President and CEO Mike Thirtle to Leave Organization for New Role

Chief Operating Officer Dave Sneddon appointed interim CEO

Milwaukee – Bethesda’s Board of Directors announced today that President and CEO Mike Thirtle will be leaving to take on a new role outside the organization effective July 9th, 2021. Chief Operating Officer Dave Sneddon has been appointed as interim CEO.

“I know that leaving was a very difficult decision for Mike given his commitment to Bethesda, the people we support and the disability community. We will be forever grateful for Mike’s hard work that helped transform the organization. That said, we are now in a position to grow many of our existing services exponentially, with several new and exciting programs under development,” said Cesar Villalpando, Chairperson of Bethesda’s Board.

Transforming the organization has meant reimagining its role in supporting people with developmental disabilities. Instead of addressing a series of disconnected needs, Bethesda considers and serves the whole person – empowering them to do more today and achieve more tomorrow. This unique approach carries on from childhood through mature adulthood. As having a safe, quality home is a primary concern at any age, Bethesda pioneered a new and innovative residential community that welcomes and integrates people of all abilities – AbleLight Village. This concept, launched near Minneapolis, is expanding to Milwaukee and further within the Twin Cities. Additional creative living options, including host homes, are expanding in Colorado, California, Oregon and Minnesota. Meanwhile, to meet growing demand and significant need, Bethesda’s behavior support services are rapidly growing in several key markets, and will now include children’s services.

“The Board has full confidence in Dave Sneddon’s ability to successfully step into the interim CEO position and lead the organization through this transition,” Villalpando added. Sneddon joined Bethesda two years ago and has already made a tremendous positive impact on the organization. He brings with him over 16 years of senior leadership experience in health care, senior housing, and skilled nursing. The current group of highly talented leaders that make up Bethesda’s Executive Leadership Team will support Sneddon.

Led by Chairperson Villalpando, a national search committee has been launched and is comprised of board directors and management.  The search committee has developed an aggressive schedule that will lead to identifying the best CEO to lead the organization towards a very bright future.


About AbleLight

AbleLight is a national leader in pioneering life-changing services that empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to thrive. Founded in 1904 in Wisconsin as a Christian mission, AbleLight promotes independence and inclusion across the U.S. through comprehensive and individualized supports that include housing, employment, spiritual life and much more. For details, go to, like our Facebook page and follow us on LinkedIn.