Empowering Choice, Creating Opportunities

Innovative Resources for Independence


Gilbert Louis, Ed.D.

Executive Director

QUEENS VILLAGE, NEW YORK, April xx, 2018 – The Board of Directors of IRI, a nonprofit that supports people with developmental disabilities, announced today that Gilbert Louis will become the next Executive Director, effective May 7, 2018.Outgoing Executive Director Raymond J. DeNatale will retire on June 30 after 17 years at IRI.

“The Board wishes to thank Ray for his years of service and many accomplishments,” said Gael Monteil, President of the IRI Board of Directors. “We wish Ray a well-deserved rest and a happy and healthy retirement.”

As a champion of individuals with autism and intellectual or developmental disabilities, DeNatale presided over IRI’s steady growth. During his tenure, the agency expanded to 23 group homes. DeNatale guided the merger of Independence Residences, Inc. and Queens Parent Resource Center. The merger in July 2016 brought to fruition a three-year affiliation between the two nonprofits, which pooled their resources in the face of changes in managed health care.

“When I heard that Gilbert Louis was a leading candidate for the Executive Director position, I was very pleased,” said DeNatale. “I have every confidence that Gilbert will bring the agency to the next level and provide leadership well into the future.”

Gilbert Louis has held several clinical and administrative positions in the human services field. He worked at The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. (IAHD) for 28 years and spent the last 15 as its Associate Executive Director. Louis has taught psychology at St. Joseph’s College for the past 20 years and doctoral-level research methods and statistics classes at St. John Fisher College for the past few years. He is a sought-after speaker and has been a regular presenter at NYSACRA, YAI, and MSC statewide conferences, as well as those sponsored by The Bronx and Manhattan Developmental Disabilities Councils.

For the past 15 years, Louis has served on the board of directors at Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC). He participated in a workgroup of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), which was charged with developing a value-based payment model as the field moved from a fee-for-service system to Medicaid managed care and was the senior researcher for the training guide for care managers which will be published this spring by OPWDD.

Louis earned a Bachelor in Business, Management and Finance and a graduate degree in Psychology from Brooklyn College. He received his doctorate in education from St. John Fisher College.

Louis enjoys reading, boating, and traveling. His favorite quote by Warren Bennis sums up his leadership philosophy: “Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”

Paul Challita

Associate Executive Director Fiscal Services

Paul Challita Worked since 1984 to help several Not For Profit organizations in the New York State Developmentally Disabled field recover from financial turmoil and breakdown and set the course for financial stability, growth and expansion. He established budgets and internal controls to maximize revenue streams, curb and control projects run on costs. He created policies and procedures to adhere to funding sources rules and regulations. He worked with staff, executives and boards to develop organizational goals to meet the mission and vision of the organizations and help them reach their potential.

He has held the Associate Executive Director of Finance position at IRI since July of 2001. He was able to transform and stabilize the finance department and the finances of the organization to regain credibility with vendors, banks, and funding sources. He set up the necessary structure for financial recovery, growth and expansion of IRI programs and services. Working with the Executive Director and the Leadership team he continues to be part of the team leading the organization through uncharted waters to safety.

James Magalee

Associate Executive Director Administrative Services

Mr. Magalee joined Queens Parent Resource Center in September 1998 after enjoying a 20-year career in the medical imaging field as an engineer and manager with such notable companies as General Electric, Siemens, and Toshiba. Initially in the role of Associate Executive Director, he has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization as well as providing strategic oversight of the management, design, and implementation of high quality programs and support systems for QPRC, until 2005 when he took over as Executive Director. In consideration of the merging of QPRC with IRI, James will be Associate Executive Director of Administrative Services, responsible for Risk Management, facilities, transportation, IT and, the Fundraising/Development teams.

Mr. Magalee is the sibling of an adult sister who is developmentally disabled. He spent much of his youth volunteering in the community with youth and disabled services. In 1978 he received the Vicariate E award from the Brooklyn Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church for excellence in volunteer service to the developmentally disabled in the Queens community. Mr. Magalee continued his commitment to community service and youth development as Assistant Scoutmaster, Advancement Chairperson and Merit Badge Counselor with Boy Scouts of America in various Long Island-based troops. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Queens Council on Developmental Disabilities and as Co-chair of the Family Support Committee from 2000 through 2014.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Proloquo 2

What is it? A fully customizable communication application that interfaces with smart phones and tablets. The app is programmed with picture/icon representations of words and common phrases that the user can string together to communicate a thought.

How does it help? This is an indispensable communication aid for non-verbal individuals

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Telehealth Services

How does it work? Individuals can have their vital signs taken right in their homes. The information is digitally recorded providing personalized biometrics that help detect medical conditions earlier based on trended data. This service also provides virtual intervention between nurses and individuals using a smart tablet.

How does it help? Medical staff is more knowledgeable about patients’ care in between visits. These services also greatly reduce hospitalizations therefore also reducing the number of disruptions for individuals in their homes.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Pulseox Monitor

How does it work? Remotely monitors oxygen levels of individuals with respiratory issues. Allows nurse to monitor the oxygen level remotely.

How does it help? Helps to remotely monitor blood oxygen levels and send an alert to the nurse if levels are imbalanced.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

GPS Watch

How does it work? Individuals can travel safely and unsupervised. Individuals simply wear the watch that communicates to an app used by IRI staff.

How does it help? This technology prevents individuals from getting lost. Staff can also see where individuals are without having to be there in person.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Home Sensor Technology

How does it work? A suite of interactive sensors is outfitted on kitchen appliances and above doors. If an individual, living in their own apartment, turns the stove on, then exits the kitchen, IRI will get an alert. If the individual leaves the house at an unusual time, we will also be alerted.

How does it help? This provides un-invasive oversight. Individuals can live independently with confidence. It also reduces the need for in-person staffing.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Medication Wheel

How does it work? This simple device alerts individuals when a medication dose is due, then opens to dispense medication. If the medication is not taken or the wheel is not closed properly, IRI will be alerted.

How does it help? For those individuals living in apartments or homes, they can now take medication without staff intervention.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Samsung Galaxy Tablets

How does it work? There are many existing applications, and new ones being developed every day that are targeted to assist disabled individuals in enhancing their abilities

How does it help? Allows us to use a variety of online applications that support the abilities of the users

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Amazon Echo

How does it work? Wirelessly controls lighting and other devices through voice commands.

How does it help? Helps individuals who are otherwise unable to manually operate devices to do so independently.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Pressure Pads in Beds

How does it work? Allows the staff to monitor bed time routines when people are in and out of bed with a remote monitor; a notification goes to remote staff person when a person has gone to bed and if they get up during the night for an extended period of time.

How does it help? Helps ensure safety by sending staff an alert when an individual is out of bed during the night.

Activities & Events

Innovative Resources for Independence is formerly Independence Residences, Inc.

112-40 Francis Lewis Blvd., Queens Village, NY 11429
P: 718.805.6796 :: F: 718.805.6798 :: info@in-res.org