Staff

Dana Katherine Birkes
Dana Katherine Birkes Executive Director
Kathy Birkes joined MSNT in March of 2016 after 10 years at Washington University in St. Louis and 16 years in Missouri state government, including serving as Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services. With a degree in accounting from Lincoln University, and graduate studies at both Michigan State and Harvard University, Kathy brings professional leadership skills and seasoned judgment to this important fiduciary role.
Jennifer Homer
Jennifer Homer Administrative Assistant
Jen has 5 years experience as a legal assistant and 11 years of managing a family business. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Tech University. She has been a member of the Midwest Special Needs Trust team since January, 2014.
Mary Lou Hughes
Mary Lou Hughes Trust Specialist III
Mary Lou joined Midwest Special Needs Trust in June 2012, after working more than twenty eight years in the banking and financial industry in Nebraska, Georgia and Missouri. As Trust Specialist, Mary Lou works with attorneys, agencies and individuals to assist them with the trust application process, review benefits verification information and legal documents related to the special needs trust. A former trust operations and retail bank manager, Mary Lou is a 2010 graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado in Boulder and is a Certified Public Benefits Specialist.

Gabe Wilkerson
Gabe Wilkerson IT Director
Gabe has worked as an IT professional for 17 years and has been with Midwest Special Needs Trust since September, 2011. Originally from Iowa he has years of experience in Systems and Network Administration with a focus on process improvements and workflow efficiency.
Casie Stephens
Casie Stephens Trust Specialist III
Casie served as a case manager with the Clay County Public Administrator’s office for 5 years before bringing her knowledge of public benefits, Social Security, and services available to individuals with special needs to Midwest Special Needs Trust in September, 2011. Casie graduated William Jewell College in 2006 with a BA in Psychology. As Trust Specialist, Casie works with attorneys, agencies and individuals to assist them with the trust application process, review benefits verification information and legal documents related to the special needs trust. Casie is a Certified Public Benefits Specialist.
Heather Allen
Heather Allen Charitable Trust Specialist
Heather brings leadership to the Charitable Grant program which provides assistance to indigent Missourians with disabilities. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas and worked as a medical social worker in Arkansas and Missouri before joining Midwest Special Needs Trust in March, 2015.
Donald Hiatt
Donald Hiatt Trust Specialist I
Donald Hiatt has a degree in Business Administration and Organization Behavior from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has prior experience in investments, banking, administration and medical billing. Donald is from St. Louis, but now makes Columbia his home. He works with attorneys, agencies and individuals to assist them with the trust application process, review benefits verification information and legal documents related to the special needs trust. Donald joined Midwest Special Needs Trust in November of 2016.