Certified Employee Assistance Professional
Andy Visser is Senior Consultant and President of the Board of Connections Inc. Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Andy was a co-founder of Connections in 1988 in response to the need of local companies interested in services that would be proactive in redirecting distracting personal issues away from work to helping resources.
Andy’s passion is to position Connections EAP as responsive, positive risk management assistance services as a win/win for employee families and employers. Over the last 33+ years, Connections Inc has evolved into an independent, brokerage style Employee Assistance Program serving manufacturing, health-care, retail/service, and educational organizations. He has specifically developed programs promoting management-level usage of the EAP referral as a behavior risk management tool. He has led the Connections team to evolve employee assistance as an integral player enhancing life and career for employees while optimizing productivity and positive work-team relations.
When asked about what he’s most proud of after 33+ years in business, he shares that “the opportunity to see healing and growth in individuals and work teams continues to be inspiring and gratifying.”
Andy is past president of the Heartland Chapter (Nebraska, South Dakota & Western Iowa) of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association. He co-founded and served as administrator of Creative Living Center, a Family, Marriage, and Mental Health counseling firm. His past professional experience includes support programing for Native American youth, serving individuals in a community-based rehabilitation setting, staff training, and adult learning consultation with the Iowa Department of Public Instruction, Division of Community Colleges, and the University of Iowa Hospital Schools.
Andy obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Dordt College (1973), a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from the University of South Dakota (1979.) He holds Licenses as a Mental Health Counselor in Iowa and South Dakota and is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP). Andy is a National Board Certified Counselor (NBCC), a member of the American Counseling Association, and the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.
Chief Executive Officer
Matt joined Connections Inc. as an EAP Program Associate in August, 2014, and as of January, 2017 had been named CEO of Connections Inc. EAP. He obtained a BA in Psychology from Dordt College and a MA in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota. He came to Connections with a broad working knowledge of Human Resources after spending 9 years working for Target Corporation at their corporate headquarters and in their supply chain network.
Matt is passionate about leadership development, employee engagement, and implementing processes that reduce organizational liability. He thrives on being efficient and loves to create structure where there is chaos and break down problems into manageable pieces to fix what is broken. This applies both inside and outside of work. In his spare time, Matt likes to “fix” whatever he can get his hands on and spend time with his wife and 3 kids outside exploring the great outdoors, working on projects and riding whatever off-road vehicle is within reach.
When asked about working for Connections Inc. EAP, Matt shares “working for Target, we referred employees to the EAP on a regular basis. We took personal problems that were affecting productivity out of the manager’s hands and directed them to people who were equipped to help them with whatever issues they were facing…Connections takes this to a whole new level.”
“Unlike so many other EAPs, Connections encourages utilization. We spend time training leaders on how to best use and recommend the EAP to their employees. We do this because we know that more than 50% of the people who call our office call because they had a manager who cared enough to recommend the EAP as a potential tool to help them address their situation. Connections firmly believes that getting people the help they need is a win/win situation. Employees get the help they need and employers get happier, healthier and more productive employees.”
EAP Service Associate
Maynard has more than 30 years of experience in employee benefits, pensions, insurance and accounting. As a result, Maynard brings a wealth of knowledge to the team and has helped Connections further develop its services. Prior to joining Connections in June of 2012, Maynard provided administrative and consulting services for employee benefit plans for over 20 years. Since 1999, Maynard has represented the services of Connections Inc. EAP to his clients. When asked why he chose to represent Connections EAP over other EAP providers, he states:
“I am more convinced every day of the real need for Employee Assistance Programs. Families, work, commitments and unexpected life issues can derail essential decision making abilities. An EAP can bring real focus and issue resolution to all in need.”
“Connections Inc. EAP provides the highest level of customer service in the industry, and is HIGHLY visible, proactive and engaging. Most EAPs lay in the weeds and wait for someone to contact them. The reason is simple, if no one contacts them, they make more money. Connections does NOT subscribe to this model and is out in front promoting usage, healing and productivity.”
Maynard attended North Iowa Area Community College and has continued his development through many professional classes, seminars and educational opportunities. He earned his Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation in 2001 and earned a Fellow CEBS designation in 2003. In his spare time, Maynard enjoys spending time with his family and 5 grandchildren. He also enjoys golfing, fishing and trap shooting.
Donna Van Peursem
Clinical Case Manager
You may have already met Donna as she has conducted our annual Leadership Development training since January 2020. However, we are excited to have her join our team in this new capacity! Donna Van Peursem has joined the Connections team as our Clinical Case Manager and Quality Review Officer effective January 1, 2022!
Donna comes to Connections with a working knowledge of both mental health and academia. She grew up on a farm in Sheldon, Iowa where her family raised crops and livestock. She has the privilege of living and working in rural communities for the past two decades which has allowed her to witness the opportunities and challenges that impact rural communities daily.
Donna is a licensed social worker who earned a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Nebraska. She is a Northwestern College graduate who has extensive experience in individual, marital, family, and group therapy. Prior to joining Connections, Donna was a mental health therapist at the Creative Living Center in Rock Valley, Iowa, and a therapist for Family Service in Omaha, Nebraska.
“I am proud to have served Connections EAP for the past two years conducting the annual Leadership Development training. I am looking forward to continuing in this role and also serving as the Clinical Case Manager. I am passionate about the services that Connections provides and plan to continue promoting and encouraging people to utilize them. I’m looking forward to working with you!”
Connections EAP Staff
Back Row (Lt to Rt): Tana Cox, David VanNingen, Andy Visser, Matt Visser
Front Row (Lt to Rt): Joy DeWeerd, Amanda TenNapel, Carla Jansma, Maynard Wellik