DARRYL BIRKENFELD, PH.D.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Darryl completed a Ph.D. in social ethics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California in 2002. Later that same year, he began work as an OC contractor, and has served as the organization’s Executive Director since 2003. Darryl and his wife Joann live in Nazareth, Texas. On Jan.1, 2021, Darryl will be transitioning to OC Regional Coordinator/Stewarding Natural Resource Program Director.

JOHN WITTLER

OC REGIONAL COORDINATOR - OC DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

John began his OC Staff contracting work in 2017 and has worked to greatly expand our organization’s footprint in Southeast Colorado and Southwestern Kansas. He has helped train and develop scores of leaders over the years and particularly enjoys working in youth engagement and mentoring young entrepreneurs. John lives in Baca County, Colorado, with his wife Trina and their three children Alea, Emma, and Brock. On Jan. 1, 2023, John will become OC's new Executive Director.

KADE WILCOX

OC INTERN COORDINATOR - OC DIGITAL STRATEGIES

Kade has served OC as a Staff Contractor since 2013, building out program structure, digital communications platforms, strategic planning, and launching the Rural & Remote Initiative. Kade is the owner and CEO of Primitive, a digital solutions company. He and his family live in Shallowater, Texas.

MEGAN ENGLAND

Youth Engagement Program Coordinator & Regional Coordinator

Megan was a leadership trailblazer during her high school years, completing three OC Community Internships from 2009-2012. After receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Oklahoma Wesleyan University and working in the Communications Office, she found a way to return to her rural hometown in southeast Colorado.

Blaze Diamond

Food Systems Program Coordinator & Regional Coordinator

After finishing his undergraduate degree in 2016, Blaze completed an OC Community Internship, before completing his Masters in Eco Psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Blaze has a strong commitment to food justice, permaculture practices, and building community. He and his partner Tegan Campia live in El Prado, NM.

KIM HALL

OC BOOKKEEPER

Kimberly Hall lives in Amarillo, Texas, and has worked as Ogallala Commons bookkeeper since 2011. Together with her husband, they founded Shane Hall Financial, a financial planning firm. They have two children, Sophia and Michael, and enjoy traveling and doing anything outdoors like camping, fishing, skiing, and hiking.

Meryl Benham

OC Grant Services

Meryl grew up in Midland, TX, graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law, and currently serves as Associate Judge of Lubbock Municipal Court. In that role, she presides over the City’s Class C juvenile cases and helps develop innovative programs. Additionally, Meryl and her husband, Dustin, have two young children whom they adore. Besides her contract work for OC, Meryl is also a regular volunteer for Salvation Army and drives for Lubbock Meals on Wheels.

ABBY PETTINGER

OC ALUMNI OUTREACH

Since 2019, Abby has coordinated monthly Zoom calls on a variety of topics for OC Intern Alums, as well as the Virtual Workshop series for the new class of OC Interns each summer. Abby holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Ag Education from Colorado State University and resides in Vilas, Colorado, with her four children.

Daniel Colunga

Intern Mentor - Silverton, TX

Alea Wittler

Intern Mentor - Vilas, CO

Tanley Andersen

Intern mentor - Haxtun, CO

Francine Richards

Pine Ridge Reservation, SD