Board of Directors

-Durango Wine Experience Board of Directors-

 Shawn Candelaria     Leah A. Deane    Mitch Dye     Chuck Fredrick         
 Mike French       Beth Stewart-Lueck

Co-Founders Emeritus: Karen Barger  &  Joe Leder
Event Coordinator: Mandi Davis

Shawn Candelaria 

Shawn CandelariaDWE Board President 2018
DWE Board Member 
Shawn Candelaria, Market President,
Four Corners Community Bank, Durango, Colorado.

Shawn is a native of the western slope of Colorado and has deep family roots in southwest Colorado. He and his high school sweetheart Tamra had always dreamed of living in Durango after spending many anniversaries there in the early 90’s. All the stars aligned in 2000 and they made the move to Durango.  Shawn started his banking career in 1991 after graduating from Mesa State College (currently Colorado Mesa University) with a Bachelors of Business Administration and an emphasis in finance. His banking career started shortly after graduating from college. The majority of his career he has specialized in commercial real estate lending and financing small businesses in southwest Colorado. In 2015 he was hired as the Market President for Four Corners Community Bank where he supervised the construction of the FCCB bank in Durango. The doors were opened officially May 31, 2016 and he and the Durango staff have significantly grown the banks presence in local loans, deposits as well as supporting many local non-profits through donations and sponsorships.  
He is a current board member of the Durango 100 Club and past board member of Trails 2000 and the United Way of Southwest Colorado. He and Tamra are blessed with one daughter and her four legged brother. He enjoys entertaining friends and family with wine and other beverages along with cycling of all sorts, skiing, golfing, hiking, traveling but mostly hanging out with his little itty bitty family.

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Leah A. Deane 

Leah A DeaneDWE Board Vice-President 2018
DWE Board Member 2016-present
DWE Event Director 2009-2015
Republic National Distributing & Grand Vin

Leah moved to Durango in 1996 from Wisconsin. She decided on pursuing a future in the wine business, while studying abroad at the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Commerciales d’Angers, in the Loire Valley of France. Upon returning to Durango, CO and graduating from Fort Lewis College with an International Business Degree, she did just that. Although Leah worked in restaurants and a wine shop all through college, she officially began her wine career as a sales rep for the wholesale distributor, Grand Vin. She successfully completed the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Sommelier Course shortly thereafter. She was awarded Rookie of the Year and later Mountain Sales MVP during her Grand Vin Wine Sales tenure.
Not long after winning an incentive trip to the Douro Valley in Portugal, Leah became the Rocky Mountain Regional Sales Manager for Premium Port Wines, the United States based importer for the Symington Family. Her territory covered thirteen states, 26 distributors and a lot of residual sugar.
A strong desire to return to Durango connected her with Republic National Distributing Company, to work as their Wine Specialist for Southwest Colorado, in 2007. Leah continuously strives to further her education and enjoys teaching others. She achieved the Graduate Level education designation from RNDC and passed the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET Level 3) Advanced Exam, with merit. She has also successfully completed the Kobrand International Wine Seminar and the ‘Wine Academy of Spain’ Spanish Wine Educator Program.
Always involved in either coordinating or speaking in seminars at numerous wine and food festivals, Leah officially joined the Durango Wine Experience team as their Event Coordinator in 2009. The event has grown each year and brings in wineries and visitors from around the world to Durango. She has added many new features to the event, added seminars, brought in many special guests and started the “Restaurant Showcase” concept during the Grand Tasting in 2011.
Leah was honored to be a judge at both the 2012 & 2013 Colorado Wine Fest “Best of Fest” Wine Competition in Palisade, Colorado.
Leah is an avid home cook, gardener, mushroom hunter, skier, world traveler, holds her advanced scuba diving certification & is fanatical about the Green Bay Packers.
Leah is currently drinking a glass of wine, planning next years’ Experience and working as a District Wine Sales Manager for Republic National Distributing Company & Grand Vin, in Durango and Telluride.
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Mitch Dye

Mitch Dye

DWE Board Member
Mitch Dye, Market President, ImageNet Consulting, Durango, Colorado.

Mitch grew up in the Four Corners and moved back to Durango in 2013 after pursuing opportunities and gaining invaluable experience at large Financial Services and Telecommunications firms. Since moving back and launching ImageNet in the Four Corners region, his branches have experienced 30% year over year growth and are blessed and honored to serve nearly 2400 clients in SW Colorado and Northern NM. Prior to his role at ImageNet, Mitch served 11 years as Vice President and Director of Procurement and Technical Provisioning for BOK Financial, a 32 billion dollar financial services company based in Tulsa, OK. Mitch celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary in 2015 with his wife, Christal, and they have one son who will be attending Fort Lewis College in the fall of 2016. Mitch enjoys volunteering in the community, proudly serves as the Treasurer for the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance, happily serves as Durango Diplomat, a San Juan Rotarian, is an active member of the Durango Chamber, and provides mentorship to FLC students. He also loves spending time with his family hiking, biking, fishing and exploring.   

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Charles P. Fredrick, CPA

Charles-FrederickDWE Board Member
Charles P. Fredrick, CPA, is the managing owner of FredrickZink & Associates, PC.

A Summa Cum Laude graduate of Fort Lewis College in Business and Accounting, Chuck has been a practicing CPA since 1978. He has provided tax, audit, and business consulting to a variety of businesses in the Four Corners area including construction contractors, retail, and other service-oriented businesses. He has been called upon to provide expert witness testimony regarding business valuations, consultation to legal counsel on commercial litigation cases, and review of claims for insurance companies and adjusters. He has also provided services in computation of loss of income and damage settlements, as well as investigatory accounting regarding fraud and embezzlement for private business and non-profit entities.
Chuck is an active member of many professional organizations. Since 1978, he has been a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts and the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants. At the latter, he has served as Vice President of the Executive Committee, Vice Chair and Chair of the Small Business Committee, and Chair of the CPE board. In 2000-2001, he served as president of the Colorado Society of CPAs. At the Four Corners chapter of CPA’s, Chuck has served as Chair, Vice Chair, and CPE Coordinator. He has also served as Chair of the City of Durango Financial Advisory and Budget Review Committee and is a member of the City Retirement Board. Chuck recently served four years on the American Institute of CPAs governing council and has also served on the AICPA Member Retirement Committee.
Chuck is involved in many community organizations. He has served as President of the Durango Youth Soccer Association, former Chair of the executive committee of the Volunteers of America Southwest Safehouse, Chair for Small Business Administration’s SCORE/ACE Program, and member of the Fort Lewis College Business Advisory Council.
Interested in continuing his education in the profession, Chuck frequently attends pertinent seminars and conferences. He shares his experience and education with the local community by giving lectures to interested groups, such as the Durango Board of Realtors and Fort Lewis College. He is the Chairperson and was a charter board member of the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado. Chuck serves on the Board of Directors for the Durango Wine Festival and the Homebuilders Association of Southwest Colorado.
Chuck lives in Durango. He is married and is the proud father of three adult sons, two grandsons and two stepdaughters. He enjoys fly fishing, attending soccer events, jazz music, hiking, and reading.

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Mike French

Michael FrenchDWE Board Member





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Beth Stewart-Lueck

DWE Board Member
Marketing Director at Durango Area Tourism Office




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Karen Barger, co-founder
Alpine KB final for ad
DWE CO-Founder & Past Board President 
Karen Barger is widely known as the owner of Seasons Rotisserie Grill, having joined the team in 1995, shortly after its opening, serving as Assistant General Manager. She had previously worked for a restaurant group in Albuquerque, N.M., overseeing operations and development of the wine lists and menus for the company’s three establishments. While working for the NM operations, Karen was the Coordinator for all Liquor, beer and Wine for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. She is fond of saying she got to throw a party for a million visitors. 
Her husband securing a position at Fort Lewis College, brought the young family to Durango.
Having a passion for wine and interested in expanding her knowledge, Karen took a position with Denver-based Classic Wines for a time, promoting smaller “boutique” wines from throughout the world. She continued to work at Seasons, however, and was at the forefront when the former owner turned his focus fully on his own winery in California. Karen made an offer to purchase, and in 2003, she assumed ownership of the popular Durango dining establishment.
The seasonal menu concept is one of kind in Durango. Under Karen’s direction the strong emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal selections has “bloomed”. Nationally and regionally recognized for the award winning menu and wine list, Barger continues at the helm.
Karen is the co-founder of the extremely successful Durango Wine Experience and sits on the city appointed Board of Directors of the Business Improvement District. Karen is the only restaurateur…and first female to hold this prestigious position.
Community support and volunteer opportunities are no stranger to Barger. She has been involved with The Restaurant Association, the Durango Business Improvement District, Youth Services Organizations while in Albuquerque and countless hours as one of the key organizers for the Durango Wine Experience.
Passion for all things food and wine are the main reasons behind Karen’s 35 year restaurant career.
Karen and Wayne have two sons and two grandchildren. No pets and lots of wine.
Karen retired from the Board of Directors in 2018.
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Joe Leder

Joe LederDWE CO-Founder 
Joe Leder is the owner of Animas Wine & Spirits and PJ’s Gourmet Market.  He is the previous owner of Durango Liquor, which he started in 1999. He got his start in the wine& grocery business in 1979 with Albertson’ in Sonoma County, CA.

While Joe was with Albertsons in California he was able to purchase and taste wines directly from the vintners in the valley.  It was then he developed a taste and appreciation for wine.
When the time came to leave his corporate grocery career, he immediately began looking to get back into the wine business, opening Durango Liquor in 1999.  During the next 14 years he hosted many wine events
including The Snowdown Open Space fundraiser, Ft/ Lewis’  TLC for FLC, and of course, co-founding the Durango Wine Experience with Karen Barger.
He earned his Sommelier accreditation in 2002.

In 2009, Joe jumped back into the grocery business, opening PJ’s Gourmet Market along with Animas Wine & Spirits.  He now could explore his love of food, as well as, wine.
Joe and his wife Pam have been active in the Durango Community  since 1994 and have two grown daughters.
Joe retired from the Board of Directors in 2013.

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Mandi Davis

Mandi DavisDWE Event Coordinator 2016-present
DWE Board Member 2015

As the Dining Room Manager of the Ore House, Mandi Davis says she is reminded daily of the reasons why people love the town of Durango while at work. “I’m surrounded by amazing people that are more like friends or family than customers. I get to breathe clean air and drink clean water and my backyard is a mountain playground. I have immediate access to amazing, responsible, local food… Basically, I am one lucky person to get paid to do what I love: Make people smile.”
Mandi moved to Durango in 2002 to pursue an education in the field of politics at Fort Lewis College. She quickly moved into working for the US House of Representatives for several years; always working in restaurants throughout. In 2008, she found herself being drawn to and loving the service industry more than ever and switched career paths to focus her people and customer service skills in a different direction.
Watching memories being made and witnessing people genuinely enjoying life is the source of inspiration and passion that has helped Mandi shape the Ore House’s hospitality program. Mandi leads the dining room staff with the notion that service is a created, personalized product and not just a series of steps. Exemplary service combined with the Ore House’s meticulous attention to food quality have enhanced the comfort, warmth, and inviting nature of the 41 year old restaurant.
During her time away from work, Mandi is the mother of 2 small children and the wife of an independent business owner. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce, and is the standing President of the Board of the Young Professionals of Durango and the Durango Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association.  And somehow finds time to enjoy volunteering at countless events every year whose beneficiaries include non-profits such as Volunteers of America, Manna Soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, Annie’s Orphans and Project Merry Christmas. Her favorite days are filled with a combination of good company, great food, and most importantly a nice glass of wine.
[email protected]

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Be sure to visit our FAQ page to find answers to all of your burning DWE questions:
Or please call our DWE Event Office with any additional questions: 970-946-2408

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