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.
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.
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.
Nathan McKee
Nathan McKee Trust Specialist II
Nathan joined Midwest Special Needs Trust in August 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. During his studies he worked with a diverse range of groups that included Mid-Missouri Legal Services and the University of Missouri-Law school Trust and Estates Clinic. As a Trust Specialist, Nathan 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. Nathaniel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Sterling Odneal
Sterling Odneal Trust Specialist I
Sterling joined Midwest Special Needs Trust as a Trust Specialist in August 2018. Sterling graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. As an intern, a volunteer and an employee, Sterling combines his strong social work values with a strong work ethic. Sterling oversees the processing of enrollment fees, deposits for individual trust accounts, requests for distributions, and public benefit reviews for life beneficiaries.
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.
Gabe Wilkerson
Gabe Wilkerson IT Director
Gabe has worked as an IT professional for 20 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.