Who We Are
Jon McGrath has lived and worked in Whatcom County since 1995. A graduate from Western Washington University’s Woodring College of Education, Jon has worked in the human service field for over a dozen years. He got the opportunity to manage a vocational rehabilitation program based in Bellingham, and found his niche in helping job seekers with disabilities become connected with employers. Specializing in job placement, job retention and workplace assessments, Jon especially enjoys the satisfaction of making a good job match and helping others attain their employment goals. In late 2009, Jon began Advancement Northwest with the mission of providing professional service to job seekers and local employers.
Rachel Silves graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in Community Health in 2006, and since then has been working in the vocational rehabilitation field. Rachel specializes in working with clients to develop individualized employment plans to achieve competitive and gainful employment. Throughout development of these plans, she emphasizes client empowerment and self determination. Rachel also has a background in Adult Education and Training. She is certified to teach Dependable Strengths and Workstrides, trainings designed to assist participants in identifying their greatest core strengths and how to market those strengths to employers; CPR/First Aid, and various trainings on topics such as case management, vocational planning, vocational assessment, job development, and job coaching. Lastly, in 2009, Rachel completed her Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling through Texas Tech University where she developed an educational foundation to supplement her practical experience. She partnered with Jon in early 2010 as he was starting Advancement NW.
Olivia VanNatta attended Western Washington University and graduated with a BA in Human Services. Olivia has experience and knowledge of working with individuals with disabilities in the Bellingham community since 2014. She enjoys supporting individuals with disabilities to accomplish goals and to live independent lives. Olivia believes individuals with disabilities can find independence through employment in the community.
Pat Owen Kachikis graduated from Florida Southern University in 2014, and moved with his wife to Bellingham. Before joining Advancement Northwest, Pat worked in the summer camp industry, supporting children with disabilities. He also worked in the residential care field here in Bellingham, supporting adults with disabilities. Pat and his wife have made advocacy for adults with disabilities their focus in life, with the belief that independence is driven by having supportive and steady work.
Kelley James has a BA from Western Washington University in Communication, and is currently working towards a Master’s in Adult and Higher Education. Before joining Advancement Northwest, Kelley has worked in the nonprofit field, most recently as Program Manager of a mentoring program in Walla Walla. Kelley enjoys helping adults with disabilities achieve their employment goals and develop connections in the community.