Executive Managing Director
Martin Gerry has more than four decades of experience working as a leader in health and human services and civil rights. Prior to assuming his current position with NISH in June 2007, Mr. Gerry served for more than five years as the Social Security Administration's Deputy Commissioner for Disability and Income Security Programs. His decorated career includes positions at the following organizations and agencies: Research Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Family, Neighborhood and Community Policy at the University of Kansas, Executive Director of The Austin Project at the LBJ School of Public Affairs of the Texas at Austin, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Special Counsel to the Wednesday Group of the House of Representatives, and as Director of the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Mr. Gerry was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He received both his bachelor of arts and law degrees from Stanford University and is a member of the Bar of the State of New York, the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court. He is married and the father of three children.
Senior Deputy Director
Denise Driver has been with NISH for 17 years, where she has been involved in Board of Directors' relations, public policy, advocacy, and research. Her extensive background in government affairs includes eight years of serving as the Director of Legislative Affairs at NISH's sister organization, the National Industries for the Blind (NIB). Ms. Driver has been employed by the U.S. House of Representatives, where she focused on programs and policy related to older Americans and youth. She was involved in drafting the original Missing and Exploited Children's Act. As a passionate advocate of community service, Ms. Driver is especially proud of her work re-building homes in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Director of Information
Simon Lau joined NISH in 2007 and held various positions in the Pacific West Region and National Office. He came to the Institute as Director, Institute Information in 2012 to manage the Employee Research System (ERS). The database contains demographic and other pertinent information on individuals with significant disabilities working on AbilityOne® contracts. Additionally, he plays a critical role in collecting and analyzing data in ERS to promote, as well as protect, the AbilityOne® Program. Prior to NISH, Mr. Lau worked as a Debit Card Analyst for United Commercial Bank in San Francisco, California. Mr. Lau holds a degree in Information Systems Management, BS, from University of California, Santa Cruz.
Project Manager ERS
Kasey Kahmann has been with NISH since September of 2008 and has held positions in the Northwest Regional Office and National Products Operations. She came to the Institute in August 2011 and her main focus is the Project Manager of the Employee Research Project Initiative. Ms. Kahmann attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. She holds a B.A. in Political Science, and a B.A. in Philosophy.
Director of QWE
Larissa Timmerberg has been a staff member in the Institute, working on special projects since 2009. Her primary focus has been on workforce development and disability related projects such as the Quality Work Environment (QWE), Diversity and Inclusion, and alternative funding for Community Rehabilitation Programs. Having been at NISH since 1992, Ms. Timmerberg has held several positions. These include: Director of QWE, Director of Workforce Development, and Regulatory Assistance Specialist. Ms. Timmerberg attended both George Mason University and Louisiana State University.
Brian DeAtley's work with NISH focuses on Workforce Development and disability research based activity. Prior to working with NISH, Mr. DeAtley managed several national technology and workforce initiatives for the Information Technology Association of America. He was also the Manager of Employment Services at the District of Columbia Arc and has additional experience in the Welfare to Work arena. He has worked with several different Community Rehabilitation Programs where his focus was on assisting persons with disabilities in entering the workforce. Mr. DeAtley has a bachelor of arts from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development from George Washington University.
Denise Perka joined NISH in 2003 and worked in the NISH East Region in the areas of contract operations and business development. In 2006, Ms. Perka joined NISH's Workforce Development team and began to oversee research projects through the Institute for Economic Empowerment. Her main focus has been in the support of meaningful employment for all veterans with significant disabilities.
Therese Fimian has worked for NISH since 1997. Throughout her career with NISH, Ms. Fimian has established and managed a number of national programs and research projects that promote economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. Ms. Fimian also oversees the ongoing initiative to collect information from AbilityOne employees regarding their job satisfaction, quality of the work environment and employment preferences through accessible surveys and focus groups.
Rehabilitation Engineering Team
Paul Nishman is a Rehabilitation Engineer for NISH. He has worked in various engineering capacities for thirty-three years and at NISH for the last 25 where he has innovated many solutions for people with significant disabilities. In Mr. Nishman's current capacity he works with NISH affiliated Community Rehabilitation Programs and their employees to make jobs more accessible and productive. Before coming to NISH he designed equipment for the natural gas processing and heating ventilation and air conditioning industries including one which is patented and still in use today. Mr. Nishman holds a BS from the Evergreen State College in Olympia. Washington.
His philosophy for rehabilitation engineering includes the belief that often minor changes in the way the workplace is designed and managed or the way people are trained can make an enormous difference in accessibility and productivity. He believes that everyone should be given the opportunity to lead a productive life and that in order to make the workplace more inclusive more people will need to learn how easy it is to include other-abled individuals in a productive way for a variety of tasks.
His current project focus in rehabilitation engineering is the use of mobile technology to direct and redirect people with cognitive issues in their jobs. He is developing systems assist people to stay on task, be more productive and achieve greater independence in the workplace.
Howard Beck has 26 years' experience at NISH. Trained as a team facilitator, Mr. Beck has guided many internal and external teams to successful goal completion. Moving to the Marketing Department Mr. Beck participated in NISH marketing to federal customers as well as being responsible for NISH report writing of market studies and company metrics to senior leadership and the NISH BOD. After joining the Institute in 2010 Mr. Beck began working with the Rehabilitation Engineering Team to apply technology that improves productivity and creates access to employment for people with significant disabilities.
Kevin Ryan’s primary goal in his work at NISH is to help Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP) improve access to work and productivity for people with significant employment barriers. As a parent of a young adult with Down Syndrome, Mr. Ryan is excited about the opportunities for work that are available to his son and looks forward to a day when every person with significant barriers to employment has the opportunity to work. Prior to joining NISH Mr. Ryan spent 20 years as an engineer and program manager for IBM and Micron Semiconductor. Mr. Ryan has a Six Sigma Black Belt from the Six Sigma Academy, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee.
Grant Writing Team
Kaitlin. Woolf came to the Institute for Economic Empowerment in June 2011. Before joining the Institute, Ms. Wolf worked in Development for a nonprofit that provides services to distressed youth, and as an analyst for a nonprofit evaluator. Ms. Woolf holds a B.A. in Economics and Sociology, and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management.
Morgan Grimes joined NISH in 2003 as a Facilities Technician. Mr. Grimes has a degree in Film and Video Production. Mr. Grimes joined the Institute in 2010 as the Website Manager to bring a fresh and creative look to the Institute's external website.