Acquisition Partners of America

Our Team - Acquisition Partners of America


We are very proud of our experienced and dedicated team of both direct APA staff and a large roster of contracted grant writers. Here are biographies of some key individuals that will be working on your behalf:


John Quiring | President/General Manager

John brings more than 30 years of experience in public, non-profit and private sector funding and programs. He also has secured in excess of $35 million in funding in 15 years of workforce development and community development such as HUD, DOT, EDA and CDBG, community college funding and other non-profit experience doing grant related work. John’s experience includes leadership of economic, redevelopment, industrial and community development agencies and heading his own consulting firm specializing in non-profit housing development and industrial park development.

Sarah Higginbotham | Vice President of Client Services

Sarah has worked closely with elected officials to help public agencies navigate government red tape and increase their success rates. Sarah gained vast experience as a government liaison while serving on the staff of a prominent U.S. Congressman, managing outreach between his constituents and various Federal agencies. In prior capacities and now with APA, she has taken a leadership role in seeking new grant sources and securing millions of dollars in new grants for many of our public agency clients in the area of public works and community development. Sarah has experience working with transportation, housing rehabilitation programs, administration of CDBG grant funds, and many related transportation, public works and community development programs. She completed her undergraduate degree from UC Riverside and Masters of Arts at CSU, Fresno.


Jeannie Neathery | Grant Writer/Municipal

Jeannie brings a wealth of grant writing experience to the team. Jeannie has written grant proposals in the areas of law enforcement, transportation, energy, environmental quality, and education. Over the past years, Jeannie has helped secure over $8 million for cities and school districts. She has specific expertise in researching grant-making organizations, project budget analysis, and technical writing.

Betsy Tunnell | Grant Writer/Municipal and Education

Betsy has nearly a decade of experience in the writing of a wide range of social service, community development and workforce development grant funds and four years of work experience as a Planner for the County of Fresno. Betsy is also widely experienced in all aspects of construction and construction management as an owner operator of a successful general contracting firm with her husband.

Terry Schmal | Grant Writer/Municipal

Terry has a wide range of skills and expertise in city administration, planning, environmental specialist, public works consultant and grant writer and media relations. He has served for more than twenty years as a Director of Public Works, Planner and Analyst for a city and two counties, and Community Development Specialist conducting environmental assessments, securing funding for large scale development projects and administering all aspects of those projects. He also spent more than 12 years in various management positions with Central Valley newspapers. A graduate of CSU, Fresno, he also is a member of the Association of Environmental Professionals and the American Planning Association.

Cathy Barabe | Grant Writer/Education

With over 25 years of experience in the California Community College system as an instructor, counselor, administrator and Director of Planning and Grants, Cathy brings a vast knowledge of the funding, training and program development needs of educational institutions. She has obtained over $160 million in educational training contracts and grants from private, state and federal sources in areas including literacy, workforce development and student services. Cathy has also developed and managed many vocational programs for educational, civic and business concerns funded through the Department of Social Services, Fresno County Health and Human Services and the Private Industry Council. She received the Fresno Professional Woman of the Year award and serves on the Board of Directors for several local organizations.


Michael N. Villines | Legislative Advocate

Mike was elected to the California State Assembly in 2004 to represent the 29th Assembly District. After serving six years in the California State Assembly, Mike opened The Villines Group, a Corporate and Government Relations consulting firm with offices in Sacramento and Fresno. Mike served as one of the longest serving Minority Leaders in recent California history and served critical roles in negotiating 4 State budgets, a State water bond and a State “rainy day” fund. Villines serves as Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. He is also a Gubernatorial Appointee on the California Central Valley Flood Protection Board, which deals with the State’s Levee management policies, and as a Member of the California Bay-Delta Conservancy.