OFFICERS

Susie M. Barragate – President

Susie was appointed as the President 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.

Bob_2012Robert E. Comben, Jr. – CEO

Bob has been CEO of Vocational Guidance Services since 1997.  He has a wealth of experience in vocational rehabilitation, business development, contract procurement, contract negotiations, budget management, collaborations, and staff and Board relationships. In the decade prior to joining VGS, Bob held a number of top management positions in the private sector. He joined VGS in 1983 as Senior Manager of Industrial Services. He held a series of increasingly responsible positions, including Director of Rehabilitation Services & Operations Division and Vice President before being named President and CEO. Since he took the helm at VGS, net assets and gross revenue have increased by more than $20 million. Bob holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an MBA from West Virginia University. He is a member of numerous rehabilitation and employment groups including The Cuyahoga Work and Training Alliance (past President); the National Rehabilitation Administrators Association; the Board for the Center for Employment Training – Cleveland (past President); the Board of the Alliance of Ohio Work Centers (Treasurer); the Board of Dress for Success Cleveland; and the Board of the Ohio Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Bob is a past recipient of the National Council of Work Centers’ Management Excellence Award, as well as the Pillar Award for Non-Profit Executive of the Year.

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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.

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Michael T. Latkovich – Senior Vice President Rehabilitation Services

Mick is a seasoned professional with over 30 years of diverse administrative experience in the non-profit community. He assumed progressively increased responsibilities with VGS beginning as Development Officer (1990-1996) where he managed organizational fundraising and new program development. In 1997 he became Division Director and in 1998 was promoted to the position of Vice President of Organization and Resource Development. In 2006, Mick was named Vice President of Rehabilitation Services, and in 2014 to Senior Vice President. In this, his current role, he is responsible for all of the agency’s vocational preparation and placement services, new program development, and agency-wide strategic planning. Mick has provided leadership in spearheading large scale workforce collaborative efforts at VGS, including the Cuyahoga Work & Training Alliance, a six-agency collaboration to assist county residents’ transition from welfare to work, and the Department of Labor, five-year, $28 million Youth Opportunity (YO! Cleveland) grant. Mick has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Applied Communication Theory & Methodology from Cleveland State University. He is a member of the Leadership Cleveland class of 2014 and an active Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board member.

lamb1Laura M. Lamb – Vice President, Vocational Preparation

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 oversees 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. 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.

ross1Adam R. Ross – Vice President, Development

Adam joined VGS in 2010 as Development Director and became Vice President of Development in 2014. In his leadership role in Development, Adam’s work includes increasing donor support at all levels; providing oversight to the marketing and public relations department; and providing oversight to the Sunbeam Board, as well as to the agency’s Columbus and Elyria business advisory councils. Adam has worked in the not-for-profit sector throughout his professional career.  Upon graduating from St. Bonaventure University he spent a year in the Young Alumni Volunteer Program at St. Ignatius High School where he worked with the Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership Program and was then hired as Assistant Director of the Program. Next, Adam took on a Development position at Providence House, where his achievements included managing the organization’s Annual Fund and its foundation relationships, resulting in tremendous growth to the organization’s philanthropic support and a promotion to Development Director. He moved on to the position of Manager of Leadership Giving at The Cleveland Orchestra where his responsibility was to increase the support provided by the orchestra’s highest level of donors. After two successful campaigns Adam became the first Major Gift Officer at The Cleveland Orchestra. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Bridge Builders Class of 2014.