Members of the Citizens Advisory Committee serve two three-year terms. The committee is comprised of three Denver customers, two West Slope residents, one suburban customer, one environmental representative, one public interest group representative, one representative from the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver and one suburban distributor representative. Committee members are selected as a result of the committee’s recommendations to Denver’s Board of Water Commissioners.
Mike Cowan — Chair, Suburban customer representative
Mike Cowan represents suburban customers. Mike is involved in the community and is the chair of the board of directors for the Grant Water and Sanitation District. Mike is a retired civil engineer with 38 years of experience in planning and managing large-scale water storage and conveyance systems. Early in his career, he was instrumental in developing a digital simulation of the Colorado River system of reservoirs, diversions and hydropower plants. This experience gave Mike a good understanding of the law of the Colorado River and how the waters of the river are divided among the seven basin states. He also is experienced in rate-setting practices for water, hydropower and sewage/drainage services. He has been involved in water and hydropower resource management activities in the major river basins in the western United States. Mike’s background gives him a local, regional and multistate perspective on water resource management. He is aware of the need for conservation, collaboration and creative/cooperative solutions to challenges facing Denver Water. Mike received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from San Diego State University and has been a resident of Littleton for 26 years.
— Second term, ends December 2021
Paul Aldretti — Vice chair, Denver citizen representative
Paul Aldretti represents Denver residents. For almost three decades Paul’s professional endeavors and personal commitment have focused on creating a more just, equitable and sustainable society. Since 2013, this work concentrated on public health and the built environment. Prior to this, Paul helped design and implement programs and public policy related to energy, climate change, social responsibility, and sustainability. Paul has worked with government agencies, corporations, trade associations, non-profit organizations, utilities and other groups throughout the United States and internationally. He is a native of Colorado and has lived in the Denver area for more than 60 years.
— Second term, ends December 2021
Alyssa Quinn — Secretary, Distributor representative
Alyssa Quinn represents suburban distributors. Alyssa is a Colorado native and has been at Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District for 20 years. While at Platte Canyon, she has overseen the conservation, asset management and GIS programs. She has also been on the Board for Colorado WaterWise for 9 years. Alyssa works with Denver Water, The One World One Water Center and the Distributors of Denver Water on an annual children’s water festival. She is currently the Chairperson of the Distributor Conservation Committee. In her spare time, she loves being with her husband and two boys.
— First term, ends September 2022
Alan Hassler — West Slope representative
Alan Hassler represents West Slope residents. While growing up in Kremmling and through college, Alan was involved in agriculture and small business. His subsequent law practice developed into two primary areas: local government law and all aspects of real estate.
While water matters were important throughout, Alan's term as County Attorney for Grand County brought new challenges and greater understanding of the relationship between the West Slope headwater counties and the East Slope water users. He gained familiarity with governing documents, such as the CRCA and the Blue River Decree, and worked with municipal, agricultural, and recreational water users. Alan resumed his private practice in Kremmling, focusing on business, small estates and real estate law. He was president of the Clifton Water District. Community involvement now includes serving on the Kremmling Fire Protection District Board and helping with community events such as Kremmling Days and the Middle Park Fair. He and his wife enjoy the myriad of outdoor recreational opportunities of the state.
— First term, ends December 2022
Richard Newton — Environmental representative
Rich Newton is the environmental representative. Rich grew up in the Northeast. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a law degree from the University of Colorado Law School. He moved to Grand County in 1976 and practiced law there for 40 years, retiring in 2015. He is an avid fly fisherman and outdoorsman and a member of numerous environmental organizations. He also serves on the board of directors of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He has an abiding interest in protecting the environment while recognizing the necessity of providing water to the Front Range communities.
— Second term, ends December 2022
Emily Orbanek — Denver citizen representative
Emily Orbanek represents Denver residents. A native of the Western Slope, Emily has lived in Denver since 2014. She is the parks and wildlife program manager for Great Outdoors Colorado. She is responsible for managing the relationship with GOCO’s largest partner, Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Parks and Wildlife receives half of GOCO’s annual funding, about $35 million. In her role, Emily works with a cross section of the agency, from the governor-appointed Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, to the leadership team, to the regional and field staff. She encourages strategic funding decisions to achieve joint priorities for both agencies. Prior to GOCO, Emily worked on federal public lands campaigns in southwest Colorado after spending two years in El Pomar Foundation’s Fellowship program where she worked with communities across the state to solve regional issues. She spends as much time as she can in the great outdoors, fly fishing, backpacking, and chasing big game in the fall.
— First term, ends December 2020
Andrew Ross — Denver citizen representative
Andrew Ross represents Denver residents. Andrew grew up in Arvada and now lives in north Denver. Andrew has almost two decades of experience working in environmental management at state and local levels in Colorado.
— First term, ends December 2021
Gary Wilkinson — West Slope representative
Gary Wilkinson represents West Slope residents. Gary Wilkinson has lived in Frisco along Dillon Reservoir since 1966, graduating from Summit High School and after that receiving a degree in Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Gary recently retired from working for over 20 years at the Climax Mine on Fremont pass and in addition he worked as a Professional Land Surveyor for several years for Range West Inc. He is currently the Mayor of Frisco (term ending April 2020), as well as the Summit County Surveyor. Gary enjoys skiing, sailing, hiking and living in Colorado.
— First term, ends December 2022
Vacant — Homebuilders Association of Metro Denver representative
Vacant — Public Interest Group representative