Our Team

Administration

Stuart James
Executive Director

Stuart James

Stuart joined the independent living movement as the Executive Director at the historic Center for Independent Living in Berkeley (TheCIL). During his seven-year tenure, he renewed TheCIL’s commitment and vision for a truly inclusive world and nearly tripled the organization’s endowment.

TheCIL adopted the “Be Your Own Normal” slogan and reorganized its services, communications, and operating philosophy around the idea that “normal” is everyone and that we all possess talents, skills, qualities, and responsibilities that contribute to our community. Stuart led the organization in developing and updating programs, including an expanded AT program, new Lifestyles events, a life-changing Residential Access program, and the evolution of TheCIL’s Youth programs. Additionally, he brought new corporate partnerships and attention to TheCIL through the PowerOn! web series and its annual Ed Roberts Day event.

Before his tenure at TheCIL, Stuart spent more than twenty years as an executive in the sports and entertainment industry, living and working across four continents. He is an avid sports fan with allegiances to his childhood teams—the New York Giants and Knicks—but he’s vowed to be a die-hard fan of the Toledo Mud Hens and University of Toledo Rockets.

Stuart has a master’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology and was a graduate assistant in their nationally ranked lacrosse program.

Hear origin story of The Ability Center’s podcast, 68 Words told by Stuart James.

Raven Headshot
Assistance Dog

Raven

Raven is the oldest of nine siblings, born in Toledo on July 3, 2020.

Reven’s education began at ten weeks with Smart Start, followed by Puppy Curriculum, Foundations, and the Red, White, and Blue Series. She completed the first and second semesters of final training with ease and graduated from The Ability Center’s Assistance Dog Program at the top of her class.

It’s no secret that Raven loves to work. She excels at problem-solving, retrieval, finding keys, attending—and sleeping through—meetings, and public speaking, where she can showcase what she’s learned.

Swimming, dock diving, and agility running are some of Raven’s favorite activities when she’s not working. She also treasures family time and cuddling.

Raven currently resides in Maumee with Executive Director Stuart James.

Associate Director

Ash Lemons

Ash Lemons began his employment at The Ability Center in July of 2002 and is currently the Associate Director. Prior to working at The Ability Center, Ash served 8 years Active-Duty Air Force.

In 2005 Ash was presented the “Spirit of Democracy” award, by former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, for his advocacy work in leading multiple County Board of Elections towards greater accessibility and compliance with the Help Americans Vote Act. In 2008 he was recognized by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a key advocate in the passage of SB209, which provided expanded opportunities for hunters with disabilities. In 2012 Ash accepted the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging “Innovations—Aging Achievement Award” for his work in creating a programming which greatly expedited community living options for persons unnecessarily living in Nursing facilities. By 2019, after a decade of work, Ash’s Nursing Home Transition team transitioned their 850th individual back into Community Based living.

Ash has served as an appointed member to the Ohio Secretary of State’s ADA advisory committee, as well as The Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities, and has provided guidance to numerous entities in Northwest Ohio towards becoming more Disability Friendly.

Ash holds an Associate’s degree in Aerospace Technology from the Community College of the United States Air Force; a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College (SUNY) and has held an Ohio Realtors’ License as well as an ICC certification as an Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner.

Director of Human Resources

Debbie Andriette

Debbie grew up in Cuyahoga Falls in Northeast Ohio. She started her career in Human Resources shortly after graduating from the University of Akron. After working for many years in the employment industry and non-profit organizations, she began working at The Ability Center in 2007. It was her first experience working with people with disabilities. She quickly learned to appreciate and recognize the abilities of the disability population and the significance that work makes in their lives. The position has allowed Debbie to create a top-notch organization of qualified people with and without disabilities.

“Over the years, we’ve developed a strong team continually working toward a common goal of building and supporting inclusive communities.”

Debbie has her PHR and SHRM-CP certifications.

Director of Program Operations

TJ Buchholz

TJ received his Bachelor’s in Sociology from Northwestern College (IA) and his Masters in Sports Management from California University (PA). He brings with him many years of experience as a collaborative leader within the community, most recently as the Head Women’s Soccer Coach for the University of Toledo. TJ will work closely with Stuart and Ash to lead program operations and will oversee all consumer and assistance dog’s programs.

 

TJ and his wife Candace have three daughters (Sophie-Highland Elementary, Chloe and Season-Northview High School) and live in Sylvania.

Nick Vargas, Director of Development
Director of Development

Nick Vargas

Nick Vargas recently joined The Ability Center as Director of Development. He has worked in development for over ten years in Toledo with non-profits focused on health and education. One of the many reasons Nick joined The Ability Center is his belief in the mission to make the community the most disability friendly in the nation.

Nick is a lifelong Toledoan who received his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship from Brown University. As Director of Development, he will design and execute the overall fund development vision and strategy to provide for the current and future needs of The Ability Center with an emphasis on major gifts and corporate sponsorships.

Nick and his son Bryce live in Sylvania with their dog Jack.

Human Resource Associate

Amanda Trease

Amanda received her Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources (HR) from the University of Toledo. She worked in HR in the banking industry in Ann Arbor before moving to the Los Angeles area with her husband. There she worked in HR at a museum that shared the stories of diverse cultures.

After their fun in the sun, Amanda and her family returned to the Toledo area to be closer to relatives. Having experienced the passion of non-profits, Amanda hoped to again find a role with a mission-driven organization and felt fortunate to have found a position with an essential and meaningful organization.

Cathy Quinones
Consumer Survey Associate

Cathy Quinones

Born and raised in New Jersey, Cathy received an associate’s degree in Legal Assisting and has over ten years of experience in customer service and administrative roles. In 2004 she relocated to Sylvania, Ohio, with her husband, where she was fortunate enough to stay home with their son, Marc. Marc was born with multiple disabilities, and he changed her life in ways she never expected. Cathy shares, “There are no words to describe the lessons he taught me in the four short but precious years he was with us.”

Cathy says, “Marc is why I am at The Ability Center today. I was seeking to join an organization that made a difference in the lives of others. I started volunteering with The Ability Center in 2009 and officially became an employee in 2010. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people who are passionate about the individuals we help on a daily basis.”

In her spare time, she loves to travel, and above all, she enjoys spending time with my family and friends.

Data and Outcomes Manager

Cheryl Murphy

Cheryl is a graduate of the University of Toledo with a BA in Geography, with an emphasis in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She has over 20 years of experience in site spatial analysis, having been the GIS Project Manager for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, a global quick-service restaurant company. During her time with Popeyes, Cheryl worked with the Development Department to conduct site analyses and manage their spatial data. She created custom maps and performed market optimization analyses to identify areas of opportunity for new restaurant growth.

She enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys away from the office, training and showing her dogs, or enjoying a good book with a strong cup of coffee.

Facilities Maintenance Manager

Jeremy Wingate

I was born and raised in the Toledo area and graduated from Bedford High School. Joining the team at The Ability Center was an exciting opportunity for me. It allows me to use many of the skills I have gained, during my 15 years in retail management and over 12 years in construction and maintenance, to help in our mission to make Toledo the most disability friendly city in the country. I attended Monroe Community College majoring in education before shifting to the management and construction fields.

In my spare time I love to spend time camping with my wife and two sons, volunteering as a scout leader, playing the guitar and watching the Detroit Lions.

Navigators

Navigator Supervisor

Audrey Johnson

Audrey had been in various roles at The Ability Center for four years before being named Volunteer Coordinator for the Assistance Dogs program.

Audrey shares her thoughts about working at The Ability Center, “I feel The Ability Center is a natural fit for me. I’m a very easy-going person, and I love helping others. I like volunteer coordinating because of the volunteers! They each bring different strengths, talents, and wisdom to our program. Together they help us achieve our goals. It’s a joy to watch the process of new puppies and fosters to graduation. Each milestone for the dog and volunteer leads to a purposeful life and rewards the dog and the individual receiving the dog.”

Audrey enjoys camping, exercising, church activities, and spending time with her family in her free time.

Becky Strieff
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Becky Strieff

Becky has been a long-time employee at The Ability Center. She is passionate about assisting people in nursing facilities to live independently in the community. Through the Home Choice Program as a Transition Coordinator, Becky assists individuals in finding a community setting they choose with the support they need to ensure an opportunity for them to live in their home and not in a nursing facility. She is passionate about assisting people in living independently in the community.

Becky enjoys spending time with family and friends and finding tranquility in her flower garden when not at work.

Angie Goodnight
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Angie Goodnight

Throughout her years with The Ability Center, Angie has served in many roles and is passionate about assisting individuals with disabilities to self-advocate. As a frequent public speaker for The Ability Center, she shares her personal experiences with self-advocacy following a sudden illness that left her blind. Angie is the Chair of the Lucas County Commission on Disabilities, which serves as the advisory committee to the Lucas County Commissioners, the Mayor of the city of Toledo, and the City Council relative to needs, problems, and other concerns of people with disabilities.

Angie serves as a board member of The Toledo Area Alliance to End Homelessness, whose member organizations work collaboratively to help people at risk of or experiencing homelessness by providing leadership and advocacy.

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Tammi Davis

After starting her career in retail management, life led Tammi to discover a passion for advocacy and social services. She has worked with homeless and elderly populations in positions ranging from case management to administration and program development.

Tammi shares, “I’m happy to be working at The Ability Center, knowing that I am a small part of big changes happening in my hometown. The opportunity to volunteer with our assistance dog program and make friendships with the other volunteers and consumers in the program is so rewarding.”

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Veronica Gonzales

Veronica received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Lourdes University and is pursuing a Master of Social Work at the University of Toledo; she became a licensed social worker in 2022. Veronica’s experience includes providing support to students in Lourdes’ Academic Success Center and working as a Direct Support Professional at Bittersweet; she also interned with Cherry Street Mission while pursuing her bachelor’s degree.
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Kayla Sykes

Kayla has a huge passion for individuals with disabilities, which was inspired by her late cousin, Samantha who had SMA. Kayla states that “Samantha opened my eyes to a world I wasn’t aware of; and was my first experience with inclusion.”

In 2010 Kayla moved to Burton Texas to work at Camp for All, which is a barrier-free camp that is uniquely designed to serve both children and adults with multiple challenges. The outcomes for every activity are about emotional healing and helping campers realize they are not defined by their challenge. Their mission is to discover life, and Kayla states that is when she truly discovered what she wanted to do with hers.

Kayla moved back to Toledo and attended Owens Community College and The University of Toledo, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in education. She spent 12 years in the education field where she held various roles including a braillist, a behavior therapist, a classroom teacher and a program director where she did community outreach and programming for at risk youth and their families.

Kayla lives in Toledo with her husband, two daughters and their two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and volunteering in the Fine Arts theatre program that her daughters are involved in at St. Pius X Elementary.

Navigator

Michael Faulkner

Michael has several years of experience providing customer service including in his most recent role as a branch banker with PNC Bank and before that in his role as a general manager with Aaron’s. Michael attended the University of Toledo where he took business and marketing courses before pursuing a customer-focused career. Michael shares that he recently became aware of The Ability Center and the programs we have and is excited to use his communication and service skills to support ACT consumers.
Durable Medical Equipment Technician

Rick Adkins

Born and raised here in Toledo, I attended Central Catholic and joined the workforce directly thereafter. Decades of toiling in the supply chain made me realize that I craved something more meaningful out of my work week.

I understand the importance of an organization such as ACT and what it can mean to individuals and families with specific needs. My life is deeply connected to those with significant disability, my spouse, half brother and cousin.

I stumbled across the opportunity to join the ACT team and was immediately intrigued. This position was right in my wheelhouse and I knew I could make a difference with both my work and personal experience.

Outside of work I spend most of my time at home with Racheal and our 2 dogs Rusty and Remy. Dog walking, bike riding, board gaming and watching the Dallas Cowboys occupies my free time.

Assistance Dogs

Stacie Baumbarger
Assistance Dog Program Director

Stacie Baumbarger

Stacie has been a lifelong dog enthusiast. She started in the dog world at age nine, training her first cocker spaniel as a 4-H project. Over the years, her love and passion for dog training have continued to grow. Because of this, she has spent almost 15 years professionally training dogs and looks forward to many more. She has competed in agility from coast to coast and has obtained many titles in obedience, rally, field training, and dock diving. She has enjoyed having the opportunity to train with some of the world’s top dog trainers and is always looking for ways to expand her knowledge.

Stacie resides in Perrysburg with her husband Chad and their 2 Cocker Spaniels. She is also an active member of the American Spaniel Club.

Meredith Daugherty
Lead Trainer

Meredith Daugherty

Meredith is a life-long dog lover who first was interested in assistance dogs after writing a research paper in her 7th grade English class. Meredith went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Physical Education from Bowling Green State University. After teaching at the middle school and high school levels for a few years, Meredith pivoted her career to focus on assistance dogs. She pursued an associate’s degree in Assistance Dog Education from the prestigious school, Bergin University of Canine Studies in Santa Rosa, California.

In addition to dog training, Meredith coaches high school golf at St. Ursula Academy. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and walking the dog with her husband.

Kim Holmes
Training Specialist

Kim Holmes

Kim grew up in Sylvania, Ohio. Her love of animals led her to a career in the veterinary field, where she worked and managed Reynolds Road Animal Hospital for 33 years. She taught obedience classes for the Toledo Kennel Club, Karnik Inn, and Pups & People during that time. She eventually opened her own training facility called “A Breed Apart.”
In June 2008, Kim and her close friend Melissa Voetsch started Agility Angels. This program uses the sport of dog agility to help individuals diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder develop social skills, physical abilities, and self-confidence.

Kim has a daughter and son-in-law, two flat-coated retrievers, and an Irish Setter. The dogs have performed competitively in various events, including conformation, obedience, agility, field, nose work, and dock diving. Kim joined ADAI in the summer of 2017 as a Training Specialist. Training dogs to help others is a dream come true for her.

Janell Crockett
Canine Services Supervisor

Janell Crockett

Janell grew up in Perrysburg, OH. She attended Penta Career Center’s small animal care program in high school and found a career choice that fulfilled her love of dogs. After graduating from the National K-9 Dog Trainer School in Columbus, Ohio, she had an opportunity to train dogs in Austin, Texas. Janell relocated and trained dogs and worked as a Kennel Manager. Unable to travel home to visit family during the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided it was time to move back to the Toledo area.

Janell is now back in Ohio with her five dogs, Zena, Mabel, Trixie, Daphnee, and Nugget. She looks forward to using her dog training skills in the Assistance Dogs program at The Ability Center.

Volunteer Program Supervisor

Tabatha Belknap

Tabatha joined Assistance Dogs as the Volunteer Coordinator in April 2021. She is responsible for recruiting, onboarding, and training all volunteers. Her background includes retail work and volunteer management. She took pre-vet courses in college in hopes of becoming a veterinarian. Tabatha came to Assistance Dogs after working as a Community Development Manager for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Civilizations from Bowling Green State University.

Tabatha and her husband live in Oregon with their rescue pup, Daisy. Her hobbies include taking Daisy to different parks, gardening, working out, traveling, antiquing, and reading.

Assistance Dogs Resource Associate

Emily Sulka

Emily grew up in the Kalamazoo, MI area. She went to college at Cedarville University, where she volunteered for four years as a foster and onsite volunteer for the 4 Paws for Ability’s service dog program. That experience helped her discover her love of working with dogs, so she was hired as a Training Assistant at 4 Paws after college. When offered the opportunity to work as a Dog Program Intern at Assistance Dogs of Hawaii, she relocated to Maui for six months to work with their program. Her next move was to Indiana to work with a pet dog training organization; however, her passion led her back to the service dog world with The Ability Center. She is happy to be able to apply her varied experience to the Assistance Dogs program.
Jordan Kwapich
Client Services Coordinator

Jordan Kwapich

Jordan has been working at Assistance Dogs since the summer of 2013. She has always owned and loved many kinds of animals- but dogs are her favorite. Jordan has many years of experience working in a variety of settings to serve individuals that have disabilities. When she discovered that she could have a job where she could work with people AND dogs, it was a dream come true!

Jordan is the Client Services Coordinator. Jordan conducts initial interviews, home visits, assists in client training, and supports all of the graduates and their dogs.  Jordan loves getting to build a relationship with each client she works with.  There are many things she loves about her job, but her favorite days are when her clients get to meet their assistance dog for the first time. She absolutely loves partaking in the client experience of this powerful program and seeing all the magic that happens once a client receives their assistance dog.

Jordan graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She currently lives in Monclova with her husband, 2-year-old son, and dog. In her free time, she loves to exercise, go horseback riding, be outdoors, travel, and spend time with her family and friends.

Julie Abbott
Client Services Coordinator

Julie Abbott

Julie joined Assistance Dogs as the Client Services Coordinator in October 2022.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and while there, she worked as an Adapted Recreation Assistant for the Office of Disability Services and volunteered with 4 Paws for Ability – it was these opportunities that allowed her to discover her passion for working with both individuals with disabilities and dogs. Julie has also earned her Animal Assisted Therapy certificate through the Animal Behavior Institute and has 9 years of experience working at Anne Grady Services as a Recreation Coordinator and as a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional.

Julie and her husband live in Liberty Center with their Australian Shepard, Izzy. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, travelling, reading, and gardening.

Assistance Dogs Trainer

Katie Slink

Katie has been interested in working with animals since a young age. Growing up, Katie spent weekends traveling to local zoos with her parents and older sister. In middle school, Katie joined the Toledo ZOO Teen volunteer program and volunteered over 800 hours over the next four years. This is when Katie decided she wanted to be a zookeeper. Katie completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Organismal Biology and a minor in Sustainability Studies from the University of Toledo.

After graduating, Katie accepted a position as a seasonal zookeeper at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Five months later, Katie became a year-round zookeeper at Fort Wayne working with red pandas, ring-tailed lemurs, prairie dogs, peafowl, and a turkey vulture. While at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Katie learned in-depth about animal behavior and training methods. After 2 years at Fort Wayne, Katie accepted a zookeeper position at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, working in the Small Mammal Department with red pandas, monkeys, apes, hoofstock, otters, Tasmanian devils, and more! Katie’s favorite animals to train were the red pandas. After leaving the Toledo Zoo, Katie went on to join The Ability Center in early 2023 as a dog trainer. Katie is excited to use her knowledge and skills of animal behavior and training to work with the Agility Angels program.

Katie lives in Swanton with her fiancé Eric and miniature schnauzer Zoey. In her free time, Katie enjoys exploring local parks and nature preserves, visiting zoos and aquariums, and traveling to northern Michigan.

Assistance Dogs Education Coordinator

Brittney Murphy

Training/Kennel Assistant

Kristin Farley

Kristin brings with her several years of experience as a zookeeper at the Toledo Zoo, where she played a vital role in caring for small mammals. Before her time at the zoo, she served as an animal technician at the University of Michigan. Additionally, Kristin has contributed her expertise to the Toledo Zoo as a snooze guide and camp instructor. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from Ohio University.

Kristin fondly recalls her favorite zoo animal, a dingo named Tawny. On a personal note, she is married and has a 10-year-old son and a 13-year-old stepson. Most weekends, you can find her passionately watching soccer games, as her family shares a strong interest in the sport. Their household includes two dogs, four cats, and a snake, reflecting the enduring spirit of a true zookeeper.

staff member Ryan Rios smiling while standing inside of The Ability Center lobby
Kennel Assistant

Ryan Rios

Ryan works at The Ability Center in the evenings in addition to his daytime work as a Veterinary Assistant at West Toledo Animal Hospital. Ryan moved to the Toledo area from Texas where he previously worked as a Kennel Lead for a large boarding facility. A passion for caring for dogs prompted Ryan to complete courses with the Canine-Human Relationship Institute as well as the International Boarding and Pet Services Association.

Advocacy

Disability Rights Attorney and Director of Advocacy

Katie Hunt Thomas

Katie Hunt Thomas is the Ability Center’s Disability Rights Attorney. Katie received her Bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Xavier University in 2005 and her law degree, cum laude, from the University of Toledo in 2009. Her work history includes Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc. and Murray & Murray Co. LPA before joining The Ability Center.

She has a sister living with Down Syndrome and has been interested in Disability Rights law since law school, where she earned the highest ranking in her Disability Law class. Through her work history, she has gained experience with the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Disability Rights Advocate

Sally Fish

Sally Fish was proudly born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. After completing her BA in Psychology with a minor in disability studies at the University of Toledo in 2022, she found her calling in advocating for disability rights.

Today, she is honored to serve as a Disability Rights Advocate at The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. Our center, covering 13 counties in NW Ohio, is dedicated to increasing independence for individuals with disabilities. In her role, Sally focuses on addressing systemic issues in critical areas such as housing, healthcare, and transportation.

Disability Rights Advocate

Jules Patalita

Jules lived in Muncie while attending Ball State University before moving to Toledo in 2018. Studying at BGSU for his PhD in Media & Communication: Global Communication and Social Change, he was also a Coaching Assistant for the Forensics and Debate Team. Jules has most recently worked at Defiance College where he was an Instructor of Communications Studies. While at Defiance College, he was an active participant in their DEI Discussions & Dialog faculty meetings which aimed to better serve the needs of students. A proud colorblind man with an impressive Hawaiian shirt collection, Jules looks forward to using his communications background to work as a catalyst in creating systemic change to enhance community-based living options for people with disabilities.
Disability Housing Advocate

Chere Olvera

Chere has several years of community resource experience through her most recent role with the Social Security Administration and before that with Unison Health where she was a Medicaid clerk. She also previously worked as an eligibility specialist with Lucas County Jobs and Family Services. Chere received her associate degree from Mercy College and completed the Ohio Human Services Training certificate program through JFS. Chere shares that she loves working out and spending time with her five grandchildren and three cats.

Community Living

Assistive Technology/Medical Equipment/Adult Independent Living Services

Becky Kimble
Independent Living Manager (Bryan Office)

Becky Kimble

Becky graduated from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, with a Master’s in Business Administration. Her career began in insurance as an underwriter. After moving to Williams County in 1995 and raising two sons, she started work as a community volunteer and then in a wide variety of agencies, including Hospice, United Way, and NOCAC (Community Action). In 2023, Becky will start her first term as a volunteer board member for Sarah’s Friends, which provides services for all Williams County residents who have been victims of crime.

Sharing her thoughts, Becky states, “With my position at The Ability Center, I have a job that is less like work and more like living my purpose. I have a passion for advocating for people in my community who are underserved and in need of support to live an independent lifestyle. It is an absolute privilege to help remove barriers to equal opportunity and community inclusion.”

Away from the office, Becky is an advocate for local community members who have been victims of crime and AIM, The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. She also enjoys reading, gardening, walking, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two grown children.

Community Living

Home Accessibility

Terry Lanning
Construction & Housing Supervisor

Terry Lanning

Terry is a lifelong resident of Lucas county. He grew up in the Shoreland-Point Place area but has resided in west Toledo, Sylvania Township, and Springfield Township. After graduating from Whitmer High School, he attended Owens Community College. After working in various sales positions, Terry changed direction and started a career in carpentry. He worked in a family business with his brother for almost 20 years before starting his own company.

Terry shares, “With nearly thirty years of experience as a carpenter-remodeler, I hope to bring a good deal of expertise to the ramp building program.”

Terry likes to spend his spare time with his wife Kim, his daughter Kirsten, and two grandchildren. He is also a big sports fan and enjoys many types of music.

Shane Stevenson
Carpenter

Shane Stevenson

Mike Bockey
Carpenter

Mike Bockey

Lisa Justice
Home Accessibility Coordinator

Lisa Justice

Lisa’s association with The Ability Center began at age five when she attended Opportunity Kindergarten. After graduating from Lourdes College with a degree in management in 1992, she worked a few secretarial jobs in the for-profit sector but always knew something important was missing.
In 2001, a want ad caught her eye. It contained the line: “Personal experience with a disability preferred.” After years of showing up for interviews only to find the office on the third floor of a building with no elevator, it was a relief to see these words. She had not been involved with Ability Center programming since her early teens but walking in the front door, she knew she was home.

Lisa adds, “Although my position is purely administrative, I know that, by keeping this office running smoothly, I am making a difference for all people with disabilities.”

Finance & Operations

Director of Finance and Operations

Eylene Wachowiak

Eylene received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree, majoring in Accounting & Finance, from the University of Toledo. Eylene, a certified public accountant, has most recently worked as the chief financial officer for a law firm in Toledo – a role benefitting from her early-career work in accounting and tax compliance. In her CFO role, Eylene oversaw day-to-day financial management responsibilities and collaborated with staff on projects related to contract negotiations, retirement plan reviews, and insurance renewals. Eylene shares that she enjoys travel, trying all kinds of food, attending concerts, and spending time with her family.
Curtis Jackson
Accountant

Curtis Jackson

Curtis is a Michigan native who grew up in a small country town. Curtis says, “Even though the town is small, I have a huge Michigan heart.” Curtis enjoyed multiple roles, including construction worker, truck driver, and nursing assistant, before beginning his career as an accountant for The Ability Center. Working as a nursing assistant caused Curtis to move to Ohio to pursue a degree in Nursing. However, he switched directions and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Forensic Accounting. Curtis first graduated from Owens Community College, then completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, the second-largest school in Columbus.
Amanda Bell
Payroll/Accounts Payable Administrator

Amanda Bell

Amanda’s role is Payroll/Accounts Payable Administrator. After graduating in 2005 from Owens Community College with an Associate of Business Degree in Office Administration, she joined the Center in 2007. She began working as a receptionist before transitioning to the finance department. Being born with a disability and living her entire life in Toledo, The Ability Center seemed like a natural fit for Amanda. She finds being part of an organization that promotes independence rewarding. Amanda currently resides in Toledo with her husband Ron and rescue dog Liberty. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and watching her favorite TV shows.
Matt Whitmore
Building Maintenance Assistant

Matt Whitmore

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Matt moved to Toledo with his family in 1987. He is a Whitmer graduate and an Eagle Scout. For his Eagle Project, he took a group of kids from The Ability Center camping at Camp Miakonda for a weekend. Matt also attended Camp Cricket in the early 1990′s. He loves sports, and his favorite teams and players include the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Green Bay Packers, Jeff Gordon, and, because he likes watching Tiger Woods, golf. He recently took up golf and Putt-Putt. Matt loves boogie board in the ocean off Florida and enjoys the Cedar Point and Busch Gardens coasters. Hiking is another passion; he has backpacked Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and Yosemite.

Matt says, “I love my job at The Ability Center and enjoy talking sports with my friends and fellow staff members.”

Marketing & Outreach

Beth Stutler
Community Outreach Specialist

Beth Stutler

Beth has a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Science from Ohio University, where she studied Commercial Interior Design. After working and volunteering for several years, she shifted to the not-for-profit arena. Beth has worked in Development and Advancement for various grassroots and national organizations throughout the area.

As a native Toledoan, Beth takes great pride in northwest Ohio and the many opportunities offered to strengthen the community. When the prospect came along to join The Ability Center, she knew it was the perfect chance to work with a dedicated group of folks to promote the many programs and services offered to people with disabilities.

Beth and her husband Mark are the parents of three grown children and are blessed to include spouses and two grandsons in their family. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, biking, traveling, reading, and relaxing at the beach!

Content Specialist

Zach Tillman

Zach received his Bachelor’s degree in Media Communications from the University of Toledo. His journey with The Ability Center began as an intern, where he discovered his knack for connecting with people and making a positive impact.

Outside of work, Zach’s interests span a wide range, from avidly following sports to exploring new destinations through travel.

Will Mellon
Digital Resource Specialist

Will Mellon

Will Mellon has been in Toledo since he was nine and grew up in West Toledo. His professional path began in March 2010 as a graphic designer with the Toledo Mud Hens and Toledo Walleye, where he spent ten years before joining The Ability Center team. Building a better community is important to him, and he is grateful for his role in executing The Ability Center’s mission and vision.

Independent Living

Director of Independent Living

Maggie Dreier

Maggie has a bachelor’s degree in Recreational Therapy from the University of Toledo and a Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati. She has spent several years providing therapy to children with autism, creating inclusive and adaptable events, and serving in various leadership roles. Her favorite past times were being able to help children find their own voice and designing fun, immersive experiences for them.  

Born and raised in Toledo, Maggie enjoys being involved in opportunities that strengthen our community and keep us moving forward towards a bright future. She is excited to be part of the dedicated team at the Ability Center. Maggie and her husband Tyler are blessed to be the parents of two beautiful children. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, photography, cheering on the Walleye, and anything outdoors!

Jennifer Engelmann
Youth Family Services Coordinator

Jennifer Engelmann

Jennifer is originally from Kansas, but Toledo is now home. She always had a passion for helping children, which started as a teacher and grew when she became a foster parent. Jennifer and her husband have seven children and two dogs, including one ADAI dog. Her now adopted daughter had many overlooked needs and disabilities, which opened up a new world. She encountered many challenges trying to locate resources and services for her daughter.

Says Jennifer, “I love helping families with children, and I hope my experience can make the journey easier for others. We can all share our experience to help others.”

Her favorite pastimes are going to the Toledo Metroparks and Mudhens games with her family.

Teen Services & DREAM Coordinator

Jennie Geiman

Jennie has lived in the Greater Toledo area for her whole life. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Early
Childhood Education from Lourdes University and Master’s in Curriculum and Teaching from BGSU.
Jennie was K-8 teacher for 8 years before joining The Ability Center as the Youth Independent Living
Coordinator.

Jennie lives in Maumee and enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and reading. She also loves
animals and currently has 4 cats and 2 dogs.

Adult Services Coordinator

Laurie Kimura

Laurie graduated from the University of Findlay with degrees in Business Administration and Equestrian Studies. She began her career training quarter horses and then transitioned to therapeutic riding. Her professional experience includes developing vocational skills training programs, supporting special education services and equine assisted therapy.

Laurie is passionate about creating a sense of belonging and connection for everyone in our community. She finds great joy in supporting the personal growth journey as people discover their gifts in career exportation and employment opportunities. She appreciates the Ability Center for the impact they have on the community and all the wonderful people the organization brings together through our mission. The opportunity to work with our youth consumers is fun and always inspiring!

Laurie grew up in Toledo, but recently moved to a farm in Lambertville, Michigan where she resides with her family, two dogs and two retired therapy horses.

Program Assistant

Jordan Slutsky

Jordan Slutsky is a born and raised Toledoan. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Toledo, working on a double bachelor’s in Disability Studies and Political Science, and expected to graduate in December 2024. Jordan is very involved on campus and in the community. As a Greater Toledo Jewish community member, Jordan has done a lot of volunteer work with Friendship Circle Toledo. Through Friendship Circle she found her love for the disabled community and an interest in pursuing a career in the field. At the University of Toledo, she is the Internal Affairs Chair for Student Government and an Honors Ambassador. These leadership and volunteering experiences have allowed her to give back to her community and connect with new people daily.