March 13 - Uta Carleno
After I was 14 again my parents said it was enough and I had to quit and go to work in a knitting factory across the river behind our house. I lasted a year and during that time I decided that I wanted to run a factory. I started an apprenticeship and went to a school two days a week and worked for various places three days a week as an apprentice. To this day I love to learn how things work and how they are made and think about how something can be improved. I was 22 years old when I finished and had met a very nice GI who’s parents offered to sponsor me coming to the US.
I came to the US in 1971 and two days later I celebrated my 23rd birthday and a few days later I married my first husband Bruce. I was so ill prepared and had no clue how things work in the US. We lived with his parents in Bayfield towards Vallecito Lake. During that time I worked for Cessna Aircraft in Kansas in the engineering department doing time and motion studies for them and reorganized assembly lines for more efficient output.
Back in Durango, I was working for Kroeger’s True Value Hardware as a cashier and worked my way up to be Fred’s secretary. In 1977 I married Richard Carleno who passed away in 2011. In 1980 we moved to Albuquerque where Richard finished degrees in geology and history at UNM while working for PNM. I worked for Levi Strauss overseeing their jeans production there. I also worked for First Interstate Bank in ABQ and then for DeVore Aviation where I got to do all the things I learned in Germany, it was one of my favorite jobs.
I had been a caregiver now for some time and started to take classes in nursing and got a LPN and right after that an RN license. I worked for San Juan Basin Health, Four Corners Healthcare Center and various agencies. I also was the La Plata County Jail nurse for a few years. Fred became like a member of my family and circle of my friends. My goal is to help people to be able to stay in their homes and not have to go into a facility.
There are many more layers in my life since many things took place simultaneously. I am thankful to everyone that has positively influenced my life and helped me to be the person I am today. Kiwanis plays a big part in this. Thank you my Kiwanis friends and all others that have crossed my path."
March 6 - Lucas Perlstein
Fluent in Portuguese, he returned to study at Fort Lewis College graduating with his Bachelors in Business Administration in 2013. He spent his winters skiing, and his summers as a Camp Counselor and Rock Climbing Coordinator at Colvig Silver Camps in Durango, CO.
Lucas has worked with Children in a professional setting for years and enjoys being a part of community through volunteering and giving back. Referred by Robert Whitson, Lucas Joined Kiwanis in 2016 and was on the Board of Directors, which added tremendous value to Lucas' life.
Lucas currently works in sales with Vivint Smart Home, an alarm and smart home company based out of Salt Lake City, UT. He travels the country representing the company growing its customer base.
Lucas is close with his family, still enjoys skiing, rock climbing, camping and playing golf. Helping educate and improve the lives of children will always be very important to Lucas.
February 20 - Charlotte Pirnat
Charlotte comes from a family of teachers, so her decision to become a teacher was no surprise. Her aunt later told her that she had observed Charlotte as a child teaching her younger siblings. Charlotte was active in Girl Scouts, often assisting younger troops, and often in leadership positions.
Charlotte graduated from Colorado State College (Greeley) in December, 1969 with a double major in Elementary Education and Art Education (K-12). She and Martin were married a few weeks later, and they lived in Boulder while he finished his undergraduate degree. Then it was on to Denver, where Charlotte commuted to a teaching job in Bennett, Colorado (out near DIA today), and Martin earned his medical degree. Three years in San Bernardino, CA resulted in the completion of his residency in Family Medicine and an infant son.
Everything seemed to align to bring the young family to Durango - a desire to return to Colorado, an opening for a doctor in Durango Medical & Surgical Assoc. (Drs. Lloyd, Halley, and Pivonka), and word of mouth on a house for sale but not yet on the market.
While Martin worked long hours in medicine, Charlotte kept busy with civic organizations and teaching (surprise?). She was a founding member and first president of the Friends of the Durango Public Library, a founding member of the La Plata Quilters Guild, a member of the library Board of Trustees, and later as a member of Kiwanis. She started directing and teaching at the private preschool where their son attended which led to working for Head Start - for 26 years - and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Charlotte retired in 2013 as the Executive Director of the non-profit operating Head Start.
Since retiring, Charlotte has been more active in Kiwanis both locally and at the District level. She has been chair of the local Young Children Committee, President, and District 18 Lt. Governor. She has returned to active membership in the Quilt Guild. Together, she and Martin enjoy traveling, reading, and visiting the younger family who live in Cleveland.
February 13 - Donna Baur
February 6 - Dave Schank
January 30 - Carrie Woodson
Carrie is a graduate of the Leadership La Plata class of 2007-2008, the best class ever! Her commitment to community service started early as the organizer of the Durango Area Association of Realtors’ “Paint-a-thon”. This program helped the elderly of our community by providing paint and up-keep of their homes. Carrie and Larry raised their kids here, their grandsons are being raised here, and they know how tough it can be to make ends meet in the area; families need all the support they can get! Carrie currently is showing her community involvement by being a member of the Durango Area Kiwanis, she feels giving back to the community is a very important part of living in Durango.
Carrie began her career doing a variety of jobs in Durango, including day care while working nights at The Huck Finn Store when the kids were small. Working as a property manager got her involved in various aspects of real estate, including being a Realtor from 1989 to 1996. In 1996 she joined the La Plata County Assessor’s Office as a staff appraiser. In the first 5 years she went from a new Appraiser to Chief Appraiser, her current position, and earned a Certified General Appraisal License. “It has been my honor to serve the citizens of La Plata County. It is a wonderful thing when I can help a tax payer through a difficult process or explain what we do, how we do it and why, so that the public understands fully how their property taxes are assessed.” “I am fortunate to have gotten to meet some of the nicest people and visited some of the most beautiful areas of our County in my position as an Appraiser for La Plata County.”
January 16 - Judy Michalski
She received her B.S. degree, comprehensive Social Studies with a history emphasis, from St. Cloud State University. During her undergraduate years she was chosen to participate in a University of Minnesota program, Student Project for Amity among Nations (SPAN). That program sent her to Quito, Ecuador, South America for a summer to write thesis on the Role of the Woman in Ecuador. During that summer there was a government overthrow and the university in Ecuador was forcefully closed by the military.
In 1970, she moved to Austin, Texas to teach history at Burnett Jr. High. During the summer Judy attended the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction.
In 1975, Judy returned to Minnesota to work at the Education Cooperative Service Units in Mankato then Fergus Falls, Minnesota as a curriculum consultant for 50+ school districts in southern & west central Minnesota. During that time she started work on her Ph.D. in Educational Administration at the University of Minnesota. She was awarded her Ph.D. in 1986 upon finishing her thesis on The Future of Educational Regional Service Agencies.
From 1980-82, she worked at the Colorado Department of Education in Denver as the curriculum/technology consultant to the 176 districts in the state. In 1982 until her retirement she worked at Durango 9-R School District in various roles – K-12 Curriculum, Secondary Curriculum, Grant Writer, Federal Program Coordinator, Assistant Superintendent.
Judy joined Kiwanis in 2008. After attending a Kiwanis Convention explaining the Dollywood Imagination Library Program, she asked the Board to initiate the program in Durango. With the financial support of The Kiwanis Club of Durango, every child age 0-5 whose parents signs up for the program and live in the Florida Mesa Elementary School area boundaries, receives a book sent to their home each month. The program is currently being expanded to the Park Elementary & Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary School areas.
Judy has been active supporting our annual Pancake Day, bell ringing with the Salvation Army at Christmas, served as club president & secretary. She is married to Claude E. “Bud” Deering; they live in Hermosa with the bears & lots of fruit trees.
January 9, 2018 - Jim Bolen
December 19 - Steve SchlageterSteve Schlageter is a native to Durango, Colorado and has been involved with the Kiwanis of Durango for 28 years. He worked in law enforcement after leaving the military. He was with the Sheriff’s office, private security, and he was also a correctional officer. He has 1 daughter, who is now a state patrol officer in the front range of Colorado. Steve plans to move to Denver to be closer to his daughter and son-in-law.
December 12 - Drea PressleyDrea Pressley is a financial advisor, serving individuals, families, and small businesses in the Durango area. She was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. During her childhood her parents took her and her brothers to just about every national monument in the state and they took every opportunity they could to go hiking. Drea spent time as she was growing up deciding she was going to be an astronaut and then a paleontologist and then an animator and then finally, as college approached, she decided upon pursuing a career in music. She attended Loyola University New Orleans where she studied vocal performance and performed with the New Orleans Opera Association and with the Operafestival di Roma.
December 5 - Robert Whitson
July 1993 to May 2014 - Chief Financial Officer for Ballantine Communications, Inc., General Manager of Directory Plus, the company’s phone directory unit, and general manager of the Four Corners printing, which printed the company’s four newspapers and outside commercial printing jobs from. Also oversaw Durango Herald Small Press, which published niche books covering the Southwest. Human Resources Department reported to me also.
I had been involved with all aspects of the company’s accounting and finances, including annual budgeting, quarterly budget and P&L reporting to the board and business unit forecasting for the long- and short-term. Robert has initiated and led efforts to streamline operations, along with initiating financial efficiencies and cost containment.
Under my leadership, Directory Plus revenues grew from $890,000 to $7.8 million by 2012 while maintaining competitive market positioning. I also led the transitioning of the phone directories into the digital space.
I assumed responsibility for Four Corners Printing in 2011 and has successfully increased revenues which cutting expenditures. He reorganized the production staff and recruited qualified individuals, thereby improving productivity and print quality. He also instituted an ongoing training program and supervised revitalizing the Goss Urbanite printing press from poor condition to very good.
In June of 2014 my wife Nancy and I decided to make a career change and we opened Express Employment Professionals on September 8, 2014. In the short time we have been open, we have exceeded our original expectations, and the company continues to grow.
“Our customer service is what really sets us apart. We take a very specific profile of all our associates and do a full vetting. We know their skills, education, prior employment history and pay - our staffing consultants review all applicants and conduct full-fledged interviews. Then we put them to work.”
“There are challenges every day - but we like to meet those challenges. The most rewarding thing is putting people to work. We get ‘thank you’s from both clients and associates."
I am active in several organizations, including Vice Chair of the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County; Kiwanis.
November 28 - Ken LeRoy
November 14 - Sarah Doane
Sarah’s family nicknamed her the “animal whisperer.” Sarah has a passion to give every animal a chance. She volunteered for Denver’s Dumb Friends League for 1 year and learned how to approach animals in need. To this day, she has a way with animals – she’s a dog/cat magnet.
Sarah made the long haul to Durango to attend classes at Fort Lewis College. She graduated in 2011 with her Bachelor’s degree in Art with a Business Option (perfect for Marketing!) Shortly after she graduated Fort Lewis College, she worked for the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado. She was involved in the planning process of two Parade of Homes. Sarah is presently employed by Buena Vista Builders, Inc. – who saw her dedication to the HBA.
Sarah is involved with the Kiwanis Club of Durango, along with the Durango Elks Lodge. Sarah updated the Kiwanis website and continues to post on the Kiwanis Facebook page.
When Sarah isn't working or volunteering her time, you can find her spending time with friends. One of her hobbies is photography.
November 7 - Pat Barrett
In the summer of 1985 he met his beautiful wife of 31 years, fellow Kiwanian, Lisa Mahan Barrett, at a wedding of all places. They were married in the fall of 1986. Together they have raised two beautiful daughters who are both young adults with college degrees and gainfully employed in their chosen fields. Their eldest daughter was recently married to, as Pat likes to say – “a fine young man”!!! Lisa and Pat couldn’t be prouder of their daughters and count their blessing every day.
Building on the experience he gained in public accounting, he spent seven years working as a tax accountant and then tax manager for a closely held oil and gas company in Denver, CO. When the family he worked for sold their investments in the oil and gas industry, he was given an opportunity to serve as Controller/Tax Manager in the Family Office and oversaw the accounting and treasury functions of the family’s investments.
Then in July of 2001 he relocated along with his family from the Bailey/Conifer area in the foothills outside of Denver to Durango, CO to join the accounting firm of Brown Wheeldon and Associates PC. In February of 2002 he was given the opportunity to become a partner in the firm. Over the course of the next several years along with his current business partner Brad Tafoya, he bought out two retiring CPAs. Since January of 2005 he has been a 50% owner of the Durango, CO local CPA firm, Tafoya Barrett and Associates PC, focusing on providing quality accounting, tax and financial planning services to small business owners and individuals.
Pat has strived over the years to be an active member of his community and tries to do what he can to make a positive impact on his little corner of the world. He is currently an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Durango, serving on its Board of Directors and has previously served as, you guessed it, - Treasurer. He is also one of the founding members of the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County where he served on the Board for 10 years and continues to serve on its Finance, Investment, and Audit Committees. He is a member of the 2003-04 Leadership La Plata class, (best class EVER). Pat is also a member of the Durango, CO local council of the Knights of Columbus, serving previously as Grand Knight for a 2-year term.
In his pastime Pat enjoys spending time with his wife Lisa, camping, hiking, mountain biking and downhill and backcountry skiing whenever he can.
October 31 - Mark Simon
October 24 - Lisa Barrett
After meeting and marrying, Patrick Barrett, they settled in Arvada, and eventually moved to Bailey where she taught school at Deer Creek Elementary.
In 2001, Lisa moved with her husband and 2 daughters to Durango. Lisa taught at Park Elementary for a short time and then took a job with the Early Childhood Council of La Plata County. During this time, she decided to go back to school and earn her Masters in Education from Lesley University. She then begin teaching at Southwest Colorado Community College where she was the Director of Student and Academic Services. Lisa left there in 2012 and began working at the local public health, San Juan Basin, where she was the Prevention and Population Health Director. Just last year, she decided to return to her roots and is currently working as the Assessment Specialist for Fort Lewis College.
Lisa’s hobbies include Jazzercise, hiking, fishing, camping and playing the piano. She spends her summers camping with her husband Pat in their pop-up camper. She also loves spending time with her daughter, Caitlin and son-in-law, Ryan in Denver and her daughter Megan in San Francisco.
Lisa has served as the membership chair, Pancake Day Chair and President of the Kiwanis Club. She received the Distinguished President Award in 2012 and also is a Lusche Fellow.
Lisa is a Durango Diplomat for the Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Leadership and Curriculum Committees for Leadership La Plata, will be serving on the board of the Woman’s Resource Center, and is a member of the Catholic Daughters of America.
October 17 - Jack Llewellyn
Jack is married to Cherie Morris-Llewellyn owner of Durango Olive Oil Company. Jack was passionate about watching Avery, his son, play football (kicker and punter) at Colorado School of Mines, Avery is now working for Liberty and oil and gas company out of Denver. He has two step sons, Blake Morris, US Coast Guard helicopter pilot stationed in San Francisco, and John Morris graduate from Johnson and Wales culinary school and lives in Durango.
October 10 - Scott Shadid