Pastor, Jim Szakacs, Executive Director

Jim  has been the Executive Director of The Nehemiah Mission since March of 2008. He is a Licensed Local Pastor in the East Ohio Conference appointed to the mission.

In his previous career, Jim was self employed as an organizational development coach and marketing consultant. His clients included both for profit and non-profit organizations. He was a marketing and communication specialist in the sports and entertainment industry for the prior 20 years.

Jim also serves as the Pastor of New Vision at Garfield Heights United Methodist Church and sits on various boards and agencies of the North Coast District and East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church.

He is married to his childhood sweetheart, Robin – the daughter of a U.M. Pastor and together they have three adult children, three grandchildren and one very spoiled mini-dachsund.


Ms. Becky Trout,  Program Services Manager

Becky  began her relationship with the mission as a team member. She visited with the St. John’s UMC  of Turnersville, NJ group for four years.  While Becky was in Cleveland, she helped lead vacation bible school. Becky then returned home to New Jersey with a desire to continue serving at Nehemiah. Her role today  is to process all incoming project applications and conduct interviews and followup contacts with each of our clients.  Becky is also responsible for the design and operation of our local volunteer recruitment and utilization program. In addition, she assists the director by serving as liason to our various building “tenants”, managing our food service and kitchen, leading work team projects and new program development.


Ms. Sheila Furgeson, Bookkeeper

Sheila  is the Bookkeeper at Nehemiah Mission with the responsibility for maintaining the accounting functions. Sheila has over 30 years of diversified experience in accounting, financial analysis, financial & operation reporting and business support. She has an Associates degree in Finance from the University of Cincinnati, Bachelor degree in Accounting, from Dyke College and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from Cuyahoga Community College Corporate College.Sheila enjoys golfing and is involved with a Adopt a school program that provides Elementary School children with necessary learning tools, personal items, hat and gloves for the winter.


Mr. Shawn Deramus, Chef

Chef Shawn has been a part of the Nehemiah team for three years. A native Cleveland who has a heart for city, Shawn is certified through the Cuyahoga Community College Hospitality Management Program where he learned the ins and outs of the hospitality industry. He has cooked for the Cutting Board Academy where he learned to to make healthy choices when preparing meals for large numbers. He has cooked at the Cleveland Indians Club House and volunteers his services to raise money for autism, M.S. and other health related causes. Shawn enjoys preparing amazing “non traditional retreat center” meals and “wowing” our guests with delectable treats! “You won’t go hungry or find any “blue ham and mushy green beans” at our dining table.


Nicole Elmore,  Intern

is the newest addition to the Nehemiah Mission. A Northeast Ohio native, she didn’t appreciate the city of Cleveland until a few years ago, when she moved downtown to attend Cleveland State University. Nicole became a student leader with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), fostering her admiration of organizational ministry and the like. She is currently finishing her bachelors in counseling psychology through Liberty University Online, applying what she’s learned so far to the internship and wherever the Lord prompts. In her spare time, she enjoys writing fictional prose, reading theology books and anything by Francine Rivers, as well as exploring the outdoors with her husband, Ryan. She’s thankful to serve Nehemiah Mission in a tangible way that blesses the people around the city, especially since now she considers herself a proud Clevelander.



OR CALL; 216-961-6968