Past Spotlight Award Winners:

March 2020:  Carol Skeese 

Jackie Householder, Program Director at Echoing Hills Village submitted Carol's nomination.  "Most Q's work 9-5 jobs. Carol does not.  She is not afraid to work late or early hours and even weekend days. Not only that, but Carol picks up shifts on the floor to make sure that all the needs of the individuals we support are met. Carol goes the extra mile by spending quality time with the individuals and their families to make sure that their needs and desires are met. She takes on any task that is given to her regardless of whose job it is. She has helped people visit their families they haven't seen in years, move into their own homes, and helped people who others would consider "behaviorally challenging", really excel and reduce these challenges."  


 February 2020:  Matt Buxton

Deborah Roberts, a fellow QIDP from the Utah State Developmental Center, submitted the nomination for Matt.  "Matt is a participatory manager....and is actively involved in the daily lives of the individuals he supports. He seeks opportunities to make individuals’ lives better, helping them to grow and fulfill their wants, needs, and desires.  In addition to the great job he is doing as a QIDP, Matt also serves in our community’s Autism network by serving on the Autism Resources of Utah County Council, coordinating activities with other agencies and programs to better meet the needs of persons with Autism in our county."

January 2020:  Nicci Upton 

Jeff Patton, CEO of Arc of Wabash County, Inc. submitted the nomination for Nicci.  "Nicci is an "advocate by nature," meaning she is naturally caring, attentive, and in tune with the personalities, preferences, and needs of those she serves. She always speaks and interacts with those we serve with gentleness, patience, and respect. Her caseload is composed of all 13 clients who live in our supported living residences and so she is current with the minute, daily intricacies of each person, delivering a holistic service to each individual that addresses his/her medical, social, mental, and employment needs and preferences. She is upbeat, positive, bubbly, and encourages each person she serves to pursue avenues and decisions that promote the greatest independence and self-sufficiency while at the same time promoting inclusion and integration into community social groups. She is absolutely where she wants to be and should be in her career-calling, and it shows!"  

"Nicci lives outside her official job description; she will do whatever it takes to help those she serves achieve their goals or receive what they need. She chaperones trips with her clients, she sits with and nurses sick clients in their own homes, she advocates in "the gap" with case managers, employers, and community stakeholders on behalf of her clients. Nicci recently volunteered to do 16 weeks of on-call duty per year, which entails being ready at the phone 24/7 to solve problems and help her clients in times of their greatest need, thus often sacrificing her own free time. Last year, Nicci turned down an advantageous job offer from another company because she just "couldn't leave her clients" and co-workers. Nicci works in the lunchroom every day for an hour, helping clients prepare and eat their meals. Nicci is not "just" a Case Coordinator QIDP - she has chosen to be a part of the lives of those she serves: family gatherings, birthdays, funerals, trips, vacations, medical appointments, problem-solving, and personal counseling and encouragement. As her President/CEO, I would do whatever is necessary to keep her at Arc Wabash County - we would not be the same without her."

 December 2019:  Mary Therese Conway

Lina Workman, Director of ICF at Koinonia Homes in Independence, OH, submitted the nomination for Mary Therese:  "Mary Therese embraces quality, teamwork, and excellence – when in turn, enhances the performance of her core team. She creates a collaborative environment that empowers and motivates people – staff and people served - to do their best every day.  Mary Therese is a shining star and all of us who work with her know how special she is and that she can be counted on, even when the going gets tough. Mary Therese digs her heels in deeper, rolls up her sleeves and just does it!"

 November 2019:  Kristena Partridge

Stacie Bradley, Program Director at PremierCare in Naperville, IL, submitted the nomination form for Kristena:  "Kristena has been a Q for many years. She has brought experience, knowledge and resources to the people we support and their families. She is has been providing presentations to people supported and their families on various beneficial topics such as self-advocacy, community activities, recreation, safety, work and vocational issues, resources and benefit explanations. She wants people supported and their families to know what they can do and offers them the knowledge of resources to give them the help they desperately need."

October 2019:  Sandy Weaver

Gena Boyle, Program Center Manager at Annandale Village in Suwanee, GA,  submitted the nomination form:  "Sandy has been working at Annandale for 30 years in a variety of capacities. In her most recent role as Assessment and Curriculum Coordinator, Sandy provides residents with opportunities to learn new skills in a fun and exciting way, utilizing the Assessment of Functional Living Skills Program. She works hard to ensure that residents have every opportunity to enjoy activities out in the community - whether for religious purposes, volunteer opportunities, skill building or just to have fun."  


September 2019:  Elizabeth Lutmer


NAQ is pleased to announce that the winner of the September 2019 Spotlight Award is Liz Lutmer - a disability professional from the Goldie B. Floberg Center in Illinois.  John Pingo, CEO, submitted the nomination.    

In our experience, change happens when someone rises up to champion a specific cause. Liz has risen up to become our champion for each person's right to be a part of their community. In the past year, she has helped nine people served take their first vacation in their adult life. She has supported people to become involved in a local book club, an Aktion Club with Kiwanis, a gardening club, and sports such as baseball and bowling. She is also helping people served give back to their community by organizing volunteer days for the Kiwanis Brat days, volunteering at a local recycling center, working a spaghetti dinner for the Aktion club and holiday bell ringing for the Salvation Army. She has also taken the lead in organizing an internal get out the vote campaign to support people served to exercise their right to vote in the last elections. She has worked to help people served take advantage of activities put on by our local park district that include movie events, going to see hockey games, dances, cooking classes and going to see the local community college put on a play.  None of this was required of Liz. She wasn't told she had to do it. She saw a need. The basic human need to be a part of our larger communities. To belong. The basic human need for enrichment by trying new things. Liz saw these needs and has become the champion of supporting the people we serve to be a part of and to experience all their community has to offer.

 August 2019:  Ashley Van Huis

 NAQ is pleased to announce that the winner of the August 2019 Spotlight Award is Ashley Van Huis - a disability professional from Illinois.  Alice Roth-Dean submitted the nomination.   


Ashley makes me feel respected as a parent.  She lightens the stress - from explaining paperwork to simplifying things to giving concrete suggestions for goals - which, in turn,  makes me a better mother.   I'd like to see her acknowledged for her professionalism and kindness.      

 July 2019:  Dawn Knights


NAQ is pleased to announce that the winner of the July 2019 Spotlight Award is Dawn Knights - a disability professional from Illinois.  Alice Roth-Dean submitted the nomination.   


Dawn makes a profound difference to our daughter and to us as a family.  She keeps me up to date on changes and does it professionally and kindly.  She is on time for meetings and never cancels. Dawn has seen Taylor go from a child to an adult and is a positive constant in my daughter's life.   

 June 2019:  Rumond Taylor

NAQ is pleased to announce that the winner of the June 2019 Spotlight Award is Rumond Taylor - a disability professional from Tennessee.  Lisa Izzi, an Administrator with RHA Health Services, submitted the nomination. 


Rumond thinks outside the box.  For example, he recently began creating PowerPoint presentations for people to show at their annual meetings.  This allows the team to visualize and celebrate the person's accomplishments over the previous year.  Rumond also serves as a mentor to new Qs.  He has 20+ years working in the field and is the true definition of an advocate for those in our care.