Our Staff

Meet Our Staff Members

Tom LaFontaine (PhD)

Tom LaFontaine (PhD)

Clinical Exercise Physiologist/Manager

Co-Founder of Optimus: The Center for Health

US Weightlifting Association Level 1 Coach, Am College Sports Medicine Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Nat’l Strength & Cond Assoc Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Personal Trainer

Dr. Tom LaFontaine is originally from Fort Wayne, IN. He received his Ph.D in Exercise Physiology from the University of Missouri in 1983. He was a co-founder of the Boone Hospital Center Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program in 1981 and was manager for 22 years. Upon retiring from this position in 2003, he pursued his own personal health consulting business. Tom has authored and co-authored more than 100 journal publications and book chapters  in the health and wellness field including co-authoring a textbook published in 2012 with colleague Jeff Roitman, Ed.D, entitled The Exercise Professional’s Guide to Optimizing Health. In 2001 Tom received the prestigious American Heart Association: Missouri Affiliate Dr. Hugh Stephenson Award for outstanding contributions in research to the fields of exercise physiology, cardiovascular rehabilitation and prevention of chronic diseases.  Dr. Lafontaine was an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri for 20+ years.

Tom has been involved in numerous community grants and projects. He was a co-founder of the Columbia Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health in 1999 and was Fitness Coordinator for the Robert Wood Johnson Active Living grant with the Columbia PedNet Coalition in 2003–2005. He has been involved in programs to promote health and disease prevention in Columbia since 1977. Tom is currently featured together with Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS, RD, environmental nutritionist on the 2nd Monday of each month on a local radio show on KFRU hosted by well known radio personality, David Lile.

As an athlete, Tom qualified for and competed in the 1972 Olympic Trials in Olympic style weightlifting. He set a world record in 1973 in the squat at 530 lbs weighing 146.75 lbs and in the 148.75 lb weight class. He won four gold medals in the 1971 Tournament of Americas weightlifting competition held in Vera Cruz, Mexico. In 1987, Tom won the Masters division of the long course World Duathlon Championships held in Palm Springs, California and was ranked in the top 5 amongst Masters duathletes that year.  He also placed second to John Howard, bicyclist of the decade in the 1970s, by 2 seconds in the 1987 short course national duathlon championships.

Email: tlafantaine64@gmail.com

Kyle Patrick (BS, MS)

Kyle Patrick (BS, MS)

Personal Health & Fitness Mentor

Nat’l Strength & Cond Assoc Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Kyle is from Moberly, Missouri. In 2010, he moved to Columbia to begin his academic career at Moberly Area Community College. Upon completing his associate‘s degree, he transferred to the University of Missouri. He received his BS in Nutrition and Exercise Physiol-ogy in 2014. During his final semester at MU, Kyle became an intern at Optimus: The Center for Health. In 2015 , he accepted a position as a Personal Health and Fitness Mentor and earned his MSCA-CSCS shortly after. Later that year Kyle enrolled at A.T. Still University and, in 2017, completed his Master’s degree in Kinesiology.

Kyle’s passion for sport and the outdoors had a great impact on his choice to become a health and fitness professional. He spent his youth participating in a variety of sporting activities which included soccer, basketball, baseball, bowling, tennis, golf, and some uncon-ventional sports/competitions known only to he and his two older brothers. Currently, much of his time outside of Optimus is still spent on such activities, but with the additions of disc golf, hiking, cycling, weight lifting, running and paddling.

Email: kwp7c9@mail.missouri.edu

Dan Smith (MS, ACSM-RCEP)

Dan Smith (MS, ACSM-RCEP)

Personal Health & Fitness Mentor

Certified American College Sports Medicine Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Originally from Chicago, IL, Dan received his MS with an emphasis in Exercise Physiology in 1989 from the University of Missouri. He began working at Boone Hospital`s Cardiac Rehab Program in 1984, and in 1985 was appointed coordinator of HealthLine Wellness programs at Boone Hospital. Dan became certified as an ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist in 1999 and continues to provide superior guidance and support to individuals with a variety of health and fitness goals. Dan also serves as a Personal Fitness Counselor for Boy Scouts, a guest teacher for Columbia Public Schools, a coach of youth sports, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Missouri.

Email: smithda17@gmail.com

Janene Sun (AMTA)

Janene Sun (AMTA)

Licensed Massage Therapist

Certified American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer
National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Specialist

Janene is originally from Moscow, ID. She recently completed her MS in Kinesiology from AT Still University (2015). Her credentials include: Corrective Exercise Specialist (Nat’l Aca of Sports Med); Approved Provider for the Nat’l Cert. Board of Therapeutic Massage; and Licensed Massage Therapist in Missouri & Washington State. She graduated from Moscow, Idaho, School of Massage. She has taught student massage therapists for several years at various locations in Missouri since 2011.

Janene specializes in more of a structural sports massage. Her techniques of choice are Muscle Energy Technique, Positional Release, cranial mobilization and visceral mobilization. Homework for clients might include Active Isolated Stretching or other forms of therapeutic stretching. She believes that these techniques, when used appropriately, have tremendous impact on the muscles and fascia in the body.

She and her husband Carlos are proud parents of two daughters, Rachel and Eliana.

Email: janene@sunsportsmassage.com

Kate Walker (BS, MSW)

Kate Walker (BS, MSW)

Yoga Instructor

Kate holds bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Dance from Stephens as well as a master’s degree in Psychiatric and Medical Social Work from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has worked in the safety, health, and environmental field for many years and has been a Training Manager at the University of Missouri for the past 15 years. She is an American Heart BLS Instructor. Her specialty area is stress management. Kate has taught yoga for over 40 years and studied in India and the United States.

Kate enjoys powerlifting and spending time with her husband Andy and her family. She is a member of Team USA for the American Drug Free Powerlifting Federation (ADFPF) and holds five world records. Most recently, Kate was named Show Me Games Woman Athlete of the Year, 2012, and 3rd in the country by the National Congress of State Games.

Email: walkerja@missouri.edu

Linda Lafontaine (BA, M.Ed)

Linda Lafontaine (BA, M.Ed)

Office Manager

Originally from Festus, MO, Linda received her BA from the University of Missouri in 1973 with honors in Psychology and Anthropology. She received her M.Ed from UMC in 1988 and taught in Columbia Public Schools for a short time. Linda worked as an early childhood professional for 25 years, directing Walnut Creek Day School for more than 18 years. She has also worked for the Dept of Elem & Secondary Education teaching various short courses for early childhood educators in the field.

Linda has competed in short and middle distance running events, duathlons, triathlons, kayak races, and most recently power lifting with the OWOWs of Optimus. In 2009 Linda and her team mate won the women’s tandem division of the Missouri River 340. She has been President of the Columbia Track Club, and has received local recognition awards for her community contributions regarding physical activity.

Linda also enjoys playing the accordion, guitar and mandolin, painting, and visiting her daughter in Chicago.

Sandy Rosenhauer (BS)

Sandy Rosenhauer (BS)

Assistant Office Manager

Born in Connecticut, Sandy spent her grade school years in Up-State New York, where she began swimming competitively at age 10. In the mid 1970’s Sandy and her family moved to Oklahoma, where Sandy set numerous high school swimming records. Sandy was named Oklahoma’s Senior Swimmer of the Year, an all state achievement. Sandy was awarded a Swimming Athletic Scholarship to the University of Arkansas, and swam competitively through college while she completed her BS in Health Education.

Sandy moved to St. Louis in 1988, where she and her husband Eric raised three wonderful daughters. The Rosenhauers moved to Columbia in 1995. All Sandy’s daughters are excellent swimmers and have earned academic and swimming scholarships.

Sandy enjoys dancing, running, racquet ball and swimming, and is currently an active Master’s Swimmer. She enjoys being around her family as much as possible, and working at Optimus.

Nicole Neville (BS)

Nicole Neville (BS)

Personal Health & Fitness Mentor

American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist

Nicole was born and raised in Columbia, MO. She graduated with a bachelors degree in Exercise Science from Truman State University, Kirksville, in May 2017. Nicole was a sprinter for the Truman track and field team, and was an all-conference athlete.

While at Truman Nicole was an active member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She also was a teaching assistant and research assistant for her professors at Truman. In her spare time Nicole enjoys reading and painting.

John McClellan (BS)

John McClellan (BS)

Personal Health & Fitness Mentor

Nat’l Strength & Cond Assoc Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

John was born and raised in Columbia, MO. After graduating from Hickman High School in 2004 he joined the United States Marine Corps and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. After his service ended in 2009 he attended the University of Missouri and graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Fitness.

John became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. He has a true passion for strength training and enjoys all things outdoors with his wife and three kids.

Suzanne Norton

Suzanne Norton

Mind/Body Practices Instructor | Tai Chi, Qigong, Flexible Fusion

Suzanne Norton teaches, and performs, Qigong and Tai Chi in the Columbia area. Ms. Norton works with fitness centers, schools, employee wellness programs, organizations, conferences, and teaches weekly community classes.  She also teaches and performs at festivals, retreats, and community events. Suzanne loves to introduce the ancient Chinese practices of Qigong and Tai Chi to diverse populations.  Some examples of this diversity include: practicing Tai Chi with teens on their high school football field, leading a Qigong session with Norwegian Cyclists for Peace, and offering Qigong/Tai Chi sessions at the University of Missouri’s Contemplative Practices Center/ BREATHE program.

Ms. Norton began receiving her training with Master Kenny Greene, in Columbia, Missouri in 2006.  She has received instruction from Dr. Fred Weaver of the Tao Academy, Kansas City, Missouri, and Master Arthur Du, of China, currently providing instruction in the St. Louis area.  Suzanne received recognition for her contribution to the Martial and Healing Arts in 2015.  Ms. Norton’s style has been described as relaxed, inclusive, peaceful and graceful.  She has a background of study in the practices of Buddhism, Taoism, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Suzanne also teaches yoga, meditation, mindful writing, offers healing touch and private Tai Chi instruction.  When not teaching, Suzanne enjoys practicing Acroyoga, hiking, swimming, running, creating and spending time with her family and friends.

Mirra Greenway, BS, LMT

Mirra Greenway, BS, LMT

Licensed Massage Therapist

Nationally Certified in Massage Therapy & Bodywork, Missouri Licensed
Massage Therapist, Masters Medical Massage Therapist, Certified Mentor

A 1986 Mizzou graduate, Mirra refers to her massage as “comfortably clinical”. She uses Neuromuscular Therapy integrated with Swedish techniques, specializing in neck and low back pain. “I believe that deep tissue massage should not make someone hurt worse than before treatment. I blend modalities to create an individualized treatment for each client, and no two sessions are exactly the same. You, as the client, are in charge of the session and the pressure. We work together to achieve the best outcome, while attaining relaxation.”

Mirra is a Missouri native.  All her children and grandchildren live in Missouri. She became a bit of a Snowbird in 2011 and maintains a private practice in the Sarasota, Florida area, as well as Columbia, Missouri.

Mirra has an extensive volunteer history.  She a lover of domestic animals and wildlife.  In her free time, you might find her swimming in the Gulf waters, or hiking a Missouri trail with her current foster dog.

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