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. While in college, Jimmie was an active member of the Advocates for Students with Disabilities.

Jimmie is an active member of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers Board and their Executive Committee. He has been appointed to the State Independent Living Council (SILC) since 2013, and is on the State Plan for Independent Living committee with the SILC. He is a proud member of the local VOICED coalition, comprised of other non-profit Directors throughout Kern County. He is also a proud member of the Bakersfield East Rotary Club.

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 independence of all 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 wife and three brothers, exercise, and watch 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 Arizona Global Campus 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.

Lupe Del Rio

Accounting Clerk

Lupe joined ILC in 2022 and brings a vast range of accounting experience. She has worked in the public sector of accounting for the past 10 years specializing in accounts payable and accounts receivable. She also has 20 years’ experience working in the medical field.
Being a cancer survivor, Lupe dedicates her time to serving the community during the annual Relay for Life Event. Alone, she has raised over $35,000 for cancer patients and survivors.
In her free time she loves fishing, weekend trips to the beach, a good movie and spending time with her 3 sons.

Alexandra Leyva

Services Manager (Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services)

Alex began her professional relationship with ILCKC as an Independent Contractor Sign Language Interpreter in 2016, was hired full time as a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Service Provider in 2018, and was promoted to Services Manager in 2020.

She is a trilingual, Bakersfield native with an eclectic educational background. She attended Bakersfield College where she completed the ASL Program, transferred to CSUB to study Art History and Criminal Justice, and began interpreting at the collegiate level. Alexandra is a firm believer in life-long learning and completed the Dental Assisting program at SJVC “just for fun.”

Alex has been involved in the local Deaf Community for over 20 years. She has interpreting experience predominantly in the educational setting but also has festival, concert, wedding, and religious interpreting experience as well. She is eager to collaborate with other professionals, consumers, and advocates to help raise the bar for interpreting services and access provided here in Kern County.

Brianna Helm

Independent Living (IL) Specialist

David Hendrickson

Assistive Technology (AT) Advocate / Older Individuals Who are Blind (OIB)

David was hired by Independent Living Center of Kern County as an Assistive Technology Associate in May of 2017. David grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and was diagnosed with the sight robbing disease called retinitis pigmentosa. In the early nineties, David began using and self-teaching adaptive technologies in order to have more accessible information via a computer. He used magnification and screen reader programs to assist his visual disability. David is associated with the Braille institute of Los Angeles and the Junior Blind of America. David is also currently a Bakersfield delegate for the California Council of the Blind and tech consultant for the Blind institute of Technology.

As owner/operator of Cyber Works Computers, David specializes in small office networking. 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.

Diana Gonzalez

Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB) Specialist

Diana, our OIB (Older Individuals who are Blind) Program Specialist, assists individuals 55 years of age and older with specialized services that allows them to live more independently. She provides device & application instruction, low vision training & education, and public transportation instruction.
Diana is a Bakersfield native, graduated from Ridgeview High School, has an AA degree in Psychology from Bakersfield College with plans to continue her education at CSU Bakersfield to become a school psychologist.

Hannah Witthans

Independent Living (IL) Specialist

Hannah Witthans joins the Independent Living Center of Kern County as an Independent Living Specialist. She received her Associate’s degree in Psychology with a certificate in Communication from Bakersfield College in 2018. She went on to graduate with honors from California State University Bakersfield in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. After being diagnosed at 19 with a rare connective tissue disorder and a comorbid circulatory disorder, Hannah became committed to helping other people with disabilities and raising awareness about rare and invisible health conditions and disabilities. She is excited to help other people with disabilities access necessary assistance and services to live independently.

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 Supports & Services (LTSS) Manager

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 I 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 has been in Kern County her whole life. She grew up in Delano where she graduated from Robert F. Kennedy High School and attended Bakersfield College completing the ASL Program and the Interpreting Training Program as part of the very first cohort. She recently graduated from Bakersfield College with two Associate’s Degrees in Liberal Arts and American Sign Language. Jasmine worked alongside interpreters in the community, interning with Independent Living Center of Kern County before becoming an employee in November of 2019. Jasmine’s hope is for her ASL services help the community get more access to their resources.

Jessica Carrillo

Community Living Coordinator

Jessica Carrillo is the IL Rural Area Specialist here 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 and in 2018 she became a IL Rural Area Specialist. Jessica also works with the California Community Transitions (CCT) Program which is a Medi-Cal based program which assist individuals who are in skilled nursing facilities to transition out and live independently in their own homes.

Outside of ILCKC, Jessica has been married for 8 years and is a mother of 5 children. One of her hobbies is extreme couponing. 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

Transitions 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). Laura joined the ILCKC family in 2011. Laura’s background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Services from California State University, Fresno. Laura’s previous field experience includes: 3 years’ experience working with individuals with disabilities in an educational and community setting providing both recreational opportunities and teaching independent living skills. Laura was involved in the recruitment and personal development of students in a Transition Program for Students with Disabilities by providing personal, academic, vocational, behavioral guidance and counseling services to students with disabilities. Laura also served as a student teacher for 1 year in the Fresno United School District. Laura believes she continues to learn from fellow co-workers and consumers. Laura is proud to be a part of a great team here at ILCKC and looks forward to making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities she encounters.

Martha Magana

Deaf Advocate/IL Specialist

Martha is a Deaf Mexican-American woman and is proud to be the new Deaf Advocate for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals at the Independent Living Center of Kern County (ILCKC). She received her Associate of Arts Degree in American Sign Language (ASL) and Communications from Bakersfield College in Spring of 2012. She then graduated from California State University, Bakersfield, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in Spring of 2021. She waited almost ten years to get her B.A. and it was WORTH it! She is also the proud mother of three CODAs (Children of a Deaf Adult). Fun fact: her kids have been using ASL since they were one-year-old with their cute, little facial expressions. She is excited to also be teaching ASL 1 starting in the Fall of 2022 as an adjunct professor at Bakersfield College. She is passionate about working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and can’t wait to meet you all! If you see her around say Hi!

Patty Grubbs


Patty came to ILCKC with an Associate Degree in Science. Patty is married to and her husband Fred for 25 years. They have been local business owners of a feed & hardware store and lumber store. 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

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 event 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 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 10 years and is excited to bring more awareness to Deaf Culture as well as work with the Deaf community of Bakersfield.

Stephany Cisneros

Independent Living (IL) Specialist

Stephany graduated from Cesar E. Chavez High School in Delano, Ca. She attended High Desert Medical College and graduated as a certified diagnostic medical sonographer. She volunteered at ILC for 4 years prior to being hired as a receptionist in 2016 and has been with the organization since.