Chief Executive Officer
850-434-2638 x 1101
Missy began working with the The Arc Gateway in December 2014. She has been in the field of developmental disabilities services since 1997 and comes to us after being COO at another Arc agency in the panhandle. She shares knowledge and understanding of our clients and the services provided from her work as group home staff, supported living coach, supported employment consultant and support coordinator. In addition, Missy has been active in fundraising activities with her previous agency, as well as community involvement in various activities and events. In her spare time, she can be seen acting with a local dinner theater acting troupe. Missy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Elon University in North Carolina and is originally from Virginia.
Chief Operating Officer
850-434-2638 x 1103
Cathy Lauterbach has shared her talent with The Arc Gateway for almost two decades. A California native, Cathy obtained a bachelor's degree in management from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California. She began her employment with the agency in 1995 as an employment specialist. From that role, she became the program manager at the Pollak Training Center before moving into the position as director of Residential and Community Services, and now her position as COO overseeing adult programs at The Arc Gateway.
Chief Financial Officer
850-434-2638 x 1107
Our Chief Financial Officer Daniel Buryj comes to us from San Diego with a wealth of knowledge about the non-profit and financial industries. Daniel has nearly two decades of service in the non-profit sector, holding several operational and financial leadership positions within diverse organizations focused on social change through human services, the arts, and technology. A graduate from Bentley University in Waltham, MA with an undergraduate degree in Public Policy & Social Change, Daniel is currently pursuing his Masters of Nonprofit Management at Regis University.
Community Based Employment and Pollak Industries Manager
Carol Hicks was born and raised in southern California (the mountains and small towns… not Los Angeles!). She earned her college degree at University of California at Santa Barbara and came to Florida in 1979 while traveling with her cousin. Like so many others, they both got “sand in their shoes” and decided to stay. Carol found a job with The Arc Gateway in 1981 at Pollak Training Center as a behavior assistant. She transferred to Pollak Industries in 1982 where she has served as a skills trainer, vocational evaluator, and as the developmental training program coordinator. In 1990, she began to manage the agency’s Community-Based Employment program and now also manages Pollak Industries.
South Santa Rosa Day Program Associate Manager
Born and raised in Leroy, Michigan, Marilyn holds a Master’s Degree in Sport & Fitness Management from Troy University. Marilyn made her way south by way of the United States Air Force where she was stationed at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana for 6 years and then relocated to Georgia for nearly 12 years. She possesses a passion for helping others as well as being involved with her community through events, outreach, and support. She has experience with non-profits and is even the founder and CEO of her own small non-profit sharing the importance of health and wellness with the family unit when it comes aiding in the fight against obesity. Marilyn is looking forward to her journey here at The Arc Gateway.
Children's Services Director
850-434-7755 x 2101
MaryAnn Bickerstaff had always planned to become a special education teacher, a decision partially influenced by having an uncle with Down Syndrome. While completing special education coursework at the University of West Florida, she had a guest speaker from the local Arc come to speak to her class about the Pearl Nelson Child Development Center. She immediately knew she could combine her passion for young children with her desire to be a special education teacher. She secured a semester-long practicum at Pearl Nelson Center in the fall of 1985 and loved it the moment she walked into the building. MaryAnn’s work at The Arc Gateway is a significant part of who she is and she says, “I am blessed to have a team of professionals who share this passion with me.”
Pollak Training Center Program Manager
850-438-5577 x 1113
A native of Pensacola, Dawn VonStein graduated from the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education. She began working at The Arc Gateway in 1993 as a support specialist for the Women’s Training Center where she felt she could use her teaching background to help teach daily living skills to the women at the group home. When asked why she has made her career at The Arc Gateway she says it is, “because there are few other places I could work where every day is different, I feel like I’m making a difference in someone’s life, and I am truly loved by those I serve.”
Residential & Communtiy Services Director
850-434-2638 x 1123
Rebecca is a Pensacola native who graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in early childhood and elementary education. She began working at The Arc Gateway in 1997 in the Pal/Ace program as a support specialist. From that role she became a group home manager with one of our ladies group homes and then moved into her current position of Director of Residential and Community services.
PALS Program Director
Dondie is an innovator with more than 15 years experience driving results in program management, marketing, and media production. In addition to her studies in Journalism and Communication Arts at the University of West Florida, Dondie has received certification in Nonprofit Management. Dondie is very active in the community serving on board of directors for area nonprofit organizations, secretary/treasurer for UWADA, Loaned Executive with United Way, and volunteer with Special Olympics.
Employment Services Director
Jeffrey Weikert serves as the Employment Services Director for The Arc Gateway, Inc. He has previously served the needs of disabled individuals as a Supported Employment Consultant, a Supported Living Manager, a Personal Supports Manager, a Supported Employment Manager, and a Special Olympics head basketball coach. Jeffrey earned a BS at East Carolina University and an MA at Salve Regina University before moving to Northwest Florida in 2008.