2013 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

Kirk Lewis

Kirk M. Lewis, Executive Director, Schenectady ARC, New York

Kirk M. Lewis was selected as the Executive Director for Schenectady ARC on July 1, 2011. Mr. Lewis was selected based on his years of experience in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and with Schenectady ARC. His professionalism and strong leadership skills made him an excellent selection for leading Schenectady ARC. Kirk Lewis’ involvement with Schenectady ARC started as a teen when he had volunteered. He first worked for Schenectady ARC after college, as a caseworker, recreation aide, house manager at a residence and eventually assistant director. Lewis has also volunteered on numerous committees, and the board of directors. After law school, and a turn in private practice in Albany, he re-joined the staff at Schenectady ARC as General Counsel in 1999. Kirk’s appointment asserts the Boards position of continuing a strong tradition of stability, and excellent leadership at Schenectady ARC. Schenectady ARC’s success in achieving goals of providing the highest quality supports and services for people with developmental disabilities is being achieved through the invaluable efforts of individuals such as Kirk Lewis, who dedicate so much time to this field and the individuals we serve. Lewis resides in Scotia, NY with his wife and has two children.

Outstanding Professional Achievement Award


Peggy Englebert, Executive Director of The Arc of Camden County, New Jersey

Peggy Englebert came to The Arc of Camden County April 1982 as a Vocational Evaluator. She went on to become a Program Coordinator before being asked to serve as Assistant Executive Director. In October of 2005 she was named Executive Director. Two of the hallmarks of Peggy’s tenure have been her unwavering support of the self-advocacy movement and her compassion for the families. Peggy was one of the first and strongest advocates to empower individuals with I/DD to engage in self-advocacy. Through the years she has done everything in her power to ensure that individuals with I/DD had every opportunity to speak up and speak out for their ideals. For the past two years Peggy has been the Chair of NJCEArc. Her leadership has been extraordinary during some of the most trying times we have faced. She has worked diligently to form collaborations so as to create the most effective momentum possible on a number of critical issues including the State’s move to fee for service, mandatory Medicaid eligibility and a host of regulatory changes. Through it all Peggy has led with tenacity and grace, and a forward thinking that will result in positive changes for years to come.

Lifetime Achievement Award


Pauline Bouffard, Executive Director, The Arc of Meriden-Wallingford, Inc., Connecticut

Pauline Bouffard has worked with and for The Arc for over 25 years. From a volunteer, Board Member, Employee, Advocate and Public Speaker, she has been relentless and determined that the philosophy of The Arc be a living philosophy. As a parent of two adults with developmental disabilities, Pauline has devoted her life to assuring services and funding are available; the community is accepting and educated; and community support services are available and inclusive of people with disabilities. The services in Connecticut forever wear her foot print and/or hand print due to her relentless determination to make the world an inclusive place for people with developmental disabilities. Although retiring from paid service Pauline will continue to devote her life to The Arc and its mission.

Executive Excellence Award

Sue Elliot

Sue Elliot, Executive Director, The Arc of Washington State 

In 1971, Sue Elliott began working with people with developmental disabilities in Nebraska, moved to Arizona in 1976 to manage the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) there, and six years later moved to Washington State to become their Director of DDD. In 1995 she switched from directing the state agency that provided DD services to advocating for individuals and families to receive those services. For 18 years, as Executive Director for The Arc of Washington State, she has empowered individuals and families, improved service systems, influenced public policy, and inspired inclusive communities. Sue is not a parent, nor does she have a family member with DD. Her passion is fueled by the stories self-advocates share and the struggles that parents of children with DD endure. Sue knows the system side of DD as well as the personal perspective. She was instrumental as the DDD Director in moving people out of institutions into community settings. She has created a number of programs at The Arc of Washington State that further The Arc’s Core Values even more. Sue’s motto is “Change is made by those who show up!” and she has been doing just that for 37 years!

Outstanding Service to NCE Award

Dave RichardGwen Lee

Dave Richard, The Arc of North Caroline and Gwendolyn Lee, The Arc of Anchorage

This year, NCE is saying goodbye to two very important long-term leaders in our movement, Gwen Lee who is retiring to spend more time with family, and Dave Richard who recently accepted an appointment in Governor Pat McCrory's administration to become the Director of North Carolina's Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disability, and Substance Abuse Services (DMHDDSAS). Gwen Lee is known by her peers as a gracious and tenacious advocate, frendly and generous with her wisdom and insight. She is known by many as one of the most welcoming hosts ever for our Summer Leadership Institute in Alaska. Dave Richard has been state executive director in three states: Louisiana, Delaware, and North Carolina since 1989. He is known by his peers as a thoughtful and strategic thinker with a keen ability to cut through to the core of any issue to achieve the win-win solution. We recognize with sincere gratitude, both Gwen Lee and Dave Richard as the 2013 recipents of the Outstanding Service to NCE Award.

Special Thanks to the 2013 NCE Awards Committee:

  • Richard Swierat, Committee Chair, The Arc of Westchester, NY
  • Cheryl Polite, The Arc of Western Wayne County, MI
  • Gary Tonks, The Arc of Ohio, OH
  • Marijo Rymer, The Arc of Colorado, CO
  • Randy Costales, The Arc of New Mexico, NM
  • Tony Anderson, The Arc of California, CA
  • Lori Ropa, The Arc Jefferson, Clear Creek & Gilpin Counties, CO
  • Christina Smith, The Arc of West Virginia, WV
  • Peggy Englebert, The Arc of Camden County, NJ
  • Mary Scott, The Arc of Monmouth County, NJ



View past award winners