Once working the industry for the first time during an ultra busy summer, "Big John" Rowe realized that his sous, Blaine, was speaking the truth about us needing some "different" kind of help in the industry. A year passed and they reconvened, bringing on Rowan, who has experience in psychology and the restaurants. As the dinner rush pushed on, more joined and now have an unstoppable brigade. Together, they are able to cook it up! Let's do this!
chair : executive chef
vice chair : community science director
Amanda Kuenzi has lived in Durango, CO for 11 years and has been a part of the nonprofit community for 5 of those years. She is passionate about working to find solutions to solve the problems facing her community. She joined the In The Weeds board to lend her experience with grant writing and knowledge of the nonprofit world. Although she has spent most of her 20-year career as a biologist, she did spend a summer as a waitress, and is excited about the opportunities to support Durango’s service industry. She can often be found floating down a river or making her way up a trail.
treasurer : operations manager
Like many 16-year-old’s, Max got his first job at a restaurant to put gas in his car. His career in the hospitality and service industry has since flowed from the fine dining scene in Santa Fe to Durango’s most esteemed restaurants as he’s worked his way through the hierarchy of bussing tables, running food, pouring wine, making lattes, serving sushi, and supervising staff.
Equipped with an easy smile and laid-back personality, Max has poured his soul into creating happy experiences for diners and coworkers alike. Nightmares buzzing with the endless noise of the ticket printer have mostly subsided, thanks in part to his transition from the crazy world of Food & Beverage to operating a coworking space, where he merges his hard-earned skills of connecting people while making them feel at home.
Max's love to travel and passion for people has led him from Brazil to Thailand, from art galleries to college classrooms. These days, he finds joy in Third Wave coffee, cooking at home, spending unstructured time in nature, and river surfing.
GIORDANO "NANO" ASCENZI
secretary : sous chef
Giordano, or Nano, grew up in the skate scene of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Whenever he wasn’t shredding the streets he was busy shredding lettuce for your pitas at Pita Pit. In 2015 He and his now wife decided to head north and begin their journey together. His love for food guided his career and landed him as the new Sous Chef of El Moro Spirits & Tavern. He now spreads his love and creativity through his skillful hands with saute pans. He loves to motivate and work with his team, which has brought him into the role of secretary at In the Weeds. Not only can he share within El Moro and the Peak community, he has the drive to continue using his passion to help the community he loves.
JOHN G. ROWE MSW, LSW
officer : licensed social worker
John is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who holds an EMDR Basic Certification through EMDRIA. John earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Fort Lewis College in Durango CO. where he thrived as a whitewater and mountain guide during his time in the Southwest. John earned his Masters of Social Work degree at the University Of Denver GSSW Four Corners Program in Durango, CO. where he focused in advanced clinical practice and rural and tribal populations practice. John has held roles as a therapist in the forensic, outpatient, wilderness, and long term residential settings. John specializes in the treatment of trauma, primary and secondary survivors of sexual violence, co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and major life transitions. John also provides consultation on private and nonprofit program development, staff training and recruitment, and programmatic research. In his free time, you can find John in his garden, running on the trails, throwing clay, or pestering his neighbors with his music.
officer : general manager
Dave Woodruff is the General Manager of El Moro Spirits & Tavern, formerly of Steamworks Brewing Company. He received his B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Biology and a Middle Level Endorsement at Kansas State University. Upon graduating, he moved to Colorado and decided to call Durango his home in 2005. While contributing to the community via the Colorado Restaurant Association - Durango Chapter, the Visit Durango Marketing Committee, Leadership La Plata Curriculum Committee Advisor, Homegrown Talent Initiative Advisor and the R.O.A.R. Coalition, he also enjoys rafting, traveling and camping. He currently resides in Durango, Colorado with his wife of 8 years, his 5 year old son, and 4 year old daughter.
While working at Steamworks, Dave was able to become a Certified Cicerone® and most recently became a Bar Smarts Advanced graduate with El Moro Spirits & Tavern. In 2015 and 2016, he traveled to Toronto, Chicago and Austin with the Colorado Tourism Office to preach the Colorado spirits gospel. He is also alumni to the “Most Exceptional” Leadership La Plata class of 2015 – 2016.
MARIPOSA "MARI" VELEZ
officer : reservations manager
Mariposa “Mari” Velez started working in a restaurant when she was sixteen years old and hasn’t looked back since. She has spent twenty-eight years working as a server, manager, and events coordinator at a plethora of establishments both in and outside of Durango. For the last two and a half years, she has served as the reservations manager at Carver Brewing Company. When she’s not in the restaurant, Mari enjoys exercising, cooking, making art, and spending time with her seventeen-year-old son. She is thrilled to be a part of the In the Weeds’ Board of Directors and to help in facilitating the organization’s vision of creating a sustainable, safe, and sane restaurant community in Durango.
facilitator : lcsw
Rowan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, ex chef, and co-owner of Durango Psychotherapy. He knows what it's like to be in the weeds on a Saturday night. (for him it looked like panic attacks, bong hits in the walk-in, hyperventilating, and cocktails in a coffee cup...not necessarily in that order). Rowan has a podcast called Therapy for Humans, it's a potty-mouthed podcast for troubling times. When shit gets weird, he's got your back.
Blaine was sous chef at Carver Brewing Company for 5 years. Working with Wisconsin farmers for a summer, Blaine experienced the reality of issues with mental health in the industry and decided to act on it. Blaine was the Sous Chef at El Moro Spirits & Tavern prior to COVID-19 outbreak, which led him to operating In the Weeds full time.