Winnie has worked in the human service field for 45 years, with a variety of special needs populations. The experiences ranged from small companies to large institutions; privately owned to government run' and for profit as well as not for profit companies.
Over 16 years ago she purchased Leeda Northeast, Inc, a residential provider agency that has grown under her leadership, with the expansion of vocational training practiced in two thrift/gift shops in Trumbull and Portage County. Winnie was also instrumental in starting a not-for-profit organization called Trips Ahoy Foundation, Inc, which provides opportunities to have a fulfilling quality of life and be integrated into community activities.
Ryan Heckert serves as CEO for TWi, an organization based in Stark County that serves adults across many area. He earned both his Bachelor's Degree (Social Work) and Master's Degree (Organizational Leadership) from Malone University. Prior to joining TWi he served the Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities as an SSA and SSA Supervisor (Waiver Services/ Provider Relations). Ryan lives in North Canton and is most passionate about his family; wife (Sara) and 3 children (Layna, Luke & Ava).
Jim Brown started out as a Rest Area Caretaker for Medina County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 1991. After a couple of years at the rest area program he got the opportunity to drive a van for the County Board transporting people to Rest Areas and other jobs in the community. He took the Operations Manager position with Windfall industries in 1995 and became Executive Director in 2000.
Jim was born and raised in Media. In 1993, he married his high school sweetheart, Evangelene. Some would know her better as "Angel." In 1999, they had a son, James the 5th. Yes they were James Brown before James Brown. A little while after that they started a business called Salon Evangelene.
Jim has spent most of his career helping people with disabilities earn a paycheck. He believes that everyone who is able to work has a responsibility to work.
Tom Rickels has been in the field of IDD for over 36 years (some would say that is 35 years too long). Starting in Columbus at the Park West Court in 1983 which was serving the deinstitutionalized elderly population of Orient Developmental Center.
From there Tom went to the AnMac Foundation at the height of ICF-IID development serving as a Program Coordinator in Newark and Massillon. Moving to the NE portion of Ohio, Tom became a Program Coordinator at Gateways to Better Living, in the beautiful Ravenna to be Program Director at Independence of Portage County. Mr. Rickels then went back to Youngstown for one year as a workshop Director and then 11 years as the Residential Director of the Mahoning County Board of DD. Then Tom left for 10 years "with somebody that he used to know" back in Massillon. He finally landed his dream job as the owner of X-Excel which runs Day Programs in Stark and Ashland Counties.
Over the last several years Windfall has been changing their focus from facility based work programs to competitive employment in the community. A goal of mins is for the name Windfall Industries to be known for providing opportunities for people with disabilities and providing excellent service to all groups. businesses and people.
Janet has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for over 20 years. She received her BA from Kent State and her MPA from the University of Akron. Janet started her career as a graduate intern in a 130 bed ICF in northeast Ohio. Janet spent the last 10 years as the Chief Operating Officer for RMS Management, which provides residential and adult day services in 10 countries throughout the state.
Mr. Rickels and Kathy Phillips were the co-founders of the Ohio Waiver Network in 2013. OWN is dedicated to common sense solutions that promote cooperation, collaboration, and system simplicity. The OWN is also composed of people still working with persons with IID who understand the impact policy has on Direct Support Professionals.
Abbey Summers, CFO New Leaf Residential Services and Board Member of OWN since 2018. Abbey began a career in the field of developmental disabilities as a direct support professional while attending collage; Abbey worked in several positions within Youngstown Developmental Center before founding New Leaf Residential Services in 2004. After 15 years of growth, New Leaf Residential is proud to continue to assist individuals in transitioning into community based services as well as being able to offer Medicare certified home health care.
Michael Mathews, President of New Leaf Residential Services, Inc., is a proud board member of the Ohio Waiver Network. Having started out working as a direct care professional in 1992 as he was finishing college, Michael then moved towards working as a QMRP in a State of Ohio Developmental Center for 15 years. During this time, Michael was able to complete his Masters in Public Administration. With over 27 years' experience, Michael is proud to represent providers on many committees throughout the State with an emphasis on providing quality care to the individuals we all serve.
Annette Wood has worked in the DD field for over 10 years. She was originally hired in as Chief Financial Officer of a large DD company in 2008. Her hands on approach to business led her to spending time in Day Hab programs and she found her passion. Ms. Wood has been the Director of Day Habs for over 9 years, currently serving as the Director of X-Excel for the past 3 years.