MEET THE STAFF
Stephen A Wooderson - Chief Executive Officer
Steve Wooderson was selected as the CEO of CSAVR on November 1, 2010. Prior to joining CSAVR, Steve was the administrator of Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services. He oversaw the state VR and independent living programs, as well as the disability determination services bureau.
His experience in VR spans over 35 years of service in the vocational rehabilitation program. Steve started as a VR counselor in south-central Missouri in January of 1981 and he enjoyed a 20-year career with the Missouri VR agency. In March of 2000, Steve moved to Iowa to become the rehabilitation services chief and then was appointed agency administrator in December of 2002. He has served at all professional levels in the public vocational rehabilitation
program; which gives him a unique perspective of the local, state, and national implications of VR service delivery. During Steve's tenure in Iowa, he also was adjunct faculty in the Drake University rehabilitation counseling program.
Since his tenure with CSAVR, he has also led the way to an international partnership with allied vocational rehabilitation service providers in Western Europe and been a featured trainer and speaker with the European Platform for Rehabilitation headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Steve also has represented CSAVR and the US public VR program by presenting and meeting with members of the Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, social services providers, and higher education officials in Hanoi, Vietnam.
He is a certified Dale Carnegie trainer and a retired Army Reserves Lieutenant Colonel.
Kathy West-Evans - Director of Business Relations
Kathy West-Evans, the CSAVR Director of Business Relations is from the State of Washington. She joined CSAVR in this role in August 2005 where she leads the National Employment Team (NET). She had the opportunity to work with disABLEDpersons on the development of the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) Kathy has her MPA from Seattle University, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington, and is a CRC who is fluent in American Sign Language. She has been in the field of vocational rehabilitation since 1978 working at the community, state, federal and national level during her 45-year tenure.
Kathy started her professional career working as a vocational consultant and manager of the Projects with Industry (PWI) program at the Hearing, Speech, and Deafness Center in Seattle. She moved into the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) in 1983 as a VR counselor for customers who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing or late deafened. Kathy held several positions within DVR during her 14-year tenure with the state agency. In addition to her time as a VR Counselor, she worked as an Assistant Regional Administrator, a Regional Business Relations Specialist, and the Statewide Manager for Business Relations and Marketing. In 1997, Kathy moved to the federal level with the Region X Office of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) where she worked until July 2005. Kathy was employed as an RSA VR Program Specialist, serving as the State representative to Oregon and Alaska as well as the regional specialist in the areas of employment and business relations, the ADA, training, CSPD, PWI, and services to individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing.
Kathy served on the planning committee for the RSA – CSAVR National Employment Conferences in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. Kathy is the past Chair and member of the Veterans Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation and a former Commissioner on the CRCC Board. She has written and co-authored articles on business development strategies and employer relations within VR agencies and had the opportunity to write draft language that is now in WIOA and the Rehab Act that expanded the work of VR with business. Kathy is frequently requested to speak and present on topics related to business relations and the employment of individuals with disabilities.
John Connelly - Director, Research and Grants
John Connelly joined CSAVR in 2009. He has over 30 years of experience in the field of public rehabilitation. After graduating from law school in 1980, he was hired as a staff attorney by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. He worked for a year as a staff attorney with the Commission and in 1981 was promoted to General Counsel. In 1993 he was promoted to a deputy director with expanded duties including responsibility for the preparation and maintenance of the agency’s $260 M plus annual operating budget and public relations. From 2001 until July of 2009 John served as the Executive Director of the Commission. Among his accomplishments at the Commission was the creation of the agency’s first dedicated employer services unit. During his tenure with the Commission, John served on the Family and Children First task force, the State Use Committee, and the Governor’s State Workforce Policy Board. John’s VR experience and
legal background bring great value to CSAVR.
At CSAVR John has primary responsibility for the development, negotiation, and maintenance of our research and grant projects. In this capacity John serves on and/or facilitates grant advisory committees; reviews in conjunction with the Research Committee requests for grant application endorsements and surveys; drafts and/or edits letters of support; and partners with researchers and others in the development of grants and their implementation. Another major area that John assists with is legislative working with our Assistant Director on reviewing legislation that might impact our members; drafting responses to legislative inquiries, and formulating our positions on various legislative issues. Like other CSAVR staff, John supports assigned CSAVR standing committees. He is our primary staff liaison to SSA. When needed, we tap his legal expertise.
Theresa Hamrick - Operations Coordinator
Theresa Hamrick is our Operations Coordinator. She has worked in the field of rehabilitation for 24 years. Her experience includes working with the Rehabilitation Continuing Education program in Region 6, state rehabilitation council in Oklahoma, and is a founding member of the National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils. She has volunteered with numerous non-profits in Oklahoma and has her Bachelor's degree in Business Management.
Inger Neal - Business Relations Consultant
Inger comes to us after serving in a variety of roles with the Georgia VR agency, the latest being Assistant Director of Employment Services. Previously, Inger worked for the Northeast Georgia Technical College and the GA Department of Labor; and completed her Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Kentucky. She has and currently still serves on a number of community non-profit boards, is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and will be domiciled in Georgia.
Tonia D. Ferguson, Esq. - Director of Legislative Affairs
Ms. Tonia D. Ferguson, Esq. joined CSAVR as the Director of Legislative Affairs on June 1, 2022. She is a past Joseph P. Kennedy Fellow, Ms. Ferguson bringing over a decade of experience advocating for individuals with disabilities and their families. Before joining CSAVR, she served as Chief of Staff at the Maryland Department of Health and has served as the Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Autism Society of America. Her expertise encompasses system change, building partnerships, and advocating and influencing policy at the local, state, and federal levels. As part of her duties, she is the staff support for the CSAVR Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Professional Network.