GOCO names finalists for top job | VailDaily.com

GOCO names finalists for top job

Daily Staff Report

DENVER – Great Outdoors Colorado, better known as GOCO, which distributes a portion of state lottery proceeds for parks, wildlife, and open space, has narrowed its search for a new executive director to four people. The GOCO board made that announcement Monday.

John Hereford, the previous executive director, left the organization in August to pursue private ventures. The board said it expects to appoint Hereford’s successor in early December.

The four candidates are:

– Diane Gansauer, GOCO deputy director for programs and currently acting executive director. Since being hired in 2001, Gansauer has supervised all aspects of GOCO’s grant programs for open space, local government, wildlife, and outdoor recreation projects.

She is the primary staff contact with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks.

Before joining GOCO, Gansauer was executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation, which focuses on conserving Colorado’s wildlife resources through advocacy and education.

– Steven Acquafresca, a land protection specialist with the Mesa Land Trust in Palisade. In a collaborative effort between the Mesa Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy, Acquafresca works to educate landowners about conservation and negotiates and closes complex land transactions between landowners, governmental agencies and conservationists.

Prior to joining the Mesa Land Trust, he was executive director of the Hood River Grower Association in Oregon. He owned and operated Acquafresca Orchards and Vineyards in Cedaredge until 2000. He also served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1991 to 1997.

– Reeves Brown, president and chief executive officer of Club 20 that represents 22 western Colorado counties on public policy issues. From 1989 to 1997, Brown was executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association managing budget and staff.

While there he helped create the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, the first of its kind in the nation, designed to manage the impact of urban growth on rural landscapes.

He also worked on establishing a collaborative process for developing federal land management practices within local diverse communities.

– John Swartout, a senior policy advisor to Gov. Bill Owens on environmental, energy, natural resource and agriculture issues. Swartout is the governor’s liaison to a number of state agencies including the departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture.

He also works closely with the U.S. Department of Interior, the Western Governor’s Association and the National Governor’s Association.

He has played an instrumental role in the creation of the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge, Great Sand Dunes National Monument and promoting new incentives for conservation easements. He has previously served on the staff of Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.

To help select the director, the GOCO Board is convening three groups with expertise in various aspects of GOCO’s mission. These “stakeholders” will meet with each candidate and provide the board with their impressions of the qualifications and abilities of each.

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