advocacy

Board of Directors

Rich Lewis

Rich Lewis

Board Chair

Bio coming soon!

Teal Heath

Teal Heath

Board Chair Elect

Teal Heath brings more than 25 years of clinical, operational, business, and technical expertise in health care. She is a Registered Nurse (RN), a Six Sigma Green Belt, is Program and Portfolio Management Mastery certified, and is Project Management Professional (PMP) certified. Teal has a Bachelor of Science and Nursing (BSN) degree, a Master of Computer Resources and Information Management degree, and is distinguished as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). She obtained her teaching certificate from Colorado Technical University, where she translated her health care experience in the classroom as adjunct faculty instructing undergraduate and graduate level students in health care, IT, and project management. Teal leads a health care IT consulting firm, Equinox HIT. She is passionate about health care leadership and digital technology transformation.

Daniel O’Rear

Treasurer

Dan is originally from Montana and has called Colorado Springs home since 1985. He is the executive director of the Myron Stratton Home Foundation, the oldest private foundation in Colorado. Prior to arriving at his current position, Dan spent 22 years at Goodwill Industries serving as chief financial officer and later as president of the Goodwill Industrial Services Corporation where he developed a passion for assisting employees with developmental disabilities.  Dan has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado, and is a certified public accountant. Dan resides in Colorado Springs with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and one granddaughter, all living in Colorado.

Jim Vacik

Secretary

Jim is a Chicago native and lived there until the age of 16 when his family moved to Germany. At 17, he was involved in a snow tubing accident that left him with a spinal cord injury which resulted in quadriplegia. After rehabbing at Craig Hospital in Denver, he moved to the Colorado Springs area, where he has lived since 1979. Jim holds an Associate of Arts degree from Pikes Peak Community College and has also completed coursework at UCCS. Jim has been a successful corporate telecommunications manager as well as an on-air announcer for several local radio stations. He is currently the executive producer and marketing director of an internationally syndicated radio show. An avid supporter of live music in Colorado, he was part of a successful lawsuit that ensured that Red Rocks Amphitheater is accessible to people with disabilities. Jim is the proud dad of a University of Northern Colorado student studying music business and recording.

Denise Hok

Denise Hok

Denise has been an active disability rights activist for more than 20 years in Colorado and Vermont. She has served on various independent living center boards, to include the Vermont Center for Independent Living, where she served as a board member and treasurer before moving to Colorado in 2013, and The Independence Center in Colorado Springs since 2017. Denise has been a volunteer and home health care consumer with The IC since 2013. She has a bachelor’s degree from University of North Florida where she majored in psychology and minored in Spanish and women’s studies. She holds a master’s degree in counseling education, also from the University of North Florida. Denise feels that being a board member at The IC is important so that she can be a voice in a positive way for people who need to be heard. She is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and wants to assist The Independence Center in every way possible.

Photo of Kevin Light

Kevin Light

Kevin is originally from Maine but has called Colorado Springs since 1980. He is currently the chief financial officer of Diversus Health. Kevin is an accountant with 30 years of professional experience and 16 years of heath care experience. He has 23 years of not-for-profit experience in health care and Olympic sport and has a passion for serving the community and helping people. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Steve Wesselhoff

Steve is a Chicago native who moved to Colorado with his wife in 2015. He is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who previously practiced at Memorial Hospital Central, the only Level I trauma center in Southern Colorado. His past employment opportunities have enabled him to work with children as young as several months old with spinal cord injuries. Through volunteer and employment opportunities, Steve enjoys helping others return to recreation and nature after severe injury. To round out his health care and business acumen, Steve recently finished his Master’s of Business Administration and currently works with UCHealth Southern Region as the business manager for orthopedics, neurosciences, spine and rehabilitation service lines.

Drew Wills

Drew is a Colorado native who has lived in Colorado Springs since 1968. He earned a BS from Lewis and Clark College and a JD from The University of Colorado School of Law. He has practiced law from El Paso County for over 35 years and has served on various nonprofit boards in the Pikes Peak Region including The Resource Exchange, The El Paso County Bar Foundation and The Independence Center. Drew suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2004 which rendered him a paraplegic and wheelchair user. Drew brings a unique perspective of living on both sides of the world of ability/disability and has spent considerable time helping the IC to engage local government and agencies to improve accessibility and build a community where all can thrive. (Read about his experience of working with the City of Colorado Springs to ensure trails are accessible by clicking here.) Drew has a strong commitment to supporting the greatest level of independence and self determination possible for everyone. In his spare time, Drew enjoys outdoor sports, especially hand cycling and skiing with his wife, family and friends.