Linkages Board of Directors
Jim Click Automotive Team CEO & Linkages Founder & Board President
Disabilities have always been at the center of Jim Click’s family focus. In 1975, he was one of the first Tucson employers to offer a workstation for people with developmental disabilities through the Beacon Foundation. Today, Jim employs sixty-eight individuals with disabilities at his dealerships. In 1999, President Bill Clinton presented Jim with the Presidents Award from the Committee of Employment of People with Disabilities for his leadership in the development of LINKAGES, a unique non-profit organization that matches individuals with disabilities with employment opportunities. “Jim Click is honored today with a Presidential Award. He has a remarkable passion for empowering Americans with disabilities and helping all Americans to live closer to the idea of opportunity for all. He is, therefore, a true patriot.” President Bill Clinton, White House Ceremony, June 4, 1999.
DR. DANIEL J. RANIERI
La Frontera Arizona CEO & Linkages Treasurer
Dr. Dan Ranieri is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of La Frontera Center in Tucson Arizona. He has over twenty years of experience in behavioral healthcare and has held positions of leadership in both the public and private sector. Dr. Ranieri is a licensed psychologist, with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Arizona State University. He has practiced as an adult, child, and forensic psychologist; has served as a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University; and has several professional publications. Dr. Ranieri has also presented on numerous topics and serves as a professional consultant. Dr. Ranieri was hired by La Frontera Center in 1995 with the primary task of transforming the organization from a fee-for-service model to that of full risk-bearing capitation model. Over this period of time, gross revenues have gone from $13.5 to $38 million, staffing has increased by nearly 50%, and quality and efficiency measures have improved dramatically. Dan serves on the Board of Directors of several local and national organizations.
Beacon President & Linkages Secretary
For more than 30 years, Steve King has led nonprofit agencies serving people with disabilities. He is president and CEO of The Beacon Group SW Inc., an organization that provides vocational and developmental training programs for the disabled in Tucson and Phoenix, Ariz. From 1980 to 2003, he was president of a similar agency, Tetra Corporation. King began his career when he was hired to start the Plymouth County Work Activity Center in Le Mars, Iowa, following his NWC graduation. He holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation administration from the University of San Francisco and has served as chair of the Governor’s State Rehabilitation Advisory Council and president of the National Rehabilitation Association. In 2001 he received the association’s Guy F. Hubbard Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation Management.
KGUN9 General Manager
· University of Arizona: Major - Speech Arts; Minor – Marketing
· Radio air personality known as “Sunny” Jim Arnold - 1972-78. Twice recognized at Top 5 Country Music Air Personality by Billboardmagazine.
· Moved away from Tucson to first operate radio in El Paso and Lubbock, TX; then TV stations Lubbock, Madison, WI and Amarillo, TX.
· Returned to Tucson in 2000 to serve as General Manager of KOLD-TV from 2000-2010.
· Retired from 2010-2012 and now General Manager of KGUN9 On Your Side and KWBA The cwTucson since December 2012.
· Community service included Executive Board positions with Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson; Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce; American Advertising Federation/Tucson.
· Recognition includes: Arizona Broadcaster’s Association Hall of Fame; Tucson Advertising Hall of Fame; American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award; University of Arizona Mentor of the Year for Media Arts School.
As well as serving on Raytheon Persons with DisAbilities (RPDA) Southwest Leadership Team since 2001, Dan Barrett, Legally Blind since birth, is the Co-Lead for the Global RPDA Employee Recourse Group. He is a Certified Raytheon Six Sigma Expert, coordinating Six Sigma Specialist (Yellow Belt) Training and Qualification at Raytheon Missile Systems (12,000 employees), in Tucson AZ. Dan has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services Administration from Merrimack College, N Andover, MA and an MBA with a Technology Management concentration from the University of Phoenix, Tucson, AZ. Prior to earning his Six Sigma Expert Certification in 2006, Dan’s expertise was in the areas of Supply Chain Management, Production and Warehouse Supervision. Dan married his wife Karen in 1979 and they have four+ wonderful children. Dan and Karen also serve as foster parents for young children and infants. They are a 4-H Family having several verities of 4H Project Pets. “Yes excellent time management is a requirement.” Feel free to Contact Dan Barrett. (“Always eager to breakdown barriers, improve processes, and mentor individuals to achieve their best”). He is available to assist as a “Subject Matter Expert” for the Professional Disability Community.
Amity Foundation, Vice President
Ray Clarke earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University Of Arizona, and was a member of Pi Lambda Theta National Honor Society. He is a recipient of the University’s Center for Athletes Total Success Silver Anniversary Award; and Distinguished Citizen Awards. “A man of integrity, a proven leader, problem solver and bridge builder,” those are the words that have been voiced to describe Mr. Clarke.
A tireless agent for change his distinguished career includes; selection into Oxford’s Who’s Who; and Cambridge Who’s Who for Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs; president and CEO of private non-profit corporations; executive director of a Governor’s Council on Health, Fitness and Sports; and deputy director at a Juvenile Court Center.
In addition to his capacity building success with individuals and organizations, there is an outstanding record of community service as a volunteer. Mr. Clarke has received numerous local, state, regional and national appointments and awards; including member of the U.S. Delegation of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe; and the Myer & Libby Marmis Humanitarian Award; and Outstanding Young Men in America.
Past community service also includes: University of Arizona Alumni National Board; University of Arizona Foundation Board; Governor’s Citizen’s Finance Review Commission; Tucson Breakfast Club; Puerto Nuevo Task Force; Park Villa Casitas Board; Building Bridges Drug Task Force; United Way Board of Directors; University of Arizona of Cultural Affairs Advisory Board; Tucson Unified School District Blue Ribbon Committee; State of Arizona Housing Commission; Arizona Cancer Center; Tucson 30; Workforce Investment Board; Southern Arizona Community Foundation Board; Community Transportation of Southern Arizona Board, Greater Tucson Economic Council Board; University of Arizona Athletics African American Advisory Committee.
Mr. Clarke has also been involved with strategic noon-partisan initiatives that use sports and other social enterprises to help support children, education, civil and human rights. He continues to work on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised for Amity Foundation’s Dragonfly Village “state of the art” transitional housing for homeless individuals and families; and Corporate Officer with Epidaurus, Inc. of Arizona, California and New Mexico. He also serves on the Pima County Housing Commission.
University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Director
Leslie Cohen, JD is the Director of the UA Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, UA College of Medicine. In her current position, Ms. Cohen is responsible for this UA interdisciplinary center engaged in disability related education and training, research, model program development and information dissemination. Ms. Cohen has substantial expertise in disability law and policy. Prior to join the University of Arizona, she was the executive director for over ten years of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, Arizona’s protection and advocacy system for persons with disabilities. For many years, she has served as a consultant to organizations in Arizona and nationally on a wide variety of strategic planning, management and substantive disability issues. She currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the National Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD); Council Member, Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council; and Board President, Primavera Foundation.
DR. PHILIP R. JOHNSON
Assistant Professor in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona
Dr. Philip Johnson has been working with persons with disabilities for over twenty years. Dr. Johnson is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, with a doctorate in Rehabilitation from the University of Arizona. He has managed vocational programs; provided rehabilitation, behavioral health, and mental health counseling to persons with significant disabilities (autism spectrum disorder, serious mental illness, intellectual disability); and provided training and consultation on the use of behavioral support strategies to family members, professional counselors, behavioral health technicians, and personnel in public schools. Dr. Johnson is the coordinator for the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling specialization in the Counseling Program at the University of Arizona. He has presented locally and nationally on rehabilitation and disability-related topics, with a primary focus on behavioral therapy alternatives to the use of psychotropic medications for addressing severe behavioral problems. Dr. Johnson serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona and is a past editor of the Journal of Behaviorology.
DK Advocates CEO
Dorothy Kret received her Bachelors’ Degree in Education/Rehabilitation from the University of Arizona and earned her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Administration from the University of San Francisco. As a vocational rehabilitation specialist for more than 30 years, Dot has helped thousands of people with barriers to employment find and keep jobs. Her businesses were created to accomplish those goals. Dot’s businesses include DKA, which was founded in 1984 and provides education, training, job development and supported employment services to help people enter or remain in the world of work and has offices in Tucson and Phoenix. Archive Advantage provides a full range of document imaging and digitizing services (scanning photos, slides, negatives, vinyl and video.) Pak Mail provides packing, shipping, crating and freighting services while training people to enter the logistics field. She currently serves the community through membership on the Boards of Directors of Linkages and the January 8 Memorial Foundation. The Tucson Chamber of Commerce named her their Woman of the Year for 2003.
Crest Insurance Group, Vice President
Brett M. Rustand was born January 13, 1975 in Fairfax, VA. He was raised in Tucson, AZ graduating from Sabino High School in 1993. He subsequently enrolled at Brigham Young University where he earned his degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies as well as Army ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate.
Mr. Rustand was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the United Stated Army where he served honorably for 10 years in the Aviation branch as platoon leader, executive officer, staff officer, and company commander. After leaving the Army as a Captain, Mr. Rustand returned to Southern Arizona and has worked as a Vice President at Crest Insurance Group.
Mr. Rustand is chairman of the board of the Community Partners Inc. as well as a board member of the Catalina Council of the Boy Scout, The Arizona Fisher House, and Chairman of the Arizona Veterans Advisory Comission. He has been active in the veteran’s community and an advocate fighting to ensure our veterans receive the services they deserve.
Brett is married to Amy Rustand; they have four children and live in Tucson, AZ.
ERIC D. STARK
Community Partner’s, Inc.
Eric Stark came to sunny Arizona by way of the wilds of New Jersey. He holds a JD degree from the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University and is also graduate of the Masters of Social Work program at Arizona State’s School of Social Work, Tucson Component.
Eric is also a Certified Recovery Support Specialist with over nine years’ experience working in the behavioral health field including serving as Customer Service Specialist for La Fonterra and a Health Mentor the University of Arizona’s health and wellness program for individuals with a serious mental illness.
Eric is an active community leader and is a tireless advocate for the rights of individuals dealing with mental health challenges. He teaches others how to effectively navigate the behavioral health system and advocates for the importance of engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities such as volunteering and employment. As an inspirational speaker, Eric shares his story of facing and overcoming the challenges of living with a mental illness and has dedicated his life to helping other to start their own journey of recovery. In his copious amounts of spare time, Eric enjoys juggling and balloon twisting, though he would prefer to teach others these very learnable skills instead of just being the recipient of praise and accolades.
Raytheon Director, HR Operations Center - Human Resources
Catherine (Cay) Thompson is the Director of the Human Resources Operations Center (HROC) at Raytheon Missile Systems. In this role, Cay leads a team of HR professionals providing services in the disciplines of Compensation, Performance Development, Benefits, HR Information Systems, Talent Acquisition, Compliance, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Alternative Dispute Resolution and HR Business Services. The Team is designed with a centralized structure to ensure speed, efficiency and consistency in the provision of core HR services through clearly defined processes and standardized tools and resources.
Integration of these essential HR components provides visibility to trends and opportunities throughout the global organization, leveraging key performance metrics to proactively identify strategic, innovative measures that ensure business success. Through her leadership, the team’s overarching commitment is to provide strategic insight and business solutions that positively impact the bottom line through a focus on intentional collaboration, service excellence and continuous improvement.
In her first ten years at Raytheon, Cay worked for the Office of General Counsel. In that role, she represented Raytheon in all aspects of labor and employment law. In addition to providing advice and counsel to RMS on labor and employment matters, she has represented the company before state and federal agencies, conducted arbitrations, participated in labor negotiations, and provided legal advice to various RMS functional organizations.
Prior to joining Raytheon, Cay had an extensive legal career beginning as a federal district court law clerk, culminating in her becoming a partner in the national labor and employment law firm of Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler and Krupman.
Cay holds a Juris Doctorate from Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, FL; a Master of Science in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, England; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. She is admitted to practice law in Arizona, Colorado and Florida and various federal courts including the United States Supreme Court.
Tucson Metro Chamber CEO
Michael Varney became the president & CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber in May 2011. Prior to that he served as the president and CEO of the North Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the vice president of marketing of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. In his current role he is responsible for or has oversight of all aspects of the organization’s operations including planning, product development, government affairs, communications, research, finance and member services.
Mr. Varney is a native of Madison, Wisconsin, He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, having earned a bachelor of arts degree in Communication Arts.
He has been a regular speaker on various aspects of chamber of commerce operations at local, state, regional and national chamber of commerce conferences across North America.
He is currently the chair of the board of directors of the Western Association of Chamber Executives and is also on the board of directors at the Arizona Chamber Executives (ACE) and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) as well as many local civic and non-profit boards.
Stuart Waller has been working with disabled individuals as well as the community at large his entire life. He is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and at the kickoff of Linkages, he was honored to give a speech with Senator Dole of Kansas and our own Senator Kobe. One of the speeches that Stuart wrote on Assistive Technology was read on the floor of the State Senate. This speech helped to pass the legislative law for Assistive Technology. Stuart serves on the following boards: Association for Persons in Supported Employment of Arizona, Technology Access Center of Tucson, Linkages, Blake Foundation, and the United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona It is Stuart’s intent to put his efforts into better understandings and improved communication as well as quality of life for all.
Chief People Officer CEO
Mark D. Ziska is the CEO of Chief People Officer. Chief People Officer is a strategic execution, business process automation, and HRIS company. Previously Mark was Director of Human Resources for Raytheon Missile Systems. Prior to this position Mark held the positions of Director of Communications for Missile Systems and Director of Human Resources and Employee Services for Hughes Naval and Maritime Systems. Mark has published articles on the prevention of violence in the workplace and heads the Missiles Workplace Violence Prevention Team. In addition to Linkages, Mark is a member of the Board of Directors of the Davis-Monthan 50, Pima Community College Foundation and La Frontera. Mark is certified from Lore Institute as an executive coach. He attended Western Michigan University for his Bachelor degree, majoring in Psychology and California State University at Long Beach for a Masters Degree in Industrial Psychology. Mark is married to Marcy Ziska, they have two elementary school aged children.