Key Players at Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Rick Cables, Director
Chad Bishop, Assistant Director for Wildlife Natural Resources
Ken Brink Jr., Assistant Director for Parks and Outdoor RecreationAs the Assistant Director of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Ken is the primary person responsible for recreation related issues at the agency Headquarters. Ken oversees strategic policy and program development, interpretation and applications of existing policies, and general management oversight of the parks and park programs. He also oversees the trails and capital construction programs and the development of budgets for the parks system. Ken is a twenty-seven year agency veteran that started his career as a winter seasonal ranger at State Forest State Park. Some of Ken's assignments have included serving as a climbing ranger at Eldorado Canyon, a boat patrol ranger at Boyd Lake, the Sr. Ranger at Jackson Lake, and the training officer for the old North Region. He served for nine years as the Park Manager at Steamboat Lake and Pearl and in many ways he still considers that "home." While working at Steamboat Lake Ken worked tirelessly to establish a first rate multiple use trail system and he helped establish the agencies first Nordic touring center. He also worked to bring motorized and non-motorized groups together to form the Steamboat Lake Snow Club. Prior to being appointed as the Assistant Director of Parks and Outdoor Recreation he managed Chatfield State Park, one of the busiest units in the system. Ken grew up in Fort Collins where his Father worked at Colorado State University in the College of Agriculture. Ken attended CSU graduating in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Outdoor Recreation Administration. Ken is an advocate for transparent, customer service oriented leadership and he works hard to ensure good communications and training for his staff. His interests away from work include fly fishing, big game hunting, and camping in the mountains with his family.Steve Cassin, Assistant Director for Financial ServicesSteve Cassin is the Chief Financial Officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. He came to Parks in early 2008, after having served as the CFO for the Colorado Division of Wildlife since the mid-1990s. As CFO, he oversees accounting, budgeting, procurement, grants management, and financial strategy for the agency. Steve graduated with an MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver and worked in the private sector for a number of years before joining the Division of Wildlife. Heather Dugan, Assistant Director of Law Enforcement and Public SafetyHeather Dugan is the Assistant Director of Law Enforcement and Public Safety for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Heather oversees the boating registration program and law enforcement-related operations, training and investigations associated with protecting Colorado's wildlife and providing a safe and enjoyable recreational experience for visitors at Colorado's state parks. Heather worked for six seasons in state parks while working to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology. After graduating from Colorado State University in 1992, Heather was hired as a full time ranger and has since worked in several parks, as a training coordinator and instructor, and most recently as a region manager.Gary Thorson, Assistant Director for Information and EducationAs Assistant Director of Information and Education, Gary is responsible for management and oversight of creative services, licensing, education, marketing, outreach, partnerships, public information, publications, reservations program, retail sales program, video productions, volunteers and web management for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Prior to joining Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Parks and Wildlife in 2003, Gary served as the Development Director for Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Utah State Parks and Outdoor Recreation. Prior to Utah, Gary spent 19 years working for Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites and served as Director from 1990 - 1999. Gary has lectured on park, outdoor recreation and natural resource issues at conferences, symposia and at the National State Park Leadership School in Wheeling, West Virginia. Gary holds a Bachelors degree in Parks and Recreation Administration from the University of Nebraska and completed graduate work at the University of Wyoming. Gary lives in the Denver Metro area with his wife Lisa, their four daughters and one granddaughter.Jeff Ver Steeg, Assistant Director for Research, Policy & PlanningJeff Ver Steeg is currently the Assistant Director for Research, Policy and Planning. He was the Assistant Director for Wildlife Programs for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (and subsequently Colorado Parks and Wildlife) from 2003-2012. He joined the agency as the Terrestrial Section Manager in 2001. Prior to that he served 12 years as the Chief of the Division of Wildlife Resources for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He began his career in 1979 as a District Wildlife Manager for what was then known as the Illinois Department of Conservation. He has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Zoology (wildlife emphasis) from Southern Illinois University and a Master's Degree in Environmental Biology from Eastern Illinois University.Patt Dorsey, Southwest Region Co-Manager
Kurt Mill, Northwest and Southwest Region Co-ManagerKurt Mill graduated in 1980 from Colorado State University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation Administration. Mill has worked throughout the state in various capacities for State Parks since being hired in 1980. Currently, Mill oversees the operation of the 20 state parks located on the western slope of Colorado.
Dan Prenzlow, Southeast Region ManagerDan Prenzlow received his BS in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 1985. He was hired as a DWM trainee in June of 1986, and after graduating POST and finishing training, he was assigned to the Castle Rock District. Dan was the DWM in Castle Rock until 1991, when he was promoted to Area Wildlife Manager in Meeker. He was promoted again in 2005 to his current position of Regional Manager in Colorado Springs. He is married to Brenda, and has two daughters, Danika and Alaura.
Ron Velarde, Northwest Region Co-ManagerRon, originally from Walsenburg, Colorado, attended St Mary's grade and high school, and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Wildlife Biology. Ron started with the Game, Fish and Parks in 1970; rose through the division's ranks starting as a Wildlife Conservation aide at Bonny State Recreation Area, then on to Wildlife Conservation Officer San Luis District, District Wildlife Manager Monte Vista, Area Wildlife Manager Pueblo, and Assistant Regional Manager in the Southeast Region. Ron moved to Grand Junction in 1999 promoted as Regional Manger who oversees the wildlife operation of the Northwest Region Colorado. Ron has served on a variety of committees and was instrumental in the implementation of the Habitat Stamp Program and has received many awards and honors during his years of service including the Division's most prestigious award, the 2002 John D. Hart Award. One of the most notable committees Ron served on was the CPW Transition Team as Co-Chair.
Steve Yamashita, Northeast Region Manager