Our Staff

Alan Stephens, Executive Director
Alan Stephens has joined Western Progress as its first permanent executive director, and he brings a lifetime of public experience and policy skills to the task. Most recently co-chief of staff for Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Stephens has worked for decades on interests that closely align with the mission of Western Progress, a policy institute advancing progressive strategies in the eight Rocky Mountain States.

Prior to becoming co-chief of staff for Governor Napolitano, Stephens served in the Arizona legislature as both senate majority leader and minority leader, focusing on agriculture, water, health, housing and economic development. He also pursued his commitment to behavioral health.

PAT WILLIAMS, Senior Fellow, Regional Director
Pat Williams, Montana’s Congressman from 1979 to 1997, is also the senior fellow at the
University of Montana’s Center for the Rocky Mountain West.
A classroom teacher of students from grade school through post graduate, he now
lectures at U of M. Williams served two terms in the Montana legislature in the late
1960s, and later as deputy whip in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on
several boards of directors at local, state and national levels.

CATHY CARLSON, Outreach Director
Cathy Carlson is a consultant on western lands and energy issues who works to support
sustainable land use policies as director of the Center for the Wild West.
Her recent clients include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Western
Conservation Foundation, EARTHWORKS, and Western Resource Advocates.
She also serves as president of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, a statewide, non-
profit organization based in Denver, Colorado. Cathy worked for over 15 years on
federal lands policy for the National Wildlife Federation, serving as a legislative
representative, regional director and regional vice president in Washington, D.C. and
Colorado before leaving in May 2001. Cathy lives in Boulder, CO.

ENRIQUE LOPEZLIRA, Policy Director
Enrique Lopezlira has spent ten years managing projects and leading employees in both the private and public sector. He is currently a professor of Economics at Mesa Community College and adjunct professor of business and finance at Grand Canyon University. Enrique was the founder and publisher of Latino Future Magazine, a bilingual publication for the Hispanic market that informs and educates Latinos on topics such as money, health care, business and career. He has an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Master of Science in Economics from Arizona State University.

PATTY WEISS, Communications Director
Patty Weiss brings extensive communications experience to Western Progress.
She grew up in Tucson, and after graduation from the University of Arizona, became the
first woman evening newscaster in Arizona. She was the prime news anchor at the NBC
affiliate in Tucson for three decades. She focused on educating her audience on local
and regional issues such as water, conservation, education and health care. She also
advises numerous non-profits on communications strategy. After leaving journalism,
Patty ran for Congress in Southern Arizona as a progressive Democrat.


TOM KENWORTHY, Senior Fellow

Before joining Western Progress, Tom Kenworthy spent 15 years covering the West as a national correspondent for The Washington Post and USA Today. For most of that time he specialized in public lands, natural resource and energy issues. He began his newspaper career in 1975 with the Lowell (Mass.) Sun, moved on to The Washington Star shortly before it folded in 1981, and then the Baltimore Evening Sun. At the Washington Post he covered state politics and government in Maryland, Congress and congressional politics, and the Interior Department. He has lived in Golden, Colorado since 1995. He is a graduate of Cornell University.

STEVE WOODRUFF, Deputy Director, Northern Region
Steve Woodruff joined Western Progress as deputy director of the Montana office after nearly 20 years as opinion page editor of the Missoulian newspaper and nearly 30 years in daily journalism. His background includes extensive coverage and commentary on Western energy, natural resource, public lands and economic issues. Woodruff was a reporter at newspapers in Oregon and Washington before moving to Montana in 1982 to become the Missoulian's reporter specializing in coverage of natural resources and the environment. He also coauthored "Montana Wilderness: Discovering the Heritage." Woodruff is a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University.

Sarah Bates Van de Wetering, Policy and Outreach Deputy
Sarah Bates Van de Wetering brings twenty years of experience in natural
resource policy and law to her position at Western Progress. Her academic
positions at the University of Colorado and the University of Montana
produced five books and a number of articles and reports on western water,
public resource management, and governance. Sarah has also worked as an
advocate for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and the Grand Canyon Trust,
and currently serves on the boards of Montana’s Clark Fork Coalition and the
Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at the University
of Wyoming. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and the
University of Colorado School of Law.

ROXANA BACON, Distinguished Fellow
Roxie Bacon is an attorney and businesswoman who brings more than 30 years
experience in management to Western Progress. A national expert in immigration law
and policy, she has served as general counsel to both the 8,000 member American
Immigration Lawyers Association and its foundation. She was the first woman elected
president of the Arizona State Bar, has been an adjunct professor at Arizona State
University College of Law for 25 years, and serves on the Ninth Circuit Advisory Board.
Starting with eight people in 1997, by 2006 she built a 150-person law firm with offices in
three countries representing Fortune 100 clients. She is a graduate of the University of
California at Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law.

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