The Talented People of Griffin-Hammis Associates
Our Team of Associates
Beth Keeton, Executive Director - Georgia
As one of the nation’s leading experts on integrated community employment for people with disabilities, Beth’s work has transformed systems and supported countless people to launch rewarding careers and build lives with greater autonomy and economic freedom.
Since 1996, Beth has provided employment training and technical assistance at the state, national, and international level. She developed the first national certification training curriculum for customized self-employment, collaborated with the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) and other national colleagues to develop the Core Features of Quality Supported Employment Services and the Essential Elements of Customized Employment, supported the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators to develop the core competencies of Customized Employment, and served as a national Subject Matter Expert for the WIOA-mandated Congressional Advisory Committee. A self-professed “data geek”, Beth has led the charge to bring evidenced-based practices to the provision of Customized Employment services, championing the creation and use of the Discovery and Job Development Fidelity Scales.
An author of several influential texts, Beth co-authored of Making Self-Employment Work for People with Disabilities, second edition, Brooks Publishing (2014). Beth earned her M.A. from the University of Oregon and is a Certified Benefits Planner.
Kendra Yates, Executive Assistant - Georgia
Kendra joined Griffin-Hammis Associates in February 2017 to transition into the role of Executive Assistant. She heads up the administrative office serving multiple roles as billing coordinator, customer support lead, human resource director, and course registrar. She acts as liaison between consulting staff, management, accounting, bookkeeping, and technology team members. She brings a variety of skills and experiences having performed administrative support for a hospice in Atlanta, GA, as well as software development for a large data processing company in Dallas, TX.
Ashlea Lantz, Senior Associate - Iowa
Ashlea Lantz is a Senior Consultant with Griffin-Hammis Associates. She provides training and technical assistance around Customized Employment, Supported Employment, Self-Employment, Benefits Planning, and Agency Capacity Building. Before joining Griffin-Hammis Associates, Ashlea was the Director of Employment of a community-based rehabilitation agency. She has extensive experience in working with families both personally and professionally. Ashlea is a certified benefits planner and has a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Drake University.
Bob Niemiec, Senior Associate - Minnesota
Bob Niemiec is a Senior Associate with Griffin-Hammis Associates. Bob served as the Director of the Minnesota Employment Training and Technical Assistance Center (MNTAT)
and prior to joining GHA in 2009, was the Director of Employment and Community Supports for Community Involvement Programs in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he led the transformation of a traditional day program into a high-quality community employment service. Bob has provided training and consultation services in 46 states and 2 Canadian provinces as well as assisting in the planning and facilitation of Employment First events in 12 states.
Bob was a mentor for the Wisconsin Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG) in their CRP Rebalancing Project and with T-TAP, a project funded by the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. In these roles, Bob worked with Community Rehabilitation Programs to increase integrated employment outcomes for people with disabilities and to help manage organizational change efforts.
A graduate of Indiana University, Bob has been in the field of employment for persons with disabilities for over forty years serving in various roles from direct service to executive director. Bob has been the Chair of the Minnesota State Rehabilitation Council and a member of the Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Council. He is a Past-President of APSE: The Association of People Supporting Employment First, a founding member and former President of Minnesota APSE, former President of the APSE Foundation, a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, and a founding member of the Minnesota Employment First Coalition.
Ciara Ladroma, Associate - Iowa
Ciara provides training and technical assistance around Customized Employment, Supported Employment, and Self-Employment. Ciara works with the Small Business Hub Community Navigator Pilot Program partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Disability Institute.
Before joining Griffin-Hammis Associates, Ciara served as the Director of the Iowa Women’s Business Center. She is a former Career Coach with Des Moines Area Community College. Ciara also served as an Employment Specialist and Employment Coordinator for a community-based rehabilitation agency. She carries the skills to train on negotiation, networking, and relationship building.
Corey Smith, Senior Associate - Pennsylvania
Corey Smith is a Senior Associate with Griffin-Hammis Associates. He provides training and technical assistance on Customized Employment, Supported Employment, braided funding, and building social capital for people with disabilities, families, providers, high schools and funding sources. Projects include the development of CE services in both metropolitan and rural communities, also working with funders and Universities on best practices strategies. Corey brings many years of experience in direct services, administration, organizational transformation, and development, for organizations providing employment services.
Doug Crandell, Senior Associate - Georgia
Doug Crandell has managed, staffed and directed community mental health and disability programs at the provider level for 25 years. He has been the Project Director for a number of demonstration grants funded through the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Social Security Administration. He directed Georgia's Medicaid Infrastructure funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
He is a Senior Consultant with Griffin-Hammis Associates and on the faculty of the Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia. For the last four years, Doug has provided training and technical assistance to Georgia's supported providers through a joint effort with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. He is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) with the Office of Disability Employment Policy in D.C. and is currently working with several states to restructure their employment supports to include evidence-based supported employment, customized employment, and self-employment.
Doug works in collaboration with New Mexico's UCEDD to deliver training and technical assistance under the state's Partners for Employment Initiative. Georgia was recently awarded a Disability Employment Initiative grant, which Doug will collaborate on with the Georgia Dept. of Economic Development as well as the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Georgia Tech, and others. As an author, Doug has published 7 books and is a regular contributor to the venerable SUN Magazine, where he publishes essays on labor, health, and disability.
Janet Steveley, Senior Associate - Oregon
Janet is a Senior Consultant with Griffin-Hammis Associates working on the Texas Workforce Commission Certified Business Technical Assistant Consultant training program, the Missouri Customized Employment Project, the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators National Certificate Training, and various other initiatives around customized employment and benefits planning.
Since 1997, Janet has operated Workable Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm based in Ashland, Oregon which serves as an Employment Network under Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program. She is a former special education teacher/transition specialist, and has worked on state and national technical assistance projects around employment and transition services. Janet is well versed in microenterprise development and an expert in optimizing public benefits having helped numerous individuals achieve their employment goals through Plans to Achieve Self Support (PASS).
Janet holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Indiana University and is a Certified Partner Work Incentive Counselor (CPWIC) through Virginia Commonwealth University.
Jess Kreho, Senior Associate - Iowa
Jessica Kreho is a Senior Associate with Griffin-Hammis Associates. She provides training and technical assistance around Supported Employment and Customized Employment. She also works to build and bring to life GHA’s various online courses.
Jessica also works as the project coordinator for the Iowa Coalition for Integration and Employment, a statewide coalition and systems change effort that began as Iowa’s Partnerships in Employment grant, via the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. This work focuses on improving access and outcomes to integrated, competitive employment through the alignment of policy, practice, and funding, increasing provider, school personnel, and family capacity, and building strong cross-partner collaboration. Before this, Jessica worked in and led community-based mental health programs for transitioned aged youth and adults.
Jessica has her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Drake University and is a Certificated Rehabilitation Counselor.
Julie McComas, Senior Associate - Ohio
Julie McComas has been providing individualized and customized support to people with disabilities since the early 1990s. Most recently, her work has included providing innovative direct support for job seekers and workers, as well as training and technical assistance to employers, providers, and government organizations. Julie’s background in public service includes extensive work in Social Security law and policy, along with leadership in vocational rehabilitation projects and programs. She has experience in microenterprise development, organizational change leadership, adult and transition education, person-centered planning, and customized long term supports for work success.
Marsie Hartman, Senior Associate - Wisconsin
Marsie Hartman is a Senior Associate at Griffin-Hammis Associates. Marsie has been working in the field of Vocational Rehabilitation, Disability Employment Policy and Social Security Administration Disability Program Work Incentives for 35 years. During this time, she has worked with individuals, families, state and community agencies while training on the processes and strategies of Customized Employment and Customized Self-Employment. She took part in the writing of the Medicaid Buy-In Policy–Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities Program in Illinois and was a partner in the writing of and signing of Employment First into Illinois policy in 1989. Especially fulfilling is the opportunity to train and consult with organizations around the nation. Providing mentorship to Employment Specialists, while also supporting individuals and their families in the pursuit of community membership have been recent highlights. She is a graduate of North Central College and has studied Vocational Counseling at Northeastern Illinois University.
Michael Dalto, Senior Associate - Maryland
Michael Dalto is a big, old benefits geek. He's been helping people understand and use work incentives for Social Security and other benefit programs for 30 years. He has trained and assisted thousands of people with disabilities, family members and professionals to use safety nets that help ensure people get ahead financially when they work, and that protect vital benefits. He created a state benefits planning certification in Maryland, supported VR agencies in Kentucky and Minnesota to assist people they serve to work their way off SSDI, developed curriculum for Virginia Commonwealth University’s national certification for benefits planners, helped create tiered benefits planning models in Michigan and Missouri, and a host of other projects. He has consulted with Griffin-Hammis Associates since 2018.
Molly Sullivan, Senior Associate - Washington
For 20 years, Molly has been assisting people with disabilities to pursue wage and self-employment. She has worked in direct service and program management for both non-profit and government agencies. For the last decade she has also provided training and technical assistance under numerous innovative projects at the local, state, and national levels including the Social Security funded WIPA National Training and Data Center, state Medicaid Infrastructure Grants, and state Disability Employment Initiatives.
Nancy Brooks-Lane, Senior Associate - Georgia
Nancy Brooks-Lane’s diverse skills include training, technical assistance and side by side mentoring in best practices; organizational and system change strategic planning; and aligning policy, funding, and change. She has assisted persons with significant disabilities to obtain customized employment or start their own business and has mentored, trained and provided technical assistance to self-advocates, families, providers, citizen advocates, funders and social and political leaders in the processes of best practices and system change.
She has co-authored chapters in the books Real Work for Real Pay: Inclusive Employment for Individuals with Disabilities and The Job Developers Handbook: Practical Tactics for Customized Employment, and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Patty Cassidy, Senior Associate - Kentucky
Patty Cassidy is a Senior Associate with Griffin-Hammis Associates. She provides training and technical assistance on customized and supported employment, support brokerage, and building social capital with individuals with disabilities, families, vocational providers, and school personnel. Projects include the development of CE services, customized employment in rural communities, and CE services within workforce centers. Patty brings a wealth of experience through her work in direct service, administrative, and executive positions for publicly funded agencies, and non-profits providing employment services
Russell Sickles, Senior Associate - West Virginia
Russell Sickles is a Senior Associate with GHA based in West Virginia. Russell is well versed in Supported Employment and Customized Employment. He introduced Customized Employment strategies into the West Virginia DD and VR systems. Russell has almost 20 years of experience in direct services within Supported Employment, Customized Employment, and Supported Living contexts. During 10 years of these years, he acted concurrently as a program director.
Stephen Hall Ph.D., Director of Employment Policy and Research - Kentucky
Stephen Hall Ph.D. is the Director of Employment Policy and Research with Griffin-Hammis Associates. Stephen has a Ph.D. in Disability Policy and Adult Education from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Supported Employment and Workplace Supports at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Stephen has strong relationships with state and federal government leaders, universities, and provider and advocacy organizations. He is a former Commissioner of Behavioral Health, State Director of Developmental Disabilities, and CEO of two Community Provider Organizations. Dr. Hall was a Subject Matter Expert with the Office of Disability and Employment Policy. He was a member of the National Association of Developmental Disabilities Directors, President-elect, and Chair of the Research Committee for seven years.
Stephen has been a presenter or keynote speaker at national conferences, state conferences, and town hall meetings. His interview with Governing was published in January 2013. Using Research Evidence to Inform Public Policy was co-authored with Charles Mosely and others and was published in the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in October 2013. He has received numerous Governor appointments to Boards and Commissions and awards for his work. In 2012, Stephen received a state award for his partnership with Vocational Rehabilitation to ensure the employment of persons with disabilities. He received an award and was recognized by a United States Senator for Ethical Leadership in 2013.