The ANCOR Foundation congratulates the 2015 class of inductees into its Legacy Leaders Circle. The ANCOR Foundation Legacy Leaders Circle honors some of the most influential leaders in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, while creating an endowment to fund the development of future leaders in our field. The induction took place earlier this summer at a ceremony during the 2015 ANCOR Conference: Ignite! in the Washington, DC metro area.
Ron Cohen, wears a number of hats: President and CEO of UCP of Los Angeles, the largest charitable organization serving individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism in the southern California; Chair of the Board of Directors and co-founder of the Intermountain Centers for Human Development; and CEO of UCP Wheels for Humanity. Mr. Cohen served on ANCOR's Board of Representatives for several terms, testified on numerous occasions before the U.S. Congress and the California Legislature as an expert in our field, and worked closely with ANCOR on the "Sanchez v California" case and several other cases focused on funding for Californians with disabilities. Dr. Cohen has been recognized with many state and national awards, including, Exceptional Parent's 2013 "Maxwell J. Schiefer" Distinguished Service Award and the Kathleen O'Maul Leadership Awards from UCP in 2010.
Rabbi Erwin H. Freidman, PhD (awarded posthumously)
As one of ANCOR's incorporators and member of its first Board of Directors, Dr. Erwin Freidman helped to build a solid foundation for the trade association known as ANCOR today.
In addition to serving as Executive Director of the National Children's Foundation in Washington DC, Dr. Friedman was appointed to the Technical Advisory Committee of the "Accreditation Council for Facilities for the Mentally Retarded," one of four accreditation councils established by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO). In this role, he served as a reviewer and consultant to the organization which developed the first set of community standards for supporting people with intellectual disability.
Diane McComb has served the intellectual and developmental disabilities field for over 45 years in an array of capacities: recreation therapist, member of many Boards, director of a community agency, leader of a statewide provider association, adjunct faculty member at a community college, Deputy Secretary for Maryland's Office for Individuals with Disabilities, advisor, consultant, and lifelong volunteer.
In addition to being a valued member of the DelMarVa Consulting Team, she supports ANCOR as its Liaison with State Associations. Diane has been an enduring and familiar face in the ANCOR family for many years, and her contributions to public policy, especially around workforce and wage, waiver and quality improvement issues are innumerable.
Kathy Meath, President and CEO of the St. Louis ARC, retires this year after a long and distinguished career as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities. She represented Missouri on ANCOR's Board of Representatives for many years and played an instrumental role in ANCOR's policy and government relations workgroups throughout her career.
She represented ANCOR to the Council on Quality Leadership and was active in Missouri coalitions, chambers of commerce and other groups, working to protect funding and to eliminate waiting lists for vital services for people with disabilities.
Regis Obijiski was inducted into the Legacy Leader Circle in recognition of his many years of service to the community as evidenced by several key leadership roles he assumed throughout his career to include: Executive Director of New Horizons Resources for 26 years; Board President of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies (NYSACRA); Founder of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP); and Deputy Director of Workforce and Talent Development for the NY State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (NYSOPWDD).
Among his accomplishments, Regis was a key contributor to creating a state and national Apprenticeship program and development of a competency-based DSP career ladder that uses national certification to advance the skills of DSPs. In his tenure at the NYSOPWDD, he led the administration in the adoption of the NADSP Code of Ethics, developed a set of Core Competencies for DSPs, and is leading the charge toward adoption of a statewide credential for DSPs. Regis is a longtime member of ANCOR and has been a highly sought-after ANCOR Conference Speaker throughout the years.
Bill Tapp most recently served as the Vice President for DirectCourse at Elsevier. Bill has been involved in the development of the College of Direct Support since its inception. It was through his nine-year tenure as the Director of Development for a provider agency that he saw the need to professionalize the direct support workforce to a National Standard of excellence. He holds a Master's degree in Educational Guidance and Counseling.
A native of East Tennessee, Bill served on the boards of Non-Profit Risk Management Center, Kids on the Block, and the ANCOR Foundation Board of Trustees as the immediate past President.
Dave Toeniskoetter, President and CEO of Dungarvin, Inc., has been a visionary leader in the field of developmental disabilities for over three decades. During his distinguished career, he has been a strong advocate for individuals, families, providers, and ANCOR, as evidenced by his contributions to include his role in changing the federal law related to income taxability of payments to foster families and his role in securing a 2004 opinion letter from the Wage and Hour Division on the application of the sleep time exemption for DSPs as a member of the ANCOR Government Relations (GR) Committee.
In addition to his participation in the GR Committee, Dave served in several other leadership roles for ANCOR to include: Finance Committee Chair; Fundraising Chair for the National Advocacy Campaign; and ANCOR Board President. As ANCOR Board President, he chaired the President and CEO Search Committee that ultimately selected Barbara Merrill to serve in her current role as ANCOR CEO.
Shirley Walker, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resource for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR) has dedicated herself tirelessly, throughout her career, to the mission of full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in our society. Shirley is known as an excellent communicator, relationship-builder, and a driving force for collaboration, selflessly working to build a coalition of Pennsylvania's statewide associations, self-advocates and families to address the significant issues in the service system that negatively impact people with disabilities.
As a result of her coalition-building, Shirley and PAR are at the forefront of working with stakeholders and government on solutions to the biggest challenges in Pennsylvania's service system. Through her leadership, PAR and ANCOR have enjoyed a long-standing partnership to collaborate on policy analysis and advocacy efforts. For many years, Shirley has been active participant as a State Executive at ANCOR Conferences, Committee meetings, and various forums.