2012 Award Winners
The Arc’s National Convention is the setting for recognizing those among us who represent the best of the core values of The Arc and NCE. Executives of chapters of The Arc have been working feverishly all over the country to make America a better place to live for people with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities, along with their families, friends and communities.
The National Conference of Executives of the Arc (NCE) confers four awards annually to those among us who represent the best of the core values of the Arc. The NCE Award Program recognizes the awardees for their outstanding efforts to fulfill the mission, core values and position statements of The Arc.
Begun in 1980, the program honors the professional excellence and achievement of NCE members and those persons outside the membership who make significant contributions on behalf of our constituency.
Rising Star Award
Lori brings passion for mission, high energy, and more than twenty years of nonprofit management experience to The Arc’s exceptional team. She comes to us from the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped where she worked to strengthen and launch Donated Dental Services (DDS) programs in sixteen states. Lori is an active community volunteer and serves on the Boards of Helping Hearts & Hands, as well as, the Vision & Learning Forum. She has a management style of trust and teamwork. She values inclusiveness, accessibility, collaboration, and individual empowerment. Lori believes if you give people the tools they need and empower them to speak on their own behalf anything can be accomplished!
Outstanding Professional Achievement Award
Deborah has served as Associate Executive Director of The Arc of Union since July 1990. She has provided programmatic, budgetary, contractual and administrative oversight of services and supports for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. She designed and implemented program initiatives, which include: inclusive day care for preschoolers with and without disabilities, an outstanding early intervention program, special needs housing for seniors and individuals with significant medical needs as well as developmental disabilities, a specialized adult medical day program and diverse family support programs. In addition to her responsibilities at The Arc of Union, Deb has served in several officer positions for NJCEArc, including two terms as Chair, and as Co-Chair of DDD’s Contracted Services Committee. Deb holds an MSW from Rutgers University and a BA from New Jersey City University.
Outstanding Professional Achievement Award
Marijo Rymer has served as Executive Director of The Arc of Colorado since 2007. She previously served in Colorado executive roles at The Mental Health Center of Denver and American Medical Response. Marijo has more than 25 years of leadership experience in public policy advocacy ranging from healthcare to education to local government. She currently serves as a member of Colorado’s Long Term Care Advisory Committee, JFK Partners Advisory Board, Denver Options DD Mill Levy Advisory Committee, Colorado Non- Profit Association, Public Policy Committee, and the Colorado Fiscal Reform Round-table. She also serves on the CO Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) Steering Committee for the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant and on the Benefits and Services Work Group for the HCPF Money Follows the Person grant writing committee. Marijo was elected to the National Council of Executives of The Arc Board of Directors in 2009 and serves on numerous committees for NCE as well. She has been involved with The Arc’s Committee on the Future since its inception and participated in the development of The Arc’s Strategic Framework. Marijo holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and has completed graduate work in Public Administration at the University of New Mexico.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Fred Robinson began his career in 1969 at Pacific State Hospital in Pomona, California. From 1973 to 1990, he worked at Tri-Counties Regional Center as Director of Case Management, serving 4,000 people with developmental disabilities. In 1990, Fred was appointed CEO of The Arc of Ventura County. Under his leadership, the Ventura County chapter grew from a campus-based program serving 300 people with an annual budget of $3 million to an agency serving 700 individuals in community-based settings in seven cities, with an annual budget over $12 million. Fred is recognized as an authority on IDD issues in his community and by his peers across the country. He is active in Kiwanis, served as President of his Club and Lt. Governor of Division 42, and has chartered four Aktion Clubs. He served as president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – Ventura County, and currently serves on the City Council of his hometown in Santa Paula. Fred holds a Masters in Social Work from San Diego State University.
Executive Excellence Award
Kim Keprios has devoted 30 years of service to The Arc. She joined The Arc Hennepin County in 1982 as Community Services Director and was promoted to Executive Director in 1986. She became Executive Director of Arc Hennepin-Carver when the Hennepin County and Carver County chapters merged in 2001 and Chief Executive Officer when Arc Great Rivers and Arc Hennepin-Carver merged in 2006. She has advanced many initiatives to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and she has been honored for leadership excellence by the national and state chapters of The Arc. Kim has long been active with Greater Twin Cities United Way in a leadership capacity, serving on its Board of Directors, Executive Committee and other committees. She also serves on the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota board and the Advisory Committee for the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration. Kim earned a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Minnesota and a graduate degree in Training and Development from St. Thomas University. She spent a year in a Public Policy Fellowship at The Arc of the United States Governmental Affairs Office in Washington D.C.
Special Thanks to the 2012 NCE Awards Committee:
- Richard Swierat, Westchester Arc, Chair
- Tom Baffuto, The Arc of New Jersey
- Randy Costales, The Arc of New Mexico
- Cheryl Polite, The Arc of Western Wayne County
- Kevin McDonald, Arc of Southeast Los Angeles County
- John Dickerson, The Arc of Indiana
- Janet Parker, The Arc of Caddo Bossier
- Leo Sarkissian, The Arc of Massachusetts
- Gary Tonks, The Arc of Ohio
- Marijo Rymer, The Arc of Colorado
- DeeDee O'Brien, The Arc of Georgia
View past award winners