Leading you along the right path.


Our consultants have the highest professional qualifications. We have clinical consultants, university and college professors, retired military, emergency medical response professionals and access to those who support non-governmental organizations. We combine a broad range of experience with specialized knowledge in the management of emergency care in many environments. Our consultants are located throughout the United States, with flexible schedules to meet the needs of our clients.

Cogent Steps Leaders


Michele “Shelly” Leavitt Weinstein


Email: mlweinstein@cogentsteps.net
Phone: 703.971.4834

Shelly Weinstein has more 30 years of experience in providing care to athletes across the age and competition spectrum. She graduated Temple University with a BS in physical therapy, next earning an MS in Human Movement Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently, Shelly is pursuing her EdD in Leadership and Learning in Organization at the Peabody School of Education of Vanderbilt University. She is a board certified sports clinical specialist as well as being a nationally certified athletic trainer.

Shelly has been an SPTS and Red Cross-certified Emergency Medical Response instructor since 1997. While on active duty in the United States Navy she served in a volunteer capacity as the Medical Operations Coordinator for the Marine Corps Marathon from 2004 until 2015 when she retired from the navy with a rank of Captain. Upon her retirement, Shelly was hired as the first Marine Corps Marathon medical staff member overseeing care, logistics, and management of twelve events seeing 45,000 runners and 120,000 spectators annually.

Additionally, Shelly has served as an adjunct professor at the East Carolina University Department of Physical Therapy. An accomplished writer, she has been published in peer review journals as well as authored the original chapter in the Home Study Preparation Course for the Emergency Medical Responder Course. While continuing to serve as the Lead Instructor for Cogent Steps, LLC, Shelly is an active mentor and faculty member of the U.S. Navy Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Quantico, Virginia.

Shelly continues to support patriotism and service to community, consulting on many large sporting events. In 2016 she traveled to Beijing China to provide training in Emergency Medical Response to the medical staff of the Chinese Olympic teams. She regularly participates as a medical provider at various events including the World Police and Fire Games, high school sports and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Credentials:PT, MS, SCS, ATC



Lead Partner

Reid Bessenger

Email: reid.bessenger@gmail.com
Phone: 703.971.4834

Reid is the Lead Partner of Cogent Steps, LLC. He has 30 years of experience in education and training. His diverse experiences include large organization leadership, national security plans and policy, curriculum development and teaching in an international environment.

Reid earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of South Florida in 1989, a Master of Public Administration from Troy University in 1996, and a Master of Operational Arts from the Marine Corps University in 2005. Reid served in the United States Marine Corps for over 20 years. His advanced education includes Amphibious Warfare School, Command and Staff College, the School of Advanced Warfighting, the Nuclear Weapons Safety Officer Course, and the Nuclear Weapons Security Officer Course.

Reid has led curriculum development in multiple areas, including international security cooperation, individual and team training for special missions, and leadership modules in the context of management higher education. These efforts included coordination with members of 17 nations, all five U.S. services, U.S. Dept. of State, USAID, State Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stability, as well as several other governmental departments, agencies and nongovernmental organizations.



Cogent Steps Support Staff

​Social Media Coordinator

​Sarah Weinstein

Sarah is a junior at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She was been a competitive swimmer for more than ten years and enjoys being active both in and out of the pool. She began working for Cogent Steps in 2014 and manages all the social media sites for the business.


Sam is a freshman at University of Mary Washington studying Business and Sports Management. He manages the Women’s Soccer Team including their media. He is sharing media responsibilities with Sarah for Cogent Steps LLC


Nate is a student at Northern Virginia Community College. He was football player in high school and plans to study law. He began working for Cogent Steps in 2017 and manages all the instructional materials, supplies and shipping for the business


Adds online materials to the website in support of Cogent Steps

Cogent Steps Consultants

Abigail Smith


Abigail Smith has been practicing physical therapy for 10 years. Smith was awarded Board Certification by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Sports Physical Therapy in 2012. Her special interest in emergency response pertains to endurance athletes. She has lectured nationally regarding emergency response to endurance athletes along the side of Cogent Steps, LLC founder Shelly Weinstein for the APTA. Smith practices emergency response to endurance runners and triathletes in local races as well as some of world’s largest races. Dr. Smith is also an adjunct faculty member at Norwalk Community College to which she teaches Kinesiology and Therapeutic Exercise.

Credentials:PT, DPT, SCS

Andrew Niemann

Andrew Niemann has 24 years of experience in emergency medicine and fire-rescue. He is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and has degrees in emergency medical services and education.

Andrew has been a member of the National Registry of EMTs since 1992 and a paramedic since 1997. He has pre-hospital and inter-facility Advanced Life Support experience in multiple states, both as a volunteer and as a paid provider. His volunteerism continues with the Marine Corps Marathon.

Andrew is recently retired from the United States Coast Guard and is currently volunteering as a paramedic in Stafford County, Virginia.

Angelique Bannister


Angelique Bannister has thirteen years of experience as a physical therapist, including time served as an active duty Navy Physical Therapist. She has been a Red Cross-certified Emergency Medical Responder since 2010 and a sports certified specialist in physical therapy since 2013. She has spent the last seven years as the lead physical therapist at United States Marine Corps Base Quantico, Officer Candidates School. She currently serves as the Director of the U.S. Navy Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program, a program that has gained accreditation by the American Physical Therapy Association.

Credentials:PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS

Alan B. Crothers


Alan Crothers has over 26 years of experience in physical therapy. He is a board certified sports clinical specialist and has instructed the EMR for over a decade.

Alan’s experience includes certified instructor work, site and regional management responsibilities, and program director for a sports residency program. He is a Registered International Sports Physical Therapist. Alan serves as a Section Delegate to the APTA House of Delegates, and as an Idaho State Legislative Liaison. Alan is a Board Member of the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education.

Credentials:PT, SCS

Ann Marie Husk


Ann Marie Husk has 27 years of physical therapy and athletic training experience. She is a board certified Sports Clinical Specialist, Certified Athletic Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. She is employed by Duke University Health System and serves as a Co-Director of the Duke University Health System Sports Physical Therapy Residency and Division I Sports Physical Therapy Fellowship. She covers community sporting events, high school and middle school athletics and soccer outreach events.

Credentials:PT, SCS, ATC, CSCS

Brad Eggebraaten

Brad Eggebraaten is the director of the ATI-Greenville Therapy Residency/Fellowship Programs in Greenville, South Carolina. He has been a practicing clinician for 30 years in the area of “Sports Medicine” as both a physical therapist and a certified athletic trainer. Brad has served as an American Red Cross instructor for eight years.

Brandon Ness


Brandon Ness is currently serving as a full-time faculty member with the University of South Dakota Physical Therapy program. His primary teaching areas include musculoskeletal physical therapy and diagnostic imaging.

Brandon received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the Mayo School of Health Sciences. He completed an APTA credentialed residency program in sports physical therapy, and obtained his board certification as a Sports Clinical Specialist.

He currently serves as a physical therapist for the University of South Dakota Division I student-athletes. Brandon has research interests including athletic injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Credentials:PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS

Bret Bastian


Bret Bastian is a Boise native and has been practicing physical therapy for 8 years now. He was awarded Board Certification by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Sports Physical Therapy in 2016. Bret enjoys working with all types of athletes but his special interest in emergency response is mostly with soccer. He is the lead therapist for the Boise Timber Thorns Soccer Club, an affiliate of the Portland Timbers/Postland Thorns Academy. Bret also has over 10 years of coaching experience and is currently coaching boys’ soccer at Boise High School. Other interests include volunteering annually for medical coverage during the Onward Shay Boise Marathon.

Credentials:PT, DPT, SCS

Burke Wilson


Burke Wilson is a board certified sports physical therapist at Texas Children’s Hospital working primarily with adolescent athletes. His clinical interests include operative and non-operative management of youth athletes with lower extremity injuries and biomechanical analysis of runners and overhead athletes. His interest in emergency response stems primarily from his interest in covering endurance events – distance races and triathlons.

Burke earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of Texas Southwestern and completed his post-professional residency in sports physical therapy at the Ironman Sports Medicine Institute in Houston. He is currently a faculty member in the Texas Children’s Hospital Sports Physical Therapy Residency Program and is also on faculty within the Department of Kinesiology and Sports Medicine at Rice University.

Credentials:PT, DPT, SCS

Cassie Dawson


Cassie is a board-certified sports clinical specialist, and has been practicing since 2011. She has recently acquired both her Athletic Training and Strength and Conditioning Certifications, and she is now and ImPACT Trained Physical Therapist (ITPT). Cassie is the outpatient sports therapist at Murray-Calloway County Hospital, in the Center for Rehab and Sports Medicine. She is a member of the APTA and the SPTS, as well as the NATA and the NCSA. She is also a Registered International Sports Physical Therapist. She has been teaching EMR courses nationally since 2012.

Credentials:PT, DPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS, RISPT

Donna Merkel


Donna Merkel has 22 years of experience in physical therapy, with the majority of her career devoted to sports medicine with an emphasis on the pediatric and adolescent athlete. She is a board certified sports clinical specialist and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

In addition to being a full time clinician, Donna is an instructor for Arcadia University’s Sports Medicine Curriculum as well as guest lecturer for Weidner University’s physical therapy program. Her professional achievements include publications on pediatric and adolescent sports medicine, sideline management of acute injuries, editor for prevention of eating disorders in ice skaters and the APTA sports section home study course on youth athlete injuries. She has lectured nationally on injury prevention and rehabilitation of sports injuries as well as certification courses for the emergency medical responder.

Donna specializes in injuries of the extremities, female athletes, traumatic and overuse injuries of both recreational and elite level athletes of field and artistic sports

Credentials:PT, MS, SCS, CSCS

Jennifer Allen


Jennifer Allen graduated from West Virginia University in 1994 and went on to complete her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at AT Still University. She holds two Board Certified Clinical Specialist Certifications – one in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, and one in Sports Physical Therapy. She is also a Certified Hand Therapist. She Co-Founded Bodycentral Physical Therapy in 2001, and the Bodycentral Sports Residency Program in Tucson, Arizona.

Over her career, she has served as a consultant/provided injury coverage to the US Navy ROTC program at the University of Arizona, the Arizona Heat Women’s Professional Fastpitch Softball Team including members of the US Olympic Softball Team, the Professional Dancers of Ballet Tucson, Professional Musicians, FC Tucson Soccer, and to local club and high school athletics. Her specialties include upper extremity rehabilitation, as well as Lower Chain Biomechanical evaluation and treatment.

Credentials:PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CHT

Joseph Molony Jr.


Joe attended Thomas Jefferson University, obtaining his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physical Therapy in 1992. He is a board certified Sports Clinical Specialist, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and 2 two term chair of the Youth Athlete Special Interest Group for the Sports Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Joe has served on the APTA’s Specialization Academy of Content Experts (SACE) for the sports board certification examination as well as the standard setting committee. He has also been a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Athlete Health Organization, which provides free pre participation sports physicals for the city of Philadelphia, and is a founding member of PRISM, the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine society. Joe is Coordinator of the Young Athlete Program at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. In addition, he is an adjunct professor of Widener University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program and is published internationally on the topic of youth sports medicine.

Credentials:PT, MS, SCS, CSCS

Joshua T. Williams


Josh has worked in outpatient orthopedic and sports medicine settings for the last 14 years. He is a graduate of a sports physical therapy residency program and a board certified clinical specialist in both sports and orthopedics.

Josh is currently an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He currently serves as the medical director for the UCO Endeavor Games for Athletes with Disabilities and also provides sports medicine coverage for a variety of community events including the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and the OU Medicine Corporate Challenge.

Credentials:PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Laura A. Schmitt


Laura Schmitt is currently a faculty member at the University of Delaware Physical Therapy program. She serves as the Director of Clinical Education. She is dually board certified in orthopedics and sports as well as being a Certified Athletic Trainer. She is currently the Sports Special Interest Group (SIG) chair. She has been an EMR instructor since 2002.

Credentials:PT, DPT, SCS, OCS, ATC

Teonette Velasco


Teonette Velasco has over a decade of experience in physical therapy. She is a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist with a diverse range of experience.

Teonette worked in private and military clinics prior to starting her orthopedic residency at the University of Delaware. She is recognized as a Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedics by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. She currently serves as a physical therapist and is an advanced certified clinical instructor in the University of Delaware Physical Therapy clinic. Teonette is the clinical research coordinator for Dr. Gregory Hick’s research laboratory.

Credentials:PT, OCS

Todd Sander


Todd Sander graduated from the U.S. Army-Baylor University Master of Physical Therapy program in 1992 and received his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from Central Michigan University and has been a Certified Athletic Trainer since 1988. He has been board certified as a Sports Clinical Specialist since 1998. In 2003, Todd received his PhD from the University of Virginia in Sports Medicine. He is currently serves full time as an Associate Professor at the U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Ft. Sam Houston, TX.

Credentials:PT, PhD, SCS, ATC

Joel Bannister

Joel Bannister joined Cogent Steps in May of 2019. He currently works as a Physical Therapist assistant at Advanced Rehab Medical Group in Virginia. Joel brings plenty of field medicine expertise as a former Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman in the Navy, providing emergency care for officer candidates and staff at Officer Candidate School in Quantico Virginia as well as during his tours at Camp Lejeune and Fallujah Iraq. He taught and trained Marines in emergency combat lifesaving skills and was trained and worked as a volunteer firefighter and Emergency medical technician.

Ed Au

Ed Au hails from the other side of our northern border and hold several certifications including board certification in both Sports, Orthopedics. He is the Chair of the New Jersey Sports Physical Therapy Committee. He has worked internationally with various sports teams including Canadian wrestling, boxing, martial arts, figure skating as well as with Paralympic athletes in cycling, judo, fencing, volleyball and powerlifting. He currently works at RWJ Sports Physical Therapy and Performance Center in Bridgewater NJ and serves as the clinic Coordinator for Clinical Education (CCCE)

Molly Baker O’Rourke

Molly Baker O’Rourke PT, DPT, OCS, SCS joined Cogent Steps in May 2019. She earned her DPT from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania in 2017 and is certified as both a sports and orthopedic specialist. She is currently at Oregon State University working as both a clinical PT and co-coordinator of education in the pre-therapy and allied health program. She is an item writer for the Specialization Academy of Content Experts for the AASPT. Her areas of sports involvement focus on winter sports, skiing.

Certification:PT, DPT, OCS, SCS

T. Scott Kaylor

T. Scott Kaylor, PT, DPT, SCS joins Cogent Steps as a new instructor from Greer South Carolina where he is the Co-Founder of Zoan Physical Therapy. Scott received is DPT from Duke University in 2009 and attended the PRoaxis Therapy Sports Residency and Upper Extremity Fellowship Program. Prior to that he was a clinic director at ATI Physical Therapy. As the upper extremity fellow I provided physical therapy services to the Kansas City Royals baseball teams during the 2012 baseball season from February to September. Scott is also a Level I USAT Triathlon coach with Malone Coaching in Greenville, SC. His current interests are in sports and orthopedic physical therapy, specifically Endurance athletes, Overhead athletes, Persistent pain, Postural asymmetry, Post-operative population, Injury prevention and health and wellness

Certifications:PT, DPT, SCS

Megan Mitchell

Megan Mitchell, PT, DPT joins Cogent Steps brining a unique background working in the emergency room in Denver Health Medical Center. She has a wealth of Emergency Management Training including serving as Lakewood Community Emergency Response Team -Instructor and responder, Emergency Management Institute IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, IS-394. Mass Casualty Incident Training, CBRNE Certification. Megan earned her DPT from the University of Colorado Denver in 2010.


Certifications:PT, DPT

Dr. Robert Schulte

Dr Robert Schulte PT, DSc, SCS, MBA, ACSM-ES® became a Cogent Steps LLC instructor in 2019. He serves as an associate professor at the University of Mary, Department of physical therapy in Bismarck ND. He provides direct support to athletes at the high school level and was a member of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics medical staff. He currently serves in the Air National Guard as the 119th Medical Group Commander. Dr Schulte has several peer reviewed publications and is actively involved in research.

Certifications:PT, DSc, SCS, MBA, ACSM-ES

Dr Gary Schindler

Dr Gary Schindler, PT, PhD, OCS, SCS, LATC, CSCS has been a sports certified specialist since 2015. He is an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota, serves as the Sports residency director and works in direct patient care. Dr Schindler serves on a myriad of committees for UND as well as the state. He is an item writer for the Specialization Academy of Content Experts. He became a Cogent Steps LLC instructor in 2019.