Beginning an Alaska adventure in 1995, Michael worked for Trident Seafoods Corp as a Support Services Manager covering the Aleutian and Pribilof areas until 2001. Moving into Anchorage in August 2001 marked a career change beginning with employment as a Direct Service Professional at Hope Community Resources, and commencing educational pursuit of a Bachelor in Human Services through University of Alaska Anchorage. He continued to pursue his MBA in Management through Wayland Baptist University Anchorage, completing this in 2016. Gaining experience as a care coordinator, and then the Director of Billing, he held the position of Controller from January 2009 to June 2015 before being appointed CFO. Seizing the opportunity to participate in the Key Campaign trips to Juneau over several years, also led to increased involvement with AADD. Michael accepted a nomination to become a representative of AADD in 2011, and the Vice-President in 2012, and President in 2016. Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and two children in the Alaskan outdoors skiing, sledding, hiking, fishing, and berry-picking depending on the season.
Amanda Faulkner is the Executive Director of Frontier Community Services (FCS) that provides services to the Central Kenai Peninsula and Valdez. Amanda has been in the special educational field for over 16 years and involved with FCS since 2002 when she was hired as a Developmental Specialist for the Infant Learning Program. She received her B.A. in Elementary Education and Psychology from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington in 1997. At which point, her husband and 2 children promptly relocated back to their hometown of Soldotna, Alaska. She was raised in Alaska and understands the unique challenges that are specific to the geography and weather that make Alaska both a beautiful and challenging place to live and work. In 2006, she moved into the role of Family Services Director, after graduating from the University of Anchorage Alaska with a Master’s Degree in Education.
Bess Clark has been the Executive Director of Community Connections for the past fourteen years. Community Connections is a non-profit corporation that provides supports to children and their families and adults who need supports to live independently in the community. Previously to becoming the E.D. she worked as a Program Developer for the UAS Health and Human Program while simultaneously facilitating quality assurance site reviews for the State of Alaska Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Services. This position allowed Bess to travel throughout the state and evaluate other programs that serve children and adults. She received her MBA and is a certified Special Education Teacher. Her interest is in promoting healthy communities that all people may meet life goals for learning, earning, belonging and having valued roles.
Matt Jones is currently the Executive Director of Assets Inc, a non-profit that provides services to individuals with severe mental illness and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Matt has a MA in Mental Health Counseling. He has been with Assets for 28 years, prior to that he earned an Applied Science degree in developmental disabilities while working in Alaska’s now closed ICFMR, Harborview Developmental Center. Matt’s organization was part of the community effort to downsize the State’s Psychiatric Hospital in 2000 and numerous other efforts to provide community based services to individuals with challenging histories.
Rick has spent his entire professional career in the pursuit of improving the lives of adults, adolescents, children and families. He has over 20 years of experience supporting individuals with physical and developmental disabilities as well as youth with behavioral health issues. Rick has worked in both direct service and administrative roles. Currently, Rick is the Community Living Director for REACH Inc. He is a strong believer in community. “When community builds resources, our resources build strength, and all individuals benefit and grow. Giving back moves everyone forward”. As an AADD board member, Rick is proud to be on the forefront of advocacy for individuals with disabilities, as well as a fellow collaborator for positive change with the State of Alaska and our partner provider agencies. Rick lives “Out the Road” in Juneau with his wife and two dogs. He enjoys being outdoors, fishing, hiking, camping, playing guitar around the campfire, as well as tele-mark skiing and ice hockey.
Rebecca began her career as a Direct Support Professional at Hope Community Resources in 1998, moving on to Care Coordination and then Director of Community Support Services in Mat Su and Anchorage. Rebecca is currently the Care Coordination Director at Alzheimer’s Resources of Alaska. Rebecca has lived in Alaska since 1972 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alaska and a Master of Arts degree from Alaska Pacific University. Rebecca is committed to helping Alaskans improve their quality of life in an inclusive environment by gaining access to supports that assist to improve stability and independence.
Michelle Ziemer started her career as a direct support professional in 1988 in Boise Idaho working with the elderly population. Michelle attended Boise State University graduating in 1995. She then began working as nurse at Saint Alphonsus Hospital on the neurology unit. November 2000, Michelle accepted a position with Westcare Preferred Community Homes as a nurse. Michelle continued her education in Sociology and Psychology and was promoted to Administrator. In 2006 Michelle moved to Alaska and began working for the state. Michelle worked as the Program Manager for Certification & Licensing until 2013 when Michelle returned to Westcare as the Executive Director for Northbridge. Michelle was proud to accept the nomination to become a representative of AADD on November 4, 2016. During her free time Michelle enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and traveling.
Bree Swanson is a mother of 4 school age children and has over 16 years of experience working and advocating for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Bree currently serves on the Alaska Mental Health Board and for the last 7 years she has been the Administrator of Social Services for Maniilaq Association, a tribal Non-profit in Kotzebue overseeing Maniilaq Behavioral Health, Counseling & Recovery, Village Based Counselors, Developmental Disabilities, Traumatic & Acquired Brain Injury, and STAR programs. Bree has dedicated her career to helping her community and providing community based services that allow families to be successful in their home community. Bree believes, "Be the Change you want to see in the world." As an AADD board member, Bree feels her voice for Rural Alaska can make positive changes for individuals and families with Disabilities.