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Meet Our Team

  • Grant Dewey
    Grant Dewey

    Executive Director
    Grant has lived in El Paso County since his father retired from the Air Force and moved his family here. Grant earned his first degree in Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He was a production manager for American Strategic Metals then moved to Europe where he set up carbide recycling operations as the process engineer.

    Grant returned to earn a second degree in Secondary Science Education from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Since then, Grant has taught science and mathematics in public, private and international schools. He has also been involved in small business development, corporate training, and property management in the Colorado Springs area. With Grant’s leadership, we are excited to expand our unique mining museum into a multi-faceted cultural campus for the community.

    Fun Fact: Grant has been an educator and mountaineer on 6 of the 7 continents.

  • Dr. Richard Sauers
    Dr. Richard Sauers


    A native of Lewisburg, PA, Richard A. Sauers received his B.A. of History from Susquehanna University, and both his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from The Pennsylvania State University.

    Sauers is the author of more than two dozen books, including A Caspian Sea of Ink: The Meade-Sickles Controversy (1989), the highly-acclaimed two-volume Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags (1987-1991), A Succession of Honorable Victories: The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina (1996), Meade: Victor of Gettysburg (2004), America's Battlegrounds (2005),The Fishing Creek Confederacy: A Story of Civil War Draft Resistance (2013), and his latest, a 3-volume guide-index to Civil War material in the National Tribune newspaper (1877-1943).

    Current research projects include a detailed study of the Cripple Creek Mining District and ongoing work on his hometown. Sauers has been in the public history arena since 1984, serving currently as Curator of the Western Museum of Mining & Industry in Colorado Springs.

    Fun fact: Rick is an expert in Civil War history and loves nothing more than entertaining guests and visitors at special events as a talented Civil War soldier reenactor!

  • Loretta Howden
    Loretta Howden

    Operations Manager

    Loretta has moved and traveled extensively due to her father’s and husband’s military careers. She started her education at the University of California, Berkeley, and later transferred and earned a B.A. in Communications from Gonzaga University and a Graduate Certificate in Publications from George Washington University. She spent her junior year abroad studying in Florence, Italy.

    She has worked in a variety of marketing and historical venues to include working as a teacher in Germany and teaching at a federal prison; a writer for the U.S. Army Marketing in Hawaii, writer for Berlin Health Services Club and a San Antonio HOA; marketing coordinator for WMMI; a guide and historical interpreter on the ships at Jamestown, Virginia; a costumed guide/interpreter at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum in Tacoma Washington: and a floor docent at the Washington State History Museum. She has worked off and on at WMMI for 12 years and is excited to enrich and expand the museum’s volunteer program.

    Fun Fact: Loretta has lived in Tokyo, Japan, Florence, Italy, Mannheim and Berlin, Germany.

  • Jaime Gorrell
    Jaime Gorrell

    Rentals & Gift Shop Coordinator or

    Jaime is a Colorado Springs native and loves living near the mountains. After graduating from St. Mary’s high school, she received her B.A. in Art History with a minor in Museum Studies from UCCS. She was an intern at the Heller Center for the Arts and Humanities and enjoys being part of the WMMI community.

    Fun Fact about Jaime: Jaime competed in Irish dancing throughout grade school and middle school. Now she enjoys painting landscapes and baking.

  • Ryan Freeny
    Ryan Freeny

    Operations Assistant/ Maintenance

    Ryan was born in Chicago, Illinois, originally hailing from the Roseland area in the southside of Chicago and later moving to the northside of Chicago. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, he left Chicago and started working in the restaurant industry for a time, even working as an oyster shucker in St. Louis, Missouri. He later moved to Colorado Springs, where he transitioned from the restaurant industry to the technology and electronics industries working for places like Batteries Plus Bulbs and later Apple.

    His passion has always been for the outdoors and resource interpretation which is why Ryan is currently completing his Associates of Applied Science degree in Park Ranger Technology as well as certification as a Park Ranger Specialist. His last position before joining the WMMI team was working as a Seasonal Park Ranger and Park Guide for the Helen Hunt Falls Nature Center at North Cheyenne Cañon Park for the City of Colorado Springs. Joining the WMMI team fits in perfectly with his life goal of being a great interpreter of cultural resources to the public and being able to properly care for cultural resources so they can stick around for future generations to enjoy!

    Fun Fact: Ryan went to Southern Illinois University to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Robotics with the hopes of becoming a animatronics engineer. His goal was to potentially make real life robotic characters for movies, tv, and amusement parks like the T-Rex in the original Jurassic Park movies or the great white shark from the original JAWS movie

  • Lauren Knight
    Lauren Knight

    Education Coordinator

    Lauren is originally from Pittsburgh, then Thornton, CO but loves her current home here in Colorado Springs. She did her undergraduate work at CSU-Pueblo, and is working towards her Master of Public Administration at UCCS. She comes from a large family of educators--her desire to work with kids comes naturally. She is excited to build the field trip and STEM camp programs at the museum. She is a firm believer that it's fun to learn when the learning is fun!

    Fun fact: Lauren is an avid runner and did Cross Country and Track in school.

  • Dr. Jeff Mielke
    Dr. Jeff Mielke

    Memberships & Donations Coordinator

    Jeff joins the WMMI after working for Fundraising and Membership for the US Olympic/Paralympic Committee and The USAFA Associate of Graduates. Jeff graduated from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO with a BS degree in Geography/General Engineering, and received his MS in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. In 2024 Jeff completed his doctorate in Management with an emphasis in Executive Leadership from Colorado Technical University. During his tenure with the US Air Force, Jeff served as the Director or Public Affairs with the HQ Ballistic Missile Organization at Norton AFB in California. He also served as Deputy Director of Public Affairs with the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, and was the Thunderbirds Public Affairs Officer with USAFADS, both at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada.

    Jeff donates his time and energy to many local organizations. He is an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America, Former Executive Board Member, Nevada Council on Economic Education, Former Board Member and Vice-Chairman, USAF Thunderbird Alumni Association, a former member of the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable, and past president of the Southern Colorado Association of Fundraising Professionals.

    Fun Fact: In his spare time, he likes to ride his Harley-Davidson and as time permits, he travels to the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota every year.