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Two farmers in conversation in a field in front of a tractor.


Confluence Collaboration is a partnership of specialized team facilitators and conflict management & resolution experts practicing in Colorado and Wyoming.

Richard Alper


Confluence Collaboration was founded in 2012 under the driving vision of Richard Alper. Richard has a continuing interest in how communities function and thrive together within their particular landscapes and cultures.

Richard has years of professional experience as a mediator and team facilitator, especially in resolving complex and dynamic disputes relating to natural resources, land use, transportation, real estate, and change management. He is moved by the power of constructive conversation between people of differing perspectives to discover practical solutions for their common challenges.

Richard has mediated, facilitated, and arbitrated 200+ cases in federal and state courts and agencies as well as for non-profits and business clients. All of the facilitated, multi-party cases have included multiple meetings over many months or quarters. In addition, he has designed, taught or trained 2000+ hours of conflict management, arbitration, negotiation, commercial real estate, land use, and environmental law courses. He currently serves on the facilitator roster of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in Tucson, AZ

As an adjunct instructor, Richard has taught for 20+ years at the University of Wyoming, the University of Maryland Law School, Montgomery College, and the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business. He is currently teaching environmental conflict resolution at the University of Northern Colorado.

Karina Branson

Graphic Recorder

Karina listens to conversations and uses hand-drawn images and text to synthesize ideas into a large-scale map, in real-time. These maps help stakeholders visualize new futures, see systems and patterns, and synthesize information to help groups better collaborate and find solutions.

Seeing ideas and how they relate to one another allow participants to let go of the details so they can think creatively and divergently to create solutions and inspire innovation.

Karina’s goal is to help groups be more productive, collaborative, and have fun co-creating and acting on ideas through custom, hand-drawn illustrations and videos.

Martin Carcasson, Professor of Communication Studies, Colorado State University, April 10, 2019

Martin Carcasson, PhD


Martín Carcasson is a professor in the Communication Studies department of Colorado State University and also currently serves as the chair of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Board of Directors.

His research, which has been published in well-known journals such as the International Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Quarterly Journal of Speech, focuses on helping local communities address “wicked problems” more productively through improved public communication, community problem solving, and collaborative decision-making.

Martín is also the founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD), which is a practical, applied extension of his work, and functions as an impartial resource dedicated to enhancing local democracy in Northern Colorado. The CPD was recently awarded a Civvy Award in Washington, D.C., as a national example of a best practice in civic collaboration and collective action.

Steve Smutko PhD

Steve Smutko, PhD


Steve Smutko is a professor in the Haub School of Environment & Natural Resources and the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics at the University of Wyoming. 

Steve is an expert in participatory decision-making, negotiation and decision analysis, and natural resources problem solving. His outreach work is conducted through the Ruckelshaus Institute at UW where he works with local governments, state and federal agencies, and the private and non-profit sectors to enhance participatory decision-making on complex environmental and natural resource policy issues.

John Sanderson PhD

John Sanderson


John Sanderson is the Director of Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation. At the Center, John and his staff work to build the capacity of organizations, communities, and future leaders to achieve conservation impact, while applying CSU’s world-class research and education. He has been doing conservation work in the West for over 25 years, including at the Colorado Natural Heritage Program and at The Nature Conservancy, where he led a staff striving to protect land, manage rivers, restore forests, and mitigate and adapt to our changing climate. John earned a B.S. in engineering from Purdue University, an M.S. in botany from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at CSU.

We’re ready to guide you toward sustainable solutions.