BOARD OF DIRECTORS
I moved to Colorado from ND in 2006 where I was born and raised. I graduated from Dickinson State University with a B.S. in Psychology and a Coaching Minor and also obtained a Post-Graduate Crime Scene Technician Certification. In ND I worked as a supervisor at a youth ranch for at-risk juveniles before moving to CO. I then began working for SW Colorado Mental Health (now known as Axis Health System) as a Case Manager and worked in other capacities such as Vocational Counselor, Discharge Planner and Emergency Services Therapist. In 2010 I left to pursue other opportunities in the non-profit field before settling in as a Probation Officer for approx. 3 years. In Feb 2014, I took a position with the 6th JD District Attorney’s Office and started an Adult Diversion and Restorative Justice program that serves LaPlata, San Juan and Archuleta Counties. We provide sentencing alternatives for those charged with all types of offenses as well as ensure accountability and victim services. Outside of work, I enjoy my quiet time watching my beautiful 4 year old daughter grow up, travelling with her to our vacation home in the Black Hills, time at the water, family get togethers, reading, landscaping and laughing at our 6 year old bloodhound. I also enjoy being a member of the Bayfield PTSA which supports the Bayfield school districts, students and staff.
RICHARD "RICH" PODLESNIK, PHD
PhD in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University 1976.
Retired Professor Emeritus of Engineering Management from Fort Lewis College.
Director and Chair of Finance Committee for SASO Board of Directors.
I am a 25 year police officer with the Durango Police Department. I am currently a Commander but for many years was a Detective investigating sexual assault crimes against women and children as well as Domestic Violence. I am very involved in this issue at my department and in the community. I have been on the SASO Board for many years and am a strong believer in the organization and how it helps all victims of sexual assaults and promotes survivorship and healing.
I have lived in Durango for many years, and also a proud Texan at heart. I have two grown daughters and love to hike, camp, fish and garden when I am not at work.
I grew up in Glenwood Springs, CO, where my family still lives. I graduated with a BA in English from Fort Lewis College in 1997 and then went on to earn a CO Secondary Teaching License, an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, and a PhD in English with Creative Concentration from Georgia State University. I was lucky enough to return to FLC to teach in the English Department, where I am an Assistant Professor of English. I also teach for Western's low-residency MFA program, and I love working with both undergraduate and graduate-level writers. My own creative work focuses on women's lives, and I particularly explore the intersection between gender and place. I'm a book lover, a podcast fanatic, and an avid cook and baker. I love to bike, hike, ski, and otherwise explore the outdoors with my Aussie puppy Rowan. I am committed to helping survivors of sexual assault find the resources they need to heal and to the creation of a more just world, and it is an honor to serve on the SASO board and to support their work in the community.
Bio coming soon!
I grew up in Oklahoma and am a proud member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. I graduated from Fort Lewis College in 2000 and it changed my life for the better. I fell in love with higher education and focused my studies on violence against Native American women and girls and decolonizing sexualities. I earned my PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2019 and returned to Durango and FLC as an Assistant Professor in Sociology and Native American and Indigenous Studies. In my free time, I enjoy being outside and spending time with my partner Joe Grant and our two rascal dogs.