Substance Abuse: It’s Everybody’s Business-Speakers

photo of Dr. Marvin Seppala

Marvin D. Seppala, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Marvin D. Seppala, MD, is chief medical officer at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, and an adjunct assistant professor at the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. His responsibilities include overseeing all interdisciplinary clinical practices at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, maintaining and improving quality of care, and supporting growth strategies for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s residential and nonresidential addiction treatment programs. Seppala obtained his medical degree at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and served his residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in addiction at University of Minnesota Hospitals in Minneapolis. Seppala is author of “Clinician’s Guide to the Twelve Step Principles,” and a co-author of “When Painkillers Become Dangerous, Pain-Free Living for Drug-Free People,” and “Prescription Painkillers,” Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Publishing.

Michelle Devine Giese President, STEP Industries

Giese is a 1993 graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Stout with a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in human resource management. She holds an AODA Certificate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and is substance abuse counselor in training (SACIT). She began her recovery in 1995. Giese attended inpatient treatment at Theda Clark/United Behavior Health in Neenah. She entered the program at STEP Industries as a transitional employee in 1996. In November 1996 she became a staff member as a team leader, later holding the positions of plant manager, operations manager, human resource manager, ISO manager, and vice president. In November 2009, she became president of STEP Industries, the position she currently holds.

For over 30 years, STEP Industries has served over 11,000 men and women in AODA recovery. Through their unique programs, they provide the three critical elements for a solid foundation: employment, safe housing and education. Businesses outsource contract packaging and manufacturing services to STEP, which allows the organization to support key elements of successful recovery.

Giese will provide general information about STEP’s transitional jobs and surrounding programs. She will also discuss partnerships with Fox Valley Society human resource managers. STEP provides information about making workplaces more recovery friendly, identifying a safe person outside of HR for people in recovery to talk with, and integration of non-alcohol based activities into the workplace. In addition, STEP provides three-six month placement for stability building, three- way meetings and return to former workplace planning, as well as treatment/STEP as an option for positive test results with a return to work with three-six months clean. FVSHRM partners help STEP participants with classes on resume building, advice about how to talk about gaps in employment, and interviewing skills with mock interviews.

Giese’s passion is to promote recovery in the community and bring “recovery speak” into the mainstream. Michelle educates people that those in recovery are all around them, and that we should celebrate and support them. After studying multiple different models, she helped bring sober living to the Fox Valley with three sober living houses in the Towns of Neenah and Fox Crossing in collaboration with Mooring Programs and Nova Counseling.

Regina LaBelle, J.D. Former Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Building a Community Response to the Epidemic: Regina LaBelle, former Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will discuss how the various sectors of community – from public health to public safety and business – can join together to effectively reduce opioid misuse and overdose deaths. Drawing on information provided by the day’s broad cross section of speakers, Regina will provide a framework for future action.




Randy Albert Supervisor, Special Investigations Unit, Marathon County Sheriff Department

Lt Randy Albert is has been employed with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department for the past 23 years. Prior to that he worked for the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department and began his career with the Combined Locks Police Department. A graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy, Lt Albert has been a Supervisor for the past 13 years and is currently assigned to the Special Investigations Unit. He supervises the multi-agency task force of Sheriff’s Office, Wausau PD and Everest Metro PD with the primary mission to combat the controlled substance issues impacting Marathon County and some of the surrounding areas.




Robert Bell Drug Enforcement Administration, Assistant Special Agent in Charge

In 1989, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Robert Bell graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Science.  From 1990 to 1995, ASAC Bell was employed as a Police Officer by the St. Charles (Illinois) Police Department, and was assigned to a multi-jurisdictional Illinois State Police drug task force from 1993 to 1995.  In 1995, ASAC Bell entered on duty with DEA at the Chicago Division Office and was assigned to the Detroit Division Office as a Special Agent.  In 2006, ASAC Bell was promoted to Group Supervisor in the Milwaukee District Office, where he led a Task Force Group.  In 2011, ASAC Bell transferred to DEA Headquarters and was assigned as a Staff Coordinator to the Diversion Control Division, Synthetic Drugs and Chemicals Section.  In 2013, ASAC Bell was promoted to Section Chief in the Office of Operations Management, Asset Forfeiture Section.  In 2014, ASAC Bell was selected as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Operations Management.  In 2015, ASAC Bell was selected to lead the Milwaukee District Office, with oversight responsibilities for DEA offices in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison.

Brett Davis President and CEO, Aspirus Arise

Brett Davis was raised in Monroe, Wisconsin, received his degree in business administration from the UW Oshkosh and served as a legislative aide for State Representative Mike Powers before working as an advisor to Governor and then U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson. Brett moved back to Wisconsin to serve as Chief of Staff to State Senator Joe Leibham. Brett served as Wisconsin State Representative for the 80th Assembly District from 2005 – 2011. Brett served as Wisconsin’s Medicaid Director from 2011-2013. He worked as Vice President of Provider Relations from 2013-15 at WPS Health Solutions, where he managed provider contracting and credentialing for both WPS and its subsidiary Arise Health Plan. Brett started as President & CEO of Aspirus Arise in the fall of 2015. He serves on the board of directors for Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin, and Tommy G. Thompson Charity, Inc.

Lisa Grill Dodson Dean, Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin Campus

Lisa Grill Dodson, MD became the first Dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin Campus in July 2014. Previously she was the Director of the Oregon Area Health Education Center and Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. She received her MD degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and then completed a Family Medicine residency at Oregon Health & Science University. After practicing in the frontier community of John Day, Oregon, she rejoined the OHSU faculty in 1999 to focus on developing the rural physician workforce. She directed all rural programing, including the Rural and Community Health Clerkship, the Oregon Rural Scholars program and Oregon Rural Locum Tenens program. Dr. Dodson is a tireless advocate for student education and for developing the workforce to care for rural and other underserved populations. She is married to Peter and has 2 grown sons, David and Jason, who both live in Oregon. Her interests outside of medicine include soccer, gardening, cooking, and reading, and she and her husband curl at the Wausau Curling Club.

Anthony J Ernst Ph.D., LCSW

Dr. Ernst brings more than 25 years of experience as a clinician, lecturer, senior program analyst, and administrator in the fields of mental health, substance use disorders, and co-occurring disorders. He served as the Director for SAMHSA’s Native American Center for Excellence and Director for Technology Transfer at SAMHSA’s Co-Occurring Center for Excellence. He lived on the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Reservation while serving as their Director of Human Services to assist with the tribe’s state of emergency due to drug abuse, and he’s served several clinical roles on psychiatric floors and treatment centers with his dual mental health and substance abuse licensure. He currently serves as a senior analyst and behavioral health consultant, and supports sober homes and collegiate recovery efforts in his free time. AJ lives near Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and daughters.

Jesse Heffernan NAMI Fox Valley, Iris Place Director

Jesse Heffernan is a Recovery Coach & consultant with 16 years in long term recovery from substance use and mental health. As a Servant Leader, Program Director and Community Net worker he works to create a meaningful and positive change through innovative solutions to complex community and individual needs. He is the Director of the Iris Place, a mental health respite center in Appleton, WI. He currently sits on advisory boards for RISE TOGETHER, WI Voices For Recovery, Stop Heroin NOW and serves as an appointed member of the WI Governors State Opiate/Heroin Task Force. It is his belief that Recovery is a process of moving from surviving to thriving as a whole person.


Chris Johnson Board of Directors, national organization Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing

Dr. Chris Johnson completed his undergraduate medical education at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia. After receiving his MD in June 2000 he moved to Minnesota to train in Emergency Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center. He completed his residency program in 2003 and subsequently spent the next 12 years practicing full time Emergency Medicine at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. In 2016 he switched his clinical practice to Allina Health Urgent care. He currently serves as the Chair of the MN Dept. of Human Services Opioid Prescribing Work Group as well as a member of their Health Services Advisory Council. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, a locally founded organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the problems of chronic pain and addiction. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the national organization Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He is active in physician advocacy with the Twin Cities Medical Society and serves on the Minnesota Medical Association’s Board of Trustees.

Steve Schwartz President, Face It TOGETHER Health

Steve Schwartz is president of Face It TOGETHER Health, a Sioux Falls, S.D., based organization with an innovative, community-focused approach to addiction support. A key tenant of the Face It TOGETHER model is including businesses in the solution through broad-based workplace education and culture change focus, leading to addiction sufferers and loved ones getting the help they need, to contribute to positive business performance and personal well-being. Schwartz is a veteran business person with extensive background in strategic marketing. He has served on organizations such as Tyco, Haworth and Sodexho in a wide variety of management roles and brings his business expertise to Face It TOGETHER. Schwartz will share his perspectives on the costs of untreated addiction in the workplace, case studies on successful programs, and a practical approach to business leadership within communities to help solve addiction.