Board of Directors

Independence Association’s Board of Directors is made up of Community Leaders, Business people, parents, industry professionals and friends who care about the individuals we support.

deb&kateDebbie Dionne

Parent / Chairperson Board of Directors Debbie re-joined the Independence Association (IA) Board of Directors, with the hope of giving back to the IA community that is so important to her daughter. Deb is a member of the Finance/Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Family Advisory Council and Legislative Committee. Debbie graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington before beginning her 35 year career as a Health teacher at Brunswick Junior High School. Debbie’s adult daughter has been receiving services from Independence Association for 15 years and is now living her dream of independence with three roommates in an Independence Association group home; attends CommunityWorks and works at the Founder’s Building. Debbie and her husband, Dennis, enjoy their retirement pursuing many shared activities and interests  

richardRichard A. Estabrook, Esq.

Vice Chairperson, Board of Directors Richard joined the Independence Association Board of Directors in October of 2013. He currently serves on the Finance/Executive committee, Legislative Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and Family Advisory Council. Richard is the former Chief Advocate of the Office of Advocacy, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, from 1985-2012. He was active in the enforcement of the Pineland Consent Decree, Community Consent Decree, and Augusta Mental Health Institution (AMHI) Consent Decree. Richard is a former board member of the Community Mediation Services, Augusta, Maine, 1997-2003.  

charlie and JulietCharlie Frizzle

Treasurer, Board of Directors Charlie has over 20 years as an Independence Association Board Member. He currently serves on the Finance/Executive Committee. Education. Charlie studied Electrical Engineering for three years in college, and had two years of US Naval experience and training as a nuclear power plant operator. He is currently retired, but formerly was the President of Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. Charlie serves on the board of directors to help assure the continuation of an organization that provides a vital service which is seldom understood by the general public and often underappreciated. In addition to Independence Association Charlie is on the Board and is the Treasurer of People Plus; he is the Chairman of the Brunswick Planning Board, and he is on the Finance Committee and Medical Group Committee for Mid Coast Hospital.  

slide-jay-daveDavid Cowing

Parent / Secretary, Board of Directors David worked for over 30 years as a special education teacher, administrator, and volunteer in Maine elementary, middle and high schools, as well as other community organizations.  Currently, he is conducting research on the challenges families experience while transitioning sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities from high school to community-based services. David lives in Woolwich with his wife, Judith Stafford.  Their son, Jay, is served by several Independence Association programs. David became involved with Independence Association when Jay graduated from high school. Feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what came next for Jay, he and Judith sought assistance from Independence Association. Through the teamwork, collaboration, and support offered by Independence Association, Jay now enjoys a high quality of life in his home community of Bath. David has been involved in a number of parent and professional groups over the years that have focused on helping families understand how to access services for transitioning sons and daughters with intellectual and developmental disabilities. David firmly believes that the best way he can continue to support Jay is to fully understand and help support the system and organizations that provide supports for his son.

matt1Matt Esculano

Employee / Client / Board of Directors Matt receives services from and is an employee at Independence Association.  A graduate of Brunswick High School; Matt has been receiving services from Independence Association since 1997. Matt says his main purpose for being on the Board of Directors at Independence Association is advocacy and consumer representation.

Brett BulmerBrett Bulmer

Board of Directors Originally from Maine, Brett Bulmer attended high school and college in Indiana. He returned to Maine after completing his Bachelor’s degree and began his career in the field of Intellectual Disabilities at Choices Are For Everyone (CAFE) in Westbrook. His responsibilities there, over 17 years, have spanned direct support, program coordination, and PCP coordination; he now serves as CAFE’s Human Resource Manager. Brett has served more than 10 years as a Volunteer Correspondent through the Maine Developmental Services Oversight and Advisory Board, formerly the Consumer Advisory Board.  He lives in Gardiner with his wife Claudia, and children: Miranda and Sam.  

tom handelTom Handel

Board of Directors Tom has been the Executive Director of the Community Television Network (CTN) in Portland, Maine since 1996.  Before that he was the Executive Director for ten years at Mobius, Inc. in Damariscotta, where he continues to serve as a volunteer.  Tom holds a bachelor’s degree from Colby College, did graduate study in film at Columbia University, and has a Masters Degree in public policy and management from the Muskie School of Public Service. He lives in Portland. Tom has been involved with supporting people with disabilities throughout his life. When Independence Association became a member of CTN, he was interested in offering the organization and other nonprofits a means to have a significant voice in the community wia their offerings. His personal and professional connection to the people we serve drew him back into being an advocate and he offered to join our organization.

dave eldridgeDave Eldridge

Board of Directors Dave is the Senior Vice President and Commercial Lending Manager of Androscoggin Bank. He has spent nearly 20 years in banking. Born and raised in Downeast Maine, Dave worked 16 years in banking before spending two years as the Director of Finance at Washington Academy, a small semi-private school located in East Machias. In 2011, Dave accepted his current position with Androscoggin Bank and eventually moved his family to Bowdoin where he now resides with his wife of 20 years, Donna, two daughters and a son. Dave became involved with Independence Association (IA) when he learned that IA was seeking alternative funding sources to supplement government funding, including the possibility of operating a "for profit" business. Dave had a great deal of experience with Washington County Association for Retarded Citizens and their “for profit” venture into Dunkin Donuts franchises. Dave has a great deal of respect for what WCARC and Sunrise opportunities did for the community and believed that he could be helpful to Independence Association.

Dave McDave McCormack

Parent / Board of Directors Dave served 20 yrs in the Navy and retired as a Navy Chief in 1994. Dave is the proud father of three wonderful children; one of which has been a resident at Independence Association for almost 10 years. Dave is an active outdoorsman and enjoys fishing and camping. Dave has been a resident of Harpswell, Maine for over 25 years.  

peter ladnerPeter Ladner

Parent / Board of Directors Peter has lived in Brunswick since 1973.  He has been the owner of Brackett Funeral Home since 1973, where he was joined by his son, Christopher in 2004.  A Past President of the Independence Association Board of Directors, he also served on the Board of Directors of Androscoggin Bank for 28 years and various other boards in the Brunswick Area. Peter is the father of a special needs son, who has been in the care of Independence Association since 1989.  IA and its supportive staff have made his life and that of his son better in many ways.  Peter has enjoyed being a part of such a dynamic organization and to witness the success and growth of IA. Peter credits IA’s support as an important factor to his success as a business man; giving him peace of mind in the knowledge that his son is cared for with compassion and great consideration.