Southwest Regional Office: Meet Our Staff

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David Nimkin, Southwest Senior Regional Director
David Nimkin is the Southwest Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association. Prior to NPCA, David served as chief of staff to Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson as well as a partner at Confluence Associates, a private firm engaged in sustainable development projects throughout the western United States and Mexico. He is the former state director of the Utah Small Business Development Centers, a program of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. David is the founder and long-time board chair of the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund and he is the co-founder and current board co-chair of Buy Local First Utah. He has served as the first executive director for Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services and as president and CEO of the Corporate Fund for Housing in Los Angeles. David recently retired as a board member with High Country News, a paper for people who care about the West. He had served as its president.


Kevin Dahl, Arizona Senior Program Manager
Kevin Dahl, as NPCA’s Arizona Program Manager, works on issues concerning the twenty-five national park units in Arizona, including such well-known parks as Grand Canyon and Saguaro. Prior to NPCA, Kevin was executive director of Native Seeds/SEARCH, a regional group that works to preserve the genetic diversity of Southwestern Native American crops. He was also executive director of the Tucson Audubon Society, and Natural Resources Superintendent for Pima County’s Parks and Recreation Department. An alumnus of both the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, his interest in plants led him to obtain his degree in ethnobotany from Prescott College. Kevin is author of Wild Plants of the Sonoran Desert, published by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Native Harvest: Authentic Southwestern Gardening, published by the Western National Parks Association.


Elizabeth ("Britte") Kirsch, Regional Coordinator
Britte organizes and assists with special events throughout the region as well as acts as an administrative liason for the Regional Director and Program Managers. Britte graduated with a BA in Aquatic Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and spent two austral summers in Antarctica studying krill as part of an NSF grant with UCSB. She has lived in Park City for 11 years and has spent most of that time working as an advocate in the non-profit sector for several local conservation and environmental organizations. She also worked at the local community radio station producing environmental podcasts and news stories. During the ski season, Britte can be found baking chocolate chip cookies and much more at Deer Valley Resort. Her love for the outdoors and the splendor of the Southwest National Parks brought her to Utah where she mountain bikes, hikes, skis (both nordic and downhill) and spends time working on her 4 acre farm. She and her husband recently built a zero energy greenhouse for year round growing.


Cory MacNulty, Southwest Senior Program Manager
Cory MacNulty focuses primarily on issues concerning the thirteen national parks in Utah as well as regional clean air issues.  Cory’s deep commitment to conservation and love of national parks has grown from many years of working with the National Park Service (NPS) from her first job out of college at Isle Royale National Park, to conducting wildlife research in multiple NPS units, to her most recent position prior to joining NPCA leading Voyageurs National Park Association (VNPA).  As Executive Director of VNPA, Cory worked for over 7 years to protect the natural and cultural resources of Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota.  Cory has also worked as an Ecologist and Environmental Educator with the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College in Wisconsin, and spent years studying a wide range of wildlife species from zooplankton in the Blue Mesa Reservoir to Weddell seals in Antarctica. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Science degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota, where she studied the effects of mercury contamination on Common Loon behavior


Erika Pollard, Southwest Senior Program Manager
Erika focuses primarily on issues concerning the thirteen national parks in Utah and the larger Southwest Region as needed. Her experiences prior to joining the NPCA include helping to secure wilderness designation for nearly two million acres of Nevada’s public lands in her role as Conservation Director for the Nevada Wilderness Project. While there, she researched and developed wilderness proposals, participated in grassroots organizing, and developed relationships with a diverse group of people to build programmatic support and organizational stability. Upon moving to Salt Lake City, Erika’s interest in helping to build sustainable organizations led her to the Wild Utah Project, a non-profit conservation science research group, where she was the Development Director for two years. Erika’s career in conservation began with seasonal stints in Natural Resource Management at Isle Royale National Park and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park along with time spent conducting riparian plant community surveys with the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management with a minor in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. She also has a Master of Science degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where her research focused on managing lands adjacent to a protected area from the private land manager’s perspective.


Vanessa Mazal, Colorado Program Manager
Vanessa came to NPCA from the Gates Foundation, where she managed a portfolio of communications and public engagement grants on international development and health issues for seven years. Prior to that, she produced independent research on collaborative watershed management for the US EPA and Washington State Department of Ecology, and worked on her dissertation focused on governance issues in the Upper Rio Grande basin. She spent several years consulting for the Trust for Public Land, where she helped launch a working lands conservation program, and worked for Conservation Strategies, a political consulting firm in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her MA from the University of Washington in Environmental Anthropology in 2005. Vanessa returned to her home state of Colorado from Seattle to manage NPCA’s Colorado field office. She lives in Boulder with her husband, Clark, and their two young kids, Dollie and Beau.


Jerry Otero, Four Corners Energy Program Manager
Jerry Otero comes to NPCA as a native and lifelong resident of Colorado. He has deep roots in the west- his family has been in Colorado for over 150 years. Over the past nine years Jerry has worked for three United States senators, Ken Salazar, Michael Bennet and most recently, as regional director for the western region of Colorado for Senator Mark Udall. During this time Jerry worked at the center of a number of critical energy and public lands issues. He is currently working on several regional haze and oil and gas development issues within New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. He enjoys spending time hunting and fishing with his dad and his brothers when he is not coaching his niece and nephew’s sports teams. In addition to spending time with friends and family he enjoys hanging out with his 12 year old Labrador retriever, Homer.



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