Cassell & Associates is made up of dedicated professionals who care, first and foremost, about our survivors. These professionals come to Cassell & Associates each day filled with hope that something remarkable will happen. Really.
Martha A. Williams Cassell, O.T.R., Founder and Consultant – Martha received her B.S. in Occupational Therapy in 1983 from Eastern Michigan University. From the time of her graduation as an O.T.R., Martha has trained and specialized with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) clients, primarily in the post-rehabilitation phase of recovery. Her strong belief that dignity and self-worth are the cornerstones of vocational and rehabilitation success led her to found Cassell & Associates in 1989. As founder and consultant, she oversees the multiple phases of vocational services for persons with brain injuries, utilizing both traditional and non-traditional methods. In addition to Martha’s professional experience in working with people with TBI, her mother suffered a brain injury when Martha was a teenager. This personal experience gives her an added perspective from the family/survivor standpoint. Martha has presented at local, state and national conferences. She has been a guest lecturer at a Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment Association’s national conference, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. Martha leads the team at Cassell in donating annually to the Miracle League in honor of her late husband Bruce Cassell.
Laurie A. Rentz, M.S., C.V.E., Program Director – Laurie received her B.A. in Psychology from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan. She completed her M.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation with an emphasis in Vocational Evaluation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Since completing the requirements of her Masters program, Laurie has worked primarily with the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) population through community and supported employment programs, as well as in non-traditional sheltered work settings for those affected by TBI. Her credentials include Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (C.V.E.), certified by the Commission of Certification of Work Adjustment. Laurie joined Cassell & Associates in July 1994 and is the Program Director of our non-traditional sheltered work program designed specifically for people with traumatic brain injuries.
Joseph F. Youngs, B.S. in Education, O.T.R., Program Manager – Joseph received his B.S. in Education in 1980 from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Joe worked in a variety of health care settings after graduation, but primarily provided outpatient services to persons with Traumatic Brain Injuries. In more than 25 years of working with this population, he has worked as a Community Reintegration Specialist, Vocational Services counselor, Workshop Supervisor and Case Manager. Joe returned to school to earn a second B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from Wayne State University in December 1996. Joe has been a proud member of the Cassell & Associates team as a Program Manager since November 1997.
David Vailliencourt, B.S., A.A.A., C.B.I.S., Program Manager – David received his B.S. in Business Administration from Ferris State University in 1981 and his Associates of Applied Arts in Social Service/Correctional Rehabilitation from Ferris State University in 1980. He received his Brain Injury Specialist Certification (C.B.I.S.) in 2008. Before Dave began working with the Traumatically Brain Injured population he was an educator, teaching Business and Marketing in the School District of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida. Prior to teaching, Dave spent more than 15 years working in business, primarily with the Detroit Regional Chamber where he specialized in health care and business advocacy. Dave has been employed with Cassell & Associates since 2007.
Deon Johnson, B.A., Program Manager – Deon received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1996. While pursuing his degree in Communications, he was also a member of the University of Michigan Football team for four years. After graduation, Deon worked 16 years in Business Management, Logistics and Sales in the Retail, Consumer Products and Medical Equipment industries. Deon has extensive volunteer experience working with adolescent boys from disadvantaged neighborhoods. For the past 11 years, he has worked with the “Sound Mind, Sound Body” Football Academy. This academy utilizes football as a vehicle to convey to high school student athletes that equal amounts of energy must be applied to academics, athletics and life skills development in order to have success in life. Deon manages the Cassell & Associates Packaging 1 department and oversees our warehouse and logistics operations.
Dave Uchalik, OTR-L, Program Manager – Dave received his B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Wayne State University in 1999, and his B.A. in Speech Communication from Wayne State University in 1976. Dave served in a number of supervisory positions, and as an Occupational Therapist with the Abilities Center-Detroit Institute for Children for over 15 years. While at the Abilities Center, he worked with a diverse population of individuals who experience special needs, including the Traumatically Brain Injured. He is also certified in Interactive Metronome, the Sensory Integration Praxis Test, and Brain Gym, among other therapeutic interventions. Dave is a Program Manager, and is responsible for the Cassell & Associates’ Main Office, Woodshop and Able Works programs.
Nichole Buryta, M.O.T.R./L., Program Manager – Nichole has over 10 years of prior experience working in vocational programs for people living with mental illness and traumatic brain injuries. In 2010, she received her Masters of Occupational Therapy, with a minor in Gerontology. After graduation, she worked in sub-acute rehabilitation, during which time, she discovered a passion for neurorehabilitation. To pursue this passion, Nichole moved to a community based program and outpatient clinic as a therapist for people who experienced traumatic brain injuries and/or spinal cord injuries. She received her Certified Brain Injury Specialist (C.B.I.S.) in 2014. Nichole is also certified as a Kinesiotape Practitioner (C.K.T.P.), and trained in Neurodevelopmental treatment interventions. Nichole is a Program Manager at Cassell & Associates, and is looking forward to promoting the continued growth of Cassell & Associates.
David Reicher, M.S., Fitness Program Manager – David received his Masters in Exercise Science from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan in 1995. Dave began working with people with traumatic brain injuries in 1988 as an Interdisciplinary Team Technician. Since 1999, he has been an integral part of the Cassell team. His concentration in exercise has centered on its therapeutic uses socially, cognitively, behaviorally and physically with people with TBI and other special needs populations. In addition to working full-time at Cassell & Associates developing and monitoring individualized fitness programs for our employees with TBI, he is a partner/owner in a rehabilitation company named Martial Arts Therapy where uses the martial arts for therapeutic purposes, teaching night and weekend classes to individuals with neurological impairments.
Melanee Towne, Office Manager – Melanee has worked as an office manager and in other administrative positions for a variety of business and healthcare settings for more than 25 years, including pharmaceutical, internal medicine, podiatry, and health insurance organizations. Her enjoyment of young people has led Melanee to volunteer and work with many youth organizations, including Girl Scouts, Parent Teacher Associations, and high school marching bands. Melanee has been employed with Cassell & Associates since 2004.
Mac Cruthirds, Contract Manager – Mac has held several management positions as well as developed and operated his own company in San Diego before moving to Michigan in 2004. Once in Michigan, Cassell & Associates hired him to develop, manage, and maintain work contracts that provide meaningful work for our brain injury survivors. He continues to use his exceptional blend of optimism, communication skills, and knowledge of production to facilitate positive outcomes for our customers and a steady flow of appropriate and challenging work for our survivors. He has been employed with Cassell & Associates since 2004.