Staff

Kelcey L. Baker, Paralegal

kelcey baker

Kelcey.Baker@garfinkelimmigration.com

Kelcey L. Baker graduated third in her class from Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelor's degree in International Studies and French in 2012. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in the future. Kelcey is fluent in French. She enjoys crafting, baking, and spending time with her cat, Luna.

Amber M. Bennett, PERM Assistant

Amber M. Bennett

Amber.Bennett@garfinkelimmigration.com

Amber M. Bennett graduated in 2015 from Western Carolina University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. As a member of our Permanent Employment Certification (PERM) team, Amber provides support services during the case preparation process. In her free time, Amber likes to remain active by participating in CrossFit and playing softball.

Minu K. Brar, Administrative Assistant

Minu K. Brar

Minu.Brar@garfinkelimmigration.com

Minu K. Brar was born in Haryana, India. In 2013, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Pre-Law & Culture with a minor in Biology from Fresno Pacific University. One of Minu’s special talents is her ability to speak a variety of languages including Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and beginner Spanish. As a member of the administrative team, she provides office support, including mail processing, document preparation and coordination of external support services. Minu has a passion for Bhangra (folk dance) and enjoys teaching it when she’s not at work.

Buffy K. Dover, Senior Paralegal

Buffy Dover

Buffy.Dover@garfinkelimmigration.com

Buffy K. Dover earned a degree in Legal Secretarial Studies from Kings College in 1992. Ms. Dover has worked in the immigration law field since 1997. Buffy enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and also enjoys reading and exercising.

Stephanie R. Dukes, Accounting Assistant

Stephanie  R. Dukes

Stephanie.Dukes@garfinkelimmigration.com

Stephanie R. Dukes graduated from King’s College in 2001, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.  Stephanie works as our accounting assistant, helping on items such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and others. She also serves as a support to our administrative team. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys shopping, traveling and hitting the open road in her Jeep Wrangler.

Ladonna B. Ferguson, Front Desk Receptionist/Administrative Coordinator

Ladonna Ferguson

Ladonna.Ferguson@garfinkelimmigration.com

Ladonna B. Ferguson has seven years of office management experience. She has a loving husband and immensely enjoys gardening.

Sean M. Flanagan, Paralegal

sean flanagan

Sean.Flanagan@garfinkelimmigration.com

Sean M. Flanagan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008 and a Master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2011. Sean has been working in the legal field since 2012. In college, Sean played trumpet for four seasons in the UNC Marching Tar Heels and Carolina Pep Bands. Sean enjoys reading fiction as well as non-fiction, writing, playing sports, especially soccer and basketball, cheering for the Carolina Panthers, lifting weights, and having fun with his family and friends.

Brianne A. Goethe, Legal Assistant

Brianne  A. Goethe

Brianne.Goethe@garfinkelimmigration.com

Brianne A. Goethe graduated from Hampton University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Political Science.  As a legal administrative assistant, Brianne helps our senior paralegals with case preparation and various office tasks. Outside of the office, Brianne enjoys traveling.

Margaret "Carr" Hughes, Senior Paralegal

meghan gilling

Margaret.Hughes@garfinkelimmigration.com

Margaret "Carr" Hughes holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in Higher Education, with a concentration in Organization and Administration, from the University of Arizona. From 1999 to 2008, Carr worked for the firm as a Senior Paralegal, and from 2008 to 2011, she managed the firm’s marketing and business development efforts. After a five-year hiatus to spend time with her children and start her own business, Carr returned in October 2015 to resume her Senior Paralegal role. Outside of work, Carr’s favorite activities are playing tennis, gardening, and cooking..

Jami L. McKnight, Senior Paralegal

jami mcknight

Jami.McKnight@garfinkelimmigration.com

Jami L. McKnight earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2006. Ms. McKnight has worked in the immigration law field specializing in employment-based immigration since 2006.

Anne M. Mentus, Senior Paralegal/Team Lead

anne mentus

Anne.Mentus@garfinkelimmigration.com

Anne M. Mentus earned a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice from The College at Brockport, State University of New York in 2005. Ms. Mentus has over twelve (12) years of experience in immigration law.

Adriana Miranda, Senior Paralegal/Team Lead

adriana miranda

Adriana.Miranda@garfinkelimmigration.com

Adriana Miranda earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida International University in 1998 and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Augusta State University in 2005. Ms. Miranda began working in the immigration law field in 2002. Ms. Miranda is fluent in Spanish. In addition to spending time with her husband and four children, Adriana loves movies and anything entertainment.

Tess Pacheco, Paralegal

Tess Pacheco

Tess.Pacheco@garfinkelimmigration.com

Tess Pacheco attended California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business. Tess has worked in the immigration law field as a paralegal for six years. When she’s not at the office, Tess enjoys playing volleyball and spending time with her children.

 

Laura Panduro-Vargas, Paralegal

laura panduro-vargas

Laura.Panduro-Vargas@garfinkelimmigration.com

Laura Panduro-Vargas earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Fayetteville State University in 2012. Laura is fluent in Spanish and enjoys travelling, cooking, exercising and spending time with her family and friends.

Elisabeth R. Perez, Paralegal

Elisabeth OLoughlin

Elisabeth.Perez@garfinkelimmigration.com

Elisabeth R. Perez earned a Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Queen's University in 2012. Elisabeth loves learning new languages, participating in 5k's for a good cause, and traveling abroad with humanitarian aid teams.

 

Renée Philbeck, Paralegal

renee philbeck

Renée.Philbeck@garfinkelimmigration.com

Renée Philbeck earned her Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and French from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in May 2006, and is pursuing a Masters degree in Translation Studies from New York University. Renée is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Senegal (2009-2012). She is fluent in French and highly proficient in Pulaar (a dialect of the Fulah language).

Yessenia Portillo, Paralegal

Yessenia Portillo

Yessenia.Portillo@garfinkelimmigration.com

Yessenia Portillo is originally from Bogota, Colombia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Connecticut in 2012. She has worked in the immigration law field for over two years. As one of our paralegals, Yessenia focuses on assisting with our family-based immigration cases. In her free time, Yessenia enjoys visiting new museum exhibits and live music events.

Marco C. Raye, Marketing Specialist

Marco  C. Raye

Marco.Raye@garfinkelimmigration.com

Marco C. Raye is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Italy. In 2011, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Journalism. Marco has worked as a traditional and digital marketer since 2012. He works hand-in-hand with all branches of our firm to create, maintain and promote the mission, values, goals and objectives of Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm. Outside of the office, Marco is a published inspirational fiction author who enjoys swimming, cooking and outdoor activities.

Debbie E. Sigmon, Senior Paralegal, Team Lead

debbie sigmon

Debbie.Sigmon@garfinkelimmigration.com

Debbie E. Sigmon earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1985. Ms. Sigmon has worked in the immigration law field since 1987. Debbie enjoys traveling to Savannah and Asheville and spending time with friends and family, especially her two nieces and nephew.

Joshua R. Stevenson, Paralegal

Joshua R. Stevenson

Joshua.Stevenson@garfinkelimmigration.com

Joshua R. Stevenson graduated from the University North Carolina at Charlotte in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Joshua works with a variety of nonimmigrant visas including H-1B’s, L-1’s, TN’s, and E-2’s. Outside of work, Joshua enjoys traveling as much as he can with his friends.

Beth R. Tart, Senior Paralegal, Team Lead-PERM Process

beth tart

Beth.Tart@garfinkelimmigration.com

Beth R. Tart earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts Business Administration from Furman University in 1983. Ms. Tart has worked in the immigration law field since 1996. Beth enjoys camping, hiking, coaching small group leaders at her church, and attending sporting events (especially football).

Ronald P. Townsend, Chief Operating Officer

Ronald  P. Townsend

Ronald.Townsend@garfinkelimmigration.com

Ronald ("Ron") P. Townsend is a graduate of Wake Forest University who served 31 years in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot, as a squadron commander, as a base commander, and as a diplomat.  He lived in Santiago, Chile and worked at the U.S. Embassy there as the Senior U.S. Defense Official in Chile for three years. As our firm’s Chief Operating Officer, Ron oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm in addition to managing the firm's operating and information systems. In his free time, Ron enjoys snow skiing, playing golf and racquet sports, and serves on various nonprofit organization boards.

Kiersten L. Trismen, Administrative Team Lead

Kiersten  L. Trismen

Kiersten.Trismen@garfinkelimmigration.com

Kiersten L. Trismen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management from Johnston & Wales University in 2008 before returning to school to earn a second degree in Psychology from University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2011. As the firm’s Administrative Team Lead, Kiersten supervises all day-to-day operational tasks. Her favorite hobby in her free time is reading and growing her large collection of books.

Tiffany M. Tucker, Senior Paralegal

tiffany tucker

Tiffany.Tucker@garfinkelimmigration.com

Tiffany M. Tucker earned a degree in Legal Secretarial Studies from Kings College in 1992. Ms. Tucker has worked in the immigration law field since 2006. Tiffany enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying out new recipes, cheering for the Carolina Tarheels and volunteering with the Charlotte Ronald McDonald House.

Claudia M. Wharton, Paralegal

Claudia M. Wharton

Claudia.Wharton@garfinkelimmigration.com

Claudia M. Wharton is a 2016 graduate of Stanford University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in History. As a member of our team of paralegals, Claudia assists attorneys in preparing a wide range of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions. While away from the office, Claudia enjoys reading American Gothic literature.

Laura J. Young, Senior Paralegal

Laura J. Young

Laura.Young@garfinkelimmigration.com

Laura J. Young earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2003. Mrs. Young has worked as an immigration paralegal since 2008 and is fluent in Spanish. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughter, she also enjoys kayaking, traveling and DIY projects at home.