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Individuals with Decades of Service Come Together for ARCA Director Eileen Richey’s Retirement


Top row, left to right: ARCA Executive Director (retired) Eileen Richey, Lanterman Executive Director Melinda Sullivan, and DDS Director Nancy Bargmann
Second row, left: Denny Amundson, former DDS director and chief of staff for Assemblymember Frank D. Lanterman
Second row, right: ARCA Government Affairs/Community Relations Director Daniel Savino and ARCA Legislative Advocate Rick Rollens present Eileen with a resolution
Third row, left: Amy Westling, ARCA's new executive director
Third row, right: Santi Rogers, former DDS director and current executive director at San Andreas Regional Center

It was a veritable who's who in the field of developmental disabilities at Eileen Richey's retirement event as she left her position as executive director of the Association of Regional Center Agencies (ARCA). Eileen spent her 35-year professional career in the developmental disabilities services field starting in Michigan, but with the bulk of it in California, including serving in many roles at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), plus as director of Area Board 10, working at MENTOR Network, and finally, first as a consultant for ARCA and later as ARCA's executive director.

Eileen devoted her professional career to bettering the lives and opportunities of people with developmental disabilities, striving to improve service systems as a whole while never losing focus on the importance of the individuals served by those systems.

Attendees at the event included Denny Amundson, who served as the master of ceremonies. Denny, started his career in the field in the early 1970s working for Assemblymember Frank D. Lanterman, and as his chief of staff drafted the Lanterman Act and follow-on bills. He also served as executive director for North Los Angeles County Regional Center, as a consultant in the field and later as director of DDS in the 1990s. Also in attendance was current DDS Director Nancy Bargmann, who herself has over 30 years of experience in serving individuals with developmental disabilities, including a wealth of knowledge in developing community resources, and Santi Rogers, who has enjoyed over 45 years of working in the field, with 27 years being in various positions at DDS, including as director of the Department, and with over 20 years as executive director of San Andreas Regional Center, a position he still holds today.

Also at the event was ARCA's new executive director, Amy Westling, who has been with ARCA since March 2012, serving in a variety of capacities including senior policy analyst, director of policy, associate director, and as interim executive director since February 2017. Amy has worked within the regional center system for nearly 18 years, including at Alta California Regional Center coordinating the movement of individuals with developmental disabilities from institutional to community settings and at Central Valley Regional Center overseeing service coordination in rural Merced and Mariposa counties. During her five years at ARCA she had a major role in the following successes:

  • Successful restoration of the Early Start eligibility criteria for infants and toddlers at risk of developmental disability;
  • Documenting the fiscal struggles of the service system as the principal author of ARCA’s publication "On the Brink of Collapse," which led to a $500 million increase in annual funding for California’s developmental services system;
  • Minimizing service disruption in the transition of funding from regional centers to private and public health insurers; and,
  • Greater cohesion at the statewide level with major stakeholders around issues of mutual interest and concern.

We wish Eileen all the best as she embarks on her next chapter and welcome Amy to her new position.

ARCA represents California’s community-based network of 21 independent non-profit regional centers, which provide lifelong services to approximately 300,000 individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information about ARCA, please visit www.arcanet.org.