Director, Joel Benson
Joel Benson has traveled extensively throughout the world, including living in Latin America, where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica working in forestry extension and environmental education. He served eight years as mayor of Buena Vista, Colorado, and then became Senior Policy Advisor, Special Projects Manager, and Water Resource Specialist for the town of Buena Vista. He ran a successful coffee roastery and cafe for many years, and has taught Spanish and agricultural policy. In addition, he has consulted with several organizations in holistic management. All of his various experiences have provided opportunity to test and implement Integrative Policy.
Currently, Benson studies theories and frameworks of public policy as they relate to his experience in local government as well as approaches to governance adopted by Indigenous peoples from around the world. He also studies communal approaches to natural resource management. He is working on a dissertation for a PhD in Public Affairs on the nexus of water policy and limitations to development.
As Mayor of Buena Vista, he oversaw numerous planning processes and revisions of the municipal code, helped prioritize budgetary expenditures to encourage sound fiduciary responsibility, developed new approaches to policy analysis and design, and helped to create a sense of trust and openness with the town and its residents.
He worked with the seven indigenous tribes in Costa Rica to ratify a UN-endorsed treaty, Proclama de la Paz. He also consulted with former Kentucky Governor Patton's initiative to rewrite the state's agricultural policy.