Board members:

Robert Ott Mr. Ott is a Managing Broker with RE/MAX on the Lake.  He has been engaged in autism advocacy as a parent advocate for 8 years.  He is committed to improving access to healthcare and education for those autism.  Rob has been supporting of WAAA’s advocacy by testifying in Olympia, mobilizing teams of volunteers, and has many years of experience in fundraising and development for non-profits. [LinkedIn profile]  

Jule L. Sigall, J.D. Mr.Sigall is Assistant General Counsel, IP Policy & Strategy in Microsoft’s Legal & Corporate Affairs department. Before joining Microsoft, Jule served as Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office. Prior to his government service, Jule practiced in the Intellectual Property & Technology Group of Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law and received his A.B. from Duke University. He and his wife Beth have three sons, Anthony, Thomas and Joseph, and have been involved with the autism community since 2002.[LinkedIn profile]

Ben Buchholz Mr. Buchholz is a Government Relations Liaison with Coyne, Jesernig, LLC and McBride Public Affairs.  He was raised on a family owned and operated tree fruit farm in the Lower Yakima Valley. Ben holds a bachelors degree in Political Science and Communications from the UW where he was active in politics and club athletics. Ben has worked on statewide campaigns and directly for the Secretary of State of Washington, Sam Reed, started Buchholz & Associates LLC in 2006 and has successfully advocated in Olympia on behalf of public entities, state agencies, trade associations and private corporations. His professional and agricultural background and broad experience is uniquely suited to the diverse needs and interests he represents in Olympia. Ben spends his free time participating and volunteering at endurance sporting events around the Pacific Northwest. He recently completed his seventh Seattle to Portland one day bicycle ride. Ben looks forward to working with Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy by assisting in advancing policy and financial reform that benefits those in the autism community. [LinkedIn profile]

Joseph Smecker M.H.A. Mr. Smecker is Director of Operations for Western Washington Medical Group. He aims to bring better health and quality care to those that need it, in every way possible! He has over 10 years of healthcare experience; three years of direct patient service as a mental health caregiver, four-plus years of leadership/administrative experience in Seattle at the Polyclinic, Northwest Eye Surgeons, and Group Health, and 3+ years of management/ leadership experience with Northwest Hospital/UW. Currently, Joe works with Western Washington Medical Group as the Director of Operations; exploring opportunities for improved patient care and business development. Joe has dedicated his career to bettering the health and education of all members of our community. He is proud to be part of Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy in their efforts to improve access and awareness for autism education and treatment. [LinkedIn profile]

Melanie Carmosino Mrs. Carmosino is an Operations Manager in the Intellectual Property (Patent) Group at Microsoft. She has 25 years of experience in the legal industry with a particular focus on operations and project management. Melanie has been involved with autism advocacy for 10 years, including Autism Speaks in Washington State, and Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) in Arizona. She is a mother of four children with her oldest on the Autism spectrum. She and her husband are not only actively involved in Autism causes, but are also in involved in youth ministry programs through their church. [LinkedIn profile]

Dave Nichols As Executive Chairman for Sequoyah Electric, LLC, Dave’s focus is to continue building partnerships and enhancing relationships within the industry and community. Dave values being actively engaged in the community and is especially passionate about supporting those with autism as he has many close to him living with ASD. Dave is a current Board member for the Puget Sound Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association and active in several non-profit organizations. He is very excited to be working with and supporting WAAA.

Christine Porter, J.D. Ms. Porter was formerly a partner with Bean Porter Hawkins PLLC in Seattle, where her legal practice was focused on employment litigation and disability discrimination. She is a graduate of University of Washington School of Law and has a M.A. degree in Philosophy from University of Washington. Christine and her husband, Jay Hoover, live in Bellevue with their two children, both of whom are on the autism spectrum. Christine currently stays at home full-time with her children and is an active volunteer in local schools. She is passionate about autism advocacy and looks forward to working with Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy to improve access to autism healthcare benefits and effective services in schools and communities.

Kimberly Corrigan Kimberly Corrigan is the Vice President for Global Leadership Education at Global Visionaries and the former Executive Director of the national K12 curricula publisher, Facing the Future, now a division of Western Washington University. Kim also currently serves a U.S. Affiliate for The Earth Charter Initiative based at the University for Peace in Costa Rica and as a Director for the nonprofit Board of Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy. She holds a master’s degree in communication from the Edward R. Murrow College at Washington State University and a Master Certificate for Project Leadership from Cornell University. Kimberly lived overseas for nearly a decade in the 90s while directing the development of market surveys and educational materials across Eastern Europe, China, Ukraine and Russia for a Dutch-owned company based on Cyprus, and upon her return became a Senior Product Manager at (now An avid sailor, diver and reader she can also be found walking Washington’s fresh water coastlines with a heavy supply of dark chocolate.

Ivanova Smith Ms. Ivanova was prematurely born at a hospital in Latvia in 1988 and given up by her biological parents at the hospital. She was sent to a soviet institutional orphanage where she lived for five and a half years. It was during that time, she was diagnosed with Autism. In 1994, a loving family from Bonney Lake, Washington adopted Ivanova and brought her to the U.S. to be raised with her sister. Despite her difficult upbringing, Ivanova has persevered. She has accomplished what to many had seemed an impossible feat. She graduated community college with honors, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Central Washington and was a student programmer at the university’s Center for Diversity and Social Justice. She’s an advocate on behalf of fellow students with Intellectual/Developmental disabilities and helps them recognize their worth, potential and contribution to society. Ivanova is an active civil rights activist to stop the abuse of individuals with disabilities. She serves as a Vice President at student disability advocacy organization, active in the Autistic Pride movement and is the first UW Autistic Lend fellow, testifying in Olympia on different issues that affect people with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities.

Arzu Forough Ms. Forough brings over 20 years of experience in training and development to her position, including leadership development, government relations and non-profit management.In 2007 she founded Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy, developed the “Autism IEP supplement: Best Practice Guidelines for educating students with autism”. Her IEP supplement as well as guidelines for training teachers was legally adopted by the Washington State legislature in 2008 and became the requirement for all teachers working with learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders statewide. Arzu introduced Shayan’s Law, Autism Insurance Parity to the Washington State legislature, petitioned the state Health technology Assessment of evidence based treatment of autism and ignited multiple legal actions that have clarified state and federal laws mandating insurance benefits for those with autism and other developmental disabilities. Arzu designs, implements and manages local, statewide and national projects as well as provides technical assistance to agencies, providers and families on current insurance, education and social service practices and strategies. [LinkedIn profile]

Advisory board members:

Dr. Charles A Cowan, MD Emeritus Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics UW School of Medicine Clinical Director, Seattle Children’s Autism Center Pediatrician, Neurodevelopmental Program “My entire 40-year career as a pediatrician has been dedicated to my belief that no matter their race, socioeconomic status or abilities, all children deserve the very best healthcare to allow them to achieve their highest potential. Serving disadvantaged populations is my personal passion. For the past 26 years, that has meant caring for children with disabilities — and especially in the past 15 years, caring for children and their families who are affected by autism. Every day, I come to work knowing that I’ll be privileged to see joy or accomplishment on the face of a child — whether it’s as simple as holding their body up without support or saying “Hi, Mom.”

Dr. Wendy Stone, PhD Professor of Psychology Director of the READi Lab at University of Washington Dr. Stone is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the READi Lab at UW.  She joined the UW Department of Psychology in May 2010, having spent the previous 20+ years at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, she founded and directed the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), which has a threefold mission of research, clinical services, and community outreach. She served as the director of the UW Autism Center from 2010 to 2013, at which time she formed the READi Lab to continue her research and outreach efforts. Dr. Stone’s primary clinical and research interests are in early identification and early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders.  Her research focuses on identifying the early-emerging behavioral features of autism, with the goals of understanding the developmental processes that contribute to the tremendous variability in social, learning, and behavioral outcomes for these children, and implementing interventions to optimize their outcomes. She has received federal funding for this research since 1993. Dr. Stone is also committed to translational science, and works to enhance knowledge and service capacity within community settings, by developing and conducting training and outreach activities for families, pediatricians, teachers, and other community professionals.

Dr. Raphael Bernier, PhD, LP Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Clinical Director, Seattle Children’s Autism Center Associate Director, Center on Human Development and Disability University of Washington Dr. Bernier is a licensed clinical psychologist, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and an adjunct assistant professor of psychology. As a clinical psychologist, and as the principle investigator on a number of NIH- and foundation-funded research studies, Dr. Bernier is actively involved in clinical research at the intersection of etiology, the brain, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Bernier also participates in a national effort to establish standards of care for the medical assessment and treatment of individuals with ASD.

Dr. Eric V. Larsson, PhD, LP, BCBA-D Executive Director, Clinical Services The Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention Midwest Headquarters Dr. Eric Larsson is the Executive Director of Clinical Services at the Lovaas Institute Midwest, where he implements a program of intensive early intervention services for families of children who suffer from severe behavior disorders, including autism. This intensive early intervention program is widely regarded as one of the most thorough and highly supervised behavior therapy programs in the field. Dr. Larsson is also conducting a systematic research evaluation of the effects of this high intensity program. He is a member of the Clinical Faculty in the Psychology Department at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches classes in Applied Behavior Analysis and in Autism. He holds an adjunct appointment at the University of Kansas. He serves on the Autism Advisory Boards of both the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

Dr. Gina Green, PhD, BCBA-D Executive Director, Association of Professional Behavior Analysts Dr. Green has authored numerous publications on behavioral treatment of individuals with disabilities and the experimental analysis of behavior. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of several professional journals in behavior analysis, developmental disabilities, and psychology. Dr. Green co-edited the books Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism and Making a Difference: Behavioral Intervention for Autism. She has served the Association for Behavior Analysis International as a member of its Accreditation Board, Public Relations Committee, Professional Standards Committee (Chair), and Distinguished Speakers Bureau; Experimental Representative to the Executive Council; and President. Dr. Green has also been active in the California Association for Behavior Analysis, serving as ABA Liaison, Conference Committee Co-Chair, a member of the Legislation and Public Policy Committee, and President. She was on the Board of Directors of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board from 2002-08, also serving as Chair of the Continuing Education Committee, and on the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies for 15 years. Currently Dr. Green sits on the Professional Advisory Boards of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment and several autism programs and organizations, as well as the Autism Advisory Group of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Ilene S. Schwartz, PhD Dr. Ilene Schwartz is a professor in the Area of Special Education at the University of Washington and the Director of the Haring Center for Research and Training in Education at UW. She earned her Ph.D. in child and developmental psychology from the University of Kansas and is a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Dr. Schwartz has an active research and professional training agenda with primary interests in the area of autism, inclusive education, and the sustainability of educational interventions. She has had consistent research funding from the U.S. Department of Education since 1990 and serves on a number of editorial review boards including the Topics in Early Childhood Special Education and the Journal of Early Intervention. Dr. Schwartz is the director of Project DATA, a model preschool program for children with autism that has been in operation since 1997; and is currently involved in research projects examining the efficacy of the Project DATA model with toddlers and preschoolers with autism. Dr. Schwartz joined the UW faculty in 1991 and began her association with the Haring Center at that time. She is dedicated to building inclusive schools and societies and views inclusion as the celebration of diversity put into action. She is proud of what she and her colleagues have accomplished at the Haring Center, where research, training and service are integrated to provide world class early learning experiences to children with and without disabilities.

Dan Roach Mr. Roach is the Pierce County Council member,  chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, vice chair of the Performance Audit Committee. He also serves on the Community Development and the Economic and Infrastructure Development Committees. Prior to his election to the Pierce County Council, Dan served five consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, representing the 31st legislative district. There he served in various capacities ranging from House Republican leadership to ranking minority member of the Transportation Committee.


One thought on “Board of Directors

  1. hI,

    I need to talk with someone who knows about the CORE Waiver and what kind of benefits it provides. My son is on it currently but I am having trouble getting his needs met. Thank you so Much!,


    Karen Maple

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