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The Team

Nationally renowned leaders in business, real estate, medicine, education and research who are pioneering new models in housing and community development.

The People Behind First Place®

Board of Directors (Click for bios)

Sara Dial

Board Chair
Sara Dial & Associates President and CEO

Joyce Millard Hoie Headshot

Joyce Millard Hoie

Vice Chair
Former Raising Special Kids Executive Director

Tess Burleson, CPA, MBA

Board Secretary
TGen Chief Operating Officer &
TGen Health Ventures President

Jack Henry

Board Treasurer
Founder & Managing Director
of Sierra Blanca Ventures, LLC
& Clarke’s Grandfather

Denise D. Resnik

Board Member
First Place Founder, President/CEO
DRA Collective Founder & CEO
SARRC Co-Founder & Emeritus
Board Member & Matt's Mom

Doug Eaton

Board Member
Former Vantage Mobility International (VMI) CEO

Nancy L. White, J.D.

Vice Chair
Steptoe & Johnson Partner
& Molly's Mom

Howard Sobelman

Board Member
Snell & Wilmer Partner

Susan I. Smith

Board Member
Director of IT Frontline Services
Salt River Project & Aaron's Mom

Kathy Hancock

Board Member
Hancock Strategic Consulting, LLC Principal


Denise D. Resnik

President/CEO & Matt's Mom

Nancy Ottmann Headshot

Nancy Ottmann

Executive Director

Marci Muhlstein Headshot

Marci Muhlestein

First Place Global Leadership Institute Center for Education, Training & Employment Director; Transition Academy Managing Director


Steven A. Betts

Betts Real Estate Advisors Founder & President

Peter Bell

Ascendigo Autism Services
President & CEO and Tyler's Dad

Joe Blackbourn

Everest Holdings
President & CEO

David C. Brown

Home Matters® CEO & National NeighborWorks® Association (NNA) Executive Director

Catherine Camp Boyle

Autism Housing Pathways, Inc.
Founder & President
Mother of a young man
with autism

Ellis Carter

Caritas Law Group, P.C.
Legal Counsel

Joseph Cooper

NuvOx Pharma
Chief Business Officer

James D. Howard, Jr.

Dudley Ventures Founder & Principal Shareholder

Bill Karny

Col. Harland Sanders Foundation President (USA)
& Charlotte's Grandfather

The Late Natalie S. Lang

Lang Associates
Business Consultant

Raun D. Melmed, M.D.

SARRC Co-founder & Medical Director; Melmed Center Director & Developmental Pediatrician

Ian Paregol

DC Coalition for
Disability Service Providers
Executive Director

Wellington "Duke" Reiter, FAIA

Solutions Initiative at the
ASU Foundation
Senior Vice President & Managing Director

Paige Rogers, M.S.W., C.P.R.P.

Community Connections Consulting Services Founder Former SARRC VLSA Director

Jeff Ross, M.A.

First Place Adult Transition Specialist

Michael Sklar

Sonata Properties
Broker & Managing Member

Michael Trailor

Arizona Department of
Economic Security

Linda J. Walder, Esq.

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJF) Founder & Executive Director

Capital Campaign Cabinet

Melissa Ahearn Lange

Northwestern Mutual
Financial Advisor

Susan Drescher-Mulzet

Philanthropist &
Community Volunteer

Keith Earnest

Van Trust Executive Vice President & Market Leader

Danielle Feroleto, M.A., CPSM

Small Giants, LLC
Owner & Founder

Jim Fijan

CBRE Executive Vice President

Lorena Garcia

Bloguettes & Esto es Púrpura Co-Founder

Adam Goodman

Goodmans Interior Structures President

John W. Graham

Sunbelt Holdings
President & CEO

The Late Natalie S. Lang

Lang Associates
Business Consultant

Lisa Pavelka McAlister, CPA

Mother & Autism Advocate

Thomas W. Roberts

Executive Vice President &
Chief Investment Officer

Judy Schubert

Philanthropist &
Community Activist

Karrin Taylor Robson

Arizona Strategies
President & CEO

Global Leadership Institute Faculty

George Braddock

Creative Housing Solutions, LLC Director

Catherine Camp Boyle

Catherine Camp Boyle

Autism Housing Pathways, Inc. Founder & President
Mother of a young man
with autism

Peter Gerhardt, Ph.D.

EPIC School Executive Director

Anna Hundley, M.Ed.

Autism Treatment Center (ATC)
Texas Executive Director

Kristina Lopez, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.S., M.A.

ASU Strategic Coordinator
First Place Doctoral Fellowship Program

Jeff Ross, M.A.

First Place Adult Transition Specialist

Raun D. Melmed, M.D.

SARRC Co-founder &
Medical Director
Melmed Center Director & Developmental Pediatrician

Daniel Openden, Ph.D., BCBA-D

SARRC President & CEO

Paul Shattuck, Ph.D.

AJ Drexel Autism Institute
Drexel University Associate Professor & Life Course Outcomes Research
Program Leader

Christopher Smith, Ph.D.

SARRC Vice President & Research Director

First Place® and the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) are sister nonprofits. SARRC was co-founded in 1997 by First Place Founder Denise D. Resnik with a mission to advance research and provide a lifetime of support for individuals with autism and their families.

SARRC undertakes self-directed research, serves as a satellite site for national and international projects and provides up-to-date information, training and assistance to families and professionals about autism.

Through integrative research, educational outreach, model programs and collaborative initiatives, SARRC sets forth, promotes and facilitates best practices for early intervention and the long-term support of adults with an autism spectrum disorder.

The Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Arizona devoted to preserving dignity and promoting quality of life for seniors, adults with disabilities and their caregivers.

FSL has also redeveloped 29 Palms, the beta site for the First Place® Transition Academy, by co-locating nine two-bedroom units for adults with autism with 12 apartments for multigenerational residents. The property is currently accepting enrollment.

In 2014, the Arizona Department of Housing awarded the Outstanding Affordable Housing Initiative to 29 Palms.

FSL’s Home Health program is helping adults of all ages with special needs in their home environments. FSL provides a wide array of fee-based, customized services that promote personal choice, independent living, well-being and peace of mind for families and caregivers. FSL has an extensive and respected track record of offering individualized solutions that solve problems and remove barriers.

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