Prior to taking his current position at NWCCI as of August 2013, Ian was Executive Director at the Center for People with Disabilities (the ILC based in Boulder) and before that he was Executive Director for the SouthWest Center for Independence with a main office in Durango. Ian sustained a spinal cord injury in a 40 foot fall from a tree on October 1, 1994. He was hired as an advocate with Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, defending and enforcing the rights of people with disabilities, this work focused on investigating abuse and neglect in nursing homes as well as state and private institutions. Ian quickly developed a life-long passion for working with people to have more freedom and control over our own lives through exercising our right to choose and direct community-based services. Ian began delivering speeches and facilitating workshops on the conference circuit for human rights and social justice non-profit organizations, with a focus on nursing home transition and person-centered planning. Ian gained experience handling administrative duties, managing organizational budgets, facilitating dialogue-based interactive learning in participatory workshops, and organizing people to effectively address systemic issues in order to affect public policy. He enjoys connecting people with resources to further independence for many who are capable of doing more, in the larger community, for themselves and each other.
Montezuma ‘Zuma’ Engle
Zuma provides moral support and comic relief for the NWCCI office staff as well as direct service for his owner. After being hit by a car in November 2013, the day before his first birthday, the Steamboat Pilot ran an article about him that has brought widespread community attention to how service animals allow people with disabilities to better reach goals for living well in the setting of our choice.
Rachelle is our Operations Manager, and brings the same passion to her position here at NWCCI that she brings to the rest of her life. Her two children are in school in Steamboat Springs, and the family manages to have fun with just about everything they do. Rachelle loves the seasons here in Steamboat, and she plans travel anytime she can (any excuse at all to get into an airport will do).
For NWCCI, Rachelle works with the team to handle all office operations, including accounting, payables and receivables, employee files, and human resources. Rachelle has a varied background in business operations and accounting, starting with her degree in accounting from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She also studied Psychology as her minor, and that has been as important in her career as her accounting education. Her areas of emphasis have included process improvement; internal and tax auditing, internal controls, and compliance; software education; mortgage banking; and cost/project accounting management. She has worked in aerospace/aviation, municipal, software, and banking corporations. Rachelle adores lists and spreadsheets and wants to streamline everything.
Rachelle joined us because she believes in the mission of NWCCI, and her calling is to help others to live the best lives they can.
Direct Services Manager (Moffat and Rio Blanco)
Micheal was born and raised in Hayden, CO, as a family member of a person who is blind. He served with the Marine Corps from 2000-2005 where he was an aviation electrician. He earned his BA in Social Services in 2012. In 2013 he started working at NWCCI as an IL Coordinator serving individuals with Disabilities. He excels in working with people to access assistive technology and provides training on the use of devices for people who are able to better reach goals for living well in the community through the use of these technological supports. Micheal also provides independent living skills development support which consists of budgeting, navigating services, employment related training, and effectively choosing and directing the supports needed to reach goals for living well in the community. Micheal works with people to set goals and develop plans with specific action steps that detail who does what by when within a strategic framework. His efforts work to put people with disabilities in control of our own lives through the development of an independent living plan that effectively coordinates services and supports around the individual’s with whom he works.
Independent Living Coordinator (Grand County)
Mary has been a Grand County resident for over nine years. She is an active community member advocating for healthy and growing people living in community, She has been involved with Advocates, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, Young Life, PRC, Dept. of Social Services, a co-founder of The Bridge Grand County and is currently the Independent Living Coordinator serving Grand County for NWCCI. Mary is a compassionate and creative strategic connector. She has a six sense-ability to define core issues and find resolutions. She is closely acquainted with the systemic and service issues that make personal growth and wellness challenge for people with disabilities and older adults. Her personal pursuits in Experiential Education has lead her to assist many in overcoming the past and living in the present with hope for the future. Mary enjoys the outdoors, learning of other cultures through travel, speaking French and some Spanish and has a passion for all things nutritious and savory. Her background education is in dietetics and a masters in experiential education with a focus on adult learning.
Independent Living Coordinator (Grand County)
Kathleen has lived in Grand County for 16 years. She worked for East Grand School District for 8 years with students with disabilities. She also worked at North Park and West Grand with similar groups of students. Kathleen worked as an advocate for these students as well as their teacher. After leaving the East Grand School District, Kathleen served as team leader for NWBOCES evaluating young children for developmental concerns. During her time with East Grand School District, Kathleen pursued her Master’s degree in special education. She graduated from UNC in 2006. While working with students with disabilities, she realized her passion to help her students become successful in society. She worked with their families to become advocates and help them connect with the services that would help them as well as their children. A genetic hearing disability led Kathleen to leave the classroom and to pursue work with individuals and small groups. Kathleen is a fan of all things healthy — exercise and nutrition. She enjoys hiking & kayaking in the summer and skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. She loves to swim at the local Rec Center and is there many mornings.
Carlos “the Jackal” Santos
Independent Living Coordinator (Summit County)
Carlos lives in Copper Mountain and participates in numerous outdoor and team sports. He has been involved in various Non-profit organizations serving people with disabilities over the last 15 years such as Thinkfirst Foundation, World Access Project, Footprints Adventures Incorporated, and the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. Carlos received his B.A. in Political Science from Adams State University while also studying Spanish and participating in several outdoor recreational programs such as Crested Butte Adaptive Sports program, Taos Adaptive Sports program, and Alpine Fishing Adventures. He enjoys working with people of all cultures and ability levels and excels in community outreach, outdoor recreation, and advocacy.
Independent Living Coordinator (Routt County)
After graduating from Northern Michigan University, Elisha began her career in youth education when she became an AmeriCorps volunteer in Upper Michigan. With her new passion in education discovered, she eventually made her way to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Working as a preschool teacher she developed an interest in youth with disabilities. She decided to return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Phoenix. Upon completion of her degree, she worked as a Special Education teacher in the South Routt School District and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her focus then broadened to working with at-risk youth as a Day Treatment Teacher. Working in South Routt and Hayden High School and Middle School she worked to help foster academic, social, and emotional success and growth with her students and their families in the school and the community. As a day treatment teacher, her position crossed paths frequently with NWCCI. She was drawn to the mission and philosophy that governs the Northwest Colorado Center for Independence, and is now an Independent Living Coordinator working with youth and adults in Routt County.
Independent Living Coordinator (Moffat County)
Staci Nichols has been in Colorado all of her life originating in Collbran/Grand Junction. She has a BA in psychology and now is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Teaching American Sign Language at University of Northern Colorado to complete in December of 2018. She is deaf and has a wide variety of hobbies from time and hunting in the mountains on horseback to fixing and rebuilding vehicles to art and to throwback video games. She knows what it is like to be isolated and has seen quite a lot of people not get what they need in rural areas and it is her passion to help with developing better connections and resources. Each person has a right to live where they want to live and it is made possible with right resources
Independent Living Coordinator (Moffat County)
Ashley loves to be with her family. They enjoy spending time together, camping, playing games and watching movies. Ashley’s passion for helping others comes from advocating for her own children with disabilities. She wants to help others find the resources and services they need and deserve.
Ashley spent 10 years in the construction industry and understands the need for ADA approved facilities. She worked for social services the past few years and enjoyed working with and serving people in the community. She brings joy to everyone she meets.
Colleen is a licensed school counselor. She has a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and a Master’s in Counseling from CSU. She started working as an Independent Living Coordinator in 2016 and she considers working with people with disabilities and people who’ve experienced trauma to be her life’s ambition. Colleen is our Benefit’s Advocate and works with consumers to help them apply for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration. She loves reading, continuing her education as a counselor and lifetime-learner, skiing, camping with her family, science, and seeing live music.
Jadd Orion Reller
Jadd was born in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. He lives in Steamboat Springs and loves what this area has to offer himself and the people that he loves. Living the Colorado dream each and every day! Jadd started as Transportation Coordinator with NWCCI in August of 2015. He is now the Logistics Manager lording the following: transportation, information technology, peer group activities, and many other responsibilities. Working out of the Steamboat Springs office here at NWCCI, he is a positive force, has a can-do attitude, and helps out any soul with whom he comes into contact with. His knowledge of logistics, motor vehicles and technology has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the Center of Independence.
Jadd loves to work directly with people who can use assistance to reach goals for living well in our communities. We can all look forward to the NWCCI transportation program continuing to grow throughout the 5 Counties we serve. Here at NWCCI, he known as the Lord and looks forward to working with you!
Light N LOVE
Independent Living Specialist
Collette grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Gordon College with majors in Social Work and Sociology and a minor in Art. Collette is new to Steamboat and will be working with NWCCI as an Independent Living Coordinator for the upcoming year. Collette has worked with a few non-profits directed towards serving people with disabilities, including Shared Living Collaborative, Kupenda for the Children, and the Special Olympics. Most recently, Collette was interning for an organization in Massachusetts, utilizing art and dialogue in conflict resolution among youth from the Middle East. In her free time, Collette enjoys field hockey, skiing, drawing, surprises, running, reading, and stovetop popcorn. She looks forward to applying her studies, experience, and passions in her work with NWCCI.
Beverly joined the NWCCI team in January 2014 with extensive experience providing clerical support. Her primary duties, tasks and responsibilities revolve around our organization’s goal to be environmentally conscious. This includes, but is not limited to, shredding, recycling, and working to assure that NWCCI is a clean and healthy work environment.
Ian ‘Glitch’ White
IT/Media and Facilities Specialist
Ian has lived in Steamboat nearly all of his natural life. A High Functioning Autistic with a knack for working with technology. One of the newest additions here at NWCCI. He prefers to go by his online handle of ‘Glitch’, this is both to make him feel more at home and to avoid confusion with his boss also named Ian. His duties are to manage the website and organize data for the rest of the staff and other tasks that need doing. He’s quite happy to be here and looking forward to the long haul!
Pam is a resident of Steamboat Springs and mother of two. She supports our Operations Manager with accounting, payroll and human resource records and our Executive Director with grant work. She also serves as the volunteer coordinator so please contact her. She studied Liberal Arts/Business/Spanish in Long Beach, CA and offers a well-rounded background to the team. Passionate about people with passions and honorable missions, she has found her happy place with her wonderful teammates!
Ryan is a Colorado native and has a strong passion for music. He attended his first year of college at the University of Northern Colorado where he studied music performance for classical trumpet. While at school, Ryan was a member of an eight piece trumpet ensemble that, after qualifying for semifinals, was invited to perform in the large ensemble division of the 2016 National Trumpet Competition.
At NWCCI, Ryan provides transportation for people with disabilities and is always striving to provide his passengers with the best ride possible. Before starting this job, Ryan knew very little about independent living centers. Since starting at NWCCI, Ryan has gained a better understanding of the mission of ILC’s and become much more aware of people with disabilities, and their ability to live freely in the community. Ryan enjoys his work and is happy to be a part of the NWCCI team.