COnference Speakers

Oyate' Circle

The Oyate' Circle is a resource, education, outreach and training effort that serves Native Americans with disabilities in South Dakota. Community Engagement Director for Oyate’ Circle, Jim Warne, wrote several grants for USD to establish the Oyate’ Circle that include partnerships with various state/federal agencies, universities, and organizations. Wayne Weston, Coordinator for Oayte’ Circle, works with all nine reservations within South Dakota providing technical assistance and training for Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Programs. He also leads cultural diversity trainings for the SD Department of Human Services.

Haley Moss

Haley Moss made international headlines for becoming the first documented openly autistic attorney admitted to The Florida Bar. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2018 and graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Criminology. Haley is a speaker, educator, scholar, and consultant on neurodiversity at work, the Americans with Disabilities Act, autism and disability-adjacent topics. She was appointed to the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, the Florida Bar Journal Editorial Board, and the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity & Inclusion. Haley also serves on the constituency board for the University of Miami – Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities and the Board of Directors for Different Brains.

Tricia Jones-Parkin

Tricia Jones-Parkin has over 25 years of professional experience working in behalf of people with disabilities. Currently provides Customized Employment Training and Technical Assistance at the Center for Employment and Inclusion at Utah State University. Ms. Jones-Parkin is also the principal investigator for Utah’s School to Work Interagency Transition Initiative, which is funded through the Administration for Community Living. Tricia is a part-time Senior Consultant for Griffin-Hammis Associates. Tricia was recently elected to serve on the National Board of APSE as the Regional Delegate. She was the Employment Program administrator for Division of Services for People with Disabilities from 2008 to 2019 and was instrumental in Utah’s passage of the Employment First Priority legislation in 2011. Tricia was selected as an Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program Ambassador by ODEP in 2014 and was the state lead for Utah’s partnership with ODEP/EFSLMP. Tricia was the recipient of the National Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (APSE) Dave Hammis Award in 2017. Tricia actively participates in several committees and task forces related to improving employment outcomes for Utahans with disabilities.

Russell Thelin

Russell Thelin, M.S., LVRC, CRC is a 31-year professional in the field of Rehabilitation. His professional experience also includes owning/operating Known Way Consulting, 5+ years as a Senior Research and Policy Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), and 25 years at the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) where he held positions as the Executive Director, Division Director, Administrative Director, Chief of Field Services, District Director and Rehabilitation Counselor. Russ holds a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Utah State University and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Utah. A recipient of the 2014 “Ethics in Utah Government Award” from The Daniels Fund/Zions Bank/UU Eccles School of Business and 2009 URA “Garth Eldredge Ph.D. Excellence in Rehabilitation Award,” Russ is skilled in the provision of training and technical assistance as a content matter expert in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, ethics, higher education for students with intellectual disabilities, business engagement/relations, organizational and cultural change, serving ex-offenders, the workforce innovations system, and more.

Tracy Palecek

Tracy Palecek is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Human Services professional who also has a passion for supporting and encouraging those brave souls in the helping professions. She understands that working with people means dealing with complex problems and complex emotions. Tracy has many years of experience working with trauma and is also an Adverse Childhood Experiences Master Trainer and Fellow. She is passionate about helping people overcome tough circumstances on their journey to healing. Tracy states, “I have been blessed to work in Human Services for over 20 years. I have a passion for helping people reach their goals and I have been lucky enough to do this as an advocate, program developer, disaster relief responder, community organizer, mental health therapist, and mentor. I love to work within systems to create change and help those in our community find meaning and purpose in their work. I am so grateful to be in my hometown, working with a community of dedicated professionals, to help make this a place of hope and prosperity.”


Patrick Czerny, ATP has been with the DakotaLink since November 1992 and has been a nationally certified Rehabilitation Technician since 1996 through the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America. Before this he was a Nationally Certified Sign Language Interpreter. He also worked in the electrical trade industry for many years and is a graduate of Minneapolis Technical College. He was responsible for coordinating all technical services provided by 4 DakotaLink offices and works from the main office in Rapid City. These facilities offer onsite assistance with purchasing, demonstration, assessment, installation and training on all types of assistive technology.

Brett Burden, ATP has been with the DakotaLink since March 2008 and has been a nationally certified Rehabilitation Technician since 2014 through the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America. He holds a CompTIA Network+ certification, an AAS in Computer Networking from Western Dakota Tech and previously worked in the IT Administration and printing industries. He is responsible for coordinating all technical services provided by 4 DakotaLink offices and works from the main office in Rapid City. These facilities offer onsite assistance with purchasing, demonstration, assessment, installation and training on all types of assistive technology.

Dallas Chief Eagle II

Dallas Chief Eagle II is a K-12 art teacher with a Master’s degree in guidance counseling and personal services. A recognized master of the Lakota hoop dance, Chief Eagle has worked as an artist in-residence and mentor through his Hoop dance studio in the All Nations Gathering Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A member of the Rosebud Lakota Nation, Chief Eagle shares and teaches the traditional hoop dance in a manner that the participants enjoy while learning about the development of their own characters.

Hasan Davis

Hasan Davis has held to the belief that each child can and will succeed as long as adults in their world create hope. Starting as a counselor and a teaching artist, and through his years as a youth development specialist, Hasan has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school and facility staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundreds of children graduate from high school and go on to earn degrees from colleges and universities. In addition to his work at schools, Hasan has been Commissioner of Juvenile Justice for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Vice Chair of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, and an organizational consultant. With this experience, he has transformed organizations and public systems to ensure they have the capacity to not only meet the needs of the children and families they serve, but also are transparent and set metrics and methods of accountability. He brings to the process a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing, common-sense roadmap to help all youth achieve their dreams, no matter the odds.


Kim Ludwig has been a business specialist with the SD Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) since July of 2014. Prior to that she was employed as a vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselor for 7 years. Her current role includes being a primary contact for employers or businesses located throughout the state providing technical support in the areas of hiring people with disabilities, reasonable accommodations, business tax incentives, Section 503 regulations, and other areas of disability-related topics. She obtained an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Business from Northern State University in 2006 and in May 2011 a Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and a certified WINDMILLS trainer. Kimberly is married to Joe and they live in Aberdeen and together they enjoy doing house projects, riding motorcycles, and camping trips with family and friends.

Vicki Stewart is the executive director of Business Resource Network in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Vicki has a B.A. in religion with a minor in psychology from Augustana University. She has worked in the field of disabilities for 29 years striving for full inclusion of people with disabilities in employment, community living, and all aspects of society. Vicki was born with the disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Vicki is a member of South Dakota RehabACTion, the Sioux Empire Society for Human Resource Management, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation’s Recruitment Council, Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary and the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Pathways to Inclusive and Equitable Workplaces Board, the Advisory Committee for Business Administration and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Technical College, the USD Health Sciences Advisory Board, the State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the South Dakota Parent Connection Board. She is a WINDMILLS: Changing the Perception of Abilities certified trainer.

Catherine Greseth was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and moved to South Dakota when she was 17. She attended Black Hills State University and Denver University where she majored in Mass Communications. She began her career at KBHB in Sturgis. She went on to be the reginal business development director for a number of Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. Catherine moved back to South Dakota in 2014 and was hired as the executive director of the Workforce Diversity Network of the Black Hills. She is the past president of the Rapid City Mayors Committee for People with Disabilities. She has been appointed by the Governor to chair the Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired. She also serves on the State Independent Living Council; she is a Zonta board member and state board member on the National Federation of the Blind. She is a 2016 graduate of Women in Leadership and a 2017 graduate of Leadership South Dakota. Catherine was the 2018 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Citizen. Catherine is a certified WINDMILLS trainer and a certified trainer of Infinite Possibilities. She is married to Clete, together they love to explore new places and spend time with family.

Dr. Thom Flamboe

Dr. Thom Flamboe has spent his entire career working with teens, families, professionals, and a variety of agencies as a therapist, consultant, and well-known presenter. He has taught at Presentation College for over 30 years. In addition to teaching, Dr. Thom has helped train DARE officers for over 20 years and was a highly trained Hostage/Crisis Negotiator and member of the Aberdeen Police Department’s Special Response Team. He has trained as a Critical Incident Stress Management provider and completed training as an Instructor in the ALICE approach to dealing with active shooter situations. He serves as a Consultant to Law Enforcement and has presented many workshops for school districts, school boards, businesses, colleges and universities, Chambers of Commerce, and emergency medical personnel.

Workforce Diversity Network

The Workforce Diversity Network of the Black Hills is a group of local business owners, employers, and human resource managers with a vested interest in improving the workforce in the Black Hills region by creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. WDN recognizes that a healthy workforce is diversified and inclusive of persons with disabilities.

Anneke Nelson

Anneke Nelson has worked as a Special Education Coordinator, Compliance Specialist, RDA Coach, School Psychologist and Trainer. In her 20 years of experience, Anneke has worked with students of all ages and districts in both urban and rural settings in Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Carolina. Anneke currently lives in Brookings, SD and works as the Assistant RDA Coordinator with Black Hills Special Services Cooperative.

SD Long Term Services and Supports & Division of Criminal Investigation

Cassie Lindquist serves as a Program Specialist for Long Term Services & Supports on behalf of the South Dakota Department of Human Services working with Adult Protective Services and as the Legal Assistance Developer for the past 11 years. Cassie graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. Cassie has an extensive background working with diverse populations in multiple care settings and has specifically worked with abused, neglected and exploited individuals. She has attended multiple trainings related to the social work field including cultural sensitivity, crisis prevention intervention, completed the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) core curriculum, and attended the NAPSA conference the past three years, amongst numerous others. Cassie also serves as a regional representative for the NAPSA Mountain Region.

Brett Spencer is a 23 year law enforcement veteran that has worked a variety of major cases both as a municipal law enforcement officer in the Brookings area and Special Agent for the State of South Dakota. Most recently SA Spencer is assigned as the Investigation Coordinator for the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Elder and Adult with Disabilities Investigation Coordination Unit.

SD Department of Labor and Regulation

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation The mission of the Department of Labor and Regulation is to promote economic opportunity and financial security for individuals and businesses through quality, responsive and expert services; fair and equitable employment solutions; and safe and sound business practices.

Dr. Anthony Fairbanks

Dr. Anthony Fairbanks is the current superintendent of the Oglala Lakota County Public School District. He oversees four pre-K to 8th grade schools, a virtual high school, and a career technical education high school. With an enrollment of 2,000 students within Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the district is the fastest growing in the state of South Dakota. The district’s newly built Lakota Tech High School is the most recent construction project. Lakota Tech High School is designed to empower students with career trainings and certification and is the first Native American Career Technical Education Public High School in the United States.

Tim Gard

Tim Gard, CSP, CPAE, top motivational speaker, corporate entertainer, and Emcee is known for bringing tears of laughter to audiences worldwide. More than an insightful and funny guy, Tim teaches people to be more resilient and resourceful using their own comedic style. He also coaches businesses on how to enhance productivity through employee enthusiasm by using appropriate workplace humor. An internationally recognized authority on stress reduction and conflict resolution, Tim’s easy- to-implement techniques demonstrate ways to diffuse, deal with, and ultimately avoid stressful encounters. Tim does not make light of serious issues; rather, shines a light on previously unseen possibilities to overcome challenging situations.