First Choice In-Home Care started as a small, family-based organization and soon began to grow rapidly as the company's reputation for providing care you can trust spread throughout the community.

Today, First Choice In-Home Care provides services to over 1,500 clients annually throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish counties and provides over one million service hours annually to our population of adults and children in need.

 

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Michael Howard

Executive Director

I was born and raised in the Chicago area before relocating to Washington State in 1989.  In 1998, I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Washington and then attended law school at DePaul University in Chicago, where I graduated with honors in 2001.   

Prior to joining First Choice In-Home Care in 2018, I worked for over seventeen years as an attorney in Seattle, representing individuals and commercial entities in civil litigation matters, including claims as varied as wrongful death, breach of contract, workplace injuries, employment discrimination/harassment, and insurance bad faith.  As a litigator, I arbitrated dozens of cases and conducted multiple jury trials in state and federal courts with consistently favorable outcomes for my clients.  Most recently, I tried a property damage subrogation claim resulting in a directed verdict for my client and payment of my client’s attorney’s fees and costs through trial.  Most rewarding to me in my legal practice are the approximately 100 cases I have settled, where I worked diligently with opposing counsel to negotiate a compromise satisfactory to all parties. 

Notwithstanding the success I found as an attorney, I always aspired to do something professionally that would allow me to make a real, lasting impact in my community.  That opportunity came when First Choice In-Home Care founder Jim Lord offered me the chance to succeed him in his role as First Choice’s Executive Director.  Although this is a monumental career change, as it turns out, it’s the best decision I have ever made and I have not looked back since. 

I’ve seen firsthand the difference First Choice is making in the lives of our most vulnerable community members, from children with developmental disabilities, to our ever-expanding aging adult population, to our disabled Veterans.  While there will always be challenges, none is too great for our Client Services Team and high quality Caregivers to tackle head-on.  This is not by accident—First Choice’s entire focus is on providing the very best personalized care services possible for our clients, and those who work here are united in that goal.

I arrive to work each day with the drive and purpose that what we do matters, and I could not be prouder to be part of First Choice’s continued evolution as an industry leader. 

See Michael's Bio
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Steve Hay

Director of Operations

I attended the University of Colorado and majored in Chemical engineering and manufacturing production management. I became very interested in computers and programming during his time there and spent time working in their computer lab on one of the few CDC 6400’s in the world at the time.

After 10 years in real estate, I formed a computer consulting business and spent most of the next 20 years specializing in customer relationship management systems. My customers included some of the largest insurance companies in Washington State as well as numerous associations and hospitality related businesses. I became a full time employee of the largest Dell reseller in North America in 2007 as their Senior Database Engineer.

I joined First Choice in 2012 and applied my skills automating business processes to the Home Care business and helped First Choice deliver a more efficient, data driven service than any other Home Care organization in the State of Washington.


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Carleen Pierson—Program Director

Carleen Pierson

Program Director

I graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in Sociology and Family Studies and started working at First Choice in 2012 as a Job Coach/Home Care Aide. I was drawn to First Choice because I wanted to work in an environment that helped people and made a positive impact on their life.  After a couple of months working in the field I was promoted into the office as a Direct Care Supervisor and continued to grow with First Choice.

Growing up, my father taught me that if you do something you are passionate about you will never work a day in your life; this is something that First Choice has given me, passion.  I am passionate about helping every individual maintain their independence and live in their own home safely.   I am proud to be the Program Manager of First Choice In-Home overseeing all client services operations throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. Every day I wake up knowing I have the opportunity to touch people’s lives, help them in a real way that other are not able.  Working with our clients gives my life so much meaning, I might make a positive impact in these lives of our clients, our Care Givers and they do the same for me every day.


See Carleen's Bio
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Ryan Asman

Fiscal Manager

I have the honor of paying all our terrific home care aides and ensuring their payroll related needs are met.  I take great pride in knowing that my work directly helps our valuable home care aides who in turn deliver top quality care to our client population.  In addition to payroll related activities, I also work closely with the Client Services staff to ensure all client needs are met.

I joined the United States Navy out of Lake Havasu City, AZ and was stationed at NAS Whidbey Island where I flew on P-3 Orion Submarine hunters.  In the military I learned the discipline and attention to detail needed to succeed here at First Choice In-Home Care.  After the military I attended Western Washington University where I majored in Financial Economics.  After graduation I came to First Choice In-Home Care and never looked back, it was one of the best decisions of my life.


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Edward Alhart—Training Director

Edward Alhart

Manager of Training

I oversee and develop the training department here at First Choice In-Home Care. I have been with the organization since 2013, and in my time here I have helped First Choice become regarded as one of the best training centers in the State of Washington.

Most of my background comes from my experiences rather than formal education – I served with our United States Armed forces, and worked as a Law Enforcement officer in Florida, prior to relocating to Washington. When I first joined First Choice, I worked as a Caregiver for a number of clients and felt like for the first time, I was truly making an impact in peoples’ lives. All my prior positions had a very fast paced “deal with the crisis and move on” feel to them, but I loved the attitude that First Choice fostered with its employees, that of providing real care to our clients and treating everyone with kindness, fairness and patience.

When the opportunity to join the Training team presented itself, I jumped at the chance because I love to teach AND learn, and it was a good opportunity for both. Currently, First Choice offers numerous training opportunities that my team and I are happy to provide to all our Caregivers, including Home Care Basic Training, CPR / First Aid / BLS courses, Individualized training for Specialized Needs, Nurse Delegation and Diabetes instruction, and coming up in April 2016 we are pleased to add Crisis Prevention Strategy and Right Response Training to our list of available educational resources.

I personally believe that providing the best training resources and being open and available to talk to our Caregivers about their skills and identifying areas for growth is one of the keys to ensuring that the care they provide is safe, respectful, competent and trustworthy.


See Edward's Bio
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TJ Lord

Manager of Human Resources

My association with First Choice In-Home Care all started 17 years ago when our founders, my parents, cemented a methodology for locating quality Caregivers for the Agency’s first Client, my brother Corey. As they moved to assist other in-need members of our community, each family they helped made it possible to continue on and assist the next.

My responsibilities started small; accounting reconciliation projects after school, filing paperwork and other administrative tasks. When it came time for me to choose a career path, I knew there was only one direction I could go and when I was offered the opportunity to work as a Direct Care Supervisor, managing the daily needs of one of our Client Caseloads, I took it and haven’t looked back.

As the Human Resources Manager, my overarching responsibility is to ensure that our Client Services Team has access to a high volume of quality Caregivers to directly service their Client Caseloads. I take pride in my HR Team’s ability to drive candidates and identify those special characteristics that make a dependable, trustworthy and successful member of our Caregiver ranks.


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Angela Gaviglio—Program Manager

Angela Gaviglio

Program Manager

Throughout my life, my passion has always been helping others and college is when I chose my career path for social work. I attended Washington State University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development. As part of my degree I interned with Child and Family Welfare Services where I shadowed social workers advocating for children and helping families get the support they need to better provide for their family, emotionally and financially. After graduating college, I started my career as a Social Services Coordinator at Salvation Army. At Salvation Army I helped clients in time of financial crisis, facilitated our weekly meal program open to the public and coordinated donations.

 

In January 2015 I joined the First Choice In-Home Care team as a Direct Care Supervisor. The shared passion for helping others and the team oriented structure is what drew me to working with First Choice. I enjoy coming to work every day and being able to work as a team to help improve other’s lives and enable them to live in their homes safely. I am now a Home Care Manager, in which I am still able to work with clients and caregivers, but also get to help lead a team of Direct Care Supervisors grow in their career.

See Angela's Bio
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Shannon Bereiter

Program Manager
I started with First Choice In-Home care in July 2015 as a Direct Care Supervisor, and now work as one of our Home Care Managers leading a team of Direct Care Supervisors.

 

I graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in Psychology and Anthropology. I found my passion for social work when I had the opportunity to volunteer at a crisis intervention phone line, where I was able to provide emotional support and suggest resources to people in need of assistance.  At First Choice I get to expand these skills by working closely with both clients and caregivers. I love the opportunities that I am given every day to make a positive impact in someone’s life.

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Missy Hoffman—Home Care Manager

Missy Hoffman

Home Care Manager
My interest and dedication to social work began while working with youth in the Spokane area. While attending college, I volunteered with several organizations allowing me to reach out and assist with at-risk populations. I focused my attention on the vulnerable populations in my community as they related to the criminal justice system and specifically ways to best utilize the system to reach out and assist those greatly in need.

After graduating from Washington State University with a degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology in 2017, I moved to the Seattle area to join First Choice In-Home Care as a Direct Care Supervisor, responsible for connecting our clients with our caregivers and ensuring our clients’ personal care needs are met. I am now a Home Care Manager, supporting our passionate Client Services Team in providing excellent care to our clients. I love working with people who are endlessly compassionate and share my desire to make a difference in people’s lives. I could not be more grateful to work for First Choice In-Home Care which aligns so strongly with my core values and I end each day with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that we do work that matters.

See Missy's Bio
Julia White—Senior Direct Care Supervisor

Julia White

Senior Direct Care Supervisor

I began working for First Choice in 2015 as a Direct Care Supervisor servicing clients in King and Snohomish County. First Choice has provided me with many opportunities for personal and professional growth, where I can continue to learn new ways to navigate the challenges of our client population. I take pride in knowing that every day I get to work with families and help my clients work towards independence. I have grown into the role as a Senior Direct Care Supervisor in our Pierce County office, where I get the privilege of leading a team of supervisors who all share similar passions.

I graduated from University of Washington Tacoma with a degree in Social Work. I focused my studies and service hours on disproportionality of youth in the greater Tacoma area. My involvement with youth was primarily within Tacoma Public Schools. I lead a mentoring program while I worked at Chief Leschi Schools as a social worker/counselor. These experiences drove my passion to immerse myself in issues surrounding diversity and social justice. I am privileged to continue my involvement in the Greater Tacoma area through First Choice in servicing members of this diverse community.

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Jolie Baldwin—Senior Direct Care Supervisor

Jolie Baldwin

Senior Direct Care Supervisor

My career in social services began with my first job ever – an in-classroom tutor for a young boy with autism. Since then, I’ve made it my goal to diversify and expand my experience in social services. 


Throughout my college career, I was a home care aide myself, working with high-needs foster children as I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Human Services from Whitworth University. I interned at an after-school care center in a low-income neighborhood focused on providing homework aid, supervision, educational opportunities and positive mentoring to children of immigrant parents. Prior to working at First Choice, I was a services coordinator at the Downtown Emergency Services Center’s Crisis Solutions Center, assisting people in crisis with stabilizing, accessing mental and physical health services and pursuing employment. I began a career with First Choice to better understand the process of coordinating and providing services to a wider array of people, from young children to adults to the elderly, and ensuring that they are receiving the best care possible.


See Jolie's Bio
Sarah Wilder—Senior Direct Care Supervisor

Sarah Wilder

Senior Direct Care Supervisor
Shortly after graduating from Pacific Lutheran University in June 2016, I began working for First Choice In-Home Care. I had graduated with a BFA in Studio Arts, and wasn’t sure what direction I was headed, but am so glad that I found First Choice!  I’ve fallen in love with the team and with what we do—providing and coordinating care for the vulnerable adults and children in our community, giving them every opportunity to lead fulfilling and independent lives.  I couldn’t be happier serving my community alongside such a dedicated team of individuals.

Working at First Choice gives me the unique ability to apply both my analytical and creative brain to solve complex problems. I love working with clients and caregivers to tackle problems head on, establish and tweak schedules, and come to creative solutions to issues. Getting that phone call from a well-served client or happy caregiver is what I strive for!  I feel lucky leaving the office each day knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life, and will continue to do so.

See Sarah's Full Bio
Analisa Espinoza-Lopez FCIHC

Analisa Espinoza-Lopez

Senior Direct Care Supervisor
At a very young age, I was taught that compassion and empathy were the most sought virtues and characteristics that a person should embody. Throughout my life, it was ingrained in me to help people, specifically people who weren’t able to advocate for themselves.
I have always known that I wanted to help people as a career. I received a psychology degree from Seattle University where I strengthen my understanding about the human condition. During my education, I volunteered at Childhaven which is a non -profit daycare that specializes in working with children with behavioral issues who come from abusive and neglected homes. During my time at Childhaven, I help aided psychologists and social workers in creating a structured learning environment that would enhance the children’s early developmental skills. I assisted in assess and redirect a child’s mental to assess a child’s mental, physical, developmental, and behavioral status and engage in accordance to what the child needs.
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Teryn Odegard—Senior Direct Care Supervisor

Teryn Odegard

Senior Direct Care Supervisor

My desire to assist those in need within our community stems from many sources. For two years, I volunteered at a recreational program for adults with developmental disabilities, working in tandem with other dedicated volunteers to coordinate social outings and cheer on athletes during Washington State Special Olympics events. My professional background is primarily leadership-based, with extensive experience overseeing teams of up to 15 individuals, promoting synergetic efficiency, providing conflict resolution, and furthering the careers of all those managed. Additionally, I have personal experience with the world of in- home care, having worked tirelessly in my young adulthood to seek this support for a beloved family member who was stricken with dementia.

My firsthand knowledge of the struggles experienced by both the individual in need of care and the individual’s family has inspired my career as a member of the First Choice In-Home Care team. My greatest inspiration is the strength of my clients, and the fulfillment that comes with knowing I have assisted them and their families in their time of need, by matching them with skilled, compassionate caregivers who can enrich their lives. I am proud and honored to do this work that matters, and hope to be as uplifting to my clients and caregivers as they are to me.

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Dorsa Mehrsadeh—Senior Direct Care Supervisor

Dorsa Mehrsadeh

Senior Direct Care Supervisor
I have been passionate about helping people in my community since I was a child. While attending college, I had the opportunity to work with people in need while volunteering at the local food bank and with the Public Health Reserve Corps. I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Medical Anthropology & Global Health.

In September 2017, I started working at First Choice In-Home Care as a Direct Care Supervisor, and in 2019, I was promoted to Senior Direct Care Supervisor. As a Senior Direct Care Supervisor, I lead a team of Direct Care Supervisors who are eager to put their social work backgrounds to good use.

At First Choice, we always strive to put our clients first and we all work together as a team to problem solve and help our clients in whatever way we can. I love my job, especially working with people who share my passion and dedication to the same cause. First Choice has given me the opportunity to learn and grow so much in my career and I consider myself fortunate to work for a company that is making a real difference in people’s lives.

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Jim Lord, Executive Director First Choice In-Home Care

Jim Lord

Founder

In 1999, my wife, Rhona and I founded a small home care agency that got started by providing personalized care to our six incredible clients. We called this company First Choice In-Home Care and created it to serve the needs of our vulnerable communities located throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in Washington State.

A lot has changed since then, and today we provide in-home personal care to over 2,200 clients annually and employ over 1,500 of the finest, best trained and respectful home care aides, nursing assistants and registered nurses in the industry…who do work that matters every single day.

One thing that hasn’t changed is our purpose; which is to provide responsive, respectful and caring services and to ensure that First Choice In-Home Care is a company that in all ways is all about helping people.

As the founder of First Choice In-Home Care, I have the great privilege of developing and implementing concepts, structures and methodologies that allow us to deliver services in a manner that is state-of-art and always mindful that our job is to maintain the health, safety and happiness of each person we serve.

Our Home Care Agency has grown tremendously over the last several years. In 2002, First Choice In-Home was awarded a contract with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (now called the Developmental Disabilities Administration) in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. This contract allows us to provide care to our population of children and adults with very special care needs. Now in 2018, we are the largest provider serving this wonderful population in the State of Washington, a job that is always rewarding.

In 2010, we were awarded home care contracts in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to provide services to our aging adult population. These contracts with City of Seattle Human Services, Pierce County Community Connections and Snohomish County Human Services require a great deal of State and Federal mandated compliance, which includes three comprehensive audits of our home care agency each year. 

In 2014, we were awarded a Home Health Aide contract through the Veterans Administration and now have the honorable privilege of providing care to our Veterans who served our country so proudly.

At First Choice In-Home Care, we are a group of highly motivated individuals, who have come together to do as a team, the one thing we all do naturally in our daily lives…which is to help people.

Thank you for your interest in First Choice In-Home Care. Whether you’re seeking to learn about home care for a loved one, exploring partnership opportunities or considering employment with us, I’m confident you’ll find the information you need as you explore FCIHC.com. 


See Jim's Bio