The VGS Team
Susie M. Barragate – President & Chief Executive Officer
Susie was appointed as the President & CEO of VGS in September of 2018. Susie has served with VGS for more than 22 years. She joined Vocational Guidance Services in 1996 as the Human Resources Coordinator and in 1999 became the agency’s Human Resources Director. In 2012, Susie was asked to take responsibility for the vocational rehabilitation services at VGS’ Elyria facility in addition to her supervision of VGS’ HR and Intake Departments. In 2014 Susie became Vice President of Human Resources and Lorain County Rehabilitation Services. In addition to processing payroll for four distinct corporations and over 1,000 employees, under Susie’s leadership VGS’ Human Resources Department is responsible for guiding and directing agency personnel policies and practices. The Intake department manages all the open and closed case files for program participants and processes referral for services to participants. The Lorain County Rehabilitation Services includes a program with the Lorain County Department of Jobs and Family Services, as well as Placement Services, Clerical Training, and Work Adjustment. Susie graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Personnel and Industrial relations. In 2013 Susie was awarded the Innovation Award for Strategic Alignment by ERC and CSHRM’s HR Awards, and was named as an Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year by Crain’s Cleveland Business in 2014. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Bridge Builders Class of 2013.
Amy M. Arbogast – Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer
Amy began her journey at VGS on August 1, 2017 as Chief Financial Officer. Her many responsibilities include directing the organization’s financial, budgetary, and accounting practices as well as its relationships with lending institutions and the financial community. She supervises and administers all aspects of finance operations, information systems planning, and the agency’s facilities and maintenance operations. Amy comes to VGS with six years of experience as the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Magnificat High School. Prior to working at Magnificat, she spent seven years at The Sherwin-Williams Company in various financial roles with increasing responsibility. Amy holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Kent State University, and has recently earned an Executive Scholar Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a member of Finance Council for St. Joseph Parish in Avon Lake and is active with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Amy is a graduate of the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Leadership Cleveland Class of 2019.
Laura M. Lamb – Chief Operating Officer
Laura joined VGS as Vocational Evaluator & Benefits Analysis in 1998. She was promoted to Manager of Work Evaluation in 2001, adding Training Services to her responsibilities in 2003. Laura became the Division Director of Vocational Preparation Services in 2006, and Vice President of Vocational Preparation in 2014. In this role, Laura oversaw Work Evaluation, GED instruction, Work Adjustment, Occupational Skills Training, Job Coaching, and Developmental Services. She also provides oversight to the VRP3 Pathways Project for VGS as well as the rehabilitation programs at VGS’ Cleveland West, Columbus, and Painesville facilities. In 2019, Laura was named COO. Laura’s participation is integral to VGS’ CARF Accreditation Preparation Task Force and the agency’s overall Outcome Measurements. Laura chairs the agency’s Health & Safety Task Force and is the Acting School Director for VGS’ accreditation for the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools. She graduated from Heidelberg College with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology & English. Laura is a member of the National Rehabilitation Association, an active Board Member of the Ohio Rehabilitation Association, and also serves on the board of the local chapter of the NorthEast Ohio Rehabilitation Association. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Bridge Builders Class of 2015.
April Walker – Chief Development Officer
April joined VGS as Director of Development in August 2019 and was promoted to Chief Development Officer in December 2019. In her role, she is tasked with leading the agency’s fundraising efforts, enhancing donor engagement, and overseeing board development, strategic planning, marketing, and public relations. April come to VGS with eight years of development and fundraising experience, including roles at the American Heart Association and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, and brings a high level of communication and project management skills to her work. Prior to joining VGS, April was an Executive Director at CCS Fundraising, a strategic fundraising and consulting firm. Responsible for managing VGS’ $10 million ACHIEVE Campaign, April worked closely with the VGS Board of Directors to raise $3 million for facility repairs, programs, and the endowment in 18 months. Prior to her consultative work with CCS Fundraising, April provided grantmaking services to individual donor and family foundation clients in Illinois and Michigan. She managed a portfolio of grants across multiple sectors, implemented business development strategies, managed grant programs in workforce development and early childhood development, and coordinated research studies and assessments. April holds an MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a BA in Sociology from the George Washington University. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Greater Cleveland Chapter.
Board of Directors
Joseph G. DuBois, Chief Financial Officer, Oswald Companies
John W. Monroe, Attorney at Law, Mansour Gavin LPA
William G. Caster, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Fifth Third Bank
Vice Chair – Development
John C. Krueger, Audit Manager, Parker Hannifin
Vice Chair – Finance
Leslie A. Dunford, Vice President, The Cleveland Foundation
Vice Chair – Governance
Karen Flynn Shanahan, Managing Director/Consultant, CMKB Strategies
Katie A. Allender, Manager, Accounting & Auditing, Bober Markey Fedorovich
Craig T. Beazer, Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Deputy General Counsel at KeyBank
Liz Gillmore, Chief Human Resources Officer, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Donald Gries, Community Volunteer
Robert D. Gries, Community Volunteer
James R. Jaye, Senior Vice President, Sherwin-Williams
Matthew D. Joyce, Vice President, Sales, The Lubrizol Corporation
Jeffrey L. Kapp, Partner, Jones Day
Matthew J. Kemmann, Director-Strategic Planning & Analytics, University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Stephen F. Kirk, Executive in Residence, Cleveland State University
Phillip A. Kuri, Partner, Elk & Elk
Ann C. Lutz, Vice President – Investments, UBS Financial
Kaitlin Corkran McCaulley, Attorney, Kohrman Jackson & Krantz Law
Joel D. Marx, Chairman, Medical Service Supply Company
Dick Anthony Michel, Community Volunteer
Lauren E. Miller, Chief Marketing Officer, Hyster-Yale Group, Inc.
Frank H. Porter, Community Volunteer
Diane Roberto, Director, Horizon Montessori School
Honorary Life Trustees
Pat C. Brownell
William D. Ginn
James B. Griswold
Thomas E. Hopkins
Bettyann S. Helms
Polly Bruch White
Sunbeam Board President
Kenneth “Chip” Boldt
Melissa Black, Chair
Thomas Petredis, Chair
Member Emeritus: Robert E. Lessing, Esq.