Norman Peterson and Associates

About > Staff

The staff at Norman Peterson and Associates are dedicated to providing a high-quality, cost-effective Return-to-Work experience for employers and employees. Collectively, we have over a hundred years of Return-to-Work experience.

Akkie Pelsma, RTW Assistant

Alexandra Gastelum, RTW Specialist

Bonnie Banks, Senior RTW Specialist

Cole Smith, RTW Specialist

Curt Cooter, Senior RTW Specialist

Erik Peterson, RTW Specialists Manager

Julie Hagert, RTW Specialist

Lagbara Garner, RTW Assistant

Lynn Lucas, RTW Assistant

Michelle Eddy-Wels, Comptroller

Nancy Hayes, RTW Assistant/Specialist

Nicholas Kinzie, RTW Assistant

Nicole Toutjian, RTW Assistant

Norman Peterson, President

Sandy Ward-Hollingsworth, Vice President of Operations

Sarah Morris-Peterson, Computer Systems Analyst / Business Development

Sharon Rivers, Senior RTW Specialist

Shelly Riley, RTW Specialist / Social Media Manager

Stacy Gerrard, ROI Coordinator

Akkie PelsmaAkkie Pelsma,
RTW Assistant

After earning her Bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University, Akkie Pelsma worked for 25 years in the hospitality industry. She became familiar with the OUR System® in 1996 when the program was implemented at the hotel she managed. Akkie joined the NPA team in 2011, where she collaborates with the NPA specialists in their efforts to provide comprehensive and efficient reporting pertaining to the work status and abilities of injured workers.

Contact Akkie by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 107



Michelle Eddy-WelsAlexandra Gastelum,
RTW Specialist

After a decade of volunteering, supporting disability rights and working for various non-profits, Alexandra Gastelum joined NPA in 2011 as an Administrative Assistant. She transitioned to the role of Return-to-Work Specialist in October 2013 and is only a few classes away from earning a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Southern Oregon University.

Contact Alexandra by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 105

View Alexandra Gastelum's profile on LinkedIn



Bonnie BanksBonnie Banks,
Senior RTW Specialist

Bonnie Banks, Senior Return-to-Work Specialist, has been with NPA since 1996. Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Portland State University, and she has worked in the physical and vocational rehabilitation fields since 1986. She utilizes her leadership skills and creativity to develop customized OUR Systems® in a variety of industries, and she works with many employers in our Placement Administration Team (PAT) program coordinating Return-to-Work efforts.

Contact Bonnie by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 108



Nancy HayesCole Smith,
RTW Specialist

Born and raised in Alaska, Cole Smith ventured south to Oregon where he attended college on a baseball scholarship. He completed his studies in Business Management at Southern Oregon University in 2013. Cole interned at NPA during his senior year and just days after graduation, joined the staff full-time. Hired as a Return-to-Work Assistant, he has since fast-tracked to the Specialist level.

Contact Cole by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 118


Curt CooterCurt Cooter,
Senior RTW Specialist

Curt Cooter has been with NPA since 1990 and has over 30 years of experience in physical and vocational rehabilitation. Curt holds a Bachelor's degree from California State Polytechnic University and completed graduate work at California State College at San Bernardino. He has successfully led implementation teams in a variety of industries, including hospitals, school districts, cities, counties and resorts, as well as in the fields of manufacturing and transportation. Curt oversees Bridge Assignment development and quality assurance.

Contact Curt by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 109


Erik PetersonErik Peterson,
RTW Specialists Manager

Erik Peterson joined the NPA team as a Return-to-Work Specialist in 2005 and was promoted to Return-to-Work Specialists Manager in 2013. Erik provides exemplary claims management services while playing a key role in OUR System® implementations across the nation. Erik’s excellent people skills and creative approach to problem-solving are appreciated by both his clients and co-workers. Prior to his career with NPA, Erik accrued over ten years of managerial experience in the hospitality industry. His broad-based background and business sense help him provide his customers with practical, real-life solutions.

Contact Erik by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 112

View Erik Peterson's profile on LinkedIn


Julie HagertJulie Hagert,
RTW Specialist

Julie Hagert joined NPA in 2008, following a successful career in the real estate industry. As a Return-to-Work Specialist, she draws on her extensive marketing/sales background and strong people skills to develop cooperative, productive relationships with clients and medical care providers. Her organizational skills and ability to multi-task enable her to anticipate and meet her customers’ needs as she develops Bridge Assignments and provides Placement Administration Team (PAT) services.

Contact Julie by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 111

View Julie Hagert's profile on LinkedIn



Lagbara Garner,
RTW Assistant

A native of Michigan, Lagbara Garner relocated to Southern Oregon with her family. After graduating from high school, she began college-level studies and joined the work force. With her bookkeeping experience, attention to detail and ability to learn new tasks quickly, she lost no time moving up the ranks in a number of organizations before joining the NPA team in 2013.

Contact Lagbara by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 115



Nancy HayesLynn Lucas,
RTW Assistant

Prior to joining NPA, Lynn Lucas worked for 15 years for a utility company, applying problem-solving and critical thinking skills to help customers. She has also worked extensively in the hospitality industry and with the elderly. She joined NPA in 2013.

Contact Lynn by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 117



Michelle Eddy-WelsMichelle Eddy-Wels,

Michelle Eddy-Wels has been affiliated with NPA since 1987. She started her career as an Administrative Assistant, took on the management of company’s finances, and then transitioned into the position of Return-to-Work Specialist. After taking a leave from NPA to pursue other interests, she returned in 2005 to resume managing the company’s finances. In addition to her accounting responsibilities, Michelle utilizes her OUR System® implementation experience to advise in the development of Bridge Assignments.

Contact Michelle by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 110


Nancy HayesNancy Hayes,
RTW Assistant/Specialist

Nancy Hayes joined our team in 2012 after leaving Portland, Oregon, in search of brighter (and less rainy) opportunities. Nancy’s 15 years of experience in electric utility customer service and communications helps her provide her clients with lightning-fast responses and shockingly-thorough follow-through. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Contact Nancy by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 114



Nancy HayesNicholas Kinzie,
RTW Assistant

In 2013, after living abroad in Mexico for almost nine years, Nicholas Kinzie returned to Southern Oregon with his two children and joined the NPA team. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Southern Oregon University, seven years of experience in sales and customer service, an understanding of manufacturing processes, and a certification as a Chiropractic Assistant, Nicholas brings a unique range of experience and knowledge to solving problems creatively – whether in English or Spanish.

Contact Nicholas by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 106

View Nicholas Kinzie's profile on LinkedIn



Nicole ToutjanNicole Toutjian,
RTW Assistant

Nicole Toutjian grew up in the Bay Area’s neighboring city of Fairfield, California, where she graduated from Armijo High School. She worked extensively in customer service before joining a busy physical therapy office that specialized in the treatment of workers’ compensation patients. After relocating to Oregon in 2013 and joining the NPA team, she has had numerous opportunities to put her valuable work experience to good use. She plans on earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

Contact Nicole by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 119



Norman PetersonNorman Peterson,

In 1985, Norman Peterson developed his revolutionary transitional work program and founded NPA. Norman has a diverse background that includes teaching at the college level, hosting a radio talk show and heading the Strategic Systems Studies at Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Inc. A Master’s degree in Public Administration and post-graduate work in Organizational Theory and Behavior at the University of Oregon provided the framework that led to his development of the Optimal Utilization of Resources (OUR) System®. Norman is a featured speaker at workers’ compensation conferences worldwide.

Contact Norman by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 101

View Norman Peterson's profile on LinkedIn



Sandy Ward-Hollingsworth

Sandy Ward-Hollingsworth,
Vice President of Operations

As Vice President of Operations, Sandy Ward-Hollingsworth is responsible for all operations. Sandy has been a part of the NPA team since 1997. She has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration from Southern Oregon University, with an emphasis in Marketing. Sandy's previous work experience includes over ten years with a regional hotel chain holding various management positions. In fact, Sandy first came in contact with NPA when she implemented and managed a very successful OUR System® for the hotel chain. Sandy coordinates all aspects of OUR System® implementations and PAT (Placement Administration Team) activities with NPA customers.

Contact Sandy by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 102

View Sandy Hollingsworth's profile on LinkedIn



Sarah Morris-PetersonSarah Morris-Peterson,
Computer Systems Analyst /
Business Development

With NPA since 2006, Sarah Morris-Peterson uses her experience in software design, development and quality assurance to continue expanding the capabilities of our BridgIT software. Sarah is originally from Canada and holds a degree in Information Technology from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to overseeing the BridgIT software project, she performs data analysis for management reports. She is also trained as a Return-to-Work Specialist and contributes her expertise to NPA’s ongoing business development efforts.

Contact Sarah by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 103

View Sarah Morris-Peterson's profile on LinkedIn



Sharon RiversSharon Rivers,
Senior RTW Specialist

Senior Return-To-Work Specialist Sharon Rivers returned to NPA in 2005 after working with the company in the 1990s. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Education from Eastern Washington State College and a Master's degree in Psychology from Southern Oregon University. Sharon has over 20 years of in-depth experience in human resource management, teaching and job development. Her experience in vocational testing and training includes over six years providing vocational rehabilitation services. Her expertise is highly utilized and regarded by employers nationwide.

Contact Sharon by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 113



Michelle Eddy-WelsShelly Riley,
RTW Specialist / Social Media Manager

Shelly Riley graduated from Stetson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities. Her work experience has centered on the fields of marketing, advertising and copywriting, with a focus on health services and education. She grew up in South Florida, raised a family in the Colorado Rockies, and since 2010, has made her home in Southern Oregon. She joined the NPA team in 2011.

Contact Shelly by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 104



Nancy HayesStacy Gerrard,
ROI Coordinator

Stacy Gerrard joined the NPA team in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Jose State University, along with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. In addition to a career in the field of education, she has held various positions in business and administration. Prior to relocating from California to Southern Oregon, she was a business analyst in Silicon Valley. Most recently, she worked as an administrative assistant for the risk management department of a large corporation.

Contact Stacy by
By Phone: 800-497-1368, ext. 104