Navajo Nation and its natural resources.  She is currently serving as an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.  Prior to this position, she had the honor of serving as the Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources from May 2013 to January 2019, as an appointee of President Begaye and Vice-President Nez, after serving eleven (11) years as an attorney for the Navajo Nation focusing on water rights and natural resources issues.  Continuing her deep interest and passion for water, she serves on the Leadership Team for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado River Basin, as a Commissioner on the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, as an appointee of Governor Lujan Grisham, and on the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, as an appointee of Speaker Damon.  Ms. Becker is equally passionate about supporting artists and serves as a Trustee for the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), as an appointee of President Obama.  Ms. Becker is a member of the Nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance with her husband and two school age children.

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