Celebrating Ability Since 1966

Executive Staff


Ray Nagel

Executive Director,  MBA

Ray hails from Chicago and now lives in Brunswick. He graduated from Eastern  Illinois University and received his MBA from American Intercontinental University, Atlanta.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving 22 years as an Army Medical Services Corps Officer.  In 2003 Ray became a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst. 

Ray has over 20 years experience managing nonprofit organizations, mostly agencies that serve individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and the elderly.  It is his ultimate desire to ensure that all individuals with disabilities advocate for themselves or have someone who can advocate on their behalf.


Holly Randall

Director of Programs


Upon obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Skidmore College, Holly dedicated her career to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to lead self-directed, meaningful and inclusive lifestyles.

Originally from Monmouth, Maine, Holly has worked at Independence Association since 1990. Her roles have included Director of Residential Services and Director of Policy & Quality Assurance. Holly is often thought of as the “go to” person for any questions regarding the agency or DHHS because of her long acquaintance with many of our clients and their families.

Holly lives in Lisbon Falls with her husband, Jeff.  They have two adult children.  In her spare time Holly enjoys reading and photography.


Alli Vercoe,

Director, Residential Services,  LSW


Alli Vercoe graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She is a Licensed Social Worker through the State of Maine. With over 20 years of experience in supporting adults with intellectual disabilities and their families, she has worked in variety of leadership roles at nonprofit, state and university settings in the areas of supported employment, home based services, community building, case management, policy and advocacy.

Alli’s passion is providing support and advocacy to individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families so that they are integrated members of their chosen communities. She brings with her a wealth of community experience, relationships with mid coast families and solid relationships with providers as well as the DHHS. She enjoys volunteering in the Brunswick community, where she grew up and where she lives with her two children and husband.



Cheri Hurst

 Director of   Behavior Science, BCBA

Cheri began working at Independence Association in May 2010. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara, and a M.Ed. in Special Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Much of Cheri's career has focused on children with autism, as a teacher and administrator in both public and private schools. Having experienced the effectiveness of evidence based practices in her work with children, Cheri joined Independence Association to incorporate Applied Behavior Analysis into our adult services.


Colleen Gilliam

Director of Quality Assurance


Colleen has been working for Independence Association since 1998. She has overseen all Home-Based Services and Case Management; today she is responsible for the agency Quality Assurance program. Prior to her work at Independence Association she worked at Mid Coast Mental Health and Mobius, Inc. Colleen graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelors degree in Social Science. She obtained board certification as an Associate Behavior Analyst in 2012.

Colleen strives to be a leader focused on teaching, coaching and mentoring all support workers so that they in turn can help individuals with Intellectual Disabilities become more independent. Her ultimate goal is to actively engage members of the community into collaborations that fulfill these same result oriented goals into becoming realities for those individuals Independence Association serves.



Terri Cross

 Director of Finance and Administration

Terri joined the Independence Association team in 2000. Terri has an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Casco Bay College and holds certificates in Accounting from USM and Beal College. Previous work included 12 years at L.L. Bean in various finance analytical positions.

Terri choose to work at Independence Association because she found it's vision and mission were in directly in line with hers. Terri believes the work she does every day with “numbers and personnel” indirectly provides a better quality of life and greater security to the individuals served by Independence Association.

Board of Directors


Debbie Dionne

Chairperson, Parent

Debbie re-joined the Independence Association (IA) Board of Directors with the goal of giving back to the IA community that is so important to her daughter. Deb is a member of the Finance/Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Family Advisory Council and Legislative Committee. Debbie graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington before beginning her 35 year career as a Health teacher at Brunswick Junior High School.

Debbie’s adult daughter has been receiving services from Independence Association for 15 years and is now living her dream of independence with three roommates in an Independence Association group home; attends CommunityWorks and works at the Founder’s Building. Debbie and her husband, Dennis, enjoy their retirement, pursuing many shared activities and interests  


Charlie Frizzle


Charlie has over 20 years as an Independence Association Board Member. He currently serves on the Finance/Executive Committee. Education. Charlie studied electrical engineering in college, and received US Naval experience and training as a nuclear power plant operator. He is currently retired, and was President of Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. Charlie serves on the board of directors to help assure the continuation of an organization that provides a vital service which is seldom understood by the general public and often underappreciated. In addition to Independence Association, Charlie is on the Board and is the Treasurer of People Plus; he is the Chairman of the Brunswick Planning Board, and he is on the Finance Committee and Medical Group Committee for Mid Coast Hospital.  



Matt Esculano

Employee / Client

Matt receives services from and is an employee at Independence Association.  A graduate of Brunswick High School; Matt has been receiving services from Independence Association since 1997. Matt says his main purposes on the Board of Directors at Independence Association is advocacy and consumer representation.


Tom Handel

Board Member

Tom has been the Executive Director of the Community Television Network (CTN) in Portland, Maine since 1996.  Before that he was the Executive Director for ten years at Mobius, Inc. in Damariscotta, where he continues to serve as a volunteer.  Tom holds a bachelor’s degree from Colby College, did graduate study in film at Columbia University, and has a Masters Degree in public policy and management from the Muskie School of Public Service. He lives in Portland. Tom has been involved with supporting people with disabilities throughout his life. When Independence Association became a member of CTN, he was interested in offering the organization and other nonprofits a means to have a significant voice in the community wia their offerings. His personal and professional connection to the people we serve drew him back into being an advocate and he offered to join our organization.


Dave Mc Cormack


Dave served 20 yrs in the Navy and retired as a Navy Chief in 1994. Dave is the proud father of three wonderful children; one of which has been a resident at Independence Association for almost 10 years. Dave is an active outdoorsman and enjoys fishing and camping. Dave has been a resident of Harpswell, Maine for over 25 years. 


Richard A. Estabrook, Esq.

Vice Chairperson

Richard joined the Independence Association Board of Directors in October 2013. He currently serves on the Finance/Executive committee, Legislative Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and Family Advisory Council. Richard is the former Chief Advocate of the Office of Advocacy, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, from 1985-2012. He was active in the enforcement of the Pineland Consent Decree, Community Consent Decree, and Augusta Mental Health Institution (AMHI) Consent Decree. Richard is a former board member of Community Mediation Services, Augusta, Maine, 1997-2003.  

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David Cowing


David worked for over 30 years as a special education teacher, administrator, and volunteer in Maine elementary, middle and high schools, as well as other community organizations.  Currently, he is conducting research on the challenges families experience while transitioning sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities from high school to community-based services. David lives in Woolwich with his wife, Judith Stafford.  Their son, Jay, is served by several Independence Association programs.

David became involved with Independence Association when Jay graduated from high school. Feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what came next for Jay, he and Judith sought assistance from Independence Association. Through the teamwork, collaboration, and support offered by Independence Association, Jay now enjoys a high quality of life in his home community of Bath.

David has been involved in a number of parent and professional groups over the years that have focused on helping families understand how to access services for transitioning sons and daughters with intellectual and developmental disabilities. David firmly believes that the best way he can continue to support Jay is to fully understand and help support the system and organizations that provide supports for his son.


Brett Bulmer

Board Member

Originally from Maine, Brett Bulmer attended high school and college in Indiana. He returned to Maine after completing his Bachelor’s degree and began his career in the field of Intellectual Disabilities at Choices Are For Everyone (CAFE) in Westbrook. His responsibilities there, over 17 years, have spanned direct support, program coordination, and PCP coordination; he now serves as CAFE’s Human Resource Manager. Brett has served more than 10 years as a Volunteer Correspondent through the Maine Developmental Services Oversight and Advisory Board, formerly the Consumer Advisory Board.  He lives in Gardiner with his wife Claudia, and children: Miranda and Sam.  


Dave Eldridge

Board Member

Dave is the Senior Vice President and Commercial Lending Manager of Androscoggin Bank. He has spent nearly 20 years in banking. Born and raised in Downeast Maine, Dave worked 16 years in banking before spending two years as the Director of Finance at Washington Academy, a small semi-private school located in East Machias. In 2011, Dave accepted his current position with Androscoggin Bank and eventually moved his family to Bowdoin where he now resides with his wife of 20 years, Donna, two daughters and a son. Dave became involved with Independence Association (IA) when he learned that IA was seeking alternative funding sources to supplement government funding, including the possibility of operating a "for profit" business. Dave had a great deal of experience with Washington County Association for Retarded Citizens and their “for profit” venture into Dunkin Donuts franchises. Dave has a great deal of respect for what WCARC and Sunrise opportunities did for the community and believed that he could be helpful to Independence Association.


Peter Ladner


Peter has lived in Brunswick since 1973.  He has been the owner of Brackett Funeral Home since 1973, where he was joined by his son, Christopher in 2004.  A Past President of the Independence Association Board of Directors, he also served on the Board of Directors of Androscoggin Bank for 28 years and various other boards in the Brunswick Area. Peter is the father of a special needs son, who has been in the care of Independence Association since 1989.  IA and its supportive staff have made his life and that of his son better in many ways.  Peter has enjoyed being a part of such a dynamic organization and to witness the success and growth of IA. Peter credits IA’s support as an important factor to his success as a business man; giving him peace of mind in the knowledge that his son is cared for with compassion and great consideration.