Advancing Diversity & Inclusion – Starkloff Disability Institute Adds New Talent to Board

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Dr. Dave Baker, Kara Kopplin, John M. Nations, and Joseph F. McGauley recently joined the Board of Directors of the Starkloff Disability Institute.


Dr. Dave Baker serves as an Assistant Superintendent with the Special School District of St. Louis County, Missouri (SSD).  He works closely with the county’s two technical high schools and programs that assist young adults with disabilities to establish independence and gain competitive employment. Baker earned his doctorate in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and holds a director of career education certificate from the University of Central Missouri. Baker is a member of several community organizations including the United Way – Ready by 21 Leadership Council and the Construction Forum St. Louis’ Education Foundation.


Kara Kopplin is the Director of Regulatory Science for Permobil Seating & Positioning, an international wheelchair company which locally designs and manufactures ROHO wheelchair cushions and backs in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  With a degree in engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and extensive experience in both the automotive and wheelchair seating industries, Kopplin has contributed to advancing the science of seating by partnering with international experts, academic researchers, and renowned clinicians. Kopplin actively contributes to the International Standards Organization (ISO) and European Committee for Standardization (CEN).  At the national level, she is honored to chair the ANSI/RESNA Standards Committee on Wheelchair and Related Seating.


Joseph F. McGauley is a real estate industry veteran. Native to St. Louis, he chose the commercial real estate industry after his college career at Washington University. McGauley previously served as an Executive Vice President of Colliers International and President of Gershman Commercial Equities. In his nearly 40-year career, McGauley has completed many transactions with an aggregate value surpassing $1 billion. McGauley is a longtime supporter of Starkloff Disability Institute, along with his wife Suzanne and son Jack McGauley. He is currently working as an independent real estate consultant.


John M. Nations currently serves as a Member and Practice Chair at Evans & Dixon Law Firm in the firm’s Business Services Group. During his career, Nations has negotiated opportunities with a range of public officials including Presidential Cabinet Secretaries, federal agency leaders, Governors, state agency leaders, county leaders, municipal officials, and special district leaders. Prior to joining the firm, Nations served as Mayor of Chesterfield, Missouri, for three terms and later as President and CEO of Bi-State Development for 8 years. He has been named to The Best Lawyers In America® and recognized by his peers in the legal community with the Martindale Hubbel “av” rating, for the highest levels of abilities and ethics.


“We are excited to diversify our Board with exceptional leaders in the St. Louis community,” says Steve Degnan, Starkloff Board Chairperson and Chief HR Officer at Nestlè-Purina PetCare North America. “Their collective expertise will help us execute our vision of creating a world that is welcoming to all people with disabilities.”

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