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Wildfire Action Collaborative Member Bios

Jim R. Wattenburger

Jim was the Assistant Fire Chief of CAL FIRE, and retired after 32 years.  His background includes extensive experience in Emergency Planning, Fire and Fuels Mitigation, Fire Aviation Management, Fire Ground Operations. Past City Council Member and County Commissioner.  He is a concerned citizen looking out for the people of Douglas County.

Brian Banks

Brian is the District Ranger for the South Platte Ranger District is an urban district located west of the Denver Metro Area.  The district is home to the most popular Colorado 14er Mt. Bierstadt, Devils Head fire lookout tower, Buffalo Creek mountain biking area and the Rocky Mountain Regional Pack String. Brian enjoys cycling, disc golf, hiking and camping. He decided he wanted to be a ranger in 1st grade when I received a tiny tree from a forest “ranger”.

Mike Dell’Orfano

Mike is currently the Chief Government Affairs Officer for South Metro Fire Rescue.  He is responsible for a wide variety of governance and strategic initiatives including supporting the fire district’s board of directors, building relations with partner agencies, monitoring legislation, and evaluating fire district consolidations over the past several years.  The government affairs team also develops essential planning documents, plans for future fire station and resource locations, and conducts data analysis to support prevention, mitigation and emergency response strategies.


James Pilsmaker

James is currently the Fire Management Specialist (Prescribed Fire and Fuels) for the South Platte Ranger District, Pike-San Isabel National Forest and Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands.  He is a qualified wildland firefighter and has been managing wildfires and prescribed fires in various locations across the country for the last 18 years. He is responsible for managing fuel conditions across the 460,000-acre South Platte Ranger District and a resident of Morrison, Colorado. James is passionate about returning fire to fire adapted landscapes to ensure the safety of communities and the protection of their natural resources for future generations.

Bart Chambers

Bart brings more than 35 years of fire and law enforcement experience to the Douglas County Wildfire Action Collaborative. In his 35 years he worked for CAL FIRE, served as the Nevada State Fire Marshal, and worked in Texas for a small rural department prior to coming to Castle Rock as their Fire Marshal. Bart has a background in wildfire mitigation, code enforcement, fire, criminal and serious accident investigations, fire and law enforcement operations, incident management teams and cooperative agreements.

Norris W. Croom III

Norris Croom currently serves as the Fire Chief for the Castle Rock Fire and Rescue Department, an internationally accredited agency through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.  He has been with the Department for 37 years as both a volunteer and career firefighter, serves on the Douglas County Incident Management Team, and has served in a variety of roles on numerous wildland fires within Douglas and Elbert counties.

Brendan Finnegan

Brendan holds the rank of Captain of West Metro Fire Rescue and also serves as their wildland coordinator.  Serving in his 26th year, efforts directed toward operations, training and wildfire mitigation. He has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and holds NWCG qualifications as a strike team and task force leader, type 4 incident commander, and line safety officer. Brendan is a recipient of the 2020 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award for Initiative and Innovation, presented by the NWCG Leadership Committee.

Fran Santagata

Fran has been a resident of Douglas County for 27 years. Her career includes over 25 years serving in homeland security and emergency management at the Federal (US Department of Homeland Security/Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency), State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, and local: Douglas County Office of Emergency Management. Fran’s career also includes 25 years in the medical profession as a Medical Technologist, Exercise Physiologist & EMT.

Michael Penny

Michael is the current City Manager for the City of Castle Pines. He has over 32-years of local government management experience in Colorado working in Boulder, Ouray, Frisco, Littleton, and now Castle Pines. He was the Frisco Town Manager during the pine beetle epidemic and demonstrated proactive leadership to minimize fire risk in and around the community. Now, with the support of the Castle Pines City Council, wildfire mitigation is a top priority for the community and for him personally. Michael is again taking a proactive approach to keep the community safe.

Jordan Ambrogi

Jordan is the Wildfire Mitigation Program Manager for CORE Electric Cooperative.  He has been an employee at CORE for the past five years and has been working to reduce wildfire ignitions from power systems in Douglas County for the past seven.   Prior to running the Wildfire Mitigation program, he was the Utility Forester at CORE.  Jordan is a Certified Arborist, Utility Specialist, and Wildfire Mitigation Specialist.

Tom Welle

Tom is the Wildfire Mitigation Specialist for West Metro Fire Rescue.  He has over 40 years of fire experience both as a structural and wildland fire captain, a community college fire science professor, and as the Senior Land Management Ranger for Douglas County Open Space and Natural Resources.  Tom also managed the National Fire Protection Association’s Wildfire Division, Denver Field Office, which managed the national Firewise USA® program.  He also was the Community Risk Reduction Manager for the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office and a private consultant in wildfire preparedness

Mike Waid

Mike joined the Douglas County Community Foundation (DCCF) as Executive Director in 2021.  Prior to joining DCCF, Waid served as the Mayor of the Town of Parker from 2012 – 2020 and as a Parker Town Council member from 2008 – 2012.  He was also the founder and owner of Waid Publishing, the publisher of monthly community magazines serving Parker, Castle Rock and Lone Tree among other communities.  Mike has a deep love for community and nonprofit service.  Over his time in Colorado he has help found several nonprofit organizations including the Space EGGsploration Foundation and the APEX Dance Theater Foundation.  In his spare time, Waid enjoys fishing, camping, cooking and spending time with his family.

Dave Miska

Dave is the President of Douglas County Search and Rescue (DCSAR). He joined the team in 2016 after a job transfer to Colorado. As the chairperson of the DCSAR Board of Directors, he oversees all administrative and strategic operations of the team. In addition to his president role, David and his wife Michele are fielded operational volunteer search and rescuers with DCSAR. David has a B.S. in Fire and Safety Engineering and a M.S. in Safety Management. He recently retired after 34 years in the defense industry starting his professional career as a Safety Engineer and serving the last sixteen years as a Director of Environment, Safety, and Health and Chief of Safety for a Fortune 50 company. David started his volunteer service in his teens as a volunteer firefighter and EMT back east. During his twenty-seven years in the volunteer fire service, he served as a Fire Marshal, Fire Academy Instructor, and Assistant Fire Chief of Operations for a combination fire department. He has served on two volunteer fire department boards of directors, as well as Vice-chair and then Chairperson of a Local Emergency Planning Committee. David and his wife Michele live in Roxborough Park.