Difference Makers in our Community

Thistle appreciates and thanks all the volunteers who have served on the Board of Directors since our inception. Their time, energy and knowledge  has contributed greatly to the vibrant, growing organization that Thistle is today. Thistle is a community-based private non-profit and we have benefited greatly from the guidance, ideas and expertise of the following community members. Also recognized are key staff members who led Thistle through the years.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Please Note: Thistle welcomes and encourages any corrections or additions to this list.


Ann Marks Getches, Board member 2000-2002; Vice President 2003-2004; President 2005-2006. A real estate developer, Ann provided strategic leadership during her tenure on the Board as well as writing six entertaining musicals for Thistle’s Raise the Roof fundraising events. She is the Managing Partner of Centro, a building development company in Boulder. When Ann began her involvement with Thistle, Will Toor was mayor of Boulder and established development of the Boulder’s community transit network and policies for denser, mixed-use urban infill development as an alternative to sprawl.

Thistle Board of Directors, April 27, 2007
Left to right: Nestor Davidson, Bruce Goguen (in front), Dick Harris, Lee Redfield, Gloria Weissman, Jerry Lee, Ann Getches, Derrick Robinson, Ben Jensen

Axel Bishop, Board member 1991. Axel was the Principal of Design Concepts, Community and Landscape Architects and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, 1998. He worked on a variety of project types including new urbanist village designs. In 1991 during Axel’s tenure, the population of Boulder was 89,000 and Longmont was 53,000.

Ben Jensen, Board member 2007-2009. A former resident of Thistle’s Mapleton Mobile Home Park, Ben added the perspective of our clients to the Board.

Betsey Martens, Board member 1987-1991. An early Thistle Board member, Betsey served Boulder Housing Partners for 31 years before leaving in 2017 to focus on Bringing School Home, a group which works with low-income children’s achievement gap.

Betsy Flanagan, Board member 1986-1987. Betsey was a member of the Boulder’s Best Board which became an independent non-profit organization distinct from the Boulder Housing Authority and was renamed Thistle Group in 1988.

Bill Rubin, Board member 1994-1996, 2005; Treasurer 1997-2002; President 2003-2004. A ten-year veteran of the Thistle Board, Bill is a CPA with an MBA in public accounting. He provided bookkeeping, accounting and tax preparation services for various clients including housing developments and has been a resident of Boulder County since 1971.

Bob Lundy, Board member 1986-1989. Bob saw the changes occurring in Boulder in the late 1980s due to the Danish Plan and decided to make a difference by serving on the Boulder’s Best Board.

Bruce Dierking, Board member 1995-1997; Vice President 1998-2002. Bruce is an attorney and partner with the Boulder law firm of Packard Dierking, LLC, where his practice emphasizes real estate, land use, and business transactions. A Colorado native, he is a developer of real estate projects, the latest being the redevelopment of the Armory in North Boulder.

Bruce Dierking and Anne Getches in 2002

Bruce Goguen, Board member 2000-2008. Bruce was President of the Colorado Cross Disabilities Coalition, multi-disabilities coalition dedicated to equal rights and full access, and the Statewide Services Coordinator with United Cerebral Palsy of Colorado. As a person using a wheelchair, he was a leader in the disability rights community for many years.

Carmelita Dunham, Board member 1986-1991. When Carmelita was a Board member, the population of Boulder County was 225,332 compared to nearly 300,000 today.

Carole Anderson, Board member 1997-1999. Carole was Thistle’s first CLT homeowner, buying her home in 1996. When Carole was on the Board, Thistle purchased the 1845 Folsom Street building in Boulder which became Thistle’s headquarters for 28 years.

Chris Johnson, Board member 1997; Secretary 1998. During Chris’ tenure in 1997 Boulder continued to expand designated open space and designated the Marshall Mesa Historic District utilizing State of Colorado funds. Coal mining and milling evidence is displayed there today.

Dave Lewis, Board member 1989-1990; Board Chair 1991. Dave supported the need for affordable housing back in the late 1980s. In the decade between 1990 and 2000, home prices climbed twice as fast as personal income. In 2007, the median price for a single-family home was over $550,000. Attached home prices have increased markedly as well, with the median price for attached homes at approximately $260,000 in 2007.

David Hill, Board Chair 1986-1987. At the time David chaired the Board, Thistle was called Boulder’s Best. Prior to Boulder’s Best’s founding, the community mobilized to limit growth. In 1971 a 17-story building was proposed at the present site of the Arapahoe shopping center. Citizens pressed the City Council to limit buildings to 140 feet. Later signatures were gathered to force a 55-foot height limit onto the ballot. The height was chosen because it was the size of a mature tree in Boulder. The ballot item passed.

Delores Andrade, Board member 2008-2010. In 2001 Delores and her family became Community Land Trust homeowners in Longmont. Her interest and education are in the criminal justice field where she has devoted her professional life. When she started on the Board in 2008, an estimated 52,000 people commuted into Boulder daily for work from the region, which contributes to traffic, pollution and congestion. Approximately 40% of Boulder’s workforce resided in the city. These numbers have increased every year.

Thistle Board meeting, January 2014

Derrick Robinson, Board member 2004-2018; Treasurer 2007-2013; President 2014-2018. Derrick has more than 14 years of experience in selling and developing real estate, as well as extensive knowledge of affordable housing and financial planning, including finances and trusts. Derrick came to Boulder in 1971 for school and never left. Currently, with Robinson Capital Management, he has provided Thistle with fiscal guidance and leadership for many years.

Ed Lister, Board member 1991, 1997-1988; Chair 1992-1996. A banking executive, Ed oversaw Thistle’s expansion into development. The Buena Vista development was built in North Boulder and added 46 homes to the Community Land Trust. A recent two-bedroom condo sold in the Buena Vista community for $186,367, an estimated 50% of market value.

Frederic Marienthal, Board member 2010-2013; Vice President 2014-2015. A partner at the national law firm of KutakRock, Frederic offered an in-depth understanding of real estate financing and national issues during his board tenure. In 2014, the median income for a household in Boulder County was $69,407, and the median income for a family was $94,938 but this is not enough to purchase a market rate home.

Gloria Weissman, Board member 2007-2012. As a Thistle resident, Gloria brought a unique and vital perspective to the Board. She has many years of experience in Human Resources for government, hospitals and private industry, with a focus on administration, equal employment, insurance and labor relations Gloria joined the Board after Thistle purchased Fairways Apartments, a 70-unit complex in East Boulder.

Jerry Lee, Board member 2002-2004, 2014-2016; Treasurer 2006; Vice President 2007-2013. A local real estate developer with over 30 years of experience with WW Reynolds and his own company, Jerry lent his expertise to the Board for 12 years. He has helped develop, finance and retain ownership in 1.7 million square feet of commercial/ industrial/ office/ retail space, When Jerry joined the board in 2002, the median prices for homes in Boulder were $340K-$750K with condos at $238,500.

Jill Grano, Board member 2017-present. Jill has an active real estate practice in Boulder and works with communities and leaders to create housing solutions. She recently served on Boulder’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy working group dedicated to creating diverse housing choices in every neighborhood and is a member of the City of Boulder’s Board of Zoning Adjustments. Jill was elected to the Boulder City Council for a four-year term in 2017.

Joe Ballestrasse, Board member 2000-present; Treasurer 2003-2004; Vice President 2005-2006; President 2007-2013; Secretary/Treasurer 2013- 2018. Joe has been a commercial real estate lender for over 18 years. In the last 12 years, he financed over $800 million of real estate projects throughout the Boulder County and Metro Denver area ranging from $1 million to over $50 million, including mixed-use projects, multi-building office developments, high-end condominiums and single-family developments. Joe guided Thistle through the recession of 2007-2008.

John Knapp, Board member 1986-1991. A founding member of Boulder’s Best, John helped establish Sage Court, Thistle’s first offering of 19 affordable homes for disabled individuals.

John Martinez, Executive Director Boulder’s Best, 1986. John was the original staff member. One of the factors which led to housing scarcity started in 1967 when voters approved a one-cent sales tax with 40% going to fund a greenbelt to limit overdevelopment and protect the environment. This was the nation’s first voter-approved sales tax for open space.

John Reynolds, Board member 2017 – present. A Boulder native, he graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder and was a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines. He brings his development expertise to the challenges of providing affordable housing in Boulder.

Jonah Kinchy, Board member 2016 – present; President 2018 – present. Jonah has been in the low-income housing arena for 15 years, often literally in low-income households. He has worked with Habitat For Humanity and the Weatherization Program where he became an Energy Auditor, providing no-cost home inspections and upgrades for low-income.

In 2003, left to right; Aaron Miripol, ED, Judy Richtel, President of the Board and Ann Getches, future Board president

Judy Richtel, Board member 1991-1996; President 1997-2002. A longtime Boulder realtor with Wright Kingdom Real Estate, Judy provided dynamic and productive leadership to Thistle during a pivotal time of growth. She is the former Director of Human Services for Boulder County, among her many former administrative roles within city and county government.

Karen Dee, Board member 1997-1998. Karen was an early member of our all-volunteer Board of Directors. In 1997 the median prices for Boulder homes were $200K-$373K and condos were $131K.

Karen Thorson, Secretary/ Treasurer 1986-1987. An early officer of Boulder’s Best, Karen was an affordable housing activist. In 1986 the price for a home in the Denver/Boulder area was $97,049.

Kay Brandenburg, Board member 1988-1990. Kay was an early affordable housing advocate during the time that Thistle’s first property was being constructed.

Kyle Littman, Board member 2011-2015. A Thistle resident turned affordable homeowner, Kyle brought spirit and enthusiasm to his tenure on the Board. In 2013 median prices for a single-family home in Boulder were $483K-$1,057,000 with condos in the $280K range.

Lee Redfield cutting the ribbon in Longmont, January 2007

Lee Redfield, Board member 1997-2008. A Longmont resident involved in Blue Vista planning in 2000, Lee cut the ribbon at the opening for Blue Vista, Thistle’s Community Land Trust community in Longmont. In 2011 the Longmont City Council voted to eliminate the affordable housing program offered by the city, a move that in hindsight was ill-advised.

Lilly Sorenson nee Wallace, Board member 2010-2015; Vice President 2016. A former Thistle resident turned homeowner, Lilly is a local business owner and entrepreneur who appreciates Thistle’s mission. In 2014, Boulder’s resident population was about 107,000 people which increased with daily commuters to 167,000.

Liza Getches, Board member 2017 – present; Treasurer 2018 – present. An attorney with Shoemaker Ghiselli and Schwartz, Liza brings legal skills and her perspective as a Boulder native to the Board. She has practiced law in the commercial litigation and employment litigation fields since 2003.

Louis Sauer, Vice Chair 1986-1987; Board member 1988. Louis’ service to the organization began at the birth of the organization.

Mary Wiberg-Rozaklis, 1989-1990. Mary was an early Board member of Thistle. From 1980 to 1990, the population of Boulder County increased by 19.4% to 226,374.

Michael Link, Board member 1998-1999; Secretary 2000-2006. Mike graduated from Fairview High School in 1987 and from CU in 1995. In the 1990s he experienced the difficulties that working home buyers face in Boulder County before becoming a homeowner in Lafayette through Thistle’s Scattered Site Community Land Trust program.

Kathi Williams of CDOH and Michael Martinez, Thistle Board, in 2006 at the dedication of Fairways Apartments in Boulder

Michael Martinez, Board member 2004-2009. A banking professional now with a Federal agency in Denver, Michael has a passion for affordable housing. At the start of Michael’s involvement, Thistle purchased Mapleton Mobile Home Park which is covenanted as permanently affordable for low-income households.

Nancy Ceridwyn, Board member 1988. Nancy got involved in Boulder housing issues by serving on the Boulder’s Best Board. Boulder’s housing discussions began fomenting in 1959 with the voters’ approval of the “Blue Line,” which limited the expansion of water services to land at 5,750 feet and below, thus eliminating development above 5,750 feet.

Nestor Davidson, Board member 2006-2009. During his time in Boulder, Nestor was Associate Professor, University of Colorado School of Law. Previously, he clerked for Judge David S. Tatel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice David H. Souter of the US Supreme Court, then served as the Special Counsel to the Secretary of the HUD.

Rick Woodruff, Board member 2006-2007. When he served on the Board, Rick was Managing Member/CFO of WWR-Real Estate Services, CFO of Rincon Development, Inc., and an Adjunct Professor at CU at Boulder. In 2006, citizens petitioned for a vote that would require a citizen vote to allow any annexation of more than five acres. This did not pass as voters thought the vote would make annexation easier, not harder.

Pat Sterner, Board member 2010-2015. Pat brought a long history of working with board development from years of experience in the Credit Union industry. She served on the Board of the National Credit Union Foundation, as interim director of numerous local foundations, and has worked on significant capital campaigns.

Pat Thompson, Board member 1991. During Pat’s tenure at Thistle in 1991 the average home in the Denver/Boulder area cost $109,071.

2001 Board and staff

Pat Whirl-Lasarte, Vice President 1997. When Pat served on the Board, the desirability of Boulder as a place to live had received national attention. In 2000, the population of Boulder was 94,673, an increase of 13% over 1990s population of 83,312.

Richard Harris, Board member 1997-2008; Secretary 2009-2011. A retired scientist from one of the Boulder Federal labs and a former Boulder City Council member, Dick has a long-term commitment to low-income housing and environmentalism. He has lived in Boulder County for over 50 years and now serves on the board of Boulder Housing Partners.

Sally Meeker, Board member 2017 – present; Secretary 2018 – present. Sally has worked as an RN providing health care support to hospice/home health patients in Boulder, Broomfield, and Weld counties. Currently a resident in Thistle’s Mapleton Mobile Home Park, she enjoys living in a neighborhood that appreciates its diversity.

Stephen DeNorscia, Board member 2017 – present; Vice President 2018 – present. A Thistle resident and a graduate of Brandeis University, Stephen has had a long career in graphic design, event promotion and nonprofit management. Stephen owns his graphic design studio in Boulder.

Susan Osborne, Board member 2014-2015. A former Thistle resident, Susan is interested in housing and social justice causes. In 2015 the median prices of homes in Boulder ranged from $632K-$1,350K and condos rose to $342K.

Tom Kahn, Board member 1991. Tom was present for the opening of Sage Court for the disabled population. Community members like Tom are crucial to making Thistle relevant to the community.

Tom Sundro Lewis, Board member 2016 – 2018. The owner of the innovative Trailer Wrap in Mapleton Mobile Home Park, Tom is active in the community. Semi-retired, Tom has lived in Boulder for over 24 years and works as a portrait and product photographer.

Trigg Gerber, Board member 2000-2001. Trigg was a Thistle Board member in 2000 when the City of Boulder established the goal of having 10% of housing affordable by 2011. The amount of housing in 2011 was projected to be 45,000 units, which generated the goal of 4,500 units.


Aaron Miripol, Executive Director 1998-2007. Aaron led Thistle through a period of expansion and the creation of 1,000 affordable homes. When Aaron moved to Boulder in 1998, the median prices of homes in Boulder were $215-$386K with condos at $139,500. While considered expensive at the time, homeownership was within reach for working families. Aaron now helms the Urban Land Conservancy in Denver.

Kathy McCormick, Thistle staff, 1988-1989. Kathy guided Thistle through the stages of building Sage Court Apartments, a complex with 19 apartments for mobility challenged individuals.

Left: Mary Duvall, CEO,  accepting an award from Kendra Dennis and Ben Greenberg of Community Housing Capital, 2015

Mary Duvall, CEO 2007-present. A longtime resident of Boulder, Mary has over 25 years of experience in real estate management and affordable housing development. Under her leadership since 2007, Thistle disposed of non-performing real estate assets including 312 rental units and a parcel of land and added 178 affordable rentals and 51 homeownership opportunities, both market and affordable. Thistle is financially stable and poised for future growth.

Peggy Wrenn, Board member 1991, Executive Director 1991-1997. Peggy’s leadership established Thistle in our community and helped move the organization forward to where it is today. In 1995 citizens petitioned for a Slow Growth! Ordinance which would have limited commercial and industrial square footage to 1%. Rejected by voters for a weaker ordinance, it led to comprehensive rezoning in 1997.

Steven Moss, Executive Director 1991. Steven guided Thistle through the final construction of Sage Court Apartments. Awareness of the need for affordable housing started in 1991. At that time, a group of citizens was appointed to develop plans for responding to growth pressures on Boulder. One of their recommendations was to “encourage housing that meets the needs of low and moderate income persons.”