Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ACBVI) has been providing services for individuals since 1947. ACBVI is committed to "enhancing the quality of life for people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired." Our services are available to adults who are legally blind or visually impaired as well as those who have a degenerative eye condition which may eventually become a visual impairment. These services are offered separately or concurrently according to the individual needs of the qualifying client.
Paul has 16 years of retirement industry experience, with 12 years focusing on servicing and supporting qualified retirement plans. He is a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) and holds the Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (QPFC) designation. Paul is also an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) authorized by the Center for Fiduciary Studies. He is known as a valuable resource to his clients and has a passion for helping plan sponsors and participants have the best experience possible with their retirement plan.
Paul enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, the outdoors, scuba diving, and going to Phoenix Suns’ game with his wife of 18 years, Rachel. Paul and Rachel have three children and reside in Gilbert, AZ.
I have three dogs, Todd and Winnie (miniature dachshunds) and Henry ( a rescued pit bull) and a wonderful fiancé who has two beautiful daughters. I am passionate about growing our business to increase the way we may serve the community through giving back, creating employment opportunities and engaging our staff in sharing causes they care about, creating awareness, excitement and involvement.
BSBA, Marketing, Northern Arizona University, Names Outstanding Graduating Senior in the program of Marketing
BS, Advertising, Northern Arizona University, Names Outstanding Graduating Senior in the program of Advertising
Steve Welker is an author and motivational speaker. His first book, ‘The World at my Fingertips’, is his inspirational story of how he overcame the auto accident that took his sight. His second book ‘Radical Resiliency’, set for release in October, 2015, outlines the steps anyone can use to overcome tragedy. Steve is a graduate of the Arizona State University College of Business. In addition to his work with ACBVI, Steve is also a spokesperson for Guide Dogs of the Desert and a member of the Chandler Lion’s club. Steve lives with his wife Dr. Kristina Welker, a licensed professional counselor, and his guide dog Orbit in Chandler, AZ. They have twin sons, Colton and Dylan, currently attending college.
A.C.B.V.I. Board Member
Ron Brooks is 47, totally blind, and lives in Phoenix with his wife Lisa, their three kids, 2 Seeing Eye dogs and Ron’s retired guide. In addition to having a busy family life, Ron is very involved with several organizations affiliated with the American Council of the Blind, including the Arizona Council of the Blind, Guide Dog Users of Arizona, and ACB Families—an organization which provides information and peer support to families experiencing blindness or low vision. In addition to his activities within the blind community, Ron is involved with fundraising for his children’s charter school, with several Scouting organizations and now with ACBVI.
On the professional level, Ron is a 23 year veteran of the public transit industry. He has held technical, managerial and executive level positions in both private companies and public transit agencies. Currently, he serves as the Manager of Accessible Transit Services for Valley Metro, the regional public transit agency serving the Phoenix metropolitan area. In this role, he oversees the agency’s paratransit system, and he works with other staff and contractors to address accessibility issues on the agency’s buses and trains. Prior to joining Valley Metro in 2013, Ron spent 13 years with a large international transportation provider, Veolia Transportation, where he specialized in accessible transit and paratransit operations. He has supported transit systems in areas as diverse as San Francisco, California, Palm Beach County, Florida and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and he is involved in a number of transit industry committees—all focussing on the improvement of transit and paratransit services for seniors and people with disabilities.
In his spare time, Ron loves cooking, swimming, hanging out with his family, traveling and (in his words) the joys of great food, gourmet coffee and fine wine
When asked about his reasons for joining the ACBVI Board of Directors, Ron said: “I have been very fortunate to have received exceptional training in blindness skills and very strong support from my friends and family as I learned to live successfully and happily as a blind person. These gifts have made me want to give back to my community, and ACBVI, with its focus on the needs of the full spectrum of the Phoenix area blind and low vision community, is the best place I can think to get involved.”
Shannon is a shareholder and member of the Gallagher & Kennedy board of directors. For 14 years, Shannon has been a tireless advocate for victims of negligent and wrongful conduct throughout Arizona and around the United States. His passionate commitment to the rights of injured or wronged individuals has garnered in excess of $200,000,000 in jury verdicts, arbitration awards, mediation results and negotiated settlements for personal injury, wrongful death and legal malpractice clients. Beyond helping his clients obtain compensation for devastating injuries and personal tragedy, Shannon also assists clients with many of the (often non-legal) details of putting their lives back together and moving forward.
From the beginning of his career at Gallagher & Kennedy in 2000, Shannon has been drawn to legal matters that allowed him to advocate for individuals who have been harmed in some way through the fault of others. As a member the firm’s highly skilled and successful Plaintiff’s Personal Injury and Wrongful Death team, Shannon gained invaluable experience in high-profile cases at the state and national levels.
Shannon is deeply committed to his clients, and his effort extends beyond the intricacies of any given lawsuit to champion consumer safety issues for greater social impact. While commanding the fortitude, experience, resources and overall fire in the belly needed to take on major manufacturers and institutional defendants, Shannon remains unfailingly sensitive to the human element of each case he handles. He approaches his clients as people first, which makes him broadly effective in understanding his clients’ challenges and advocating their causes.
Amber Manns, JD
A.C.B.V.I. Board Member
Originally from Boston, Julie moved to Arizona in 2006 and obtained her B.S. in Communication and Media studies from Arizona State University, graduating Cum Lade. After graduation, Julie obtained her Series 7 and 63 financial licenses and has been working in Management within the financial industry for the last 5 years. Wrapping up an MBA and MSL from Grand Canyon University, Julie is passionate about the non-profit space and is also an active member of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. In her free time she enjoys exploring the hiking and camping trails in Arizona, traveling and yoga.
A.C.B.V.I. Board Member
Cassandra Laughrey is a Rehabilitation Assistant at the Banner Neuro Wellness clinic and Student of Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a BS HS in Physiology and Spanish language.
Her passions include working with geriatric and pediatric special needs populations. Cassie is an active member of the Chandler Lions club, American Physical Therapy Association student member, and Special Olympics volunteer. She lives in Chandler with her husband Andrew and dogs Beaux and Ellie, whom she enjoys taking road trips and hikes with.