We think of our clients as family. Our staff members are passionate about making a difference and fulfilling our mission. Our staff embodies our core values while meeting the individual needs of each of our clients on a daily basis.
Abbie – Determined, Patient, and Resilient
Meet the New Assistant Director of HR
Abbie Rentsch has been with Echoing Hills for just over two years. She started as an HR Generalist, recently accepting a new position as the Assistant Director of HR for the organization’s corporate office.
In her previous role, Abbie handled HR duties for the Northeast region; recruiting, hiring, employee relations, employee engagement, and payroll. In this new chapter, Abbie will be working to assist with HR needs for all five regions of the organization. She is excited about the new adventure.
“I look forward to being involved in all the regions, getting to know more people,” says Abbie. “I also can’t wait to get out of my comfort zone, growing in my career.”
Before joining the Echoing Hills team, Abbie worked for another provider, ResCare. It was her first experience working in this industry, and it didn’t take long before she felt it was where she belonged.
“I wasn’t looking to get into this field; however, I immediately fell in love,” recalls Abbie. “The individuals we serve and those who serve them are some of the most incredible people. Those who work here have a heart for what they do.”
Abbie enjoys walking her two dogs (Daisy and Bear), cooking, and baking. Next year, she hopes to become an assistant basketball coach for middle school girls’ basketball. She played sports growing up and looks forward to helping young athletes.
These days, you can also find Abbie busily preparing for her wedding in May. She looks forward to exchanging her vows with her fiancé Jesse, followed by a trip to Tennessee. They are planning their official honeymoon in late 2023 or early 2024.
“I’m excited for this next part of my life,” Abbie shares. “I’m excited to get married and to begin my new career!”
Southwest Ohio Welcomes New Regional Director
Teresa Brings Warmth and Excitement to Her New Role
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” –Psalm 119:105
Teresa Hall is Echoing Hills’ new Southwest Ohio Regional Director, bringing close to 30 years of professional experience with her. In her last role as a Licensed Social Worker / Community Care Manager, Teresa worked with people with all types of needs.
“My last role prepared me for this new position,” shares Teresa. “Everyone I serve, individuals and team members, struggle with something. I like to turn these struggles into their greatest strength.”
This isn’t Teresa’s first time working in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities field. After college, she worked as a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional (QIDP) Manager for seven years. Teresa shares that it was her disability that led her to this industry.
“I began losing my hearing when I was three years old. By the time my first child was born, I had lost my hearing altogether,” recalls Teresa. “It is something I used to hide, only telling people close to me. Now, I talk openly about it as it helps in my advocacy for individuals with disabilities.”
Teresa is excited to return to the field where she began. Echoing Hills was the right place for her.
“I’m in the fourth quarter of my career,” she says. “I want to do something transformative. Something that will allow me to make an impact. Echoing Hills will allow me to do that. The fact that it is faith-based helped me decide this was the place for me.”
Letting love and compassion guide her leadership, Teresa is looking forward to her new role. She would like to look back two years from now and see that she helped make something good even better.
“I look forward to helping make Echoing Hills the place people want to be – to live, learn, connect, play, worship, and work!”
Utilizing a cochlear implant, Teresa is also looking forward to helping individuals have the tools they need to be successful.
“Technology has helped me greatly. I can hear because of my cochlear implant. I want to find ways to utilize technology for others too!”
Teresa and her husband, Jeff, have been married for 30 years. Together, they have two grown children, Haley and Harry, three dogs, and one cat. After their kids left the house, Jeff and Teresa began fostering. They now provide respite stays for other foster families.
“Fostering has always been important to me,” shares Teresa. “In college, I helped organize a picnic to raise awareness for fostering. The city continued the program for twenty years, resulting in several adoptions.”
Teresa and Jeff enjoy boating, fishing, or fossil hunting, especially when visiting their new home in Florida.
“We look forward to retiring in Florida one day. It has always been our happy place.”
Echoing Hills Welcomes Jen Gatto, New Employee Engagement Manager Bringing a Giving Heart and Contagious Spirit Jen recently said goodbye to her role as Program Director of EchoingU of Northeast Ohio and hello to her new role, Employee Engagement Manager. It was hard to say goodbye to the position she has loved for almost five years; however, she is excited to begin this new chapter.
“For the last couple of years, it has been my dream and goal to be at the corporate office,” shares Jen. “My husband, David, and I came down here one day and fell in love with the campus. We felt drawn here. We began coming out regularly and praying on Cross Hill.”
In her new role, Jen will assist in building a strong, qualified workforce. She will work with current team members across the state to learn more about who they are and what they enjoy about Echoing Hills. Along with research, she will use this information to help attract new team members to the organization.
“God keeps placing the word bridge on my heart and mind,” Jen says. “I feel like that is a part of my new role – a bridge between corporate and our five regions.”
David has begun a new role too, caretaker for Camp Echoing Hills. Together, Jen and David will not only serve at Echoing Hills but will also live on-site.
“We knew this is where God wanted us to be,” says Jen. “We are so excited to be on this journey together.”
Jen began her professional career working for Children’s Services of Columbiana and then Stark County. She worked for nine years before deciding she needed a change to be more available for her children. While figuring out her next move, Jen taught – subbing, teaching CPR and first aid, and leading a beginning ballet class at A Time to Dance (an inclusive, Christian dance studio that welcomes students of all abilities.
While teaching at A Time to Dance, Jen was asked to teach a movement class for individuals with disabilities. She was nervous at first; however, it didn’t take long before she felt a connection with those she was teaching. She realized she wanted to serve individuals with disabilities.
Jen began to volunteer at First Christian Day services before a role became available. Through this organization, Jen found her professional passion, her future husband, and her mentor, Beth Humbert!
One day, Beth pulled Jen into her office and shared that she wanted to see her grow professionally. As Jen says, “she pushed me out of the nest.” Beth connected Jen with someone at Echoing Hills, where she applied for a job and began the interview process. And, as they say, the rest is history.
“When I interviewed, I asked if Echoing Hills was a business, organization, or a ministry,” recalls Jen. “Tim Neville (now the CEO/President of Echoing Hills) drew a three-legged stool for me and shared it was all three. He expressed how you needed all three, in balance, to function properly. That right there sold me.”
Jen is excited about her new role and is proud to be a part of Echoing Hills.
“Echoing Hills is who they say they are. It’s an honor to serve God by being a part of someone’s life intimately. All this while serving alongside wonderful, Christian people.”
When not serving others with a giving heart and contagious spirit, Jen can be found talking or spending time with her children (daughters Katarina and Gabby; son, Cole; and step-daughter Grace). She also enjoys crafting (you can often find her making cards or working with her Cricut), leading worship at church, listening and singing to music, or reading anything related to True Crime.
To learn more about exciting career opportunities at Echoing Hills, visit ehvi.org/careers. Join us as we revolutionize lives where people live, learn, connect, play, and worship!
Zach Haughawout recently joined Echoing Hills as the Director of Regulatory Policy, Compliance, and Environment of Care. He brings over a decade of experience in the industry to his new role. However, it was an unexpected event that led him to this field.
In 2011, Zach was preparing to interview for a job with the State of Ohio. At the last minute, he found out he would be interviewing for a position with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. It was a department he had not been considering. The interview went well, and Zach found himself going in a new, unexpected direction.
“I immediately knew it was where I was supposed to be,” recalls Zach. “It was the perfect fit, and I have been in this field since that time. I don’t envision myself ever leaving.”
For the last two years, Zach has served as the Director of the STABLE Account program, which saw substantial growth in his tenure. He wasn’t looking to make a career change when an old boss reached out to him about this new opportunity at Echoing Hills. Being in the industry, Zach was aware of the organization’s reputation, which prompted him to look more into it.
“The role instantly intrigued me, an opportunity to help build upon the mission of a great organization,” shares Zach. “There was also an appeal to work in an environment where faith is a part of the everyday culture.”
Zach enjoys spending time with his wife, Carrie, and their three children Abby (11), Ben (9), and Sam (5). They love to be outdoors and enjoy hiking, often visiting State Parks. They also enjoy playing board games together. For Zach, family time is important.
“Time is short, and the time of being a parent to young children is even shorter,” says Zach. “I want to spend as much time together as possible. To make an impact, to instill faith and values, to enjoy our time together.”
When not with his family, you can find Zach running (he tries to get in 2 miles at least every other day) or reading a book (often juggling two to three at a time).
In looking forward to his new role, Zach is excited to get into the details of the rules and regulations that govern our industry. However, he is even more excited to begin making a difference.
“At the heart of my new role, I am working to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide quality services to those we are serving,” says Zach. “Services that we deliver in a safe, caring, and compassionate way. I look forward to making a meaningful contribution to Echoing Hills.”
It is a warm welcome back for Camp Echoing Hills’ new Recreational Services and Outreach Director.
Jimmy McNutt recently started in his new role; however, this isn’t his first experience with Echoing Hills. Camp Echoing Hills has been intertwined in Jimmy’s life, personally and professionally, for almost 20 years!
Working as a summer Program Assistant from 2003-2006, Jimmy enjoyed his early years at camp. He even met his future wife, Maria, here. He shares that they didn’t like each other that first summer; however, by 2004, that changed.
“Maria and I joke that during our first summer at camp as counselors, I liked myself enough for the both of us,” says McNutt. “During the off-season, God worked in me and grew me up through a season of depression, yielding a much-needed dose of humility and obedience to God. The next summer we spent together, we noticed that God was moving in the same direction in our hearts. She became my best friend that summer and continues to be my best friend today.”
Jimmy and Maria were engaged in 2005 and married in 2006 – both events taking place at camp! Three months after getting married, they moved to Cleveland to begin their life together. Although not serving on summer staff, Jimmy and Maria found themselves volunteering at camp throughout the years. Maria helped with nursing off and on, and even served as the camp nurse in 2018!
After leaving camp, Jimmy obtained his undergraduate in Bible and ministry studies. He began his professional career as a youth and worship pastor at Portage Community Chapel and later planted two churches. After several years of ministering, Jimmy decided to return to school to obtain his degree in nursing. While in school, he served as a chaplain in a hospital, for a minor league baseball team, and at a local fire department. After graduating, however, Jimmy chose to focus solely on nursing, taking a job at Summa Hospital in Akron.
It was a few months into his new career when the pandemic hit. Jimmy began working in the ICU department, taking care of patients with COVID-19. He found himself ministering to those patients that were sick and dying.
“As an ICU nurse, our COVID patients would very often not leave for long periods; this is unlike other ICU patients who might only need to stay for a handful of days,” shares McNutt. “During their long stays, we would connect deeply with the patients and their families.”
One day, Jimmy received a call about the role of Recreational Services and Outreach Director. It sounded interesting; however, he struggled with the decision, as he wasn’t looking to make a career change. Ultimately, through prayer, he felt God was calling him back and decided to pursue the position.
Almost 15 years exactly from the day of leaving, Jimmy and Maria returned to Camp Echoing Hills. They bring excitement, enthusiasm, and their five children – Ethan, Hope, Calvin, Cora, and Arwen. Together, they are excited to serve at camp as a family.
When not serving, Jimmy enjoys working out, going on nacho dates with Maria, and spending time together as a family.
“Family time to us looks like spending time focusing on one another, says McNutt.” “We could do a lot of activities but, if we are not intentional about our time, we are not connecting. We enjoy board games (Settlers of Catan is a favorite), card games, and physical activities together like hiking, biking, running, and swimming.”
When looking to the future of camp, Jimmy is eager to make a difference. He is excited to open up others’ relationships with God and create new recreational experiences for the campers through his new role.
“I desire deeply for my vision to be in line with God’s vision. I am open to whatever door he wants to open,” shares McNutt. “I look forward to serving, to help people feel God’s presence in different ways. I want to make a lasting impact on the lives of staff and campers.”
McNutt continues, “I want to maintain regular camp activities like hayrides, s’mores, and campfires; however, I am looking forward to pushing limits on what individuals are comfortable doing. I want to create new activities to encourage individuals to live confidently, showing that they can do anything they put their mind to!”
Kim Broadnax is Echoing Hills’ new Southwest Ohio Regional Director, bringing over 26 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities. She started in direct care but, over the years, has served in roles of management, executive leadership, and, most recently, as the Superintendent of Operations for the state of Arizona.
Kim knew early in life she wanted to serve individuals with disabilities. It was during a sixth-grade class trip to a local nursing home that she discovered her calling. Going in to serve lunch and socialize with the residents, Kim walked away forever changed.
“That experience, the joy they had from our time together,” shares Kim, “I immediately knew this was my passion.”
Beginning her career in a faith-based non-profit, Kim was excited at the opportunity to join Echoing Hills. She was considering other job opportunities; however, she continued to come back to this one.
“My faith is important to me; the mission, purpose, and values of Echoing Hills spoke to me.”
Family is at the heart of everything for Kim. She is one of seven children and finds herself talking to her mother and siblings every day. She also has several nieces and nephews that are a big part of her life. Kim jokes, “I play the aunt role well, maybe even more than they need or want me to.”
Kim enjoys reading about science and research and likes sports. Football, basketball, and baseball – you will find Kim at games, cheering for her favorite teams.
Traveling for work as a consultant and personally, Kim has enjoyed her travels around the United States. Boston, Chicago, and New York are her three favorite spots for the diversity and culture these locations offer. She is eager to plan trips outside of the states and hopes to visit Paris, Africa, and Australia.
Looking forward, Kim is eager to find ways to provide further opportunities for the individuals Echoing Hills serves. She is excited to work with her team to accomplish great things together.
“Everyone has been so kind during this transition,” shares Kim, “I am glad to be a part of the ministry and look forward to working with everyone to provide the best supports and opportunities to those we serve.”
Avalene Neininger – Staff Development Director
When you look at Avalene Neininger’s resume, you see common themes – working with individuals with disabilities, teaching, and training. These skills make her the perfect fit as Echoing Hills’ new Staff Development Director.
Avalene, or Avy as she is known to many, had not been looking to make a career change, but after researching job opportunities for her son and his girlfriend, she came across the posting for this new position. She was immediately intrigued. Avy quickly went on-line to learn everything she could about the organization.
“I was on the website and became deeply moved by a video of a father talking about the impact of Echoing Hills for his son,” recalls Avy. “I then saw a student I had in preschool had recently won the OPRA Volunteer of The Year Award for her work with the organization. In my heart, I knew I was supposed to apply for the position, and I did that night.”
Avy spent her early years moving around as her father was in the military. Her family returned to Ohio upon his retirement the summer she was going into 9th grade. It was while babysitting her cousins one day that summer Avy would meet her future husband, Bob. They immediately hit it off and began dating, marrying one week after college graduation.
Unexpectedly, Avy lost her husband five years ago. She considers this loss one of the most defining moments in her life. She credits her son, Nick, for helping her through this time. After the loss of his father, Nick began to check in with his mother throughout the day. Sending text messages and making phone calls to see how she was doing or paying a compliment – messages like Bob would deliver.
Avy enjoys reading and is writing a book, Grief Lessons From the Toy Box. The book explores different toys discussing their history, reviews what the toy can teach about grief, and provides a Bible verse.
The idea for the book came to her after a conversation with her niece, Kaytee. After losing her husband, Avy asked Kaytee why one of her Barbie dolls was on the floor, naked. Kaytee shared she wasn’t naked, “she was in transformation.” It hit Avy that she was in transformation herself, and the inspiration for the book was born.
Since starting, Avy has enjoyed visiting Echoing Hills’ locations throughout the state. She is looking forward to continuing to meet team members and individuals and jumping into her new role.
“I see this position as a way to blend my passions,” says Avalene, “the role of education and training, working with individuals with disabilities, and making a positive impact.”
Mary Ann Anderson
Echoing Hills is happy to welcome Mary Ann Anderson, our new Director of Finance.
Mary Ann brings a wealth of knowledge to her new role, carrying a Bachelors of Arts with a major in accounting, a Master’s degree, and as a Licensed CPA in the state of Ohio. She has many years of experience in finance, but this is her first involvement with nonprofits and the IIDD field. When asked what her new role will entail, Mary Ann joked, “accumulating all the knowledge John [Swanson] has been able to over the last 34 years.”
Mary Ann shared she was drawn to Echoing Hills due to, “connection and community.” She heard Cordell Brown speak at her church when she was young and remembers doing service projects here for 4H growing up. Her mother also worked in the kitchen in residential living and Mary Ann recalls, “she loved working here.”
Growing up on a farm four miles from Echoing Hills, Mary Ann later moved in life for work to St. Charles, Missouri and then San Francisco, California, where she spent the last 15 years. Little did she know that this new opportunity in California would also lead to meeting her husband, Harry.
Mary Ann shared the plan was always to return to Ohio to be closer to family. She had purchased her grandfather’s house prior to moving to California, and hired contractors in 2019 to complete renovations, returning home earlier this year. She and Harry spend as much time as they can with her family, including great grandnephews and nieces – 12 in all with eight belonging to one family and one more on the way!
When not working, Mary Ann enjoys reading, still belonging to a church book club in California. They meet via Zoom and take turns picking books to read. She shares this is good in that it “allows you to read things you may not have picked yourself.” Mary Ann also enjoys art quilting and traveling. She recalls a trip to Kathmandu in Nepal and a three-month trip she took to the Philippines with her church, working in the business office of the seminary. Mary Ann has also traveled to South Korea, China, Germany, and Sweden for work.
We are glad for the connections that led Mary Ann to Echoing Hills and look forward to all that she will bring to our community!
Empathetic and caring with a great sense of humor – this would describe our newest team member, Jennifer Massaro. Jennifer joined the Echoing Hills team on October 5th as the Corporate Communications Specialist, bringing experience in Marketing, Sales, and Development, as well as positive energy for her new role.
Jennifer was drawn to Echoing Hills as “God has given me a servant’s heart, and this organization is one that serves, putting others first. The mission spoke to me, and the ministry has such a variety of programming that can meet the needs and desires of so many.” She is eager to begin experiencing first-hand all the ministry does and sharing those stories with others.
Jennifer is married to Michael, sharing they had an arranged marriage of sorts (be sure to ask her about it!). Together they have two children, Lilly and Dominic, who are 11 years old and into volleyball, scouting, choir, and band collectively. When asked what she enjoys doing, she said, “antiquing on those rare occasions I’m not with my kids.” Usually, however, she will be found enjoying anything outdoors with her family – camping (they just purchased a camper this summer), kayaking, hiking, swimming. The family took a trip to Hawaii last summer, partaking in many nature adventures. Their favorite was an intense 2.5-mile hike to Papakolea Beach, one of only four green sand beaches in the world. Being one who enjoys nature, Jennifer can’t wait to explore the 94 acres available on Echoing Hills’ campus and seeing individuals experience and enjoy camp, and the great outdoors, next summer.
Jennifer is most looking forward to getting to meet and form relationships with those who make Echoing Hills so special – both those who she will work beside and the individuals served. She shares, “On my second day, I was able to meet two individuals, Ron and Jeff. We were having a great conversation when out of the blue, Jeff asked me if I lie, confused I shook my head no. Jeff went on to say ‘then how do you sleep,’ delivering great comedic timing.” She walked away from that conversation laughing, and with a sense of peace and joy, expressing “that interaction, beginning with a smile and ending with a laugh, was what I needed at that moment in time and confirmed I am where God wants me to be.” And we are glad her heart was led to Echoing Hills!
I am SO EXCITED to be the Program Director for echoingU of Southwest Ohio!
Having been in both ministry and connected with my wife’s learning differently classroom, I have a passion to help the students grow in their faith and knowledge at the same time! I am truly blessed to be a part of their journey. It is exciting to be part of improving and enriching the lives of the individuals we serve!
I have been married to my beautiful wife Andreana for almost 19 years, and we have 2 sons, Andrew and Ryan. They are a Junior & Senior in High School at Troy Christian High School. My youngest son Ryan has connected us to many amazing experiences as he serves as Children’s Champion (ambassador) for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. We are blessed with a great home, family, and church family.
Some of my favorite things are great food like Fettucini Alfredo, amazing movies like Moana and vacationing in Costa Maya, Mexico. My “go to” Bible Verse is: “If you humble yourself before the Lord, He will lift you up and give you honor.” James 4:10
Love. Learn. Worship.
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