Robert S. Stearns, M Ed
President and Chief Executive Officer
As President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Stearns has been leading the Bridgewell team since January 2004. He was formerly President and CEO of St. Coletta in Wisconsin, an organization similar to Bridgewell, which provides services to individuals with disabilities in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Mr. Stearns has more than 30 years of experience in rehabilitation and health care management, and more than 25 years providing consultation services throughout the United States to organizations serving individuals with disabilities.
Mr. Stearns grew up in central Massachusetts and holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Bridgewater State College and an advanced degree in human services from Antioch College in Ohio.
Director of Information Technology
Mr. Hyland has more than 15 years of experience designing and implementing strategic technology solutions in a variety of academic, corporate and municipal settings. His most recent position was with the City of Chelsea as Director of Information Technology. There he oversaw IT for thousands of users across City Government, the Chelsea School System, the Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency 911 Services.
His job responsibilities include oversight of all technology-related issues including maintaining and maximizing current applications, providing the strategic vision for the design and implementation of new computer systems, applications and software, ensuring the highest level of data security, and the optimization of the TIER system.
Mr. Hyland earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Design from the University of Cincinnati.
Kelly J. Johnson, MBA
Chief Operations Officer
Ms. Johnson is the Chief Operations Officer for Bridgewell. Ms. Johnson is responsible for the administration of all residential, day habilitation, employment and education and homeless programs and services. Ms. Johnson also provides leadership to quality assurance, the vehicle fleet management, transportation services and adult education and recreational services departments. She provides leadership to a highly skilled management team who carry out day to day services.
Ms. Johnson has been a member of the Bridgewell team for more than 25 years beginning as a direct support professional and moving on to a variety of managerial positions. She has extensive experience in program operations and quality improvement systems.
Ms. Johnson earned an MBA from Salem State College and a BA in social work from Suffolk University in Boston. She is a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) traveling internationally to human service organizations to provide accreditation and consultation services.
James F. Low, MBA, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
As Bridgewell’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Low oversees the financial operations of the entire organization, as well as the operations of the Financial Services, Purchasing and Information Technology Departments.
Mr. Low joined the Bridgewell team in 2005 after a 25-year career in health care financial management and consulting.
Mr. Low holds a BA degree from Dartmouth College, a MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and he is a certified public accountant.
Laura K. McNamara, LICSW, ACSW
Director of Program Operations
Ms. McNamara is responsible for the overall operations of Bridgewell’s mental health, homeless and developmental disabilities day and residential services.
Ms. McNamara came to Bridgewell in 2004 with more than 30 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities. Prior to coming to Bridgewell, she was the Vice President of Program Operations at the Barry L. Price Rehabilitation Center in West Newton for seven years. Prior to that, she worked for the Department of Mental Retardation in a number of executive management positions.
Ms. McNamara received her MSW from Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston and her BA in Psychology from Boston University. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and is certified by the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW).
Cari Palmer, MSM
Director of Development & Advancement
Ms. Palmer started as Bridgewell’s Director of Development & Advancement in March 2010. Ms. Palmer has more than 20 years of experience in institutional advancement and non-profit management. Prior to joining Bridgewell, Ms. Palmer served as a Senior Associate at Copley Raff (formerly Copley Harris) for five years where she was a consultant specializing in fundraising and strategic planning for clients throughout New England. Prior to consulting, Ms. Palmer held executive positions at the Newburyport Maritime Society, the North Shore Medical Center Foundation, and the House of the Seven Gables.
Ms. Palmer received her BA in Russian & Fine Arts from the State University of NY at Albany, and MSM from Lesley College with an emphasis in non-profit management.
Inge Peters, SPHR
Director of Human Resources
Ms. Peters joined Bridgewell as Director of Human Resources in 2008. Ms. Peters came to Bridgewell from CLASS, Inc., a non-profit in Lawrence, MA, supporting people with disabilities as Director of Human Resources for nine years. Before entering the non-profit field, she began her career in human resources at a Fortune 200 manufacturing company, where she held a number of human resource roles for 15 years, her last role managing and supporting the Human Resources needs of facilities throughout the United States.
Ms. Peters brings an abundance of experience to the agency as she manages Bridgewell’s human resources, payroll and training departments. She earned her BA at Eastern Nazarene College and completed graduate work in Communication at Emerson College in Boston.
Director of Housing
As Director of Housing, Ms. White manages Bridgewell’s Facilities and Housing Departments and chairs the Safety Committee. Ms. White also oversees the administration of Bridgewell’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program and other subsidy programs for the homeless that are funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Ms. White has been with Bridgewell for more than 25 years. She began her career as a Direct Support Professional, and she has held various management positions within the company related to operations and housing.
Ms. White earned her bachelor’s degree from Fitchburg State College, and holds Housing Specialist Certifications for HUD funded programs in Section 8 Rent Calculation and Eligibility.
Photos by Megpix Photography.