Board of Directors
Echoing Hope Ranch understands that the strength of ongoing support and oversight for the organization resides in a dedicated board members and committee members. Board members are responsible for setting the direction of Echoing Hope Ranch and providing guidelines for quality of services, financial oversight, and continual reinvigoration of the organization. As such the recruitment of board members and committee members is a continual priority. Current Board Committees include – Board Governance – Development – Finance – Programs – Property Oversight.
Current Board members include:
Harlie Garcia, President – Harlie is a long time Tucsonan having graduated from Sabino High School as well as being a graduate of the University of Arizona, she is a senior registered client associate with over 17 years experience in the area of finance. She has been actively involved in the world of autism for over 14 years, since the diagnoses of her 16 year old son, Jonathan. Her experience has led her to champion efforts to provide services to older individuals with autism to improve their quality of life. Harlie is married and is also the mother/step-mother to two 13 year old daughters.
Norman L. Smith, Vice President – Norm retired as Vice President of and was one of the founders of Aztec Engineering. He has worked in the Engineering and Land Surveying field for over forty years. He has P.L.S. Registration in Wyoming and Arizona. Norm has considerable experience in construction supervision over the years. Since retirement he has volunteered at Rusty’s Morningstar Ranch to assist with maintenance and construction remodeling. Norm has become interested in autism since his Grandson has autism.
Tina Friel, Secretary – Tina has been an advocate in the field for twenty-one years and has worked for both provider agencies as well as the Division of Developmental Disabilities. She sits on District three’s Program Review Committees, is a charter member of the state’s Positive Behavior Support Workgroup that amongst many things was responsible for revising Article 9. The work group also standardized trainings statewide such as Article 9 and Client Intervention Training in addition to providing on-going support to any entity that cares for individuals that may display challenging behavior. She is mother/step-mother to five adult children and grandmother to six children including a grandson with autism.
Della Thompson, Treasurer – Della is a certified teacher in Tucson, Arizona and a graduate of University of Arizona. She has been extensively trained in working with students with autism and is frequently consulted for guidance in effective inclusion practices. Della has three children, including a teenage son with autism.
Ken Jacowsky, Director – Ken has been a resident of Tucson since 1972 where, for the past 23 years, he has work as a Vice President and branch manager for A.G. Edwards and Sons until it merged with Wachovia Securities which is now known as Wells Fargo Advisors. He currently works as Senior Vice President – Investments for Wells Fargo Advisors. Ken presently serves on the board of the American Heart Association and is the President of a HOA for a condo development in Del Mar, California. Ken has been married for 47 years with two daughters and four grandchildren, one of whom has autism.
Glen Kreider, Director – Glen has worked for many years with adults with autism both in a residential program and as an independent contractor. He has a unique understanding of autism and related behaviors and provides excellent insight into programmatic considerations. Glen also provides extensive background in property management and building maintenance.
Robert Bushroe, Director – Bob is a long-time resident of Tucson where he received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona and worked as an engineer for Hughes Aircraft for many years. Now retired, Bob continues to work for SAIC on an as needed basis. He enjoys digital photography and computer systems. Bob is married and has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all around the country.
Dr. Christine Pletkova, Director – Dr. Pletkova studied general medicine at Charles University Medical school in Prague, Czech Republic. She did her residency in surgery and is board certify in surgery Czech Republic. She is currently working as an assistant Professor at the University of Arizona Medical School with inpatient work the majority of time at the UAMC south campus residents and medical students. She is also involving in a small scale research and is a facilitator at the medical school. She is board certified and recertified in general Psychiatry and board eligible in child and adolescent psychiatry.
Sarah Gojkovich, Director – Sarah graduated from Mercyhurst University where she was recruited to serve as a US Army Counterintelligence Agent. She served in this capacity until 2012 when she settled in Sierra Vista and became a licensing worker for the Arizona State foster care system. She currently works for Arizona’s Children Association where she has experience working with children with autism. In her spare time she work for Becky’s Pet Parlor in Sierra Vista as an office manager because she loves being around animals. Her hobbies include playing sports and working out, hanging out with dogs and dog training.
Chaz Gross, Director – Born in Michigan, Chaz moved to Tucson in 1979 and has called it home ever since. He work has been primarily in the food and beverage industry where he currently works on campus at the University of Arizona. In addition to being a chef, Chaz has experience with entertainment and community event planning. He is the co-guardian of his grandson who has autism where he learns something new everyday.
Bree Holcomb, Director – Raised in Bisbee, Bree is currently studying to be a Special Education teacher at Cochise College in Douglas. She has been involved in many youth engagement and advocacy groups. In a group of over 200 Cochise County youth, she was selected to be one of the four leaders in a two-day conference. She brings a knowledge of both the Bisbee/Douglass community and of the needs of teens transitioning into adulthood.
Marla Guerrero, Executive Director – Marla brings her experience serving as the Executive Director of Rusty’s Morningstar Ranch in Cornville Arizona which is one model used in creating Echoing Hope Ranch. She is an active member of the National Association of Residential Providers for Adults with Autism and the Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Washington State University and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Walden University. She is a mother for four – including an adult son with autism.