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Speakers' Biography


Will Stauffer-Norris

Will Stauffer-Norris is a field researcher for the 2011/2012 State of the Rockies project. He was born in Moscow, Idaho, grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia, and graduated from Colorado College in May 2011 with an Environmental Science degree.

Starting from early childhood float trips in Idaho, Will has paddled rivers in the U.S., Canada, Chile, and Argentina. He intends to combine his passions for wild rivers, visual art, and adventure to document environmental issues surrounding the Colorado River for the 2011-12 Rockies Project.


Zak Podmore

Zak Podmore is a field researcher for the 2011/2012 State of the Rockies project. He grew up in Glenwood Springs, Colorado
where he came to appreciate the waters of the Rocky Mountains over the course of a childhood shaped by winters skiing on
mountain slopes and summers floating through the arid sandstone canyons of the San Juan, Dolores, Green, and Colorado Rivers.
A long-time kayaker and rafter, Zak’s love of wilderness rivers has taken him to Mexico, Canada, Ecuador, and throughout the
American West. This winter he hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the Colorado River basin by researching the water issues currently facing Southwestern communities and by exploring the rivers that fuel them. He graduated from CC in May of 2011 with a degree in Philosophy and a minor in Psychoanalysis.


Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradan, was confirmed as the 50th secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior on Jan. 20, 2009, in a unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate.

Prior to his confirmation, Salazar served as Colorado's 35th U.S. senator, winning election in November 2004 and serving on the Finance Committee, which oversees the nation's tax, trade, social-security, and health-care systems. He also served on the Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources, Ethics, Veterans Affairs and Aging Committees.

Salazar has been a champion for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, leading efforts to pass the 2007 Farm Bill and to create food and fuel security for America. He worked to help veterans in rural communities get better access to health care by creating the Office of Rural Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs and by pressing that agency to open new rural outreach clinics in Colorado.

Salazar worked for 11 years as a water and environmental lawyer with some of the top firms in the West. During his time in the private sector and as Colorado’s Attorney General, Salazar worked on cases from the trial courts to the Colorado and U.S. Supreme Courts.

He received a political science degree from Colorado College in 1977, and graduated with a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1981. He also received honorary doctorates of law from Colorado College in 1993 and the University of Denver in 1999. Salazar and his wife, Hope, have two daughters, Melinda and Andrea, and one granddaughter, Mireya.


Marcia McNutt

Marcia McNutt is Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Nation’s largest water, Earth, biological science and civilian mapping agency whose mission is to provide the scientific data that enable decisionmakers to create sound policies for a changing world.

She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She was awarded by the American Geophysical Union the Macelwane Medal in 1988 for research accomplishments by a young scientist and the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her significant contributions to deep-sea exploration. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota, Colorado College, Monmouth University, and Colorado School of Mines.

Dr. McNutt received a bachelor’s in Physics from Colorado College and a doctorate in Earth Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  She previously taught at MIT for 15 years and was director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute before being appointed to the USGS.


John Hickenlooper

A geologist-turned brewpub pioneer who had never run for political office (not even student council) before being elected Mayor of Denver in 2003, John Hickenlooper was elected Governor of Colorado in November 2010. He took office two months later. His ambition for the state is even bigger than his name. Gov. Hickenlooper, drawing on his diverse background as an exploration geologist and restaurateur, is bringing bright, creative leadership and innovative thinking to the state Capitol. His boundless energy and Western spirit of collaboration are generating tremendous optimism and confidence in Colorado’s future.


Stephen Trimble

Stephen Trimble has received a broad range of awards for his photography, his non-fiction, and his fiction, including: The Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for photography and conservation; The National Cowboy Museum’s Western Heritage “Wrangler” Award; a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellowship at the University of Utah Tanner Humanities Center; and a Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater, Colorado College, honoring his efforts to increase our understanding of Western landscapes and peoples. As writer, editor, and photographer Trimble has published more than 20 books, including: Bargaining for Eden: The Fight for the Last Open Spaces in America • Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography • The Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin • Words from the Land: Encounters with Natural History Writing • The People: Indians of the American Southwest • and • Talking With the Clay: the Art of Pueblo Pottery in the 21st Century. Trimble teaches writing in the University of Utah Honors College and makes his home in Salt Lake City and in the redrock country of Torrey, Utah. Trimble’s website is


Jennifer Gimbel

As the director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Jennifer Gimbel 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. She 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, she 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 Upper Colorado River Commission, the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum, the Western States Water Council, and the Missouri Basin States Association.

Jennifer has over 20 years experience as a water attorney, working first for the Wyoming Attorney General and then for the Colorado Attorney General on water, natural resource, and environmental issues. Before accepting the Director position, Jennifer worked for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation on Indian water rights, collaborative efforts on the Middle Rio Grande In New Mexico, and state and federal water rights issues.


Chris Treese

Chris Treese is the External Affairs Manager for the Colorado River District. He has more than 20 years experience in working with the public, local government, the Colorado General Assembly and federal authorities on Colorado River issues. He can speak on current and past legislative issues involving the Colorado legislature and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Mr. Treese is also well versed in the wide range of Colorado River issues whether they be interstate, intrastate, local or involving the Endangered Species Act. He can also brief audiences on the historic proposed water supply agreement between Denver Water and 34 West Slope entities.


Eric Hecox

Eric Hecox is the Section Chief for CWCB’s Water Supply Planning section.  The Section manages the Interbasin Compact Process and associated Basin Roundtables, and analyzes Colorado’s current and future consumptive and non-consumptive water needs and potential projects or methods to meet those needs.  It is responsible for the implementation of CWCB’s Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI), CWCB’s conservation and drought programs, the administration of the Water Supply Reserve Account and the Alternative Agricultural Transfers grant programs, and providing public education and outreach on Colorado’s water supply future.

Eric has served as the Acting Deputy Director for CWCB and prior to joining the State, Eric served as a Natural Resource Specialist to the Bureau of Land Management’s National Science and Technology Center under a Presidential Management Fellowship. 

Eric received his B.A. in biology from Lawrence University and prior to graduate school was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zimbabwe.  He earned a Masters of Science in Environmental Science in Water Resources and a Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.