As former business relations and employment development director for the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, Dana Barton made a difference in the lives of job seekers. Now, as director of the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, she’s making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families.
The common thread: affecting numerous lives for the better.
The ADA Center provides resources and information on the Americans with Disabilities Act for individuals and organizations in Colorado and five other states. Barton was hired to run it in October 2017.
“What was most exciting about this opportunity was that people locally and in the six-state region weren’t all that familiar with the Rocky Mountain ADA Center,” Barton said. “I understood how important it was for the public to be educated about what the rights and responsibilities in the ADA are.”
Since she’s been director, the center has increased its training and public awareness activities by 130 percent. It has rebranded, launched a new website, blog and podcast; increased its social media presence; and completed several important research projects.
In the past year, it has facilitated more than 85 training sessions, reaching more than 1,600 participants, and provided free training for more than 70 local participants.
Barton has solidified the center as the go-to resource for information about the ADA and is recognized as a thought leader in the industry, according to Aikta Marcoulier, Barton’s nominator.
One of the accomplishments she is most proud of is the development and distribution of a pocket guide to disabilities for law enforcement officers. That guide “will undoubtedly save lives,” Lauren Hug, the writer of one of her recommendations, stated.
Barton was born in Bethesda, Md., and grew up in Louisville, Ky. She graduated from Michigan State University, East Lansing, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, an area in which she has never worked. But while she was a student, she worked in the football office, assisting with recruitment of NCAA Division I athletes. That led to a job at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where Barton was the assistant director of football recruitment operations.
Barton moved to Colorado Springs in June 2004 to take a job at The Broadmoor, where she served as director of recruitment. Later, she worked as a senior IT recruiter at Robert Half Technology. After five years at the Workforce Center, she left following a restructuring and joined the ADA Center.
“Because of the work we’ve done, I know that it’s helping many people,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do, and I get to have a hand in that every day.”
Barton’s community service doesn’t end at 5 p.m. She has worked with several community organizations, including the board of LAUNCH High School and the National Association for Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers.
“I have two young children, and I think it’s important to model civic engagement for my children,” she said. “But also, I just fell in love with Colorado Springs, and the way I can make sure this is a place that I want to stay is to be involved.”