Corporate Employment Coordinator
Rodger Nelson has been in Business Management for 38 years assisting people in determining their future and security. During that time, he enjoyed working with people in obtaining the financial and personal outcomes they sought. Rodger spends much of his personal time and is well known for volunteering for civic causes, church endeavors, and to any person that ever needs a hand. He has been a long time member of Civitan International. Now, as the Corporate Employment Coordinator (Central) for Access Vocational Services (Central Region) Rodger feels that Access has given him the opportunity to utilize his past experience to assist persons who require an individualized approach in achieving employment goals by helping to empower persons he supports to become a vital part of society.
In the future, Rodger predicts that our strong commitment to community and employment focus will place Access Vocational Services in a position to “grow to become a nationwide company that will always be at the forefront of social services”. Rodger’s success has been vital to growth thus far and will be an integral part of future successes.
Following forty-two years of successful teaching and administration primarily in the North Carolina school system, Linda Nelson retired in March, 2011 and said she was never going to work again. A year later, upon realizing she was not ready to retire, she accepted a position with Access Vocational Services as Administrator and opened a new office serving Alamance/Caswell/Rockingham Counties.
Although an economically challenged area, Linda and her team have achieved an unprecedented rate of success in finding jobs for those who had been out of work for some time. This allowed the persons supported to not only regain economic self sufficiency, but also regain their sense of self worth. Linda lead Access into expanding to Guilford County where she has continued to break ground in establishing the same thriving community relationships that make employers and employment seekers successful. In education Linda was fortunate to be able to help grow young minds and lead them to success. Now she has a second chance to help others get another chance. In her words, “It doesn’t get any more rewarding!”
Apiffany Gaither is a mental health professional who has been working with people with disabilities since college. Apiffany graduated from Meredith College in North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology where she worked for the Meredith Autism Program. Apiffany then attended Nova Southeastern University and graduated with a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling with honors.
Apiffany began with Access Vocational Services in 2016 as a job coach and has shown the initiative to be promoted to an Administrator. Apiffany also has experience as a case manager for a psychosocial rehabilitation program, a discharge planner for a crisis center, and a counselor for an outpatient substance abuse program. Apiffany has spent time as a social security advocate at a mental health center in San Diego, CA.
Apiffany has always been dedicated to providing an individualized experience for every consumer. Apiffany’s positive attitude and never ending tenacity are the attributes she possesses that help make the impossible happen.
Apiffany currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her significant other and their three dogs Maple, Guster, and Diggle. In her spare time, Apiffany enjoys hiking, reading, and traveling.
Terri Parrish loves business and has enjoyed working with all aspects of working with numbers for over 20 years. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Accounting and this has remained her passion. Terri has always enjoyed helping people beginning with her work as a Controller for a North Carolina based periodic service company throughout the 90’s. Her spirit and drive has continued as she now teaches school in Caldwell County School system. Starting in May 2013, Terri accepted the position as Controller for Access Vocational Services. Terri and her husband have three kids and lives outside of Hickory, NC.
Vice-President of Operations
Heather Calkins joined the Access Vocational Services team after 18 years of experience in working with persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Dual Diagnosis in both residential and vocational settings after graduating and starting at RHA Howell Inc. Her unique talents enabled her to develop many news techniques and approaches for achieving optimal outcomes and integration with community.
The combination of her natural leadership skills and dedication led her from starting initially as direct support staff to many advancements throughout the 18 years while working at RHA. These positions required her to interact with, develop and maintain federally established standards with regard to level of services provided and the skill level of staff in the provision of these services.
Heather is best known for forming a Vocational Center or co-ops in which all folks participating had the opportunity to own their own businesses, work with others in the community and volunteer as needed at organizations such as Food Bank and Salvation Army.
Heather is active in a variety of civic and cultural organizations such as Common Things Food Bank, Salvation Army, Odyssey of the Mind and the Autism Society. Outside her work, she enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and her family.