at the

2017 Rehabilitation and Transition Conference

May 3-5, 2017



Learn About These Rehabilitation and Transition Thought Leaders!

Kathy Klika
Kathy received her bachelor’s degree in social work from UW-Whitewater and a Certificate in Applied Marketing from UW-Madison, School of Business. She has over thirty years of experience in the development and operations of community-based services for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, brain injuries, mental illness, advanced age, and physical disabilities. Her experience includes hands-on involvement in more than seventy-five residential and community programs and she has been personally involved in the assessment, planning, and transition of more than three hundred individuals. Kathy is the Board President for the Residential Services Association of Wisconsin, Principal Consultant at Klika Consulting, and Adjunct Instructor for UW-Green Bay/Wisconsin Caregiver Academy.


Tedi Winnett
Tedi is the Director for Kenosha County UW-Extension and has 30 years' experience with UW-Extension. She is also the Facilitator for Leadership Kenosha, a program partnership with the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce. Tedi’s educational background includes a BS degree in Home Economics/Consumer Education from Ohio University and a MS degree in Consumer Studies from Utah State University. Tedi is a Certified Communicating Across Generations Facilitator with UW-Extension, having served as a member of the curriculum development team.


Dennis Winters
Mr. Winters is a nationally recognized expert on human resource challenges in the competitive global economic environment. Mr. Winters has presented on the increasing value of talent to numerous audiences, including the Milken Global Conference, the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Association of State Legislators, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. He has served as an advisor to private industry, government agencies, and elected federal, state, and local officials. Mr. Winters has testified before governmental investigative bodies and appeared in television and radio interviews and been quoted in the national press such as the Wall Street Journal, Investors Daily, USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, the Journal of Commerce, and the Swedish equivalent of Business Week, as well as many local newspapers.

Dennis is current Chief Economist and Director of the Bureau of Workforce Information and Technical Support, and Labor Market Information Director for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.


Curtis Cunningham
Curtis Cunningham is the Assistant Administrator of Long Term Care Benefits and Programs in the Division of Medicaid Services where he is responsible for the provision of long-term supports and services for the elderly and people with disabilities. Curtis administers and oversees the Family Care managed care program, IRIS self-directed long-term care program, several community-based Medicaid waiver programs, and support services for children with disabilities. Curtis has worked in Medicaid policy, finance, and eligibility for more than 15 years.

Before stepping into his current role, he served as the Deputy Administrator and Interim Administrator for the Division of Long Term Care. Prior to holding positions in the Administrator’s Office, Curtis served as the Chief Financial Officer for long-term care and Medicaid where he oversaw the establishment of hospital rates and policies, SSI managed care capitation rates, and budget monitoring of the Medicaid program.


Robin Kennedy
Robin Kennedy, Vice President of Mission Advancement for Opportunities, Inc. is eager to share her simple, yet innovative grassroots model that ignites the passion and energy of individuals with diverse abilities and their families and community members. Robin fosters the same passion in her work as a seasoned professional within the vocational rehabilitation industry for nearly 25 years.

She will present an overview of her well organized systematic approach to engage people at a grassroots level, along with the proven results of the movement thus far. It will offer not-for-profit associations the key building blocks for achieving successful action from stakeholders to ensure options and opportunities continue to advance for people with diverse abilities. The model has been implemented by mangy agencies across the state of Wisconsin and nationally. Thousands of advocates have joined the movement and have positively influenced state and federal policies. United for CHOICE!


Dave Varana
Dave Varana is the Director of the Bureau of Long Term Care Financing in Wisconsin's Division of Medicaid Services. Dave is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Wisconsin's long term care programs. He provides policy and fiscal leadership for Medicaid programs with annual expenditures of $3.3 billion. Dave's professional background is in the analysis, management, and leadership of public sector organizations. Prior to joining DHS to work in the Medicaid program, Dave developed broad knowledge of local and state government operations by working as an analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau, and later as a management consultant with Baker Tilly, with a focus on State and Local Government.


Shawn Bass
Shawn Bass has extensive experience in supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities and has been on staff at the University of Wisconsin (UW) Waisman Center for the past four years. Shawn has over 18 years of experience working with people who have disabilities, providing direct care in residential, respite, therapy, and community settings. He was also a special education teacher for six years. Shawn is now a behavior consultant for Community TIES (Training, Intervention and Evaluation Services). TIES provides positive supports to persons with DD and emotional/behavioral challenges. Community TIES is part of the Waisman Center's University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). 


Rock Pledl
Robert ("Rock") Theine Pledl, J.D., is a Senior Attorney at McNally Peterson, S.C. in Milwaukee. The firm handles general litigation and business matters. Mr. Pledl’s state-wide practice focuses on serving individuals with disabilities and their families in a variety of settings. Mr. Pledl handles civil commitment, guardianship, and protective placement cases as either counsel or guardian ad litem. He also practices special education law and has a particular interest in school-to-adult transition issues and supported employment. Mr. Pledl was lead counsel in two Federal court cases that addressed systemic problems in the Wisconsin Family Care program. He also represents disability service providers in zoning disputes with municipalities. Mr. Pledl graduated from the UW-Milwaukee social work program in 1976 and from the John Marshall Law School in 1980. Mr. Pledl is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and serves on the Board of Directors for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Federal Court Bar Association.


Forbes McIntosh
Forbes McIntosh is a 22-year veteran lobbying consultant at the state, municipal and county levels of government. While Forbes specializes on issues relating to healthcare and long-term care policy, he advises a diverse spectrum of corporations, industry trade groups and elected officials on public policy issues and government contract opportunities. He has successfully guided several bills and administrative rules through the legislative process that are now Wisconsin Law.


Nancy Farnon-Molfenter
Nancy Farnon-Molfenter has been working in the field of disability services for more than 25 years and strives to support inclusive outcomes for all people. She earned a Master’s degree in Special Education from Northeastern University and a Ph.D. from the University of WI Madison in Special Education and Rehabilitation Psychology. Nancy has been employed as a special educator, transition coordinator, and administrator for both employment and home support agencies. She also worked as a project consultant for the WI BPDD with the Let’s Get to Work and Employment First state-wide projects. Nancy now serves as an Educational Consultant and Transition Improvement Grant Director at the Department of Public Instruction. In addition, Nancy teaches courses in the UW system.


Sarah Lincoln
Sarah Lincoln is a Program and Policy Analyst for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). Sarah has 17 years of experience working in the field of disability and employment. She also co-leads statewide transition activities and initiatives for DVR. Prior to working for DVR she worked for the WI Department of Health Services in the Employment Initiatives on disability employment related programs including the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG), WisTech, WisLoan, and Project SEARCH.


Peter Leidy
Peter has been learning from people with disabilities since 1983. Peter is an international consultant, facilitator, listener, learner, improviser, and speaker who focuses on personalized supports and community membership for people with disabilities. He also writes and sings songs about human serviceland and those who find themselves connected to it. Peter conducts workshops, develops training materials, writes songs, speaks and sings at conferences, and works with organizations, government agencies, families, and paid supporters to promote positive support, inclusion, building healthy relationships, and thinking differently about people who are called “challenging.” (Peter himself is known to be non-compliant at times, and can often be found exhibiting attention-seeking behavior.) For almost 20 years he worked for Options in Community Living, a supported living agency in Madison, Wisconsin. His roles included direct support, service coordination, recruiting and supporting direct service staff, community building, and administrative responsibilities.

Peter has worked throughout the U.S. as well as Canada, the UK, and Australia. www.peterleidy.com

Peter Leidy Video and Music Flyer


Michael Matus
Michael is Vice President of Sales and Strategic Solutions at Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin's Center for Work and Training.  He will describe Goodwill's philosophy towards Business Development, its strategy and associated tactics, and how that translates into their collective effort to place people with disabilities into jobs – both internally and externally. Michael is responsible for the direction and management of all non-retail store sales operations, including market competitiveness, pricing, compensation, and distribution and channel strategy. Goodwill of Southeastern WI is the largest Goodwill affiliate in the US & Canada, with 100+ locations throughout Southeast Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago.

Janet Estervig

Janet Is Employment Initiatives Section Chief for Division of Long Term Care – Department of Health Services. Janet has degrees in Special Education, Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Registered Nurse.  She taught High School special education and established a supported employment program which she was the Executive Director for 25 years providing integrated employment services for individuals with disabilities.  Janet was the administrator for an agency providing personal care and home chore services for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities and the elderly.   Janet has conducted training workshops on integrated employment services throughout Wisconsin, the USA and in the United Kingdom.Janet currently serves on the Boards for a Supported Living and Supported Employment Agency.  She is a member of the Governor’s appointed Wisconsin Rehabilitation Council.