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February 7, 2015

AZ Business Magazine

SARRC expands leadership team

Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) has added Paige Raetz as its Residential Transition Academy Director and Kate Thoene as its Social Enterprise Director.  Both Raetz and Thoene join SARRC as part of its leadership team.

This month, SARRC named Paige Raetz Director of the Residential Transition Academy, a new two-year residential student program, created in partnership with SARRC’s sister non-profit, First Place, focused on transitioning adults with autism into independent living.  Since 2010, Paige served as clinical director of Trumpet Behavioral Health and oversaw the operational and clinical needs for the Arizona, Texas, and Illinois divisions.

“It is rare to find someone with Paige’s combination of clinical expertise and passion for adults with autism.  Paige will help SARRC expand our commitment to delivering high-quality programs and research, and we are thrilled to have her join our team to lead this new innovative program,” said


SARRC’s President and CEO, Daniel Openden.

“I was drawn to SARRC because of its excellent leadership and dedication to evidence-based, high-quality clinical service and research. I am excited to join an organization with such strong ties locally, nationally and internationally.  The Transition Academy represents the next step in supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders and I am eager to be a part of this innovative program,” said Raetz.



Kate Thoene brings years of non-profit experience to her new role as SARRC’s Social Enterprise Director.  In this role, Thoene will oversee the non-profit organization’s social enterprises, which provide job training for adults with autism, including Beneficial Beans®, SARRC’s unique entrepreneurial coffee venture. Kate comes to SARRC from UMOM New Day Centers, Inc. where she was the chief social enterprise officer.  Previously, Kate served for 10 years as the director of community kitchen programs at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance where she managed a workforce development culinary program and catering operation.

“We are extremely pleased to have Kate lead our social enterpriseprograms. Kate brings years of experience operating workforce development programs and we know she will contribute greatly to expanding our state-of-the-art employment training programs for adults with autism,” Openden said.“I am thrilled about joining the leadership team at SARRC,” says Thoene.  “I was drawn to SARRC not only because of the wonderful work being done for those with autism spectrum disorders, but also because of the people and the culture at SARRC.  This exciting new opportunity will allow me to utilize my skill set in an environment that is team oriented, supportive and progressive,” continued Thoene.