Jimmie Soto

Executive Director

Jimmie has been the Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Kern County since 2011. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administration and Supervision and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, both from California State University, Fresno.
Jimmie is a member of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. He was appointed to the State Independent Living Council (SILC) in 2013, and termed out in 2019. He is a proud member of the Bakersfield East Rotary Club since 2014.
Before moving to Bakersfield, Jimmie held the position of Director of Program Services at Fresno County’s Independent Living Center, a position he held since 2001.
Jimmie is passionate about the needs of people with disabilities. Disability has affected his own family with his own visual impairment and having a brother that is Deaf. In his spare time, Jimmie likes to spend time with his family, exercise, be outdoors, play poker, and watch NFL football.

Tammy Hartsch

Deputy Director

Tammy is the Deputy Director for ILCKC. Tammy attended Phoenix University while majoring in Accounting and Finance. Tammy is currently attending the University of Phoenix to obtain her Master’s in Business Administration. Tammy has worked in the accounting field for many years gaining a vast knowledge in the public and private accounting sectors. Combining expertise in Accounting, Finance, Management, and Human Resources Tammy brings a broad experience range to the ILCKC.

Santeri Salomaki

Finance Manager

Santeri came to Independent Living Center of Kern County with over two years of finance and accounting experience and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration and concentration in Marketing from California State University of Bakersfield. At California State University of Bakersfield, Santeri made the Dean’s list in the school of business six times and graduated with over a 3.5 GPA all while being a finance tutor to help his fellow colleagues in finance and accounting. Santeri was born in Finland, speaks fluent Finnish, and has a diverse background from living around the US and parts of Finland. Santeri brings his knowledge of business to improve finance-related matters and procedures for the agency. Since joining the ILCKC team in 2016, Santeri has learned all aspects of financial side of the agency and is always willing to learn more to improve daily experiences for the ILCKC staff and consumers.

Adelaida Moreno

Accounting Clerk

Adelaida is an Accounting Clerk at Independent Living Center of Kern County a proud, Deaf Bakersfield native. Adelaida attended California School for the Deaf, Riverside for three years where she was involved Cross Country, Track, Cheerleaders, and graduated with honors in 2007. She then attended Gallaudet University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. At Gallaudet University, Adelaida made every effort to stay involved and participated in activities like Cross Country, Fashion Show Model, “So Other Might Eat” volunteer, Latino Student Union Member Committee, and even earned a certificate from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Since returning to Bakersfield, Adelaida has been a Bakersfield Club of the Deaf committee member and helped organize events for Deaf Night Out. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Aaron Markovits

Intake Specialist

Aaron has worked in various settings with people living with disabilities. He is committed to supporting people in achieving their goals for their life through taking a “person-centered” approach by helping the person identify what is important to and for them. He has a certificate in Disability Services from Taft College, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from CSUB, and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Regent University.
He is married to Raquel who works in Special Education and has one daughter Sarah. For fun, Aaron collects sports cards and plays fantasy football.

Brianna Helm

Intake Specialist

Brianna was born and raised by Deaf parents in Bakersfield, CA. She is currently working toward an Associate of Arts degree in American Sign Language at Bakersfield College. She has professionally interpreted on and off since 2014 including freelance work for the Independent Living Center of Kern County. In addition to her college pursuits, she strives to assist the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community as well as aid others in their desire to live independently. Outside of work, Brianna spends her free time with her family and enjoys collecting all things Marvel and Harry Potter.

Courtney Henson

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services Provider

Courtney was born and raised here in Bakersfield, Ca. She graduated from Bakersfield College (BC) with an Associate’s Degree and California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) with a Bachelor’s degree, both in teaching. Shortly after, Courtney decided to change paths and re-enroll at Bakersfield College (BC) to pursue ASL interpreting. Courtney has worked as a freelance interpreter in the community for almost two years before joining the Independent Living Center of Kern County. She is involved with the Deaf community and has a goal to uplift the Deaf community through services, advocacy, and providing equal access.

David Hendrickson

Assistive Technology (AT) Advocate

David is an Assistive Technology Specialist who was hired by the Independent Living Center of Kern County in May of 2017. He grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a sight-robbing disease. David began using adaptive technologies to have more accessible information via a computer and mobile phone. He used voiceover and screen reader programs to assist his visual disability. David received training with the Braille Institute of Los Angeles and the Junior Blind of America. He is the former vice president of the California Council of the Blind and advocate for the Blind Institute of Technology.
David specializes in adaptive technology for people with disabilities. With advancements in technologies offering new opportunities for education and employment, David found himself reaching out to visually impaired community and individuals with cross-disabilities to share the information. Current technologies are now more attainable than any other time in history, and David is passionate about raising awareness.
David is an inspiration to many. He has overcome his disability to become a successful and respected Assistive Technology Specialist. He is committed to helping others with disabilities live more independent and fulfilling lives.
Here are some of the things that David does as an Assistive Technology Specialist:
• Assesses the needs of individuals with disabilities to determine the best assistive technology solutions for them.
• Provides training on how to use assistive technology.
• Advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities to access assistive technology.
• Conducts research on assistive technology.
• Develops and implements assistive technology programs and services.
David is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities, and he is committed to helping them live their best lives.

Dan Urban

Special Projects Provider

Dan Urban is a dedicated professional with a compassionate spirit and a drive to empower individuals with disabilities. He joins the Independent Living Center as its Special Projects Provider, bringing a diverse skill set and a commitment to personal growth. Dan seeks to help individuals discover their potential and achieve greater independence.
Dan boasts a unique background across industries including the military, transportation, electrical field, and even the U.S. Census Bureau. His service in the U.S. Army Reserve and U.S. Air Force instilled discipline and gave him experience in being a part of something bigger than himself.
A renewed passion for aviation has Dan pursuing his Private Pilot Certification. When he’s not pursuing his dream of flight, he’s an avid cyclist, demonstrating his commitment to health and alternative transportation.
Dan recognizes the importance of giving back, prioritizing God, family, friends, and the wider community. He believes that striving for personal excellence positively impacts those around him.

Heidi Frye

Independent Living (IL) Specialist

Heidi joined the Independent Living Center of Kern County team July 2019 as an IL Specialist. Heidi has over 10 years’ experience as a nutrition counselor for the Bakersfield WIC program. She grew up in Bakersfield, went to Stockdale High School, Bakersfield College, and received her BS degree in Food Science and Nutrition from CSU Fresno. Heidi enjoys gardening with a special interest propagating succulents. At a young age, Heidi enjoyed gymnastics but began noticing a dizziness while performing. Symptoms caused concern leading to an eventual diagnosis of juvenile-onset medulloblastoma. Heidi’s experience with brain cancer, along with overcoming post-surgery challenges, will help empower people with disabilities to believe they can do what others tell them they can’t.

Hermandeep Dhaliwal

Long Term Services & Supports (LTSS) Manager

Hermandeep joined the agency in late 2022 as the LTSS Manager. He graduated from California State University of Bakersfield with his Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Specialization in Healthcare Management. His goals are to provide strategic planning to achieve the agency’s organizational goals, effective leadership, and improving team performance to work in line with the agency’s mission and vision.

Ian Dowda

Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist

Ian is a Bakersfield native who graduated from Ridgeview High School. He then attended and graduated from the Art Institute of California- Los Angeles with a Bachelors of Computer Science degree. Following that, he has gone on to collaborate with several television and commercial companies doing graphic design, visual effects, and motion graphics. Ian has almost 6 years of customer service years under his belt. Approximately 2 years were helping with troubleshooting apple products and 3 years he helped out with technical issues, data entry, and customer service in an office.
Ian enjoys helping people and was drawn to ILCKC because of that. He believes that if at the end of the day he was able to help someone who needed it and put a smile on their face then that was a great day.
In his free time, Ian enjoys spending time with his wife, playing some games, eating some food, and occasionally going out.

Ian Spark

Marketing Coordinator

Ian joins the ILCKC team with an Associate’s of Science in General Biology and an Associate’s of Arts in Liberal Studies from Bakersfield Community College (BC). While in college, Ian has been very active as they worked in several BC-Departments: from the Student Life Office working as marketing production team lead, to the Student Health and Wellness Center working in marketing and sanitation as well as a Biology Tutor in the Tutoring Center and an Academic Expert with the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program.

Ian is excited to add a spark to the agency! They look forward to promoting the agency’s mission, vision and goals.

Jasmine Rubio

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services Provider

Jasmine was born and raised in Kern County. She grew up in Delano where she graduated from Robert F. Kennedy High School. She then attended Bakersfield College, earning her Associate of Arts degree in American Sign Language and Liberal Arts, as well as, completing the Interpreting Training Program, as part of the very first cohort! Jasmine has worked alongside interpreters out in the community and at Bakersfield College, interning with Independent Living Center of Kern County before becoming an ASL staff interpreter. Jasmine enjoys interpreting musicals, performing arts and has interpreted on this platform across Kern County. Jasmine’s hope is for her ASL interpreting services to assist the community to obtain more access to resources.

Jessica Carrillo

Community Living Coordinator

Jessica Carrillo is the Community Living Coordinator here at the Independent Living Center of Kern County (ILCKC). Jessica joined ILCKC first as a volunteer in 2009 and was then hired on in 2010. Jessica’s numerous roles at ILCKC began with her position as an administrative assistant/volunteer coordinator in 2010; she was an office manager in 2012; she became an IL Specialist in 2016; she was an IL Rural Area Specialist in 2018 and currently works as a Community Living Coordinator for the program Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) since 2022. Jessica currently has 14 years of experience working with people with disabilities.
Outside of ILCKC, Jessica has been with her spouse since 2005 and has 5 children. Jessica is also a huge fan of Pocahontas. Jessica’s favorite quote to live by is from Henry Ford “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”.

Jessica Renteria

Transition Coordinator

Jessica Renteria is the Transitions Coordinator for ILCKC. Jessica graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Special Education. Jessica has spent most of her career advocating for individuals with disabilities in an education and community setting. Jessica loves to come alongside anyone who needs support to advocate their needs. Jessica believes working with ILC will provide her with the opportunity to serve her community and lend a helping hand to someone who needs the assistance.
Jessica pushes herself every day in hopes of being a great role model for her kids and to her husband. In her spare time she loves spending time with her family and taking trips. Jessica’s dream is to one day open up a group home for special needs children. Jessica lives by the famous quote, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” –Milton Berle

Laura Rodriguez

Program Coordinator

Laura is the Program Coordinator for program staff here at Independent Living Center of Kern County (ILCKC). She is a dedicated and experienced professional who has been contributing to the Independent Living Center of Kern County (ILCKC) since 2011. With a strong educational background that includes a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Services from California State University, Fresno, Laura is well-equipped to assist individuals with disabilities.
Laura’s previous field experience of 3 years working with individuals with disabilities in both educational and community settings indicates that she has a diverse skill set, encompassing both recreational opportunities and teaching independent living skills. Her involvement in a Transition Program for Students with Disabilities, where she provided personal, academic, vocational, behavioral guidance, and counseling services, highlights her commitment to assisting individuals with disabilities succeed in various aspects of their lives.
Laura’s role as a student teacher in the Fresno United School District further demonstrates her dedication to education and empowerment. Her belief in continuous learning from co-workers and consumers reflects her humility and open-mindedness, essential qualities for effective teamwork and progress in the field.
Laura takes pride in being part of the ILCKC team and is motivated by the opportunity to positively impact the lives of individuals with disabilities. Her background and passion make her an invaluable asset to the organization and the people it serves.

Lonnie Harris

Special Projects Provider

Lonnie is currently pursuing an Associate’s degree in Psychology at Bakersfield College and has a 4.0 GPA. Lonnie has two years of experience as a homeless outreach services provider. He has worked on street outreach teams as a Case Manager and Shelter Coordinator at the Arvin Navigation Center. Lonnie volunteers at the Kern County Cancer foundation and at the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. Aspiring to obtain a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Sciences from UNLV in his home town of Las Vegas, Lonnie has a goal of one day creating his own non-profit that will combat substance abuse and end homelessness. Lonnie has lived experience with a disability and is thriving with a passion for helping people in need. Having a growth mindset, along with perseverance and determination.

Patty Grubbs


Patty came to ILCKC with an Associate Degree in Science. Married to her late husband of over 30 years. Fred and Patty were prior owners a local business named Bugni Hardware and Feed Store. Fred and Patty also owned a Lumber store in Arvin. Arvin Lumber.
Patty has experience as a Licensed Realtor for over 10 years helping people buy and sell homes in the Bakersfield area. Patty brings her background, experience, and skills to ILCKC with a love for aging adults and people with disabilities. As ILCKC’s receptionist, enables Patty to assist with helping those in need, and at the same time, assuring they get to the right person for help. Her knowledge in business and working with people of all ages and avenues of life gives an advantage to help in understanding those in need of all walks of life. Patty has interpersonal skills and compassion, along with understanding and listening abilities, to assist people with disabilities.

Renee Hernandez

Independent Living (IL) Specialist/Housing

Renee began with Independent Living Center of Kern County as a receptionist volunteer for one year. She has since worked for ILCKC for the last 11 years as an Independent Housing Specialist assisting consumers with Housing and Independent Living services as well as helping consumers with other programs and services offered by ILCKC. Prior to ILCKC, Renee had 30 years in customer service. Renee holds an Associate Degree in Administration of Justice as well as graduating in 1999 from the Kern County Sheriff’s Department Academy.

Stephanie Smart

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services Provider

Stephanie graduated from Bakersfield High School in 2006 and continued her education at Bakersfield College where she earned her Associate of Arts degree in American Sign Language. While attending BC she had the opportunity to experience Gallaudet University with her professors on a week-long educational “tour”. Stephanie then attended California State University, Northridge (CSUN) where she entered the Interpreting Education Program . While an undergraduate there, she joined the Deaf sorority, Alpha Sigma Theta, where she served on the Executive Board for one year and as Alumna Advisor for one year. Stephanie was involved in the Deaf Studies Association (DSA), Real Women, Real Beauty (fundraising for DeafHope), Sign ‘N Run and many other Deaf events. Stephanie graduated from the program and earned her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Deaf Studies with an emphasis in ASL/English interpreting. After earning her degree Stephanie continued her education in the Accelerated Collaborative Teaching program- World Languages at CSUN where she taught American Sign Language for one year at the secondary level. She stayed in the Los Angeles area as a freelance interpreter until her move back to Bakersfield in 2015. Stephanie has been involved with the Deaf community for over 20 years and hopes to bring more awareness to Deaf Culture/Community, as well as, partner with the Deaf community of Bakersfield.

Nicole Zacarias

Public Policy Coordinator

Nicole Zacarias is the Public Policy Coordinator for ILCKC. Nicole has worked in the advocacy field for 15 years and has made it her mission to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Nicole is excited to advocate and promote change not only for those with disabilities but for her son that has Autism. Nicole holds an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and is pursuing her Bachelors in Psychology. She recently moved to Bakersfield with her husband and their four children.