Meet Our Team

Linda Appel Lipsius

Chief Executive Officer

Niki Barouxis

Food Forest Coordinator

Hannah Buchenau

Grants & Data Manager

Laura Calderón

Bilingual Youth Programs Manager

Kristi Hatakka

Compost Coordinator

Judy Elliott

Community Education Cultivator

Lara Fahnestock

Senior Director of Gardens

Eliza Greene

Director of Garden Leadership

Riley Dehr

Bilingual Youth Programs Coordinator

Creighton Hofeditz

Director of Permaculture & Perennials

Taylor Kibble

Physical Infrastructure Coordinator

Niko Kirby

Director of Marketing & Communications

Marisa Loury

Volunteer Coordinator

Daniel Maynard

Office Manager

Nessa Mogharreban

Director of Corporate Partnerships

Shay Moon

Food Access Program Coordinator

Debbie Nash

Director of Finance

Rob Payo

Director of Youth Education

Brittany Pimentel

Equity & Food Access Director

Caroline Sprague

Community Events Manager

Paula Thomas

Digital Storyteller

Interested in working with DUG? Learn more about employment opportunities here.

Meet Our Board

Le'alani Boykin

Senior Associate at Connected Realities, LLC

Tim Craft

Founder, Craft Companies

Andrew Feldman

Private Wealth Advisor, Legacy Wealth Partners

Brooke Gabbert

Founder, Penn Street Communications

Karen Good

Project Manager, City & County of Denver

Jesse Ogas


Melissa Rosas

President at Apex Design

Melissa Rosas was born and raised in west Chicago to immigrant Mexican parents. She attended Marquette University and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree. She moved to Denver in 2003 after her company sent her out here towork on the T-REX transportation project in which she fell in love with Denver. After receiving great experience at two companies, she was asked by Apex Design to join as a partner and in 2008, she did so.

In 2013, she became the President of this growing transportation consulting business and they are thriving at over 50 employees. She is married and a mother to two children, ages 15 and 12. She enjoys traveling with your family, reading and is a houseplant hobbyist. In terms of community and civic engagement, she believes strongly in community involvement and her passion lies in education as shown in her volunteer work for various organizations.

Chris Shaffner

Senior Vice President at CoBank

Chris Shaffner is the senior vice president and director of business operations for CoBank, a cooperative bank that provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states.
Chris responsible for the development and execution of bank-wide strategic initiatives impacting loan and investment portfolios, including legislative and regulatory issues, portfolio growth, and customer initiatives. He also leads CoBank’s $3 billion water infrastructure finance business. In 2020, Chris also served on President Biden’s Infrastructure Policy Committee, co-chairing both water and rural subcommittees.
Prior to joining CoBank in 2015, Chris held various leadership positions in both public and private organizations, including private equity funds management in excess of $1 billion. He also headed borough operations for the New York City Housing Authority, where he led a team of 1,500 responsible for operating Manhattan’s 60,000 public housing units.
Mr. Shaffner earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a juris doctor degree from Valparaiso University School of Law, and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. He lives in Denver with his wife and two kids and also serves on the Board of Directors of Colorado Youth for a Change.

Melinda Warner

Garden Leader at Golden Community Garden

Melinda Warner is a seasoned gardener and has been a leader at the Golden Community Garden for nearly 10 years.

She volunteers her time and effort as lead of a donation based garden. This multiple bed garden space in Golden grows fresh produce
and donates all the harvest to the local food bank. Each year presents both challenges and successes. This garden space has provided hundreds of pounds of food each year.

Melinda Was born and raised in rural Iowa spending her formative years enjoying the lessons learned from living the midwest lifestyle of hard work and love of community. Melinda graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA in Finance and Economics. She worked as an accountant and leasing agent for many years. She then found herself enjoying the restaurant industry learning the tricks and tips of customer service. Melinda met her husband, Chris, while living in Annapolis, MD. Melinda and Chris moved to the west Denver area 10 years ago. They have a daughter, Wendy. Melinda loves to garden, spend time outdoors hiking, walking, and jogging, doing yoga and other fitness, reading books listening to podcasts, and simply sharing time in community with others. Melinda believes the community garden is a space that can bring peace, calm and friendship.

Zane Way

Relationship Manager, Well's Fargo Middle Market Banking Office, Colorado

Zane Way, a 21-year Wells Fargo veteran, is a relationship manager for Wells Fargo’s Middle Market Banking Office in Colorado. Active in the community, Way serves as board treasurer for Denver Urban Gardens. He is also a board member for The Challenge Foundation where he assists in helping smart, ambitious students break the cycle of poverty through education opportunities in theDenver area.

He has participated in various programs within the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, including Leadership Denver, the Public Affairs Council, Impact Denver and the Chamber 100 Program. In 2009, Way was named one of the Denver Business Journal’s annual Forty under 40 winners. This award recognizes dynamic business leaders whose efforts in the office and in community are shaping the future of the Denver area.

Way served as an officer in the United States Army Reserves for 13years. He was deployed to Afghanistan from 2005-06 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.Way has a degree in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Colorado State University. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society for graduating in the top 20 percent of his MBA class.

Interested in joining the DUG board?

We accept applications year-round.
Email us to learn more.