The Board of Directors is comprised of active leaders in their respective communities who provide great insight, direction, and leadership for our organization.


Ken Dwenger,  President, Director


Ken has over 25 years of experience working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as an advocate for adults and as an advisor for a statewide self-advocacy group.

Ken served in the United States Army for two years as a Medical Corpsman/Technician and Operations/Protocol NCO. He received his B.S. in Computer Technology from Purdue University.  For 25 years, Ken worked in the telecommunications industry for very notable corporations.  During that time, he was transferred to Colorado where he eventually retired after 25 years of service in the industry.

Ken then started his work as an advocate at the Arc of Denver/Advocacy Denver, where he worked for 14 years. During his time there, he assisted adults with I/DD in finding and receiving quality residential placements, employment, community and medical services, and assisted in court proceedings, among many other responsibilities.  Ken received the Advocacy Denver’s Shenkein Distinguished Service Award in 2015, the same year he retired.

Ken continues to work in the community as an advocate for individuals with I/DD. He has worked with various programs such as the Colorado Special Olympics, Parent Advocates for Visually Impaired Children, Cerebral Palsy Center, and Winter Park’s Blind Skier Program.

Ken has a loving wife and three step children, one of which has profound intellectual and physical disabilities as a result of a traumatic brain injury. Ken and his wife have two grandchildren, who he enjoys caring for regularly.  Ken also enjoys getting out in the garden, as he is a Denver Urban Gardens Master Composter and Denver Master Gardener through the CSU Extension.

Brook Phifer, Vice President, Director

Picture of Brook After growing up in Wyoming, then living in the large metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Houston, and San Francisco, Brook finds Denver to be a great place for his family to grow. “I have an autistic, middle aged son at home and I just love to coach Special Olympics basketball and soccer, as I have for the past two decades. With its urban culture and close proximity to Colorado’s mountains and Wyoming’s wide-open spaces, Denver gives me a great opportunity to maintain my rural roots.”

Brook comes to CLA with a wealth of business management and entrepreneurial experience. With a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Stanford University, he has over 40 years’ experience in the oil and gas drilling and production industry, starting at Exxon Co. USA, and working his way up to the rank of VP Production & Engineering of Axem Resources. He founded his current company, NiCo Resources LLC, an independent oil and gas producer in 1994.

Brook has a passion for building and renovating custom homes and also brings to CLA a solid understanding of board-level leadership principles. As a former board member of Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, an onshore and ultra-deepwater research organization; past chairman of their Small Producer Program and former chairman and board member of a national education program: Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, he understands the intricacies of strategic planning and organizational development.

“I love the mission of improving the lives of adults with developmental disabilities. I joined the board 2005 because CLA has a solid history of financial security, with conservative financial judgment, good governance, and a caring staff and director. “


Shari Janata, Director

Janata S with her dog crop 200x200pxShari has been a leader in environment, health, and safety management for the Oil & gas industry for over 30 years. As a Health & Safety Specialist, she brings a unique focus to our organizational development, ensuring that CLA remains at the forefront of risk assessment and management.

Throughout her life, Shari has been an active participant and proponent in charitable causes and non-profit missions with a focus on the intellectual/developmental disability community.  As a young person, she started helping people with I/D disabilities as a member of 4H and she has continued that leadership role throughout her life.  As a regular volunteer for Special Olympics, she has organized groups of over 30 volunteers to help organize their annual track and field event, along with participating in many other events throughout the year.

With her deep connection to the disabilities community, a directorship with the CLA board is a perfect fit for her interests, experience and expertise.  Shari is excited to be a member of the CLA team stating: “The integrity and focus this organization has on the I/DD community is very impressive.”  Besides enjoying the intrinsic rewards of helping others, Shari loves to sew, play softball, and most of all, play with her puppy.  “Being a Denver native has always been a plus, I can’t find a better place to live!”

Linda Watkins, Director

Linda received a BSBA and MS from Kansas State University. She has worked in a variety of capacities but mostly performing marketing, program development and training in educational facilities, healthcare and nonprofits. She was first introduced to working with individuals with special needs in graduate school where her class ran the local Special Olympics. She then worked with an NGO in New Zealand, where she created a mentorship program for adults with developmental disabilities. She worked for CLA as their Employment Specialist before retiring and becoming a Board Member.

Margaret Dominguez, Director

Margaret Dominguez has a great passion for people.  She has worked her entire career, starting in the early 1980’s, with public, private and non-profit agencies that provide services to elderly and developmentally disabled people.  She uses her knowledge and experience in Person Centered Planning, regulatory compliance, program administration, policy development and implementation to support CLA and the great work this agency provides. Margaret is excited about the opportunity to support CLA and continue her work to improve the quality of care and services for disabled individuals. She was voted on to CLAs Board in 2018 and feels honored to be of service to this Board and the people who receive services from CLA.

Scot Lichty, Director 

Prior to his retirement in 2019, Scot spent forty years leading technical organizations in the United States Air Force and the Lockheed Martin Corporation serving as an Engineer, Program Manager, and Vice President.  Scot brings a broad business and technical background to CLA specializing in strategic planning, affordability, streamlining and leading change to increase a company’s value proposition.

Scot enjoys spending his leisure time hiking Colorado “fourteeners”, wine tasting, riding his motorcycles and “snowbirding” in Arizona.

Scot and his wife Marion have three children and three grandchildren.  Their oldest daughter Mandy enjoys a very full life with Down Syndrome that includes Special Olympics basketball and soccer as well as several camps and a wonderful day program. And while she travels extensively with her parents and loves her role of “Aunt Mandy” to her nieces, her greatest passion is shopping and watching the Food Network. 

Looking back as a father of a special needs child, Scot is very thankful for the great programs, teachers and care-professionals that helped his family’s journey, and enriched Mandy’s life experience.

CLA Board membership provides Scot the opportunity to make a difference with an under-serviced population who he’s personally invested in, and strongly committed to.  His driving goal is to enable and empower the lives in this very special community, and to advocate and serve much like those earlier professionals did for his family.

Janet Burgess, Director
Buffy Fox, Secretary, Director
Lindsay  Meredith, Director








We’re always looking for key individuals with the expertise to grow CLA in a positive and sustainable direction. If you identify with our mission and have board-level experience in fundraising, legal, or program development, please send us your resume!