Board of Directors

Dirt's Board of Directors are a guiding force behind its mission and vision. These individuals volunteer their time and money to ensure Dirt's impact reaches far and wide. Get to know em, they're pretty awesome!


Lauren Burgess, M.Ed., co-Chair

A Colorado native who comes to the field with over 11 years of education and experience. Her work has been recognized by the Denver Business Journal9News and the Denver Post. In addition, she has served on the board of Autism Society of Colorado and Colorado Coalition of Autism Professionals. 

Lauren holds a Master's degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Human Development and is currently completing ABA coursework at the University of Colorado at Denver. In addition to her work at Dirt, Lauren serves as Executive Director of Garden, a social enterprise she founded in 2010 with a mission to educate and empower individuals with autism through community. She is also a Leader of the Beanstalk Foundation.

Recognizing the growing need for advocacy at the state and national level, Lauren serves on the board of Alliance, is a member of the South-Metro Chamber of Commerce and a City Commissioner for Denver's Commission for People with Disabilities. When she's not at Garden or Dirt, she's advocating on behalf of families impacted by disability living in Colorado and beyond.


Emily began working with individuals with developmental disabilities in 2006. After attending a life-changing leadership conference that summer, Emily became President of Best Buddies Indianapolis and started volunteering with the state Applied Behavior Center. These experiences taught her about the gifts that individuals with autism possess and it was then that she knew she wanted to make a career out of serving people on the spectrum. After moving to Denver in 2013, Emily began working as a Behavior Therapist at Garden, where she teamed up with Lauren for the launch of Dirt. She has since received her Masters in Educational Technology and is currently overseeing Dirt's training and education programming. 


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Rob and his wife Stephanie relocated to Colorado in the early 1990’s and have raised two native Coloradans.  Rob’s journey with autism began with his son, Robby’s, diagnosis in 1995 . Robby was honored as the 2018 Employee of the Year at Dirt and currently serves as a manager at the coffee shop.  His daughter is an Office Manager for a construction company located in Parker.

Rob has been employed by FirstBank for 27 years and is currently the President of Loan Operations there.  Rob has served in many capacities with non-profit organizations in Colorado including the Autism Society of Colorado, Hope Communities, Mile High Connects, Blue Star Recyclers, and Urban Land Conservancy.


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Father of a young woman with autism, Bennett and his wife Betty are founding members of Pinyon Ranch, a non-profit with a mission to provide work and living solutions for adults with autism. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Bennett has lived in Chicago, California, Thailand, and Hawaii finally making his way to Denver in 1995. A physician and Medical Director of the Senior's Clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, he continues to provide support and direction to our growing organization. 


Bio coming soon!


Over the last 10 years, Cy has represented neurodiverse and under-served citizens at political events, caucuses, senate hearings and school district meetings, advocating for funding of programs that promote their independence, well-being, and access to an appropriate education.

Cy works as senior operations engineer at a company that provides advertising technology for national television programmers. In her spare time Cy enjoys running, travel, playing guitar and singing harmony to her favorite songs. Cy is blessed to have three teenage children, one of whom is neurodiverse with autism and intellectual struggles.


Frank and his wife, Cheresse, are self-advocates. Together, they live in a neurodiverse community in Colorado. Frank works in food service for a hospital in Parker, Colorado. Frank was born and raised in Colorado, but has lived in Florida and Louisiana. His goals are to get his drivers license and, in the future, getting a college education.


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!


Bio coming soon!